Homeschooling and Societal Costs

Izzy Lyman takes issue with a characterization of homeschoolers as, well, not not only weird but incredibly damaging to society:

Here’s the quote [from Robin L. West’s essay “The Harms of Homeschooling”]:

The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000 square foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots.


Even if her silly scenario was normative, what does West have against double-wide trailer dwellers or anyone who has lived with benevolent relatives in cramped quarters, anyway? And what’s wrong with a man daring to assume spiritual responsibility for his household and a wife not only honoring him in that role, but viewing pregnancy as a blessing, not a curse? Isn’t that far more preferable to being on welfare, living in subsidized housing with only one parent and several half brothers and sisters, and having gangbangers as your neighbors, all while attending an unsafe government school run by dues-paying teacher union members who rail against global warming?

And if government oversight could deter criminal activity and keep the educational standards of these homeschooling rubes high, which is part of West’s argument against the right to homeschool, why are there so many poorly educated miscreants in the heavily-regulated, lavishly funded public schools?

Go and read it all (that is, if  you are not an illiterate knuckle-dragging homeschooled imbecile).


Don’t forget to read the essay (PDF) upon which the comment was based; there is an especially good section on politics:

Fourth, there are political harms. Fundamentalist  Protestant adults who were homeschooled over the last thirty years are not politically disengaged, far from it. They vote in far higher percentages than the rest of the population. They mobilize readily. The “army” in which adult homeschooled citizens are soldiers has enormous clout: homeschoolers were called “Bush’s Army” in 2000 and 2004 for good reason. Their capacity for political action is palpable and admirable, although doubly constrained: it is triggered by a call for action by church leaders, and in substance, it is limited to political action the aim of which is to undermine, limit, or destroy state functions that interfere with family and parental rights. Nevertheless, and by their own accountings, these citizen-soldiers in the “homeschooling movement” and the various political campaigns in which they are enlisted have no clout in the army in which they serve. They are as effective as they are, and as successful as they are, because they engage in politics in the same way that soldiers participate in combat. They don’t question authority, and they can’t go AWOL. With little education, few if any job skills, and scant resources, their power either to influence the lines of authority within their own sphere, or to leave that sphere, is virtually nil.

Wow. All of these soldiers who seek to “undermine, limit, or destroy state functions that interfere with family and parental rights” are at the same time unable to “question authority” or “go AWOL.” I’m not certain, but is it possible for those who don’t question authority to undermine the authority of the state at the same time?

Of course, I was homeschooled, so I probably missed out on the part where everyone else at my grade level learned the arguments employed in classical logic. Or maybe this is the new logic that I missed at the same time I missed new math.