realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Home or School?

The editor of The Brussels Journal has been threatened with prosecution over the homeschooling of his children in Belgium.
He refused to sign an official "declaration of homeschooling" which would allow inspectors to decide if the parents are "respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others" - and if not, force the parents to send their child to a government recognised school.
He refused to sign as he felt the criteria was entirely arbitrary.
Now, he has been questioned in the police station.
This new declaration sprung from a bill based on the UN declaration on the rights of the child.
Will this happen here as well?
Parents are the first educators of their children, and reasonable parents who homeschool their children strongly feel they are acting in their child's best interests.
Why should the state interfere?

5 Comments:

Anonymous winds said...

In many cases, however, reasonable is a subjective judgment. If you, for example, have strong religious beliefs, and home school your child with a very heavy emphasis on creationism, is that, strictly speaking, in the best interest of the child, educationally? Is that reasonable? I mean, you as the parent, might see it as reasonable, but the state would have strong concerns about the impact on any science you'd be teaching.

Don't get me wrong - I would seriously consider homeschooling my child, but I would expect to do it under a framework of guidelines and support from the state, and not as a statement against the state

June 15, 2006 1:07 p.m.  
Blogger Simon said...

strongly feel they are acting in their child's best interests.

There is a big difference between strongly feeling something and actually being right. The growth in homeschooling in America is mainly due to religion. Feeling that their kids should gete thought a backward version of science. (The catholic church agree with me and agree with evoultion. something about good is a watching god not a interfering god. i.e. god would watch apes come down from the tree rather then push them off) .

It is not in the best interests of the kids and is mostly to placify the ego's of the parents invoulved. Home schooling damages the kids social developement as well. I believe in little state invoulvement in life. But this is the only place 1 am 100% convinced it needs to be invoulved in.

June 16, 2006 4:09 p.m.  
Blogger Fergal Crehan said...

A smart parent, assuming they don't have some kind of axe to grind, can probably give a vastly superior education (well, primary anyway) to their child, simply because they have a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:1. But school is also about social development, which will obviously be lacking in a home environment. Learning not to laugh at less smart kids, putting up with not being the centre of attention all the time, standing up to bullies, etc are all important lessons learned in school. A child who doesn't learn these lessons will grow up to be a right little sod in adult life.

June 16, 2006 4:46 p.m.  
Blogger Henry Cate said...

My wife and I have been homeschooling for just over seven years. I'd like to respond to a couple of Simon's thoughts.


"The growth in homeschooling in America is mainly due to religion."

This was partly true back in the 1970s and 1980s. There were two main groups of homeschoolers, Christians and Hippies. The big motivation over the last fifteen years has been the declining school system. Children are no longer getting educated in any kind of academic sense. Something like half of those entering the California University school system have to take remedial classes.


"Home schooling damages the kids social developement as well."

For a long time public school supporters attacked homeschoolers saying that the children would never be educated. As it became clear that children who were homeschooled were as at least as well educated the attacks switched to this socialization issue.

Is there some value in children teaching children social skills? Is there some value in learning about self control or peer pressure or sex from other thirteen year olds? Do we want children to learn how to survive in a gang or do we want children to learn how to act as civilized adults?

Public schools have a ton of baggage. Many homeschoolers homeschool to avoid horrible negative socialization. Studies have found that children who are homeschooled have good social skills.

June 17, 2006 3:20 p.m.  
Anonymous EWI said...

Parents are the first educators of their children, and reasonable parents who homeschool their children strongly feel they are acting in their child's best interests.
Why should the state interfere?


Evangelicals and religious conservatives don't tend to be "reasonable".
Racists don't tend to be "reasonable".
Nationalist extremists don't tend to be "reasonable".

June 20, 2006 9:21 a.m.  

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