Someone over at Spunky’s website commented with two moral concerns regarding homeschooling. You really need to read the complete comments to get the full flavor.
The first concern is the line between parenting and child safety. If she hadn’t brought up testing, this has nothing to do with homeschooling. (Even though she did bring up testing, it still has nothing to do with homeschooling.) Horrible abuse happens before the kids are even school-aged or during the summer. Sexual abuse often doesn’t happen until children are school-aged and this can easily persist through high school. Public school doesn’t stop or prevent abuse.
The second issue is interesting on several levels. By denying homeschoolers outside influences are we brainwashing them? No more so than public schools are, it’s just a question of who is doing the brainwashing. Not everything children learn (notice, I didn’t say taught as in the curriculum) is good. Go visit any very wealthy or very poor school and see how much diversity there is in the student body.
The more interesting part of the comment is this
I am different from my parents in many ways including my political beliefs and religious beliefs, they respect that. I got the opportunities to think for myself from the things I learned and the people I met in public school.
Now I’m just guessing here but I would guess that the poster diverged from her parents in a more liberal/secular direction. That’s why she posted at Spunky’s rather than to something like a HEM blog. She (another assumption) probably doesn’t even know about HEM or is aware that there are liberal homeschoolers out there just as guilty of “brainwashing” their children as the perceived religious majority.
It’s a natural assumption since we as liberals tend to see children “breaking away” from the traditions of their parents and that society often benefits. If you think all homeschoolers are religious conservatives or that school is the only place where children can form a separate identity from their parents, I guess this is a moral concern. However, as a liberal homeschooler, I see it more as an uninformed bias if not outright prejudice based on the belief that all homeschoolers are conservatives. Is it okay to “brainwash” if it’s done with a liberal bias?
I think that’s why so often I (as a liberal homeschooler) am treated as an “exception.” I’m “different” because my husband and I have advanced degrees from public universities, our parents are teachers, our son plays Little League (not a church league), we listen to NPR. So it’s okay for me to homeschool. However, if it’s okay for me to homeschool, it’s also okay for radical fundamentalist Christians to do the same.
The reality is that NCLB mandates test for academic skills, not moral beliefs. Not that I believe in the current system of testing, but to test for anything else does make public education an overt, brainwashing experience.