Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Home Schooling Is a Hot Potato

International asylum, harming children - homeschooling is a hot issue. Here are a couple fascinating articles which talk about the moral and legal issues involved.

Albert Mohler writes about the case of a German family granted asylum in the United States because of their commitment to home school their children in "Where Homeschooling is Outlawed - Asylum?"

And over at Public Discourse (which is a site worth watching), Christopher Tollefson argues that "the option of home-schooling should be the prima facie starting point for parental deliberations about their children’s education" ("Are There Harms of Home Schooling?"). One very important component of this article is the author's deep understanding of the nature of the family.

Is the family a mere aggregate of individuals—spouses, and children—held together, perhaps by common or overlapping interests, but ultimately independent, in their interests and their being, from one another? Such a picture seems implicated by those who pit children’s interests against the interests of their parents; but it can also seem lurking in the naked assertion of “parents’ rights” as a conclusive justification for the right to homeschool.

A more adequate picture emerges from a more accurate account of marriage as a comprehensive sharing of lives that extends not just through those immaterial aspects of the spouses’ lives, such as intellect, will, character, and emotion, but penetrates down to the bodily being of the spouses in the act of sexual intercourse. That act of intercourse is, by its nature, ordered to the biological function of reproduction. Thus, children who are born of marriage so understood are the fruit of that parental union, and so themselves in a strong sense new parts of that union. The unity and multiplicity that characterizes the lives of spouses who have become one flesh is thus extended to include the lives of children born (or, I believe, adopted) of that union.

This understanding of the family is crucial. Homeschoolers and family promoters should think about it and internalize it well. Incidentally, it is this kind of an understanding that lies beneath the proper practice of family integration.

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