When we woke up this morning, the weather was primed to be near perfect. As a family we decided to call off homeschool so we could spend the entire day outside, taking care of the farm and enjoying the outdoors without having to answer to any higher authority. This simple choice got me thinking.
The topic of “freedom” is bandied about these days – freedom from mandates, masks, government overreach, indoctrination, and tyranny. These issues absolutely should be top of mind; the widespread infringement on personal freedoms and liberties is a phenomenon that’s increasing in frequency. That being said, I think there’s one topic that sometimes stays a bit in the background of the “freedom” discussion and it’s finally getting its 15 minutes of fame right now: the freedom of children – of their education, minds, and souls.
The past two years highlighted the many inconsistencies, failures, and weaknesses in our nation’s public schooling paradigm. It has led to a re-evaluation as to what our culture, government, and school systems value and prioritize. Before, many people brushed homeschooling aside because it so limited parents – their ability to have hobbies, careers, autonomy, dreams, and their “own identities.” That assessment is patently incorrect, but more importantly, it makes the rights of the child secondary. At what point in our Western world did the freedoms and rights of children take a backseat?
Consider the many news stories you see on almost a weekly basis about the indoctrination within school systems in the U.S. — from CRT to gender ideology, to controversial sexual education, to questionable history evaluations. The examples of mental entrapment for our youngest people are plentiful. That’s not even taking into account the dismal academic performance that a majority of America’s schools continually exhibit.
What might true educational and emotional freedom look like for children? Educating children divorced from the government provides a level of liberty that if more people actually experienced, it would make their heads spin. It releases children from a great many hindrances that are the norm within government schools: freedom from time constraints, freedom from peer pressure, freedom for them to benefit from that extra hour of sleep, freedom to opt-out of absolutely unnecessary and backward curriculums, freedom to carefully select cherished friendships, freedom to spend hours on an instrument, art project or book, freedom from drop-off lines and PTA meetings, freedom from bullying, freedom from learning apathy because children and adults together can select literature, freedom from labeling, freedom from grades, freedom from arbitrary assignments and expectations, freedom from mean girls and freedom from stolen innocence. This is a shortlist.
While we should consider the freedoms and rights of children before our own, the freedoms gained extend to the parent as well. They differ from financial freedom and the freedom of time that our culture glamorizes. However, I would argue that the freedoms gained through home education are what should be the most prized. For example, they gain the freedom to raise a child day in and day out in truth and beauty or the freedom to pursue truth outside society’s ever-changing beliefs on gender, sexuality, justice, self-care, race, biology, love, and natural law.
Every freedom carries with it the sacrifice of something – so yes, homeschooling will require us, parents, to lay down some of our own desires, but that is no different than any other choice. But consider this: what other sacrifice comes with so many freedoms? I can’t think of many.
Freedom is valuable and freeing your child to live holistically and uniquely unbound from any government union or system is such a beautiful right to exercise. Here’s to the children and their rights.