Home education is bad I tell you! Here we go again.

The report is out on the murder of Khyra Ishaq, which Kelly over at Green and Gold picks up on. I still haven’t read the report but apparently the dear decrepit NSPCC (fake charity extroadinaire) are still trying to pin this on home education.  Both Kelly and Carlotta picked up the Guardian article by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison in which they try to correct some of the gross misinformation out there. I am a little surprised a paper like the Graun allowed this to be published but you can soon see by the comment thread that the usual Graunids (or whatever you might call them) are crawling around spewing their ignorance and bigotry. I actually laughed when I saw the “What about science?” question.

There is the usual outright bigotry against anyone with religious faith-backed up by a home educater as well *sigh*. At least in teaching my children their Christian faith and heritage they will grow up (I hope) treating people of all faiths and none with respect.  Funny how these school educated people who have had the word ‘tolerance’ thrown at them simply can’t tolerate anyone they disagree with. It is also striking how none of the anti-home ed crowd were able to elucidate a coherent argument against home education. The bizarre insistence that working class people are totally incapable of educating their children, even when some people pointed to evidence that says the opposite is a fine example of deep prejudice that cannot yield to something as inconvenient as facts.

I suppose the real question over these people is, does it matter? Does anyone care what people who can’t be bothered to check basic facts think? Graunids have lost their beloved tyrant in Ed Balls and perhaps are a little sore. Even so, I am afraid I don’t think we can look to the shiny new Michael Gove for assurance of being left alone. This is a coalition and Gove has already made a serious mistake over school buildings (or so it seems). Will he feed us to the Grauns to keep his seat? I don’t know.

I do wonder where the spitting anger at people who home educate comes from.

When we HE mums talk about the kind of ignorant comments and prejudice we have encountered there is always one explanation that comes up. “They feel we are judging them by our choices.”  Perhaps. I have come across some HE parents who are a bit full on in their anti-school rhetoric which could very easily come across as judging a parent who chooses to have their children educated in school. But even that doesn’t explain why so many people are so sure that home education is bad-even with no evidence to back it up.

There are plenty of bad schools, bad teachers and children having a bad time in school and yet no one seems to mind. There are one or two bad parents who say they are home educating and make a mess of it because because they are bad at it or essentially bad at parenting and rarer still abusive- and loads of people scream “Ban it” “monitor it to death” and the old old canard “The Government should DO something!”

Today at least we are still free to educate our children and bring them up to be settled, moral and happy people. Today the voices and keyboards of little tin pot tyrants have no power. Today when some anonymous bully leaves comments insisting I have to right to teach my children the Truth but must give them only secularist propaganda-I can delete it and move on.

But tomorrow…


21 responses to “Home education is bad I tell you! Here we go again.

  1. Great post. In my 16 yrs home educating, I have seen the vitriol increase. My theory is they see our freedom and enjoyment of life and children, want the same but realise they are the ones in the rat race! They cannot complain about it as we have demonstrated there IS a choice. Years ago they would just think home education would burn itself out, home education would be proved to be inefficient. BUT research has shown the opposite. So – they resort to the bitterness and prejudice you have written about in order to supress us.

    Yes we are free today – and we fight on! I hope us veterans will hold on in their for the sake of the younger generation!

    • I actually think the freedom of others frightens some people. of course they should have the freedom to instill whatever they wish on their children and have them receive whatever the latest Govt “wisdom” instructs via school; but they cannot tolerate at all the fact that some families are free to have other values and learning methods. How dare we off such vast horizons of learning opportunities to our children!
      And the usual thoughtless view that some people might teach their children something terrible like…oh like [insert pet political football here]. And why does Young Earth Creationism always come up? How many YECs are out there destroying other people’s lives? I’ve only met a very very few YEC believers over the years and they have all been lovely people. I disagree with their view of creation but I don’t see why I need to get all hot under the collar about it. In my experience they at least make sure their children know a variety of scientific opinion on the subject; I have never seen such variety in school.

      Most HEers I know (and by now I know a lot) want their children to love learning, to be curious and follow the trail wherever it leads. I think those who speak out against us are afraid that our children really are learning-and that simply wont do.

  2. We were talking about the science thing today. Everyone ALWAYS says ‘But what about science?’ as though you can’t do science without a lab-full of expensive equipment. Mark does science with a mixed-age group and so far they’ve done photosynthesis, conductivity, oh gosh I can’t remember but LOADS of stuff and last week they did special relativity. This week they will be moving on to Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    Can’t do science my a*se!

    • I know. We have gone through so much science recently it is teaching me a huge amount; four properties of matter; the sun is plasma, the properties of other planets, how early humans lived…oh and my latest CSI sheet on the medieval roots of forensics. Yes ok I watch CSI.

  3. I think that your last comment is the main reason why people are against home-ed.
    It’s because you and you alone are the sole valve through which information on anything reaches your kids: in schools, they are exposed to alternate viewpoints and ways of thinking, whilst home-ed allows (and obviously it doesn’t happen in all circumstances) the parent to completely indoctrinate their children.
    The fact that you can simply delete information that you don’t agree with is not a good thing for education. Of course you think you are teaching your kids the truth and that will benefit them: but the system you advocate allows anyone to teach their kids anything at the expense of the children. Someone could teach their children to be racist, sexist, homophobic; they could advocate holocaust denial, young-earth creationism, or the complete distrust of people outside their social in-group.
    If the truth you advocate and teach your kids is really true, then your children will be able to find it on their own. For you to deny them other avenues of inquiry is an admission that you think the truth you teach your children is not persuasive in the slightest.

    • My children have all sorts of avenues to search for Truth themselves. How on earth would you think otherwise? Oh I see-I delete a bully who demands my children only learn secularist propaganda and I am denying my kids. If you honestly think schools teach against bigotry then you haven’t been to any of the ones round here. I would also bet that that the little tin pot whose message I deleted learned their bigoted and narrow view from their parents and had it deepened in school.
      At least my children don’t need to dictate to others.

      • If you delete someone simply for expressing an opinion, then you are going too far.
        It doesn’t matter how disgusting or offensive the opinion is, because all it can do is inform someone that another viewpoint exists. Do you really think that simply by reading that some people think otherwise that your kids will instantly jump to their side of the argument?

        I also want to take slight issue with your use of the world secularism, which (at least this is the impression I get) you seem to be implying is related to state-enforced atheism. Secularism is state-enforced neutrality of religion, nothing more. It means that religions cannot be persecuted, but it also means that religion has no basis in forming the law, nor does it mean religion is a viable excuse to break the law. I also remind you that the UK is not an expressly secular country (it has a State Church, and a head of state who is in charge of it), so I don’t know where you are getting the idea that state schools are somehow purveyors of anti-religious sentiment from.
        The simple fact of the matter is that we now live in a pluralistic society, and to teach that one religion is true and the rest are false (something which I assume you would agree with, even if you wouldn’t neccesarily want it taught) is completely unviable, and would cause untold division. To teach in a secular manner is the only way which can avoid offending everyone except a small segment of society.

      • I don’t understand why you think you should dictate what I may do with my blog. You also want to dictate what I may and may not teach my children. You talk of secularism as being neutral but that has not been my experience of it even in this country. There is nothing neutral about wanting to remove the rights and freedoms of others.
        There is, in fact, no such thing as a neutral state. The Government wanted to impose itself on our families in all sorts of destructive ways and Ed Balls in particular has always made it very clear he doesn’t respect (or tolerate if you prefer the buzz word which is so utterly meaningless) the rights of home educating families and wants them removed.

        You can’t even tolerate my own moderation of my blog. I really don’t understand this need in people to dictate to others based on their own opinion alone. It’s really none of their business.
        Funny how all sorts of really horrible things can be taught to children by TV, posters, radio and of course the all-knowing Ed Balls and his cronies- but a family can’t live out their heritage and Faith in peace.
        Of course there’s nothing new under the sun.

  4. Hi Fiyenyaa,
    I’m finding your points interesting,but also self defeating. Firstly you suggest home educators could teach their children all manner of unsociable things – but do you truly think those children would survive in the modern world into which they will eventually enter ? But Home education has shown that H.E. children contribute fully to society and in many cases more so than schooled children. So that argument doesn’t stand up.
    You then say that our secular society is ‘neutral’ but to teach one religion is true is unviable – hence you lose the supposed neutrality you are talking about. That is why many people decide to teach their children the things they themsleves consider important in a whole society. But the argument that it will cause untold division is something that a secular society is brainwashing people with! No view is neutral, but to tolerate different views is the sign of a free and civilised society. To tolerate distinctly means not aggreeing – but not causing harm to the one holding the views. The neutral secular society you are talking about equates tolerance with “all aggreeing the same”
    I truly believe the home educated community is truly the most neutral and inclusive and tolerant! You will find Christians meeting with pagans and muslims as well as atheists in a group! It seems to be the left wing politicians who seem determined to have a socialist / marxist view enforced on the free thinking individual that are gunning for the home ed community.
    To be free to write offensive posts is one thing ( i didn’t see the deleted item) and I am sure mumof6 would defend that freedom – but to be forced to have to read it and keep it is a violation of a freedom. It is nothing to do with winning an argument, but framing an argument in an unoffensive manner – that is toleration.
    I’m at the end of my home ed journey now, but a thoroughly enjoyable and successful one it was!

    • Yes Paula, people can and do write whatever they like. In fact there are blogs and newspapers printing all sorts of viciousness all the time. Each to their own. I just don’t want it on my blog which is after all a learning resource too.
      I don’t object to objections. Freedom is precious.

  5. mum6kids: I have not and do not *demand* you do anything at all with your blog. The simple fact of the matter is you are posting onto a public forum – the internet – and since you allow my comments (and I thank you for doing so, thus allowing a dialogue with people who dissent from your views) you must find them at least not offensive enough to ban. I am simply giving you my views, and whilst I disagree with you, I don’t think that you should just blindly accept them, and I am certainly not commanding you to do anything.

    Paula: I agree that true secularism is a utopian pipe-dream, because governments are made up of people (who represent others), and people certainly do have their opinions. However, the alternatives are much worse. We can either have a society where rules are based on one specific religion, like medieval Europe, or much of the modern Islamic world, or we can have state-enforced atheism, which we saw with the certain communist regimes.
    I agree that tolerance is something noble and to be worked-for, but we must be extremely careful because with excessive tolerance comes the tolerance of crimes, and eventually the tolerance of atrocities. There are some people who think that cultural relativism is the correct way to think, and that we shouldn’t tell other cultures how to behave. I strongly disagree. When we (for example) have female genital mutilation occuring in certain parts of the third world, when we have children being killed for being accused to practicing witchcraft, when we see child-rape being touted as a cure for AIDS – these are things we cannot simply claim are part of a different culture and therefore sacrosanct and untouchable.
    I see myself as a tolerant person, but you cannot tolerate the intolerable – that way you lose any semblance of moral highground you once held.

    I have heard that some home-school parents do so simply because they find education in the public sector lacking, however, the studies I’ve seen (which to be completely honest all pertain to the USA, so if you could correct me on the situation in the UK I’d be more than willing to be corrected) say that parents tend to home-school their children for religious reasons.

    • I’m glad you are not dictating to me. You do still seem to muddle what is freedom and what is not though. You are right that in America the main reason to homeschool is for moral, or religious reasons. Apparently it is different here-mainly on the grounds that the schools are not providing a suitable education or a safe place I think.
      I don’t have a problem with any reasons in any of the studies.
      Careful to differnciate between natural law and cultural practices, such as female circumcisn and be careful of conflating it with religion.
      My friends in collage who had been circumcised point out that this is not a true tradition of their country (Ethiopia in these cases) but introiduced from elsewhere (not sure where) and there is a strong fight, mainly from the Christian charities and Churches out there to have it made illegal. Sadly girls are often taken by well meaning grandparents to the woman who does the work. One woman I knew escaped only because her mother rescued her.
      Slavery is also a huge problem still.
      I digress.
      No one suggests that evil should be tolerated. OK that’s not true, lots and lots of people want to tolerate all sorts of evil no matter the damage; I’ve been helping out with pro-life and marriage stuff long enough to see that. Perhaps we should concentrate on working against the mass slaughter on our own doorstep and the horrific harm done to girls forced into the situation; perhaps we should be visiting the elderly abandoned in homes where the care is pretty naff at times; perhaps we should…and the list goes on. Most of us do a lot of this anyway.

      There is enough real horror to deal with. So, leave alone those who are doing no harm, Catholics and other Christians trying to do as Christ has demanded; Love God, love neighbour. Jews, Sihks and all those muslims that don’t want to kill anyone and in fact fled here to escape it.
      Lets leave home education alone- there is no evidence from any country anywhere (and America has tons of homeschooling research and studies) that shows that homeschooling or home education does harm to children or anyone else.
      So leave us to it. That’s all we were asking last year and it’s all we are asking for now.

      I note your comment about Medieval days. I must admit I envy the people of Europe in the mid Medieval time as education was spread; and I mean a full education with so much being translated from the Greek and passed on around the known world. Then there was the freedoms people had that are so diffciult to come by now; set up a business, a guild, a co-op and no beaurocracy to stop you. The power of feudal lords checked by the Church and the power of the Church checked by the princes (which hurt I think but it was a good hurt). Thanks to the way everything was joined the savage slaughter of Islam was pushed back out of spain and the slave trade through the roads to Jerusalem severly checked; and when the plagues came the nuns and monks came out in droves to care for the sick. (Nothing much changed there; over 40% of care for people with Aids is done by the Church).
      Family life was respected. Woman had positions of power and responsibility and didn’t have to pretend to be a man to get it. (1970s feminism should have had a good look a history).
      There were some great inventions such as the water mill from the Cistercians of Germany and the huge medicinal gardens on the monasteries …books and books are written on that time and what it laid down for us today. Those people were fascinating….sorry I’ll stop it now.

      Freedom and responsibilty go together. The more freedom you remove the less repsonsibility people have and the more abuse, death and misery you will see. The story of Russia tells us that and on a micro-level look at Rwanda.

      The most important thing I can teach my children is the love of learning. Then they will always learn throughour their lives. Along with that I hope I can teach them, through Critical Thinking and Logic to discern what is true and what isn’t. But in the end the choice is their’s.

      • Before I get into those things I disagree with, I will say that I can heartily and vigourously agree with your last paragraph.
        To teach the love of knowledge and the love of learning along with the correct means to attain truth is an excellent and commendable value to hold, as is the freedom to reach you own conclusions.
        I also agree with you about freedom – it is truely neccecary for a functional society.

        Now, a few parts of disagreement: whilst I can relate to your wish to simply be left to doing your own thing, it’s not a practical proposition in today’s society. Whilst you and those like you may do an excellent job, there will be some who want to simply indoctrinate their children, or will not be capable of doing a good job. Please note that this does not mean by any stretch that I want to ban home-schooling – all it means is that the pratical realities demand that there are standards. The standards for something so subtle and nuanced as education will be extremely hard to compile, but we cannot simply allow anyone to teach their children anything at all.
        Secondly, I think your analysis of the medieval period is fairly slanted and rose-tinted. For a start, to represent Islam as some kind of Hunnic invasion bent on destroying Christendom is innaccurate. During the medieval period (especially the early medieval period), the Islamic societies of the world were fairly tolerant, and leaders in science. Jews were treated far more fairly in most Islamic countries than Christian ones (and were indeed able to rise to high office on occasion), and Christians were tolerated to a similar extent. After the Islamic Empire rose in the seventh-to-ninth centuries, forced conversion was not common at all – contrast this with the Spanish Reconquista culminating in the fifteenth century.
        Thirdly, regarding family life and women – I am almost certain this is somewhere we will be unable to find common ground, since I really don’t think anyone has had to pretend to be a man to be successful, nor do I think feminism was a negative movement.
        Fourthly and lastly, your characterisation of the feudal system seems very idyllic to me, and not accurately. To be a peasant under a feudal Lord means that you cannot move without permission, and are obligated to serve him either through arms in a time of war or by work. It was really not too far away from slavery.

    • Quite co-incidentaly, I have been reading Peter Hitchens’ ‘Rage against God’ who adequately deals with exactly the topic of utopian dreams, and their ulitmate self serving leaders! I would recommend reading his book to partly understand where most religious home educators are coming from.
      But firstly, to deal with your assertions of things that we cannot allow culturaly. Female circumcision, witchcraft, child rape – all intolerable? Why do you ssay that? who says these practices are intolerbale? I suggest that (ironically) it your judeo-christian heritage that makes you believe such things are unacceptable, the *very* thing you want eradicated from homeschooling! all major faith groups Jews, Christians, muslims, descend and get their morality from the the Abrahamic history and laws. If there is no higher moral code, then who does decide which moral code applies? Usually the stronger and more aggressive in society to the detriment of the weak; and the ulitamte disposal of such as we are beginning to see in 21st century Bristian. Selective abortion because of cleft palate; promotion of euthenasia towards unproductive members of society – the old, PVS, terminally ill…… how much further will we descend?
      Most parents home educating for religious reasons do so because the foundation of historic christianity has been removed from both the curriculum and morality of our schools. When it has been christian morality that has founded the welfare system, protection of children, protection of legitimate aylum seekers – why would anyone want to deny their children chance to be taught the principles behind such a faith? I think you are naive to believe secularism is going to be of any benefit to any society. How far do you agree with banning religious instruction before you commend state based atheism?
      I do suggest you read ‘rage against God’ it’s an easy read for someone who seems articulate as yourself.
      BWs Paula
      BWs Paula

      • Since I’ve read Christopher Hitchens’ religiously-based book, it’d seem logical to read his brothers. Funds allowing, of course.

        Now, I’ve heard that old argument time and time again: “without god, anything is permissable and nothing is wrong”. You cannot possibly truly believe that, because in trying to convince me that my disbelief is wrong you are telling me that it would result in immorality. If I truly thought nothing was truly immoral, then why would I care?
        Either you don’t think I’m really an atheist (and if this is the case, let me assure you that I have never been convinced by any argument for the existence of any god(s) I have ever heard and therefore am indeed an atheist), or you think that I do have a sense of morality that can be appealled to. I’m sure you are itching to point me towards the horrendous examples of the communist dictators of the twentieth century, and I agree completely that they represented some of the worst that humanity has to offer. But to claim that their actions were a direct result of lack of faith is to miss several important points: firstly, it ignores that throughout the vast majority of history, the vast majority of people were religious, and that history is a rarely-interupted catalogue of atrocities. Secondly and most importantly: it is impossible to go from lack of belief in gods to any action whatsoever – it is not both a neccesary and sufficient reason. Nothing I ever do is simply because I am an atheist – I take actions based upon positive beliefs which I hold, not on ones which I do not hold. In order to believe that religious people should be killed, you must hold that specific belief. Atheism may be *neccesary*, but it is not sufficient – the must be other beliefs held in order to commit the atrocity.
        It’s also absurd to think that the Abrahamic religions give us an excellent or even basic grasp on morality. Sure, the New Testament gives us some nice platitudes and obvious moral teachings that were in circulation hundreds of years before it was written (including the ethic of recipricosity – “do unto others…” which I agree is one of the greatest moral laws ever written; but it’s neither hard to work out or unique to religious thought), but it also introduces the doctrine of Hell, which I maintain is one of the most obscene and immoral things ever concieved. To think that it is just for a finite crime to deserve infinite punishment is completely skewed and warped. Then we get into the obvious moral failures of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the Qu’ran. The OT and the Qu’ran both sanction genocide, and condemn people who break utterly insignificant rulings to death.
        I can hear the cry of “but you are taking these laws out of the context of the time in which they were written” already. This excuse fails completely with me because these books are supposed to be the “Word of God”, who according to Christians is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. If this is truly the word of god, why is he putting in these disgusting scenes which are both commanded by god and lauded by god? If a perfect being were to write a book of moral teachings, there would be no need to interpret it, no need to find loopholes or excuse certain passages: it would be instantly understandable, obviously and unambiguously good, and it would leave absolutely no room for interpretation.

        On the question of euthanasia – I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anyone in the modern euthanasia movement who advocates euthanasia for any reason other than the wishes of the victim. Let’s not get hyperbolic and claim that this is a re-birth of the eugenics movement.

        On the quesiton of secularism: as I have said before, secularism is religious neutrality. I think religious instruction is a good idea – the only stipulation on reaching religious instruction in a secular society would be that teaching one specific religion as true would not be permitted. This is really something that should be done by anyone teaching children about such things – be they religious ideas, political ones, and so forth: to simply impose your opinion on children is ridiculous: why not give them the facts, give them what you believe, teach them how to think critically: then let them figure it out.
        I would whole-heardedly oppose state-enforced atheism. Freedom on thought is something to be treasured and upheld. I can’t think of any rational person who would disagree with that.

  6. I am glad you agree with freedom. Remember it always comes with responsibility. I don’t see how you can take away the one without losing the other. Once a Govt, just because those people have power, start to decide who should have what freedoms, we start to lose them. I grant you, this has always happened- in fact you point out some of the abuses under the feudal system.
    Todays “surfs” fair much worse as they don’t even have a bit of land to grow food on- malnutrition is a serious problem in Britain today. Many of todays surfs might live in a flat or hostel if they are lucky, but the ones my friend Sr Kath and the Sisters of Charity around here are working to protect are often paid so little they live on the streets. The Sof C are working with mainly women and young girls owned by pimps. It’s slavery-and it happens on my doorstep.
    There is nothing new under the sun.
    I disagree with you on some aspects of med history. I do agree however with your comment that Jews often found a safer home in conquered Islamic lands. It is truly horrendous what happened to some Jewish settlements in Britain and especially Germany.
    Science was not very Islamic in root though; mainly it was Greek and survived the destruction of Byzantine schools and monasteries and then there was newer stuff coming out of the Jewish and Nestorian schools.
    Christians and Jews who survived the conquests were forced to pay Dhimmi and even today many are still taken into slavery.
    In Egypt Coptic parents often tattoo their babies with a cross in the hope that if they are stolen they might one day get them back.
    There is an order still working in Africa which was established back in those days where people sell themselves in slavery to pay ransoms for others.

    Anyway this is hardly the topic; the topic is the freedom of families to teach their own. You are concerned that some parents might teach the wrong stuff. But even you admit that deciding what that might be is difficult.
    I do not doubt that there are families who say they are home educating who are making a pigs ear of it. In that case the LA can intervene.
    The fact is the prisons are not full of home educated people. The dole queues are not full of home educated people.
    I do not believe we can have perfection here, ever.
    One thing to think about; (my oldest went through school and I taught in FE and have worked in primary schools and Uni) is that the conversation we have just had never seems to happen in school. Just read the text book; it’s right even when it’s patently wrong; and jump through the exam hoop.
    I don’t want that for my children. I want them to have the freedom to look at things in depth and from all angles and to learn to spot all those black legends and blood libels out there.
    We have lost so much in our education system (although I think Holt and Gatto would say we never had much and it was designed to ensure that).

    Who should decide what is a suitable education? It has always been the primary responsibility (and freedom) of parents. Where is the real evidence that this needs to change?

    • I do agree that the current system is fairly badly lacking, especially in the way that children are essentially spoon-fed in order to pass exams. It seems to be a return to the days of learning-by-wrote, almost.
      However, I really feel that this is a reason to get involved in making the education system a better one instead of just giving up on the whole thing and concentrating on you and yours. Perhaps because I’m not a parent, perhaps because I’m a idealistic liberal – but I think that an excellent public school system would be the best situation for everyone. And I certainly don’t think it’s an unattainable goal.

      • Hi Fiyenya,
        I can almost hear a rant coming there 😉 – joke in case you take offence!

        I am certainly not telling you your disbeliief is wrong, I am however trying to get you to question where your view of morality did come from. I am not questioning your morality, but the inconsistency that *your* morality needs to be enforced on cultures that do not share it, if as you say secularism is neutral. What I am hoping to do is show you that secularism is in fact a religion in and of itself, and therefore cannot be classed as neutral.
        Let’s come down to a very contensious issue – origins. You seem to be suggesting that when a child asks ‘where did the earth come from’ it would be wrong to say ‘God made it’ but neutral to say ‘it came from a big bang millions of years ago’. Do you not at least agree it is not neutral?! Just because something is believed by the majority does not either make it right, or acceptable to legislate against a minority’s belief. But we do have to decide whose morality is acceptable -as you say, if someone thinks nothing is immoral, then why *should* they care? And although your morality seems acceptable to me and maybe a majority, what if Stalin’s morality was enforced? If there are enough to agree with him – why should any of them care?
        This whole debate is buried within the idea of legislating what home educators can and cannot teach. I am saying, yes the atrocities committed by the atheist leaders of the 20th century are as abominable as any atrocities commtied in the name of religion at anytime. But I feel those atrocities go a long way to showing that it is the extremes of religion – secular humanism included – that are wrong.
        You say that to teach any religion is the one true religion is dangerous, and should be legislated against – presumably with punishment for non compliance? I wholeheartedly disagree, I say it is NOT dangerous to teach one religion/ philosphy/ way of life is true *IF* we have a free and tolerant society. If there is freedom of religion and speech all around us, anyone taught the ‘untruth’ of their parents will be able to discern for themselves if that truth holds up to scrutiny and comparison with what they hear around them. HOWEVER! If you enforce one particular view of acceptable onto a society, you come full circle to the societies you want to liberate. If you know what I mean.

        Again your last paragraph is exactly what we as home eductors want maintained,but at the same time you want it outlawed – where is the logic in that?

        I hope this makes some sense – typing quick thoughts as prepare to take dd out! Perhaps getting the book from library might help your funds and help retain public services 🙂

  7. btw I am about to post a link to a new book by a fellow home edding blogger. You might like a copy as she goes over the law and the need for freedom in education. It might answer some of your concerns – or it might raise more!

  8. Paula: I better give you a little back-story for myself in order for you to understand my position a little better. Until four or so years ago, I equated being religious with being a moral person. I was not raised with any religion at all (although this is due to apathy rather than anti-theism on my parent’s part), and I decided that I would find which religion was true so I could follow that and be a good person.
    In the process of doing so, I found that not only was there no good reason to believe in god(s), but that many religions contain things that are morally abhorrent. I now think that a lack of religion is the best way forwards. But rest assured that I am not someone who has never questioned where their moral framework comes from, how it is influenced, and how it should be applied.

    You think that secular humanism is a religion – we need to define religion here. If you mean “a moral philosophy”, then yes, it is. If you mean something that relies on supernatural elements, then it isn’t.
    Also bear in mind that secular humanism isn’t related to secularism except in the sense that secular humanism endorses secularism. Secularism is simply the government being neutral towards religion.

    On the question of origins: this is not a contentious issue for people without an agenda to push. What evidence is there that some kind of supernatural agent was the sole force responsible for the creation of the universe? Zero credible evidence. What kind of evidence is there that the big bang occured around 13 billion years ago? This is the most favoured hypothesis which is supported (but not proven) by current evidence.
    This is why I am a huge advocate of teaching critical thinking and the scientific method. People need to understand that science never tells us absolute facts – science is subject to change as evidence becomes available, as theories are falsified. This is a stength of science: it can admit to being wrong, correct itself and move on. Thus: teaching things which are supported by evidence and not teaching things which are unsupported by evidence is not an example of bias: it is an example of correct procedure being carried out.

    When you talk about the majority deciding about things for everyone, we are talking about classical democracy: the whim of the majority. I am totally against this; no-one wants this, and this is why we build-in protections for minorities in good government.

    I don’t neccesarily think that teaching one religion as being true is something worthy of being made illegal and therefore punishable: for example, I don’t think that smoking tobacco or marijuana is a good think – I don’t do it, and I think it’s wrong on the whole, but these aren’t things that I want legislated against.
    Whilst I think it is wrong (and downright dishonest, from my perspective) to teach one religion as correct – in the interests of fairness, and in the interests of trying not to be hypocrite – I would allow it because I would not want the freedom for people to teach their children perfectly valid and true things to be taken away.
    I must say though, that if and when I have children I certainly won’t teach them that there is no god. I’ll simply tell them what I believe, and tell them to come to their own opinions.

    I think the library would be the logical choice, yeah.

    • Sorry for the delay – caught up in busyness 🙂
      I appreciate your explanation of where you’re at. However, you again betray your bias – which has probably been educated into you – when you say origins is not a contentious issue for people without an agenda to push. You have been brainwashed into the belief that anyone who doesn’t believe in a long period of evolution has an agenda. Have you done any research into creation / intelligent design? It is not only religious people who doubt the evolutionary models.However, alternative views are not considered serious by the establishment, There are loads of blogs /stories of people not getting published because they go against the received wisdom of the times- even when there is doubt on the results their so-called- science produces! Climategate is a brilliant example, and I think anyone who believes the enquiry result is not propoganda is again naive!
      However, this isn’t the place to discuss differing views. I do appreciate you sharing and am happy to continue by not hijacking any more of this blog 🙂 If you click my name, you will get my web site and can contact me if you wish from the ‘contact me page’. I will then share my personal email if you want to continue off here.

      I LOVE your last but one sentence – and this blog was asking for home educators to have the freedom to express exactly what you say you would teach your children
      “I’ll simply tell them what I believe, and tell them to come to their own opinions.” That’s all we are asking too!

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