There is no question that every child has the right to an education. There should also be no question that as a matter of conscience, parents have the freedom to educate their child at home. And up there with educational freedom should be the right to educational happiness.
Ideas too radical for the many and yet that is exactly what autonomous learning supports and must be prepared to fight for as documented in Kelly Green's latest book, A Matter of Conscience: Education as a fundamental freedom.
"...when we educate our children ourselves, we choose or create the educational program that we, as parents, believe is most likely to lead to that ineffable, indefinable, thing call the good, or flourishing, or virtuous, or productive, human life."Reading these words by Green I thought immediately of the US Declaration of Independence of 1776-
"We hold these truths to be self-evident.....that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.".Happiness, goodness, flourishing. As parents, it is for us to determine the education that will best meet these goals.
I felt like cheering for the logical and clear arguments Green presents in the collection in the defense of home education against any government who would tamper with this fundamental right-as has been the case in England and the reason for this collection in the first place.
We have this precious right that most people just give up; don't even know that it is their right to determine the best education for their children.
And so parents turn over their children to the state without a second thought. What am I saying? More often then not, they are eager to get them into the system the sooner the better.
So that state monitored education becomes the default position and any other setup becomes suspect.
"For the state to involve itself in or attempt to control our decisions about educational provision is a betrayal of our commitment to freedom of belief, conscience and self expression," Green writes.
Yes- betrayal. A strong word that gets straight to the heart of what is at stake if we are slack and do not support one another when these rights are threatened or violated.
Passionately written, this book is not only a call for constant vigilance against those who would take these rights from us, it is also an opportunity to re-examine our position on what we are doing.
We're normal in the sense that we are no more fundamentalist, hippies or other stereotypical depiction tied with home educators than the rest of the population.
Green reminds us that we are defining our own educational success, on our own terms and we must actively work towards educating others about home education without submitting to or cooperating with unhelpful home education research that has its own agenda on what we do.
Green's arguments against regulation of home-based education are compelling and useful for all of us should we ever need to stand up for what we are doing.