HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 11

COVER STORY

H

er thesis is that in all of our reports
there is a silent footnote-namely,
that we do what we do for the sake of
the children. We don't work to make
homeschooling free for the benefit of
the parents. To be sure, homeschool
freedom helps to smooth parents' path by making educational variety more accessible and removing the pressure
and anxiety of complying with restrictive regulations. And
homeschooling can be immensely rewarding for parents
themselves. But we do what we do because we believe, on
balance, that it is better for children when their parents
have more liberty.
This bears repeating. And expanding.
Our belief-our worldview, if you will-leads us to
conclude that a system where parents have wide latitude
in raising their children, while not perfect, is far better for
many more children than a system where the raising of
children is highly regulated, restricted, and in some cases
dictated by the state.

© ISTOCKPHOTO

n Plato, phone your office

Long before one hilarious politician's ghostwriter titled a book It Takes a Village, Plato argued in the
Republic that some children should be raised in common
rather than by their parents for the good of society as a
whole. The Republic proposed "[t]hat these [guardian
class] women shall all be common to all the men, and
that none shall cohabit with any privately; and that the
children shall be common, and that no parent shall know
its own offspring nor any child its parent."1 This would
produce an enlightened guardian class, which would rule
as true philosopher kings.
Plato predicted that this proposal "would be right
sharply debated."2 He was right. That right sharp debate
continues to this day. The ever-present policy question is:
Where do we draw the line between family autonomy and
state intrusion? For the good of the children? For the good
of society?
While no one reasonably believes that the Republic's
proposal is ever likely to be implemented in full, one of its
main components has been largely accepted in America.
Plato's ideal city-state had children raised and educated by
society as a whole rather than by their parents.
Compulsory attendance laws have existed for around
a hundred years. About 86 percent of children today
are being educated by "society as a whole" in government-owned and -operated schools. Another 10 percent
attend private schools. The rest are homeschooled.
The purpose of this article is not to denounce

compulsory attendance laws (much) or to bash public
schools (excessively). Rather, it is to explain why we stuffedshirt lawyer-types at HSLDA have devoted our professional
lives to building an island of liberty in a sea of compulsion.
The answer is found in Grace Matte's silent footnote.

n When gluten was legal and
marijuana wasn't

Lawyers did not invent homeschooling. That honor falls
to others, even if we lawyers sometimes sound as though
we have forgotten or never knew. There were hippies,
various progressive education thinkers, parents of all kinds
who felt their children would not thrive in the EducationalIndustrial Complex (EIC), and Christians who concluded
that the public schools of the late twentieth century would
undermine their children's religious upbringing.
There may have been a few progressive-hippyChristians. And I'm pretty sure the alchemy that (home)
birthed homeschooling required homemade bread
baked from fresh home-ground Montana hard red
winter wheat berries-back when gluten was still legal
and marijuana wasn't. Fifteen-passenger vans emerged
from the primordial homeschooling ooze relatively early.
Urban homeschooling families as a population worthy of New York Magazine human-interest profiles3
evolved much later. But they are now a formidable-and
crunchy-force in the movement, as evidenced by the
organic lettuce in the recycled Whole Foods bags by the
car seats in their Priuses. Parked outside MoMA.4 On a
Tuesday morning. In October. (N.B.: There are about as
many Whole Foods Markets in Manhattan as there are in
the whole Commonwealth of Virginia.)

by JAMES R.
MASON
HSLDA Vice
President and
Director
of Litigation

In all our reports there is a silent
footnote-namely, that we do what
we do for the sake of the children. We 
don't work to make homeschooling 
free for the benefit of the parents.
Homeschooling families are now and have always been
a diverse bunch. While their reasons and rhymes differ in
the particulars, they share one overarching characteristic:
they have all shunned the EIC in favor of a more artisanal,
life-integrated approach to transmitting the three Rs to
their kids.
HOME SCHOOL LEGAL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION | HSLDA.ORG

11


http://www.HSLDA.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017

Table of Contents
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - Intro
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - Cover1
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - Cover2
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - Table of Contents
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 4
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 5
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 6
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 7
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 8
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 9
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 10
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 11
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HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 35
HSLDA - Second Quarter 2017 - 36
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2018q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2018q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2017q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2017q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2017q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2017q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2016q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2016q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2016q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2016q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2015q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2015q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2015q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2015q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2014q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2014q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2014q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2014q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2013autumn
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2013summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2013spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2013winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2012autumn
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2012christmascatalog
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/hslda/2012summer
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com