Today sounds like a very important day for homeschoolers in Germany. And what comes out of the trial may be an indication of a larger, world-wide move against homeschooling. Then again, it may not. But the central questions apply to parents and educators everywhere.
Should parents be trusted/allowed to educate their kids?
Those who have been homeschooling for a while, or been in the homeschool community, ask: Well, who else should we trust and allow to educate our kids? Who could possibly be more effective than loving and nurturing parents armed with the fantastic tools available to us today? And has anyone who opposes homeschooling actually considered the statistics about how successful homeschooled kids are?
Those who are at a minimum wary of homeschooling wonder: Can we trust average parents to accomplish what others have spent at least 4 years in college studying? Who could possibly be more effective than a caring person who has dedicated his or her life to teaching, especially with all the resources available to them? And has anyone who supports homeschooling read the horror stories that come out of that subculture?
I could go on to write the rebuttals and counterpoints to each of these, but I'm going to focus on what seems to be the central issue: Specialization.
The world today is getting more and more specialized. We have professionals for everything, degrees for everything, and so we tend to distrust those who are not "trained" in that area (fantastic post about this over at Principled Discovery). And this has led to one of the number one questions raised by parents: Could I really educate my kids?
The data supports the answer: Yes, you can!
It seems to me that the main issue we need to respond to is the idea of "specialization" and that "professionals" do it better than others.
As a filmmaker, I freely admit that Hollywood tends to produce better films that the independents. But much of that has to with experience, and not nearly as much with money, training, or titles. And who has more experience raising your child: A credentialed teacher or you?
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father