Christianity,  Culture

Reckless Court Outlaws Homeschooling

This story is huge. A California appeals court ruled yesterday that parents without teaching credentials cannot homeschool their own children. This development not only has implications for the homeschool movement, but also for parental right in general. Here are some resources so that you can get informed about exactly what has happened.

The Albert Mohler Program (3/10/2008)


James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Broadcast (3/7/2008)


*California Appeals Court Decision

Blogs and Commentary

“A Bolt From the Blue — A Homeschooling Decision in California” – by R. Albert Mohler (

“California v. Homeschooling” – by Joseph Bottum (First Things blog)

“Re: California v. Homeschooling” – Robert T. Miller (First Things blog)

News Stories

“Governor vows to protect homeschooling” – by Jill Tucker and Bob Egelko (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Bill on home schooling rights urged” – by Seema Mehta (Los Angeles Times)

“California Court Says Religious Claim Doesn’t Grant Homeschooling Right” – by Sarah Pulliam (Christianity Today)

“‘No right to homeschool,’ Calif. court says” – by Michael Foust (Baptist Press)

“Homeschoolers’ setback in appeals court ruling” – by Bob Egelko and Jill Tucker (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Ruling seen as a threat to many home-schooling families” – by Seema Mehta and Mitchell Landsberg (Los Angeles Times)

I will try to update these links as needed. On Monday, Dr. Albert Mohler will be discussing this topic on his radio show “The Albert Mohler Program.”


  • brian l.

    Absolutely ridiculous. Who do these clowns think they are to tell parents what they can and cannot do with their own children? And then they have the audacity to try and force their leftist, degenerate education on our children in the public sphere? Unreal.

  • jerem z

    hahahha…….perfect words: “UNREAL”.

    I am all for having children in the public schools. Why leave the teaching up to the parents? The parents have more than enough responsibilities to raise the child. So lets leave the educational part up to the professions.

    Denny could you imagine someone wanting to teach at the college level without a PHD? So why should we allow mommy Sue (who makes great carrot cake) to teach little billy until he is 18?

    Seriously have you met a home school kid? Talk about a kid who is socially awkward? Wow. There are a few cases that prove my point wrong, but home schooling is literally an isolation camp. How about we just insert our children into the real world and hope and pray that God will take care of them? Instead we try to control and manipulate every aspect our of child’s lives so they can be more “CHRISTIAN” and influenced with only Christian content.

    I am sure there are a lot of highly trained, educated, and skilled California teachers who are extremely frustrated that any mom can teach a child without the intense training they had to go through.

    Denny have you reviewed of the requirements for what it takes to be a California teacher? It is intense.


  • brian l.


    “Seriously have you met a home school kid? Talk about a kid who is socially awkward? Wow.”

    Talk about a generalization. Have you seen the *?#! they put forth in public school? Of course parents should want to (and I know your not a parent so you don’t get it) make sure their child is influenced correctly!! Why have the state educate your child with humanism and evolution?

    Who are you to judge parents who homeschool? Many ARE educated. “Intense training” in what? In humanism. My wife was a CA teacher too. You are way out of place to speak on this issue Jeremy. The constitution doesn’t even place the burden of education on the state. Public education is unconstitutional.

    Why throw your kids to the dogs when you don’t have to?

  • Benjamin A

    The law is the law. Although a bad one at that. Sounds like California has had this law in the books from the 1950’s.

    However, there are also immigration laws on the books that in California (and the nation for that) they purposefully ignore. Claiming to many illegal’s to round-up.

    Just maybe there will be too many homeschooled children to round-up as well.

    How is Romans 13 to be viewed in light of this home school ruling/discovery?

    Seeing that most (not all) of these homeschooling families will be Christians, this has the possibility of becoming a great witnessing opportunity for the entire nation. Let’s pray that it will be.

  • Robert P.


    You show your own lack of proper education when you classify all home schoolers as:

    1. Christian
    2. Uneducated, unprofessional housewives who cook.

    You really need to do your homework.

  • brian l.

    Plank ten of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx:

    “Free education for all children in government schools.”

    Public eductaion is about the government controlling the youth with their own agenda.

  • Jennifer B.

    Jerem Z I am one of those “mommy Sue’s at home making carrot cake” and educating my children. Your opinion is uninformed and uneducated. I have a undergraduate and graduate degree–just not in “education.” I wont even begin to respond to all the comments you made. I would challenge you to look deeper into the homeschool movement that has the hand of God on it. We have chosen to homeschool so that we can educate the minds of our children but more importantly train their hearts. We choose not to let someone else “be responsible.” That is our job. We do not want them subject to the agenda of same-sex marriage, sex education, evolution, history without God etc. The “education” that many of those children are getting is a lot more than is necessary. Really–what are they learning while getting on the bus at 6:30am and not returning until 4:00pm.

    As Christians–and assuming that you are–we will be held accountable for the knowledge and education of our children–the condition of their hearts. No matter the education choice you make, you had better be diligent in protecting their hearts and minds! It IS your responsibility!

    Do not judge all homeschoolers by the few. I know that you wouldn’t want your children judged by some of the bad fruit that is produced by the public system….

    I challenge you again–look into this movement and the fruit. You might be amazed. Colleges are recognizing it and are actively recruiting these children.

  • jerem z

    well in some sense I am intentionally saying aggressive comments to get the party started.

    And yes i know my home school comment was distracting and out of place, but come on that is funny right there.

    also my wife is a california teacher and we have had many discussion about this same topic.
    Why pay taxes to support our education system when one does not even want to use it? Maybe we as Christian should just segertate ourselves from the world?

    I will be amped for my child to get exposed to humanistic and evolutionary ideology. Better now than later. I rather deal with it at age 13, instead of age 23 when my child gets blindsided by “the world’s perspective” and he/she feels betrayed because he/she is getting plowed by scholarly rhetoric why God did not create the world.

    Maybe I am too much of a wild card and a realist?

    Thanks Richard P and Brian for giving me a reaction. That is what I wanted and I got it.
    Blessings! I was really encouraged by this discussion. I will be praying for the ministry. The Lord’s hand is really at work. Gosh, God is good-all the time!

  • Lucas Knisely

    jerem z,

    I was home schooled, so were my 2 brothers, so were a handful of my friends… and I have to say, we all did and are doing quite well in college and in the business world.

    But I guess we are all exceptions to your well founded and documented “rule”.

    And this: “Denny could you imagine someone wanting to teach at the college level without a PHD? So why should we allow mommy Sue (who makes great carrot cake) to teach little billy until he is 18?

    That statement is so ripe with condescension and sophistry that I can’t believe you actually typed it.

    And this: “How about we just insert our children into the real world and hope and pray that God will take care of them?

    So you classify the “real world” as the public school system? Interesting.

    And this: “Instead we try to control and manipulate every aspect our of child’s lives so they can be more “CHRISTIAN” and influenced with only Christian content.

    Are you actually postulating that teaching children Christian truth and raising them to believe in the Gospel is a wrong thing to do? Did you just read Richard Dawkins or something?

  • Brennan Webb

    This is why no one is going to be living in California in a few years…except for the libs. But jaremz is right about the heavy requirements for California techers. I think they go something like this:


    “Open Minded”

    Former gay or lesbian or have promoted them in the past.

    Support abortion

    Was a hippie or college graduate from any Ivy league school in the last two decades.

    Not an outspoken Christian

    That just about covers the intensive requirements….

  • Ben Stevenson

    Jerem Z,
    What evidence do you have that parental qualifications are necessary to get good outcomes from homeschooling?

    Here are a couple of quotes from a quick internet search:

    “Meighan (1995) suggests that to date, over 30 learning styles have been catalogued and that the homeschooling families he has observed take it for granted that learning styles differ and adjust learning situations accordingly. Students in the Washington homeschool project were found to perform well academically on achievement tests. There was found to be little or no relationship between educational outcomes and ***parent education level***, level of structure in the curriculum, contact with a certified teacher, hours of formal teaching or parent income (Wartes, 1989).”

    “…The paper finds the following: homeschooling continues to grow in popularity among parents in both Canada and the US; many studies, Canadian, American, and international, have found that home-schooled students outperform students in both public and independent (private) schools; home-educated children enjoy no significant advantage if one or both parents are certified teachers;….”,a,3,q,561571.asp

  • jerem z

    I think I may need to be clear if I have not been clear all along.

    My fundamental mission for being on the is to mess with ya’ll christian and worldview paradigm.

    I rather not stoke Denny’s ego but rather challenge the Southern Baptist, ultra conservative, and business suit white mans paradigm.

    If I am not stirring the conversation or getting reaction; I am not doing my job.

    Blessings! Peace be with you!

  • Lucas Knisely

    jeremy z,

    My above comment was made before I saw your newest one….

    well in some sense I am intentionally saying aggressive comments to get the party started.

    And yes i know my home school comment was distracting and out of place, but come on that is funny right there.

    Nice back pedal, I guess.

  • Jennifer B.

    I want my children exposed to other worldviews as well but I want them also to be equipped with the necessary tools to know and speak the truth. It is an overwhelming and scary job at times but I know that if I don’t do it no one else will. They will not get the truth anywhere else. I also think that our window of influence is short. I was amazed this week while out to dinner with my family over hearing a little girl of about 10 recounting her lesson on the development of the earth of over millions of years/ice ages/fossils etc. My first grader was listening intently and asking questions. We were all amazed in that young girl’s “knowledge” and statement of “facts.” I think that now more than ever our children need to be equipped by parents who are purposefully teaching their children the truth of God’s word. I am learning right along side them and praying on my knees daily for God’s wisdom and direction.

  • D. Taylor Benton

    all I have to say is when I know at least 2 16 year olds that have sat in a SENIOR level college seminar class and not only interacted on the same level with the class, but in many cases knew more than the majority of the class on topics NOT concerning Christianity (that one’s for you JZ), I think the public schools could learn a few things of challenging students to learn as apposed to the coddling and indoctrination of leftist ideology that goes on in the majority of public schools.

    I will say that if you do not have a good Homeschool network it is harder for children to integrate into society but when you have a homeschool network that has over 400 children (like there are in the majority of communities)…that solves the “closet kid”

    even if the kids came out all screwy and not very smart, that is the decision of the Parent and not the government.

    P.S. – JZ, if it were legal I wouldn’t give a dime to the government because they are (1) horrible stewards of it and (2) it makes me an accomplice in this pagan, leftist, anti-American sentiment because my tax dollars are subsidizing it.

  • Brian (Another)

    I think there has to be a distinction between subjected and inculcated with respect to public school. I certainly want my children to be in the world, not of it. The more I view public education, the more it is the indoctrination and immersion into culture and being forced to accept it (lest you be cast out as a social misfit). It also seems there needs to sometimes be a distinction between those wanting to homeschool their children to bring them up in their ways versus purely to be anti-social (purposefully keep their children “imprisoned” in the home.). The latter being those that might quicker be classified as “socially awkward” and clearly wrong. To that comment, I would go with DTB in comment 18 that a home school network keeps from the “socially awkward” kid. Of course, being in school certainly doesn’t guarantee a socially adjusted person (I know, that wasn’t stated, merely an observation to add on to the comment). Anybody read Bowling Alone? I’ve read snippets of it and it talks to our increasing individual silos.

    It seems the PhD comment is akin to saying I don’t get to teach my child the bible since I don’t have a seminary degree.

    So, then, Jeremyz, you purposefully sought to “mess with” those (electronically) around you. As in you purposefully incited them into an argument? Interesting. Well, I suppose your comment served its purpose (which to me also seems like a misguided slander (in particular the carrot cake condescension, even if withdrawn as “come on that is funny right there”), but only the Lord knows your heart).

    I’m all for playing devil’s advocate to make sure we’ve thought out an argument, but I think there was a very distinct line that was crossed (at least in my mind). No, I’m not home schooled, though I would say that my exposure to home schoolers is quite different from yours, Jeremy.

    To be fair, Brennan, your list of requirements would fall in the same category and I can imagine that teachers (Jeremy’s wife likely included) would be insulted by the sarcastic reduction.

    Lastly, I believe the conjunction (though slang) is y’all (as in you all). It’s the closest thing we Texans have to adding a useful word to the dictionary (winder and ‘tater, while interesting, just don’t cut it).

    Brian (Another)

  • Scot

    I am a homeschooling dad. No, my wife and I do not have “teaching certificates”. Ironicaly though, we were both hired to score the written parts of the California High School Exit Exams. (I was even a lead in charge of a group of other scorers). So, if I understand right, despite both of our graduate degrees, we are not “qualified” to teach children (including our own), but we are qualified to determine whether they have been taught enough to graduate. Hmmmm

    (by the way, my nine year old daughter’s “home taught” writting ability is already beyond those of well over 95% of the exams I scored)

  • Euphranor

    I was a teacher in CA. Trust me, Jeremy, it isn’t at all comparable in content to getting a PhD, so your analogy is weak. There are many hoops to jump through, if that’s what you mean by “intense”. So Jeremy, I guess in all *the history of mankind* before public school people were just socially awkward, including the 14 American presidents who were homeschooled? Seriously bro, your not making a strong case against homeschool, only those who do a poor job at it (such that their kids get blindsided by evolution). And for disclosure purposes, I was not homeschooled. This is 16 years of public education talking and three years in the education system teaching in the Sulphur Springs School District.

  • Benjamin A

    Enough about JZ. He has garnered the attention he desired. His ego has been stroked.
    Back to the topic at hand.
    Seeing there are laws in the books in CA that would prohibit non-credentialed parents from teaching their kids at home, would it be ‘lawful’ and ‘right’ for those parents to continue breaking said law?
    What is the Christian home school community going to say to an on watching nation about submitting to governing authority (Rom. 13)?

  • jerem z

    Ben A. thank you for your kind words.

    I will admit some of my claims were weak and I appreciate the challenging of my ideas.

    Scot that is a really cool story! How did you and your wife get the leverage to score the exam? What district?

    Euphranor thank you for the clarification of my word intense. You are 100% correct, there are many hoops one needs to get through in order to be a licensed teacher in CA.
    You are also right about the PHD illustration. I was basically trying to illustrate the idea that there requirements in order to receive credibility to teach kids. Ya know?

    In my opinion, home schooling is way too much of an isolation for a student. Yes one has a lot more control and leverage to focus on a particular topic, but I feel that the public school system offers more of a holistic model (psychologically, emotionally, socially, and academically) to our kids.

    Think about what the NT says about community. If we are doing our schooling in our home, how are our kids going to learn how to interact with other kids who are their age other than their family? How to function outside of their home?

    Kids who are in the public school system are in school from 9 to 5, 7 days a week. That is a lot of community exposure that a home school kid will miss. Baseball practice and boy scouts will not make up for the 7 to 8 hour school days.

  • Luke Britt

    If you live in Dallas, there is no way someone would want to send their children into schools that do not have textbooks, lockers, homework, etc. (I know because I worked at schools like this as a tutor.) Homeschooling is a great option, as well as private school. Homeschooling is more attractive to me because of the familial growth that takes place in that context. Also, I have the ability to build extra curriculum around the Bible instead of vanity.

  • Ben R

    I agree with Benjamin A (in #7 and #23).

    The judge did his job by enforcing the law that has been on the books since the 50’s, and his ruling is in line with the past rulings on that law. In fact, his ruling seems to indicate that it is okay to homeschool, but the state expects certain things of homeschool teachers.

    How should Christians respond to such a law put forth by the government? Should we obey the authority God has established? Why or why not? From my reckoning, the Bible indicates more about obeying authority than it does about where our kids go to school (though that is indirectly mentioned).

    And on the other side, what should that judge have done? This was not a judicial review case. He was forced to decided whether or not someone was compliant with the law, which they were not. If I’m not mistaken, there is much grumbling by conservatives about “legislating from the bench”. If this judge would not have upheld this law requiring certification, he would have been doing exactly that.

    How is this decision bad? If we should be upset, shouldn’t it be more with the law makers than this judge’s decision? What should California Christians do in response until the law gets worked out? Should they be not compliant as well? On what grounds?

  • Allen Hebert

    This is not a big surprise to many of us who are home educators.

    The “right” to teach one’s children at home is and always will be on shaky ground as long as there are social, moral, and political liberals in our nation who believe the state should be the authority in everyone’s lives. Each state government, as well as our federal government, is quickly influenced in many directions with every new influx of newly-elected, appointed, and hired officials. These folks believe their opinions are correct and the only ones that matter; attend almost any public hearing or watch a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on television to prove this. Or, read the House or Senate bills introduced every year in all state legislatures and follow the battles that ensue to promote or stop these bills. More often than not, the competing interests of the state and parents or religious organizations are in opposition to each other and cannot be resolved.

    However, regardless of any bill legislatures may pass or any ruling from the courts of our land, there is one litmus test that cannot be trumped: Conviction. And true conviction, regardless of its price, is bound in religious belief and freedom, [currently] constitutionally guaranteed in this nation. Against it, no secular government can stand and no government can stop it. The spread of the gospel over the last two millenia is the best example I know.

    The original recent litmus test for religious freedom in relation to home eduction was the court case, WISCONSIN v. YODER (1972), in which the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Mr. Yoder, stating that “the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment outweighed the State’s interests in compelling school attendance beyond the eighth grade.” (Wisconsin claimed truancy and took Mr. Yoder and two other parents to court for failing to keep their children in public school until sixteen (16) years of age).

    This quickly became the basis for homeschooling freedoms around the nation, while at the same time hundreds and thousands of parents worked relentlessly to influence local and state governments to pass legislation in favor of homeschooling. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has and continues to fight for homeschooling freedom in all states, as well as numerous state and local home school organizations.

    Does homeschooling work? Not for everyone. Is every home educator getting it right? Not all. Is it the government’s job to intervene and force everyone into the same mold? I don’t believe it is.

    As a home educator and a concerned and involved parent, there are things that I want my children to learn for life that the government schools cannot and will not teach them. This is our family’s 20th year to educate our children at home and I can only say that the result proves the method.

    1st daughter: 4.0 gpa while attending Baptist College of Florida and Belhaven College in Jackson MS. Heart for God and involved in Christian ministry in Ireland.

    2nd daughter: graduated summa cum laude from Dallas Baptist University with 3.9989 gpa. Heart for God and involved in Christian ministry in Arlington TX

    1st son: Graduated with double major from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary undergrad program in Wake Forest NC (including minimum two Greek and two Hebrew courses) and currently working on M-Div (with more Greek and Hebrew) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with 3.5 or better gpa. Heart for God and involved in Christian ministry in Texas (currently).

    2nd son: 3rd year undergrad at Criswell College (Greek and Hebrew also required herd) in Dallas TX with gpa above 3.9. Heart for God and involved in Christian ministry in Texas (currently).

    Three more to go, still being educated at home. Next son is looking at law school, fourth son talking about being a dental surgeon, and last daughter hoping to be a missionary nurse to the Philippines.

    We all must decide what is best for our family and children and follow God’s calling to be the best parents we can be and make the decisions that we believe He will honor, regardless of what the government says. My wife and I both graduated from high school and neither has a college degree.

  • Ben Stevenson

    Ben R,
    Christians should obey the law, except where obeying the law requires them to disobey God.

    In a democracy, laws can be changed. Gov Schwarzenegger may be willing to change the law to protect homeschoolers:

    “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised today to ensure that parents have the right to homeschool their children, after a state appeals court ruling severely restricted the practice in California.

    “Every California child deserves a quality education and parents should have the right to decide what’s best for their children,” the governor said in a statement. “Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts and if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.”

  • jerem z

    Allen wonderful post. I deeply appreciated the insight and personal experience.

    You are right home school is not for everyone. Also public school is not for everyone.

  • Ben R

    Ben Stevenson (#28):

    I suppose I’m not sure what you are getting at. Are you saying Christians should obey “the law” (i.e., laws generically), or “the” law (i.e., the one in question here).

    Either way, I’m fully aware of the call for Christians to obey which the authority has established, unless the law calls for one to disobey God. (Did you believe I thought otherwise?) For me, at least, the real question Christians should be asking in light of this information is whether or not this law causes disobedience.

    Secondly, do you believe that I don’t know that in our democracy laws can be changed? I want to believe you did, otherwise you’d be insulting my intelligence. For me, the issue is: What should a Christian do UNTIL it is changed? Especially since the governor has little authority to change this law. Influence, yes; authority, no.

    All this amounts to me not being sure what your comment was trying to accomplish. Help me out.

  • Jesica

    I am a homeschooling mother in Arizona.

    Our state consistently ranks 49th or 50th for education. It’s pitiful.

    Many of my friends earned their degrees in teaching, and are quick to tell me that college trained them to teach to the average child. Therefore, the ones who excel and the ones with challenges are often left without the additional help that they need.

    Many people who homeschool in Arizona are not Christians. Their reasons for choosing to educate their children at home are totally academic, because the school system is so poor here.

    In our small community of 25,000 homes, we have an active homeschooling group. It’s crazy to assume that just because a child is homeschooled, he is socially inept. Our children have so many rich and varied opportunities through our group…many more than they would have in a public school setting.

    The homeschooling children that I know are intelligent beyond their years, and are able to interact with people of all ages..not just with 30 other kids their own ages!

    Dr. Raymond Moore is a fantastic resource for anyone who would like to research the benefits of homeschooling. His books can be found on

    I’ve seen what the public school system is producing in my state, and I know without a doubt that I am offering my children much more.

    My children are not the responsibility of the state. Nor is their education.

  • Ben Stevenson

    Ben R,
    Sorry I was not clearer in my previous post.

    If homeschooling is illegal, then I don’t think Christians should not do it. I think homeschooling is a good option, although I went to a state run school. But I think most homeschooling advocates would agree that it is not sinful to go to public schools. A minority may disagree. Christians should obey the law of the country, and unfortunately that may mean not homeschooling.

    Of course I knew you were aware that laws can be changed – your previous post (#26) makes that clear. In theory in a democracy any law can be changed, but sometimes in practice certain laws will not be changed for a long time (e.g. people have been trying to change laws on abortion for over 30 years).
    Now the issue of homeschooling is in the news, and a possible change of law has the support of the state governor, there may an opportunity to change the law (if it does need changing?) within the near future, that might not present again for many years.

  • Ben Stevenson

    I said:
    “If homeschooling is illegal, then I don’t think Christians should not do it.”

    A double negative make a positive – and changes the meaning of the sentence. I meant to say –

    If homeschooling is illegal, then I don’t think Christians should do it.

  • Ben R

    Ben Stevenson (#34 and 35)

    Thanks for your gracious clarification. That’s helps a lot. That’s the way I lean as well, but I realize there is probably a spectrum of thought on this.

  • Ken

    There is a long and honored tradition within some branches of Christianity that the civil government has been ordained and instituted by God and should be obeyed unless the civil magistrate commands that which is contrary to God’s commands. In that case the civil magistrate has broken fealty with God and should be resisted, preferably by other magistrates if available. In the current case in California it appears as though the executive branch recognizes the injustice of the original law and will work to change it.

    If a parent is convinced that sending his child to a state-sponsored school subjects that child to indoctrination with ideas antithetical to God’s precepts then said parent has a duty before God to obey God rather than men, and accept the consequences.

  • MatthewS

    Basically another “me too” post, but we home school our 3rd grade son. My wife and I were both home-schooled. I went on to earn a B.S. in computer science. I love programming and work full time as a software developer but am also currently pursuing an M.Div.

    We rely heavily on “The Well Trained Mind.” The authors speak well of public school teachers, who face a much different task than the home schooling parent. I believe that the extra attention paid to my son has contributed to him doing better than average and maintaining an active interest in math, history, reading, science, art, language (he loves Latin), and other subjects. I am proud of him and the job his mom is doing (I contribute but mom does the lion’s share of the work). In addition, he has regular social interaction with dozens of kids including close friends, church friends, AWANA, and Cub Scouts.

    I have known people who began home schooling as a fad. I fully expect these people to give us all a bad name. But there are so many home-schooled kids who do well, test better than average, win spelling bees, earn advanced degrees, etc. I hope these results will be given their fair share of respect in our culture in the future.

  • Barry

    Do you have kids? Just curious. It sounds like you don’t, but I might be wrong. Things significantly change when you have them, and you as a dad know that you are charged with a great responsibility from God to protect and train them. Where I live, sending them to public schools aborts both of those responsibilities, so homeschooling becomes an option.

    What a ridiculous statement to say that if you are homeschooled you know little to nothing about “the real world.” This is quite naive. As a professor, I teach large quantities of homeschooled students, and they are consistently at the very top of the class and usually have a better understanding of opposing worldviews than anyone else. Homeschooling is not about isolation and overprotection, it’s about training your children about all kinds of topics, teaching them to understand first, and then evaluate opposing viewpoints on matters of critical importance. This is different than the public school system in which such critical thinking is rare, and ALL views are not presented (for example, ever seen a biology class that didn’t indoctrinate the students with Darwinian evolution while never mentioning or interacting with Intelligent Design etc.?). Such is one of a number of examples.


    PS – Stirring things up (as you put it) is fine and all, but when you do so by way of silly, non-thinking statements, what have you gained?

  • Todd Pruitt


    Thanks so much for helping us think. Your wise and thoughtful comments are so helpful to us stupid white male rednecks. Do you ever feel as guilty as I do about having been born white?

    Clearly the public school system in America has served you well. It is a shining beacon to the rest of the world. What idiot would ever want another option for their children?

  • David Drake

    What idiot would ever want another option for their children?…

    I would. I always find it interesting how Christians have largely abandoned the public schools and then complain about how bad it is…Interesting.

    I also find it interesting that home-schoolers argue for the importance of “Home”, but then deny that that same home might have an effect on them and enable their success in a public school.

    Now I don’t really care either way what you choose to do with your children. I do care if you spiritualize it, Make wild claims about how amazing your kids are, Or make equally bad assumptions about how terrible mine must be.(I was a youth pastor for years…with public school kids and home schooled kids…now I am a pastor and have a bunch of home schooled adults in our congregation…and let me tell you: they can go either way…)

    Here is the deal…you may choose, I think, within the guidelines of scripture, to send your children to a public school or to keep them home. I would not want to infringe at all on that decision. However I would appeal to you to remember that the issue is not settled and not black and white.

    We live in an Urban neighborhood reaching urban people…our daughter goes to the local school. She is in the top of her class (side note: our urban school with an over 60% poverty rate is in the top schools in the state of Michigan, and most first graders leave the first grade reading at a 3rd grade level)…Here is the thing I believe my daughter does well because we are involved. Here is the other thing: We made a conscious ministry decision to send her to the public school. We are church planters, in a neighborhood with all kinds of people who have never even heard of Jesus. We actually meet for church in the school. If we did not send our daughter there we would be cut off in many ways form sharing Jesus. This was our decision and call. You might not like it, but it is our call. Please don’t assume that you are the only ones who are doing right.

  • Todd Pruitt

    Dr. Putnam,

    Don’t you see? Jeremy is just getting us to think. Without his insiteful obserations we may never have thought deeply about how we choose to educate our children.

  • Lucas Knisely


    I’m pretty sure, in light of the content of the article that Denny linked to, people would’ve thought just as deeply about the topic and responded in kind.

    At best, Jerem Z’s input brought about reactions, not deep thought. Reactions do not necessarily mean that all the home schooling parents just suddenly thought about the topic for the very first time in a deep and meaningful way. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that everyone who responded to Jerem Z, myself included, already thought highly of home schooling and were aptly able to defend it.

    Honestly, if it took Jerem Z’s silly comments to foster deep thought, then shame on any parents who were mindlessly home schooling their kids up until the point they read Jerem Z’s “insightful observations” and only then started to think deeply about it.

  • Matt

    The “qualification” argument is rediculous. “Unqualified” home schoolers consistently produce students that outperform students educated by “certified” teachers on all manner of standardized tests. Here’s and idea fom Doug Wilson:

    Let me first grant the initial point, which is that some homeschoolers don’t do an adequate job. How is that an argument for bringing in “quality control” from the king of all educational inadequate jobs — the state? And having granted the initial point, let me propose a little contest — let us compare SAT scores of all homeschooled California seniors and government school California seniors. Whoever loses has to be regulated by the other entity. If the homeschoolers lose, then the new law stands. If the government school loses, then we turn over the California Department of Education to a select committee of homeschooling moms. Ask them to fix it, or throw it away if it is beyond repair.

  • Todd Pruitt


    This is the problem with blog responses and emails – they don’t register sarcasm.

    Clearly, Jeremy’s comments were childish and ignorant. Further, his explanation that he was just getting us to think descends into the nether regions of self-delusion.

  • Paul

    Well, I’m late in the conversation here, but I do have a few thoughts…

    1) The civil libertarian in me thinks that anyone trying to ban homeschooling is a ninny that is yet again trying to put government’s nose where it doesn’t belong.

    1a) The civil libertarian in me also thinks that the very same proponents of home schooling have been asking for this for a long time. You can’t go around trying to limit others’ rights while trying to save your own. Liberty is funny like that.

    2) my only fears with home schooling have to do with how well equipped these kids will be when it comes to the idea of a fully well rounded education. I’ll even set aside the lack of arts education that will likely come when people who only have a narrow view of the culture try to teach it. But what about science? How do you expect your child to excel at a secular college without knowledge of the theory of evolution? What do you do about a reading curriculum? Is the average “keep ourselves separate from “the world” mom going to have their kids read Thoreau, Kerouac, Steinbeck or Hemmingway?

    Give me a kid who comes out of a home schooling program who can tell me all about the cultural importance of the Beat movement, the musical advancements ushered in by Miles Davis and a thorough evaluation of the theory of evolution, and I’d be much more pro-homeschooling.

    Also, how are children judged about when they’re ready to move on to the next grade level? (this is a serious question, I really have no idea how this works…)

  • PromiseJubilee

    Okay, here’s what I think about the whole submitting to the authority placed over you thing…
    First, you are absolutely correct, the bible does say that (way to quote brother!), and I am sure that this law was for our own protection (as are many of God’s laws)…
    HowEVER, that does not, cannot, supersede all the other parts of God’s law. We must follow the laws of the authorities placed over us, but only as far as it does not directly contradict the bible.
    Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” And should we allow OTHERS to train up OUR children in the way THEY think they should go? I pray that when I stand before the Lord on judgment day that I would not be so ashamed to say that I allowed someone ELSE to raise up my child. It is our duty.

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