Hopefully by now you’ve seen the Harvard Magazine article “The Risks of Homeschooling” circulating, complete with a misspelling of arithmetic in the cover photo. Last I checked, the article was not accessible, but you can read the gist of it here and here and here. Read about the Harvard Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform – June 18-19, 2020

“Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, sees risks for children—and society—in homeschooling, and recommends a presumptive ban on the practice. “

I’m not really sure where she dredged up her data, but the articles I linked above do a good job of explaining her errors. There are many attacks in this piece, but what Harvard gets wrong about homeschooling is the basic rights of parents to raise their children.

Certain inalienable rights

The thing to remember with this article is that is it not necessarily about homeschoolers. Harvard doesn’t want your stories of genius children, early college grads, or well-rounded individuals. They just want your parental rights stripped away.

The fundamental thing Bartholet disagrees with is freedom. She knows that we claim a God-given right to raise our children with no government intervention. And she hates it.

Bartholet states:The legal claim made in defense of the current homeschooling regime is based on a dangerous idea about parent rights—that those with enormous physical and other power over infants and children should be subject to virtually no check on that power. That parents should have monopoly control over children’s lives, development, and experience. That parents who are committed to beliefs and values counter to those of the larger society are entitled to bring their children up in isolation, so as to help ensure that they will replicate the parents’ views and lifestyle choices.

Hey, she totally gets us.

Despite the hand-wringing of so-called child advocates, parents in America are still free to decide how to raise our own children. If we want to let them eat quinoa or Cap’n Crunch for breakfast, it’s up to us. If we let our children read Harry Potter or Ken Ham, it’s up to us. If we teach from the Bible or Mein Kampf, it’s up to us. If we mix them all together in an eclectic homeschool day, hey: we can do that, too!

Parents call the shots, no matter who thinks they're wrong.

Society doesn’t get to decide what you should do. Oh, it can pressure you, and guilt you, and influence you. But individual freedom still exists. What one person deems excellent, another may see as horrific. While I think the Bible is an essential part of the homeschool curriculum, secular homeschoolers will vehemently disagree with me.

And that’s okay.

Shocking as it is, parents don’t have to provide their children with an education. An education is not a basic human right. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in an excellent education. (See my whole blog!) But it’s not, and never has been, a right.

Never mind that, anyway. They aren’t really concerned with the education your child receives. The public school classroom is just the most convenient way for them to have their hands in your business.

Christian parenting is offensive

The author states: “But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture.”

Can I get an amen?

It’s an outrageous thought to many (more than you might imagine) that parents would have complete autonomy to raise their children, from birth to adulthood. They can’t even fathom a child who does not grow up “in the system.” They need to oversee your children. They need to know what goes on inside your home.

In a similar article from a year ago (read the whole thing),Bartholet says,

  • “parents can now keep their children at home in the name of homeschooling free from any real scrutiny as to whether or how they are educating their children.” We always could.
  • Homeschooling is a realm of near-absolute parental power.” Yes, ordained by God.
  • “Parents have no obligation apart from compulsory education to get their children out of the home, where they can be observed by others and reported to CPS for obvious signs of maltreatment. Parents don’t have to take their children to doctors. And unlike parents in many of our peer countries, they don’t have to allow health practitioners into their homes during their children’s infancy.” Amen, sister.

As Americans, we hold certain God-given rights. They are not from government, or from experts, or from academia.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. Even the “experts” at Harvard have these rights. They are free to think what they like, and to raise their own children however they please. I may disagree with their choices, but I don’t have the right to force them to make new ones. They also don’t have the right to dictate what any other parents do.

What Harvard gets wrong about homeschooling

The child abuse claim

Bartholet is concerned about abuse, and notes that “one benefit of sending children to school at age four or five is that teachers are ‘mandated reporters,’ required to alert authorities to evidence of child abuse or neglect.”

Again,Bartholet and her cohorts want eyes on your child at all times. They have a need to be in your business. Despite the fact that child abuse is, in fact, NOT a homeschooling issue, the folks who want to regulate homeschooling in every state point to a few shocking cases in the media over the past decades, many of which turned out not to be actual homeschoolers.

Let me remind you (and them) that a family is a private entity, and no government or any other person has a right to dictate what goes on in your home.

If these officials were concerned about the abuse of children, they need only look to the public school system and the skyrocketing rates of bullying, sexual abuse BY TEACHERS, and emotional abuse happening every single day. This recent Twitter thread demonstrates what parents are seeing during the forced quarantine, and how their children are suddenly happier and healthier at home.

But the public school is exactly where they want your child. Their indoctrination is acceptable. Yours is not. Their authority is acceptable. Yours is not.

Who cares?

So why is this a big deal? Why do I care what some stuffy Harvard professor thinks of homeschooling?


At the upcoming June summit, “We will convene leaders in education and child welfare policy, legislators and legislative staff, academics and policy advocates, to discuss child rights in connection with homeschooling in the United States.” LEGISLATORS. LEGISLATIVE STAFF. ACADEMICS. POLICY ADVOCATES. Also: “Experts will lead conversations about the available empirical evidence, the current regulatory environment, proposals for legal reform, and strategies for effecting such reform.”

They are experts in one thing, to be sure: manipulation of facts. Harvard has assembled quite the anti-homeschooling team for this event, and it’s by invitation only. We must be proactive. Contact your Representative and Congressman now with the facts, and get in front of their proposed legislation. Don’t let the “experts” take your parental rights.


Nicki Truesdell

2nd-generation homeschooler, author of Anyone Can Homeschool, and mother of 5.

Texas born and raised, she is a homemaker at heart, and loves books, freedom, history and quilts. 

Nicki believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. 

Nicki is also a member of the
Texas Home Educators Board of Directors.  

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