Owen Strachan: Harvard Goes After Homeschooling

Picture the scene: several studious young children translate Latin, discuss Shakespeare, and consider polynomials together.

Would you think you’re looking at a seedbed of white supremacy?

That’s how a recent article from Harvard Magazine, entitled “The Risks of Homeschooling,” presents religious parents who practice homeschooling. Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Bartholet argues that homeschooling evangelicals are “extreme religious ideologues.” In her view, these fearsome fathers and mothers pose some sort of major threat to national health.

This paranoid perspective is not new. For over 100 years, figures like John Dewey have argued that the state, not the family, has the fundamental right to shape children. And—for over 100 years—Christians and many other fair-minded citizens have pushed back against this view, even if they have their kids in school.

After all: The family is the first institution—not the state.

You could well label homeschooling traditional.

It certainly is not extreme.