Homeschooling and Going Beyond Minimum Legal Requirements

Victorian family of homeschoolers
I think it’s always wisest in principle not to give bureaucratic institutions one jot more of anything, funds, information, or paperwork, than the minimum required by law, and I rarely miss the opportunity to say so.=)

Before you welcome the government into your home consider that you’ve already decided, by choosing to homeschool, that the government could not provide you and your child(ren) what you expected or required. Regardless of how we want to perceive public school, public schools are government owned, regulated, managed and led.

Where I live homeschoolers do not have any legal responsibilities to register their homeschool, report attendance, request permission or in any way submit any information to the state about our homeschool- with one insignificant exception that I don’t think ever happens, so I’ll not bother to go into it.

However, every year hundreds, maybe even thousands, of homeschoolers go right ahead and submit paperwork, attempt to ‘register’ their homeschools, send in copies of childrens’ birth certificate, homeschool plans, and more- all for a slip of paper that says they are homeschoolers so they can get teachers discounts at book-stores (you can get these without registering). This fills me with dismay.

In my state there are NO such legal requirements. None. I believe that behaving as though there _were_ such a requirement carries with it risks that I do not wish to take, and it puts others at risk as well. It does not send what I, as a libertarian, consider a responsible message to government officials. So we haven’t registered, like hundred if not thousands of other homeschoolers, because it isn’t required, and therefore, we don’t have any official pieces of paper from the state acknowledging our homeschools- and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In this state, we are private schools, and as such, there is nothing dishonest about creating our own letterhead and student body I.D. cards and so forth, proving that we are a private school and meriting the same discounts and so forth that other private schools get.=)

When people begin giving politicians *more* than the law requires, those politicians then look suspiciously at those who cherish their legal freedoms and are protective of them, and who expect politicians and educators to respect the laws as well. They will begin to reason that family a, b, and c have freely given up the right to privacy, the right to homeschool without government notification, and so if family d, e, and f won’t, it must be that they are obnoxious or have something to hide…. People who give away their freedoms are far more dangerous to homeschooling than those who protect them.

Think of it this way- we in this country have a right to keep our homes free of illegal search and seizure- the police may not enter without due cause and legal authority (search warrants)- and if we stand on that right and refuse to permit police entry without search warrants, then we are NOT doing anything wrong or suspicious. If my neighbor wishes to permit police officers to come in without a warrant on the grounds that ‘he has nothing to hide,’ and expecting the police to obey the law is going to make them suspicious, then that neighbor does not value his constitutional freedoms enough.

There’s a problem with this analogy in our culture, however. Fifty years ago, almost everybody would have understood it. Today, far too many people can’t understand it at all. It even seems a little subversive (and not in a good way). “But if you don’t have anything to hide, who cares?” is the prevailing attitude towards government. Rather than viewing government as our founding fathers did, an institution which must be tightly held to its proper place or it becomes tyranny, they think government is supposed to hold citizens in our proper place. Constitutional freedoms are hardly cherished, and those who value them are seen as some sort of cranks or troublemakers.

I value my constitutional freedoms. I value my right to homeschool without interference. I do not need the government do to *anything* except leave me alone. I do not think it is helping homeschooling to go beyond the law and give up freedoms to keep bureaucrats being suspicious. It will only make them more suspicious, and more prone to assume powers they ought not to have over ordinary citizens.
It’s not unreasonable to expect politicians to respect the law.

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