Chuck O’Shea has written a provocative post in support of the ascendance of homeschooling in the United States. While I don’t take issue with the article he quotes, I disagree a bit with the reasons he gives as to its importance. His reasons are positive. I will, briefly, provide contrasting (negative) reasons that highlight the importance of homeschooling (these can be found through <wikipedia, so have no fear).
Most serious for those on this blog, homeschooling potentially threatens our civic culture. If the civic culture is eroded, then how are we to instill the moral values and demonstrate the superfluousness of the state education system? We won’t. We will create a fractured civic ontology, which will lead to a plurality of cultures, which will manifest itself in a relativistic society. So, homeschooling leads to relativism (in a few steps).
There is nothing “essential” to the health of the society which would necessitate that families control education in the form of homeschooling; if a family feels it necessary to pull out of the public school system, then there are parochial schools which can do that job, and come with less of a risk of the anarchic relativism that is inherent to homeschooling. Homeschooling, then, is essentially repeating the same function that private schools already perform, but with far more politicization and far greater risk of insulation and insidious civic destruction.
As for the “variety of viewpoints that emerge” in a homeschooling system: only if they talk to each other. Otherwise, it would seem to be a recipe for extremism.