As a homeschool mom, I am deeply disturbed by any news of abuse within the homeschool community. Fortunately, over the course of the 13 years our family has opted to home educate, incidents of proven abuse have been exceedingly rare. Of course, that does not discount the terrible experiences of those children who have endured horrible neglect and misuse under the banner of home education. They have suffered at the hands of those who have been ordained to be their greatest advocates.
I am fairly well-immersed in the homeschool community, and, to a person, the parents I know who have opted to home educate have made that decision out of love for their children. They sacrifice financially, invest wholeheartedly and live resourcefully to see their kids thrive. Just like all loving parents, regardless of education-based decisions, they do what they truly believe is best. Unfortunately, there are parents on both ends of this spectrum who don’t deserve the children with whom they’ve been entrusted.
In today’s society, one of the common refrains that results from any great tragedy is for increased legislation and regulation. This concerns me. We are more heavily regulated and more expensively legislated than we have ever been as a country…and yet the value of human life and the standard of common decency seem to be at an all-time low. We call our society progressive…but to what are we progressing? Families are disengaged. Prisons are full. Elementary-aged children are suffering from anxiety attacks. Junior high children are eating laundry detergent. Lifetime prescriptions of medication are commonplace. Credit cards are maxed out. We have regulation. We have legislation.
We have a broken society.
The horrible truth is that abuse and neglect can often be hidden in plain sight. No matter how the government tries to regulate abuse, people will still abuse. The sex trade is a perfect example of this. There are truckloads of children being shipped across America–right alongside our own minivans–and I can guarantee that there are people on both sides of the law taking advantage of them.
The government offers foster homes for at-risk children, and there are documented occasions of those poor kids going from the frying pan into the fire–and few things are more highly-regulated than foster homes. When people are sick in their spirits, they hurt other people. When evil people can profit from someone else’s pain, they will. No regulation can stop that.
The most effective ways to combat this hell is for each of us to choose to do what is right and to watch out for the well-being of people around us. Invest in people’s hearts. We’ve all heard stories of abused children whose lives were changed because someone went out of their way to love them. We, as a community, MUST be diligent in this. We cannot be so distracted by our own busyness/personal comfort that we overlook our greatest potential for impacting others.
It’s not about home education or public school. It’s not about regulation and legislation. It’s not even always about knowing the difference between right and wrong. It’s about doing what is right–choosing to put others before ourselves, opting to leave a legacy of love and peace and life to the people around us.
One of my most often-repeated prayers for my children is that God gives them the courage and the self-control to do what is right instead of what is easy. I ask the same thing for my community. The choice is ours.