I’m not Germany’s biggest fan. I have nothing against wanting to conquer the world—that’s been my dream since preschool. I do take issue with the Holocaust. I know that it’s been a while and that the vast majority of the people who were behind that horrible genocidal brutality are dead, but some stains take a while to fade, you know? The fact that their language sounds like a combination of angry Klingon and the Black Speech of Mordor doesn’t gain them any bonus points.
As I understand, Germany has beautiful weather (cold and gray—honestly I don’t understand why the tropics even have humans in them I can’t even stand temperatures of seventy degrees). Germany also has beautiful forests. Oddly enough, in more recent times, Germany has some very sensible policies.
One of them is that homeschooling is illegal. Germany is not alone in this, but it was nice to see and honestly kind of shifted my opinion of Germany.
Kind of like how sometimes you have an acquaintance about whom you have basically no positive opinions, and then you find out that he or she watches the same show that you do and suddenly you’re talking all of the time.
I am strongly opposed to homeschooling.
It’s not just that many states have very few requirements for homeschooling. It’s not just that homeschooling is a tool of choice for child-abusers to avoid being caught—your child’s teacher won’t report injuries or alarming changes in behavior if your child’s “teacher” is the parent who is causing them.
And it’s not just the social awkwardness—not all homeschooled children end up socially awkward as children or adults. Some do, absolutely, but I’ve had homeschooled friends whom I would never have guessed were homeschooled if they had not told me.
All children have the right to a real education. They have a right to socialize with their peers—not just children from families with whom their parents choose to associate. Children are not property—they deserve the opportunities to meet other people and make their own friends and to learn about the world through a filter beyond their families. Happening to have the functional reproductive organs that brought a child into existence does not make you qualified to control everything to which your child is or is not exposed.
Just because Germany’s laws are sensible enough to ban homeschooling does not mean that all of Germany’s citizens agree with that—in every country, there are more or less always going to be a small group of people who just suck. Some families have left Germany (and other European nations with similar laws protecting the welfare of children) and sought asylum in the United States and elsewhere, in places where they can homeschool their children.
If you move to a different county to live in a better school district, that’s great. But I cannot imagine being so terrified of my child living in the world that I would switch continents just to micromanage every face that my child sees, but there are crazy people who will do just that.
If you feel that public school education is lacking, you are always welcome to supplement your child’s education at home. But to keep them out of a real school just so that you can teach them that gravity is a lie or that dinosaur bones are a trick by the Devil, you’re doing very real and lasting harm. And it’s not just scary fringe-right people who homeschool—some families on the opposite end of the political spectrum homeschool their children to keep them from being “indoctrinated by the corporate oligarchy.” Some people leave controlling homeschool environment and become independent thinkers, successful artists, and social success stories. Others don’t. But parents don’t have the right to take that gamble with their child’s life, whether their intentions are pure or they’re afraid that their children might make friends who are gay or minorities.
So, well done, Germany. I doubt that I’ll ever not think of Nazis when I think of Germany, but the more good that Germany does, the smaller the Third Reich’s piece of the German association pie chart will become.