In Virginia it was and is comparatively easy to homeschool (even if parents are still required to educate their children in a manner approved by the all-knowing state). In some places it is not so simple, or it threatens to become more difficult. In Florida last year, a judge ruled that a divorced couple’s children should be put into public education, asking, “When are [the children] going to socialize?” In Ohio, after a particularly brutal instance of child abuse that resulted in the death of a young boy, a legislator proposed a law in which the parents’ desires to homeschool their children would be subject to the draconian examination of state officials: had the law passed, public officials would have been empowered—indeed, required—to interview both parents and children (separately), as well as conduct background checks on parents, before the right to homeschool was granted to the family—and if it were denied (if it were not “in the best interest of the child,” as the law puts it), then officials could stage an “intervention” in an attempt to mediate whatever situation they were convinced needing fixing. Had the bill become law, Ohio would have become the first state in the nation where families who wished to homeschool were looked upon as a bizarre combination of drug users, child abusers, and otherwise dysfunctional and broken families in need of the state’s loving embrace—all before any of it had been proven. Quelle horreur that a family should steer itself according to its own desires, and its own values, rather than those demanded and imposed by the government.
Compulsory education is a noxious idea underwriting a noxious set of ideals. It should strike anyone as deeply vulgar that the state should presume the power to tell us where to go and what to learn for so long, or indeed for any amount of time. The system as it stands is one in which everyone’s rights are violated, it is difficult to get out of a rotten educational arrangement, and any motion to even discuss the scrapping of the system is ruled as “preposterous.” There is a great deal of entrenched interest in keeping children bound by the law to attend school. And yet it is not unreasonable—it is not preposterous—to hope that one day we may wish to control our own educations, and those of our children, without first supplicating to the state and asking meekly, “May I?”