by Megan Dunham
Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009, at 3:09 pm
In the region where I live, there is a hot-topic homeschooling case going on in the courts and in the news. The case involves a homeschooling couple going through a divorce after 21 years of marriage. Though at its heart is divorce, homeschooling unfortunately has become the issue. It is a really sad scenario.
The mother asserts that the father was supportive of the educational status of his children . . . that is, until he filed for divorce and realized he would have to support two households if his soon-to-be ex-wife didn't give up homeschooling and go back to work. The father asserts the mother is only homeschooling to meet her own emotional needs and he wants to put the children in a private school.
Clearly the two have issues. Sadly, however, their issues are taking a backseat to the very real fact that their two teenaged children have become the reason they've made their issues so very public. It appears right now that the court is going to side with the father.
I'm a member of two homeschooling email groups, and both of them are readying their respective troops to show up to protest what's happening. As much as I love homeschooling my children and am prepared to do what it takes to protect my right to do so, I'm not sure this hill is one I'm ready to die on. What this case needs is mediation . . . prayer . . . reasoning together . . . understanding . . . cooperation . . . repentance. What it doesn't need is a bunch of scared homeschoolers picketing on the courthouse lawn.
If you read the comments on this St. Louis Post Dispatch article, you'll see just how polarized these discussions have become. Some would make this story their case in point for why homeschooling should be outlawed, drawing fierce response from the homeschool-at-all-costs-because-public-schools-produce-blithering-idiots crowd. Neither group will listen to the other's perspective, and as a result, neither is helpful to the discussion.
There are two sides to every story (though in this case, there are probably four). Without having lived with that family for 21 years, we will not ever really know those sides. We do know they are in need not only of a fair judge in St. Charles County, Mo., but also the only One capable of healing all things broken.
This case shouldn't be a homeschooling litmus test, regardless of which side of the issue one is on; it's worst case for both sides, and worst cases aren't what we should be comparing---best cases should be. For the parents, for the kids, for all of us, this is not it.