The NY Times has an interesting article on the trend among American Muslims to homeschool their children. As a libertarian, I support homeschooling. We should have the ability to raise our children as we see fit. Of course, when homeschooled children run afoul of University standards, I often find the ensuing arguments over standards entertaining. If your child can't pass the entrance examination he or she only has their parents to blame.
Across the United States, Muslims who find that a public school education clashes with their religious or cultural traditions have turned to home schooling. That choice is intended partly as a way to build a solid Muslim identity away from the prejudices that their children, boys and girls alike, can face in schoolyards. But in some cases, as in Ms. Bibi’s, the intent is also to isolate their adolescent and teenage daughters from the corrupting influences that they see in much of American life.
Seeing homeschooling spread to other religions changes the paradigm a little. From my perspective, I don't really care. But I wonder what the fundies think. Do Muslims have the same rights as Christians when it comes to homeschooling? Do Christians treat the needs of the Muslim community the same as they treat the needs of their own? It is an interesting question. I looked around for the Christian response and found an uplifting response on Brad Boydston's blog. At least he is asking the right question.
Actually, it's really the same old challenge -- how do we as American evangelicals deal with pluralism? We're so used to thinking that we should be the controlling majority that we assume all social structures should reinforce our perceived status. For example, many vocal evangelicals want prayer in the schools. But we start backpedaling as soon as we realize that in 21st century America there will be Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Wiccans, and Secularists in the position of leading the prayers. Yet we can't let go of the idea that this is a pivotal issue for the nation. So we struggle with dissonance
Homeschooling is a great concept when done well. We need to protect our rights as American to educate our children as we see fit. It does not matter if we are Atheists (0r secularist), Christians, or Muslims.