Legality

My relief

WE GOT the exemption. (See previous two posts.) Sighs of relief resound, but grumbles still abound.

I could have got it so much more easily. I could have played their game. I could have said things like “Of course! I see it now! I should give my children spelling tests every week, because no-one can possibly tell if words are spelled right or not unless they’re written in a vertical line. Why didn’t I think of that before?” Or what I’ve often been tempted to say – “At nine o’clock every morning I ring a bell and all the children have to sit on the mat with their arms and legs crossed and say ‘Good morning, Mum’.” That would just impress them so much.

I didn’t have to make it so hard. I’ve been on very thin ice, inviting prosecution, stressed out. But the older I get and the more I think about it all, the more driven I am to speak out. I don’t know whether I’m a heroic freedom fighter or one of those crazy maverics who make things worse for everybody. All I know is that I can’t keep silent. Tyranny always relies on everyone’s being kept in fear, and sometimes change only takes one person to stand up and say “I am not afraid.”

Is that me? Or am I just making things worse? If only there were some sign, some indication that I might have induced any of those people to think a little further for a single second. Even if I had, though, what difference would it make? The people we have to deal with are not the ones who make the rules. How does one influence a gigantic, self-serving, heavily insulated bureaucracy?

I’m not the first to ask these questions, and I doubt I’ll be the last. Maybe I should be asking myself some hard questions, like: What are you actually trying to achieve? What do you hope to gain? Do you want the exemption process made easier? No, of course not. I want it abolished. So what’s the point in quibbling about how it is done? I guess my dream outcome would really be to make the people involved so ashamed of what they are doing that they would quit their jobs. But that wouldn’t achieve a thing, because other and worse incompetents would simply be hired to take their place. Tyrants never want for stooges.

Okay, let me try again. I want to talk about things that are wrong and I want to go on and on talking about them until others who also see that they are wrong start to talk about it too and our voice gets louder and louder until someone has to listen. In other words, I just want to change the world, that’s all.

But now I feel selfish. Why should I spend time and energy clamouring for an easier ride for myself when others are starving, being murdered, and all the rest of it? No, I have an answer for that one. The fight for freedom in education is not selfish and not an isolated issue. Rather, compulsory schooling is an integral part of the new world order and its bid for world dominion. If we’re not to become a prison planet, we must fight to keep our children’s minds out of the brainwashing system. And the battle that I have been fighting, when I really think about it, has not been a battle with flesh and blood but a battle to keep my own mind free from what they want me to think and say. Now that’s worth doing. If you want to change the world, you have to start with yourself.

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10 thoughts on “My relief

  1. Your post highlights several of the hard challenges facing anyone who thinks and evaluates: 1) Which issues are important ones to raise? 2) What good will it do to speak up? 3) What positive suggestions can I make (if any)? 4) How can I speak and act in a way that honours God?

    The answers will differ for each person, but I’ll make a few comments on my question (2), “What good will it do to speak up?” Our speaking up can help others to think – lots of us need this help! Speaking up can cause both the speaker and the listener to grow – if we listen to each other. We also need to see examples of others who don’t follow blindly. We won’t always be right, but taking a stand on what believe is right, when we believe we should do that, develops courage.

    You’ve struck a chord for me right now because I’ve had reason just today to think about some of the very things you raise, though in another quite different context. Keep thinking!

    Lois

  2. Hi Tani,

    I got here from the Friendship Friday blog hop. Your post here is akin to the story of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ as I blogged it eons ago. I totally agree with your about page and looking forward to great networking.

  3. Tani,

    Visiting from Serving Joyfully. So glad I read your blog today. We have lots of “Normal Schoolers” (almost said the dreaded word ;-)) in our family. It is a battle and, probably will continue to be, but keep standing up for what’s right.

    As a pastor’s wife in the US, I’m concerned that it’s going to become more and more risky to stand up of many truths, but we must all continue to do so.

    Blessings,
    Donna

    • Thanks so much for your comments! But oh dear, you did say the dreaded word after all.. it’s normal education, please, education.
      I’m sure you’re right, things are becoming harder in many ways, here in New Zealand too. But at the same time there is a resurgence of serious Christianity, and there are many stalwart young soldiers rising to carry on the battle. Whatever happens, Jesus will win!

      Good to connect with you
      Tani

  4. someone i know linked me to this, and i don’t know anything about homeschooling or the school system in NZ, and i don’t know anything about your journey with it. i live in the U.S., where laws about homeschooling vary widely from state to state but in some places, all you have to do is register your homeschool as private and no one ever comes to check up on you, and there are no standards or assessments or subject requirements. and for a lot of people that works out just fine, but we also have a horrific amount of child abuse cases concealed by homeschooling, and laws that don’t require any kind of assessment or home visits are tailor-made for certain kinds of abusers. an exemption process, especially a rigorous one, could help children immensely in these cases. i’m not anti-homeschool, and when i have children i will very likely choose that option, but as someone living in a country where it does go horribly wrong sometimes, i gently submit that it is better to have an exemption process, however inconvenient for the good parents, than have some children suffer for the lack of it.

    • Hello Emily,

      Thank you for your comments, and especially for the very gentle way you have made them. I admire your humility and will try to imitate something of it.

      The concern you have raised, that some kind of state oversight of education is necessary for children’s safety, is a very common one and deserves a careful reply. May I ask you to consider this scenario: Imagine a country where nearly all children were educated at home, and only a few ‘alternative’ weirdos sent their children to school. Would we say that the government should investigate all the school children to make sure that they were getting enough family time and quality interaction with their parents? Why or why not? Isn’t a good relationship with parents more important in children’s lives than academic education? My point here is that I think we accept state control of academic education because we have been trained by it to accept it. The families who sent their children to school, in my scenario, might be seriously dysfunctional; the parents might really hate their children and might be sending them to school because they wanted to ruin their lives. But no-one would call it ‘child abuse concealed by schooling’, or ‘schooling going horribly wrong’. Please understand, I do not mean to be nasty and sarcastic about what you have said. I’m just trying to show that when you put things the other way around, they can look completely different.

      Let me take another imaginary example. Suppose a government decided to improve the populace’s health by setting up eating centres, where meals would be prepared and cooked by trained dietitians, and compel people to eat their meals there by force of law. It would be impossible to argue that there would be no benefits from this. Many people would, indeed, eat more healthy and balanced meals. But – apart from the overarching question of whether the government has a moral right to do such things – the long-term consequences would be dire: people would lose the ability and confidence to prepare their own food and would become dependent on state provision. This, I suggest, is exactly what has happened with education: governments have seized control of it by force, and now parents have lost the habits of education and in many cases rely on state-controlled providers even to care for their infants and toddlers. This, in turn, drives up family breakdown, child abuse and social dysfunction of every kind.

      There is much more that could be said – for instance, about the horrific abuse suffered by children in schools, up to and including rape and murder. Not to mention the disastrous failure of state schools to provide even basic education to a very large proportion of the children who pass through them. I’ve never heard anyone seriously suggest that the home educating community should appoint inspectors to monitor schools and see whether they’re coming up to standard… and I’m sure I never will, because at the end of the day, control of education is not about education, it’s about control.

      Well, I hope I haven’t given offence by what I’ve said here. I’m in the business of putting the shoe on the other foot, and a lot of people don’t like the fit! If you’re not offended or bored, I’d invite you to look around my blog some more and maybe leave some more of your interesting comments.

      Sincere good wishes,
      Tani

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