In the above article is the story of the Romeike family. This family is originally from Germany. They came under persecution by the German government because they were educating their children themselves at home. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany. So, the Romeike’s were facing expensive fines and the threat of having their children taken away. In 2008 they fled to the United States seeking refuge from this persecution. In 2010 the Romeike’s were granted political asylum and began their new life here in the “land of the free”.
Well, it looks like America may not be as free as they thought. The family now faces deportation. The deportation effort is being led by Attorney General Eric Holder. It is reported that Holder has said homeschooling is not a fundamental human right. This statement has stirred up a lot of anger from the homeschooling community.
It may surprise you to know I agree with Holder’s claim, but I think the premise being considered is wrong. Instead of asking, “Is homeschooling a fundamental human right?” let’s consider, “Does an individual or a group of individuals (i.e. government) have the right to dictate what another individual can peacefully do on his own property?”
First, we must get an understanding of the meaning of a right. This word is used so often that it doesn’t mean much any more. Many essays, books, and articles have been written about “rights” by far smarter men than I. This will be basic. All rights are property rights. This starts with the realization that you own yourself and you own your justly acquired property (goods). Since, I do not own you or your property I have no “right” over them.
The reason I say that asking “Is homeschooling a fundamental human right?” is the wrong premise is because it is essentially the same as asking, “Is playing baseball a fundamental human right?” Should I have to ask my neighbor whether I can play baseball on my property with my children? That would be absurd! Playing baseball is not a “right” and neither is homeschooling. Now with that being stated, I do not have the right to come onto your property and play baseball against your will nor stop you from playing baseball.
I do not have the right to force you to homeschool your children and I do not have the right to prevent you from homeschooling. The freedom to homeschool your child is really just the freedom to parent.