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The Contender
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Should homeschooling be legal?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/3/2017 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,176 times Debate No: 99567
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Hello, Chui,
Should you accept, first round is acceptance and thesis only. round two is for arguments, but no rebuttals. Rounds three and four are for arguments and rebuttals.
My thesis: I hold that everyone should have the right to educate their children as they see fit. This also applies to homeschoolers.
Let's keep this debate friendly and have a good time challenging each others way of thinking.
Good luck, Chui!


Hello, Subdeo,

I happily accept your challenge and enter into this debate in a spirit of friendliness and mutual respect.

My thesis: I hold that all children have the right to a high quality education delivered by professionally trained teachers who have the best interest of their students as their foremost concern. In this matter the rights of the child supersede the rights of the parent/guardian. For this reason the state should and must legislate against homeschooling, requiring that all children attend a school for a designated minimum amount of time.

I look forward to reading your argument in favour of the motion.
May the best argument win.
Debate Round No. 1


As stated in my thesis, I believe that it is a fundamental human right to educate ones children as one sees fit. This has been upheld by the United States Supreme court multiple times (e.g. Meyer v. Nebraska and Farrington v. Tokushige) [1]. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling does not impede a child"s ability to interact socially with others [2]. In fact, many celebrities, founding fathers, and other notable individuals were homeschooled [3]. In addition, studies show that many times homeschoolers fare academically better than students who are educated differently [4]. Note that I am not saying that homeschooling is the only valid means of education, I am just saying that it is quite reasonable to allow homeschoolers to educate their children as they see fit.



As laid out in my thesis every child has the right to best quality of education that can be provided. Further the rights of the child are superior to the rights of the parent or guardian. So the choice of the parent must be denied if it is not in the child's best or the best interests of education of all children as a whole.
First let us consider what education is for. Historically education on a nation state wide level developed to serve the needs of the each individual nation state. Primarily this was to provide sufficiently skilled people that could contribute meaningfully to the economy of a country. However it is widely recognised that education must aim to provide each individual with more than just economic value: Integrity, honesty, open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, sociability and political awareness are examples of qualities that are desirable in all.
This is set out well in the Paideia Proposal of Mortimer Adler [1]. One of the most striking points of Adler is that learning is a life long process not something that is limited to child hood/early adulthood and the primary cause of learning is what happens in the individuals mind. Learning is facilitated by the teacher but not caused by the teacher. He also states that learning must take place in multiple ways and through multiple times and places.
The field of educational psychology has much to say on this subject. By use of the scientific method it is possible to understand how learning happens and how best to facilitate it. Learning happens in a vast variety of ways and many factors effect how well it happens [2]
So having explored education in its broadest sense and consider in brief what learning means let us now look at home schooling as a pedagogy. The first problem here is that homeschooling is largely unregulated and so does not have a simple definition. It involves with drawing children from school but for how long per week or per year or per lifetime is very variable. Some parents go to the extreme of withdrawing their child completely and taking total control of the child's learning well into teenage years and beyond. At the other extreme some parents have made agreements with local schools for their child to miss perhaps one day a week for a limited period.
The next problem is identifying what is taught during homeschooling. Again there is vast differences. Some choose to follow national curricula laid down by their nation's Government others prefer to let the child have total choice.
The learning provided by parents and guardians is also highly variable. For some it is just a perpetual one to one lesson sat at the kitchen table for others they ironically group together with other home-schoolers effectively running their own school.
So now I come to the crux of my argument. I believe that homeschooling at best provides the child with an education that they would have received had they attended school and at worst wastes resources, damages families, does not prepare individuals with appropriate skills to face life and damages society.[3][4][5]
It is a waste of resources because in most nation states where it occurs there is an obligation on the state to check on the welfare of the child. This is expensive since it requires dedicated professionals to collect reports and visit the children if it is needed. These professional's time and the money needed to fund this endeavour could instead be used to improve state provision. Thus the education of the majority of children is damaged by the actions of a minority of misguided individuals.
The stress of homeschooling has in many cases lead to difficulties to families. Not only the necessity to plan lessons and deliver them but the cost for resources and activities is often covered up by pro-home schooling organisations. Most families can barely afford the luxury of one parent being available to teach their children so it is a big financial sacrifice in addition to the time required.
But my main criticism of home schooling and my main concern is the very real possibility that parents and guardians remove their children from school because they have a desire to bring their child up following the principles of some radical and extreme philosophy. Their aim, though they themselves cannot admit it, is to indoctrinate the child into their views. [6]
So having laid out the reasons I am suspicious and critical of home schooling I believe it follows that for the benefit of society as a whole home schooling should be banned. This will release funds to help state schools and this should take priority over the side show that is home schooling.

Debate Round No. 2


First, you say that, "Homeschooling is largely unregulated and so does not have a simple definition." Really, it doesn"t matter if the parents withdraw their children from school for one day in a week, or entirely, it is the right of the parents to educate their children as they see fit.
You say that it is a risk that the parents "bring their child up following the principles of some radical and extreme philosophy," but what about the state? There is a real possibility that a corrupt state could arise and begin teaching children an ideology that is just as extreme as any parent could ever teach. [1][2]The question is who has the right to have the influence that teaches a parent"s child what is right and what is wrong? The parent or the state? Obviously, there must be some kind of check by the state to ensure that material is actually being learned. However, most governments have such checks. As far as radical ideologies go, although there are some fringe cases (like your sixth link) of this, most times, what people would call radical ideologies are just ideas that some people disagree with. Don"t people have a right to believe whatever ideology or philosophy that they choose? And aren"t the adjectives "radical" and "extreme" rather subjective? Banning homeschooling on account of this sounds a lot like censorship of ideas to me. As soon as the state tries to take over all education, the state has crossed a dangerous line towards an oppressive regime that attempts to control the minds and ideas of its citizens.
I would also differ with you that homeschooling is a significant financial liability to the state. Could you cite a source for this? It is worth the small cost it takes to allow parents to have this fundamental human right.
Your link number three cites extreme cases of an educational malnourishment. However, these are rare, and why the state should require periodic testing. However, exceptions should not be treated as the rule and most homeschoolers are very intelligent. [3]
Another benefit to homeschooling is that it in many cases helps special needs students to learn better [4]. Much anecdotal evidence supports this claim. [5]



When an American asserts a fundamental human right what they mean is that it is provided for by the American Constitution. Since american is only one country out of some two hundred this is not a comprehensive argument. Many countries hold that homeschooling is illegal and of those that do permit home schooling there is often heavy regulation to ensure that the child is cared for and receives adequate provision.
My opponent's source for their claim that homeschooling does not damage sociability is the discovery institute. It would be difficult to provide a worse and less reliable source. The discovery institute has no academic standing at all. Thus their claim is basically their opinion on the matter since their source is invalid and further to this my opponent did not elaborate their argument so there is nothing to answer here.
My opponents third point again is plagiarized from a highly untrustworthy source. I say plagiarized since they do not attempt to explain anything in their own words, seemingly unaware of what a debate is. Many schools offer debating societies in which it is possible to learn the true art of debate. Anyway, back to this third source. For a mere $4000 a year this site will provide resources to educate your child. Are they biased perhaps? Is it not also totally ironic that homeschooling is now an organised educational system. Would it not be easier, more effective and more cost efficient to bring the students and the providers together in one building. What would we call such a building? The website offers a list of celebrity home-schooled individuals. Most of these celebrities were born before education was widely available and home schooling was the only option unless you were wealthy. One of the examples given is Oliver Heaviside. Born in London in 1850, there was only provision for education up to the age of ten. Oliver was lucky that his parents could afford to send him to a private school until he was 16. Fortunately his Uncle was Charles Wheatstone, the inventor of the Wheatstone bridge, a device for measuring resistance and voltage accurately, and he took over Oliver's education, much in the same way as a post-grad student has a post-doc supervisor. This example goes to show how poorly researched their list is, thus this source is also dismissed.
The final claim is that homeschooling produces better results academically than other methods. My opponent supplies a source for this and again I find I am answering the details of the source and not any argument offered by my opponent. This source is obviously biased since it is again a site offering resources at a price so it is hardly likely to down sell home schooling. It offers a single selected study that compared a small number of children in and out of state education. When I eventually traced back to the actual study, the abstract to this study states that home schooled children only do better if they follow a structured program and that home-schooled children who do not " are achieving the lowest standardized scores across the 3 groups " [1]. This part of the study is mysteriously not mentioned by brighthubeducation. It is well known amongst educational professionals that children whose parents take an active interest in their education from an early age do better overall. Thus I suspect that children who are home-schooled and do well would have also done equally well if not better in an educational establishment run by full time professionals, where there is a vast variety of methods, resources and environments in which they can learn.

In summary I find that my opponents main argument is merely opinion, unsubstantiated by any rigorous academically valid study.

Debate Round No. 3


I would differ that since I am an American, I must be referring to the constitution when talking of a human right. This is not the case. A human right is such even if the Constitution did not defend it; in addition, human rights do not respect borders. They apply to all people [1].
Secondly, you attack the validity of my sources. I believe that these are all valid sources. To address the case of Oliver Heaviside, they listed him because he was homeschooled from two years before today's graduation age. This was a more involved role than a "post-doc supervisor". In addition, you say I plagiarized. This is not the case. Your explanation does not fit the definition of plagiarism. You also say, "Is it not also totally ironic that homeschooling is now an organised educational system." It may be ironic, however, the point of homeschooling is not avoidance of organization, but freedom to teach children as their parents see fit.
Today, schools teach many things (like evolution) that contradict parents firmly held religious beliefs. Teaching the children of the next generation, which directly or indirectly affects their philosophies and worldviews, is a sacred honor. Would you force the parents to surrender their children"s minds to a third party (who albeit in most cases is well meaning and with good intentions)? To a state whose "values" change with the changing of the winds? This should not be. I believe that homeschooling is a fundamental human right that is protected by the Constitution. The Constitution did not give this right; however, it only recognizes it. As such, it transcends all borders and applies to all people (barring of course special and rare exceptions when a parent must lose custody of a child due to extreme abusiveness).
So in conclusion, Chui, I think it is a reasonable hypothesis when you say that, "I suspect that children who are home-schooled and do well would have also done equally well if not better in an educational establishment run by full time professionals"" However, as I pointed out, ease is not the point. The point is freedom to raise the next generation in a way that is according to the consciences of the parents.
As you know this is my last round on this debate. Thanks for the great debate, Chui! After you reply, it will be time for the voters to decide. Good Luck!



You have often asserted that parents have the right to educate their child as they see fit. Would you agree that parents have the right to medicate their child as they see fit. I would hope you would not. Medicine is reserved quite rightly for those professionals who have dedicated their lives to it. Similarly I would argue that education requires a profession of trained teachers to provide it. The parent has the right to choose which establishment their child attends just like you choose which doctor they see, but they do not have the right to provide a service, only a professional should.
A corrupted state would clearly provide a malign education service, but in such a situation choosing your child's education would be of minor significance compared to the struggle to defeat such a state. In the west and in an increasing number of other states there is stability and democracy has many checks and balances in place to prevent the state going rogue. Take for example how the courts in America have the right to challenge executive orders of the president. Whatever you may feel about the rights and wrongs of the particular issues it is heartening to know that even a president is not above the law. However the chances of finding parents who have educated their children in a wholly unsuitable way is very high if home schooling is allowed. Extremism and radical are not subjective ideas. There are some absolutes, such as the rights of the individual to live without fear of death. Terrorist groups would favour home schooling for this reason. The state is a reflection of the society we live in, not some externally imposed set of values that appears out of nowhere. State education values reflect the values of society and is inspected regularly.
You accept that home schooled children need to be visited by inspectors. If a school is visited by inspectors the education of thousands of children can be monitored effectively by a few inspectors in a few days. To visit a thousand home schooled children would take many more people and would not be done in days. Clearly the pay for the inspectors would be significantly more in this case and it is obvious that the state would soon be spending too much chasing up home schooled individuals rather than focusing funds on the majority of children.
You note that home schooled children are intelligent. As an educational professional myself I am very aware that intelligent children are easy to teach. They are able to grasp concepts quickly from just observing, listening or reading for themselves. Basically they learn even in the poorest of education surroundings. So it does not say much for home schooling that they get good results. They would get good results just left on their own in a library every day. However taking those children out of school deprives their peers of an enriched experience. Learning from each other is a very powerful experience.
Home schooling special need children is bad for society. In previous centuries such people were often institutionalized their entire life. It is highly important that such children have the maximum chance to mix with their peers both for their good and for those who have no such needs. Otherwise society becomes divided.
The final point I wish to make is that some freedoms are more important than others and that for a society to work properly then we must remember our duties to society. Freedoms have a cost. If every child in the western world was home schooled then I believe the cost would be unbearable on society. We would fracture our nations, industry would have poorly educated workers, trust would disappear. There are times when a nation acts as one for the good of all. Education is one such time.
Thank you to Subdeo for the invitation to debate this topic. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your arguments. Best of luck in the vote.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: JonHouser// Mod action: Removed<

6 points to Pro (S&G, Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: While both comported themselves admirably, Con's use of false and erroneous arguments leading to wrong conclusions gave the win to Pro.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn"t explain S&G or sources. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both debaters. Merely generalizing about issues with Con"s points is insufficient.
Posted by subdeo 1 year ago
Thanks for the great discussion, Chui!
Posted by subdeo 1 year ago
Looking forward to seeing what the voters decide on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by David_Debates 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD is found here: