I was recently emailed by a homeschooling father who wanted to know my thoughts on “keeping legal” with Iowa’s reporting and testing requirements for homeschooling families. Apparently he was receiving some pushback saying that raising and teaching children have nothing to do with the state and that by doing so we may subject our children to a system that may influence what our kids may learn.
I appreciate the zeal behind the pushback. It is a parent’s responsibility to raise and educate kids, not the states. I appreciate the concern about who influences our kids.
I would suspect that this father is not alone in wondering about things like this so I wanted to share with my readers here what I shared with him and expand it a bit.
First we need to remember Romans 13:1- “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God,” (ESV).
If the state came in and said, “you can’t homeschool” or “you have to teach this curriculum.” Then we’d certainly have a case for civil disobedience. We’re not there – yet. Filing a CPI (Competent Private Instruction) form with your school district and then fulfilling the supervisory teacher, portfolio or testing requirement, while not ideal, doesn’t hinder our homeschooling efforts and they don’t dictate what you teach. Now if you’re involved in a Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) through your local school district that would be a different story.
I’d love to see Iowa’s homeschooling law changed to reflect what Indiana or Kansas have for instance, and we need to continue to work to that end. But as Christian citizens we can’t pick and choose which laws we’ll obey and which ones we won’t unless a particular law contradicts God’s law. I think you’d have to do hermenutical somersaults to demonstrate that Iowa’s homeschooling laws do that.
If that changes then civil disobedience can be considered, but then we also need to keep in mind we’ll be responsible for any consequences that arise as a result so that isn’t something to be taken lightly. I recommend that all families who homeschool become members of the Home School Legal Defense Association. They’re a good resource for questions like this, but they’ll also have your back if your right to homeschool becomes challenged by authorities who are ignorant of the law.