I don't believe that forcing a child to learn is immoral-not at all! I can't count the number of lessons I would have skipped, and gladly, if Mamma hadn't made me sit down and do them. However, I do
think that forcing a child to attend school[/] is immoral, wrong, bad, nasty and horrible. I'm not decrying public schools, or even private schools, this time around. But if a child is being bullied, if she's falling behind, if the teacher, well-intentioned but so very, very busy, can't rectify the situation-the child needs to come out. And it happens in private schools, not just public education. But it seems to me that you guys are missing the middle ground.
Kalailan speaks of unschooling, which is good in principle, but imposes absolutely [I]no
habits on a child, and doesn't train him in the use of his will. (Young children have strong wills; any mother can tell you that. Better, I think, that some training be applied so that the child can learn to use that will for good, and not against it.) Emma refers to public school, and you already know what I think of that.
But everyone is forgetting homeschooling. It takes the child out of the environment where he or she has been languishing, and still gives clear bounds, and does force certain things, certain habits. With us, for example, we could do our schoolwork any time of the morning we liked...but it absolutely had to be done before noon. If ten o'clock came and we hadn't started yet, Mamma made us sit down and do it. (That was when we were younger, and only had about two hours worth of school work to do.) When I was about twelve, we switched curriculums, which gave me a total of about four and a half hours of school work over an entire day. By this time, I was learning self-discipline, which made it much easier.
My schooling left me plenty of time for play as a child, but as I grew older, it left me plenty of time for other things, like working towards my career goals and serving an apprenticeship under my mother. (Working and learning, you see, Mingshey.)
Of course, homeschooling isn't for everyone. Mamma quit her job so that she could stay home and school us-and we're a single-parent family. She has her own business now, and works out of the home, but for a while things were very rough, both financially and emotionally speaking. You have to be a very dedicated parent, I think, in order to do that, and most parents today just-won't.