A pitfall of the fallen human mind is how narratives shape our perception of the world, even outweighing facts and common sense. For example, nuclear power is one of the safest ways to generate electricity. According to the Our World in Data report, nuclear is 99.8% safer than coal in terms of deaths per unit of power. Yet because of three dramatic accidents and the press surrounding them—Three Mile Island in 1979Chernobyl in 1986, and Fukushima in 2011—nuclear power is widely perceived as extraordinarily dangerous and in need of claustrophobic regulation. 

Similarly, a narrative pushed by many in the press aims at rendering something else radioactive: homeschooling. As a Washington Post analysis found late last year, homeschooling is America’s fastest-growing form of education. Around 2.7 million students are home-schooled in America today, up by about a million since before the pandemic. For Washington Post reporters, this is scary.  

One article described homeschooling as a “largely unregulated practice once confined to the ideological fringe,” whose rise in popularity is leading critics “to sound alarms.” In it, an emeritus Harvard Law professor ominously warned, “Policymakers should think, ‘Wow—this is a lot of kids.’ We should worry about whether they’re learning anything.’”  

A school board member from Florida echoed their concern: “Many of these parents don’t have any understanding of education. The price will be very big to us and to society. But that won’t show up for a few years.” 

In a Washington Post story from December 2, Peter Jamison recounted the tragic death of an 11-year-old California boy named Roman Lopez from severe neglect and abuse. Though, as in most such cases, the story involved a broken and blended family—a factor children’s rights activist Katy Faust points out is a consistent risk—according to The Washington Post, the thing to blame was that Lopez’s stepmom said she was homeschooling him.  

“Home education was an easy way to avoid the scrutiny of teachers, principals, guidance counselors,” suggests Jamison. Yet, he admits,  

Little research exists on the link between homeschooling and child abuse. The few studies conducted in recent years have not shown that home-schooled children are at significantly greater risk of mistreatment than those who attend public, private, or charter schools.   

And the Post wasn’t finished. Nine days later, the Post devoted an article aimed at debunking the work of home-school researcher and advocate Brian Ray, who has long argued that home-schoolers out-perform their public-schooled peers. With little content to criticize Ray’s methodology, the Post devoted space to quoting anti-home-schooling activists and Ray’s aggrieved adult daughter. 

And then, three days after Christmas, the Post ran another article by Peter Jamison on the growing fear among home-schooling families that state funding in the form of vouchers will come with increased government oversight. Leaving little doubt where he stands on the issue of state oversight, he threw in a story about a network of Nazi home-schoolers in Ohio.  

These articles reveal not only the biases of Washington Post reporters and their willingness to use scare stories in place of data but also expose crucial questions they are unwilling to ask, as well as assumptions about the role of parents and the state when it comes to education.  

To simultaneously note how home schooling has exploded in popularity but, in almost every article, refuse to ask why the popularity is, at best, a stunning lack of curiosity. If asked, I suspect the parents of the over two-and-a-half million home-schoolers in America would say something about endless school closures during COVIDideological indoctrination in public school classrooms, the fact that standardized test scores are at a 30-year low and that administrators and school boards act and, at times, articulate that they know better, and parents should butt out. Perhaps many parents concluded they could do a better job teaching their kids. Perhaps they didn’t think they should “butt out.” Perhaps they are not comfortable with the lack of oversight in classrooms and over teachers and school boards. Perhaps they are skeptical of the “experts” who are “sounding alarms” about homeschooling while ignoring the massive failures of the current state-run system. 

Ultimately, The Washington Post’s breathless attacks on homeschooling reveal an unquestioned assumption that children belong primarily to the state and not to parents. The rise in homeschooling, Christian schooling, parent-run charter schools, and other innovations show that more and more families are rejecting that assumption. In doing so, they are acknowledging the biblical expectation that parents, not the state, are ultimately responsible for teaching and raising children.  

If the press wants to keep giving homeschooling the nuclear power treatment, they should also develop some curiosity about why so many parents are choosing, often at great sacrifice, to take their children’s education back into their own hands. And they should ask what that says about the status quo. 

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Shane Morris. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to 

Photo Courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Francescoch
Publish Date: January 10, 2024

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.