3 minute read

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), at it’s National General Conference (Feb 2019) adopted a policy of ‘liberty in learning’ with regards to education.  While homeschooling advocacy groups and homeschoolers are celebrating this, we as unschoolers should be weary of celebrating with them.

Unschoolers for whom unschooling is rooted in social justice and dismantling adultism, the other policies of the ACDP present a conflict of values. There are two points of conflict that are crucial and material. The rights of children and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community of which some children are a part of.

Children’s Rights

The ACDP and the same Cheryllyn Dudley who has been a champion of homeschooling are also champions of corporal punishment of children by parents and teachers.  

LGBTQ Rights

What does ‘liberty in learning’ mean without ‘liberty of being’?  A consequence of the ACDP’s opposition to LGBTQ+ rights, is the violation of the right and freedom of children to self identify in terms of gender and sexual orientation.

Is our unschooling for justice or just (for) us?

If our freedom to educate outside of government mandated schooling is tied up in the oppression of others, then it’s not really a freedom, but a privilege.  And we all know that privilege is always at the expense of others.

The irony in this particular instance is that our so-called freedom to educate differently from the government mandate is directly tied up with the oppression of the very people we’re doing this with. Children!

Hitting children is a violation of their right to be free from violence, of their consent (hitting is touching without consent), and children’s right to freely self identify.  Their right to exist as human beings.

I’ve written before in Unschooling as Social Change

“In a similar fashion, while unschooling is the practice of freedom in our homes, a natural extension of unschooling should be to acknowledge and dismantle the structures, practices, behaviours, and values of domination in society that continue to oppress numerous groups of people.”

Rights of Children, Rights of Parents

Unschoolers, it is a big problem that the political party advocating for parents right to home educate is the same party advocating for parents’ right to inflict corporal punishment on children.  Supporting the ACDP in this instance is taking us away from exactly that which we are working towards: a socially just and peaceful world for all.

The way I see it there is a fundamental difference between unschoolers’ advocacy and that of the some of the homeschooling advocacy groups together with the ACDP.   It boils down to the difference between the rights of parents and the rights of children. Ours is an advocacy for the rights of children and for parents to partner with their children on their education and life journey, theirs is an advocacy for the rights of parents exclusively, at the expense of the rights of children. Outside of the ACDP’s ‘liberty in learning’, for unschoolers there is no alignment to be found with the policies of the ACDP.

I think we are on our own on this one!

Side Note:

While I use the words unschoolers, which could imply that I am speaking for more than myself, I certainly do not speak on behalf of others. This is my personal articulation (and appeal).

I deliberately haven’t shared any links – I don’t want to be sending traffic to websites that might be problematic or have suspect funding.  A search on ACDP + Corporal Punishment and ACDP + LGBTQ rights should provide more than enough links to show the support of the ACDP to corporal punishment and their stance on LGBTQ+ rights.

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