Last week, I shared a news story on the Facebook page for The Classical Unschooler that got much attention. A bill, introduced by an Assemblywoman in New Jersey, would give homeschoolers a tax credit between $1000 and $3000.
“If parents decide that the home is the best learning environment for their children, a tax credit can help offset the cost of the many expensive yet fundamental educational resources they will need.” – McKnight.
When the story broke, most homeschoolers wrote, “No, thank you.” I was – still am – in that camp. Others however wondered why.
After all, a tax credit isn’t like a voucher. The government cannot regulate what you spent the money on – simply that you homeschool. Also, considering that you are paying taxes, this credit isn’t “their” money, it’s your money that would come back to you.
These are valid points, I will admit.
A tax credit isn’t a voucher; it is self-reported just like mortgage interest, employee and medical expenses – for which we get credits or deductions. It also is a completely different from enrolling in a charter school that assigns an education specialist to oversee curricula, progress, grade levels and pays the “homeschooling” parent for expenses.
I’m not a fan of either, by the way, but that’s a blog post for another time. Here, I want to address why homeschoolers are so vehemently opposed to any kind of government programs for us.
The answer is simple: we don’t like the idea of a homeschooling credit because it draws the attention of the government. It attracts regulation.
Homeschoolers like to be left alone. Only in being completely free of the state do we have freedom. Yes, it costs a little more – sometimes a lot more, but we see that as a necessary price. As homeschoolers, we do our best to hide.
Some of my readers argued that we use other tax credits legally. Yes, we all use whatever tax deductions that are available to us when it comes to mortgage interest, medical expenses and employee expenses. But consider how very regulated all those other things are. Housing? Regulated. Employment? Regulated. Medical expenses? Do we even need to ask?
While none of these expenses might be regulated on a micro or individual level, they are under heavy state control on a macro level.
That is exactly the situation homeschoolers want to avoid. And while I know the slippery slope argument gets overused, in this case it’s a valid one to consider.
Homeschoolers are perfectly willing to pay for freedom. Let’s keep it that way.