Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Educating their Children


The right of parents to choose an education for their children was declared at the United Nations General Assembly in 1948: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”1 The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture and direct his or her destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare the child for life. The state may require that all children of proper age attend school, that teachers would be of good moral character and patriotic disposition, that certain studies essential to good citizenship must be taught, and that nothing be taught which is manifestly inimical to the public welfare.2

Researchers argue that the power of choice should be given to parents to decide what is the best education option for their children and that parents rather than government should be primarily responsible in terms of actively participating in their children's educational opportunities.3 While public school educators might be pointing fingers of blame for their faults, nowadays parents are taking charge of their children’s education through school choice options. Beyond identifying the impact and importance of parents’ rights in choosing their child's education, parental leadership is an essential topic of discussion.

The Bible advises parents to lead by example, “Teach [the words of God] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19). Throughout my educational experience, I have learned the importance of parents being leaders in their children’s lives: leading them by example, instilling good study habits, and building good relationships that would sustain life circumstances.

Leadership involves influence; without influence, leadership does not exist.4 By being intentionally proactive and taking a leadership role in the children’s education, parents, as well as their children, will benefit. Parental participation in learning has a positive relationship with children’s achievement, attendance, and pro-social behavior. Researchers are convinced that leadership is a skill that can be natural or learned.5 This is encouraging since parents can be equipped through education with leadership skills in spiritual and academic aspects.

As parents become more aware of their rights and thus their responsibilities, it is assumed that they will consciously seek ways to influence their children. One of the parental responsibilities is involvement through (1) encouragement, (2) modeling, (3) reinforcement, and (4) instruction.6 Parental encouragement can help children believe that learning goals are attainable. Parents may also serve as good role models who value education and by reinforcing their goals motivate children to be more responsible for learning. Lastly, being part of academic instruction is essential for a child’s success in school.

For any other questions about online school education, please call (866) 488-4818, or visit Enlightium Academy is an accredited alternative education option for educating your child from home. Enlightium Academy is a private Christian school that offers a Bible-based, flexible, accredited, teacher-supported, and affordable education. Enlightium Academy meets all accreditation and state education requirements, while neither using state curriculum or Common Core.


  1. United nations human rights committee: Universal declaration of human rights at 70: 30 articles on 30 articles - article 18 (2018). Washington, D.C.
  2. Peterson, W. H. (1968). Some state controls and influence on church-related education. Religious Education, 63(1), 42-52.
  3. Graham, C. R & Davis, R. S. (2013). The Nature of Parental Interactions in an Online Charter School. American Journal of Distance Education, 27, 40-55.
  4. Spears, L. C. & Lawrence, M., Editors. (2002). Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for 21st Century. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  5. Greenleaf, R. K. (2012). Servant leadership [25th Anniversary Ed.]: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Paulist Press. Kindle Edition.
  6. Feng, L., Black, E., Algina, J., Cavanaugh, C., & Dawson, K. (2010). The validations of one parental involvement measurement in virtual schooling. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 9(2), 105-132.

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