Aug
31

Thoughts on Homeschooling

By

Recently, Sweden has made a lot of noise about banning homeschooling. It isn’t set in stone yet, and in fact the Swedish Association for Home Education is asking for help from the international community to combat this legislation, but it doesn’t look good. Thankfully, in the United States one of our greatest freedoms is to have the choice of how to teach our children. Sure, we pay a high price, namely we are still taxed for public schools, but the freedom to homeschool should be fought for tooth-and-nail at every level of our wretched government.

Homeschooling has garnered a lot of attention of late, even making it into the student newspaper at UT-Austin. Unfortunately, the writer of said article didn’t do his homework at all and criticized us homeschoolers without cause. It turns out that the most recent nationwide study indicates that homeschoolers consistently score 37 percentage points above national average on standardized testing. How’s that for academic excellence?

But academic excellence is not the only reason to exit the public school system. As Gary North so aptly put in his fantastic article, Who Will Inherit Your Money When You Die?, our greatest concern about the future of our wealth shouldn’t be the inheritance tax, but the public schools. Who cares who gets your money when you die when your children have been turned into servants of the State.

Government officials, unlike parents, understand that the secret of inheriting enormous wealth is to persuade the heirs to spend the money your way, not the deceased’s way. The money is merely capital. The crucial factor is the will.

Human will.

This is why, in every nation, the government requires attendance at schools. It then taxes people to fund these schools. The handful of schools that it does not fund it regulates. The schools that it does not regulate are so few in number that the government ignores them.

This strategy was spelled out in detail by the scholar who is sometimes called the father of American central planning: Lester Frank Ward. His 1883 book, Dynamic Sociology, presented the program. First, destroy all private education. Second, force parents to send their children to tax-funded schools. Third, filter out all objectionable ideas in the textbooks and classrooms.

If you haven’t read North’s article yet, you need to. Don’t tithe your children to the State.

We often hear people mistakenly criticize the homeschool movement for lacking what they call “social skills.” This is a ridiculous assertion that can be trashed any number of ways, but I think this has been answered best by my friend Ryan McMaken, who said recently on a private forum (quoted with permission):

“Thousands of years of human civilization illustrate that successful societies integrate children into adult society. That is, they don’t warehouse thousands of teens and children with other teens and children.  You learn manners and socialization skills by associating with people who have them: namely, adults. Hanging out constantly with other children teaches you only how to behave like a barbaric child. This is why civilized people build education and training around apprenticeships, home schooling, and other systems that involve close association between adults and children.”

Need I say more about “social skills”? I shouldn’t have to, but let me go one step more. If you’re concerned that homeschooling will inhibit your children socially, compare the suicide statistics of homeschoolers versus public schooled kids.

Now don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends and some of my dearest relatives are public school teachers. They are the type of people that I would want to hire for a great private school. But as it is with many government organizations, the problem is systemic in nature. It doesn’t matter if you have a couple of great people involved, because the system itself cannot be successful. In fact, it will even drag down private schooling (and homeschooling!) by crowding out competition, reducing the quality and increasing the cost of these other educational ventures. This is exactly what Murray Rothbard predicted in his essay Education: Free and Compulsory. The only solution, then, is the abolition of the system. Imagine how much better off we would all be, private schoolers and homeschoolers alike, if the public school system did not sap all the resources for their classrooms…

But as it is, homeschoolers right now are beating the State, and for the Christian libertarian this is an opportunity that should not be missed. If you haven’t already, join us and promote liberty by getting out of a system designed to corrupt your children.

Norman Horn

Norman is the founder and editor of LibertarianChristians.com. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology.

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  • http://www.jacobsfamilyof4.blogspot.com jill

    Great article! I’m a Christian, homeschooling, libertarian myself! :) I enjoy your site!

  • http://www.jacobsfamilyof4.blogspot.com jill

    Great article! I’m a Christian, homeschooling, libertarian myself! :) I enjoy your site!

  • Norman

    Thanks Jill! I’m glad to meet you, please feel free to comment and ask questions. There’s so much that can be discussed on this topic and lots of folks and we all benefit from group conversation. Keep coming back! :-)

  • Jason

    I’m a non-Christian libertarian, and while I have not yet found a wife or gotten myself a couple of rugrats, I can assure you, they will definitely be home-schooled. Homeschooling is still legal here in Kansas, but not so everywhere in the USA… I believe in Colorado you are required to have a teaching degree in order to home school your own children.

  • Jason

    I’m a non-Christian libertarian, and while I have not yet found a wife or gotten myself a couple of rugrats, I can assure you, they will definitely be home-schooled. Homeschooling is still legal here in Kansas, but not so everywhere in the USA… I believe in Colorado you are required to have a teaching degree in order to home school your own children.

  • Norman

    @Jason: Yeah, the rules vary state-to-state. I hear from Shamus at Brains are Delicious that where he lives in Pennsylvania the rules pretty much stink as well. I’ve lived in Texas and Missouri and both have favorable homeschooling climates.

  • Jameson

    I see no problem with homeschooling. I’m going to school to be a teacher (with any luck a professor), and one of the posters in the hallways says that three out of five science teachers in Texas are not certified in their area. Also, if you are certified to teach one subject, to be certified in another you just have to pass an exam. If you are smart enough to homeschool, then I would imagine the amount of education under their belt would take care of the certification business.
    The only pitfall I can see is parents neglecting to teach some worthwhile topics (evolution, Koch’s postulates, radioactivity, and the Big Bang Theory were things that were not gone over when I was in high school, and my high school was a nationally exemplary school), but what kind of parent would not want their kids to be full of knowledge?
    I’m not sure if homeschooling parents have to stick to the exact same curriculum as the surrounding school district, but not sticking to it may not be such a bad thing. In my experience as a science tutor for the TAKS exam, the order that I was supposed to teach the stuff didn’t make any sense at all.
    In John Stossel’s book “Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity,” he says that the ‘freedom’ that everybody thinks public school teachers have in their classroom is bull. How they teach the lesson is up to them, mostly, but they all have to teach about the same topic at the same time. Of course, teachers want their students to do well, but there is no accountability at the level of the teacher.
    Interestingly enough, it is at the school level. After, if I remember correctly, five years of unsatisfactory standardized test scores, the school is closed down and is re-opened as a charter school.

  • Jameson

    I see no problem with homeschooling. I’m going to school to be a teacher (with any luck a professor), and one of the posters in the hallways says that three out of five science teachers in Texas are not certified in their area. Also, if you are certified to teach one subject, to be certified in another you just have to pass an exam. If you are smart enough to homeschool, then I would imagine the amount of education under their belt would take care of the certification business.
    The only pitfall I can see is parents neglecting to teach some worthwhile topics (evolution, Koch’s postulates, radioactivity, and the Big Bang Theory were things that were not gone over when I was in high school, and my high school was a nationally exemplary school), but what kind of parent would not want their kids to be full of knowledge?
    I’m not sure if homeschooling parents have to stick to the exact same curriculum as the surrounding school district, but not sticking to it may not be such a bad thing. In my experience as a science tutor for the TAKS exam, the order that I was supposed to teach the stuff didn’t make any sense at all.
    In John Stossel’s book “Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity,” he says that the ‘freedom’ that everybody thinks public school teachers have in their classroom is bull. How they teach the lesson is up to them, mostly, but they all have to teach about the same topic at the same time. Of course, teachers want their students to do well, but there is no accountability at the level of the teacher.
    Interestingly enough, it is at the school level. After, if I remember correctly, five years of unsatisfactory standardized test scores, the school is closed down and is re-opened as a charter school.

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  • http://www.thepalmettopost.blogspot.com jenkinsbrigade

    A couple of thoughts at Jameson:

    It is true that under the one-size-fits-all constraints of NCLB, teachers have next to no latitude in what content to deliver to students. This is something that I and every other teacher I know hates. I, for example, teach 8th-grade physical science in California. Purely aside from being a subject many students have little interest in, our state-mandated curriculum limits the content of this otherwise enormous field of study to only three topics: chemistry, physics, and astronomy.

    Under NCLB, schools are not converted to charter schools after five years of bad scores. What actually happens (at least in California) is that schools that have failed to meet testing ‘growth targets’ for three consecutive years go into ‘program improvement’ status. Continued failure to meet targets results in a school being taken over by the state, who then exercise far-reaching discretionary powers to revamp faculty, administration, and curriculum. The whole notion of ‘program’ improvement is patently ridiculous. The school in our district with the highest academic performance index (API) score (excluding two small, necessary schools with abnormally low student/teacher ratios)ranks in the 90th percentile of similar schools state-wide (they scored 865 this past year; 800 is the state-wide target), yet because they failed to meet their growth targets for three consecutive years, they are now in year two of program improvement. Most schools in California would kill to have an API score of 865. The situation is a joke, and the parents in the district know it: not one has taken up the district on its NCLB-mandated offer to have their child bussed, at district expense, to a non-program-improvement school — all the other schools have lower scores!

    As a first step towards educational liberty, NCLB must die, and the federal Department of Education should follow soon thereafter. 50 states having 50 different experiments in delivering instruction might not be as good as no public schools at all, but it would be an improvement over the current system. Unfortunately, the teacher’s unions are hopelessly in lock-step with the federal government on those two issues.

    Sorry for the rant — NCLB always touches a nerve!

  • http://www.thepalmettopost.blogspot.com jenkinsbrigade

    A couple of thoughts at Jameson:

    It is true that under the one-size-fits-all constraints of NCLB, teachers have next to no latitude in what content to deliver to students. This is something that I and every other teacher I know hates. I, for example, teach 8th-grade physical science in California. Purely aside from being a subject many students have little interest in, our state-mandated curriculum limits the content of this otherwise enormous field of study to only three topics: chemistry, physics, and astronomy.

    Under NCLB, schools are not converted to charter schools after five years of bad scores. What actually happens (at least in California) is that schools that have failed to meet testing ‘growth targets’ for three consecutive years go into ‘program improvement’ status. Continued failure to meet targets results in a school being taken over by the state, who then exercise far-reaching discretionary powers to revamp faculty, administration, and curriculum. The whole notion of ‘program’ improvement is patently ridiculous. The school in our district with the highest academic performance index (API) score (excluding two small, necessary schools with abnormally low student/teacher ratios)ranks in the 90th percentile of similar schools state-wide (they scored 865 this past year; 800 is the state-wide target), yet because they failed to meet their growth targets for three consecutive years, they are now in year two of program improvement. Most schools in California would kill to have an API score of 865. The situation is a joke, and the parents in the district know it: not one has taken up the district on its NCLB-mandated offer to have their child bussed, at district expense, to a non-program-improvement school — all the other schools have lower scores!

    As a first step towards educational liberty, NCLB must die, and the federal Department of Education should follow soon thereafter. 50 states having 50 different experiments in delivering instruction might not be as good as no public schools at all, but it would be an improvement over the current system. Unfortunately, the teacher’s unions are hopelessly in lock-step with the federal government on those two issues.

    Sorry for the rant — NCLB always touches a nerve!

  • http://www.pestrepeller.info Liam Martin

    Home Schooling is also nice since you got to always see your kids.*-*

  • http://www.pestrepeller.info Liam Martin

    Home Schooling is also nice since you got to always see your kids.*-*

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  • ourdemascam

    Where would one find the statistics comparing suicide rates between public schooled and homeschooled children?

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