I am going to get a bit personal with today’s post, and then I am going to take a break for a few days or so to focus on writing a serious semi-scholarly piece for the Syncretism series. I wnat to get the Easter peice done that I have been promising for over a month now. Time to deliver on that promise, don;t you think?
What I want to talk about today is homeschooling and the religious and political issues that come as baggage with any decision by a parent to homeschool his children. The focus of today’s discussion will be the social motivationsa, as opposed to psychological ones, and the social perceptions of homeschoolers. I am going to use my own experiences as a homeschooler as well as those of other homeschool parents that I know here in Mountain Home. I will also draw in material from other posts I hav e written without actual citing and referencing the artciles. So, if you are not familiar with my body of work, I suggest you start reading! LOL [BTW, to keep me from getting too stressed and ranting too much, I am listening to Page and Plant’s No Quarter and Walking Into Clarksville albums. If you don’t know who they are, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are the heart and soul of Led Zeppelin].
The general perception of homeschoolers, by those not part of the community, is that we are all religious fundamentalists who border on being some kind of cultists. And that we homeschool our kids because we want to protect them from exposure to secularist learning like real science. These religious use tje Bible to teach what passes for history and science in their curricula. There are a significant number of hoseschoolers who fall into this category and, generally speaking, they are the most vocal members of the home schooling community. I think that has something to do with their unquestioning and unreflected belief that they, and they alone, kknow the truth and that they speak for God as well. Personally, I find those beliefs dangerous and disgusting.
But, these people do not represent all homeschoolers. They may not even represent the majority of the homescholling community. I’ve never really researched the numbers, but perhaps I will. I now have some real motivation for becoming more vocal on the subject. Some “hard” facts are always helpful if you get on a soapbox, although that has never stopped a preacher or a politician. LOL
The reason I currently home school my youngest son and next school year will also homeschool my teenage daughter is that I have become very disillusioned with the public school system here in Arkansas. My complaints about Arkansas educational policy will, more than likely, apply to a lot of other states as well. Or so it seems, based on what I’ve been reading the last few years.
Awhile back – tenty years or more – there was a movement to get more local control of the schools – control by the parents of the students who attended. That would have been a very good thing, I think. But then, as is the case with so many other things, the politicians got involved. And instead of giving more policy making authority to the parents and teachers, we got more rules from government bureaucrats, whose only interest in education is to make it as bureaucrat-laden as the government is. Amd we ;et tje po;iticians get away with this kind of crap time and time again because we have been trained to believe that the government should be responsible for every facet of our lives, rather that it being the provider of the tools and resources to empower the parents and teachers to provide the best education possible for the children.
We parents need to remember that the ultimate responsibility for our children belongs to us, their parents, and not the local, state, or federal government. When I said something like this to my buddy, Jeff, up in chicago last week, he said, “Mow you are starting to sound like a conservative.” And in a way he’s right, but not in the way he meant it. I am so conservative as to be radical. My conservatism, is, as I said elsewhere, not the conservatism of the Republicans, Rather, it is the conservatism of the foudnig principles of the american Revolution and are written into our federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which the Republicans have not only trampled in the mud, but have used to try to topple the very edifice that is the USA, which was built on those principles.
It is to teach my children personal responsibility and the true meaning of those foudning principles that I now homeschool them. The public school system has become the propaganda machine of the government, more concerned with brainwashing our children into becoming model citizens, who believe in the infallibility of the government, and act as if the government were a desu ex machina that esits apart from the people it governs and is like the giant venus fly trap in Little Shop of Horrors, always wanting more blood. The more blood it gets, the more it grows, and then it wants even more blood.
Taxes are not the blood that feeds the monster that is our government, but rather, it is the stupid regulations it says we need in order to guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But that is a scam and the politicians know that, but don’t want us to figure it out. Bureaucracies, as Max Weber pointed out almost a century ago, are self-serving and always growing, vreating new regulations that foster its growth. We don’t need tax cuts, we need bureaucrat cuts. But no politician in his right mind will support such a radical move, That initiative has to come from us, the governed.
We need to send a message to the government that we are sick and tired of all the stupid rule and regulations. Getting exemptions from government-mandated vaccinations for our children is one way to do that. Another way is to homeschool.
Hoemschoolers do not have to meet state health requirements like vaccination. Mo need to even apply for an exemption. Homeschoolers do not have the same mandated state testing – testing that does nothing to measure the quality of the education a chil receives, but only measures what they have memorized. Education is supposed to focus on teaching our children how to think, how to take principles and apply them. Instead, public education teaches our children to memorize a bunch of facts that they can find in any good set of encyclopedias, but teaches nothing on how to use those facts. One of my pet peeves when I was teaching freshmen in college was they had memorized the rules of grammar or how to spell, but no one had ever taught them how to actually write a coherent and logical term paper. They had no idea how to think critically about something, say human evolution, and then present their thoughts in a clear and readable manner. My eleven-year-old writes a better paper than the majority of freshman I had in my classes. Because I am teaching him o think critically, and because I do not stress penmanship or spelling so much, as I do proper grammar and logical development of ideas. After all, Michael and many of his friends have computers with spell check. By the time these kids are old enough for the world of work, their employers will be more interested in their computer literacy than in their penmanship anyway. Michael already knows a great deal about how to do things on a computer – in some areas, more than I do.
We need more of this kind of homeschoolers if we are to keep this country on the right track. Of we continue to let our kids be brainwashed by the public education system as it currently exists. or if we fall into the trap of fundamentalism, this country will become like the Roman empire with its bread and circuses. Rome became a mighty empire because it was first a strong republic. but, as the republic grew in size, it became a self-serving bureaucracy. same with ancient Athens, ancient China, and many other political entities.
when you have a represnetative type of government, with a Congress, Parliament, Duma, or whatever, you have to have a bureaucracy and that is where the trouble starts. We now have the technology, if we wanted to, to eliminate the need for that type of government. Teaching computer literact and personal responsibility as a citizen would make it possible to hold regular national referendums on every piece of legislation. and that legislation could be initiated by any citizen or group of citizens. So many of the abuses of our current political system would be eliminated if we did this the right way.
But, without ensuring that every citizen took personal responsibility and put the good of all ahead of personal desires, something that did exist in early America among at least a fair number of colonists, this idea will not work. And the public education system is not currently geared to teach altruism and personal responsibility. So, it is up to each of us who are parents to take the initiative and create a generation commited to the same principles as our Founding Fathers and a generation with the same willingness to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to those principles.
Be a revolutionary. Homeschool your children. teach them honor, libery, and justice for all. And teach them to think for themselves.