Faith in Institutions vs. Self-Reliance

One of the best predictors of homeschool success is whether or not you have faith in institutions*.

Most people do. They figure schools know what’s best for kids, medical personnel know what’s best for people, and government knows what’s best for everyone.

It’s easy to say that “I don’t feel that way!” But think about it. Do you figure if homeschooling doesn’t work out, you can always send your kids back to school? When the doctor’s prescription not only doesn’t help your child but makes him worse, do you immediately go back for a different prescription instead of educating yourself on the problem first? And when your government tells you it will handle its enormous debt, do you figure it knows what it’s doing and go back to your day? Because these are all signs of reliance on institutions.

Most of the homeschoolers I’ve known over the years have shared a distrust of institutions. Their school experience was not the highlight of their childhood and may have even been a catalyst for homeschooling their children. They take what their doctors say with a grain of salt and start doing their own research on their (and their loved ones’) health situations, which is why many of them are into homeopathy, follow certain ways of eating ranging from paleo to vegan, and often don’t want their children to be vaccinated. And they respond to their government’s casual reassurances about its financial future by stocking up on food, weapons and, if they have the money, gold.

I see this conflict between those who believe in institutions and those who don’t a lot lately, especially among homeschoolers. I hear from moms who are frustrated because those who run the homeschool co-op their kids attend aren’t being fair, or aren’t offering convenient-enough times or places for co-op classes. Sometimes there’s panic in their tone, and I don’t understand it. I went into homeschooling figuring I was going to have to do it myself, and proceeded accordingly. But these parents don’t see it that way. That tells me that they have too much faith in institutions, and I have to wonder about their commitment to homeschooling their children. I hope they won’t do like some and put their kids back in school, until something happens there that they don’t like and they pull them back out again to homeschool them. That’s not really fair to the child. Kids need consistency, and they’ll find that in the home if their parents are able to provide it.

From what I’ve seen, parents who instinctively distrust institutions are better suited to long-term homeschooling. There’s a self-reliance there that’s lacking in those who trust so-called experts more than their own God-given common sense.

*I’m using the term “institutions” as a catch-all that includes organizations, bureaucracies, teams and organized groups.

Wish You Were Paid to Homeschool Your Children?

With the economy being the way it is, most of us could use some extra income. That makes the idea of being paid to homeschool our children pretty tempting, at least at first.

After all, if we weren’t homeschooling our children, we could be out in the workforce bringing in some much-needed income. I once worked out that by staying home to homeschool my kids, I’ve missed out on over a million dollars in income. I guess you have to be really convinced about the superiority of homeschooling to give up that kind of money.

In New Zealand, the government actually pays parents to homeschool their children. It’s not a fortune: the pay starts at $743 per year for the first child, with lesser amounts for additional children. But it would cover a nice quantity of books, software and field trips, that’s for sure.

The writer of the New Zealand article I just linked to thinks we need a program like this in the U.S. I don’t agree. The problem with taking money from the government is that you open yourself up to being told what to do and how to do it. This is the same danger that many people ignore regarding state-run virtual schools.

There’s an old saying: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” It’s true of employers, and it’s also true of governments. I don’t want government money. I just want to be free to choose how to educate my kids.

Do you feel the same way? Or are you ready for a paycheck?

They Don’t Teach This in College

There’s an increasing amount of debate going on these days about college and whether it’s worth it anymore, especially in an economy where people with degrees are among those hit hardest by unemployment.

This article’s author suggests that our government is responsible for pushing kids to college, including many who are not college material to begin with. It’s sad to think of so many young people graduating with a diploma that doesn’t help them find a job, but does saddle them with debt that they must repay.

The author offers a solution to that problem, though…..a certain type of job that will help new grads develop a very important skill: how to sell products and themselves. Makes a lot of sense! In the meantime, we should be encouraging this skill in our kids before they leave home.

Why Should Homeschoolers Care?

One of the things I will remember most about 2009 is that our government began to take over more of our daily lives: for instance, it now owns General Motors, and it’s trying to take over our health care.

Why should homeschoolers care about this? Read Dr. Samuel Blumenthal’s take on this issue and you’ll see why.

Uncle Sam Will Use Schoolchildren to Pressure Parents on 2010 Census

If you doubt John Taylor Gatto‘s assertion that public schools are all about indoctrination, not education, here’s something for you to consider.

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced a plan to educate schoolchildren on the benefits of the U.S. Census, and why they should nag their parents to answer the census takers who will be arriving at their front door next year:

Between January and March, the Census Bureau will help plan a week of Census education in schools. During Census Week, teachers will devote 15 minutes every day for five days to the topic by discussing such things as civic participation, confidentiality or geography. Beginning in mid-March, more than 120 million Census questionnaires will be delivered to residential addresses.

The Census Bureau is partnering with Sesame Street to extend the 2010 Census message to preschoolers and adult caregivers. Under consideration: Using Sesame Street characters on Census materials and having characters participate in school events and public service announcements.

Aside from the fact that the school day is supposed to be spent teaching kids how to read, write and do math, I have to wonder why the government is coming after kids with this Census Public Relations campaign. I understand that some students have non-English speaking parents and can explain the census to their parents. But they are the minority of students, and really should not be expected to do the government’s job.

But there’s something a bit more disturbing here. Consider what it says in the U.S. Constitution:

Representation and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers … . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

— Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States

The Census Bureau quotes this part of the U.S. Constitution right on its site. Note the use of the word “enumeration.” According to Dictionary.com, “enumeration” means “to determine the number of; count.”

Now take a look at a sample of the census. Note that “How many people are living in this home?” is only the first question. Then the government wants to know the following about every person in the household:

First and last name

Sex

Age

Date of Birth

Hispanic or not?

Race

Whether each person sometimes lives somewhere else

How they are related to each other

 

That’s one heck of a lot more than just enumerating. It’s actually pretty intrusive, and certainly not specified in the Constitution. But the government wants this information badly enough that it’s got a plan for pressuring schoolchildren to get their parents to answer all of these questions.

In other words, they’re indoctrinating and using kids for their own purposes.

Yet another reason I’m glad to be a homeschooling parent. How about you?