"Want to Tel the State to Stick It? Homeschool Your Kids"
notion that the children belong to the state, that their education must
be provided for by the state … is inimical at every step to liberty.” – J. Gresham Machen
The swelling legions of homeschoolers poke a subtle rebuke at America’s ever expanding nanny state. Under both parties, Washington
has systematically invaded private spheres and co-opted public services
historically performed by local bodies. But a spontaneous groundswell
of freedom minded folks has continued America’s rich inheritance of
The God-fearing, flag-waiving, gun-toting homeschool crowd embodies
the American spirit of mutual self-reliance. You won’t encounter a more
neighborly bunch. Their children thrive without government “help.” Their
support networks blossom sans the state’s sanction. Meanwhile,
taxpayers waste a fortune securing abysmal academic results. In 2012,
SAT scores fell to their lowest level since tracking began. As spending
soars, assessment scores plummet.
The modern homeschool movement comes largely by Christians aghast
over an academic establishment overrun by progressives. Schools long ago
became laboratories for instilling statism and distilling politically
correct groupthink. Values clarification anyone? With public education
increasingly geared toward multicultural agitation against America’s
godly heritage, many parents resolved to safeguard the hearts, souls and
minds of their young.
At least 1.5 million students receive home-based academic instruction.
The ranks of homeschoolers are rising rapidly across every social
strata, faith and ethnicity. While many families lack sufficient means
for someone to stay home, it’s not generally those affluent enough to
afford exclusive parochial education. The highest homeschool
participation appears in households with incomes ranging from $25,000 to $75,000.
The homeschool community reflects a cross-section of Americans; the
children of truck drivers and lawyers, whites and blacks, rich and poor,
Christians and unbelievers.
What is civilization save passing to posterity the accumulated
prosperity, cultural achievements, customs and mores of our forbearers?
In the American context this includes self-reliance. Parents are the
primary medium for rearing children. Should liberty endure, America must
restore her multi-generational perspective, lately befuddled by
Leviathan permeating life.
We have two principle tutors, lessons learned via individual
experience and the wisdom amassed by our ancestors. Progressives have
purposely uprooted America’s multi-generational perspective for many
decades. Woodrow Wilson, who prior to the White House presided over
Princeton, wrote, “The use of a university is to make young gentlemen as
unlike their fathers as possible.”
Not to besmirch the many fine teachers, but an education
establishment intent on discrediting tradition as a compass has rendered
much of America’s youth adrift with only the pittance of personal
experience to navigate their course. Students are prodded to disdain the
independent spirit and biblical morality which birthed America’s
exceptionalism. But casting aside the wisdom of our fathers comes at
Edmund Burke admonished “The individual is foolish, but the species is wise.”
J. Gresham Machen, the foremost defender of fundamentalism in the
modernist controversy of the past century, also led the battle against
compulsory public education. A fierce libertarian, Machen cautioned, “If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else as well.”
We have. See election 2012.
– who spent his past assailing the American system – would not be
president without overwhelming support from twenty-somethings imbued
with a reverence for the state. No longer the family tree, “government
is the only thing we all belong to” claims the ruling party.
Ron Paul senses the urgency, “Expect the rapidly expanding homeschool
movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed
to rebuild a free society with constitutional protections.” Dr. Paul
warns, “We cannot expect a federal government controlled school system
to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of
government that threatens our liberties.” Proving his point, homeschool parents were instrumental behind several UN treaties stalling in the Senate.
Like the local self-government formed indigenously by settler
communities on America’s frontier, homeschoolers spontaneously built a
support apparatus from the ground up. The free market at work, parents
can readily access almost any curricula, subject matter or activity.
The Department of Education’s Dr. Patricia Lines countered
the notion of homeschoolers withdrawing from America’s social fabric,
“Like the Antifederalists these homeschoolers are asserting their
historic individual rights so that they may form more meaningful bonds
with family and community. In doing so, they are not abdicating from the
American agreement. To the contrary, they are affirming it.”
A misperception persists that homeschooled children lack social skills. Dr. Brian Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute,
surveyed seven thousand adult graduates of homeschools. His research
reveals they are significantly more likely to participate in community
service initiatives, join civic, religious or business organizations and
be politically involved. A limited study by J. Gary Knowles found no
homeschool graduates who were unemployed or residing on welfare.
Unless socialization means sassing their parents, as confirmed by Dr. Larry Shyers, homeschooled children exhibit significantly less behavioral problems than other students.
Public schools nurture self-esteem. Homeschooling cultivates character
allowing children to flourish into responsible citizens. Moreover, Dr.
Ray concludes adults taught at home retained their parent’s worldviews
far more frequently than peers. Students learning at home absorb much
less liberal cant.
Homeschooled kids don’t lack socialization . . . but socialism.
The most pressing motive behind taking on the terrific burden of home
education is to impart religious or moral beliefs at 36 percent; safety
was primary for 21 percent of parents and dissatisfaction with academic
performance at other schooling options accounted for 17 percent.
Parents also cited geographical distance, preferring non-traditional
teaching methodologies or wishing to tailor classes per a particular
Some parents simply prioritize getting our children into Heaven over
getting them into Harvard. Forging godly character, precept upon
precept, surpasses SAT scores in importance. But homeschooled children
suffer no discernible academic handicap.
It’s not only national spelling bees and similar competitions where homeschooled students have become a force. Studies consistently have homeschooled students scoring 15-30 points above national averages. A recent survey by Brian Ray covering 11,739 students showed homeschooled children tested at the 86th percentile.
These stellar results held for boys and girls; all incomes; whether or
not the parent had teacher credentials; whether their budget was above
or below $600; and the amount of state regulation.
The Home School Legal Defense Association
asks, “If government regulation does not improve the results of
homeschoolers why is it necessary?” Many Americans coming from other
walks no doubt similarly ponder the efficacy of red-tape.
The impressive results may partly derive from positive selection. And
any child whose parents willingly invest so much time would likely
thrive in other settings, but students previously homeschooled continue
to prosper at college. They obtain above average grades with higher
Despite undeniable successes – or perhaps because of them –
homeschooling still faces resentment by suspicious social workers and
government bureaucrats. Per Christine Field, an attorney with the National Center for Life and Liberty
(we are members), “If we are losing rights, it is in the social
services arena where an anonymous phone call can bring authorities in to
‘investigate’ a homeschooling family. The Fourth Amendment violations
committed by social workers … can wreak legal havoc on parents.”
Homeschooling represents a microcosm of traditional Americana and a rebuke of government meddling. Hence liberals hate it.