Providing Balance: America's Homeschoolers
by Paul Galvin
a story about the pathetic state of the public schools. But from
the government's perspective public schools are anything but failures.
Lots of patronage and union jobs assuring a set of reliable serfs
who will time after time vote back in the same policy makers; a
steady supply of tax-funded income along with built-in excuses for
increasing funding ("these kids aren't learning because they
don't have the resources," [never, "we failed to teach"]);
a new crop of non-critical thinking subjects added to the voting
base with each class of "graduates" so-called. With this
toxic stew of course nothing meaningful will ever change.
rigged system works. Look at who holds power in Congress, in the
Executive branch, in the country's large population states. Statists
all. Who voted these people in? Well, you know who. The same people
who can't make change without computerized registers, who cannot
compose proper sentences, who sport body tattoos or piercings in
the oddest of places and of the strangest of images, who cry out
they're helpless in the face of floods, fires, flus. Want more proof
of dumbed-down America? Watch several internet videos of Leno's
JayWalking, or just go to the mall.
large independent thinkers will never be found in the government's
schools. These are after all statist schools; accordingly no one
should be surprised when opinion only furthering government policies
is taught to the exclusion of all others. Viewpoints espousing that
an individual, not some collectivist-minded bureaucracy, might know
what's best, are taboo. Yet the individual viewpoint would go a
long way in solving many of life's ills. For example, racism would
largely be a thing of the past if the statists among us would stop
insisting that we all play, whether we want it or not, identity
politics which is nothing more than raw collectivist thinking. If
we would view each other as individuals and make judgments based,
expressed famously by a leader of another era, on the content of
character not on the color of skin, then certain societal tensions
would be lessened considerably.
a micro basis there is something you can do to save your own child.
Homeschooling. For the sake of that child.
My son and
I home schooled, and as a result he does his own thinking. He does
not possess a high school diploma; he didn't have the time, patience
or need. His goal was knowledge of those matters which interested
him. During the time when his age peers were in high school he was
taking no-nonsense courses at Springfield Technical Community College
(having outstripped the knowledge reservoir of his home school teacher)
or pursuing an interest on his own (in his case, the study of film).
In preparing for his transfer to a 4-year college (which he entered
as an upperclassman with enough credits for that college's math
major) he sat for the GED, the SAT & several SAT II exams, scoring
well. From his experience he learned one of life's time-honored
lessons: with focus, commitment and a willingness to do hard work,
there is reward. But there is no short cut. None. The sooner in
life this lesson in maturity is taught to and importantly learned
by the child the happier and more rewarding his/her life can be.
has its challenges, some obvious, others less so. But with a dedication
to purpose success can be yours. Keep one thing in mind however.
No matter how well you may think your child is progressing, until
you have independent verification of his/her progress, the child's
achievements have little currency in the eyes of the wider world.
This may seem unfair but at one time you and your child will come
face-to-face with the "bureaucracy" which will demand
proof that the child has in fact learned. If you have done your
job this will not present any issues. To assure yourself of meeting
this end it is suggested that you introduce into your curriculum
samples of tests types that independent testing agencies might administer;
these are readily available at book retailers. Using SSAT, ACT,
SAT I & SAT II, and state proficiency assessment exercises,
visual analogy tests, and perhaps some standard IQ batteries benefits
the child if made part of your day-to-day teaching as they give
the child familiarity with these testing materials. What is more,
using a variety of teaching materials is itself helpful. As you
will discover different authors approach the same subject somewhat
differently, and exposure to different writing styles and approaches
should be welcomed.
Here are several
of the guiding lights upon which I relied to assure myself that
Matthias would be an educated and independent minded person, not
one who looks to government to solve problems.
gratification is perhaps the most important life lesson ever learned
by a child. This lesson in maturity is easily imparted in the context
of a home school. Understanding future time references and the ability
to plan and importantly to see the consequences of chosen paths
or decisions are beneficial as this is an essential life problem-solving
skill. (Mature adults use it all the time. Why then do governments
invariably fail to do so?)
Telling a child he/she is smart is not the same as his/her having
worked at developing a knowledge base, thereby becoming smart and
confident through success. And an honest, discerning child knows
it. Certainly praise and encouragement should be given when effort
is demonstrated and knowledge gained. Expect excellence; children
routinely rise to expectations. Deeply discount all politically
correct notions. Our goal as parental teachers and supporters is
helping children achieve through bona fides instruction and
encouragement. In such a petri dish a child's self-esteem develops
is an excellent method of placing factual information into long-term
memory such that recall is instantaneous. This method in effect
grooves pathways into memory that does not allow for deviation later
on when knowing something cold is essential. And to boot it gives
the early learner both success and confidence.
This criticism of homeschooling is like the Everyone-is-a-Winner-and-Therefore-No-One-Is-Keeping-Score-Any-More
foolishness heard on baseball diamonds or soccer fields, just so
much hot air. Not only did my son have the opportunities to interact
with lots of other children he also met a fair number of adults,
including coming with me on occasion to client meetings, where he
put into practice the very academic skills he was learning at home.
is more important than speed. Speed will come quite naturally as
the proper methodologies are learned and as understanding deepens.
This lesson is especially important in learning mathematics.
Ratio. To me this was one of the most compelling reasons of homeschooling.
Your one hour easily equates to 56 institutionalized school
hours. Depending on the subject, e.g., arithmetic, math, this ratio
may even rise to 1:10. Children's time is equally as important as
that of adults. Home schoolers do not waste time on needless tasks
which abound in the government schools.
have acquired the skill to read thoroughly they're on the road of
reading to learn. With a solid reading skill children can then begin
teaching themselves all sorts things, provided of course they are
properly guided which is your role. Even as early as first, second
and third grade levels, children should experience the joy of freedom
to study those subjects which interest them, not topics dictated
by a top-down hierarchy.
[send him mail] home schooled
his son Matthias who today is a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute. His homeschooling duties largely completed, Mr. Galvin,
a tax professional in Springfield, Mass., continues his legal, tax
& business advisory practice for businesses and tax-exempt organizations.
2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part
is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.