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Not Homeschooling? What's Your Excuse?
Not Homeschooling? What's Your Excuse?
by: Tricia Smith Vaughan
My favorite excuse is "but the schools here are so wonderful!" The parent will go on and on about how little Johnny or JoEllen is learning the clarinet or Chinese or times tables in their local public kindergarten, something that Johnny or JoEllen's mommy and daddy claim not to be smart enough to teach. If you think that I'm being demeaning to the mommy or daddy, I am merely repeating what he or she has told me.
I've had moms of four-year-olds tell me how much their child is learning, things that the mom says that she couldn't possibly teach. When I pry with a question or two, I find that what I'm teaching my child at home is at least as good as what Johnny or JoEllen is learning at preschool or kindergarten. And if we need to find a clarinet teacher, we will.
My just-turned-five-year-old has not spent a day in a government institution of learning and yet, he talks with ease to adults, knows his alphabet, writes words correctly with an adult's spelling help, and works hard at learning to read. From all accounts, he's just as smart as the heavily schooled.
What's placed the idea in our heads that the government can educate our children better than we can is none other than our public school system, the government darling of our unconstitutional Department of Education. Most of us grew up with the government's feeding us lunch, teaching us knowledge and values, and suggesting what careers we should have, all under the guise of educating us. Is it any wonder that we allow this seemingly benevolent entity to provide an education to our children?
As parents, we have grown to believe something that our ancestors of one hundred years ago would be shocked to see happening. The millennia-old concept of self-sufficient parents who educated their children at home has given way to a system in which parents believe that we are not smart enough to teach our children the alphabet and basic math.
We over-educated post-feminist moms allow the joyful opportunity to educate our children at home pass; we send our child to a government school that teaches not only the alphabet and numbers, but a little socialist school-to-work agenda along with it. Things have changed in the government schools, even in the past five years. Some call it progress; others call it a few steps closer to socialism.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is that little Johnny and JoEllen will learn their place in a government school. Maybe they'll do well in group activities and the teacher will deem them fine to work in the new planned world order. But maybe not. A little deviation from the supposed norm and the little tykes can be diagnosed and sent to special education classes, something that John Taylor Gatto claims places them at a much lower level of the "reproductive sweepstakes."
According to Gatto, government schools encourage these sweepstakes by ranking children in groups and assigning those deemed not worthy to reproduce to special education classes. Let us not forget that these days, children deemed special by government change agents will be drugged, at least if President Bush and Congress continue to have their way via the Orwellian-named New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Ah, the land of the free!
How else can I describe a country that requires its children to sit in a classroom all day? I must admit that I had never thought much about this strange paradox of freedom and confinement until I read John Taylor Gatto's "The Underground History of American Education." It's available free online at his website, www.johntaylorgatto.com; no one I've ever told this to, to my knowledge, has ever read the book. And yet moms continue to tell me how wonderfully their children are thriving in the government schools, never knowing the true history behind those schools.
According to Gatto, our public schools were set up to dumb us down so that we can be happy to be a cog in the planned economy. We have to understand that government schools in the U.S. were created to dull children's potential. Yes, read that part again-government schools were never about truly educating your child; they were and are about creating happy workers and taxpayers, people afraid to challenge the status quo and unable to read and think for themselves.
I used to teach students who'd been educated in government schools; I've seen the products of this lovely system. And as a product myself, I can tell you that the students I taught at a major research university in the 1990s were less able to read, write, and think for themselves, as a whole, than were the people whom I graduated with at my public high school in the 1980s.
Most of us can give examples of crappy experiences we had in public schools-my husband remembers a teacher's berating a girl who'd wet her pants in first grade; the teacher forced the class to laugh at the little girl. And this wonderful government school moment occurred in the 1970s.
If you think that kind of thing would never happen in your child's wonderful government school today, don't talk with the parents in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. A principal there recently resigned because parents were outraged when they found out that she paraded a third grader from class to class, calling the young child a "liar and thief." The principal didn't bother to investigate the accuser's story; the young accuser later "recanted the story."
Have you ever thought about the crappy overall experience you had in a government school? Even if you graduated at the top of your class? Even if you loved it at the time? Have you ever wondered what things you might have accomplished had you not been forced to attend high school? If schooling is such a wonderful thing, why don't we have the freedom to choose it for ourselves, instead of having it chosen for us? Personally, I can remember wanting to attend college when I was 13. No such luck-I was stuck in high school prison.
Take some time to understand why Our Government Masters developed the system that they did for dumbing us down. Learn how even the best of teachers must work in an atmosphere every day that does not allow the freedom to worship God as one wishes. If you don't believe me, try saying a softly-spoken prayer before a meal or studying the Bible as God's sacred word at a government school, things we are able to do rather easily in a private restaurant or even in a public library.
Learn how your children are being tested for their values instead of their knowledge. And please, stop complaining about sex education classes that preach homosexuality or about recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom that doesn't say "under God." Parents in San Francisco who complained recently that a sex survey was given to their children, some of whom were in first grade-yes, first grade!-were told by the court system that they had no rights. If you're surprised at this decision, do some reading on the true history of education.
Expecting the government schools to acquiesce to your demands is useless. Occasionally, the parents will win, as they did when they insisted that the Pennsylvania principal resign, but most of the time, parents lose. Do yourself a favor and stop trying to win. Take your children out of those schools.
The government schools are not going to teach your child Judeo-Christian values; they are going to teach him or her how to survive in a group, good practice for a future as a soldier of the United Nations. Your child, in a subtle or blatant way, will learn how to outbully and outsmart his or her classmates and vie for the teacher's attention in a classroom of twenty or so other children the same age. The experts will tell you that this socialization is wonderful for a child, but even in college, I have never encountered such a blatantly homogeneous group of people as I did in public school classrooms. My children are learning manners, which will allow them to be kind and polite to people of all ages, ethnicities, and religions; I am thankful that they are not having to fight for a teacher's attention in order to be properly socialized, whatever that vague term means.
It's tempting to blame the public school's state on politicians. It becomes easy to cite Bush, or Clinton, or any other politician, for doing or not doing something to help education. And then there's the other little blame darling: funding; public schools seem always to blame things on lack of funding. As long as you do this blaming thing and don't understand the full picture, you will consider the public schools a good thing. You will try to obtain your money's worth as a taxpayer and you may try to change the system: You will fail.
Only when you understand what the government's biggest propaganda campaign and cash cow is doing to your children, and has done to you, will you take your child away from the governmental change agents that our public schools contain. And only then will you refuse government money, even for a public charter school that allows you to teach your child at home.
On the other hand, if you've read John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Iserbyt, and Beverly Eakman, and you're still okay with the U.S. government schools, keep your children in them. If you're okay with the links to the two largest U.S. teacher's unions, the NEA and the AFT, on the Communist Party USA's website, don't bother either to homeschool or to send your child to a private school with no financial ties to the federal government. If having the government interfere in your life and the life of your family, often without your consent, is okay with you, then leave your children exactly where they are.
But if you are interested in teaching your child about the true freedom of the individual that this country was founded upon, take your child as far from the government schools as possible. I know that in a few cases, it's difficult to homeschool. But for the most part, if you're literate, you can teach your child! Some single parents even homeschool. Don't let the government have control of your children's most precious asset: their mind. Take control yourself and thrive in the responsibility that God has given you. Take true responsibility for your child and for his or her education. And do it today!
© 2005 Tricia S. Vaughan - All Rights Reserved
About the Author
Tricia Smith Vaughan has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and a Master of Arts in English. Before she became a mom, she taught first-year English Composition and Literature for five years at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Durham, N.C.'s Independent Weekly, Raleigh, N.C.'s News and Observer, and other newspapers. She performs stand-up comedy and writes about homeschooling and other momly stuff.
Web Site: Comic Mom.