Why Homeschool?

Why Homeschool

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.

–H.L. Mencken

My wife and I have an ongoing debate about how we will educate our now-4-year-old daughter going forward. She wants to send her to a private school while I want her to continue her Montessori education and, eventually, homeschool (or unschool/hackschool — whatever you want to call it). What follows is my reasoning. (The argument is actually more anti-public school than private school, but since many private schools have the same drawbacks, I’m going to lump them together. Sue me.)

A list of references and further resources follows the article.

  1. The 19th Century industrial model of education that exists today has failed miserably. Its methodical conformity and standardization is only good for raising obedient slaves absent the ability to think independantly. John Taylor Gatto writes from experience:

    “School” is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows to a control point as it ascends. … This is training for permanent underclasses, people who are to be deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius. … I must conclude that one of the only alternatives on the horizon for most families is to teach their own children at home.

    JTG has another piece discussing how school trains children to be reflexively obedient employees and consumers. George Carlin seems to agree (explicit language):

  2. Public schools kill creativity. Here’s a rather humorous TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson addressing this issue. He has another talk that discusses why the education paradigm needs to change and how divergent thinking is “taught” out of children.
  3. Government propaganda is not a necessary part of any curriculum. Textbooks teach what the Powers That Be allow them to teach. Nothing more. Ron Paul says:

    When government usurps a parent’s right to control their child’s education, it is inevitable that the child will be taught the values of government officials, rather than of the parents. The result is an education system with a built-in bias toward statism. Over time, government-controlled education can erode the people’s knowledge of, and appreciation for, the benefits of a free society.

  4. Our educational system does not prepare students for the real world. Charles Hugh Smith, whose work I really admire, recently wrote a piece about the erosion of practical life skills:

    “In my view, our education system is self-serving, i.e. the goal of institutional education is to qualify the student to enter the next level of institutional education, rather than prepare students to create value and solve problems in the real world…”

  5. Compulsory school sends the wrong message. The use of coercion to force kids to go to school teaches them that coercion is acceptable, that the state has a just monopoly on coercion, and that the state is the ultimate arbiter of what one can or can’t do.

If you read nothing else, at the very least read John Taylor Gatto’s biting criticism of school and what he was really teaching over his 30 years as a public school teacher (the last of which afforded him Teacher of the Year honors).

References & resources:
John Taylor Gatto: The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher
John Taylor Gatto: How Public Education Cripples Our Kids, and Why
George Carlin: The American Dream (video; ~3 minutes)
Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? (video; ~20 minutes)
Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Educational Paradigms (video; ~12 minutes)
Paul Rosenberg: The Hidden Side of History
Ron Paul: The Homeschooling Revolution
Charles Hugh Smith: Are We Losing Practical Life-Skills?
John Taylor Gatto: The Underground History of American Education (free book). And some reviews.
H.L. Mencken quote

(Photo by: Leland Francisco with CC license)

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