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Homeschooling and Its Importance to the Survival of a Free Republic

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R. Claire Friend, MD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UC Irvine Medical Center, has an excellent article posted at the California Policy Center’s website with the above title. Her bio also lists her as the editor of the UC Irvine Quarterly Journal of Psychiatry, and as a retired psychiatrist and frequent commentator on the psychological dimensions of education and social welfare policies.

As you’ll see from the few excepts below, Dr. Friend gets it. As we noted a couple of months ago, the issue is educational liberty. Here’s something you may not have heard yet but it’s true: Common Core is merely the latest effort by Big Education to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is that too many Americans continue to forfeit their right to educate to their children and instead have handed it over to the government. The education establishment had the daylights scared out of it with the release of the “America at Risk” report in 1983. What followed was a long series of attempts to delay real reform. Too many Republicans and conservatives, unfortunately, have played right along.

Remember George Herbert Walker Bush wanting to be the “education president”? Remember “Goals 2000”? Remember “No Child Left Behind”? What you may know less about are the endless debates over class size, school size, uniforms, prayer in school, testing, teacher training…the list goes on and on. For over thirty years Big Ed has bought time with all of these things so that another generation of often overpaid teachers and almost always overpaid school administrators were able to run off into their cushy retirements (at taxpayers’ expense, of course).

Some of us have known for many years that the public schools can’t be fixed. The focus should be on rescuing as many kids as possible. People need to stop falling for all the delaying tactics. Forget charter schools — they’re government-run schools. I consider charters yet another way to sidetrack people from the only solutions — which are private schools and home schools.

Here are just a few clips from Dr. Friend’s article — and note her fantastic list of notable people who have been homeschooled which I’ve also excerpted.

What do George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Booker T. Washington, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Sandra Day O’Connor have in common? They were all homeschooled as were countless other famous statesmen, scholars and scientists. [1]

Children traditionally were taught at their parents’ knees. In most cases, it was the mother who served as their instructor, in colonial as well as modern times. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the states assumed the legal role as the educator of the country’s children. Massachusetts was the first to demand compulsory education in 1854; the Southern states, not until the 20th century.

By 1990, 800,000+ children were being homeschooled. By 2003, the number had grown to 1.1 million. By 2013, it was 1.5-2.1 million. The actual number may be much higher, given the reluctance of many parents to invite government scrutiny into their homes by officially registering the information.

A number of powerful shifts in public education have influenced parents to homeschool. They include the rise of violence on campus, the sexualization of the content of the academic syllabus, the emphasis on multiculturalism, the incidence of illegitimacy and presence of pregnant females in the classroom throughout their pregnancy, the attack on religion and divinity and the corrosive dumbing down of both curriculum and educators.

As Leonard Sax and Cornelius Riordan have noted, 50% of class time is devoted to social indoctrination; the balance of the day, to watered-down academics. Fundamentals that students mastered by the eighth grade in 1895, most college graduates today have failed to equal. With four hours each day for eight months of every year a near-total waste of time, academic content can be distilled into a four-hour period in home school. That has been its premise, beauty and simplicity in a nutshell.

The public must not misunderstand the goal of public education. It was stated in plain English by the founding fathers, Horace Mann and John Dewey. It is usurpation of parental control over their children by the State.

Articulated in their earliest writings, this malign intent went unnoticed or unappreciated. In his seminal book, The Right Choice, Christopher Klicka quotes both men at length, making their insidious purpose very evident. The reality is sobering.

Homeschooling is the antidote to state indoctrination. Parents are free to design the scope and content of the curriculum, choose the texts and workbooks and set the pace of instruction. They serve as the child’s private tutors. Their love, undivided attention and patience guarantee his gradual mastery of the material. They are also the key to the phenomenal success of homeschooling.

Study after study has shown that homeschooled children score an average of 15-30 percentile points higher on achievement tests like the CAT and ITBS, higher on college admissions SAT and ACT tests, maintain a higher GPA in college and a higher rate of success and civic involvement in adulthood. Studies funded by HSLDA have demonstrated a 2-grade difference in the 4th grade and a 4-grade difference in the 8th grade between homeschool and public school students.

Read more: California Policy Center

FOOTNOTE 1: Partial list of famous homeschoolers

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Grover Cleveland
James Garfield
William Henry Harrison
James Polk
Andrew Jackson
Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
James Madison
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
John Tyler
George Washington
Woodrow Wilson

William Jennings Bryan
Winston Churchill
Henry Clay
Pierre du Pont
Benjamin Franklin
Alexander Hamilton
Patrick Henry
William Penn
Daniel Webster

Alexander Graham Bell
Peter Cooper – invented skyscraper, built first U.S. commercial locomotive
Thomas Edison
Benjamin Franklin
Elias Howe – invented sewing machine
William Lear
Guglielmo Marconi
Joseph Priestley
Eli Whitney
Sir Frank Whittle – invented turbo jet engine
Frank Lloyd Wright
Orville and Wilbur Wright

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