Tag Archives: Homeschool

Three Noteworthy Home Education Posts

I would like to draw your attention to a few articles that I’ve been reading recently.

1. How To Draw Comments by Home School Dad

Picture of a troll under a bridge.

Trolls should stay under the bridge where they belong. Photo credit: photogirl7.1

The first post caught my attention with its unique title: Six Simple rules on How to get 50 or more comments on your post about home education. The more I thought about this post the more it reminded me of the phenemenon of the troll. My first experiences with trolls came back in the days of usenet.

As the old saying goes the more things change the more they stay the same. Trolls are sure to adapt to new platforms. Home School Dad provided and interesting post mortem on some misguided critics. Unfortunately, by giving them more attention, it broke the first rule of dealing with trolls:

Don’t Feed The Troll

2. Bent Leather From Sage Parnassus

This post from Sage Parnassus about being well read has an intriguing title as well: Bent Leather, Part 1. You’ll have to read the post to find out what bent leather refers to. Be sure to check out the follow up post as well: Bent Leather, Part 2.

3. John Taylor Gatto On Socialization From Parent At The Helm

Finally, Parent At The Helm posts an answer from John Taylor Gatto about socialization. John Taylor Gatto has been an inspiration. He demonstrates his skill as a writer in his response. Of course, socialization is a topic that comes up frequently in discussions about home education.

Wish You Could Interview John Saxon?

John Saxon created one of the most popular math curricula used by home schools. He is no longer with us today. However, Art Robinson did interview the author of the Saxon Math curriculum. He makes the recording available on his website for us to listen to.

In a home school, the curriculum can be chosen based solely on the results it is expected to produce. These results can best be predicted based on past results. John Saxon comes across as a results oriented individual. We can make data driven decisions about how to transmit math knowledge to our students.

I discovered this interview while researching curriculum. It provided worthwhile background on Saxon Math from the man who created it. The fundamentals of math have not changed much since Newton invented calculus and that there is no reason to buy brand new books if old ones in good condition can be found.

I’d love to hear your comments if you have time to listen to the interview. What math curriculum do you choose and why?

No Patience for Zero Tolerance

Once again public school authorities have over reacted to a child bringing a toy to school. Unfortunately, stories like this pop up all too frequently. Are there any lessons to be learned from cases like this beyond the incomprehensible actions of the government employees?

The Non Logic of the State

George Orwell foreshadowed this type of action in his novel 1984. He coined the term double speak. A classic example of double speak is a phrase such as “slavery is freedom.” Of course this is a contradiction. And it is exactly this type of logical contradiction that children are taught day in and day out in the public schools across America.

The message from the news item is that toy guns are equivalent to real guns. It is absurd that a child should be punished for playing with a toy his parents bought him. This absurdity is exactly the point. The student and his parents must be taught to accept whatever punishment is to befall them whether or not it makes any logical sense. This will pave the way for obedient submission to future government demands.


In his book The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker recounts many examples of being brought in as a consultant to de-escalate a situation. Often times one side of a conflict, such as an employer, refuses to make exceptions to a policy. In one case a manager refused to back down and reimburse $400 dollars to a fired employee even after an employee placed two .32 calibre rounds on his desk. The policy stated that all expenses needed prior approval. Even though the employee was receiving $11,000 in severance the manager refused the $400 expense.

De Becker advised the manager of the aphorism that young men know the rules but wise men know the exceptions. In this example, De Becker was able to convince the manager to make an exception. The ex-employee eventually moved out of state and was no longer heard from again. It is exactly this type of maturity of thought that government run public schools are designed to prevent students from achieving.

Zero tolerance polices are yet one more reason to opt out of state schooling. Think about the types of lessons you want your children to learn and I think you will agree that the public schools are no place for children to spend their waking  hours.

What do you think are the deeper lessons behind zero tolerance policies? Have you ever had a conflict as a result of a zero tolerance policy? Let me know what  you think in the comments section.

Can phonics reduce the crime rate in America?

In 1994 the U.S. Department of Education acknowledged that two-thirds of all incarcerated criminals have poor literacy. source

Picture of a Girl Reading

Reading is a fundamental life skill. Photo credit: healingdream

Imagine applying for your first job as teenager at a locally owned restaurant. You live rent free but would like to earn some extra spending money. When you tell the manager you would like to apply, he hands you a form and asks you to fill it out. You nervously glance down as you take the form in your hands. How would you feel if you could not read the form? To you the form may as well be written in Kanji characters. Your chances of getting this job are sunk because you can’t even read the application.

Unfortunately for too many government school students this scenario is all too real.

The System is Rigged

It turns out that the best way to teach people to read is phonics. However, as John Taylor Gatto demonstrates in this chapter of the Underground History of American education, there was a shift away from phonics based teaching in the public schools of America. Gatto uses data from the US military draft board to trace a significant decline in the literacy rate of the school population.

It is a despicable crime to deprive human beings of a basic skill through the use of inferior methodology such as whole word reading. The leaders of the public school system know that non phonics based programs will increase illiteracy. Yet the practice continues to this day.

Think about how you read a new word. If you have acquired basic phonics skills, you can sound out a word you have never seen before by decoding the symbols that are used to represent sounds. If you have been taught to guess at words, your reading experience will be frustrating.


It is hard to imagine why some school districts refuse to use phonics based reading programs when a growing body of evidence links illiteracy to crime. You can prevent your loved ones from being damaged. Take the time to teach your kids to read using a phonics based approach. If all the schools in America did so, the crime rate might even be reduced.

Is whole word reading a crime against humanity? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

5 Reasons Public School Socialization is Undesirable

Imagine telling someone that you have decided to home school your children and the first question they ask you is “What about socialization?” One possible reply would be to just say “It’s not an issue because we’re not socialists.” However this may not be received very well.

The first problem with the initial question is that it demonstrates a lack of concern for academic achievement. The inquisitor is not worried about if you will be able to teach reading, writing and arithmetic.  The top concern seems to be about something unrelated to education. This reveals an implicit understanding  on the part of the questioner that schooling serves many purposes.

The second problem with the question is that it implies that if you choose to opt out of the public school system, you will shelter your children in a way that will harm them. As anyone who has looked at the topic of homeschooling more deeply can tell you, quite the opposite is true. Parents that choose to home school are very concerned about their children and make sure that their social development is encouraged just as they take responsibility for their education.

The third problem with the original question is that it takes a negative aspect of public schooling and presents it as a positive. In fact there are many bad results from the socialization that occurs in age segregated schools.

1. Keeps Children Childish

Human beings are social beings. Children learn to behave by imitating others and the pressure to conform is strong in group settings. Do you want your kids to be childish or do you want to encourage them to grow in to responsible adults? Locking children in a room with other children during the better part of their waking hours results in children remaining childish. It delays growing up by denying access to mature role models.

2. Distracts From Learning

Do you think the main focus of school should be on learning? How difficult will it be for a child to concentrate if they are distracted by other students passing notes, texting on a cell phone, or if they are thinking about who has the latest designer sneakers?

3. Bullying

Would you willingly expose your child to violence? By sending a child to public school every day it is only a matter of time before they have an encounter with a bully.

4. Does Not Resemble the Real World

As a parent you probably want your child to grow up and enter the real world some day. Then why send them to a place where they spend all their time with people that are the same age? There is no other setting where this is done. Family members are different ages. People you meet at the grocery store are all different ages. Coworkers in an office are of all different ages. The school setting is unnatural and certainly bears no resemblance to the real world.

5. Teaches Disrespect for Others

Age segregation teaches children to dislike younger kids as well as older adults. The very act of creating a group based on the arbitrary factor of age produces this result. Psychology teaches that people tend to like members of their group and dislike members of other groups. When children spend the  majority of their time in school it teaches them that the most important group consists of those that are the same age.


The kind of socialization that occurs in public schools is detrimental to the development of children into responsible adults. Homeschooling provides an alternative that will allow you to avoid these negative aspects of public school.

If you can think of more reasons that public school socialization is undesirable, please share them in the comments section.

Letter From a Concerned Mother

A letter reprinted in the introduction to What Do You Really Want for Your Children by Wayne Dyer provided an example of a common problem. One quote that made a great impression on me was this one.

“I want to see my three smallest children-ages eight, seven and six-educated without all the approval-seeking brainwashing that myself and various schools have used to all but destroy my fourteen-year-old.”

How many people are happy with the schools that their children attend? How many are satisfied with their own past experiences with school? Later the letter writer goes on to say the following.

“Do you know of anywhere that I can get them educated without all the nonsense? Is there maybe an experimental school…”

Wayne Dyer included the letter as an example of something he kept at the front of his mind while he was writing the book. He did not mention if he replied to the woman or what he advised her to do. He also did not report on what course of action the woman took.

Why Not Just Opt Out?

It struck me that the woman was a perfect candidate for homeschooling. Having become dissatisfied with the current system, she would do well to opt out of it. If she chose homeschooling she would be in complete control of the curriculum. I doubt anyone has a more vested interest in the successful education of her children than she does. She could provide the encouragement that her children need and dispense with all the “nonsense.”