A Politician’s Stand On Homeschool/A Teacher’s Stand On…Um…

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Allow me to preface the following by stating that I no longer have faith in politics as an answer to the problems of education. What’s more, I am not a Republican. (I’m sorry if some of you find that offensive. For what it’s worth, I have pretty much the same very low opinion of both political parties nowadays. I‘m with Shakespeare on this one – a plague on both your houses!) Finally, please don’t take the following as some sort of political endorsement. First of all, I don’t wish to become involved in politics given what I’ve already said, and secondly, there won’t be a Presidential race anyone should take seriously for around another year.

That said, I do like people who enthusiastically and intelligently support the Constitution of the United States, that brilliant document penned by James Madison and fine tuned by the rest of an inspired Congress that laid out the rules for what is a magnificent experiment in social interaction. I do believe that Ron Paul believes in that Constitution as fervently as anyone. What is more to the point for our discussion; he’s a big fan of homeschooling. (Other than that, eh…) The following is excerpted from a mass email he sent out a few days ago:
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On Wednesday, I will be traveling to Des Moines, Iowa to hold several key meetings and speak on the steps of the State Capitol to the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, a wonderful group representing homeschool families.

There is no bigger supporter of homeschool education than I, and I am confident we can forge a great relationship with this group. Just last week, I introduced the Education Improvement Tax Cut Act, which would provide $5,000 tax credits to homeschool parents. I am looking forward to sharing my vision to protect Liberty in education and give parents freedom to escape government schools and raise their families as they see fit.

My speech will be at 12:00 pm CT on the steps of the Iowa Capitol. There will be a lot of press and a lot of attention, and every single supporter that can turn out will help me. Please consider attending if it fits your schedule.
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(Note – I don’t know if this happened last Wednesday, or will happen next Wednesday.)

There’s a sentence that really caught my attention. It bears a repeat: “I am looking forward to sharing my vision to protect Liberty in education and give parents freedom to escape government schools and raise their families as they see fit.”

To which I say, Amen.

Allow me to also say for the record that I am not a Christian. However, I homeschooled my children for many years, and have tried to serve the cause of homeschooling in a firm, devoted, productive manner. I believe that homeschooling is our right, one that transcends government and law, and that government should have no right or ability to intervene, none whatsoever. I like the idea of a tax break for homeschoolers, it would return money to us that we are forced to pour into schools we don’t use and don’t believe in. And I will support any group that supports your right to homeschool so long as that group remains open and supportive to the entire homeschool community and not just a fragment (however large) of it.

I think that Mr. Paul has the right idea. I will personally look further into his Education Improvement Tax Cut Act and try to let you know more about it. Bottom line – I do not think that horrifically under-performing schools (read “just about every school) should receive financial (or any kind of) support from any sector, much less support out of our tax money. This country is in a big educational mess today. Functional literacy is plummeting, textbooks and courses are dumbed down so as to be nearly entirely useless, destructive “teachers” are tenured and their abuse of our children is protected by laws and unions that should be placed on the first train out of town.

And WE PAY FOR THESE DUMBED-DOWN SCHOOLS AND ABUSIVE TEACHERS.

In a recent movie (“Waiting For Superman”), one person called schools “failure factories”. Well, you and I, my fellow homeschoolers, have been forced to pay to support these failure factories. And then, because we’re homeschooling our children, we are forced to pay again for homeschool needs and wants. We pay twice, just to be allowed to provide our children some chance at a future we won’t have to hang our heads in shame to have handed them! And we pay again, in time, sweat equity and patience. If I lived in Iowa, I would certainly want to hear what Mr. Paul has to say about this issue. I’d go as a homeschooler. I’d look up his bill and get to know it. This is an idea I’ve been arguing in favor of for years. How refreshing that a living, breathing politician may actually be thinking of our children for a change.

Last night, I had the misfortune at a restaurant to sit next to a tenured teacher of over 20 years, an older math teacher in L.A., in the middle school level. He spoke almost without taking a breath for over an hour about his rights, his pay, his pension, his union, his perks, his union insurance, him, him and him. He never said anything about his students, who I can only feel for. He clearly hates teaching and dislikes children. He stated that he taught for the money, and will continue to do so. It is a profession for him, and not a calling. The face of a suddenly enlightened student has probably rarely if ever illuminated his dark view of his life or his job. And so it is for most teachers today.

If you are even considering homeschooling, I promise you that you could not help but be a better teacher than this veteran of public schools for over twenty years. I believe in you. Ron Paul does, too. he wants to pay you to take on the job. The pay isn’t much, but the perks are swell; time with your children, surety that they are actually becoming educated – because you’re assisting and watching the process on a day-to-day basis. And finally, you will have been paid with the knowledge that you‘re directly contributing to a brighter and better future. Now, I’d take those perks over tenure, any day.
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As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.

CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.

Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.

Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.

Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.

Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.

For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.

We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!

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1 comment on “A Politician’s Stand On Homeschool/A Teacher’s Stand On…Um…”

  1. Homeschooling is freedom, homeschooling is love. Good article.

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