Thursday, November 20, 2014

Homeschoolers Don't Work As Hard


According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, a woman in Virginia lost her child support payments because her child's homeschooling was not recognized by the state
Patricia was complying with the law; she was qualified to homeschool and had notified the local school district of her intent to educate her teen daughter at home. 
As a single parent she was entitled by law to child support pursuant to a custody agreement until her children completed high school. However, just days after her daughter’s 18th birthday, the agency responsible for collecting and distributing the support payments from Patricia’s former spouse informed her that child support would no longer be collected simply because her daughter, Katelyn, now 18, was not in school. 
She was told that this was happening because “West Virginia does not recognize homeschooling as a secondary education.” 
When Patricia contacted the agency to gather more information and to attempt to resolve the matter, she was told by one staff member that “We know homeschool kids don’t work as hard as kids in regular school.”
So although Patricia was obeying the law by registering her child's education (which shouldn't be a law in the first case, but I digress), as soon as her daughter reached majority child support ceased because the other condition for support wasn't being met: that of being validly educated.
I'm sure this is a slam-dunk case for the HSLDA, and you can read the rest of their post if you'd like to know more about it. But I'd like to concern myself with what Patricia was reportedly told to justify what was done to her: "We know that homeschool kids don't work as hard as kids in regular school."
Oh man. What a revealing comment.
There are two twelve-year-old girls on my block who I see getting on the bus before 7 a.m. as I leave for work. Then I see them being dropped off by a school bus at 6:30 p.m. every evening. They are gone from home, under the care of our kindly government, for nearly twelve hours.
I worked at a scholastic institution populated by public school kids for several months, and I was struck by how clearly these kids outperformed the homeschool kids I was familiar with in one particular area: I couldn't believe how seamlessly these kids got into line. I mean, their queueing skills were sans pareil. And if you think queueing isn't a big deal, think again. It's the stuff of sociology.
"Homeschool kids don't work as hard as kids in regular school." Let's grant that in order to get to what is actually meant.
Homeschool kids don't work as much as kids in regular school. That's true. Obviously there are exceptions, with spelling bee winners and elite athletes and twelve-year-old college students being perfect examples. But yeah, homeschool kids don't work as much. Mostly because they're not working dumb. 
Work smarter, not harder, as the saying goes.
The goal of the American school system seems to be, not to educate, but to train people to be part of a system. To be productive members of society. And productive members of society can be stupid and ignorant, as long as they know how to get in line and learn how to sit still for twelve hours even when there's little worth or utility in doing so.
If working hard is simply logging hours, government school kids have us beat. From school morning and afternoon to two hours of homework at the end of the day, these guys know how to sit through it.
But if working is what the dictionary says it is, i.e. to bring to pass, to effect, to produce a desired effect or result, to succeed, then homeschoolers work better. And sometimes harder.
The person who said those words to Patricia doesn't know what work is. He or she thinks that work is obedience. That work is doing what other people tell you to do for as long as people tell you to do it for, and just because. What to expect from people who were trained (I can't say educated) by the state? 
Men who are educated, who have been taught to think and to act, can be lords. But men who spend fourteen years learning only to obey must become slaves and functionaries.
O you homeschoolers, let me encourage you with these words: the next time your kids don't start school until just before lunch time, or the next time your kids finish school before morning snack, rejoice in the effectiveness of your civil disobedience. Your children do not belong to the government and its lines.

6 comments:

  1. I couldn't possibly agree more. I was homeschooled, and when I was young the State of Nevada used to require homeschooled kids to do an aptitude test at the end of each school year to prove that they were keeping up. After years of us performing vastly above our grade levels, they stopped asking for the tests. I'm guessing they didn't like to be reminded that a 12-year-old could do the work they were assigning in 11th grade.

    Since public schools fail so miserably in academic areas, the new battle cry seems to have become claiming that school is for learning social skills so that your children don't become outcasts. Of course, "make sure your kids fit in" is a pretty thinly veiled way of saying that your kids should behave the way the government wants them to behave. Endless piles of make-work that keep kids away from their families and train them to obediently slog through pointless tasks without asking questions is certainly a good way to instill that type of behavior, but calling it an "education" is a joke.

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    1. Toil might be a better word than the "work" they used. Thanks for reading!

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  2. Although I send my kids to public school and spent 8 years teaching in the public school system, I usually find myself defending homeschooling in such instances. And in the case of the mom who was told her daughter wasn't working as hard as school kids, I completely agree that this was a ridiculous and rude comment that was not called for. I see what so many of my home school friends do, and they do more with their kids than I think I'm capable of. However, in the case of the author of this post making the assumption that public school children only learn to walk the line and public school teachers only teach obedience, I couldn't be more offended. If one is upset about someone making rude remarks due to biased assumptions, they should not use the same tactics to defend their position.

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    1. The author of the post is right here. You should address me directly, since you're on my site.

      I'm not operating on biased assumptions. I'm operating off of observation, knowledge, and philosophies. And I try to avoid writing to the exception. Public schools are awful and are designed to produce workers, not humans.

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  3. I loved my public school experience–when I attended good schools. I also had a ton of encouragement and involvement from the 'rents with regard to academic and life education, so I'm not sure how my motivation to excel in school would have been affected if I hadn't had them behind me. I don't think a homeschooling parent can base the health of what they are doing for their children solely off of keeping them from the lines and forced-obedience of the government. There are some families who homeschool who simply aren't equipped to do so, whether financially, emotionally, etc. Systems aren't inherently evil. Well, maybe they are. But all of us are. Home vs. public vs. private education is a more nuanced argument than workers vs. humans, slaves vs. lords. (Hey wait, didn't Jesus say they greatest among us would be our slave?) Deciding on education requires situational wisdom and life-giving communion with the Father who brings order to the chaotic homeschool family and humanity to the public school student. :)

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    1. I certainly didn't write in a nuanced way, but I don't think it's that nuanced. I would stand on principle against even a quality education from a benevolent state. Education is our formation as humans. Family, church, "society", no problem. But education by the government, by the state, will at best form humans into citizens. And we can be so much more than that.

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