Why Homeschool Series: Reason #2

The second reason our family likes to homeschool is what I will call patriotic reasons. I reiterate that these reasons are particular to our family. I respect those who have different beliefs about government and education and ask for their respect for us in return.

There are those who believe that children should not be indoctrinated by the values of their parents, yet they don’t realize that the indoctrination train runs both ways. Children are going to learn values of some sort, whether we teach them ours or not. We do not shelter our children to keep them out of the world for as long as possible. We fortify them so that when they do face the world, they are well-prepared with tools that will help them with decision-making. I daresay this is the position of many homeschool parents as statistics show that homeschooled children tend to become more community-involved adults, i.e., participate more in voting, stand up for certain issues, write letters to the editor, etc., because they understand well about their civic responsibility and how important their voice is.

Some also believe that parents are not qualified to oversee the education of their children and want the government to be the entity that fashions their impressionable minds.  Interesting concept because, if parents aren’t qualified to oversee the education of their children, after most parents have been educated in public schools themselves, what does that say about public schools? I believe that the adversary’s desire is to get children away from the influence of their parents as soon as possible, as seen by the growing trend towards full-time preschool, which some states have discussed as making mandatory. I believe it is not the government’s responsibility to dictate the education of children. Rather, it is the parents who grant permission to government to teach their children, and with the full knowledge and supervision of the parents.

Public schools tend to be liberal-leaning institutions, and homeschool gives us the chance to teach about conservative values and government as we believe the Founding Fathers intended it to be. As stated in this post, the framers of the Constitution believed that an educated populace was necessary to care adequately for the republic they gave us. We are not perfect, but we try to live up to their expectations as best we can.

~to be continued~

U.S. Founding Fathers’ Thoughts on Government

During the recent very heated U.S. presidential campaign, I saw social media posts from several people who, feeling put upon by the “other” party, defended their opinion by stating words to the effect of, “I am not stupid. I am well-read.” But not one that I noticed ever said what it was they read that informed their opinions. Judging from how quickly they recommended the cheesy romances, cozy mysteries, vulgar comedies, or porn that they’d recently devoured, I rather doubt they’d read anything about government. (Go ahead, accuse me of literary profiling.) So, what have you read that you feel has enlightened you? Some of us genuinely, sincerely are interested to understand where you’re coming from.

I’ll go first. I have been reading two books that really explain things to me well and from which I think I’ve learned much of value: The 5000 Year Leap and The Making of America, both by W. Cleon Skousen. I can’t possibly encapsulize 1200 pages of reading adequately, but here are a few quotes that stood out to me.

Skousen on proper incentives for political service to one’s country:

“In the early history of the United States, community offices were looked upon as stations of honor granted to the recipients by an admiring community, state, or nation. These offices were therefore often filled by those who performed their services with little or no compensation. Even when an annual salary of $25,000 was provided in the Constitution for President Washington, he determined to somehow manage without it. Some might think that this was no sacrifice because he had a large plantation. However, the Mount Vernon plantation had been virtually ruined during the Revolutionary War, and he had not yet built it back into efficient production when he was called to be President. Washington declined his salary on principle. He did the same thing while serving as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during the Revolutionary War. Not all could afford to do this, but it was considered the proper procedure when circumstances permitted it.”

Thomas Jefferson on the need for the voting populace to be educated:

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.  The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.  And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”

Skousen explaining a democracy:

“Theoretically, a democracy requires the full participation of the masses of the people in the legislative or decision making processes of government. This has never worked because the people become so occupied with their daily tasks that they will not properly study the issues, nor will they take the time to participate in extensive hearings before the vote is taken. The Greeks tried to use democratic mass participation in the government of their city-states, and each time it ended in tyranny.”

James Madison explaining a republic:

“We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people and is administered by persons holding their offices during [the people’s] pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.”

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin, the oldest delegate at 81, was asked what kind of government the delegates had given them. He replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

And so it really is in our hands, the people’s hands, to keep our republic strong and safe, and we must all realize the importance of that and the responsibility that requires.