Homeschooling and State Education

Modern, universal, secular education is largely taken for granted today in the West. But it has not always been in existence. Up until relatively recently in history, most schooling was done at home or by the churches. Mass, public education conducted by the state is a somewhat recent development.

I have written before about the various dangers which may lie in public education. Mass education could simply be about the three R’s, which would be fair enough, but often it becomes a means of indoctrination and the promotion of various agendas.

And this has not occurred by accident. Many have viewed mass education as a means by which the state can indoctrinate students and enforce its ideology. Consider some of the leaders in the French Enlightenment. Rousseau for example wrote much about education. But his was a very elitist view.

He did not think the poor needed to be educated. But for those who did need education, he wanted the state, not mere parents, to do the job. He made this clear in his various writings on the topic. As Gertrude Himmelfarb says in her important book, The Roads to Modernity (2004):

For Rousseau, education “was too important to be left to the ‘understanding and prejudices’ of mortal fathers, for ‘the state remains, and the family dissolves.’ Thus, the public authority had to take the place of the father and assume the responsibility of imbuing children with ‘the laws of the state and the maxims of the general will’.”

Charles Francis Potter, signatory to the Humanist Manifesto I, said this: “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

Many more such quotes can be provided by those who stated how they perceived the role of public education to be. As Thomas Sowell remarked in his 1993 volume, Inside American Education, “Advocates of Secular Humanism have been quite clear and explicit as to the crucial importance of promoting their philosophy in the schools, to counter or undermine religious values among the next generation.”

That is why so many with pro-faith and pro-family values have been suspicious of public education, and have sought alternatives to it. They have recognised that if they want their moral and religious values passed on to their children – instead of being attacked and rejected – they may have to consider alternatives to public education. That is why so many are turning to homeschooling.

Two new articles can be mentioned in this regard. The first speaks to the growing number of those being homeschooled in America. Here is how the article begins: “In a new study released today the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates there are over 2 million children being homeschooled in the U.S. in 2010.

“‘The growth of the modern homeschool movement has been remarkable,’ said Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defence Association. ‘Just 30 years ago there were only an estimated 20,000 homeschooled children.’ According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2008) there were an estimated 54 million K-12 children in the U.S. in spring 2010, which means homeschoolers account for nearly 4% of the school aged population, or 1 in 25 children.

“The NHERI study used data from both government and private sources in order to arrive at the two million figure. The explosive growth in the homeschooling movement has been accompanied by a growth in openness to homeschoolers in mainstream academia. Increasingly post-secondary institutions are targeting homeschoolers, after studies have repeatedly shown that homeschooled children tend to outperform their conventionally educated peers.”

Indeed, the second article speaks to the very issue: the very pleasing academic results of homeschooling, and how colleges are snapping up these students. The opening paragraphs of this article are well worth considering: “As the modern-day homeschool movement confidently marches forward into its fourth decade, colleges and universities are opening wide their doors to welcome its mature, prepared graduates to their ranks.

“Homeschoolers score an average of 37 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests and typically score above average on the SAT and ACT, statistics that apparently have caught the eye of college admissions personnel. Since 1999, the number of homeschoolers in the United States has increased by 74%, and today thousands of young men and women are graduating from high school – at home.

“Colleges are employing a wide variety of strategies aimed at recruiting homeschoolers, including strong representation at homeschool conventions, direct mailing campaigns, and promotions in catalogs, on their websites, and in publications such as The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the nation’s most popular print magazine for homeschoolers.

“Colleges sponsor ‘Homeschool College Days’ for juniors and seniors, and at Wheaton College, where nearly 10% of the freshman class is represented by homeschool grads, applicants can even be put in touch with current Wheaton students who were homeschooled. Regent University’s website heralds the school as ‘the right choice for home-schooled students,’ and the U.S. Air Force Academy’s website includes guidelines addressed specifically to homeschooled applicants.

“A number of institutions have appointed ‘homeschool liaison and recruitment specialists’ to serve incoming freshmen and their families. In her 2009 article titled ‘We Love Homeschoolers! Prominent Colleges Jump on the Recruiting Bandwagon,’ author Claire Novak, herself a homeschool grad, quoted one such specialist, who said, ‘As the number of homeschooled students grow, colleges are finding it’s a market you can’t ignore’.”

All in all, pretty impressive. It seems these homeschooled kids are pretty bright and are often running rings around their public school counterparts. And this should not be surprising. As more and more public schools abandon the three Rs for more politically correct issues, our nation’s schools are really dumbing down our students.

Indeed, instead of providing a proper education, so many public schools today seem to be more interested in giving their students an earful of the radical social activists and their agendas. Whether it is radical green ideology, anti-family social engineering, or value-free social concerns, our schools have become a hot bed of trendy activism and radical indoctrination.

Given these circumstances, we can expect to see the trends continue with concerned parents abandoning the public school system, and more and more considering the option of homeschooling. And given how so many modern Western nations are cracking down on homeschooling, we can see the very great value of alternatives to the state monopoly on education.

If states find homeschooling to be so threatening, then these homeschoolers must be doing something right indeed.

www.lifesitenews.com/news/over-two-million-children-homeschooled-in-us?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=816bc491df-LifeSiteNews_com_Intl_Headlines01_04_2011&utm_medium=email
www.lifesitenews.com/news/colleges-nationwide-recruit-homeschool-grads?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=816bc491df-LifeSiteNews_com_Intl_Headlines01_04_2011&utm_medium=email

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53 Replies to “Homeschooling and State Education”

  1. Hi Bill,

    You are quite right to point to the very significant academic and worldview advantages homeschooled children have.

    But the closer relationship homeschooled students enjoy with their parents and siblings is another reason why Christian parents should seriously consider this path. In even the best school, children will spend most of their time interacting only with their age-peers and be subject to the immaturity, foolish peer pressures and bullying such an artificial situation often produces.

    Mansel Rogerson

  2. When I saw you had an article on homeschooling I just had to come over and have a read. I have 2 children (so far) aged 2 and 7 months and we have already decided that we are going to homeschool our children. I have to say that I have very little support from my family (my parents mostly) but we know that this is going to be the best thing for us as a family. Thank you for giving me more confidence that what we are choosing to do is not going to hinder our children but may even give them better opportunities.
    Grace Soroka

  3. I am a homeschooling mum of three sons all of whom are homeschooled and have being since the beginning. They are now 13, 10 and 10. My 13 year old son completes grade 10 work (he would be in grade 8 if at school). He breeds rare breeds of chickens, has recently had photos published in a well known authors book and now has his own book contract. My 10 year olds complete grade 6 work (they would be year 4 last year if at school). They also breed animals. All boys can cook and have maturity beyond their years but they have also kept their innocence and naivety and when people ask me what do my boys miss out on from school I reply that what they miss is peer group pressure, being kept back in grades more befitting to their age not their ability, bullying from students (and sometimes teachers), bad language and moral decline. I am so happy my boys miss out. They are children and my (and my husbands) God given task is to train them up. It is for us to raise them up after all we know them better than anyone. They are our investment in a future we will not enter and we find homeschooling a great investment in that future.
    Judi Walker

  4. Hi Bill,

    As a Christian, Husband and homeschooling Father I am still amused as to the age old question pertaining to a child’s “social skills” development within the homeschooling environment.
    Over time I have learned to calmly present the facts to a Non-believer who may ask about this, though I am still quite astonished as to similar concerns being raised from brothers and sisters in Christ.
    Perhaps they just see the world a little different to me.
    Keep up the good work Bill!

    Simon Rossic

  5. Thanks Simon

    Yes the objection about a homeschooler’s supposed lack of socialisation is one of the bigger furphies around.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  6. But then how do we respond to the enormity and unspeakable evil of the situation of this couple in Sweden?
    http://sites.google.com/site/homeschoolinginsweden/sweden—the-next-germany-/the-state-abduction-of-dominic-johannsson

    Tim Garlick, I too have witnessed being in a meeting, held in the British Museum, London in November 2009, where children were conducted around the museum and shown artefacts that encouraged homosexuality and even paedophilia. I sat, amongst an audience of gays, queers, LGBTs, pinkoes, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, listening to their proud claims to overcoming resistance from parents in schools. You can see all of this shameful display here. Just click on each video.

    http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/events/preHM2010.htm

    David Skinner, UK

  7. Hi Bill, another great article and helpful in making a tough decision. We’ve gone over it a fair bit. Husband was home schooled for secondary and as long as the parents are comitted it is the best choice. I went to a school that was rare as hens teeth in that it taught the faith well and taught students to really question mainstream culture. However, the other side to that is, you have no control over who sits next to them in class and your five year old all of a sudden spends more time with a teacher and peers than they do with you.
    Catherine Dodd

  8. Some choose a christian school as an alternative, but even that now is not all it is supposed to be. We have had curriculum issues that have only been mildly addressed and not to our satisfaction.
    Ali Murphy

  9. Thanks Ali

    Yes quite right. Sadly many so-called Christian schools today are hardly much better than the secular state schools in many respects.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. Hi Bill,

    I have a long story about my 3 boys homeschooling experience but this isn’t the place to tell it in its entirety. It was a positive Christian experience for them, but the boys’ father, though supportive of homeschooling, was/is not a Christian, so there was some resistance at times in regard to some aspects of curriculum. Also, after 4 years of homeschooling, he wanted the children to return to the school system – reluctantly – because he wanted me to contribute to our dwindling income, so I needed to return to work.

    Back in the school system, they proved to be well advanced academically when compared to their peers, had advanced socialising skills, were very articulate and, best of all, immune to peer pressure. However, their young minds were all hijacked in time, and all have currently abandoned their faith of their childhood.

    Two of the boys made the best of the return to the system, but my second son was a casualty. When he returned to school he went straight into secondary education (aged 11), but rebelled and left without completing any diploma. In all he only received the equivalent of 3 – 4 years of formal schooling.

    But in many ways, the benefits of homeschooling are still patently obvious. The boys have maintained a close relationship as brothers, and are all academically succeeding at university, despite limited formal schooling.

    To me, the big tragedy is the loss of the boys’ faith and I will keep faithfully praying for a return to what they know is true. The point is that my second son who rebelled, and, in all, only completed 4 years of school at the most, finally reached the point where he wanted to complete formal schooling and put himself into university. He has just won the prize for the best philosophy essay of the year ($300 and a medal) and has been offered a 2 year scholarship to do his Masters in philosophy. I believe his four years of home schooling were the foundation for his achievement. And as a Christian mother, I have hope, for although he wrote his essay as an agnostic, his essay was a defence of the Kalam Cosmological argument – in a nutshell, an argument at least in support for a Cause for the universe.

    I apologise if this went on a little long, but home schooling is something I am very passionate about and could write for ages on its merits, despite, even then, losing my boys to secular thinking.

    Kerry Letheby

  11. Thank you for writing this article, Bill. I hope it attracts a wide readership. Can I cite my own personal experience? My 7 year old homeschooled daughter has just completed year 3 (two years above her level) in English and Maths. Teachers I know are amazed by her vocabulary and fluency in reading. She knows all about reproduction, the planets, the universe, rocks, volcanoes and can tell you about Nefertiti, Tutenkhamen and Cleopatra, the last pharoah of Egypt. She can tell you exactly where the church fits into history and how things changed in the world as a result of Christianity. If someone tells her that the church is no good and all the evil it has done, she will put up an excellent debate with them! She knows that Santa, fairies and witches are pagan and wants no part of Halloween or any other pagan traditions. And you should know that she has not had to be ‘pushed’ any more than any other kid. But she has constant access to her teacher (me) and can ask me any question, get me to read any of her history books to her and have an interesting conversation with her about human society, what they do and why. Considering the miserable alternative…being one of 20 kids in a class with who knows what kind of teacher…no wonder homeschooled kids do so much better. And she is fairly typical of the amazing homeschooled kids in our homeschool network!
    If you are considering homeschooling but think you can’t do it, why not give it a try? You will be amazed at what you can do and how your child will respond!
    Dee Graf

  12. Well done Dee

    You, and your daughter, are a terrific tribute and testimony to the value and importance of homeschooling. Keep up the great work.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  13. Dee, this is great but you are an articulate parent. What about those who are not so gifted? Would you consider taking on other parents’ children?

    David Skinner, UK

  14. David, yes, I would help any of my friends who needed it although it kind of goes against the whole homeschooling philosophy. One of the main reason our child thrives so much is because learning has become a way of life and a part of our family culture. It goes without saying that I have my limitations as everybody else and I have friends who have no university degree or any particular great talents…just ordinary people who are willing to go through the learning process with their kids. If they can do it, you can do it! Of the many wonderful families I know in our homeschooling network and another one that we know of, most of the parents are very, very ordinary, mostly Christian, but not all! People who are alarmed at what was happening to kids in school environments. And I would say that at least 90 percent or more of these kids are doing just so fantastically well!
    Dee Graf

  15. Great article and nice testimonies!

    Dee – Magnificent work!
    I believe your home schooling was done in Oz? What sort of support can one expect down here for home schooling?

    Damien Spillane

  16. Bill, excellent article, and you didn’t even mention Horace Mann, the invention of age-graded classes (an economic measure to employ lesser-paid female teachers), or John Dewey at Columbia University.

    You said:

    All in all, pretty impressive. It seems these homeschooled kids are pretty bright and are often running rings around their public school counterparts. And this should not be surprising. As more and more public schools abandon the three Rs for more politically correct issues, our nation’s schools are really dumbing down our students.

    There are a number of factors working here:
    a) as you say, the dumbing down of the curriculum – and there is more to come with the revisions to the Australian “nationalised” curriculum in 2013
    b) the potential statistical bias of a self-selected group with high aspirations – I don’t have the statistics background to determine if Brian Ray at NHERI has corrected for this factor, but I expect he has
    and
    c) the major driving force in academic achievement, which is parental interest and involvement, expressed to the children (Rowe, Dept of Education Vic, early 1980s study IIRC).

    John Angelico

  17. Damien, the best support ever is other homeschoolers. You can get yourself into a network that suits you. There are also some excellent websites and a whole world of resources. I did a bit of research and found a great book in the local library about specific skills and knowledge your child should be expected to have at each level. This book is closely aligned to the state curriculum so I then checked it against schooling materials out there and found, surprisingly, that the common Excel series was quite good as a basic for my daughter’s needs and I could then supplement it with things I downloaded and printed from the net. You can research for free at our local library so I often do my printing there. One homeschooling family I know looks for really interesting posters and things that they can put under a piece of glass where their family eats and the kids read bits as they’re eating and ask questions about it at the table. I’ve heard of groups of homeschoolers going off to the beach or somewhere for the weekend and doing projects on marine life together while camping at the camp sites. We’ve been on fantastic outings with our homeschooling network. We are great friends and we meet in each other’s homes where we women often do things like bake sourdough bread or just chat while the kids play and the men very often join together to help out the family by doing chores for them. One dad had hurt his back and all the homeschool guys came and chopped a whole winter’s supply of firewood for him on that homeschool meeting day.
    The kids become like cousins or something. It’s a much closer relationship than at school because it involves whole families. It’s hard to explain unless you’re in it. And the families may have to live a bit more simply since obviously you can’t have two full-time breadwinners, but your child’s friends aren’t wearing designer labels either, so actually you don’t miss all that extra cash!
    Dee Graf

  18. Dee what you say about ordinary parents being able to do this rings true.

    Recently I was shopping in one of Britain’s largest superstores, Tescoe (am I allowed to say that Bill?). I was suddenly confronted by a six or seven year old boy trashing a display stand by jumbling up all the products and steadily working his way to the top. I merely said, “What do you think you are doing?” and his mother came down on me like a ton of bricks. I pointed out to her that as the parent she was responsible for his behaviour. But this only further incensed her to act like a feral teenager. Seeing that this was going no where I approached a man stacking shelves and after relating the incident to him, said “I pity the school that has to deal with the child and the parent.” To which he responded that both he and wife had taken their children out the state system and were home schooling. This guy appeared to be an ordinary shelf stacker.

    David Skinner, UK

  19. Thanks to David Skinner for highlighting the story of the family in Sweden persecuted for home schooling. I always thought Sweden had a liberal anything-goes culture but realise now that it has acquired a dark side and is beset by “dark forces”. They haven’t found utopia and happiness for all. In Sweden they have lost their freedom and we see what happens when the State takes over.The miserable State apparachiks, hench-persons or interfering busybodies – call them what you will, need putting back in their box. Do we want a life dictated by State propaganda? I don’t think so although I have seen signs of it in the UK Social Services and Education.We don’t want to lose or give away our freedom hard won by our ancestors. I hope that in the UK the Prime Minister’s idea of The Big Society” (which nobody quite understands) in fact means that State propaganda of an anti-family, anti-Christ ideology will be bounced into the long grass.
    Rachel Smith

  20. The commonest rationalization from Christian parents for sending their kids to government schools is, “Someone has to witness to the other kids.” But this is fallacious on so many grounds:

    1. The Great Commission was not given to six-year-olds!

    2. Polls consistently show that the witnessing goes the other way in about 3/4 of the cases: i.e. that’s the number of kids from Christian homes who leave the Church after leaving school.

    3. If you truly believe that, then send your kids to the Muslim schools, after all “someone has to witness to Islamic kids.”

    4. Consider, “1Ti 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Parents, your duty is to your own children first, not other people’s.

    5. In several places in the book of Acts, a father is saved, and as a result his whole family comes to believe. In today’s culture, this is most likely through his friends, colleagues and family members from the church, who are equipped with answers by organizations such as CMI.

    If fathers are not being witnessed to, then the church is not doing its job. Please don’t make kids do a job the church should be doing, and risking their spiritual well-being in the process.

    “It is hypocritical to claim that we the church are to be a ‘light’ to a world that is living in darkness, while depending on the world to provide ‘light’ to our very own children [in the government schools].”—Garth Wiebe

    Jonathan Sarfati, US

  21. I found your article very interesting. Recently I was amazed about how much our American history has been altered to create a humanist viewpoint in the minds of our children.

    I did not know until recently that Joseph Hayne Rainey, a black man, served in the House Of Representatives from 1870–1879. In fact we had several black representatives, and revolutionary heroes.

    Roma Cox, US

  22. Many in favour of homeschooling have mentioned that it often allows children to thrive academically, and progress beyond where they would be in a state system. What happens to those who are ready for university at 15 or younger? Do you hold them at home until they are 17 or 18 like everybody else, or let them go?

    In my experience as a graduate of the public system and universities, the most influential and challenging time for me was in university, not in school. University provides a breeding ground for one to doubt their faith and upbringing (not always a bad thing when you come out the other side stronger in your faith). Do we push university by correspondence? I studied full time at the University of Melbourne, and let me tell you, even in my 1st year math classes there were lecturers pushing their own agendas. There were pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-everything rallies ALL the time. You can’t stop your kids from seeing this stuff. I understand that one’s values are formed in the early years (0-7 so I’ve been told), but we all know we continue to learn and change beyond these years, and the influence of articulate professors can be alarming.

    I am neither for or against homeschooling, as I see it as a valid avenue in particular circumstances, but I would like to know what parents do in regards to university and post-homeschooling education.

    Jess Hagen

  23. David, homeschoolers I know were once office workers, journalists, school teachers, farmers, you name it. My friend in the USA is at the end of her homeschooling years now. She has had no notable career or education and her kids finished their schooling at 17 or so. Her two daughters went on to do uni and her son is an accomplished musician and youth leader now supporting his own family since his wife is at home with their own toddlers. One family here in Australia who practise ‘unschooling’ with little discernable structure now have their two eldest sons in uni. One is studying medicine and one is studying teaching (ironically). Their third son is a virtuoso pianist (by the Suzuki method) and a brilliant computer geek and we have yet to see what their other kids will achieve but they are very very bright, articulate and creative! Other friends have a brilliant guitarist (about 12 years old) who could be appearing publicly he’s that good. Another family we know whose father is an accountant and whose mother is a stay-at-home mum with no particular degrees, has an eldest son in university studying economics and another son about to enter university. That family uses the ACE curriculum (an American-based Christian curriculum). The kids are just so amazingly well-behaved, polite, friendly, disciplined. I could go on and on. And these are the outstanding kids of ordinary people who made the decision to give it a try and would never go back.
    Dee Graf

  24. Bill, I can already hear the responses from the radical social engineers saying “The reason for the higher grades of homeschooled children is that they come from families who tend to be wealthier and more ‘connected’ and so can provide extra support for their children”. Is there any data on the relative wealth of these households that could lay these convenient responses to rest?
    Daniel Kensey

  25. Thanks Daniel

    There may well be data on this, but the comments found here would also partly answer your question.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  26. Mansel Rogerson, great comment as usual. Looking forward to more of your responses. Bill great article

    Stan Fishley

  27. Jess, that’s a really interesting question. I think most Aussie universities don’t allow you to start younger than 17 with exceptions for 16yo’s who have exceptionally good marks and show maturity… but a 15yo would most likely not be allowed to start uni anyway.

    Maybe that’s what gap years should be for?

    Alison Keen

  28. I agree with Bill and Mansel, just adding that my own home-schooled children, and the children of many of my home-schooling friends are not necessarily making dramatic academic progress, but the time spent with our children of ‘average’ intelligence/ability is very precious, sharing our love of learning and being able to encourage individual interests.
    Vikki Kay, Qld, Aus

  29. I’m with Dr Sarfati – the church isn’t doing evangelism right when the idea of a “light to the world” is pushed down to the next generation.

    Jess, you said:

    What happens to those who are ready for university at 15 or younger? Do you hold them at home until they are 17 or 18 like everybody else, or let them go?

    In my experience as a graduate of the public system and universities, the most influential and challenging time for me was in university, not in school. University provides a breeding ground for one to doubt their faith and upbringing (not always a bad thing when you come out the other side stronger in your faith). Do we push university by correspondence? I studied full time at the University of Melbourne, and let me tell you, even in my 1st year math classes there were lecturers pushing their own agendas. There were pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-everything rallies ALL the time. You can’t stop your kids from seeing this stuff. I understand that one’s values are formed in the early years (0-7 so I’ve been told), but we all know we continue to learn and change beyond these years, and the influence of articulate professors can be alarming.

    Those years from 16-25 are the most vulnerable in terms of values formation so, whilst I admire those who like you came through uni with a stronger faith, I must alert you to the fact that the stats are against you – most students exposed to a Uni environment hostile to the Christian faith actually forfeit their beliefs.

    For age 15s there is Open University or, as someone already said, a gap year/s for travel or work.

    Another alternative is to bypass Uni altogether. It is not the sure-fire ticket to a top job which earlier generations believed, anyway – ask around and you may find that master tradesmen are doing better than uni graduates.

    John Angelico

  30. We are using the ACE curriculum and it is great. My wife didn’t finish high school and the support from the school we are registered with in QLD covers any lack we may hold.
    Aaron Downs

  31. Are there any financial incentives for homeschooling in Australia? Do you get any tax breaks? Are homeschool education materials tax deductible?

    Most parents would find homeschooling financially challenging because it means one parent giving up paid employment, as well as the fact that you are still paying taxes towards the education of other kids in public schools.

    Jereth Kok

  32. Jereth,
    As for the financial incentives, there aren’t many. But, there is the Education Tax Refund (ETR), which you can claim up to 50% of certain* education expenses UP TO $750 for primary & $1500 for secondary students.
    *Includes computers, & all running costs & equipment, internet connection, school text books & stationery -only. Keep all receipts. I also go for scholarships for the children.
    Anita Gerardi

  33. Jereth, it’s true that the family will have to give up one income. However, there are so many options to supplement income available! We moved to the country partially to cut down on mortgage payments and we are doing things from home. For example, for a very nominal amount by Sydney terms we have a lovely country property with enough acreage to run merino sheep and collect the money from their fleece. Your half a million dollars (average price for a house in Sydney) will buy you quite a lovely country home with a lot more acres than we’ve got and you would be able to run a lot more sheep than we can. Even if it’s not a complete income, in our case, it supplements nicely and we can do it from home. We are also looking into selling some products from markets on the weekend. I’ve done this before and the earnings can be quite good. You can import stuff, make stuff or sell what you grow. We have an orchard that provides far more than our family can ever hope to eat. It’s quite common to join a barter community out here where a whole bunch of people will come out and help you pour concrete, or get the bones of your new extension up. You in return might go and offer your own goods or services. There are a number of options to consider if you think outside the box! If you feel that this is something God has put on your heart, just ask Him. He’s the One Who has far more ideas than you can begin to conceive!
    Dee Graf

  34. To Jim Garlick – thanks for the link mate, I think this guy might have been accidentally given all the guts of the world’s politicians, that could be why no other politician seems to have any! He is right on the money and if parents etc. do not stand up and be ready to fight this then God help us all.
    Steve Davis

  35. Hi John,

    In response to your response:

    “Those years from 16-25 are the most vulnerable in terms of values formation so, whilst I admire those who like you came through uni with a stronger faith, I must alert you to the fact that the stats are against you – most students exposed to a Uni environment hostile to the Christian faith actually forfeit their beliefs.
    For age 15s there is Open University or, as someone already said, a gap year/s for travel or work.
    Another alternative is to bypass Uni altogether. It is not the sure-fire ticket to a top job which earlier generations believed, anyway – ask around and you may find that master tradesmen are doing better than uni graduates.”

    That’s what I’m getting at in my comment – I totally understand (and am thankful) that I seem to be the minority in this instance. I entirely agree that the 16-25 age bracket can be far more vulnerable than the primary years as some would suggest. That’s why I ask homeschooling parents what they do about university. I’m sorry but I do not agree with gap years because there is no other choice. Nor do I agree with open universities or courses by correspondence because the lecture room environment is too dangerous. One day they HAVE to be in a setting that tests them (they being, our children).

    We cannot assume that our well-behaved, highly educated and socially competent homeschooled children will hear from God about going to a bible college or seminary straight after high school, and then thank the Lord they will be safe from the world’s harms. Many of them may in fact want to pursue highly sought after professions, such as medicine, law, or commerce. We do not have as many tertiary institutions as the US, and thus none of ours seem to really hold to any Christian values.

    I perhaps may come across a little negative towards homeschooling, or rather the outcomes of it (although it is not my intention) – I only assume this is from my experience of seeing some of the “post-homeschoolers” and where they are now… especially in terms of their faith (most are indeed very successful in the world’s eyes).

    I would love to hear more about what parents do once they get to VCE and tertiary education.

    Jess Hagen

  36. Just wondering how homeschooling parents manage secondary education in the more difficult subjects, such as science, maths or foreign languages, if neither parent is qualified in these fields. How do you handle the practical science work without setting up an expensive science lab?

    Paul Martin, Qld

  37. Hi Jess,
    I agree with you that uni is hard on your Christian beliefs. I spent three long years there to get my own degree. I went in there with my eyes wide open and did what I always do. I prayed that the Lord would protect my spirit from the garbage and He did! I picked and chose the subjects I wanted to do. Some subjects have flashing warning lights and I knew not to go near those. This world desperately needs Christian leaders (like Bill for example). I have lots of friends with degrees. They went in to get what they needed to do what they felt they were called to do. How much harder is it for a kid who has had secular humanism shoved down his/her throat since he/she was five years old or younger to survive the cutthroat, soul-destroying atmosphere of university. I will teach my daughter that if God be for her, who can be against her. I will ground her so thoroughly (as my own parents did) that she will never be able to be comfortable serving satan, and I will believe in the almighty power of my God to be faithful to me because I have been faithful to Him in raising my daughter the way He told me to!
    Dee Graf

  38. Some random thoughts: Aussie kids living in the Outback have for decades done their schooling through correspondence.

    It was suggested years ago that teachers would be become redundant with the advent of the internet.

    Looking at the currant state of education where kids come out of school, like processed sausages, with starred “A” in 10 or 15 subjects, but cannot even read or write, it does beg the question,what is the purpose of education?

    From my experience as a teacher for over 30 years (a misspent adulthood), any thinking about the philosophy of education ended immediately after teaching training. Vision becomes replaced by off the peg mission statements and the dreaded attainment targets such as: the child has exceeded the expectation; the child is achieving the expectation, or the child is working towards the expectation.

    Finally, it seems Western European culture is dead. Apart from technological developments, there does not seem to be the possibility for producing truly great scientists, artists, musicians, writers and thinkers with the same stature or genius of the past, none of whom had the so called technological advantages that we have – not even a lighbulb or telephone. How did they do it?

    David Skinner, UK

  39. Jess, you said:

    I’m sorry but I do not agree with gap years because there is no other choice. Nor do I agree with open universities or courses by correspondence because the lecture room environment is too dangerous. One day they HAVE to be in a setting that tests them (they being, our children).

    and

    I would love to hear more about what parents do once they get to VCE and tertiary education.

    I was responding to the query about what to do for a 15yo who has completed year 12 level work at home, and I was suggesting a range of alternatives.

    VCE as the school certificate, is something which home educators can’t and probably don’t want to access for their children. In any case, less than half of all tertiary entrants have VCE – the majority go into their chosen courses by means of alternative entry systems (this includes overseas students, mature age entrants and home educated students, whenever they go). The Unis have procedures for students presenting with international SAT or ACT scores for example, and translate them into ENTER scores (or whatever they call them this year).

    I was not putting forward an argument for protecting them from a hostile environment (incidentally, it’s not the lectures which are “too dangerous” but the tutorials and the raw humanism of the curriculum), or steering them towards a “safe” environment like Bible college (which often isn’t “safe” anyway). I wasn’t using Open Uni or gap years as a means of avoiding the worldliness of the world. And I was also dealing with the unspoken assumption that post secondary education automatically means university.

    However, in response to the underlying “hothouse” argument/analogy that some put forward (and maybe you have heard it from some people), I would say that a hothouse is specifically used to grow plants to a point where they are strong enough to cope with a harsher outside environment.

    Ultimately however, uni or career goals are not what we seek for our children, because we are obeying the Scriptural mandate to raise them in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4 and Deut 6:4-7)”, and our goals are primarily eternal and spiritual.

    John Angelico

  40. Paul Martin you said:

    Just wondering how homeschooling parents manage secondary education in the more difficult subjects, such as science, maths or foreign languages, if neither parent is qualified in these fields. How do you handle the practical science work without setting up an expensive science lab?

    With wise choice of teaching materials, a recognition that elaborate science experiments don’t feature until years 10-12, and showing our children that early scientists (often Christians themselves) used materials that were ready to hand or equipment which they made themselves, rather than the highly commercialised style of lab equipment seen today.

    Foreign language studies can be done via computers with sound (Rosetta Stone) or CDs.

    Well-designed maths curricula including Saxon, Singapore and Math-U-See for example (there are others) will take students progressively through the basic concepts being taught, will expect them to learn well, will test regularly, and will revise until the concepts are mastered.

    History is a very difficult subject because historiography depends so much on starting assumptions about how the world got to be where it is, and what forces drive historical events.

    Most non-Christian curricula will leave out the church and spiritual forces (eg. the King calling the nation to prayer in 1940, which resulted in extraordinarily calm and foggy weather to allow the Dunkirk rescue) or, as the new 2013 national history curriculum wnats to do, totally excise the Christian faith from anything to do with history.

    Non-Christian assumptions about history can be very hard to dig out of the curriculum, and non-Christian perspectives on literature, and the use of phonics for reading and writing will also slant English, too. By contrast the “hard sciences” and mathematics make it obvious that evolutionary assumptions predominate.

    But somebody once said “life wasn’t meant to be easy” 🙂

    John Angelico

  41. Maybe folks should value the freedom they presently enjoy to choose whether to homeschool or not, for soon even this freedom will no longer exist and then darkness will have overtake us – as has happened with Sweden and Germany

    David Skinner, UK

  42. Some commentators have questioned more or less explicitly what eduction is for. This is a crucial question that we, as Christian parents, must answer if we are to have any hope of providing a ‘good’ education for our children.

    The chief end of man is “to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever”. Education must therefore contribute to this end. But how?

    The primary purpose of education is to teach children about the nature of God and our relationship with Him; but sadly this is something which is almost completely absent from state or private schools these days.

    But what about the role of traditional academic subjects? The primary purpose of these is to fulfil the dominion mandate: “fill the Earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground”. And after the fall this is extended to “make disciples of all nations” through evangelism.

    These academic subjects must therefore be taught so that students gain a mastery over the Earth in the way God intended. This means encouraging them to extend both explicit and implicit Christian witness through evangelism, scientific and medical knowledge, civil law, the arts, technology, orderliness in all areas of life etc etc.

    With this in mind, I’ll leave it to the readers here to determine whether homeschooling with Christian parents or sending children to contempary state/private schools achieves this end best.

    Mansel Rogerson

  43. John,

    Thanks for responding. While I agree that self-learning can be effective, it has limitations. Who can the student approach to discuss a difficult concept in the home environment?

    Regarding scientific equipment, I was actually thinking of Years 10-12 when I asked the question. Do homeschooled students transfer to regular high schools at that age? I doubt very much that the practical work in today’s science curriculum can be handled with “materials to hand”.

    Paul Martin

  44. Paul, you said:

    John,

    Thanks for responding. While I agree that self-learning can be effective, it has limitations. Who can the student approach to discuss a difficult concept in the home environment?

    Regarding scientific equipment, I was actually thinking of Years 10-12 when I asked the question. Do homeschooled students transfer to regular high schools at that age? I doubt very much that the practical work in today’s science curriculum can be handled with “materials to hand”.

    Sorry Paul, I didn’t mean to imply self-learning, as the curricula I mentioned are not designed as self-instructional. They require a parent to direct the learning. In difficult cases, there are people such as the suppliers of materials available to ask.

    The A Beka science curriculum and others all list experimental materials in home terms rather than laboratory terms.

    I am not here to promote business, but our business sells Saxon, and LEM in Canberra sell A Beka. There are qualified teachers available to ask.

    Most US science curriculum is organised to concentrate on one branch per year – physics yr 10, biology yr 11 and chemistry yr 12 for example, although the actual level of difficulty is about the same.

    But yes, some parents return their students to the school system after year 10, and discover that the experiments are often done by the teacher rather than the students.

    Most of the experiments are straightforward enough that they could be done at home.

    Other avenues for students include science days organised by Deakin Uni, project days planned by homeschool networks, entry into the well-known maths and science competitions etc.

    John Angelico

  45. Comments on the average academic performance of homeschooled vs “conventionally” schooled need to be taken with a grain of salt. Parents who homeschool are likely to be themselves better educated and more wealthy, which creates a selection bias. Comparisons thus need to be corrected for socio-economic status.

    Disclaimer: I think there’s good stuff going for homeschooling, but “37 percentile points above the national average” needs some caveats.

    Andrew White

  46. John Angelico has done a great job of responding to Paul Martin’s concerns, but I’ll add my own two cents worth as well. Many of the homeschooled kids I know are quite bright. One boy was taken out of schools because he has Asperger Syndrome and has a brilliance in IT and Linguistics. He speaks German without an accent now at 17 (his tutoring in German was outsourced to a local German speaker much the same way you would put your child into a sport or other hobby). He has gone well beyond his parents now. A lot of homeschooled kids develop independence and are able by this age to research on their own once they reach the age where they need to access more complex information. You would be surprised just how far these homeschooled kids go and what they develop into. If you go back and read Bill’s statistics and just ponder over it, it’s clear that homeschooling just works…somehow. And all the more so when you approach it prayerfully.
    Dee Graf

  47. “While I agree that self-learning can be effective, it has limitations. Who can the student approach to discuss a difficult concept in the home environment?”

    I have the same question as Paul Martin on this.

    Nothing can replace face to face learning, on the spot questions and answers, and a work space where a student can be knudged into the right direction through trial and error.
    It takes an expert (such as an expert in calculus, complex numbers, physics, graphic design, etc) to efficiently train a potential expert in the same field. My parents were great mentors to me in music and many other things, but they knew they could not help me with maths or science beyond year 9 level (they are teachers themselves).
    Many of you will argue that most schools do not provide expert teachers, or they are too over-filled to give the guidance in the classroom that I mentioned.
    Well – some of them do. Is it not worth spending the time and energy seeking a school that will benefit your child?

    I had some amazing teachers in high school (public) that I still keep in contact with today on facebook. They genuinely had my academic interests at heart and nurtured me through my challenging years.

    What happens when you have a call of God to be doing something full time but you also have kids? I don’t think it is fair to promote homeschooling so much that a Christian parent feels like they are selfish by sending their children to a school. Homeschooling is not, and should not be, for everyone.

    Jess Hagen

  48. Great article Bill! This year we begin teaching No 2 of a current 5 and as a parent its such a blessing to be able to keep my children from many things that plague schools and of which had significant influence in the forming of my life for the devil. Its also great to be more intimately involved in my childrens learning to ensure that they are developing correctly. I have seen many parents angered upon deciding to home school as a result of the revelation that their children cannot read properly etc. I think every christian parent informed of the facts and threats towards their children should at least consider it, if not decide to make necessary sacrifice to attain to it.
    Dorian Ballard

  49. Apologies if I am repeating what others have said on this subject.

    We have homeschooled for over a decade. Middle child is off to the secular system for years 11&12, as we cannot provide the quality/level of education that he needs. It is a concern, sending him into the den of humanism. However, we live in the hope that we have prepared him well to be wise and discerning. Time will tell, but he is a child of God’s before he is a child of Michael’s.

    However, the main point I want to make is that we have homeschooled a child with significant development delays and learning issues. On a recent detailed psychological assessment the highly experienced psychologist said ‘homeschooling has saved this child, she simply would not have developed to her current level in any group/school environment’. She encouraged us to continue, to prepare our precious girl for adult life, by homeschooling. She will get the quality of care and education that she needs to survive a hostile world… she is imperfect, after all.

    And, isn’t that the task – to create effective, contributing members of society?

    As for me and mine, we will continue to provide the education that our kids’ specific needs dictate. Homeschooling has been a significant and effective part of the process.

    My wife says ‘what’s the use of going out to work to provide for the kids, so that they get lost in the world through a humanist education system’. Extra income would be nice, but the cost of sending the kids to school is too high… in what it does to their opportunities, their giftings and their future.

    Michael Hardy

  50. I am a U.S. home-schooling mother, and I am responding to Mr. Andrew White’s assertion above that H.S. parents are wealthier and more highly educated than their P.S. peers’ parents. I believe that he (and some others as well) may be laboring under a partial delusion about the demographics of home-schoolers and its effect on the childrens’ education.

    It is no doubt difficult to get accurate demographic information about home-schooling parents, but here is a short paragraph from the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics 2003. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/homeschool/characteristics.asp

    [From the above source]

    “Parents’ highest educational attainment

    Twenty-five percent of homeschooled students had parents whose highest educational attainment was a high school diploma or less; this figure is lower than that for public schooled students (34 percent) but higher than that for private schooled students (13 percent). Homeschooled students were also less likely than private schooled students to have parents whose highest educational attainment was graduate or professional coursework beyond a bachelor’s degree (20 percent compared to 31 percent).

    [End Quote]

    It would seem that the parents of private school children would seem to have the wealthiest and most highly-educated parents…as one might expect.

    I live in a part of Texas, where homeschooling is very popular. I know that in our local homeschool group (about 40 families) and in our larger group (100 families), most of the fathers are working-men or own their own businesses. I personally know of only 4 “professional” men, although there are probably a few more.

    Several of the mothers (usually the teachers) that I know have only a high-school education. Some have a few years of college. A good many were once teachers or nurses. One that I know was a trauma nurse, one a lawyer, and I have a master’s degree. BUT ALL the mothers that I know are highly intelligent and creative people, no matter what their educational level.

    As far as statistics go, it is true that most of our families are not the poorest-of-the-poor (which are often the elderly, single mothers with low education, and the drug/criminal-class in our area). Most home-schoolers in our area live as “normal” lower to upper-middle-class American families. They have electricity, TVs, cars, and computers. But some DO struggle financially and a few live very simple agrarian-oriented lives as homesteaders. It is common for home-schoolers to raise their own small livestock and have a garden. Women often make bread, sew, make preservers or soap, make crafts, or raise small animals to sell to help out the family’s finances. Most home-schoolers that I know do NOT strive for mega-mansions, designer clothing, or luxury automobiles, nor do they “hang out” at the mall. Actually, more of them shop at the thrift stores. Passing around curriculum, clothes and anything else useful is very common…almost everyone I know does it. We also tend to patronize home-schoolers’ businesses when we can.

    I do not believe that it is the money or the education level of the parents that benefits home-schoolers, but the parents’ belief that children are valuable, that it honors God for us to use the intelligence and talents that He has given us, and that God Himself has entrusted us with the task of educating our children for His service.

    Shanna Duck, US

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