Pop Quiz – Will You Pass or Fail (part 2)October 23, 2023
Are we teaching our children the most important things? Well, we better know the answer to that question. In our current culture and especially in my state, there is a war on homeschooling. In any kind of fight, you need to focus your intention on what’s vitally important and what’s not or you are guaranteed to lose.
A Battle Worth Fighting
I’m not just talking about losing the ability to homeschool but losing our children’s hearts and minds as well. If you don’t think so, try to have a deep, fact-based, full-sentenced, grammatically correct debate or discussion on any non-social media or movie topic with the general college student or younger who has not been homeschooled. Those discussions include a lot of deep phrases with words such as: “like, I um think that like, it’s kind of like”; references to social media influencers or movies as fact-based information; or an insistence that standards, morality, and historically accepted facts need to change with the culture and the times.
Don’t believe me that there is a war for your children and that knowing the most important things to teach them isn’t vital? Just look around, ask questions, and listen for a while. Do you think our culture and ability to think critically is generally getting better or worse? Recently, I’ve heard:
- People quoting SpongeBob SquarePants to answer questions
- Remarks made about supposed changes to human gender and biology
- 500-year-old American history removed from textbooks
- An insistence on ignoring Constitutional rights
- Open derision of governmental transparency
- Expectations of long-term government handouts
- and much more.
It’s a much longer list, but you get the point.
Anyone with a half-decent education in Reading, Rhetoric, Biology, History, Math, Geography, Government, or Ethics should cringe. So should their teachers. Even more terrifying though is that many of these comments were made by people in various types of leadership positions, not young people currently being de-educated in many of our public schools. Added to that, I haven’t spoken with any business owner in several years who can find young workers willing to work, let alone with enough integrity or basic capability to work for them.
Trust me, when the ship is going down and no one knows how to swim, row, or plug the hole, telling you, “We should have gotten in the lifeboats sooner” is not a rant. It’s a warning. To quote a friend of mine recently, “It’s a raging dumpster fire in a flash flood.”
So What Can We Do?
Here’s the good news though, and why the sacrifice you are making is so important. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, an increasing amount of parents like you and I are choosing homeschooling in order to:
- individualize curriculum and learning environment
- improve academic opportunity
- utilize unique non-traditional approaches
- personally guide social experiences
- decrease bullying and potential threats, and
- increase freedom to invest in family values.
Those choices are making a difference. Recent peer-reviewed studies by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) show that 78% of homeschoolers “perform significantly better than those in institutional schools”, and score an average of 72 points or 15-25% better on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. According to an article by Business Insider, even Ivy League institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and Duke are actively recruiting homeschoolers because of the quality of education and students.
If the naysayers still mention that you are endangering your children and that they will become narrow-minded, anti-social geeks, then remind them that “87% of peer-reviewed studies on social, emotional, and psychological development show homeschool students perform statistically better than those in conventional (public) schools.” Ouch! That might make the detractors a little anti-social, so be ready for the cold shoulder or huff and puff about the one weird homeschooler that their neighbor’s Aunt Jane’s best friend’s cousin once knew.
Additional Homeschooling Ammunition
If you like data, here’s some more to compare with. For the rest of you, bear with me while I continue feeding the data carnivores in the group.
- According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), public schools show that approximately 50% of the 49.4 million public school students are behind their grade level, and 36% remain that way at the end of the school year.
- The National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) shows eighth-grade history scores as the lowest in its recorded history.
- In Baltimore, 23 out of 150 schools in the district didn’t have even one student proficient at their grade level in Math.
- In the state I live in, public school test scores rate in the bottom 10% of the nation.
- In some states, there is a substantial difference in total graduation rates, with the lowest adjusted graduation rate dropping as low as 53% according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The NCES also shows that across the country minority students average 9% percent lower than white students; with minorities in states like Wisconsin and Michigan showing a 23% drop.
That’s more than pitiful. It’s criminal.
All of that and a lot of other factors including the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion approach with its new Math, revised History, and politically correct Health classes do not incline me to ever send my children back into the Public School system ever again.
For those who argue, such as my home state governor, that a good education equates to more of my tax money rather than subject focus, fundamentals, quality, and character – the National Home Education Research Institute shows the average yearly cost per child in public education as $16,446 while each homeschooler costs about $600. The public school per student expenditure in this state is $7,000 less than that, but still far, far more than the direct cost of homeschooling.
The Homeschooling Difference
No one said homeschooling or working to pay for our children’s education bills was easy. For my own part, I’m more than willing to show them “Real Life Math” where I have to work harder and make more personal budget cuts to pay for their books. I’m delighted to come home after work and research current events, politics, history, and archeology in order to help them critically learn and think.
I love bribing them to read through my library of old classics or teaching them to work hard with my wife and me to learn to best gardening, animal husbandry, and how to do DIY projects around the farm. Besides regular school hours, my wife enjoys investing additional time in teaching our children how to cook, clean, and learn to do public speaking as assistant Sunday School teachers. Their older sisters teach them Art and Spanish as well as the Beautician’s and Librarian’s trades; their older brothers pay them to work as housecleaners and nannies; and their grandparents take them on speaking trips and to historical sites to learn history firsthand.
The point is that they receive an excellent academic as well as a Biblically founded, character-focused, creative, and technically proficient academic and life skill style education. Show me the public school student who even dreams of that.
Did you hear all of the “teachers” involved in their lives besides their mom? It’s something I want to discuss in the future, but I know that many of you want to provide this to your children as well. Good for you. It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Remember, you have to know what the goal is, chart the course, and then make the investment. The better the investment, the better the result will be with your children over time. Don’t expect it will be easy or you’ll discover instant success. Believe me, in the pass-or-fail test of life, it’s worth it.
Keep fighting Soldier. In the pass-or-fail battle for your children’s hearts, minds, and souls – it is worth it. Enjoy the ammo.
More About the Author:
Gabriel is a former homeschooled missionary kid and homeschooling father who adores his wife, children, and grandchildren. He is currently rebuilding a 130-year-old homestead, writing a historical fiction book on character for young people, and mentoring young men. He is a former U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondent, Army National Guard Photographer, and U.S. Army Deputy Public Affairs representative and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He lived in Central America during Junior High and served on military short and long-term assignments across the U.S. and in half a dozen countries, including Iraq during his military career. Besides his deep faith and his family, his passion is writing and developing young men into capable steward leaders.
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