Unification News for April / May 1999
In past articles weve had much to say about the education of Americas children. This month were going to discuss one growing educational movement, Home Schooling. Today, over a million children are taking their lessons at home.
Since the ill-fated Womens Liberation movement began, millions of mothers have devoted themselves to outside careers. For the poor, confiscatory taxes can make this a necessity. While putting in long hours, these women have turned to day care to help raise their children. (Or if theyre wealthy, to private nannies.)
As a result, one now hears heart-rending stories of small children calling their care provider "mommy," and hardly recognizing their actual mother!
Radios Dr. Laura reported about one such "successful" working mother. In a written interview, this workaholic admitted that, in being away from her children so much, she knew that SHE was "missing out on something."
This author once heard an amazing personal testimony from a retired High School Principal, Mr. Richard Arthur. He has served in some of Californias toughest neighborhoods, and is now an activist for educational reform.
Arthur speaks of watching a father drop off his son at school each morning. The man drove a fancy sports car, and day after day, he would immediately speed away.
One morning Principal Arthur approached the father, and asked if he could "take the car for a spin around the block."
"No way!" was the mans response.
Arthur told him, "You place your son in my care for many hours each day, without ever coming inside to check out the school. Yet you wont trust me with your car for five minutes. Which do you value more?"
One does hope the message sank in.
Such self-centered attitudes are common, and a constant stream of "academic studies" attempt to justify them. Arrogant scholars have announced that everything from "lengthy day care" to "homosexual parents" are harmlesseven beneficialto children. Each time, the liberal news media trumpets their findings. Even if they are technically correct (which is debatable), their narrow, slanted test results dont tell the entire story.
The history of the Public Schools is complex, but the greatest impetus for their growth was the vast influx of immigrants that took place during the nineteenth century.
Numerous "free schools" were founded to educate these newly-arrived children. Most were poor, and many couldnt speak English. These new schools enabled them to learn and socialize, and to identify themselves as Americans. For the most part they succeeded, allowing Americas famous "melting pot" to forge an even greater nation.
These days the Public Schools, particularly in liberal states, are failing in this; theyre doing just the opposite! Immigration is now mostly from Third World nations, and "multiculturalism" is teaching those children to cling to the very cultures their parents had fled. (Many of those cultures, sorry to say, remain profoundly medievalor worse.)
Of course, when immigrants find freedom here, they should discern and honor that part of their heritage which is positive. However, resentful, left-leaning educators dont think that way. Thus their students end up alienated, perceiving themselves as victimized "hyphenated Americans." These children are being set up to fail.
Many parents are aware that something has gone terribly wrong, and theyre responding in a variety of ways. Some are educating their children right at home, a practice now called Home Schooling.
Parents are choosing this method for several reasons. Some large families cannot afford private tuition for all of their children. Rural residents have limited options. Many parents, especially fundamentalist Christians, want to be absolutely sure of the influences upon their children. In fact, Christians now comprise the vast majority of home schoolers.
Judge Robert Bork describes the Home School movement as "an effort to keep children out of the corrupting embrace of Public School systems run by modern liberals."
Advocates note that the Constitution provides no specific basis for the Public Schools. Rather, the Tenth Amendment makes it clear that parents have primary responsibility.
Some advocates go much further, rejecting the very concept of classroom education. Author Sheldon Richman puts it this way:
"Imagine an office where you sit at a desk and do the same work as 25 coworkers. No one is allowed to talk. At the end of 50 minutes, a bell rings, and whether youre finished or not, you must immediately move to another office, have a different boss and different colleaguesand start a job that has nothing to do with the one you were just working on. Imagine doing that six or seven times a day."
Obviously, these workers would accomplish little if anything.
Home Schools arent just a "reaction to the times." They have a profound intellectual foundation, and a long history. Many of Americas Founding Fathers, luminaries such as Washington, Hamilton, and Patrick Henry, were educated primarily at home. During their era, overall literacy was quite high.
Pros and Cons
Home Schools are as controversial as they are popular. The National Education Association states in its official platform that Home Schools must be opposed at every turn. Numerous efforts have been made to shut them down. Zoning laws, licensing requirements, and now "national standards," are being used as bludgeons.
Home schoolers have won some fierce legal battles, leading to the establishment of the Home School Legal Defense Association, a full-time legal organization.
"Educrats" complain that home schooling detracts from the Public Schools. Advocates reply that government-run schools are already failing, and even if they werent, its still the parents decision. Parents must pay their full share of taxes, either way.
Teachers claim that children need "socialization," and that only their heterogeneous classrooms can provide it. Home schoolers have responded by organizing clubs that sponsor study groups, field trips, and many other activities.
Educators claim that parents arent always qualified to teach a variety of subjects. Parents respond that many teachers arent eitheras recent competency tests have proved. Meanwhile, the popularity of home schooling has fostered the growth of publishing houses that produce specialized textbooks, course materials, and even software.
Progressives claim that our complex, modern world demands "up to date resources" for teaching. They cast devout Christians as regressive, even as Luddites. They point out that many Christian parents ban TV from their homes, and allow only "approved" videos, if any.
In fact, overall, home schooling is highly technological. For example, Christians now offer Internet services that automatically screen out pornographic sites. Numerous web sites support Home Schools, and sympathetic Christian Schools are beginning to provide specialized, on-line classes.
Most Public School classrooms are already wired to the Internet. However, the majority of teachers do not know how to utilize the technology. Home Schools are, in many respects, well ahead of them!
Many Public Schools, bowing to the inevitable, have begun cooperating with home schoolers. Some even offer comprehensive support packages.
Of course, all parents have to do some home schooling, even if it only involves homework and such. This depends on the style and competence of their childrens school, but in any case, there must always be parental support!
At home, self-disciplined children can learn at their own pace; which, as it turns out, is usually several times faster than they would have in a classroom. The results are impressive.
Education, wherever it takes place, is more than rote memorization: "The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn." John Lubbock (Lord Avebury), 1887.
There is an even deeper aspect to education. Raising Godly children is the most important thing a couple can do. True Father says that the family is "the school of love," the sacred place where the Four Great Realms of Heart are fulfilled.
We Unificationists have organized several excellent schools. They are models of learning, and of true multiculturalism.
So far, though, our schools are few and far between. Unificationist parents, if their circumstances warrant, should seriously consider home schooling their children.
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