Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Article about home-schooling...

*SONNY SCOTT:Home-schooler s threaten our cultural comfort *6/8/20089:39:01 AMDaily JournalYou see them at the grocery, or in a discount store. It's a big family bytoday's standards - "just like stair steps," as the old folks say. Freshlyscrubbed boys with neatly trimmed hair and girls with braids, in clean butunfashionable clothes follow mom through the store as she fills her no-frillsshopping list.There's no begging for gimcracks, no fretting, and no threats from mom. Theolder watch the younger, freeing mom to go peacefully about her task.You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children beinghomeschooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation foracademic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them.Savings to the taxpayers in instructional costs are conservatively estimated at$4 billion, and some place the figure as high as $9 billion. When you considerthat these families pay taxes tosupport public schools, but demand nothing fromthem, it seems quite a deal for the public.Home schooling parents are usually better educated than the norm, and aremore likely to attend worship services. Their motives are many and varied. Somefear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior andhedonistic values that characterize secular schools. Others are concerned fortheir children's safety. Some want their children to be challenged beyond theminimal competencies of the public schools. Concern for a theistic world viewlargely permeates the movement.Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and theparents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming underincreasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California.Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?Me thinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around thehomeschooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around theteetotaler.Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and anindictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesarthe things that Caesar's be, but they draw the line at their children. Those ofus who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered ourchildren to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, andwe reject them in return.Just as the jealous Chaldeans schemed to bring the wrath of the king uponthe Hebrew eunuchs, we are happy to sic the state's bureaucrats on these"trouble makers." Their implicit rejection of America's most venerated idol,Materialism, (a.k.a. "Individualism" ) spurs us to heat the furnace and feed thelions.Young families must make the decision: Will junior go to day care anddayschool, or will mom stay home and raise him? The rationalizations begin. "Afamily just can't make it on one income." (Our parents did.)"It just costs somuch to raise a child nowadays." (Yeah, if you buy brand-name clothing,pre-prepared food, join every club and activity,and spend half the cost of ahouse on the daughter's wedding, it does.) And so, the decision is made. We giveup the bulk of our waking hours with our children, as well as the formation oftheir minds, philosophies, and attitudes, to strangers. We compensate by gettinga boat to take them to the river, a van to carry them to Little League, a2,800-square- foot house, an ATV, a zero-turn Cub Cadet, and a fund to finance abrand-name college education. And most significantly, we claim"our right" topursue a career for our own "self-fulfillment. "Deep down, however, we know that our generation has eaten its seed corn. Welack the discipline and the vision to deny ourselves in the hope of somethingenduring and worthy for our posterity. We are tired from working extra jobs, andthe looming depression threatens our 401k's. Credit cards are nearly maxed, andit costs a $100 to fuel the Suburban. Now the kid is raising hell again,demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work ... andthere goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her fourbright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn't you just loveto wipe that serene look right off her smug face?Is it any wonder we hate her so?Sonny Scott a community columnist, lives on Sparta Road in Chickasaw Countyand his e-mail address is

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