Homeschooling Nuts and Bolts

by R.B., Survival Blog:

It is common knowledge that American public education is a failure. We have known for years that our students do not measure up to students in other countries, even very poor ones. For decades we have seen national test scores sink, and employers are constantly telling us they cannot hire workers with basic skills. But most parents still believe their local school is excellent and their children are getting a good education.

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The schools tell us how good, caring, and professional they are. They have mottos that ooze care and concern that every child should reach his/her potential in every way, to prepare for a happy and successful life. Thus they justify astounding outlays of funds per child, much of which is spent on bloated administrations, bussing to enormous schools with thousands of students, and computerized “teacher proof” curricula designed by leftist ideologues. Along with that come the teachers’ unions, which have supplanted the former concept of the “teaching profession” with labor contracts and super-powerful political lobbies, and teachers are often required or coerced into membership.

School administrators and teachers have become convinced that the children belong to them and not to their parents, and many parents have given over their rights to oversee what their children learn. Indeed, many children eat their meals at school and hardly see their parents at all during the work week. Left-leaning folk who campaign vigorously to be elected to local school boards ignore or silence parents who confront them in public meetings. Examples of school administrators, librarians, and school boards defending educational materials which offend the decency of children and parents have appeared in the media recently, especially since Covid opened the eyes of many parents as to what is actually going on in the schools. Poor scores, high taxes, and indoctrination! These are truly reasons for every parent to seriously consider another education model for their children.

I do not intend to imply that every public school is deficient or that every teacher is willing to teach offensive content, for good and dedicated teachers still exist throughout the system, often “putting their heads down” and doing the right thing, possibly even at the risk of their jobs for doing so. In this article I will not discuss the other alternative school models, such as parochial schools, charter schools, independent schools, and co-ops, which can also be viable options worth considering.

So mention homeschooling to a member of the education establishment, and what arguments do you get? The first is “We are trained professional educators with advanced degrees in education. We know what your children should learn better than you do. Stay out of the way, give us your children, and trust us to do our job.” Really? School systems are rife with incompetent teachers who cannot be removed because they have tenure and the backing of their unions. These are poorly educated, even though they somehow got through college and have managed to work the system. Some cannot add or subtract; some cannot write a coherent sentence.

In a course for senior education students that I taught at a large public university, students were to prepare a resume for possible submission to school districts. I was dismayed to find most of these students were very deficient in writing skills, and the worst of all were the students who intended to be high school English teachers! What were these “trained professionals” trained to do? Can you do better? Of course, you can.

A second argument put forth in favor of public schooling is that you cannot afford to provide an alternative education when you already pay exorbitant taxes to support the public schools, and you don’t get a refund if you don’t use what you pay for. That is true in part, and many states are waking up to this injustice, with proposals for voucher programs. It is also an admission that public education in 
America spends twice as much per pupil as any other developed nation, and yet sees a dismal return on this investment.

So what will homeschooling cost you? Your lifestyle will require some alteration, perhaps major change. A parent may have to work from home, or even give up a job. We found that was actually possible for many during the pandemic, and many parents reported actually liking their children and enjoying the whole experience. Compared to this, homeschool materials cost very little, and later in this article I will point you to sources available to you.

A third argument is that huge public schools (1000 or more students) offer so many fine programs that you cannot possibly duplicate. To that we must ask, what percent of a large student body is actually able to play on the basketball team or football team (or even sit on the bench)? What percent can be in other various activities, versus what percent really don’t participate? But homeschool parents are able to find alternatives to many of these programs, and actively seek out opportunities for their students to actively participate. They also avoid the risks of overwhelming participation in activities which demand every evening for practices and games, or every morning early rehearsals for marching bands etc. which leads to tearing children out of church and family activities.


We were dissatisfied with our parochial school, and transferred our son to a local independent school, which advertised advanced learning opportunities. The first year (sixth grade) seemed positive, and he learned Latin as well as several other studies. The next year was dismal, the math instructor was poor and I had to teach him at home. Social studies turned anti-Christian and my son had to defend his faith in front of the whole class, and at the end of the year we were “disinvited.”

I was determined not to send my son to the local junior high, and so we discussed and agreed on trying homeschooling for a semester, but he said, “Why not the whole year?” We ended up homeschooling him for two years, grades 8 and 9. Granted this was a reasonable possibility for us immediately, because I had just retired from a high school teaching position, and my wife was recently retired disabled as a medical doctor. So we began by setting some parameters and expectations.

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