by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
I can remember, back in the late 1980s when my wife and I made the decision that we needed to home school our children. The people in the church we attended were mostly aghast at that prospect. Most of them, (and I say most because there were a couple exceptions, but only a couple) felt that rather than us home schooling our kids we should immediately repair to the local public school and implore them to please take our kids in and give them a proper education. They realized, as time went on, that such was not going to happen.
Outside of them being thoroughly conditioned to believe that public schools were the only way to go, I’m not sure why they reacted so to our decision to home school. They may have felt we are just too ignorant to teach our own kids, I don’t know. Maybe we didn’t have a string of college degrees in back of our names. That probably had something to do with it. Their premise seemed to be that no one without a college degree of some sort is capable of teaching anyone anything. My wife and I were both mere high school graduates and so we were considered not fit to teach our kids anything except how to find their way to the local public school.
When my wife and I came to this particular church we were just finished with a two year stint in West Virginia during the Kanawha County Textbook Protest. What we saw and heard there in our two short years had convinced us that our kids were never going to attend a public school anywhere at anytime. I could almost wish that some of the folks in that church had been able to spend some time in West Virginia with us to see what went on and how the public school establishment and the government treated textbook protesters. But, then, they might not have believed it if they had seen it. They couldn’t grasp why we felt the way we did about the public education establishment because they had never experienced what we had, and they had been, as I said, conditioned to feel public school was the only way to go. They could, with some reservations, accept Christian schools, but home schooling, especially by my wife and I, was simply beyond the pale.
Well, beyond the pale or not, we did it anyway Obviously, we were not going to be able to school our kids in the classics, but we were able to give them, with the Lord’s help (and that’s the only way we could do anything) a decent basic education. My wife and I were both readers and we had instilled that into the kids so they were readers.
My wife and I started going around to home school fairs wherever we could find them and one thing I always checked out, the first thing, was what different home school programs had for history and theology. Mostly is was pretty disappointing. Some of the history books seemed like little more than rehashes of public school texts with a few Bible verses sprinkled over the top. Now remember, I’m talking about back in the late 1980s. Granted today there may be lots more worthwhile stuff our there, but in the late 80s, it was kind of slim.
I finally found some decent historical material, but it wasn’t from any of the home school history programs we checked out. I found a good five-volume U S history set by Clarence Carson from the Conservative Book Club for our son and a book called Quest of a Hemisphere from the John Birch Society for our daughter. Nowadays the John Birch Society has its own home school program, as does Ron Paul’s organization. So, today, there are some good options out there.
For our first year we used a program from Alpha Omega but we didn’t use either their history or their Bible studies. The second year we used material from Christian Liberty Academy for our daughter. Our son was done at that point.
One thing we discovered, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to home school your kids. You do have to know the material you are using and you have to be comfortable teaching it. That’s not a big deal. Most parents can work at that and get to where they are comfortable teaching their kids and if they are willing to work at it the kids will actually learn something. You do not have to be a professor emeritus at some big college to home school your kids. That’s what the public school establishment would like you to believe–that you are too stupid to teach your kids anything and in most cases it’s just not so. Or look at it this way, if you were educated in their public school system and you are too dumb to teach your kids anything, what does that say about the system that “educated” you?
Today there are all kinds of home school programs and all kinds of home schooling organizations where parents get together and team-teach a whole bunch of kids, one parent taking a subject they are good at and teaching it to kids from a whole bunch of families. When we home schooled no such thing existed to our knowledge.
Another thing to consider–if you start teaching your kids right from the beginning and never put them in a public school, then the public school authorities have less of a hold over your family than if you had been in their system because you were never part of their system. I doubt that the public schools in our area knew we existed because we had never been part of that system anywhere.
That’s not to say home schooling is a snap. Like anything worth doing, you have to work at it, but for those willing to work at it, in most cases, you can do it and this is what the public school establishment hopes you never realize–that you can do what they are failing to do. Once you have that figured out you don’t need them and they realize that. Not only that, with what goes on in public schools nowadays your kids are better off without them.
One thing public schools will never do is to impart a Christian worldview to your kids, but they will impart a humanistic, socialist worldview to them because, at root, that’s what they exist for. That being the case, your kids don’t need them, nor will your grandchildren!