Homeschooling Then and Now

October 13, 2011 | 73 comments
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KindleAs was mentioned in my introduction a week or so ago, my parents homeschooled us “back in the good old days when homeschooling was weird and subversive, not hip and progressive.” I’m now homeschooling my own children, and it’s interesting to note how the movement has evolved during the past 25 years. My adjectives describing the change don’t fit perfectly, of course, but they are representative of general trends, at least in how the perception of homeschooling has changed.

When my mother decided she’d like to keep me home from kindergarten in 1985, it was a bizarre and scary thing to do. She’d learned about homeschooling while taking a class from Reed Benson at BYU. He lent her a copy of his doctoral dissertation on homeschooling, and told her about his nine homeschooled children. So she hunted down some of the books he recommended by John Holt, the father of the modern American homeschooling movement, and decided to try out this radical but exciting idea on her firstborn child. Me.

One thing I remember vividly from those early years of homeschooling was how many random people thought my education was their business. I was often given a surprise pop quiz about history or the multiplication table by supermarket checkers, moms at the park, or even skeptical aunts and uncles. Anyone at all, and especially off-duty school teachers, felt it was incumbent upon them to make sure my parents weren’t committing educational neglect.

Homeschooling at the time was so unusual that few people had even heard of it. Many assumed it was illegal. Others were shocked when we demonstrated good social skills, assuming that our parents kept us locked away from all contact with other human beings. We actually got plenty of opportunities to socialize at 4-H, Church, organized drama, music, and sports programs, and being out and about running errands or doing volunteer work when our peers were in school.

But some of our favorite social time was spent with other homeschoolers. There weren’t many of us back then, so we had to make an effort to stick together. There were two homeschooling groups in our area. One was a “Christian” group, who excluded anyone who didn’t fit their definition of Christian. So the stray Mormons, Catholics, non-religious, and everyone else had their own eclectic group. We got together at the park every month, went on field trips (during which our group was always acclaimed not only for good behavior, but also for the excellent adult/child ratio), and did group activities like Debate Club, Madrigal Choir, and Writing Society.

Fast forward to 2011 and beginning to homeschool my own two children. The scene has changed quite a bit. Most people to whom I mention homeschooling now know at least one other homeschooler. They are far more likely to have a positive perception of homeschooling, based on achievement statistics, media reports, or simply personal experience (I still get the odd negative reaction, but it’s now rare rather than universal).

Both the number of homeschoolers and the number of resources available has increased exponentially. Rather than the minimalist, open-ended call by Holt to help individual children learn in the way they learn best, one can now choose from a plethora of homeschooling “philosophies,” “methods,” and even complete out-of-the-box curricula.

By and large, I view the homeschooling explosion as a good thing. It has made significant alternative educational options available to hundreds of thousands of families who want them. In California and some other states, public money is even available to help homeschoolers defray educational costs. Still, I can’t help looking back nostalgically on the days when homeschooling was a glorious, liberating secret shared by only a few daring initiates. Revolutions always lose a little of their luster when they become institutionalized.

Inevitable but particularly regrettable is the commercialization of homeschooling. Many wonderful books and materials have become available for homeschoolers during the past few decades, but overpriced educational pablum has also proliferated. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for new homeschooling parents to tell the difference, and many end up bewildered with the choices, or oversold by enthusiastic salesmen at homeschooling conferences and curriculum fairs.

Related to this is the overt and obviously economically motivated “marketing” of certain homeschooling methods. The most egregious offenders here are the Thomas Jefferson Education crowd, described ably (albeit somewhat acridly) by Julie a few years ago on T&S. The perpetrators of TJEd purport to teach a homeschooling method that will turn children into “leaders.” What they actually do is attempt to funnel both homeschooling parents and their children into expensive seminars and unaccredited long-distance higher education “degree” programs, as well as selling an ever-increasing corpus of books describing the method.

As a Mormon homeschooler, this is particularly embarrassing to me, since the founders of TJEd (and most of the adherents) are Mormon. I don’t know why Mormons seem peculiarly susceptible to this. Perhaps it’s because they are drawn to the idea of a single “true and living” homeschool method. Then there are the familiar Mormon cultural relics and jargon that permeate TJEd. Or maybe the whole thing is just another manifestation of the Mormon MLM phenomenon.

Whatever the explanation, the result tends to be that small local homeschooling groups that once had a culture of casual, open, eclectic educational exchange become suddenly infected with TJEd. Where once conversations and activities embraced a multiplicity of viewpoints and ideas, they are now dominated by zealous TJEd-ers, who view themselves as the experts on “the classics,” and brand anything and everything that disagrees with them as “conveyer-belt education.”

Although TJEd is an extreme example, to the extent that the homeschooling movement has become more mainstream, it has lost some of its excitement and spontaneity, and become just another educational commodity. Efforts to catalog and control something as eclectic and organic as the homeschooling community that existed when I was growing up tend to end in reducing something rare and magical to its earthbound, prosaic component parts.

Sigh. Maybe I’m just a worn-out hippie, nostalgic that the world has caught up with my weird, subversive dreams, and now those dreams are all packaged up for sale in 100 calorie fat-free packages, and neatly labeled as hip and progressive. Homeschooling is still a wonderful thing, and I am enjoying my children’s education at least as much as I enjoyed my own. But sometimes I long for those good old days when I had to recite the multiplication table to random strangers. In some ways, it was easier than marching in time with everyone else to the beat of a different drummer.

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73 Responses to Homeschooling Then and Now

  1. Julie M. Smith on October 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    A great post, and I appreciate your perspective as a second-generation homeschooler.

    One thing I would add, though, is that there is a very positive side to what you call the commercialization of homeschooling: some truly great products are available now that weren’t years ago. I don’t want to turn this into a commercial, but the Story of the World series is worth its weight in gold and it makes me a little sad to think about having to homeschool 1st-4th before it was written. Similarly, Elementary Greek is a fairly new product and before it, there was absolutely nothing comparable on the market. And the Joy Hakim science books. And . . . and . . . and . . .

    But, yeah, you don’t get any credit for flying your freak flag just because you homeschool these days.

  2. Julie M. Smith on October 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Waaa, I totally missed that she was holding a Kindle. I love it.

    And “the perpetrators of TJEd” is an awesome phrase.

  3. Rachel Whipple on October 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I was unable to persuade my husband that I should homeschool our children, so I have to be creative in finding time to teach them and help them explore. Over the summer we research all sorts of things, a week or two at a time. That Elementary Greek book sounds great. I think we may have a new project for our household.

  4. Sarah Familia on October 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    No, you’re right, Julie. There’s definitely a positive side. I spend many happy hours each year with my Rainbow Catalog, not to mention all those other catalogs. Susan Wise Bauer’s writing style drives me absolutely batty, though. I go for the old Synge and H.E. Marshall histories.

  5. dangermom on October 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    It’s true that I’m not quite as countercultural as I think I am–OTOH I’m the only classical homeschooler in a crowd of hippies, does that count? (We are blessedly uninfected with the TJEd/Celestial Ed virus, maybe because there are few LDS homeschoolers here.)

  6. Mary Siever on October 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Good post. Having homeschooled our children for the past 7 plus years I find a lot of what you have to say is true, but as Julie said the commercialisation has really helped in many ways. It can be overwhelming but it does give more options. Myself, I am not a hard core TJEder but I do have the books (and, um…sell them in our homeschool supply business, yes we are profiting off of homeschooling…well that is a stretch as we have yet to break even, I am happy if we make the loan payment each month and that doesn’t always happen) and there is a lot of good in it, but yes, many of the diehards think it’s the only way. The DeMilles didn’t mean to create that way of thinking though, at least not from what I can see. I did attend a couple of Face to Face seminars and I have been to local forums (for way less than what they pay in Utah) but if you homeschool you also have hardly any money so you can’t afford to do all these things anyway.

    I consider our homeschooling to be eclectic with a huge classical leaning. We take what works for us and go with it. Of course now with a grade 8, grade 5 and grade 1 homeschooler and a 2 year old who is under the impression that she is also in grade 1 it takes a lot of invention. What I do love is being with my children and seeing them grow and blossom in their learning. I also love homeschool catalogues and love the fact that I can now buy my own curriculum (for the most part) at a great discount!

    But in our family it was kind of the thing to do since we like to do almost everything at home (but my daughter WILL go to early morning seminary!!) like have our babies here too. You know, that’s what we do.

  7. SusanS on October 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Just to throw a contrarian hat in the ring here, I read the comments from the homeschool boosters above and am incredulous. I do not understand people’s desire to homeschool their children in general. I’ve had many a conversation with young mothers who are choosing to homeschool their children and their greatest selling point in their opinion having their children at home, is to me, its greatest detraction. One of the biggest benefits of school is that your children are gone! Elsewhere! I love my children, but I am not willing to sacrifice every waking minute of my time to them, selfish being that I am.

    I can conceive of a few hypothetical situations that would make me consider taking on the education of my children: (1) One or more of my children is mentally handicapped. (2) We’re living in some inner city and sending my children to public school will endanger them. (3) We’re living in some enclave of liberal enlightenment that requires my children to write essays extolling the benefits of same-sex marriage in order to get a good grade. (4) We’re living in the middle of Alaska where our mail is delivered by seaplane. No other reason holds water. And I don’t lose sleep at night or feel that I’m being negligent in my children’s studies because they will go through the entirety of their public education without having to memorize a single declension table.

    Call me old fashioned, but count me among those who think giving their children an independent school life is a very very good thing.

  8. dangermom on October 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Susan, no one is requiring you to homeschool, or saying that it’s the only way to be a good parent. Homeschooling is definitely not for everyone. But if you don’t understand the appeal, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a great choice for others.

  9. Amber on October 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Great article! I have seen a huge change in homeschooling just in the past ten years when I started, I liked
    It better before too. I think TJED and others emphasizing educational philosophies has really damaged the community we used to have— hopefully it will come back but it may take awhile. We love Elementary Greek, my girls finished year three and have been fully prepared for Henle Latin – just started this year. I will link to this article!

  10. Alison Moore Smith on October 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Wait, I think that woman is going to be sent to Standards! :)

    I am officially a fan of Sarah. :) Anyone who will join the cry against the Pied Piper of DeMille is tops in my book. We are just starting our 18th year of homeschooling (one kid in graduate school, two college undergrads (go cougars!) and I think I’d say TJEd is the biggest boatload of nonsense I’ve come across.

    If any readers have been sucked into the TJEd vortex of distraction, open your mine and read this blog Why I Don’t Do Thomas Jefferson Education.

    I don’t know who the author is. I thought I did, but the guy I thought wrote it swears it isn’t him. So I can’t vouch for anything other than that he makes TOTAL sense.

    OTOH, I”m no Holt fan, either. If you ask me TJEd is just Holt with a mentor on top and a bit of a switch up in the claims of outcome. (I’ll have to dig out my old article published in the 90s called “Why I’m Not an Unschooler.”)

    …but overpriced educational pablum has also proliferated.

    Hail Sarah. Can I just say that I put Saxon math at the TOP of this list? I can hate on Saxon all the way to Sunday.

    Julie:

    But, yeah, you don’t get any credit for flying your freak flag just because you homeschool these days.

    Wahhhhhh!!!! Best line ever.

  11. Mary Siever on October 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    What dangermom said, Susan.

    You don’t have to understand it, but for me, homeschooling my children is because I am not satisfied with the education that is offered in public school (not that it is bad, but I don’t feel it is enough) and I DO love having my children with me. Not that they are, all of the time. They have other classes, the YMCA for P.E. and such. But don’t worry, no one is telling you you should homeschool, it is totally up to you, since you re their mother, to decide how you want them educated. Just as it is up to each of US how we decide to have our children educated.

    Really, it’s time we just learned to respect an honour a parent’s choice in how they educate their child/ren.

    As my husband just said, “That’s exactly what we are doing. Giving our children an independent school life”.

    To those who don’t like TJEd:

    It’s not all bad, really it’s not. The philosophy is a good thing, but unless you have read about it, please don’t knock it entirely. Of course there will be those who take it to extremes and trust me I KNOW how the community can over do it, but like anything else, take what works and ditch the rest. There is a lot of good in it, just like in other things. Don’t let the extremists turn you off entirely.

  12. SusanS on October 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Dangermom, I grant that people have different temperaments, and different approaches to parenting. I don’t understand it, but I acknowledge that it is a lifestyle choice and that many parents enjoy the involvement that homeschool demands for their children. As I stated at the beginning of my last comment, I just wanted to offer an opinion against homeschooling.

    What I ask is that those who promote homeschooling and who discuss in open forums like this remove their tacit assumption of superiority, the implication that the education that children who receive in a school environment is inferior to what they could receive from “hip and progressive” homeschooling. Both approaches will have benefits and disadvantages.

  13. Mary Siever on October 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I also love Charlotte Mason (but again I can’t do everything she suggests), I love Classical Education, I love a lot of the philosophies. But mostly what we all need to remember is that running down any of the others doesn’t make what we are doing as parents any more superior. I know TJEd mums, I know born again Christian homeschoolers, I know TJEd families, I know classical families, I know Sonlight adherents, I know Moore adherents, etc etc…oh yes and the non religious homeschoolers who are exasperated by the plethora of pro Christian curriculum that they do not want their children to be exposed to in their education. I know Christian people who eschew any contact with us LDS homeschoolers (not as much as in the past) but what it comes down to is we are all homeschooling, we are all trying our best to do what we can and let’s just try to find our commonalities instead of why we are different. We get enough of that from public school families who don’t want to understand us. Yes, it’s getting better, but let’s just remember we are all in it together. I just think it is great when parents care about the education of their children at all.

  14. SusanS on October 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Mary, you can’t say “I just think it is great when parents care about the education of their children at all” and at the same time you send up a dismissive towards “public school families who don’t want to understand us” as “running [us] down.” I’ve conceded there are benefits to homeschooling. It would be nice if homeschoolers would be willing to make similar concessions to parents who care about the education of their children and send them to school.

  15. Alison Moore Smith on October 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Mary Siever:

    The DeMilles didn’t mean to create that way of thinking though, at least not from what I can see…

    There are so many errors in the assertions made by DeMille in his spiel, that it has to be attributed to something. Either the guy is ignorant or he’s dishonest. I don’t know which it is, but either one is harmful to the homeschooling community at large. Here’s just one utterly, bafflingly, obviously, erroneous claims:

    Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc – great men and women of history studied other great men and women.

    A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 37

    What classics did Joan of Arc read? And who was her mentor? Angel Moroni?

    And look at his list of “classics.” The adult version has THREE Cleon Skousen books?

    Even his own biography (and claimed degrees and titles) changes over time. (He’s not nicknamed “Diploma DeMille” for nothing.)

    BTW, when this whole “movement” broke into popularity a few years ago, I wrote to Shannon Brooks, who was then VP at GWC, I believe. I asked him one question: What is a statesman? In other words, how do you distinguish a statesman from a nonstatesman? Answer (after multiple requests) was a rambling kind of nonsensical response.

    I have yet to see a real answer to that question, and with good reason. The answer would allow TJEd and GWU results to be MEASURED against some kind of criteria.

  16. ESO on October 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I suspect the internet has had a huge (enormous, gigantic, etc.) affect on the homeschooling community. It is pretty amazing to me how many parents object to schoolschooling for one reason or another (the curriculum, or the people, or the lack of control, etc) and instead plop their kids in front of a computer to “home”school, simply subscribing to a different curriculum, different people, and a different lack of control. Besides the online schooling, homeschool families now have so much access to material, methodologies, and community support they may not have encountered pre-internet.

    It will be interesting to see how things will proceed. I kind of think it is faddish; not for everyone, but for some. Like vegetarianism, or cloth diapers, or blogging, or scrapbooking, or marathoning, many have a fling with it, but few are committed (converted?) long-term.

    While many homeschoolers are live and let live types, I have heard the odd comment here and there communicating the idea that homeschooling is a spiritually/familially superior choice to schools. Perhaps those are the same sort of people who would be attracted to a TJed kind of system, I don’t know.

    2 Questions:
    1–For people who grew up homeschooled, did you consider sending your kids to school, or did you always envision only homeschooling?
    2–From the outside, it seems that homeschooling is driven almost entirely by women (I am sure there are exceptions), so do boys who grow up homeschooled prevail upon their wives to homeschool, take major pains to participate in daily homeschooling, or pretty much leave it to the wives to do what they will?

  17. Mary Siever on October 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    SusanS,

    Alright I apologise if you misunderstood me . I don’t mean that. I have family who teach in the public school system and who send their children to public school. I have family who homeschool and I homeschool. I was public schooled. I DO respect and admire ALL families, and educators for their dedication, but I also deplore the separation that I have seen and experienced at church or in the community from people who think that because I don’t send my children to the same school their go to, there must be something wrong with us.

    It comes from both sides. I never insult their children or the teachers (why would I? My own sister? No, not happening) but have dealt with it from others. It gets better. Yes, after our years, I am happy to say I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Though I do wish I had homeschooled.

    So this is a TJEd bashing thread now is it? Wow. I thought it was supposed to be in support of homeschooling.

  18. Bob on October 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    So what is the backup for home taught kids who don’t go onto college? In my public schooling was all about being job ready at 18 for a job. and marriage ready for girls, no Greek, Latin, or Classics.
    It was table saws, drill presses, wiring houses, framing houses, fixing cars, being a cop/fireman, etc.

  19. NewlyHousewife on October 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Expecting to deliver any day now I’ve been thinking about how I was going to teach said child once they’re capable of doing something so much as giggle. Looking into homeschooling was overwhelming as the majority of the first page(s)of Google links were filled with Christian centered curriculum (I love Jesus as much as the next person, but I don’t want my kid to believe Creationism was the only way). Add the word “Atheist” (hey if that’s what I gotta do, so be it) and came across this site: http://www.secularhomeschool.com

    Makes it seem less daunting but I am still filled with fear that I’ll miss some key aspect of a grade or two and leave my child out in the cold when it comes to taking the SAT/ACT/College Prep.

    How do you ensure your children are learning all that their school-schooled counterparts are? Do you create the curriculum for each child (and each subject) personally, or buy them pre-made? Is supplementing a public education at home a realistic balance of the two? With the commercialization, how do you avoid spending more than what is necessary? In your experience, what cost range qualifies under necessary (EX: if you go over ____ amount, you’re probably buying the fancy wrapping)?

    I guess I would just feel better if there was some program everyone that got into Harvard used.

  20. NewlyHousewife on October 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Bob,

    A friend that was home schooled took over the family lock shop. I imagine kids who don’t go to college have a way or two of picking up a trade through their parents. If not, trade (or technical, I don’t know which term is correct) school will do the same thing and give students a certificate at the end.

  21. TonyF on October 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    @ESO I did independent study one year in High School because my parents found themselves fitting reason #4 of SusanS… only we were in Indonesia.

    Q1:
    I really never envisioned home-schooling our kids. I admit, I would have had a lot more concerns about how our kids would turn out if my wife (Sarah… the one who is the Author of this article) hadn’t been home-schooled herself. Although it was her idea and she does most of the work (and all of the planning), I participate in about 2-3 subjects a day and love the 30 minutes I get to spend “home schooling” with the kids. I totally support her and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Q2:
    Sarah obviously is the driving force behind homeschooling in our family. However, like I said above, she has me on the wagon now and I am a total believer. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many other husbands who have had similar experiences. Home-schooling is a great fit for our family. I come from a family of five boys who all went to public school and we all were very active in the school sports programs. It was an important part of my “school” experience and I want to see our kids participating in sports programs (in addition 4h, drama clubs etc.) as well.

  22. dangermom on October 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Congratulations, NewlyHousewife! :) There are many answers to your questions, and everyone will have a different opinion.

    How do you ensure your children are learning all that their school-schooled counterparts are?

    Some people do not want to hew to the public schools’ standards, others do. For those who do, each state has their standards available online. Or you could read E. D. Hirsch’s series of “What Your ? Grader Needs to Know.” Or there are various homeschooling books that tackle that question indepth.

    Do you create the curriculum for each child (and each subject) personally, or buy them pre-made?

    Some people do, others do not. I think for most it’s unrealistic to try to invent an entire curriculum for each child. More likely, you would look through the available materials–say for math, you’d read reviews of a bunch of things and try to find one that matches your goals and your child’s mind. For science, you might pull a bunch of different things together or use a ‘box’ curriculum that you choose.

    Is supplementing a public education at home a realistic balance of the two?

    That’s called afterschooling! Many people do it happily. Others find that after a whole day of school, plus time to play, have family time, and maybe a music class, the child is just full and can’t do a lot of supplementation. YMMV.

    With the commercialization, how do you avoid spending more than what is necessary? In your experience, what cost range qualifies under necessary (EX: if you go over ____ amount, you’re probably buying the fancy wrapping)?

    New homeschoolers tend to spend too much IME. After a while you calm down. :) It’s possible to homeschool on a very small budget or spend a lot of money. As with many things, the less money you spend, the more time you have to invest in making things yourself and/or collecting free resources. I did it for maybe $500/year (probably less) for a while, but I didn’t spend as much on science kits as I would have liked. Then we went broke, so I joined a homeschooling charter that gives me money (and asks us to take the state tests). It’s been great for us, but I can also understand many peoples’ objections to such a move.

    A library card will always save you a lot of money. :)

    I can’t answer the 2 questions since I wasn’t homeschooled. But in our case, I read the Well-Trained Mind and got hooked, and when I mentioned it to my husband he was all for it. He’s supportive, but doesn’t get involved much except in math and science.

  23. Amira on October 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks, Sarah. My decision to homeschool 8 years ago was influenced by my visiting teacher who had been homeschooled herself. I’d swallowed a lot of the stereotypes about homeschoolers and it was helpful to meet a normal homeschooled adult.

    I think ESO is right about the internet having a huge effect on homeschooling. It often was hard to homeschool in the 70s and 80s when it could be so very isolating to do so. I don’t know if I’d be able to homeschool without the internet.

  24. Jon Miranda on October 14, 2011 at 5:22 am

    100% agree with SusanS
    Homeschooled kids miss out on healthy association with their peers being stuck with a parent all day and all night. If someone came to me wanting to homeschool their kids, I would do everything in my power to persuade them from doing this.

  25. Amira on October 14, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Jon, I agree with you. It’s not a great idea for kids to be stuck with their parents 24 hours a day. Fortunately, most homeschooling parents agree with you and make sure their kids are involved in all sorts of activities with kids of all ages and with adults too.

  26. Rachel Whipple on October 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Jon, while some kids may be able to get a healthy association from their peers in public education, that is definitely not the case for everyone. Kids learn about social hierarchies in public schools, and depending on where they fall in the hierarchy, they may be completely miserable. My oldest was bullied terribly in 4th grade, and I was limited in what I could to do help and protect him while he was at school, and the adults at the school were not reliable for protecting him. I tried everything I could think of (including talking with the teacher and administration, and volunteering many hours at the school), but how do you teach a person to have self-confidence or to roll with the punches? The only thing we could do was document everything, so that when he fought back, he wasn’t blamed as the instigator. If we hadn’t been able to get him out of that school into the district gifted school, I may have been able to convince my husband that homeschooling was a good option. Neither of my kids learned anything that was worth their time at the regular public school, and it was a horribly unhealthy environment for the older one.

  27. Don on October 14, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Maybe we were just lucky to have wonderful schools for our children to attend, but I never understood the attraction of home schooling. It didn’t help that most of the kids we knew who were home schooled were weird. That said, if it works for you, great.

  28. Jax on October 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

    NewlyHouseWife

    Expecting to deliver any day now I’ve been thinking about how I was going to teach said child once they’re capable of doing something so much as giggle.

    For this I would go find the books by Dr. Glenn Doman (occasionally quoted by TSM in GC) and his institute “The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential”. You can find them at http://www.gentlerevolution .com They have many great programs for who to teach children (from birth to 6 mostly) about history, math, foreign languages, physical superbness(?), encyclopedic knowledge, etc…. The decades of research behind the program is found in What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child, and it is an EXCELLENT read. For a new parent I recommend it along with How To Teach Your Baby To Be Physically Superb since the teaching begins on the day they are born!

    I’ve been talking to my wife about homeschooling. We would both like to do it (I’m a stay at home Dad/disabled vet and want to help). We have been putting it off while we completed our move out of Utah and the construction of our house… now that it is done I think the prospect of pulling them from school is a bit daunting and we haven’t done it yet. We don’t know what we should/need to have ready before we do that. We have 5 1/2 kids (9,7,5,3,1, due next month). So we would have our hands full and just don’t know how to start. Any suggestions would be VERY appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  29. jks on October 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I live in a great state (Washington) that lets you partially homeschool. So one morning I woke up, went to the district and filled out a form and in less than a week I was homeschooling my 6th grader in one subject for the rest of the school year. Thank you to all previous homeschoolers who made this possible!
    Homeschooling has changed and exploded because of the internet. Parenting before the internet meant you were very limited in what information you had access to. It is truly a miracle to have so much to be able to research. Now the difficulty lies in having too many choices to sift through.

    I have a question about my 2nd grader. My 2nd grader would benefit from homeschooling, or partial homeschooling. My question is that she is such an extrovert and I am an introvert. How do you homeschoolers deal with children who want to interact all the time. Her older brother and sister don’t want to interact with her. My husband and I are too busy to give her all the attention she needs. Playdates are rare in these parts, but I do try to set them up because she needs the social interaction.
    I guess I really need to talk to partial homeschoolers, but there aren’t many around. I thought maybe full time homeschoolers might have some insight or solutions.

  30. Kim Siever on October 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

    JKS,

    I’m not sure what the homeschoolong community is like where you live, but here it is pretty robust and there are lots of opportunities for our children to participate in classes with other homeschoolers, which helps in meeting their needs. We also live on a street with a lot of children (5–8, not including our children), some of whom homeschool, so there is always opportunity to play with someone.

  31. Julie M. Smith on October 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I want to highlight a previous post on how to homeschool kindergarten:

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2008/03/homeschooling-kindergarten/

    I find that the biggest mistake newbies make is “too much”: too much money, planning, stress for child and parent, seatwork time, expectations, etc. Chill out for kindergarten. You’ll have plenty of time to be a tiger mother (or father) later on!

    Jax, in your situation, I’d start all of your kids with one subject, perhaps history (because most kids find that fun), and then after 1-2 weeks when everyone has settled into a routine of being home, doing chores, and doing history, then I’d add in another subject, probably math, and then just keep adding on until you have everything covered. You can continue some things over the summer if you are worried about getting “behind.” Given the ages of your kids, I would combine all of them for science and history at this point. I would also assign the 9yo and 7yo to watch the little ones for maybe 20 minutes per day so you can do intensive phonics work with the 5yo. I would have mandatory quiet time in the afternoon when everyone naps or reads quietly on their beds (or listens to audio books) to allow the parents to regain a little sanity. I would use Teaching Textbooks for math for your 9yo and 7yo (if the 7yo is ready for grade 3?) to limit labor-intensive math for the parents. It is expensive to buy, but re-usable for future kids and easy to resell. Probably more info than you wanted, but there you go.

    “How do you homeschoolers deal with children who want to interact all the time.”

    You take them to park day and skate day and you sit there with your eyes glued to your Kindle. At least, that’s what I do.

  32. Jax on October 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Julie,

    that wasn’t too much info…just what I was looking for… I’ll go over it with my wife and see about getting it started. Is the best place to find Teaching Textbooks online? The 7yr is in 2nd grade but testing very high (we thought about moving up to 3rd). Quiet time is already a mandatory thing following lunch for the young ones and for all of them on a weekend… gives me a good time to get the older two to read their scriptures if they don’t want to sleep.

    Thanks

  33. Jared on October 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

    My wife did homeschool through Jr. High and High School, though some of her siblings started earlier than that. It worked out really well for her, much better than public school had been working out. I was public schooled all the way through, and it worked out really well for me.

    As of now, 2 of our kids are in public school, and one is doing a home preschool deal in preparation for going to public school for Kindergarten. It was always our plan to do public school as long as the public school system where we lived was a good one, and our kids were progressing nicely and being successful.

    One thing we’ve done to make public schooling successful for us is to try and be as involved in their education as we would be if we were home schooling. My wife volunteers in our kids’ classrooms for a few hours each week, mostly helping the teachers out with all of their prep work. And when the kids are at home we are involved in checking homework and reinforcing things they have learned.

    And if someday things stop working out so well and we feel that they would do better at home, it’s an option we’re not scared of pursuing.

  34. jks on October 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Julie – What do you recommend for an advanced 2nd grader for language arts/reading curriculum?

  35. Julie M. Smith on October 14, 2011 at 11:57 am

    “Is the best place to find Teaching Textbooks online?”

    Yes. I think CBD might have it at a slight discount. The TT website has placement tests.

    “What do you recommend for an advanced 2nd grader for language arts/reading curriculum?”

    Combo of:
    –Christian Light English for grammar and handwriting and spelling, unless the child is weird [I have one of those] and needs something like Sequential Spelling instead
    –Writing With Ease for writing skills
    –Reading buckets of great books through Story of the World and whatever living books you use for science

  36. Naismith on October 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    This is an interesting perspective, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah’s mom. As others have noted, homeschooling is now much more accepted. Most school districts have flexible programs that allow each family to mix-and-match a curriculum that is best for each particular child. I am sure a lot of the choices in schools, from multi-age programs in the elementary years to tech or art magnets in later years, are partly due to pressure from homeschoolers who are proving that one-size-fits-all does not always work.

    Since I had to homeschool two highschoolers when we moved to Brasil for a semester (thank goodness they were both doing Algebra II that year!), these policies made it very easy for us to go back and forth.

    Although all of our children have mostly attended public schools, I find myself closer to Julie and Alison than Susan S. That’s because like homeschoolers, my husband and I consider ourselves primarily responsible for our children’s education. We use public schools as one tool in part of an overall curriculum that includes tutoring in Spanish when their elementary school didn’t teach it, a summer film series, week-long (spring break) educational trips to places like Philadephia, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago. Summer vacations have often been to foreign countries where they could practice their language skills. It was so exciting to see my daughter in Mexico, to ask for another Seven Up and realize that she really could communicate! And I taught all the kids to read using a system from BYU Independent Study.

    We don’t see those things as “supplementing” their public school education. Rather, we see the public school classes as part of the bigger picture.

    One of my daughters works for the US State Department. We happened to meet her consulate general and he raved about her language skills, work ethic, and how she connects with locals. He thanked us for raising her to be a citizen of the world, and said that they are having a hard time recruiting folks with those skills nowadays.

  37. jks on October 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Sorry, I should have been more clear. What are some good homeschool teaching strategies if your kids are extroverts? I wasn’t asking about playdates, or is the idea that you finish school work so quickly that your kids have more free time for playdates so you have to schedule more.

  38. Julie M. Smith on October 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    “or is the idea that you finish school work so quickly that your kids have more free time for playdates so you have to schedule more.”

    Yes, but we also have a few co-ops; these have changed from time to time, but we usually have 2-3 different ones at any given time, so they kids do some learning in group settings.

  39. Name withheld to protect me on October 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Based on current acquaintances, I associate homeschooling with MLM and a desire to shield children from things like science (no, that isn’t too broad–try to avoid evolution and you’re avoiding at least half of the natural sciences in their current forms). And yeah, ending up in non-accredited universities with degree programs about how to love the constitution with all your might, mind, and strength. I can see the potential benefits of personal tutoring, but I don’t know anyone in the LDS community for whom the choice is not ideologically motivated (which is anecdotal, of course–just my experience). One local mom who just stopped homeschooling felt ostracized from the other homeschoolers for drinking Diet Coke. And she’s way conservative and into MLM. Wasn’t enough to be a part of the club, though, I guess. Outside the church I’ve known at least one family that did it sensibly (mother is a trained teacher), but in general I have a dim view just based on the wacky conservative factor, which seems odd given how counter-culture this seems to have been in the beginning. People in Utah Valley seem to be able to turn anything crazy, though.

  40. Kim Siever on October 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Re #39

    You need to come to our area, because most of the LDS homeschooling families I know here aren’t like that at all. I have no problem teaching our children evolution or other traditional secular precepts.

  41. Julie M. Smith on October 16, 2011 at 1:16 am

    #39, I worry about everything you mention, particularly the science. [The Diet Coke thing is also deeply disturbing. Some of my co-ops involve co-operative Sonic runs for Diet-Cokes-with-vanilla for the moms, but perhaps I digress.] I have had virtually no LDS homeschool friends over 10 years of homeschooling (with just a few exceptions); I’ve drawn my dozens of homeschooling friends from the larger community in order to avoid the things you mention. And I don’t even live in Utah!

  42. Julie M. Smith on October 16, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I should say: LDS homeschooling friends in real life. I’ve found a few online who share my commitments.

  43. Tim on October 16, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Re #39

    That’s the main reason I’m suspicious of both homeschooling and LDS-themed private schools. For example, one private school in Utah has as its entire statement about how it teaches science: “Science: Teaches students how to search the scriptures to discover the majesty of God’s creations, from physiology to astronomy.” Yuck.

    I have three sets of cousins who were homeschooled, two LDS and one not, and I can assure you they all missed out on some essential science because their parents didn’t accept it. As a former biology teacher, it still upsets me a bit.

    My main gripe with homeschooling, at least at the high school level, is this:

    I had teachers in public schools that challenged me in ways my parents never could. Great people, great teachers, but totally unlike other adults I knew from family and church. I had a liberal history teacher who challenged my background in conservatism; I had an LDS science teacher who challenged my background in anti-evolution. Had I been homeschooled, I would have missed out on learning from people who had important truths that my parents didn’t have.

    I’m sure a lot of parents do a fantastic job homeschooling. And I can certainly understand the attraction when other options don’t look so good. But I don’t want my voice, my opinion, my prejudices, to be the only one my kids hear.

  44. Julie M. Smith on October 16, 2011 at 8:30 am

    “Had I been homeschooled, I would have missed out on learning from people who had important truths that my parents didn’t have.”

    Unless your homeschooling parents actively sought out people (books, websites, etc.) with differing opinions to teach you . . .

    “But I don’t want my voice, my opinion, my prejudices, to be the only one my kids hear.”

    Me, either. I kind of make my kids crazy when they ask for an explanation of something and I do the “Some people believe . . . other people think . . . and some . . .” routine and they say “Yeah, but what do YOU think?”

  45. Kim Siever on October 16, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Tim,

    Please do not use your exposure to such a small group of homeschooled people to determine your perception of homeschooling in general.

    Many of the homeschooling families I know (and I know dozens, if not hundreds) challenge their children by instilling within them skills necessary for independent study. Of those I know who’ve had children enter university, their children have been vastly more prepared than their peers for the type of research and analysis required of their university professors.

    I echo Julie’s statement that our children do not hear our voices, opinions, and prejudices exclusively. The great thing about homeschooling in 2011 is that there is a vast collection of comprehensive resources available for children to learn (particularly that cater to their learning abilities and styles).

    If homeschooling is done correctly, parents oversee their children’s education, but do not teach them.

  46. Bob on October 16, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Kim Siever:
    “… their children have been vastly more prepared than their peers for the type of research and analysis required of their university professors”.
    Kim, I just don’t agree with this. If this were true, we would be hearing it from others than just those that Home School their kids.

  47. Tim on October 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I’m certain that some homeschooling parents do a great job. And I’m not saying that the dozens of homeschooled children I’ve known were taught by incompetent parents–in fact, many of these children were taught by very intelligent, well-educated parents.

    Unfortunately, even (especially?) the most intelligent parents are going to lack somewhere without realizing it. When I spoke to one well-educated and very intelligent homeschooling parent about teaching science, she became offended and stated that she was qualified to teach her kids about it. She listed off as “proof” a bunch of science courses she’d taken in college. Just last week I saw a post her college-age daughter put up on Facebook, making fun of the science she was learning in college because it didn’t match up to what her parents had taught her.

    Other incidents I’ve seen are even worse–one family uses biology textbooks from Bob Jones University, and a group of families my parents interact with teach history the Glenn Beck style. Other people commenting here have mentioned how selective they have to be in the groups they homeschool with. There’s a reason for that…

    Again, I’m sure some homeschooling parents do a fantastic job, and I’m sure in some cases it’s the best option.

  48. Jax on October 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I think homeschooling is a great idea if a parent is prepared to be involved in the education of their child. It is only when parents aren’t involved that you end up with the social awkward or uneducated child. My neighbor has been “homeschooling” her kids, but I have no evidence any actuall schooling has taken place. The 22yr old knows how to read, but can’t do any math beyond VERY simple addition/subtraction. The 20 yr old can barely read and says she doesn’t care about math/science or learning of any kind (I think she is embarassed and doesn’t want to show her lack of knowledge). The 15yr old can’t read at all, I don’t know if she can spell or identify letters. I doubt her math is any better than her sisters.

    The problem is that they don’t DO school. I thank God that the grandchild they are raising is required to go to public school as part of her custody agreement or else she would end up as educationally handicapped as her aunts. I think home school is fine just so long as you actually DO school and not just let the kid sit around all day long watching TV/Movies. My neighbors are the kids who bring down the scores among homeschooled kids – they are well below the average 2nd grader. If you were to test the kids whose parents did teach them and were involved then the homeschoolers would come away with the far better education IMO.

  49. Jax on October 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    a group of families my parents interact with teach history the Glenn Beck style

    I didn’t know Beck had his own teaching style. What is it and what is wrong with it?

  50. bubbatis on October 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I have been impressed with the home schooled kids I have met. In retrospect, the education I received after the 6th grade was, for the most part a waist of time. Working and being involved in church did far more to help me develop good social skills than social idiocy that went on in high school.

    In Washington State home schooled kids can attend class part time and have access to ancillary services like counseling, speech therapy, testing etc.

    In the 24 following states home schoolers can participate in team sports:
    Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington state, and Wyoming

  51. Tim on October 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Jax,

    I just meant it’s a revisionist history, the type Beck and others on the far-right might engage in, that paints all the founders as Gods, FDR as the devil, etc.

    But I think you already knew that…

  52. Jax on October 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I was hoping Tim that you were referring to some new teaching style he had developed…guess not.

    But why mention Beck then? He doesn’t epitomize revisionist history does he? He does what you say, but it is just as bad by those he derides on the far-left who think FDR is a God, the founders as degenerates, and look to Mao most often for political insight… Beck is far from alone in revising history, right? To be fair though, I can’t think of anyone who DOES epitomize making a mock of history…

  53. Brad on October 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    [quote]But why mention Beck then? He doesn’t epitomize revisionist history does he? He does what you say, but it is just as bad by those he derides on the far-left who think FDR is a God, the founders as degenerates, and look to Mao most often for political insight… Beck is far from alone in revising history, right? To be fair though, I can’t think of anyone who DOES epitomize making a mock of history…[/quote]

    Who on the “far-left” promotes FDR as God and the founders as degenerate? I have also never heard Mao’s ideas referenced by any respectable mainstream liberal figures. Who references him? Who?

    Glenn Beck regularly featured historian and economist cranks and charlatans such as David Barton and Peter Schiff on his Fox News show. They said things about FDR’s New Deal that simply were not true. Between 1933 and 1937 the GDP steadily rose back to 1929 levels, mainly because of the New Deal. That is an established fact, and one that is conveniently overlooked by revisionist cranks. He also overplayed inflation scares and had Peter Schiff on his show to stir up fear about hyperinflation. Inflation levels are extremely low right now. For a time in 2009 and 2010 we were beginning to experience corrosive deflation. Also an established fact that economic revisionists conveniently overlook.

  54. Brad on October 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Sorry, how do I do quotes?

  55. Bob on October 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    I have a college degree, only because I had a wife who could type and spell to do my papers.
    Had I home schooled my son, he would be washing cars somewhere. He was all public, two years Jr.college, (I wanted him to have no college debt), Phi Beta Kappa from Berkely in Shakspere Engish.

  56. Jason on October 17, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Read – “Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”. Whether you home school your kids or not it is imperative to have an active approach to your child’s education instead of passively sending them off to school and thinking they are taught correct principles. History is taught by the “winners” thus we have Keynesian economics taught in our high schools and the perpetual obscurity generation after generation. It is no wonder that we see economic turmoil. Our grandparents, parents and we are not taught correctly how the world really works at an early age. Provident living, frugality and proper nutrition is not taught at school. It is taught in the home.
    Also, read Thomas Armstrong, “You’re smarter than you think”. Kids are not challenged enough or not tailored to the way they learn so they are deemed as “special needs” or having a learning disability. I’m sick of that mentality

  57. Jason on October 17, 2011 at 2:36 am

    and I think the pic is weird

  58. Jason on October 17, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Does anybody out there teach Latin in their home? and know of good resources? I think if we returned to teaching Greek and Latin word roots in the English language then our kids would be better communicators. Teaching a little etymology can go a long way. Teach where things came from…how was 3.14 derived? Teaching how to analyze text, rhetoric, numbers, graphs etc. is essential. No?

  59. Bob on October 17, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Jason:
    I spent 30 years in word wars with attorneys. One of the first things I would ‘take away’ from them were their weapons like Latin. (Level the playing field).
    Some of the best ‘communicators’__ were Blacks from the street. We were my peers. They would call me out on any ‘sport talk’ BS I tired to pull on them.

  60. Jax on October 17, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Brad,

    Well most of my college professors made FDR sound like a perfect being without faults…much like Beck sometimes portrays the founders. Same professors rarely had anything good to say about the founders but spent their time speaking of them in terms of the slaves they owned and debts they collected and about their failure to predict the future acurately. to them the founders were just a bunch of degenerates.

    The Mao statement was almost a direct quote from Anita Dunn, who at the time was Obama’s White House Communications Director speaking at a graduation ceremony. She said the Mao was one of two people she turns to most, and one of her favorite political philosophers.

    Or Obama’s Car Czar Ron Blum who said that “they” (not sure who THEY are) basically agree with Mao that the free market is nonsense and that power comes from the barrel of a gun.

  61. Brad on October 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Jax,

    Praising FDR for his wisdom in policy-making is different from deifying him. Anyhow ‘your professors’ is anecdotal. I think the general sentiment among liberals for FDR is merely that of praise and cannot be equated with Glenn Beck’s sentiment of the founders as being divine.

    Same with the founders. Anecdotal evidence. I think the general sentiment among liberals is that they were astute men to whom we owe are wonderful political system. But they weren’t gods. And they were guilty of some political mismanagement (i.e. slavery, policy toward native Americans).

    As for the Mao statements. Come on, this isn’t evidence that Maoism is taking hold in the left. These statements are taken wildly out of context. I youtubed Ron Blum’s statement. All this was said rather tongue-in-cheek. He didn’t mean this literally. He is not advocating the death of the free market and the imposition of a police state. He is remarking cynically to how the market is currently run.

    The Anita Dunn quote: also not evidence of her being a Maoist or a true admirer of Mao. Please, people generally recognize he was a mass-murderer, no one (at least mainstream) truly admires him and his ideas. Here is a good article that shoots that notion down. http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/bogus-glenn-beck-truncates-anita-dun

    I think that you are under the sensationalist and misguided influence of Glenn Beck. Careful not to engage in gross mischaracterizations of liberals like Glenn Beck.

  62. Jax on October 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Brad,

    Don’t assume that because I defended Beck here that I on enchanted by him. You are right, no one mainstream thinks Mao is a good guy. But we weren’t talking mainstream were we? We were talking far right-wing and far-left wing. Far left winger talk about mass murderers Mao and Che like they are icons to be mimicked. Far-right wingers have their nuts as well.

    Praising FDR for his wisdom in policy-making is different from deifying him.

    Well, praising the founders for their wisdom in policy-making is different from deifying them. See how that works both ways.

    I think the general sentiment among liberals is that they were astute men to whom we owe are wonderful political system. But they weren’t gods. And they were guilty of some political mismanagement

    I think the general sentiment among conservatives is that FDR was an astute man to whom we owe much thanks for some of our safety net programs. But he wasn’t a god. And he was guilty of some politicatl mismanagement.

    And I’ve heard both Dunn’s and Blum’s talks…they weren’t being “tongue in cheek”. They weren’t using humor or irony. If Dunn’s own words that say she looks at to Mao first for political philosophy isn’t evidence that she looks to Mao for political philosophy, then there is no such thing as “evidence” that will suffice for you. You asked who had referenced him and I gave you two people. You asked who talks about the founders and FDR they way I said they do. I gave you examples. Would you like names of my professors? I think that is be beside the point though, since all I was saying is people on the right tend to focus on the founders positives and FDR’s negatives, while leftists focus on FDR’s positives and the Founder’s negatives. All I was asking for was a little fairness. Why point out Beck? He isn’t the symbol of bad history. It’s not like saying “remember Glenn Beck’s history style” carries the same kind of understanding as saying “he is a Benedict Arnold”. Beck isn’t the epitome of bad history the way Arnold is the epitome of betrayal. Their isn’t any kind of general agreement and understanding that Beck uses a bad revisionist history.

    For homeschooling purposes, I’d like a course that touches on the positives and negatives of everyone in history, including the miraclous good things Benedict Arnold did before he committed treason. I’d like the whole picture, not just the left or right leaning one. Do you disagree?

  63. Sarah Familia on October 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Jason (#58),

    teaching Latin is fairly popular among homeschoolers these days. My oldest is six, and we’re focusing on spoken Italian right now for our foreign language, but I plan to start Latin in a couple of years. I am planning to use a combination of Lingua Latina (http://focusbookstore.com/lingualatina.aspx) and Latin for Children (http://classicalacademicpress.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13). For other options, you can check out this handy Latin curriculum comparison chart: http://homeschoolchristian.com/curricula/reviews/latincomparison.php.

  64. dangermom on October 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    We also do Latin, and a little Greek. I would love to do more Greek, but I can’t do everything I want to, sadly. I use Memoria Press’ Latin programs as a base and supplement with Lingua Latina and other fun books (fairy tales/short stories etc.).

  65. Julie M. Smith on October 17, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I did Latin until a decent Greek program came on the market.

  66. Brad on October 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Jax,

    Yes we were talking mainstream and not far-left. I wrote in #53 that no “respectable mainstream liberal figures” reference Mao. You made your point that some have, but it still doesn’t undermine my main point, because they weren’t referencing him seriously as a source of influence. Anita Dunn was being ironic (the crowd laughed at the reference to Mao, they got the joke) and Ron Blum was using an ironic way to express cynicism about the current state of the market (he wasn’t actually expressing anti-market rhetoric). They aren’t in any way channeling the ideas of Mao as you suggest. The widespread adoration of Mao Zedong among mainstream and largely moderate liberals (once again we were never talking about the non-influential and highly minority far-left in the US), which comprises the vast majority of the Democratic party and the Obama administration is non-existent. It is a myth created by Fox News figures and conservative pundits.

    It is fair to point out that there are people on the far-left say crazy things as well. However, note that far-right rhetoric has a much greater influence on the Republican party and conservatives than far-left wing rhetoric has on liberals and Democrats. Socialism holds virtually no sway in US politics (absolutely no evidence Obama is a socialist). Among the US population it is maybe slightly more popular, but nowhere near the popularity of the deification of the founding fathers rhetoric, defense of the confederates rhetoric (in the south), and anti-federalist pro-states-rights rhetoric heard repeatedly from conservatives and Republicans.

    To answer your question I’m in favor of mainstream textbooks in homeschooling and not revisionism. It is fine for a text to cover who Benedict Arnold was before his treason as long as they don’t ignore or distort his treason and other basic facts about him. The people that Glenn Beck regular featured on his show are known revisionists with bad reputations in the academic community who promote distortions and lies about FDR and economics, groundlessly deify the founding fathers (conveniently ignoring flaws), concoct fantastic conspiracy theories about the left and Islam (a la John Birch and Joseph McCarthy), and pretend that their beliefs are more in line with mainstream America and the founding fathers than those of anyone else. Beck is one of the most glaring examples of bad revisionist history in our day.

  67. Kim Siever on October 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    We have been focusing on French.

  68. Bob on October 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Jax:
    What Americans or home schoolers think of Mao today is of little importance. But what billions in China think of him is. We may laugh at or hate Mao__but do they?

  69. Jax on October 17, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Bob,

    People in China don’t laugh at him at all. I have family living in China and is it NO joke. He is a huge factor in the everyday life of millions. And for very, very few of those people is the factor a positive one.

    Brad,

    How many Mao lovers do you know? How many would cite him as a go-to political philosopher? I don’t know any. But the President sure does. I didn’t make my point that some respectable mainstream liberals reference Mao… they don’t. Anita Dunn and Ron Blum aren’t respectable or mainstream… they are far-left liberals who DO extol Mao and Che and Marx and they compromise are part of “the Democratic party and the Obama administration”. I don’t think they are a vast majority, but a part with influence for sure. I can’t believe you can say that their influence is “non-existant” when it obviously exists enough for us to be quoting it from administration officials. Don’t back down now… hold to your position that no respectable person cites Mao! or Hitler! or Satan! Respectable people just don’t do it, even as a joke, because they know it is in bad taste.

    I NEVER watch Fox News Brad, but ratings suggest you are VERY wrong about them not being in line with the American public and their view about the founders, economics, FDR, Islam, etc. You say they “pretend that their beliefs are more in line with mainstream America and the founding fathers than those of anyone else.” Well they routinely crush “anyone else” day after day. It isn’t Fox pretending that they are… its the American people who vote every day with their remote controls who PROVE that they are.

  70. Brad on October 18, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Jax,

    You would make Joseph McCarthy proud. Once again, no one important in politics is Maoist, neither Dunn nor Blum (what makes them far-left other than some obscure, off-topic, and ironic reference to Mao anyway?). And continuing to deny context and point your finger and shout doesn’t make it so. Also, Obama’s retinue doesn’t consist of a bunch of far-left radicals. That notion is another right-wing myth. They are mostly moderate and mainstream liberal folks, and many are actually moderate conservatives. There may be an obscure lefty in there somewhere, but the pres. knows thousands of people. If anything the associates that are having the most influence on Obama, judging by his policies, are moderates.

    You may never watch Fox, but you certainly channel a lot of conservative right-wing ideas that are popular on the station. I’m not saying that Fox news is out of line with the opinions of many Americans, but they are out of line with basic facts and well-established positions of mainstream scholarly circles (i.e. global warming is a hoax, Obama is a socialist whose place of birth is questionable, social security is a Ponzi scheme, etc.). Their ideas are influenced by, if not derived from, conservative/moderately libertarian think tanks which are in-turn funded by corporate interest groups and conservative advocacy groups, including religious organizations, who don’t often keep the promotion of sound research methods and data about politics and economics as a priority.

    “its the American people who vote every day with their remote controls who PROVE that they are.”

    Nice, best comment I’ve heard all month. Yes that fraction of one percent of the US population (yeah, Faux News is beating out only a couple other cable news stations that most Americans don’t bother to watch either) is a fair representation of American public opinion. Incidentally these patriotic, freedom-loving, Fox News-watching majority ruined their voting aim at the ballot-box in 2008 from all that remote-voting.

    I am going to have to bow out of the discussion now, Jax. I’m having too much fun. Cheers!

  71. Cameron N on October 18, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Brad, I don’t have time or energy to address your response, but need it be pointed out that mainstream scholarly circles are quite far left of center, or at least where center used to be? Certainly the learned and wise of the world are capable of being wrong. Just because it’s mainstream does not make it true, or untrue.

  72. Jax on October 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Cameraon…You beat me to it… Pointing out the someone is mainstream with “scholars” means you are a leftist. Every study/poll shows that 90% or so of university professors are on the left of the political spectrum.

    Brad,

    I’d love to be compared to McCarthy. He was a great American. He rooted out communists from many sectors of our gov’t. He exposed treachery and treason. Despite his efforts to protect this country from subversion by our enemies, his name is maligned and spoken with derision. Speaking of historical lies, you can’t find a bigger or more recent example of “revisionist history” than what takes place on college campuses and in the media with the history of Joe McCarthy. Almost everyone he ever outed turned out to be communists. The big example people use to epitomize victimhood are the Rosenbergs… but it turned out that they were in fact Communists. That point gets left out a lot by people who want to paint McCarthy as the big bad villian who terrorized people. So, thanks for the compliment!

    You want to mention global warming in the same sentence where you accuse people, “who don’t often keep the promotion of sound research methods and data” when the emails exist from some of the most prominent global warming “scientists” stating that they manipulated/ignored/falsified data to reach the conclusions they wanted. I hope that isn’t your gold standard for excellence!

    I’ll bow out of the conversation now too since we’ve jacked this thread more than enough! Thanks for the laugh though.

  73. Raymond Takashi Swenson on October 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Home schooling WAS illegal in Utah around 1970 when the polygamist Singer family refused to obey a court order to send their kids to school. It resulted in several violent incidents including the death of the original Singer patriarch, the torching of a wrd house, aand the death of a police officer. I think it convinced many people that this kind of extreme enforcement of truancy laws was unjustified.

    Mormons were far more conformist back then. The growth of conservatism in Utah has hada strong libertarian flavor of diminished respect for civic authorities.