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Educational conscription and its dissembling friends

‘The state hates competition… this is why it tries so hard to stamp out organised crime’

So goes the old joke. Yet there actually is more than a little truth to it. As someone who views conscripting children against their will into vast ‘educational factories’ as institutionalized child abuse, the fact that members of the state’s educational conscription elite should pick on a few isolated cases of private sector child abuse to justify moving against home educators surprises me not one jot.

9 comments to Educational conscription and its dissembling friends

  • Kelli

    I’m curious, Perry. Do you have children of school age? Do you homeschool? Have you any friends who homeshchool?

    My oldest child is in the middle of his first-grade year at a well-respected public school. His instruction strikes me as little more than glorified babysitting. Needless to say, I’m rather disappointed. Am considering homeschooling but feel it would probably lead to madness (my own, that is) and am hesitant as a result.

    If there are any homschooling libertarians out there, please advise. Thanks.

  • Joseph W.

    I have no children, though I have known a few homeschoolers. One is a law professor (and no libertarian) with five natural children who adopted two more and homeschools all seven…mind-boggling. I’ve tutored the eldest boy and am highly impressed with where he stands. The professor is always the first to say homeschooling is not for everyone…but I have to take my hat off to the people who do make it work.

    I do know about a website or two you might care to try. The Separation of School and State Alliance (www.sepschool.org) has a Yahoo discussion board that you can join here: http://www.sepschool.org/misc/yahoogroups.html — I believe a lot of the posters there are homeschoolers who might be able to give you some practical advice.

    Of course, there are commercial sites for homeschool materials. They may not be what you’re after just yet, but I’ll mention the Robinson Curriculum, http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/ — which emphasizes work alone by the children (including the Saxon math texts, which have been around a long time; Saxon math and McGuffey readers are popular with a lot of homeschoolers, I’m told). Calvert School in Maryland apparently also offers homeschool materials with some outside support — I know very little about them but their site is here: http://home.calvertschool.org/hs/curriculum/

    Best of luck to you!

  • From what I’ve seen of it,if you want your child bullied,brutalised,abused and exposed to drugs use,send them to an inner city comprehensive,where its peers will introduce it to the aforementioned.Homeschooling may not be for everyone but neither is collective education .

  • Julius


    “If there are any homschooling libertarians out there, please advise”

    Yes we do exist!

    Take at look at Brian’s Education Blog for a libertarian perspective on education (including home education) and some links to libertarian home educators.



    p.s. Brian has also blogged on this story (see his blog for yesterday)

  • Karl Popper and a pistol… I love libertarians. Your Blog is amazing.

  • David

    As Brian Micklethwait noted in his post on American spelling bees, home taught children tend to dominate the competitions. I have one coworker who refuses to place his children in state run schools. Unfortunately, the private schools in this area are too expensive for him and his wife; so his wife teaches them herself. There children recently took a state-required standardized test which placed the two boys above their peers. I have another coworker who attended state run schools. His cousin, born the same day ironically enough, was taught at home. My coworker testifies that he always felt intimidated by the advanced level of knowledge and analytical ability of his cousin – who graduated from Harvard Business School.

    My wife and I have discussed teaching our children. I think if you can’t teach your children the basics then you must have been victimized by a deficient elementary education. Reading, writing and arithmetic are fairly basic skills. The problem comes in with higher level math (for me) and the lab sciences, but I will deal with that when we get there.

    In a sense, teaching my own children is a way of fighting the power of the state. I refuse to give my children over to some power hungry bureaucracy merely because it will feed their insatiable egos to have control the minds of defenseless children.

    Even when they fail, teachers will refuse to admit it and create mental illnesses to cover their own lapses. My dad, a past teacher, contends dyslexia is a false disease created by teachers to cover up their failures. According to him, anyone with dyslexia can be cured with an intensive course in phonics. To understand why, google on “dick jane phonics”. But that’s just the way I see it.

  • Tim Haas


    I’ve been homeschooling my kids for seven years, and came to my libertarian beliefs thereby. I now help to run a statewide homeschooling information and advocacy organization in New Jersey.

    I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. I can tell you straight off that homeschooling tends to decrease madness, because both you and your kids don’t have to live and learn by an institutional timetable.

  • Doug Collins

    Don’t be intimidated by the higher level math or the lab sciences. More than a few school teachers manage merely by keeping a chapter or two ahead of their students. If you attempt to bone up on these subjects in order to teach your children, you are likely to make the happy discovery that they have become both more interesting and more easily comprehended than they were when you first encountered them. This is one of the compensations of age: you are no longer intimidated by how ‘hard’ these things are -so your brain works better! If you can innoculate your children against the intimidation their brains will work better too.

    One other compensation is that a better understanding of math and science basics can still be useful in middle age. I have recently gotten a lot of vocational mileage out of some elementary algebra (the equation of a straight line) that I am sure most of my collegues know but seem to have forgotten that they know.

    Teaching is a great way to clarify ideas in your own mind. For example, I recently heard a math professor comment that no one understands calculus until they teach it. It can be used in a cookbook fashion to solve engineering problems without really understanding its principles. Apparently one of the quickest routes to grasping them is to try to explain them to someone else.

  • Andy Wood

    The problem comes in with higher level math…

    If the child is reasonably smart, that shouldn’t be a problem. Just giving them the textbooks and leaving them alone may be sufficient in many cases. That’s how I learnt calculus.