Home Education For Freedom by Bill Buppert

Publisher’s Note: We launched the Zero Gov Forum less than a week ago and the response has been overwhelming.  I wanted to thank everyone for the honor bestowed upon us.  On another note, most of the Zero Gov staff will be on the range for four days for a shooting class so posting will be scarce until Monday. -BB


I would like to dedicate this essay to my wife, Lilo, who has home-schooled four children and inspired the homeschooling of countless others.

“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”

– Bertrand de Jouvenel

There are many reasons people choose to home-school that run the gamut of the political spectrum from the Left to Right.  I would daresay that most homeschoolers are Christian.  I suspect that far more people homeschool and hail from a right leaning perspective.   We are in the minority as secular homeschoolers who teach from a curriculum of traditional canons in whole texts and mastery of Latin.  We are in an even smaller minority in that we are not neoconservative Republicans cheering on the crusade to make war on the world to make it safe for whatever we have in store for it as a country.

As a family, we don’t seek to replicate government school at home but use the advantage of one on one tutorship to advance learning and make the children more self taught and able to master their own compass in where they want to be in their school career.  While we are sympathetic to certain aspects of unschooling, we remain completely unconvinced that children are competent and capable to know what life skills and learning they require to become free moral agents in adulthood able to captain their own destinies.

While I would certainly characterize our family as philosophically anarchist, we cast a skeptical eye at those libertarians who consider parenthood a form of child abuse and that all childrens’ rights should match those of seasoned adults.  Any responsible parent knows this is a flirtation with disaster.

How compatible is home-schooling with the advancement of a liberty embracing philosophy?  There is no other way it will happen.  Hitler is reputed to have said that if I have your child from age seven, I will have him for life.  I recall watching the brilliant Ang Lee film, Ride With the Devil, and one of the protagonists insists that the Yankee insistence on opening schools immediately after occupation during the War of Northern Aggression  is the beginning of the end.  One could suppose that without government domination of schools from pre-school to post-graduate studies in America; our political landscape would look considerably different.  K-12, quite simply, is a mind laundry to convince the hapless students that the government is the sine qua non of all civilizational advancement and no other view will be tolerated punctuated with the sound of periodic Pavlovian bells so they shamble to the next exercise in statist adulation.

Need evidence?  Spend the day with your child in a government school and have the misfortune of perusing the stacks in the library.  Talk to the teachers and the staff.  It will prove to you that an education degree is probably one of the most useless degrees granted in the history of university education next to the degree programs that give doctorates to the likes of Paul Krugman.  Government has truly turned the education of students at all levels into a university instead of a hetero-versity that respects different conclusions and opinions outside of the accepted government supremacism discourse.  It breeds one outcome – obedience to the state.

If we seek to create a society that is based on decentralized anarchist principles embracing the notions of voluntarism, persuasion, peaceful interchange, free markets and adherence to a non-aggression principle then homeschooling or deregulated community schools catering to these vagaries is a vital part of the program to rebuild our societies.

You cannot build a house of freedom if all the workers are slaves.

Spontaneous order cannot be centrally planned.  The entire education structure in America is based on a Soviet-style model of central planning laced with political objectives that prize compliance and obedience above learning first and foremost.  This system can never be changed and must be abolished.  Historically, the modern school system is a little over a century old and it has proven to be perfectly compatible with creating subjects and absolutely deadly to thinkers.  Students in university systems here succeed in spite of the obstacles put in front of them pedagogically and cognitively.  The hurdles are enormous.

There a number of formidable obstacles to homeschooling outside of the need for a single income stream from one working parent and the additional burden of still paying property taxes that are freighted with the costs of the government “gun-run” schools in your district.  The commitment is huge on the part of the parent who remains home to teach and to do so for the fourteen years we have is even more difficult.  It is worth it because if the idea of teaching your children well is the goal of good parenting, then the government schools will always run a distant second.  The gun-run schools are literally turning your children into the mindless and shambling drones you run into every day at the mall, in town or in a restaurant bordering on illiteracy and innumeracy making them vulnerable to the statist swan-song of surrendering their liberty for security.  This is drummed in to them every waking hour.

Homeschooling is one of the ways to pave the way for a free society; otherwise, you have not only surrendered your responsibility to your children but have forfeited any future chance at freedom they may have.

“The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive [sic] citizens.”
~ H. L. Mencken


6 thoughts on “Home Education For Freedom by Bill Buppert”

  1. What about the idea that the culture (and especially how that culture shapes the parents’ perspective of education) the child is raised in at home has more to do with what and how he learns than the school? For instance, I went to a relatively poor school, but because education placed as a top priority I was able to learn a great deal from both my state run HS and university.

    In essence, the parents who place no value on education have the children who are most likely to turn out as you fear and as a result of their culture have no impetus to do anything but let the state educate their children. I’m not trying to troll; I am truly curious as to your solution for this.

  2. There are serious problems with public schooling and you’ve touched on many of them, if not all of them. It’s worth pointing out that homeschooling has serious flaws too. One of the problems that you identified with public schooling is that the students are subjected to too few views, but by homeschooling them you are probably limiting them further by subjecting them only to the views held in your home. The curriculum in a public school is very limited, but they will be exposed to other views in their interactions with other students. A solution I’ve considered (I’m not a parent yet) is sending them to public school and carefully guiding them in what they hear. You don’t want them to blindly accept what they hear in school, but you don’t want them to blindly accept what they hear at home either. You want them to learn to decide for themselves, and I believe that skill can be taught to a student in public school. Watching many of the young people in our society may lead you to believe that it doesn’t work, but more often than not it’s because the parents are not nearly as involved as they should be.

    The other major problem with homeschooling is that it deprives the children of the opportunity to develop critical social skills. Many homeschooled children struggle to fit in with the public school children and it impacts them in several negative ways. Perhaps it can be addressed by making sure the children engage in social extracurricular activities, but there are many challenges associated with that too. It feels like a huge risk to take, because the consequences of failure are dire.

  3. Adam Berkowicz

    Drew, I have to disagree with your second point. There are numerous homeschooling associations that allow children to interact with others their own age. But let’s say you’re right. Would I rather have a public school child with little critical thinking skills or a home-schooled child that may lack what society considers “appropriate conversational skills” but knows how to think for themselves?

    Any student is only as good as their teacher, and that is true in any schooling situation. The difference is that public schools are mandated by the state, and follow a strict itinerary from K-12. Homeschooling is much more flexible, and the problems you’ve stated can be fixed by allowing other homeschooling parents to teach your kids, or by creating voluntary community schools as a viable alternative as well.

  4. Drew…good luck with “guiding them in what they hear”…after fifth grade (six years of indoctrination) you will be cast to the curb and made impotent by your chosen “expert” teachers and your kid’s peers.

    Since you voluntarily sign them up, you are putting your stamp of approval on anything and everything they are taught or any event that happens to them within their schooling hours….the results will not fail to disappoint you.

    Instead of regurgitating sound-bite “logic” about the lack of social skills, how about spending some time as Bill suggests in your local indoctrination camp AND attend a local “homeschool” function, then come back and tell us who has social skills.

    Finally, the entire point of homeschooling is for the kids to NOT “fit” in with publick screwal kids, but have them standout like the true individuals they are, have thoughts and opinions of their own which they can defend and actually develop as human beings, rather than standard-issue sardines as shown in the intro cartoon to the article.

  5. “You are probably limiting them further by subjecting them only to the views held in your home”

    Every time I read this particular objection, I have to ask, just who would be so blind as to compare an oft-refuted potential “problem” with an actual, demonstrable, proven abuse? Even “drew” makes sure to use the word “probably” to couch the accusation.

    “The other major problem with homeschooling is that it deprives the children of the opportunity to develop critical social skills.”

    Yep. Hiding fear while retreating from bullies, getting punished for responding to those same bullies, being able to withstand hour after hour of forced boredom, making sure to disguise aptitude in order to “fit in”, interacting rarely if at all with anyone but kids exactly your own age, making sure to write only what will get a good grade whether or not it’s true…

    What a wonderful list of “social skills” that homeschool kids don’t receive.

    How about this, “drew”: Abolish the tax-funded school monopoly, and then donate YOUR OWN MONEY to educational efforts and outreach programs that bring in those wayward children of disinterested parents, as well as the myopic mis-educated victims of zealous home-school parents.

    You’ll find that your concerns are shared by a great many other people, and with actual education, as compared to “schooling”, being remarkably inexpensive, your donation will do far greater good than my taxes ever did.

  6. I must address the oft-repeated canard that “homeschooling… deprives the children of the opportunity to develop critical social skills”. The most critical development of social skills takes place within the family; it’s the breaking apart of the family through the legal, daily kidnapping of the children, eight hours a day, that is so destructive to the development of social skills. What sort of diversity of social skills does one develop when placed in a classroom of 25 other people all the same age? This is a true lack of opportunity to develop social skills. Much better to have the child learn how to interact socially with the age range found among his siblings; then add to that grandparents, aunts, cousins, etc. Of course home school children have trouble relating to many public school children; let’s just word this a little differently; “public school children have trouble relating to home school children”. The first statement makes the unspoken assumption that public school children are the norm to which we should aspire; I much prefer it worded the second way. It puts the onus for improvement on the public school sector.

    On another note, my experience with home schooling is through the back door, for we did not home school. However, as a self employed man running a small business, I have lost two very valuable employees in just the past two years. Some friends gently persuaded me to try employing home schoolers, so now I have a different kid every day of the week for a total of five children. In addition I have occasionally employed other children on odd days, all high schoolers. Although one can dismiss this as purely anecdotal evidence, my experience has been purely positive. These kids are all self disciplined, delightful, witty, thoughtful and hard-working. They hail from rural, urban and suburban families, some with college educated parents and some not, some with money, though most not. All are completely comfortable making conversation with an adult on all sorts of topics, from economics to politics to geo-political power balance in the Middle East. None of them are afraid of much of anything, and will engage me in conversation without hesitation or shyness. In every way I can see, these are truly well adjusted, beautifully socialized young people; I have had some local kids wander into my place of business looking for work and the difference is stark; they tend to be a bit sullen, think they “deserve a job”, and in the face of any sort of question requiring thought, they are utterly blank. It’s really terrifying to think that they will be adults in a few short years, unleashed on society.

    If home schoolers have trouble relating with peers like THIS, then I say that’s not a problem. It would be far more troubling if they could effortlessly slip into a mode of relating to this generation of educationally lobotomized children.

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