The Home School Phenomenon

Man has been on a quest throughout time to find the riddle of the root of all evil. Ole-Magnus Saxegard, a student of the Sydney-based University of Technology, explores this riddle in his latest frame-by-frame Flash animation (A History of Evil). It is a brilliant vision. If he’s looking for further inspiration to this age-old question, I have yet another clue…from the future!

I have noticed over the past several years that home-schooling seems to have risen in popularity. Initially, I was impressed at the number of people involved in the home school method. I later learned that many of these home school students actually get together on some routine frequency to develop socially, as well as to share the responsibility of teaching across multiple parents. I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing this is a bit of a regression. Didn’t school systems start this way? Finally,there seemed to be an ulterior motive to home schooling. There have been a rash of parent vs. government cases over the last decade regarding the use of faith-based programs in school systems. Of late, Darwinian Evolution and Intelligent Design are the major contention points. Home schooling seems to be the concerned parents’ answer. A parent that disagrees with the educational system – perhaps also disagreeing with private systems, or unable to afford them – can pull their child back into the home where teaching is at the discretion of the family. From a Little House on the Prairie ideal, this seems like a charming social shift in America. However, I see it as a disaster for our future. If children are taught through home school primarily to reinforce religious perspectives on science, then our legacy’s potential for critical thinking is severely limited. The views of the parents will extend through to their children, and while not obviously as detrimental as racism, will inevitably give rise to ostracism.

See: Twin Cities Creation Science Association Sponsors Home School Science Fair


  1. You might want to research your history. Did you know that these scientists were all homeschooled?
    Wilson A. Bentley – “The Snowflake Man”
    George Washington Carver – agricultural research
    Pierre Curie – discovered radium
    Albert Einstein – theoretical physicist
    Paul Erdos – Hungarian mathematician
    Michael Faraday – electrochemist
    Pierre-Gilles de Gennes – French physicist
    Oliver Heaviside – electromagnetism researcher
    T.H. Huxley – biologist, zoologist, Darwinist
    Ruth Lawrence – mathematician
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – physical chemist
    Ada Lovelace – founder of scientific computing
    Benoit Mandelbrot – pioneer in fractal geometry
    Blaise Pascal – French mathematician
    Joseph Priestley – father of modern chemistry
    Samuel C. C. Ting – Chinese American physicist
    Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – Russian rocket scientist

    Alexander Graham Bell – invented the telephone
    John Moses Browning – firearms inventor/designer
    Peter Cooper – built the first modern skyscraper, the first commercial locomotive, and patented the first gelatin dessert which was later named Jell-O
    Thomas Edison – invented the stock ticker, mimeograph, phonograph, and electric light bulb
    Benjamin Franklin – invented the lightning rod
    Elias Howe – invented sewing machine
    William Lear – airplane creator
    Cyrus McCormick – invented grain reaper
    Guglielmo Marconi – developed radio
    Eli Whitney – invented the cotton gin
    Sir Frank Whittle – invented turbo jet engine
    Orville and Wilbur Wright – brothers who built the first successful airplane

    as well as many other statesmen, writers, educators: Famous Homeschoolers

  2. You and Amy have had a direct experience with some of the more narrow-minded home school folk. Please don’t let that color your perspective. Of course, there are those undesirable elements involved in home schooling as there are in every aspect of life. However, there are even more successful home school programs that adequately prepare a child for college and life as an adult. The real protest is about the inadequacy of public school systems whereby a child is not encouraged to explore, think independently, and learn at his or her own pace. Public and to some extent private school systems must be more like factory-styled education. Everyone MUST complete certain tasks on a certain time line. To be truly successful in any education system requires parents to take an active roll in the child’s education. It is up to parents to fill in the gaps of public, private, or home education. This includes religious training, thinking skills, social skills, and a sensitivity to how the individual child is best able to learn. Whenever an education system fails, parents need to look directly into the mirror to see the solution. Get involved. Make the school system work.
    Mom, once in awhile, a good example

  3. I note your post on Lumberjocks….re: homeschooling and the above list of people homeschooled. Many great people schooled themselves. School systems weren’t available in many places…and so people had to school themselves. One aspect of the homeschool situation that bothers me…the lack, sometimes, of the need for self-examination. I find many of the religious homeschoolers opposed to school counselors and counseling…writing courses that include journaling and self-examination. The current trend is alarming to me…with the religious right getting elected to school boards…removing school counselor programs, etc. Instead of an internal growth of spirituality, they seem to want the external, dogmatic, “accept this only” approach. Creative people have always gone in their own directions…I’m not convinced that homeschooling is the answer to creating our future leaders, inventors, etc, especially in a highly technical world. At the moment the jury is out…though California seems to want to make certain that homeschooling parents are trained teachers. I’m not going to judge…though there are trends that are bothersome. People should have the right to homeschool…and if they do, they should make every attempt to introduce their children to the whole world rather than a small corner. When self-taught in the old world, often any book was devoured…no televisions, no radios…and books were a rarity. There was a certain inquisitiveness that was the spark for many on that list above. However, homeschooling programs are not directionless these days. They are prepared to weed out certain influences and opinion. Yes, Madame Curie was homeschooled….but what a mind that goes to all corners…and Benjamin Franklin? I don’t think that many homeschoolers would want such a free-thinker teaching their children today.

  4. I have seen both sides of this. I know a lot of people that home school, first hand. Some have had good and bad results, so its a mixed bag. We home schooled for 2 years…

    It was not religiously motivated for us, we just felt that the kids were being put in an environment that we felt was less than optimal. Daily fights in school, non-stop cussing from kids, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, kids having sex in bathrooms. Honestly, it was horrible. You might say well, they need to be exposed to ‘the real world’ to me this isn’t the real world. Not everyone acts like that and as you get older you can choose who you hang around, you don’t have to follow suit with those activities.

    We saw homeschooling as an opportunity to strengthen our children’s ability to make their own decisions and not be influenced by peer pressure at least at a crucial age, when the kids couldn’t make their own decisions. Also more time with them and more focus on schoolwork as opposed to writing notes in class all day and making plans in class / lunch about meeting at the movie theater, etc. to do something they shouldn’t.

    I can go into so much detail being a parent of 4 kids and two teenagers of how the school system is completely messed up, but I think its common knowledge by now. We are very involved with our kids and school – we meet with the teachers constantly, I tutor my son in math and my wife spends a lot of time studying with them as well, my mother is also a school teacher and helps out with the studying. Even with all this, the negativity and distraction from school is a real battle. School (from the time I attended until now) has drastically changed, no longer is it an institution to learn things that will prepare you for college or a career, its a social playground, and breeding ground for young drug pushers, wanna be gang bangers and date rapists. I’m not saying those elements haven’t been there before, but they are much more pronounced now, I mean they drown out the real objective of attending school.

    Just thought Id give you my perspective of why we home schooled for a time. We feel we did enough at the time, to carry the kids through a difficult time in their life. Ultimately we felt they needed to go back and use those skills to solidify their personality and ‘who they were’ in life.

  5. Hi Olaf,
    To offer up a little different perspective on why parents choose to homeschool, I’d like to mention that my own inspiration was John Holt’s book, “How Children Learn”, and Dorothy Sayers essay “The Lost Tools of Learning”. I think homeschoolers are as diverse as each family that chooses homeschooling. It would be hard to lump them all in together and make such sweeping judgments about the “disasterous” outcome of their choices. Really, is the public school system any less disasterous to critical thinking?

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