Trigger warning: if you are homeschooling your child, you probably won’t like this article, because I’m about to make fun of you and your child. Please skip it, and go read something else. You’ve been warned.
For generations, “school” was the place where you sent your kids to get book learnin’. As a society, we decided back in 1892 or 1761 or something—I don’t know, I didn’t pay attention in history class—that we would benefit from having a literate populace that could count higher than the number of fingers they had. This became especially important during the Industrial Revolution, as people started losing fingers at never-before-seen rates.
Society also decided that school needed to be mandatory through a certain age. We wanted to make sure that there was a disincentive to pulling little Jethro out of 5th grade to come back to the farm and run the combine. You know, disincentive besides the fact that he’s 11 and you’re putting him in charge of a genuine (pronounced, “gin-yew-whine”) turn-of-the-century Jethro dissector.
Over time, state governments started having approved curricula. Each state wanted to make sure that every locality was teaching the same basics, like how many furlongs there are in a league. Eventually the feds got involved as well. This was to validate that Alabama wasn’t teaching about Jesus riding a brontosaurus through Jerusalem, while Georgia insisted it was a stegosaurus. We have to get everyone together if we’re going to be a cohesive republic, y’all.
All of this pesky government intrusion had a few really positive side effects.
First, the vast majority of our population knows how to read, write, add, subtract, and spot a dweeb from 100 paces—super important if you want to remain cool.
Second, jobs that would have gone for zero pay to Jethro, now go to an adult to support his family, at least until he dies in a predictable combine accident.
Third, rather than having a society full of weird pre-Rumspringa Amish people, we created a never-ending army of bold, socially competent human beings. And those socially competent humans all share a common experience—attending essentially similar schools—with 97% of the rest of the people in our country.
Why only 97%, you ask? Because 3% of the students in our country are presently being homeschooled. “Homeschool” sounds like a movie from the ‘80’s starring pre-success Tom Hanks and Judge Reinhold. I wish it were so, namely because I’m positive that with those two lovable thespians, it would have been an easy two thumbs up from Siskel & Ebert (peace be upon them).
Homeschooling is where parents decide against entrusting their child’s education to well educated, professionally trained, and state certified faculty. Instead, the parents elect to teach their child themselves. You know, like taking a crack at a do-it-yourself angioplasty instead of letting the doctor do it. I mean, what harm could come from being completely unqualified for this undertaking, right? How hard could it be? It’s just a kid’s malleable brain, after all!
Now, before you go losing your got-dam minds on me, I’m not challenging the reasoning behind homeschooling your child if it’s medically/psychologically advisable. If your child has a learning disability or autism spectrum disorder and your school district lacks adequate programming, good on you for taking your child’s education into your own hands.
The vast majority of children in homeschool aren’t there because of anything specific to the child; rather, they are there because their parents have a different (read: fatally skewed) understanding of the cost/benefit calculation of letting their kids attend school.
I’ll explain. I bet you’re all taking a deep breath, relieved that I wasn’t ending the article without explaining. Relax, guys, I’m extremely full of myself. You never have to worry about me forfeiting an opportunity to fill your screen with my words.
I’ve already laid out the benefits to widespread, government-approved schooling: (1) a literate society, (2) less kids getting dissected by farm equipment, (3) adults getting jobs that would otherwise be taken by soon-to-be-chopped-up kids, (4) ability to look another human in the eye and speak without losing continence, and (5) common experience with the rest of society.
Those are some mighty fine benefits, Virgil. Mighty fine, indeed. Reckon the schools would have to collect a king’s ransom to provide such genteel instruction?
No, Kentucky Colonel, it’s all free, and my name is not Virgil.
Well, we all pay for education in the form of property taxes, but you’re paying those irrespective of whether you have a child or not. And you’re paying even if you choose not to send your kids to school. Factoring that out, attending thirteen years of public school is free. So, there are lots of benefits, both to the child and to society, and a monetary cost of zero.
Now, what are those hidden costs that tip the scale away from such an obvious answer?
As a nation, we decided back in 1791 (I was awake for this day in History class) that Congress would be prohibited from making any law pertaining to the establishment of religion. Over the years, we’ve said through our courts that the separation of church and state applies to lots of things, including publicly funded schools. That means that your kid’s school isn’t going to have morning prayer, chapel, or in-depth theological teaching from any religion. Instead, the teachers are going to stick to teaching non-religious curricula.
This is an affront to certain members of the evangelical Christian community. These folks want their children (and your Muslim, Jewish, atheist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Wiccan, Hindu, Christian-but-the-liberal-kind, and Zoroastrian children) to be taught every subject as if Jesus Christ himself was on the State Board of Education. The Bible (pronounced: BAH-bull) should be read in school. Each day should start with a prayer to Christ – and not some weird Catholic prayer to Mary or some new age prayer where you sub in feminine pronouns to show your inclusivity. In this town, we pray to the God who keeps the NASCAR drivers safe, keeps your ammo dry in the deer stand, and makes sure none of those dirty, diseased refugees come over to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. This is a Christian country, God dammit.
But it’s not just about praying and reading the Bible. Evangelicals are worried that their child will be exposed to liberal, secular, research-based, ushering-in-of-the-end-times teaching if they go to public school.
In public school, your kids won’t be taught the truth of so many things, like:
- George Washington was specifically picked by God to start America as a Christian nation;
- The Earth is only 6,000 years old, and fossils are planted by godless liberal scientists to confuse Christians;
- Sex before marriage will condemn you to hell, and there is no safe way to explore your sexuality that will not destroy your life;
- God sent the settlers west across North America to bring His message to the savage Indians so they could go to Heaven, too;
- Evolution was just a theory made by a communist heathen that is incompatible with the teachings of God found in Genesis.
However, if you keep your kid at home, you can craft his or her education to teach all of this and so much more. And you can do it without having to worry about offending some snowflake feminist libtards! Done right, you can shelter your child from learning anything that scientists, historians, geographers, or astronomers have discerned over human history that doesn’t match up with your specific worldview.
Another cost to going to public school is the forced interaction with “the minorities” or whatever we’re supposed to call them these days. Now, you’re not a racist, you watch How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal. But you’d just rather not have your child getting distracted by all of the problems that come with having kids from other races bogging down the class.
As a homeschooling parent, you’ll never have to worry about that. Your children will only meet and befriend those who you deem appropriate. No more worrying about your kid hanging out with the wrong crowd. The odds of your daughter dating anyone who understands the lyrics to Despacito are nil. Praise God!
Lastly, parents are put on this planet to protect their children through to adulthood. Every second the kids are out of your sight is a second they might be getting into trouble, contracting Ebola from a refugee, or learning about “science.” As a responsible parent, keeping your child at home during their formative years ensures that none of those horrible outcomes will befall your family. Your son or daughter will grow in God’s love under your watchful eye. And your relationship with them will be so close, which will come in handy when they go to community college in your town but never move out of your house.
Sure, the lack of socialization for any human will result in immense difficulty in maintaining relationships, employment, and mental health throughout life. But it’s a small price to pay, especially when you consider it in contrast to the near 100% certainty of your child going directly to Hell otherwise.
In the end, parents must choose what’s best for their families.
For most, sending your son or daughter to free public school is a no-brainer: education, socialization, cultural indoctrination, and rectangle pizza, all for free (well, the pizza is like $2, but the rest is free – let’s just say it’s comparable to the price of a Lunchable, which you were going to have to buy for your kid anyway, okay?).
For a select few, it makes more sense to ignore the offer of free, professional, research-backed instruction in order to make sure your kid is permanently “the weird kid” for the rest of their life.
Just know that whichever route you pick, your precious child (well-adjusted or not, resentful or not, oedipal-complex-having or not) will someday put you in a nursing home. You probably want it to be a nice nursing home, so choose wisely!