The Excellence of Home Education

It is time to remember…

The Excellence of Home Education

by Craig Smith
“The homeschool parent who assumes the role of tutor
is providing the best known, longest-tested approach
known to educational history. That is the reason
homeschool children are now welcomed at every
university in the land. Homeschooling produces young
men and women who are literate in the best sense, well
mannered, normal and self-confident. The myth is that
they miss the benefits of “socialization” and
“democracy” in unsafe schools with prejudiced
teachers, unruly crowds and biased lessons. In
contemporary America nobody can escape rubbing
elbows with every race, every ethnic background and
every level of citizen. It is best to have this experience
when one is equipped to discern the difference between
ability and pretense, morality and stupidity,
propinquity and friendship. And when one can defend
what one knows and believes. It is, after all, crucial to
understand and respect differences, but first one must
establish one’s own identity. Education is slow;
socialization is quick.”1
Otto Scott is here using the term “socialization” in its
most exact and precise meaning: being integrated into
the officially sanctioned, officially recognised and
officially supported group. State schools exist to
socialise education in the same way hospitals are there
(in New Zealand at least) to socialise medicine by
bringing it all together into one group under state
control. State schools exist to socialise children’s
character and personality development in the same
way the Ministry of Social Development is there to
socialise community support services by bringing them
together in one large, centrally organised group under
state administration and financed by the state. That is,
the concern about “socialization” in relation to home
education technically means how can we “rebels” dare
to keep the educational, character and personality
development of our children to ourselves where
they’ll be separate from the official group,
different from everyone else? How dare we
deny that our children do not belong to the state,
that we deny the socialist state the opportunity
to inculcate the concepts and experiences of
socialism the state schools provide?
For so many of us, having seen the official state
school version of child socialisation generally
either running riot in the streets or more often
following mindlessly behind the one in front, we relish
the opportunity to develop something more exciting
and varied and service-oriented in our own children.
We tend to dismiss the query about the “socialisation”
of our home educated children as a total non-issue.
But you know, the way the term “socialisation” is used
by most people, it is important. They wonder if our
children’s personalities and characters will be able to
cope with meeting and interacting in a civil way with
others. Most people naturally and automatically
recognise that personality and character development
are definitely more important than academic
education. That’s why it is usually the first question on
their lips.
President Teddy Roosevelt

And that’s because character and personality
development definitely are more important than
academics. I believe it was President Teddy Roosevelt
who said, “If you train a man in mind but not in
morals, you have trained a menace to society.”
Without proper training in morals and values –
unchanging, non-negotiable standards of right and
wrong – then the creature you drill in academic
acumen will be no more than an educated barbarian.
This is especially true if you do as is done so often in
state schools today: run a “values” programme that
ultimately says values are determined pragmatically by
the group: rape, murder and theft are socially and
democratically determined to be undesirable for it is
not how you’d like others to treat you, and in the
exercise of your rights and freedoms you must be
careful not to infringe upon the rights and freedoms of
This is diabolical, straight from the lair of the evil one.
You see, if there are no ultimate standards of right and
wrong for which each and every one of us will be
judged when God wraps it all up on Judgment Day,
then if I can get away with things, I win. If pillage and
murder cause chaos and grief to others, what is that to
me if I profit from the pillage and murder by
increasing my property and reducing my competition
and/or adversaries? If these evils are not ultimately,
unchangeably and always wrong, and if I am not going
to suffer for committing them unless I get caught…
well, I am arrogant enough to reckon I can easily get
away without being caught. And because I stand to
gain so much easy wealth and/or perverted pleasure, it
is worth the gamble. In fact since getting caught means
I’ll suddenly have the most expensive 24-hour-a-day
security looking after my physical protection, free
housing, clothing and food as well as access to
education and entertainment for only a few years
before being back out in society, the gamble starts to
take on a compelling and tempting logic. If
you add to this the typical evolutionary
philosophy that there is no meaning to life
and existence apart from whatever meaning
you care to impose upon it, then existence in
society as part of a traditional family; as part
of a hedonistic, drug-soaked gang; or as a
maximum-security prisoner all hold the same
ultimate value and worth: nil, apart from
whatever value or purpose I assign to it.
We see from the breakdown of discipline in schools,
youth crime and suicide rates, rising crime and divorce
and drug and alcohol abuse that more and more folks
are coming to precisely this conclusion.
Not so Christian home educators. We do not see life as
circular or cyclic, like the buzzard circling over
roadkill or the flow of sewage down the tubes. Life is
linear, starting with God creating it all in Genesis
Chapter one; progressing through our personal
conceptions and births; being born anew by God’s
Spirit at conversion; being set upon the straight and
narrow by faith in Jesus Christ, His Works for us and
His Word; doing all we do in this life for God’s glory
since we are appointed as ambassadors for Christ in
the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; and
arriving Home to be with Him forever and ever. This is
progressive, improving, onwards and upwards:
“Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to
what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians
3:13-14, RSV). We know we have total victory,
because we’ve had a sneak peek at the end of the
Book, and the vanquishing of the foes and the victory
celebrations are even better than we imagined! We are
emboldened to have a go, even when we feel far from
qualified or up to the task, because our Commander in
Chief says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My
power is made perfect in weakness,” (II Corinthians
12:9, RSV). We are not afraid to make mistakes
because He Who knows the hearts of men says we “are
not under law but under grace,” (Romans 6:14, RSV).
We do not make excuses that our puny efforts won’t
make any difference at all because the Judge of all the
Universe says, “In the Lord your labour is not in
vain,” (I Corinthians 15:58, RSV). ?


1. From the foreward of Otto Scott’s Great Christian
Revolution: How Christianity Transformed the World.
The Reformer Library. Windsor, New York 1995.

From Keystone Magazine

September 2007, Vol. XIII No. 5
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