October 22, 2021

USA – Phyllis Schlafly: The NEA spells out its policies

Things to watch out for in New Zealand:



The NEA spells out its policies

By Phyllis Schlafly

Published: Jul 27 2008, 11:20 PM

The nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, attracted 9,000 delegates to its annual convention in Washington, D.C., over the Fourth of July weekend. Delegates sported buttons with provocative slogans such as “Gay marriage causes Global Warming only because we are so hot!,” “Hate is not a family value,” “The ‘Christian Right’ is neither” and “Gay Rights are civil rights.”

The delegates passed dozens of hard-hitting resolutions that now become the NEA’s official policy. The resolutions authorize NEA members and employees to lobby for those goals in the halls of Congress and state capitols.

NEA resolutions cover the waterfront of all sorts of political issues that have nothing to do with improving education for schoolchildren, such as supporting statehood for the District of Columbia, a “single-payer health care plan” (i.e., government-run), gun control, ratification of the International Criminal Court Treaty, and taking steps “to change activities that contribute to global climate change.”

The NEA fiercely opposes any competition for public schools, such as vouchers, tuition tax credits, parental option plans or public support of any kind to non-public schools. The NEA strongly opposes designating English as our official language even though such a designation is supported by more than 80 percent of Americans.

The NEA opposes homeschooling unless children are taught by state-licensed teachers using a state-approved curriculum. The NEA wants to bar homeschooled students from participating in any extracurricular activities in public schools even though their parents pay school taxes.

The NEA wants many additional job-creating services and programs to be provided by public schools, such as early childhood education (i.e., baby-sitting for preschoolers). NEA resolutions call for “programs in the public schools for children from birth through age 8” and for “mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.”

NEA resolutions include all the major feminist goals such as “the right to reproductive freedom” (i.e., abortion on demand); “comparable worth” (i.e., government control of wages according to feminist ideology rather than the free market); full funding for the feminist boondoggle called the Women’s Educational Equity Act; and “the use of nonsexist language,” i.e., censoring out all masculine words such as husband and father.

The NEA even urges its affiliates to work for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA was declared dead by the U.S. Supreme Court 26 years ago.

The influence of the gay lobby is pervasive in dozens of NEA resolutions adopted by 2008 convention delegates. Diversity is the code word used for pro-gay indoctrination in the classroom.

The NEA’s diversity resolution makes clear that this means teaching about “sexual orientation” and “gender identification,” words that are repeated in dozens of resolutions. The NEA demands that “diversity-based curricula” even be imposed on preschoolers.

NEA convention delegates were invited to an open hearing by the SOGI Committee in Room 149A on July 1. In case you don’t know, SOGI stands for Sexual Orientation Gender Identification.

The NEA urges its members to offer “diverse role models” via the “hiring and promotion of diverse education employees in our public schools.” The NEA puts “domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriage” on an equal footing.

The NEA wants every child, regardless of age, to have “direct and confidential access, without notification to parents, to comprehensive health education. That would include things such as learning how to use condoms for premarital sex, as well as social and psychological programs and services.”

The NEA wants public schools to take over the physical and mental care of students through school clinics that provide services, diagnosis, treatment, family-planning counseling, and access to birth control methods “with instruction in their use.” Family planning clinics are called on to “provide intensive counseling.”

The NEA wants all sex-education courses, textbooks, curricula, instructional materials and activities to include indoctrination about sexual orientation and gender identification, plus warnings about homophobia.

The NEA is very generous with taxpayer money spent on illegal immigrants. The NEA not only favors amnesty for illegal-immigrant students, but also in-state college tuition and financial aid to illegal-immigrant college students.

The NEA is strong for “multicultural education,” which the resolution makes clear does not mean studying facts about different countries and cultures. It means “the process of incorporating the values” and influencing “behavior” toward the NEA’s version of “the common good,” such as “reducing homophobia.”

Of course, the NEA supports “global education” to teach “interdependency in sharing the world’s resources.” It’s also no surprise that the NEA adamantly opposes any requirement that schools “schedule a moment of silence.”

Will parents be silent about the radical goals of their children’s teachers?

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, political analyst and the author of the newly revised and expanded “Supremacists.” Her e-mail address is phyllis@eagleforum.org.

PC warriors serve up a slanted education – Mark Lopez


PC warriors serve up a slanted education – Mark Lopez

IN her address to her union’s conference in 2005 the Australian Education Union president Pat Byrne openly acknowledged the ideological bias that dominates the school system. As she put it: “We have succeeded in influencing curriculum development in schools, education departments and universities. The conservatives have a lot of work to do to undo the progressive curriculum.”

This bias is the consequence of historical factors originating in the politics of the 1960s that led to a domination of school curriculums by the ideology of the politically correct Left. Correspondingly, the majority of high school teachers appear to have many values compatible or consistent with this ideology. This ideological hegemony is one of the salient features of “progressive” education. This means that for the numerous students with non-Left views, the education system presents additional challenges.

Although many teachers are likeable people who generate a pleasant atmosphere in their classrooms, what pervades in the school system is a way of looking at the world characterised by the Left, an outlook presented not as ideological but as normal, correct, legitimate and just. More importantly, in terms of assessment, what also exists is a subtle un-stated pressure to ideologically conform if students want to succeed academically.

It should be noted that most of the teachers exerting this pressure would probably be unaware that they are doing so because they would be unaware of the bias affecting their assessment. From the teachers’ perspective, they are simply sharing their enthusiasms with their classes and responding positively to what they prefer to see in students’ work. Meanwhile, the politically incorrect arguments presented by some students in their essays would be assessed more severely because, from the teachers’ perspective, they are genuinely seen to be flawed.

As a private tutor, what I have noticed by closely observing patterns of ticks and comments made in the assessment of students’ papers, is that when students clearly indicate in the introduction of their essay that they share their teacher’s politically correct beliefs, the teacher automatically clicks into what I describe as a non-critical frame of mind.

Consequently, the teacher is less inclined to notice mistakes in grammar, argument or in the presentation of evidence. Meanwhile, if students cross the teacher’s bias, the opposite happens. The teacher clicks into a critical frame of mind, finding every justification in the essay to deduct grades.

Due to the psychological subtlety of this behaviour, it is highly likely that the teachers displaying their bias would not recognise it as such, but rather see the grade solely as the product of their professional judgment. It is human nature to display an affinity for those who appear to be like-minded, and to favour them, and this is as true for the assessment of essays as it is in most human interactions. However, because so many teachers share an ideological disposition, the aggregate effect of this tendency is a politically correct bias that appears to be both systematic and widespread.

In addition, this bias is so prevalent and so deep-seated that it has achieved a degree of normalcy or a taken-for-granted quality, thereby being virtually invisible to many involved with the system. This is much like the way we become more aware of the constant hum of an air conditioner when it is suddenly switched off than when it is running.

Consequently, if greater intellectual diversity was introduced into the education system, for example, to reflect the degree of diversity in the mainstream community, it would probably initially appear strange to many people, especially to many of those working in it.

Unfortunately, some teachers are not subtle in expressing their Left-wing bias, being quite militant in the expression of their views and intolerant of dissent. Although evidence of commendable attempts at broad-mindedness and fairness among teachers can be found, evidence of blatant bias is far from rare in the school system.

For example, a student came to me late in his Year 11 to receive early preparations for Year 12. Soon after I commenced helping him in English, he reported to me a recent incident when he suspected that he had experienced ideological bias in the assessment of an essay. He had written an informative piece that appeared to be broadly appreciative of the US in its victory in the Cold War, which the teacher had severely criticised. Concerned, he made an appointment to see his teacher to discuss the matter.

Unfortunately, what resulted was a severe haranguing, with the teacher yielding no quarter and even boasting to the student that she was anti-American. To many of the politically correct, the US is perceived as an international villain for being a militaristic capitalist superpower.

When the student renewed his attempt to put his case, her convoluted and uncompromising argument worked its way towards a reference to Pearl Harbor. Initially stunned by this irrelevancy, the student soon realised that this was a cruel dig at his Japanese heritage. It did the trick. The student ceased putting his complaint. Coming to the teacher with what he felt was a legitimate grievance, he left feeling that his efforts were futile. He also found the experience somewhat humiliating.

Teachers responsible for scenes like this are probably likely to forget them minutes later. Unfortunately, the students involved are likely to remember them long afterwards.

It is also highly likely that these teachers would not remotely see themselves as politically or ideologically oppressive, or as part of a system that creates an environment where free thought and expression can be compromised.

The idea that the beliefs of the politically correct, which are seen by them as so noble and emancipating, especially when they were touted by radical students in the ’60s, could have become a means for compromising the intellectual freedom of the young in the 21st century would be unimaginable to them.

As for the student who expressed those moderate pro-American views, upon appreciating the realities of the school system, he produced politically correct essays, perfectly tuned into his teachers’ biases, to receive A grades that were (thank goodness) hassle-free.

Like the characters Winston Smith and Julia in George Orwell’s classic anti-totalitarian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, students with non-Left views need to learn to outwardly conform to inwardly remain free.

Prevailing educational practices suggest that the custodians of the education system, like the teachers’ unions, have not realised that they are on the wrong side of a growing desire among Australians for greater intellectual diversity and freedom.

There is a need for an education system that would better serve the young in terms of their need for knowledge and acceptance. However, as the president of the Australian Education Union recognised regarding the process of reform, there will be a lot of work to do.

Mark Lopez is an educational consultant who was a participant in the Howard Government’s History Summit in August 2006.

NZ Homeschooling Suppliers

Finally, here it is: The long awaited list of NZ Homeschooling Suppliers!

Produced in association with LearnEX and the Home Education Foundation. This list will also be posted to http://www.learnex.co.nz and also https://hef.org.nz within the next few weeks (after we recover from conferences and weddings!)

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the help of Craig and Barbara in putting the list together. Although I have tried to be as accurate as possible, you may notice errors or omissions so, in that instance, please mail me privately and I will update the list for next time. Most of these vendors have printed price lists they can email or post to you so feel free to contact them direct.


NZ Homeschooling Suppliers

This list is for NZ suppliers that import/hold overseas stock or produce NZ
materials with a major homeschooling focus.

Better Way Books
Major focus: Christian, parent help, church history, historical fiction
Bethlehem Books
Trail Blazers
Master Books
Focus on the family
Christian Liberty Press
Classical Academic Press
Other major Christian publishing houses
Paul & Brenda Hill
Ph 09 266 5389

Major Focus: Printable Games for Thrifty Homeschoolers!
Jane Buckley

CES Books
Major focus: Curriculum, World View
Saxon Maths
A Beka
Nothing New Press
Five in a Row
Backyard Scientist
Making Math Meaningful
Steve & Teri Maxwell
Wholeheart Ministries – Sally Clarkson
Learning Language Arts through Literature
Common Sense Press
Diana Waring Materials
Mac and Tab readers
Wordly Wise
Pathway Readers and Workbooks
Christine Miller History Titles
Worldview Materials
Truth Quest History
Andrew Crowe NZ Science titles
Plus other titles…
Phone 06 374 7630

Creation Literature Society
Major Focus: Creation Science
Answers in Genesis
Bob Jones
Lionel Horton
3/91 Cook Street, Howick (viewing by appointment)
Ph 535 8420

Creaky Corner
Major Focus: Creation Science, resources for preschoolers
Creation Research Materials
Rod & Staff
Veggie Tales
Happy Day Books
Heroes of the Faith (going out of print) and for young readers
Miscellaneous Christian Material
Kathy Creak
Ph (09) 29 66 126

Curriculum Concepts
Main focus: NZ Based workbooks

Major Focus: Homeschool lending library, science equipment, stationery
PO Box 9064,
Palmerston North
06 3550721
027 241 7354

Major Focus: Stationery, reading and craft supplies
Reading Books
Craft supplies

Geneva Books
Major focus: Curriculum
Christian Liberty
Italic Handwriting
Mystery of History
Rod & Staff
Nancy Wilson – Latin & Logic titles
Bob Jones
Wibo & Lisa de Jong
34 Rewarewa Street, Tokomaru
Ph (06) 329 8097

Home Education Foundation
Major focus: Parent encouragement, family, advice & support, lobbying, speaking
Keystone Magazine
TEACH Bulletin
Trivium Pursuit
Logic & Worldview
Vision Forum
Timechart History of the World
Publications that focus on family roles
Exemption advice and encouragement
Help with ERO reviews
Plus many others…
Ph: (06) 354 7699
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand

Home Education NZ
Major Focus – Accelerated Christian Education
Home Education NZ
9 Ruahine St
(07) 544 6423 (during business hours)
E-mail: homednz@xtra.co.nz

Home Learning Publications
Major Focus: NZ Based Workbooks
Clive and Ruth Aim
22 Fox Road
Ph: 06 344 3097

HomeSchooling NZ
Major Focus: Accelerated Christian Education
Ray Green
P.O. Box 343
Dannevirke 4942
New Zealand
Ph (06) 374 5597
Fax: (06) 374 5597
Mobile: (027) 5466 082

Integrated Education
Major focus: Integrated unit studies
Interact Curriculum
NZ History Alive!
Graham Braddock Art Card series
PO Box 757
Auckland 0932
+649 424 3700

Institute for Excellence in Writing
It will take your children right through to University level English and even at University level. Spelling, Poetry and the effects of music on living things as well. Hundreds of home ed children have done the programme in Christchurch and other parts of New Zealand it really works.
Orders and questions

Isaccharian Books
Main Focus: Family Values, Womanhood
Issacharian Publishing
Issacharian Daughters
Issacharian Clothing

Main Focus: Curriculum, Classical gifted & extension, advice & support,
homeschooling events
Apologia Science
Artistic Pursuits
Critical Thinking
Draw Write Now
Easy Grammar
Jim Weiss Audio CDs
Jolly Phonics
How Great Thou Art
Knowledge Quest
Modern Curriculum Press (excluding maths)
Memoria Press
Story of the World
Targeting Handwriting
Write Shop
Writing Strands
Yesterday’s Classics
Plus others…
Erena Fussell
Ph (09) 269 23532
Shop 1
908 Heretaunga Street East

Margi Leech
Main Focus: Programmes for Children with Learning Difficulties
Handwriting without tears
Ph 520 4022

Lenabosa Books
Main Focus: Classical and parent help books
Paulette Fawcett
47 Upper Sefton Road
R D 2
Rangoria 8254
Ph 03 312 9557

Montessori Shop
0800 111 036
Inexpensive and quality montessori equipment.
Pohutukawa Books

Ryan Publications
Major Focus: NZ based Maths, English, Grammar, Social Studies and Science workbooks
180 Raumati Road,
Raumati Beach 6010
Ph/Fax 04 902 6331

Secondhand Books

Systematic Phonics NZ
Main Focus: Systematic phonics
Michelle and Luka Bramwell
Glen Murray
RD 5 Tuakau 2695
(09) 233 3011
(027) 476 4760

Tisa Education
Main Focus: Curriculum, tutoring & assessment
Singapore Math
Singapore English
Singapore Science
Modern Curriculum Press Maths
Duncan & Glenyss Lennox
Ph (06) 879 9752

Available from:
Wellington Home Schoolers Assn.
c/- 115 Gemstone Dr.
UPPER HUTT (Price=$10)
Manawatu Home Educators, Inc.
PO Box 9064
Auckland Home Educators
PO Box 91530
Auckland Mail Centre
Canterbury Home Educators Inc.
PO Box 8544, Riccarton

The Broad Room
Main Focus: Tutoring, consultations, training courses
Stephanie Walmsley
The Broad Room

Home Education in New Zealand


Loving and genuinely concerned parents are the best qualified of all to teach their own children. Who else is more motivated to invest the time, the money, the blood, sweat, toil and tears required for the child’s best interests than the parents? Who knows and understands the child better than the parents? Who is more motivated for the child’s success than the parents? A homeschooling parent has the vast advantage of a tutoring situation: one parent/teacher to one or two pupils, recognised worldwide as the most effective teaching method. Because of the logistical and political and practical difficulties associated with the conventional classroom, the average parent involved in home education routinely possesses advantages that outweigh even the most gifted of teachers in the most expensively equipped classroom. Two hours of quality one-on-one time with a parent can easily accomplish what a conventional classroom would take two weeks to do. Whatever they may lack in the area of formal educational qualifications, the home educating parent will usually more than compensate for in motivation and the advantages of one-to-one teaching.

Learning the three r’s, or teaching them, is no big mystery. Children learn most in those first 3-4 years when they are like little fact-sponges and are taught to speak and understand a totally foreign language by Mum with no curriculum. Home education is basically an extension to that. Children are natural learners with their own scope and sequence: the constant questions “Why?” and “How?” Simply answering these questions will cover all and probably a lot more than the Nation Curriculum Guidelines.

Schools and teachers only control the access to “schooling”….lecturing, pre-digested notes, certain classrooms and labs and paper qualifications. They do not control “education”. An education is available to all and is virtually free of charge: it is not in short supply, it does not diminish as more people get it. Schooling in schools and other institutions is in a limited, finite supply, and it is this which people like to control for they can make money out of it. Once a person learns to read, write, do numbers plus some research skills, they can teach themselves virtually anything….that is, a true education is out there to be acquired by anyone with the initiative to dig it up for themselves.

Parents’ biggest concern is that they are unqualified or unable to do this. Not so! Parents already know from lifes experiences what facts and skills their children really do need to know and which politically correct lessons can safely be dropped. If they are not themselves in mastery of the 3R skills (Reading wRiting and aRithmetic), they can learn along with their children, perhaps engaging a private tutor now and again. A parent’s enthusiasm and excitement for learning is contageous and will motivate the chidlren like few things else. In addition, we all know that the most important lessons of life each of us learned were not learned in the classroom. These lessons the home educating parent can teach without the bullying and drugs on the school campus.


This is usually the first objection people raise about home education, even before worrying about academic success. Home educators themselves and researchers both in NZ and overseas, regard “socialisation” as a non-issue among home educated children. They consistently demonstrate superior social skills. Children do not need other children to teach them how to be children. They need warm, responsive adults to teach and model proper social graces. Home educated youngsters generally fit in comfortably with a wider age range and are not dependent upon nor intimidated by their peer group.

Curriculum & Resources

Finding resources is not a problem: there is a vast variety available everywhere you look! There are many packaged programmes available, and many parents simply make up their own. One of the best resources is the public library. Friends, neighbours, relations, local support groups, the internet all have expertise in many areas, just waiting for you to tap into it all!

Costs in Time and Money

It can be as expensive or as economical as you like, and time commitment is extremely flexible. First of all, dispel the picture of a mini-school established in your home: many start that way but few ever carry on that way, for schools are designed to deal with logistical problems completely absent from the home. At home you are in a tutoring/mentoring situation, the most superior setting for academic excellence, social training, physical self-discipline, character development and spiritual growth ever devised. Education is not limited to certain activities in a certain place during certain hours of the day: education and learning are taking place all the time, and parents with their children at home are in the unique position to pretty well organise what they learn, to what depth, in what manner and for what purposes.

Legal Issues

Your child does not need to be enrolled in any school until s/he turns six. A couple of months before this, in order to legally home educate, you need to contact the Ministry of Education to obtain a “Certificate of Exemption”. This takes several hours of work writing out what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and how you’ll know you’re making progress. It is like a statement of intent, rather than a contract, for both the Ministry of Education and the ERO recognise that good parent/teachers will be constntly changing and upgrading their programme.

Getting into University or Employment

Universities have various discretionary schemes whereby one who is under 20 can enrol without paper school-leaving qualifications if the admissions officer is satisfied (usually after an interview) that s/he is able to do the work. Many also offer full-time courses designed to bridge the gap between high school level and university for theose who have no paper qualifications. Sixteen-year-olds can sign up for classes at the NZ Correspondence School at around $80 per paper, take four in a single year at NCEA Level 3 (one does not need to work through Levels 1 and 2 before tackling Level 3), including the right maths and English papers, and end up with a University Entrance Qalification. Or wait until age 20: all kiwis of this age have right of entry to NZ Universities. All you need then is the enrolment fee.

Employers do not necessarily need qualifications but are certainly looking for character traits such as Reliability, Motivation, Honesty, etc. These are best taught at home. Seek creative ways to introduce yourself, showing the strengths you want the employer to see. Get work and character references from short-term, part-time and volunteer jobs. Really positive references such as these are worth their weight in gold.


Every piece of research has shown that home schooling produces children who are superior both academically and socially. Your family can also experience other wonderful benefits: function as a unit with children being thought of and trained up as vital parts of the family corporation, rather than thought of and treated like expensive freeloaders waiting to leave home. Many home educators experience no teen rebellion or generation gap. Kick the public school habit: be done forever with uniforms, peer pressure, school fees, bullying, drugs, and the bad attitudes and language and finger signs and head lice brought home from school. You’ll be glad you did.

For Reference:

http://www.nheri.org/ –National Home Education Research Institute

http://www.hslda.org — Home School Legal Defence Association(These first two contain many research articles and results.)

www.hef.org.nz — NZ’s Home Education Foundation http://www.home.school.nz/ — More about home education in NZ

Homeschooling NZ – Applying for exemption

This is now filed in archives.

For up-to-date information please click on these two links:

Making an Application for Exemption from Enrolment and Attendance at a School


A Collection of Exemption Tips and Ideas

Home schooling exemption form now online

Needing help for your home schooling journey?

Applying for a Homeschooling Exemption

Tags: homeschooling NZ; Home schooling requirements; Applying for an exemption from the MoE in New Zealand; How To Get An Exemption From School In New Zealand; homeschool application information nz; application for exemption from enrolment; school exemptions; education at home/free; homeschool application form;homeschooling families in new zealand; ministry of education and how can I apply for an exemption for my son; new zealand curriculum; exemption from school; home school schedule; homeschooling government requirements; applying for home schooling exemption; Home school association; Radical Unschooling Association (RUA); homeschooling application







Hi there, I have just received my application to apply for exemption and was wondering whether there was a way of getting hold of an example to use as a guide, which will help me with my application. I am just getting started so don’t know of many groups and don’t really know who to call upon. If you are unable to help could you please point me in the right direction. That would be much appreciated.


Sometimes it’s not best to look at another’s exemption until after you’ve had a go at doing your own first. Otherwise all you can think to write is what you’ve seen in the other person’s sample exemption application. Have a go at writing yours after reading the material below and then have someone look at it before sending it in.

The Exemption application is NOT user friendly, is it? A very intimidating document it is!

However, most of the people behind it, the ones who assess it when you send it back, are pretty postitive about home education: they’ve seen the results and they like what they see.

In addition, once you get past the document’s jargon and intimidating approach, you will discover that it affords you more freedom and flexibility than you will ever meet again from a government department!! Believe it or not, there are NO legal requirements or compulsory subjects!! All you must do is “satisfy” the MoE that the child “will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school” as you see in the application. That is ALL the law requires.

So the first question asks to explain your knowledge and understanding of the broad curriculum areas YOU INTEND TO COVER. Note: it is what YOU intend to cover and as they say in question 2, it is YOUR curriculum vision they want to see explained, not the MoE’s, not the neighbour next door or the school down the street…..they want to read in your own words what YOU intend to do. The list of subjects you’ll see on the exemption application form is only a guide…it is not a list of subject you are required to teach. You can pick and choose from that list or do something completely different. As long as you can clearly and competently explain what your intentions are and how you plan to go about it (that’s question 2) and how you’ll know you’re making progress (that’s quesiton 7, I think, the one on assessments), the MoE will virtually always give you your exemption.

There is an expectation that you’ll provide an academic as opposed to an agricultural or domestically focussed education. As long as you cover what most would cosider the basic stuff: reading, writing, arithmetic, history, science in one way or another, you should be fine.The exact list of subjects, which ones you emphasis, which ones you treat lightly, which ones you leave out, which ones you add in which they haven’t got listed….it is all up to you.

The first question basically wants you to outline your understanding of the subject areas you intend to cover with your child. The answer would depend upon the child’s academic level and what you want to teach. Just think over the next year or so and describe that kind of stuff. Note that this is really only a statement of intent: once you get your exemption you can change as much as you like but you’ll never have to re-negotiate the exemption!!

The second question wants you to take a topic of your choice: so look at one of the subject areas, break it down into sub-topics, then each of those into its component parts. Choose one of the sub-topics or component parts and describe a lesson plan over the next couple of months as to how you would go about presenting that topic: there are lectures, field trips, reading books, internet, projects, write a play, a poem, an essay, go talk to an expert, go to the library, etc., etc.

The question on assessments is easy. Because you observe your child nearly all day, everyday, you know when the child has understood the material and when he has not. So you do an informal assessment based on intimate observation. That’s all that’s needed. You may do the odd oral quiz or written one you make up yourself. You may get a hold of formal tests which are available here or there.

The rest of the questions are pretty straight forward.

Let me add a bunch of other stuff I’ve written in the past to others which may be of some help in getting a vision for what you’re going to be doing.

All the best!


Craig Smith

PS — A lengthy book on how to fill in an exemption is available for $15 from:

“The NZ Homeschooling Guide to Applying for an exemption ” by KayChristensenTo Order please write cheque to:
Accentor Enterprises
48 Myers Road, Manurewa, Auckland
Ph: (09) 266-9218
Email: robert(dot)ryan@xtra(dot)co (dot)nzCost
$15.00 per copy
plus $1.00 per copy p&pDon’t forget to include your return address
Allow two weeks for delivery
If urgent, we will try to deliver ASAPHome education is a ticket to a vast amount of freedom and flexibility to put together a curriculum that would be tailor made for your son, one that would afford him the best education possible. If you were to bring him home so that it is just the two of you for most of the day, you would already have more advantages, vastly superior, to even the most gifted of teachers in the most expensively equipped classrooms….and that is before we even start talking about curriculum resources! What I mean is this: no one on this earth is more motivated for your son’s success than you. No one is more willing to spend the blood, sweat, toil and tears that may be required to see him mature to full manhood. No one knows him better than you. No one has already done more for him than have you…..you couldn’t PAY anyone to do what you have already done for him over those past 11 years. No one else except perhaps your husband/his dad is as close to him, has his trust as much, is the one with whom he feels most secure. No one else can see when he understands, and when he is struggling. No one else is willing to be with him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, which means no one else will ever be able to observe him as closely and come to know his interests, passions, aspirations, abilities, inclinations, aptitudes and favourite/most efficient ways in which he learns and assimilates knowledge. As I say, even gifted teachers can only dream about such advantages which you already possess by default.

Education and schooling are two very different things. Schooling is what your son has experienced up til now. If you bring him home and teach him yourself, you can give him a true education. We are talking of a lot more than just a certain body of head knowledge and a few skills. We are talking about the ability to use that knowledge and those skills in the proper way, for the proper purposes, in the context of the real world of the home, the market place, the community and the workplace. That is, you can pass on to him what you know, what you know he REALLY needs to learn, all those lessons in life (the most important ones of all) which I’m certain you will agree you did not learn in the classroom. You can pass on the attitudes, values, standards, concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, wise and unwise, that you are personally convinced about, rather than the ones that just get slipped to him in what they call the “hidden curriculum” at schools. You can train his character and build in the character qualities you know his future employers, his future wife, his future children will want to see in him and that he will definitely need to possess. You can help him to see how the knowledge he gains fits into the “big picture”.

The most important and useful thing you can do for him is both motivate him to learn and at the same time give him a vision for taking upon his own shoulders, as appropriate, more and more of the responsibility for his own education. Once he sees that the whole world is his oyster, you may have trouble holding him back, not that you’d want to do that necessarily; but you both will not have trouble filling in your day, wondering what to study and investigate next: your problem will be that there are not enough hours in the day to follow up all the leads you want to follow.

Believe it or not, the law, the Education Act, does not require even schools to teach anything in particular: they have to be open for so many hours and they must teach from a “secular” perspective (“with no religious instruction or observance”) and there is an expectation that they will be getting sex education, but that is as far as the Act itself goes. It does say the schools must teach according to the syllabus handed down from the Minister of Education (a career politician, please allow me to point out, as opposed to a career educationalist) in the Gazette from time to time. What this means is that you have a maximum amount of freedom to put together your own curriculum from whatever materials you prefer. I know this is frustrating at first: why doesn’t someone just hand you the recipe, A, B, C, for you can easily follow that. But please do not overlook the opportunity to give your son the best education he’s ever likely to be offered….and you are the one who can offer it and can most definitely deliver it, regardless of your qualifications or lack of them. Your own personal confidence level and commitment are the deciding factors, not any set of text books or resources or pre-existing ability.

There is no recognised body of knowledge that young people need to know in order to succeed in the New Zealand of the 21st century. What the MoE pushes through the schools is merely their current (politically determined) guess. You, on the other hand, are not politically motivated, but have a much better grasp on the realities of everyday life in the real world. Run with that. There are many local home education support groups out there, many email discussion groups just in NZ, many networks for swapping ideas and curriculum materials. There are many educational philosophies out there, and various learning styles and various teaching styles. Yes, these things require a bit of investigation, but again, you have other advantages in a home education situation that mean you can relax a fair bit about the passage of time as you and your son together investigate these things. Actually the investigation itself is a very useful and practical educational project! These extra advantages I mean here, in addition to the ones I already enumerated, are those of the tutoring or mentoring situation you will have with just you as teacher/guide/mentor and your son the student. One-on-one instruction coupled with a vigorously interactive format is the most efficient form of learning full stop.

For simplicity we normally think of all the academic objectives as sitting in two baskets. The first are the basic skills that must be MASTERED: the 3 Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. These do take a fair bit of intensive tuition in order to master, not just become passable at. Reading, being a form of information intake, includes listening. One must be an accurate reader and listener, comprehending as much as possible, and discerning the difference between reasoned debate and sheer propaganda, between an honest critique and a sales pitch, between fact and opinion, etc. Writing is not just penmanship, spelling and grammar, but also composition of tightly reasoned, logical and well constructed essays. Being a form of information output, writing also includes public speaking, the ability to face an audience of one or a thousand and deliver with confidence a prepared or an extemporaneous talk on a subject of interest or importance. Arithmetic would be to master all the maths that you as an adult use and need on a day to day basis: it probably doesn’t include trigonometry or calculous and may only include some very basic concepts from geometry and algebra. I could add a fourth R: research skills. The child who has mastered these basic skills in this first basket can then teach himself virtually anything after than, with a bit of guidance from you. The second basket contains everything else, and can be covered most effectively by simply reading good books together, watching good videos and educational CDs, doing projects together and field trips and discussing them. This second basket can also be done with a family of several different age groups at the same time: simply expect more from the older ones, less from the younger ones.

Most of what we expect to be doing and producing as a “Home School” is counter productive: desks, blackboards, textbooks, lectures, assignments, home work, marking, standardised tests. These are all logistical developments to cope with the school setting of one teacher and 25 children. None of these things are needed – or useful – to the tutoring / mentoring situation. Because of the distractions, interruptions, strict timetables, necessity to change subjects at every 45 minute interval, the necessity to move at a pace too fast for some and too slow for others and totally irrelevant to still others, the politicised nature of the subjects taught, the enforced recess breaks and lunch times, the length of time it takes to get 25 children sitting in the same room, focused and turned to the same page in the same text book, the boring nature of text books, the mixed abilities and mixed backgrounds and mixed worldviews of the 25 students, plus many other factors….because of all these you can do at home in two hours what could easily take two weeks to accomplish in the typical school classroom.

The implication is, don’t even try to copy the conventional school approach to schooling in the classroom, but instead go for real-life education in the real world. Yes, this takes a bit of climbing up a steep learning curve at first, but doing it together becomes a very profitable exercise in real-world education.

There is formal learning: when parents directly teach, instruct or explain with or without text books or work books. This may more accurately be called formal teaching, for one is not too sure about the learning going on, especially if the children are not allowed to ask questions. If only the teacher asks questions, it is a good bet that little learning is going on.

There is informal learning, when you are discussing a book you are reading together or to them, or interacting over the things seen along the way as you drive from A to B. This is the heart of mentoring: reading and discussing and interacting together over all the issues of life as they come your way. Remember the three year old’s incessant “Why?” questions? You never want them to stop asking those questions, for when they do, it may mean they have blocked the in-take routes and are no longer filled with that natural curiosity. In free discussions encourage questions, all questions, any questions. They will not come at you in a logical fashion, starting with grammar and going step by logical step through all there is to know and then changing to maths and taking it step by incremental step as one would find in a conventional school’s scope and sequence. (Actually NZ schools stopped doing this ages ago and now follow a constructivist philosophy wherein the teachers no longer have an agreed body of knowledge to pass on nor are they thought of as repositories of wisdom and knowledge, but are now facilitators whose job it is to provide children with learning opportunities where they can explore and discover and construct their own bodies of knowledge – and arrive at their own personal custom-made concepts of truth and reality, free from the fixed biases of by-gone generations. Hey, I’m not making this up! Go ask a state teacher!) But they will come at you with questions which follow links in their own minds, links that you can strengthen and introduce to other links or ones that you can show to be invalid, unwise, unwholesome, etc., because YOU are the authority, you ARE the authority, you are THE AUTHORITY in your children’s life, just as it should be, just as they need.

There is incidental learning which your children just pick up as you go about your daily business, things that are caught rather than taught. This includes much in the area of character training, which may be far more important and valuable to your children when it’s all said and done than their academic accomplishments.

There is self-learning, self-instruction that takes place when the children have free play, pursue hobbies, experiment on their own, are set tasks and put in charge or made responsible for regular chores, or when they just sit down and start reading for their own enjoyment and edification.

Then there is learning that takes place when you aren’t even there: when they join clubs, go to scouts, church groups, camps, sports teams, visit Uncle Ted up the valley and help milk the cows, etc. As long as they are awake, they are learning something.

The curriculum is all waking hours. Fairly flexible that, not necessarily organised to the last detail. In fact, most home educators who start off really formally soon become rather informal. And those who start off really informally soon become even more informal, and may appear to outsiders to be goofing off all day. It is just that they are pursuing knowledge in a more effective method of reading, discussion, exploration, experimentation and discussion. There may be precious little “work” produced as in schools, but that is because “school work” is another one of those logistical requirements of schools to ensure the children are in fact doing “something”, for the teacher cannot possibly know where each child is up to.

Yours in Christ’s service,
Craig S. Smith

Phone: (06) 354-7699 or (06) 357-4399
Email: hedf@xtra.co.nz


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