Self-Sufficiency Series

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The virus of reason

Word has come out that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum plans to homeschool his kids if he gets into the White House.

Make no mistake, I have no intention of voting for Rick Santorum; but I applaud his bravery in challenging the entrenched bureaucracy that is the public school system. It's rather nice to see a candidate stick his thumb in the eye of the NEA.

But it comes with a price, of course. Bill Maher went on a verbal bender about the alleged inferiority of homeschoolers in general and Santorum in particular. "He [Santorum] wants them [his kids] locked up in the Christian madrassa that is the family living room," snarks Maher, "not out in public where they could be infected by the virus of reason. If you're a kid and the only adults you've ever met are mom and dad, and then they're also the smartest adults you've met, why not keep it that way? Why mess up paradise with a lot knowledge? After all, a mind is a terrible thing to open." [italics added]

The only adults you've ever met are mom and dad? Oh please. Putting aside the fact that 71% of homeschooled kids are involved in a community service activity, how do you explain public school kids who are locked into a classroom of peers for eight hours a day, seeing few other adults but their own teachers?

It’s not that homeschoolers are ignorant, as Maher would like to claim. Endless studies (should Maher ever desire to open his closed mind and investigate) have proven that again and again.

What honks off people like Maher is not academics. Rather, it’s that homeschooled kids are out of reach of the progressive indoctrination endemic in public schools. They don't fall prey to the groupthink that progressives believe is the only acceptable way to raise children.

But Maher is by no means alone when it comes to blanket statements about homeschoolers. A quick survey of internet news articles about Santorum's comments provide a wealth of snarks from opponents who see homeschoolers as isolated hicks with the social skills of woodlice.

What Maher condemns as homeschoolers' opposition to the "virus of reason" is nothing more than a desire to provide our children with the intangible benefits of homeschooling. Academics are all fine and good and homeschooled kids have been whupping public school kids' fannies for years. But it's more than that. Homeschooling provides children with a work ethic, respect, politeness, high moral standards, and -- gasp -- the ability to think for themselves rather than be infected with the "virus" of groupthink by progressive standards.

As one commenter noted, "Simple -- he has no idea about how home schools are actually taught and what the curricula are. But other than utter ignorance of the subject, he is just fine."

Maher can lie all he wants about homeschoolers, but let's not forget one thing: Maher doesn’t have any kids. Just sayin’.

34 comments:

  1. A few years ago, homeschooled children weren't allowed to comptete on one of those afternoon academic game shows show every now and again..technically, because they didn't represent any particular school...and they were making the public-schooled competition look really bad.

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    1. There's a six-year-old girl who has qualified for the National Spelling Bee this year (don't have the link). Homeschooled, of course. Probably she won't advance too many rounds against older kids, but the fact that she has the knowledge base and character traits to qualify says a lot.

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  2. So many areas to look at when choosing a presidential candidate: freedom to homeschool, smaller government, balanced budget, gun rights, etc.

    For me, the number one issue is how does that candidate treat Israel? We pray for the peace of Jerusalem that it will go well with them and well with us. God tells us that the one who keeps Jerusalem neither slumbers nor sleeps. It is the apple of His eye and his timepiece. He blesses those who bless her and curses those who curse her.

    If the candidate's idea of supporting Israel is for the U.S. to help IF it is in America's best interest, then that is not a friend to Israel. A true friend assists even when there is nothing personally to be gain. In this case, there is something personal to be gained...the favor of God, and America could use God's favor right now!

    If America will be a true friend to Israel, these other matters like homeschooling, budget, limited government, etc. will be corrected. First things first.

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  3. Why, oh why, do I read through the comments on "articles" like that? As a Catholic homeschooler, I feel like one big target.

    I don't agree with Santorum on many things, but I'm pleased that he's planning on sticking with what works for his family. Goodness knows that I wouldn't want my kids in either the DC public school system or spending 8 hours a day with the children of the DC elite.

    And, on a side note, can you imagine the history lessons you could create while living in the White House? The possibilities are endless...

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  4. For the life of me I can not understand why anyone gives a rats behind about what Bill Maher says. Let the guy shrivel up and die on his own. Don't contribute to his crazy world.

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  5. I don't agree with all his positions, but I like this one.

    Xa Lynn

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  6. It would be awesome to have someone in the White house that is homeschooling. We just put our 2 sons in school this year. It was a tough choice and I am still not 100% sure it was best.
    I do want to say that Maher is absolutely completely against anything that is good. I watched a movie with him about religion. I just can't even bring myself to hear him speak anymore. I can almost guarantee that he hasn't even spent a day with a homeschool family.
    Great post!

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  7. The only way to save our country is to have enough of us homeschool our children so they don't end up being autobots regurgitating the progressive agenda of socialism.

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  8. well, without anyone saying so, bill maher obviously did not get "any" kind of homeschooling whatsoever. he is illmannered, rude, vicious, disgusting, and i personally would not protest his being taken off the air. his verbal tantrums are hateful and oft times criminal.

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  9. You need to google Rick Santorum + homeschooling. There was a big scandal in Pennsylvania while he was senator about his children "homeschooling". What they were actually doing was using the Pennsylvania online charter school at taxpayer expense while living in Virginia. That is not homeschooling where I come from, that is public school at home! They used their "home address" in a low-income school district in Pennsylvania to qualify, at a cost of around $100,000 to the district. In the end, the state (that is, the taxpayers) of Pennsylvania ended up reimbursing the school district. The Santorums did not pay.

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    1. I read about that "scandal." Senators and Representatives must spend many months away from their home to serve in DC. It is not unusual for them to purchase a second residence near DC. Santorum chose to keep his family together and bring them with him. Their true home residence is still in Pennsylvania. Of course he would keep his kids registered with thrir home state school. Were they supposed to switch school districts every time they go to DC with their father and then back again when home in Pennsylvania?

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    2. According to my research, the home they use as their official address in Penn is a home in a low-income neighborhood that they have never lived in. The Santorum's second home isn't in a Virginia suburb of DC, that is actually their first home. Yes, I know this is common for our senators & representatives - they are not even residents of the states they represent. They are full-time residents of the imperial capital in DC.

      Also, you missed my point - public online charter school at home is not what most of us think about when the term "homeschooling" is used. No, they will not be coming up with fabulous original history lessons in the White House, as another commenter suggested. They will be following the state-sanctioned curriculum of the public school.

      Of course the Santorums are free to use any school materials they choose, but the point is that they should pay the associated fees, rather than charging them to a school district or state that they don't live in.

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    3. I have a different viewpoint of this.

      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/02/pittsburgh_post-gazette_revives_phony_santorum_scandal.html

      While I choose my own Christian homeschool curriculum from various private sources, I respect many of my friends’ decision to use a free online public source that is available to residents of my state. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can choose what best works for our children and family.

      We can’t always hold the same opinion. That would make life a tad boring. At times we must simply agree to disagree.

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    4. Santorum lived in Mt. Lebanon in 1990 when he was elected to Congress. In 1995, after he won the U.S. Senate seat he sold that house and purchased a house in Herndon, VA.

      Santorum stated, "Karen and I believe it is important for our family to be with me when I am working in Washington; as I always say the most important job I have is as a husband and a father."

      The couple subsequently purchased a much smaller home in Penn Hills close to his wife’s parents. (Maintaining two homes for a family that size is expensive even for a senator.)

      Santorum's lawyer stated in a letter, "Both federal and state law are clear: An individual who is elected to and serves in federal office does not lose his residency in his state of origin by virtue of his service in the United States Senate."

      When asked to defend his use of Penn Hills funds for his children’s charter school Mr. Santorum gave the following statement.

      "I defend it as I'm a taxpayer in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. That's where I pay my income tax, that's where I pay my real estate tax, that's where I pay wage taxes, state taxes, I pay taxes like any other state taxpayer. And most people who pay taxes to the school district, who claim that place as their only residence in Pennsylvania, which it is, usually have the right to be able to send their kids to school."

      Southern Gal

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  10. Thank goodness he doesnt have any children.

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  11. re: Bill Maher has no children. Thank goodness,

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  12. Bill Maher? Bill Maher? Who the heck is Bill Maher? And why do we care what he thinks?

    Just Me

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  13. This particular aspect of the public's view of homeschooling has always amazed me. The following sounds a lot like bragging, but that's ok. I'm proud of all of my children who have been homeschooled all of their lives. My oldest (who obtained her realtor's license at 19 and now works as Assistant Property Manager for a local company) just returned from a 10-day trip to Germany and Switzerland. Six months ago she went to London with a tour group and then jumped over to France by herself for a few days. She has also planned and executed a trip for 5 to Washington, DC. My second daughter works 2 jobs (one in a hardware store and one as assistant to the Director of the Chamber of Commerce in a local town) neither of which allows one to hide in a corner and avoid people. She also volunteers a lot of hours on a campaign for a state House of Representatives candidate and has been asked to attend both the State Republican Convention and the State Young Republicans Convention. A third daughter helps in running all aspects of our farm, but solely manages (and has since the age of 12) our dairy goat herd. She also breeds and trains Australian Shepherds, as well as run a Flyball Club. Last year she competed on the state Livestock Skillathon Team which came in 8th at Nationals. Now at 18 she attends quite a few conferences with adults and holds her own quite well.

    Why on earth do people insist on labeling homeschoolers as ignorant sociophobes who can't put two words together without stumbling?

    Laurie S.

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    1. Laurie I can answer your question with one word, hate. The problem for me is it seems to be contagious. Every time I hear his name or see his face in the news that's what I start to feel. I imagine how much I would love to meet that scrawny punk in a dark alley some night. The Bible tells me Jesus loves us all and I am supposed to try to do what He would do. It's almost like the Bill Maher's of the world are winning when I get to feeling like that. Don

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    2. Believe me, Don, I understand what you say. Bill Maher's hate only breeds more hate in those he constantly derides and insults. We need to pray for the poor man, not hate him. But this all goes much deeper and further back than Bill Maher. John Dewey is considered to be the "father of the American Education System." He was a Fabian socialist, a Marxist and a Darwinist, and his agenda was to infuse socialism into our public school system! Dewey began his teaching career at the Teachers College at Columbia University, where he eventually became head of the education department. The Teachers College promotes Deweyism into our public schools, having served as the model program for teacher training all over the USA. As many as a fourth of all our high school superintendents and half of our teachers college heads have earned advanced degrees from Columbia's Teachers College! The only way we'll ever stop this plague of lies from destroying our children's lives and our nation is to let as many people know about this as we can. No doubt many will not believe all this (especially the truly good teachers who still aren't aware of it), but all the things I've said here are true and there for anyone to research if they really want the truth! --Fred in AZ

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  14. Maher has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He is a boil on the backside of humanity. And not one of those really attractive boils, either.

    Jeff - Tucson

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  15. All I want is Obama to "BE GONE" never to be heard from again.

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  16. Although most homeschooled kids turn out better than their public school counterparts, there are exceptions - I know one family that is just such as exception. The kids are sometimes obnoxious, and they are running behind their pub-ed peers in certain subjects. I do feel, however, they would be worse off in pub-ed - homeschooling is their best chance to learn, and to find and develop their particular gifts.

    On another note: The pdf file you linked to does not provide a fair comparison of the cost of homeschooling vs. public education. It does not consider the monetary equivalent of the time spent by the parent on homeschooling. This is a real expenditure on the part of the parents and should be quantified when comparing the cost of public education vs. homeschooling. This is a flaw in the report that could be used to (unfairly) discredit everything in the report. Example: If you spent four hours daily homeschooling your two girls, that would be 12 hours per week per girl (if they work 6 days a week) and at $10 an hour (which isn't a lot!) that would be an equivalent of $120 a week per child. Over a school year of 9 months (about 40 weeks) you are looking at $4800 per child. See what I mean? It's not a minimal investment.

    As for Bill Maher, IMO he is just an incredibly unhappy man. He has chosen a dark and lonely path, and we should pity him.

    He would hate that, you know.

    Northwoods Jean

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    1. No doubt there are exceptions within the homeschooled ranks, but your description of the homeschooled children in ONE family fits a HUGE number of children who attend public schools! Obnoxious, yes. As well as rude, disrespectful and barely passing their classes. These include many I grew up with and many we had to deal with on an almost daily basis when our children were growing up and attending public schools.

      We didn't solely homeschool our children, but we greatly augmented their education at home. Two of them were straight "A" students all through school, and the third did very well, eventually going to college as one of the woman's tennis team's top players and becoming a fantastic artist!

      As for Mr. Maher, I think you're right. He has to be incredibly unhappy, but he would never admit it. Yes, I pity him, but let's also pray for him. There's always hope!
      --Fred & Deb in AZ

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  17. Jeff, what an intuitive and insiteful description of a pan in the......

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  18. Former homeschooled students should flood Maher with their accomplishments. When my homeschooled children grew up, I went to college. I found myself in honors classes made up of 30% formerly homeschooled students. That is a huge percentage when the percentage of homeschoolers in the general population is nowhere near that. As for my formerly homeschooled adults? All are college graduates from a state university: the first time they had ever attended a public school of any sort. They all are excelling in their various fields and have earned degrees beyond B.A. or B.S. (Except for the youngest--just getting started on furthering his education. And they are all godly young adults. That's what Maher would despise.

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    1. Please DO let Maher know this. He'll definitely be hearing from us!
      -- Fred & Deb in AZ

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  19. Bill Maher is a fool and I do not hear him...

    Perhaps in the near future all the homeschooled kids can create their own political party and save what is left of this country...
    No pun intended

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  20. Some home schooling might be good, some awful, and if the latter the child would have no relief. Whereas in a public school the effect of one bad teacher would be diluted by the other adequate or good teachers. How can anyone here speak for all home schoolers? What kind of inspection and control is there in the US?

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    1. You talk as if children belong to the state. They are the responsibility of the family. Only if a family does not do their responsibilities does the state have an obligation to interfere. Homeschooling is so time-consuming and takes so much dedication, the "awful" ones give up really easily. The kids are placed back in to public or private schools. I've been watching this happen for nearly 30 years; that's what happens.

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    2. Quedula,

      What relief does a public school child have when the parents' work takes them to a state whose school system ranks at the bottom of the nation? What if the parents can't afford private school?

      You are idealistic to believe that the effects of an awful public school teacher are always repaired by other teachers later in life. One horrible teacher can strip a child of their love of learning.

      A parent who loves the child and is willing to give their all for their child’s betterment is a better teacher than a paid employee. And if the parent doesn't care, why would they opt to keep their kids at home when it is far easier to send them off to the free public school all day?

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    3. Surely you jest. "In a public school the effect on one bad teacher would be diluted by the other adequate or good teachers"? Do you honestly believe that? Do you think there are no public schools where almost all - if not all - of the teachers and the principal are incompetent and their union keeps them on the job? Most ignorant (or lazy) parents just sitting back and thinking or hoping their child's BAD teacher will be offset by all those "good ones" is one of the reasons why we're having so many problems with our public school system today!

      I don't know how it is in England or how long it's been since you were in a public school, quedula, but here in the states schoolteachers are pretty much left to themselves in their classrooms. The classroom is considered their "kingdom" and they're allowed to do as they please with their class, within reason. We had problems with some very incompetent teachers in the public schools our daughters attended. One such incident was a very low grade given to our highly intelligent daughter. The teacher claimed she copied the paper she handed in. We know she did NOT copy it. It was all her own opinion and reasoning and we told that teacher so, but it made no difference, he wouldn't admit he was wrong. We complained to the principal and he told us that he knew our daughter quite well and he actually agreed with us that the paper was her own work (he had read it at our insistance), but he would not change the teacher's grade or even ask the teacher to reconsider! So much for your "all the other good teachers" theory.

      We know many people who homeschool their children. The kids are not brainwashed, out of the loop or social midgets. Actually, in every case we know of they're just the opposite! Their parents are NOT "the only adults and the smartest adults they've ever known," in spite of what Bill Maher might think. They associate with other kids in the neighborhood, as well as the neighbor kids' parents, they're own grandparents, their parents friends and many other adults and relatives. Many of them also go to church and Sunday school. They get plenty of association with others, rather than just their immediate family. Your idea of good teachers diluting the effects of one bad teacher is just another liberal-progressive fantasy that doesn't wash. --Fred in AZ

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  21. Quedula, a cousin of mine was homeschooled by my aunt and she just graduated college. They are religious conversatives. An childhood friend of my sister is currently homeschooling her FIVE children and she is a fairly liberal Catholic. And finally an ex-girlfriend of mine is a Jewish hippie girl homeschooled by her Jewish hippie parents. They took her to museums, took her to neighborhoods in the city, and taught her to cook and take care of herself. She lives in the city now, but because her parents exposed her to different cultures she has street smarts and knows what neighborhoods to avoid and what people to stay away from. The typical American public-schooled kid from the suburbs is fed warm-and-fuzzy drivel about "celebrating diversity". They move to the city expecting to revel in the vibrancy of diversity and end up getting mugged, robbed or worse. Homeschooling better prepares kids for the real world than the American public school system does.

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  22. My stepson age 17 recently made a remark about how homeschooled children lack socialization. Mind you, he's my stepson (since he was 5) and I've not been allowed by both his mother (who is mostly absent from her children's lives) and his father (my husband) to discipline their kids, so I've had minimal influence over him. He lacks table manners and eating across from him is gross, he rarely brushes his teeth because no one has ever told him to, he lacks gratitude and has a general sense of entitlement so most of the time he's angry and unhappy, and he lacks personal discipline having been allowed to do whatever he feels like doing most of the time. Result: poor grades, constant drama with his peers, no job skills, and poor self esteem as he has accomplished very little in his life. He's also 75 pounds overweight and quite fussy about what he WILL eat, so cooking with him in mind is a challenge, a challenge that I started ignoring two years ago as I figured he was old enough to find food in the kitchen on his own if he didn't like what I made. Today I will make lentils and sausage for dinner, and I guarantee that he will not touch it, and instead eat some of the endless scrambled eggs and toast or cheeseburgers that he prefers.

    I would say he's an excellent example of why an unstable family and public schooling is not the superior way to raise a child.

    His almost 20yo sister is now in the Navy. Living with her was a nightmare that I won't go into, and I thank God every day for the miracle that He provided to get her off our couch and into the military.

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