Is It Time to Loosen the Grip on Your
Family’s Time and Minds?
BY LINDA DOBSON
We know those who hold the power and the money in today’s education system would fear reform that puts children’s education ahead of profit, prestige, convenience, and employment security. But what do we, the people, have to be afraid of if government loosens its monopolistic grip on our time and our minds?
Are we afraid the kids would hang around in gangs? They already do. Are we afraid the kids will turn to crime and violence? The number who currently do so is far too high to say schooling is stopping them. Are we afraid the kids wouldn’t show up at the learning center? In 2010, our country saw 7,000 drop-outs – every day. (In case you think by virtue of your color or income you don’t have to worry about this number, “the majority of students who dropped out were white, were under 20 years old, and lived in middle income families and in suburban or non-metropolitan areas.”)
Should we fear the four year-olds who are not ready to go into school (of course they’re not ready!) – or the 1.2 million teens who hit the streets every June unable to read or write? (Detroit, MI has a 76 percent dropout rate, while dozens of cities see 50 – 60 percent each year.)Should we fear an increase in teen substance abuse and pregnancy – or the fact that 350,000 children are born each year to mothers addicted to cocaine during pregnancy, not to mention the children suffering Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Should we fear kids who wouldn’t receive public school’s job preparation training – or the fact that since 1987, one out of four U.S. preschool kids is born into poverty? Should we fear a few million parents staying home to nurture and educate their kids – or the two million children who today receive no adult supervision after school?
See also “What If?”
It seems there’s already so much to fear about the way things are under current practices, families and communities couldn’t make things worse if they tried! And when you’ve hit bottom, as long as you don’t just keep doing more of the same, there’s nothing to do but improve; the homeschooling population has proven so.
Homeschooling and the Path to Genius
Where will tomorrow’s honest, compassionate, innovative, inspiring leaders spring from? Will they emerge from the institutionalized herd? Or will they be the children who have been blessed with “1) much time spent with warm responsive parents and other adults, 2) very little time spent with peers, and 3) a great deal of free exploration under parental guidance?”
If you’re a betting person, put your money on the latter. It happens to be the “recipe” for high achievement as contained in the Smithsonian Report on genius. The study’s director, Harold McCurdy, deduced: “The mass education of our public school system is, in its way, a vast experiment on reducing…all three factors to a minimum; accordingly, it should tend to suppress the occurrence of genius.”
I’ve never personally met a homeschooling family who is practicing the art of education to purposefully cultivate genius in their children, although I’m aware these families are around. A world-renowned genius in quantum physics or solar energy development would be a nice by-product of the homeschooling experience. But a genius in caring for young children or lawn mower repair is much more practical and extremely likely to emerge in a homeschooling environment. Again, let us deal with a broader definition than we’re used to.
Homeschooling and a Broader Definition of Genius
Does someone like Einstein come to mind when you think genius? That happens if we think of genius as “exceptional or transcendent intellectual and creative power.” But if we stretch our minds – and look just a little further in the dictionary – we realize genius also means “a natural talent or inclination.”
The natural talent or inclination of tomorrow’s leaders in everything from politics to science to parenting to business to education to writers and other artists is best nurtured in freedom from an institution’s compulsory attendance and a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Free exploration not only provides opportunity for a community’s children to discover their natural talents, it also gives them a chance to exercise them. Warm responsive parents and other adults provide the child with example and unconditional guidance. Very little time spent with peers increases time spent with the previously mentioned adults, and greatly decreases the child’s chance of becoming blindly peer dependent.
From this perspective, the high achievement recipe looks natural, logical, and relatively speaking, quite inexpensive. And it’s designed to be used by laymen – you and members of your community.
Stronger Communities Through Homeschooling
Tomorrow’s world is shaped by the paths we offer our children today. The widely accepted, rarely questioned path of public schooling shows our children little hope for today, let alone tomorrow. The Smithsonian report indicates that the path to genius leads away from public schools toward home. Your community and others just like it across the country, can provide essential support to those families who know it’s time to go home. Communities are an essential ingredient in the genius recipe, for this is how homeschooling families add flavor – more warm, responsive adults – to their children’s high achievement souffle.
The community that today smoothes its members’ path to better education will receive, in return, the guidance and leadership of tomorrow’s young men and women who have freely developed their natural talents, at the same time getting to know and care about the people and concerns of their community. Why are we afraid of switching to homeschooling?
The path to fearless change in schools runs straight down Main Street, USA.
Be sure to check out all of Linda’s homeschooling books to help your family start and be successful with the fastest growing educational approach available today.