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Copyright: February 1989 By Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland


       With many families having to return to their home fields & again be concerned about local compulsory educational laws & social pressure to "send their kids to school" we felt it important to encourage our Family, & especially those in America & other English-speaking countries, that home schooling is practiced & permitted in many countries & most American States. However, you do need to be familiar with the local laws & know how to go about it to avoid trouble. We are presently researching the various laws & requirements, especially in the U.S., which, DV, we will be sharing with you in subsequent articles.
       We are discovering that there are several alternatives to public schooling, ranging from no requirement for a home school, to creating your own private school in your own home, to taking accredited correspondence courses, to becoming a "teacher's assistant" in a travel education program, etc. There's more than one way to skin a cat, & thousands of people in the U.S. & elsewhere have already pioneered these methods.
       We hope that these FSMs, based on various System publications, full of shocking facts about public schools, home schooling questions & answers, & inside legal information on home schooling, will be a helpful resource & encouragement to you in defending your children, your rights & your decision for "Home Schooling". It is comforting to know that you are not alone by any means--nearly half a million Americans have already grabbed their children & fled from the U.S. public school system this year in spite of opposition.
       Please send in any testimonies, experiences, newspaper clippings, legal cases, & other information you encounter about Home Schooling or Private Schooling, etc. in your area, state, province, region or country. We also appreciate articles & stats about public schools! Thanks!
       "When we take them out of the System & out of public education, we promise to educate them ourselves, & we have to do it." (ML#F:6)
       "We're for the most part trying to encourage them that they can teach their own children, have their own Childcare workers & their own teachers if possible." ML#332B:80) "We have a marvelous opportunity & a marvelous environment to train our children!--Not just in Sunday School, not just in Daily Vacation Bible School, not just in daily religious school, but in our Homes day & night 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, & for that much schooling you need a lot of materials. You have your children on your hands all day long, every day & every night. Very few of our people send their children to public schools, thank God for that! I have absolutely talked against sending our kids to any kind of public schools anywhere." (ML#1720:80)"Give your kids a Christian education!--Amen? They deserve it!" (ML#1039:75)

HALF A MILLION KIDS ARE STAYING HOME THIS YEAR FOR SCHOOL!--A compilation of recent articles from The New Jersey Homeschoolers' Network Newsletter, The New York Times (William J. Warren) & American Press (Lauren Blau)

       As many as half a million school-age children across America won't be returning to the classroom this year. Instead, they'll learn reading, writing & arithmetic at the same table where they eat breakfast, & Mom & Dad will be the teachers. There are no firm figures, but in 1985 the U.S. Department of Education estimated that more than 260,000 children were being taught at home. Patricia Lines, a policy analyst for the United States Department of Education says that now there may be as many as 500,000 children staying home for school. (John Naisbett, in his 1982 best-seller Megatrends estimates as many as 1 million!) The home schooling movement has its largest concentration in Southern & Western states & is organized through churches for religious reasons.
       Each family has its own reasons for wanting to do this & its own philosophy of how it should be done. They all have this in common: They believe that parents should choose the kind of education their children receive.
       Parents who choose to keep their children at home for religious reasons point to the teachings of veteran educator Dr. Raymond Moore, former teacher, university professor & U.S. Office of Education official, who founded the Hewitt Research Foundation in Washougal, Wash. His foundation supplies lesson plans for more than 5,000 students, who he claims average significantly higher on standardized achievement tests than the public school norm. Ms. Lines said federal data on students taught at home confirm Moore's claim.
       "Home schoolers enjoy tremendous advantages," Moore said. "They are positively socialized instead of being peer-dependent, narcissistically* socialized." Moore often appears on Christian broadcasts. (*narcissistic = self-admiring, self-loving, "me first".)
       Home schoolers say that their children reap strong rewards from individualized instruction & closer family ties. They also say that children can learn the basics in just a few hours of school a day.       Other motivations for home schooling range from doubt about the abilities of public school teachers, to shielding children from peer pressure, to fear for children's health & safety in a crime, drug & AIDS-infested environment.
       Sharon Weir, a Seventh Day Adventist from Downey, Calif., said she taught her two older daughters at home during their early elementary years & plans to teach her 4-year-old when she reaches school age.
       "I wanted to keep my children away from any negative influences," she said. "When you're home schooling, it's just the mother & child one-to-one. You know if your child is getting the material."
       "I see it as a reaction of one part of the population to the over-institutionalization of the child," said Patricia Lines.
       In California, where some 2,100 home schools are registered, requirements for home teaching are vague, said Fred Fernandez, consultant for non-public schools at the state Department of Education. No statute provides guidelines for home teaching; the law mandates only that instructors be "capable of teaching," he said. Red Balfour, who heads a home schooling program for Orange County in southern California, said he gets at least five calls a day from parents interested in the growing movement..


       In Texas, which has an estimated 12,000 families that teach their children at home, the movement scored a major victory in 1987 in a lawsuit against the state of Texas & all 1,100 school districts. The suit, led by the Home School Legal Defense Association, stopped the prosecution of the parents under truancy laws. The state is appealing.
       The Home School Legal Defense Association, based in Great Falls, Va., provides legal advice & representation to its more than 9,000 members, said attorney J. Michael Smith, the group's vice president. Smith said his group intervened in two cases during the 1987-88 academic year, & both were dismissed in court. Since 1982, 27 states have established minimum requirements for home education. At present, there are 30 states that by statute specifically allow "home instruction" or "home schooling" provided that certain requirements are met. The rest have no statutes referring specifically to home instruction, although all states have general conditions. Some states require that home schools be approved by the local school superintendent, but the somewhat vague requirements for approval have caused some differences & problems. Only a few states have not begun to address the issue.
       Not everyone has problems with their school. Parents who are thoroughly familiar with the law, well-informed & firm about their decision are less likely to have a difficult time with school authorities. Many school officials don't know that home schooling is legal, & parents may have to "educate" them. Parents are advized to begin by looking up the wording of the Compulsory Education Statute for their state. Some states, however, do not have statutes that specifically address the practice, & disputes have developed over who is qualified to teach their children at home.
       Some parents prefer to start a small private school for their children. State regulations for this vary from minimal to very difficult.       In some states it works well for a family to register the name of their home school with their county registrar. School officials & others are often satisfied with the official status this seems to give a home school.


       Support groups have sprung up throughout the country for parents to meet & exchange ideas & for children to have an opportunity to interact with each other, & there are many people who are actively promoting the idea of home schooling.
       Gary McIntire, 7, of Yorba Linda, Calif., is one of a few dozen children in Rainbow Kids, a group made up of home-taught youngsters & their parents who meet once a week to work on projects or go on field trips. His mother, Sue McIntire, said she prefers to teach him at home because she doesn't like the socialization that children face at public schools. And she believes Gary can learn better with the special attention. "Where he's strong we can go at the speed he's ready for, & where he's not we can slow down," she said.
       Luanne Shackelford, author of A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling is a home schooling mother of 7 whose own home schooling experiences grew into a support group of 150 families. She says, "The primary purpose is to support & encourage each other. Home schooling moms need to get together to bear one another's burdens. As we share our problems & frustrations, we find out that we are not alone in our feelings or the problems we face. We also learn that others have found solutions to these very problems."


       John Holt was a well-known educator & author, a former teacher who became a leading critic of American contemporary education. His writings, among them four books, have sparked much debate on educational reform & helped encourage thousands of people to teach their own children. Many consider him the initiator of the current home schooling movement in the U.S. (Mr. Holt died in 1985.) In Teach Your Own, Mr. Holt asks: "Why do people take or keep their children out of school? Mostly for three reasons: They think that raising their children is their business, not the government's; they enjoy being with their children & watching & helping them learn, & don't want to give that up to others; they want to keep them from being hurt, mentally, physically, & spiritually.
       "1. How many such people are there? 2. What kind of people are they? Good short answers to these questions would be: 1. Nobody knows, & 2. All kinds.
       "The reason no one knows or can find out how many families are teaching their own children is that many of these people, fearing with good reason that if the local schools knew they were teaching their own children they would make trouble for them, are doing this in secret. Sometimes they simply hide their children from the local schools, don't even let them know they exist. Sometimes they tell the local schools, perhaps truthfully, perhaps not, that they have registered their children in some private schools. Sometimes they have registered their own home as a school, which in many states is easy to do. Sometimes they & a few other families register as a church-related school. There is simply no way to tell how many such people there are. Thus, there is no way to tell how many of the registered private schools in any state are schools as most people understand that word, i.e., special buildings with specialized hired teachers, & how many are disguised homes with the parents doing the teaching."


       Micki & J. David Colfax of rural Boonville, California, have become national heroes in the home school movement.--Their children have attended virtually no grade school or high school classes. "I think public schools, especially for high-school-age children, are mostly a holding operation," Mrs. Colfax said. "I think there's an enormous waste of time." The Colfaxes, both former teachers, began teaching their children in 1973 when they moved to a ranch about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Mrs. Colfax said she wasn't impressed with the public education in the area. Their oldest son, 23-year-old Grant, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1987, & his brothers Drew, 20, & Reed, 18, now attend the university. Garth, 13, the fourth son, who helps with the chores, has never gone to school.
       Britain's Harry Lawrence, a former computer consultant, gave up his job to guide & tutor his brilliant daughter. Mr. Lawrence felt it was worth his efforts when his 13-year-old daughter Ruth gained top marks at Oxford & put the other students to shame. The sheer amount of adverse criticism he received is an indication of what happens in society when anybody dares to step outside the orthodox system. He was accused of forcing his daughter into an unnatural, unbalanced lifestyle, & preventing her from growing up as a "normal" teenager. But as we know, for most teenagers, particularly girls, being "normal" & "having fun" leads precisely nowhere, as they waste their time mooning over boyfriends, dyeing their hair purple & polluting their minds with pop songs. Whereas Ruth, who has solid achievement behind her & an excellent career ahead of her, does not look particulary unhappy or deprived. She appears calm & self-assured, & with a level of confidence most girls her age would envy.


       Why do half a million Americans choose to teach their children at home? There are probably half a million reasons--& that's the best reason of all, home schooling meets every person's personal need & situation much better than a public school ever could.
       Of course, lots of people have to teach their children at home anyway. They may be living in some isolated area & not be able to go to school. They may have some sickness, or physical handicap that keeps them home. The parents' work might call for a lot of travelling & moving. The child might not be emotionally or psychologically able to cope at school so they have medical permission to take him out. The religious beliefs & freedom of worship & religion of the home might be seriously endangered by negative or confusing experiences in his formative & impressionable years. There might be extreme moral, ethical & cultural differences & conflict between the parents & the school. The child might be picked on or abused for his religious or personal moral upbringing. Parents might actually fear for their child's life if they send him into a building where other students are carrying dangerous weapons & pushing drugs. Parents might be worried about the general corrupting influences at school of perverted sex, alcohol, smoking, body abuse, witchcraft, rock music etc. Or, as concerned & loving parents, they realize that to foster better standards & noble values in their children they need more time with their children.
       In a corrupt & violent society the many advantages of home schooling so far outweigh the few & questionable advantages of sending your children to school that, were public school not made compulsory, home schooling could have been the rule rather than the exception. Consider some of the advantages:
       * The child & his family are free to pursue & develop their personal religious beliefs unhindered by lack of time or opportunity.
       * Children become much closer & form lasting bonds with their parents & siblings. Home schooling is usually much more efficient than public schools because schedules can be more flexible & tailored to complement the individual needs & activities of the child & the home.
       * Costs of home schooling are much cheaper than paying for public education with all its "hidden" extras.
       * The parent has greater, if not full, control of the child's curriculum & textbooks that will be used to study from. This is important if he hopes to screen out "secular humanism" (Man is God philosophy) & "evolutionary" atheistic doctrines from a child's training.
       * The money saved on daily travelling expenses to school, board, fees etc. can be put towards building a better life for the child.
       * There is much more freedom: Freedom from fear, freedom from failing, freedom to go at one's own pace.
       * Home schooling builds self-esteem & leads to improved academic performance. Your kids will likely be well ahead of their public school counterparts.
       * School can be fun again.
       * It only takes a couple of hours a day. It's efficient!
       * Home education allows the parent to customize the curriculum to meet the needs of the child.
       * Home schooling can start & stop at any time, & is totally flexible & accommodating to the needs of the family unit.
       * Travel, recreational, & educational opportunities are easy to take advantage of when they occur.

       In fact, home schooling offers everything that British psychiatrist Ms. Jean Coleman says is needed to make winners in life. She says research has concluded that a happy, stable childhood coupled with close encouragement from parents is the formula for high achievement.
       Dr. Raymond Moore says that children who learn at home are brighter, more confident & socially responsible than school-educated children. A child taught at home "who knows he is depended on at home, sharing responsibilities & chores, is much more likely to develop a sense of self-worth & a stable value system," said Dr. Moore. "Children who go to school at the age of 5 are burned out before they finish grade 3 or 4." He warned that children's vision & hearing can be seriously damaged by long hours & restrictions required in formal education programs.
       Teresa & Danny Tittley of Montreal decided a few years ago to educate their children at home after they heard Dr. Moore speak on television. Recent testing indicated that their 9-year-old son Nathan is now reading at a Grade 8 level, & his 7-year-old sister is reading at a Grade 6 level, four or five years ahead of their public school counterparts. Neither of the children were formally taught how to read.
       Educator John Holt says, "Most of what children learn, they find out on their own. Children are by nature very curious about the world around them, & very competent & resourceful in exploring & mastering it. School just gets in the way with its external rewards, punishments, tests & regimentation. Teaching as it's done in the schools largely submerges curiosity, confidence & willingness to ask questions. It turns children into collectors of answers the teachers want them to parrot. The result is that many children, even kids who perform well, never learn to develop their own reasoning & problem-solving capabilities."
       Home schoolers feel deeply responsible for their children's education & want a large hand in it, feeling that public education has become over-institutionalized. They want more time to give their children moral & religious training.
       Arlean Haight of Scottville, Michigan says: "When the children were in school they were gone all day & came home at night with these gigantic mounds of homework to do. And then it was a rush to get things done in time to go to bed. But now that we teach them at home, it's not like that. We're all involved in this as a family, doing schoolwork together. It's amazing some of the conversations we get into about values. We never seemed to have time before."


       Dr. Pat Montgomery, founder of the "Home-Based Education Program" in Ann Arbor, Michigan, summarizes her attitude toward home schooling:
       1. Parents, primarily, are responsible for the education of their children.
       2. Parents are consumers in the school marketplace & have the right, therefore, to control the process of education.
       3. Parents, students & teachers, those closest to the process, are most qualified to determine curriculum.
       4. Students have at least an equal say about how they will spend their time & what they will learn. Interests & abilities are the best guides for individualized learning.
       5. The practices of grading, testing & setting students in competition with other learners scarcely contribute to individual growth.
       6. A student learns best by doing, by being around adults who love him/her, by having good models to imitate, & by being exposed to all aspects of his/her world.
       7. The World is the classroom.
       Dr. Raymond Moore, defender of home education, gives several reasons why parents should be given the prior right to determine the education of their children, & why little children should not be rushed into school as early as is commonly done by either legal or social pressures across our nation:
       "Some parents refuse to believe that public schools can do a better job of educating their children than they can, so they prefer to keep them at home well into the elementary grades, & in some cases through elementary & high school. In nearly every case we have witnessed, the children have enthusiastically responded to this parental concern & care & have far out-performed the average school child. And rather than being isolated, their homes tend to be the social centers of the neighborhoods. The neighborhood kids come to know which parents care.
       "Many parents sense that schools simply cannot account for the individual differences of their children. It is quite clear to these parents that the mass production of industry is not a desirable pattern for the education of our children. Many studies show that geniuses through the ages have been taught in their formative years by parents & others on a one-to-one basis at home.
       "There is no evidence to prove that the school is better at education than the home. James Bryan Connant, the father of the comprehensive school (institutionalized large schools), before his death rued the day that he ever called for enrichment through consolidation which effectively got rid of the one-room rural school. And the one-room school, incidentally, has not often out-performed the home.
       "There are many studies which suggest strongly that there is no security so great nor any socialising agency so positive & powerful as reasonably consistent parents in the climate of a warm & responsive home.
       "Child psychologists point out that children do very well when they can operate on a one-to-one basis or work in small groups of two or three or four. But strain often shows when they meet with classroom-size or larger groups for typical all-class activities.
       "It has been found that elementary school children in general have difficulty maintaining a positive sense of self-worth after they enter school."
       Mary Pride, author of Schoolproof, talks about home schooling & "schoolproofing". "Schoolproofing means making sure your children get a great education, no matter what political or educational theory happens to be in vogue. It means having children who learn to read in an age of illiteracy; who learn to obey legitimate authority in an age of sullen rebellion; who learn to stand against injustice in an age of craven conformity. It means that your child will be smarter, more affectionate, less dependent on external rewards & punishment. It means that you will be more confident, less worried about your children, more able to enjoy them & have high hopes for their future. It means that YOU are in control of their education."


       In Teach Your Own, John Holt talks about who can be a home schooling parent. "We can sum up very quickly what people need to teach their own children. First of all, they have to like them, enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, & passion. They have to enjoy all their talk & questions, & enjoy equally trying to answer those questions. They have to think of their children as friends, indeed very close friends, have to feel happier when they are near & miss them when they are away. They have to trust them as people, respect their fragile dignity, treat them with courtesy, take them seriously. They have to feel in their own hearts some of their children's wonder, curiosity, & excitement about the World. And they have to have enough confidence in themselves, skepticism about experts, & willingness to be different from most people, to take on themselves the responsibility for their children's learning."


       Rev. Paul Lindstrom, founder of the Christian Liberty Academy, which offers a home study program said, "There is an educational & moral decline in the public schools. The parents just aren't satisfied & we offer an alternative." He said that his home-study program produces youth who are morally upstanding & smarter than their counterparts in the public schools. When home-study students take the Standard Iowa test, they score one to one-&-a-half years above the national average.
       Testing over the last 5 years of approximately 1,300 home-schooled students taking correspondence courses in Alaska showed that the home-schooled students consistently score higher grades than their counterparts in the public schools--up to 16 percentile points higher. Both used the same curriculum.The Department of Education in Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina & Washington, all concluded that home-schoolers perform above average levels on nationally recognized standardized achievement tests.


       Dr. Paul A. Kienel, in his article, "Never Lose Faith in Your Child", brings out the following points:
       "When Jesus chose His 12 disciples, He didn't choose candidates whose academic records showed them to be in the top 10% of their class. He used the meekest of men, most of whom were totally uneducated, to perpetuate His Gospel to all future generations.
       "Even at less lofty levels than Jesus' disciples, there have been men who were honored in their adult years as great leaders, but as children in school they were perpetual candidates for the `least likely to succeed' group.
       "Albert was so slow to learn to talk that his parents thought he was abnormal. His teachers called him a misfit & his classmates avoided him. He failed his first college entrance examination. To the amazement of everyone, he turned out to be one of the greatest scientists in the World. His name was Albert Einstein.
       "Winston Churchill was less than a bright boy in school. As a matter of fact, he was the lowest achiever in his class all the way through his early years of education. He stuttered so badly that his parents & teachers could barely understand him. In later years, as Prime Minister of Great Britain, he became known as one of the most eloquent statesmen in history. In 1953 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature."
       Samuel Blumenfeld, in Trojan Horse in American Education says, "Historical evidence indicates that prior to the introduction of public education & compulsory attendance laws, Americans were probably the most literate people in the World. John Adams observed, in 1765, that `a native American, especially of New England, who cannot read & write, is as rare a phenomenon as a comet.' A study conducted in 1800 confirmed that literacy was universal in early America." (Today, 23 million adult Americans are functionally illiterate, which means they cannot understand or apply what they read.)
       "Many of the great men of the World, believe it or not, had very little formal education! You just go down through the list of some of the World's most famous men, they had very little formal System education. I didn't say they had no education because you can be educated every day, you should keep learning every day."--Dad

The Home Schoolers' Hall of Fame* includes:
       (*Famous people who have been educated at home or who
have been privately tutored.)

       Abigail Adams
       John Quincy Adams
       Hans Christian Andersen
       Alexander Graham Bell
       Pearl Buck
       Andrew Carnegie
       George Washington Carver
       Charlie Chaplin
       Agatha Christie
       Winston Churchill
       George Rogers Clark
       Noel Coward
       Pierre Curie
       Charles Dickens
       Pierre DuPont
       Thomas Edison
       Albert Einstein
       Benjamin Franklin
       Alexander Hamilton
       Bret Harte
       Patrick Henry
       Stonewall Jackson
       Robert E. Lee
       Abraham Lincoln
       C. S. Lewis
       Douglas MacArthur
       James Madison
       Cyrus McCormick
       John Stuart Mill
       Claude Monet
       James Monroe
       Wolfgang Mozart
       Blaise Pascal
       George Patton
       William Penn
       Franklin D. Roosevelt
       Theodore Roosevelt
       George Bernard Shaw
       Albert Schweitzer
       Leo Tolstoy
       Mark Twain
       George Washington
       Martha Washington
       Daniel Webster
       John Wesley
       Phyllis Wheatley
       Woodrow Wilson
       Orville Wright
       Wilbur Wright
       Andrew Wyeth


       "Teaching your kids at home is kind of like building an ark in your backyard & hoping your neighbors won't notice!"--Home schooling mom.
       In most cases, it is not the school or school board that begins on their own to investigate a family who is home schooling, but it is the result of nosy neighbors reporting on them.
       Luanne Shackelford, a home schooling mom of 7 children, founder of a large home-schoolers support group in California, & author of A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling, gives the following good advice in her book, on handling neighbors & relatives:
       You will encounter many different responses to your decision to home school. I have found the general public, with the exception of an occasional schoolteacher & some relatives, are very positive toward the idea.
       It is common for people to feel threatened by anyone who is doing something different. Some may assume that you think they are less spiritual & less caring parents if they do not choose to home teach. When people feel threatened they come up with reasons why what you are doing is bad. Try not to make it an issue & avoid making statements that offend people, such as:
       --I don't want my kids with other children.
       --I plan to home school all the way through high school.
       --College isn't important, I want her to be a good wife & mother, etc.

Here are a few more DON'TS she mentions:

       * Don't start campaigning for home schooling, that sounds threatening.
       * Don't act sneaky or guilty either--you're not selling drugs!
       * In general, don't talk too much about it. Short answers are enough, you don't have to "justify" yourself to everyone that asks--they are likely just making conversation.
       * Don't take sides in local disputes. Be a peacemaker.
       Parents & relatives can give you the most trouble as they are affected by what people think. They want your children to go to college & be successful. Also your parents may see it as a reflection of your inner feelings about the choices they made as you were growing up. Parents feel better if they know you are following a good Home Study program & that someone who knows about education is "supervising you".

Here are some nice DO tips on how to keep the neighbors happy:

       Learn to describe what you are doing in ways that are socially acceptable to others.
       Be a good neighbor! Your overall testimony in your neighborhood will go a long way toward determining what the response will be when they suspect your kids aren't in System school. Get to know them.
       Keep your yard clean & your pets from bothering them.
       Make your children respect other people's property & their own.
       Control your kids, especially during school hours. Appear to be friendly & open.
       Help your neighbors to feel free to talk to you. Otherwise they will talk to the authorities.

       If & when the local Child Welfare Services worker knocks at your door, what then? "Hello. I'm Mrs. Chou from the Child Welfare Services & I am here to investigate a report that you are doing unlicensed child care in your home." (In this case, they are trying to get you for teaching other people's kids.) They generally are thankful when you are kind & patient with them, as most cases they visit get angry with them. Just explain that you are not involved with other children on any commercial basis, but that you have a big family & that you have decided to teach your own children at home for several reasons. Explain as you feel led.
       What about school hours? Hiding the kids in the house from 8 to 3 isn't the whole answer, but you should keep a regular schedule. It's a good idea to know the local school schedule & when the kids are out. If you're out with the kids & someone asks you why your kids aren't in school, just answer "We have a half-day!"--The fact that every day you have a half-day, doesn't make it any less true. Just remember that people judge a book by its cover, so be a good sample & you'll have less trouble. It is one thing to be persecuted for your faith, but worse to be persecuted because of your failure. Let the Love of Christ constrain you.
       Educator John Holt, in Teach Your Own gives his answers to a number of common questions asked about home schooling. In the following set of "Questions & Answers", we have acknowledged the contributions by Mr. Holt by putting "JH" after the points that were summarized from his book. If you find yourself in a discussion about home schooling, a little "name-dropping" may be in order & you may want to use some of his answers.
       (Ed. note: These answers are compiled from current material on Home Schooling & are not necessarily the answer that you will need to give in your situation. Please pray for wisdom in how to answer questions you are asked.)

       QUESTION: If my husband & I make the decision to home-school, won't it get us into a lot of trouble?
       ANSWER: Avoid all such troubles if you possibly can. I see no point in confronting the authorities directly if you can dodge them.--JH

       QUESTION: Children in public schools are able to meet & get to know many children from all different backgrounds. If you keep them home won't you be denying them this experience?
       ANSWER: The first part of the answer to this question has to be that in reality meeting kids & forming friendships with children of other races, religions & economic backgrounds very rarely happens in public schools even if children were allowed to mix freely, which they are not. Except in very small schools, of which there are few, children in public schools have very little contact with others different from themselves, & less & less as they rise through the grades.
       In most large schools the children are tracked, i.e., the college track, the business track, the vocational track. Even within each major track there may be subgroupings. Large schools may often have a half-dozen or more tracks. Students in one track go to one group of classes, students in another track go to others. Very rarely will students from different tracks find themselves in the same class. But--& here is the main point--study after study has shown that these tracks correlate perfectly with family income & social status, the richest or most socially prominent kids in the top track, the next richest in the next, & so on down to the poorest kids in the bottom track.
       Even in one-race schools, white or non-white, there is class separation, class contempt, & class conflict. Few friendships are made across such lines, & the increasing violence in our high schools arises almost entirely from conflicts between such groups. If anything, the social & racial splits in society are only perpetuated into the next generation at school & at a great risk to your child's health & safety.
       So the idea that schools mix together children from widely different backgrounds in happy groups is for the most part simply not true. "Most children spend the entire day with an over-controlled, manipulated, homogeneous peer group who generally come from the same social & economic class." So concludes JH & Sociologist & Home Educator, David Colfax.

       QUESTION: But our nation is so large & so diverse. Don't we need public schools as sort of a "social glue" for national unity?
       ANSWER: Public schools in America should be providing social glue--the harmony, the unity, the spirit of working together & cooperating together to make it work--but as we see from the rise in crime rate & anti-social behaviour in children, the schools are not fostering unity. The basic outmoded philosophy of public schools is that competition & taking advantage of others for your own ends is good. But that just engenders hatred between fellow-citizens, races, religions & social classes. Indeed, public schools even insist that this way of looking at people is actually an American virtue--"The American Way". This disunity & hatred, & dog-eat-dog philosophy fostered by the schools, is bringing the nation to the brink of social & economic ruin.
       We are of the firm conviction that the family is still the best "glue" society has. Therefore, we contend that people who are willing to take the time to teach their own children with clear goals & purposes in life & an outgoing concern for others, are probably offering the nation the only "social glue" it has!
       Dr. Raymond Moore tells us: "On the family rests the pinions of our society. Nevertheless, we have gone a long, long way towards putting it down & substituting parenting-by-state. Now leading social researchers predict the death of our democratic society within a generation."

       QUESTION: How are we going to prevent parents with narrow & bigoted ideas from passing these on to their children?
       ANSWER: The first question we have to answer is, do we have a right to try to prevent it? One of the main differences between a free country & a police state, I always thought, was that in a free country, as long as you obeyed the law, you could believe whatever you liked. Your beliefs were none of the government's business. Far less was it any of the government's business to say that one set of ideas was good & another set bad, or that schools should promote the good & stamp out the bad. Suppose we decided to give the government the power, through compulsory schools, to promote good ideas & put down bad. To whom would we then give the power to decide which ideas were good & which bad? To legislatures? To state boards of education? To local school boards?
       Anyone who thinks seriously about these questions will surely agree that no one in government should have such power. People have the right not only to believe what they want, but to try to pass their beliefs along to their children.We can't give schools the right to tell all children that some ideas are true & others are not. Since any school, whether by what it says or what it does, must promote some ideas, people who approve of the ideas being taught or promoted in government schools may be glad to send their children there, while people who don't approve of those ideas should have some other choice. This is essentially what the U.S. Supreme Court said in Pierce vs. Society of Sisters (1925).
       One of the reasons why growing numbers of people are so passionately opposed to the public schools is that these schools are in fact acting as if someone had explicitly & legally given them the power to promote one set of ideas & to put down others. A fairly small group of people, educational bureaucrats at the state & federal level, who largely control what schools say & do, are more & more using the schools to promote whatever ideas they happen to think will be good for the children, or the country. But we have never formally decided, through any political process, to give the schools such power, far less agreed on what ideas we would like the schools to promote. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe that large majorities of the people strongly dislike many or most of the ideas that most schools promote today. --JH
       As Gregg Harris, author of The Home Schooling Workshop, so aptly puts it, "The public schools have become, in effect, the parochial schools of secular humanism. This has been accomplished in the 20th century by the gradual transformation of every state teacher's college in the U.S. into a virtual seminary of secular humanism. The public school classroom is the vacation Bible school, the Sunday school & the pulpit of a non-theistic, but no less dogmatic, New Age religion. Education in America is an act of religious warfare."

       QUESTION: But isn't what you're doing illegal? Can't they take you to court & take away your children?
       ANSWER:"Home schooling is allowed, either explicitly or implicitly, under the compulsory attendance laws of all 50 states as an alternative to conventional classroom education. Many states provide specifically for home education in their compulsory education statutes; others include home education within the term `private school'; & still others provide for home education under the term `equivalent instruction' or the like in their respective statutes." (Iowa Task Force Report, 1985)
       "The schools have in a number of cases tried--shamefully--to take children away from unschooling parents. I think there are legal counters to this, strategies which would make it highly unlikely that a court would take such action. And if worse came to worst, & a court said, `Put your children back in school or we'll take them away,' you can always put them back in while you plan what to do next--which might simply be to move to another state or even school or judicial district." --JH

       QUESTION: But who actually has the right to control & dictate a child's education, the parent or the state?
       ANSWER: It is well established that parents have the primary right & responsibility to direct the upbringing & education of their children.
       In 1923, a US Supreme Court decision stated: "Corresponding to the right of control, it is the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life..." In 1925, the Supreme Court held: "...The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excluded any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the State; those that nurture him & direct his destiny, have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize & prepare him for added obligations." (Pierce vs. Society of Sisters, 1925.)
       In 1944, the Supreme Court said: "It is cardinal with us that the custody, care & nurture of the child reside first with the parents..." In 1965, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that "...the right to educate one's children as one chooses is made applicable to the States by the First & Fourteenth Amendments" (which guarantee the free exercise of religion, & the right to liberty & privacy). In 1972, in the historic case of Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Supreme Court stated: "...The history & culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture & upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition."
       A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1972 reads: "...a State's interest in universal education, however highly we rank it, is not totally free from a balancing process when it impinges on fundamental rights & interests..." This decision also says: "...however strong the State's interest in universal compulsory education, it is by no means absolute to the exclusion or subordination of all other interests."
       Dr. Raymond Moore says, "One of the most serious needs today is for the dissemination of information to school officials who are not aware that the First Amendment to the Constitution, as repeatedly interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, guarantees the parent the prior right to determine the education of his children."
       The right of parents to control the education of their children is protected by numerous provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including free exercise of religion, free speech, family privacy, & parental liberty, & has been consistently recognized by the courts. The concept of parental rights in the area of education has also been recognized by the U.S. Congress in the Federal Protection of Pupil Rights Law, which is commonly referred to as the "Hatch Amendment".
       Former President Ronald Reagan said, "Parents have a natural & inalienable right to educate their children, publicly & privately as they see fit, & that right should be recognized & encouraged." William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, adds, "Parents should choose the form of education they want for their children."

       QUESTION: If you don't send your children to school, how are they going to learn to be normal & fit into society?
       ANSWER: How do we want our children to "fit into society"? People who have made a place for themselves in history, who have dared to change things when it wasn't right, are those who did not succumb to the social pressure to conform. They are people who had a strong conviction of right & wrong, & through whose efforts, changes & improvements were made. Forcing our children into the mold of public education is not producing students with the strength of character that is needed to do what is right. It is producing robotic workers that never challenge the status quo, people who have learned in school the disadvantages of speaking out against wrong, people who are so influenced by peer pressure that they never make a decision that goes against the mainstream."The school is only a pale & somewhat more timid & genteel version of the culture of the street outside--nothing changes. Far from being able to woo the children away from greed, envy, & violence, the schools cannot even protect them from each other. They seem to be mostly interested in money, sex & drugs. And to whatever extent the schools have tried to combat these values, they have almost totally failed."--JH. So if we want our children to be like the ongoing mass society, then yes, public school is the place to send them!

       "As a young high school teacher in a parochial school, I once had to argue with many Protestant parents about the advisability of sending their children to a Christian school instead of the local Godless cesspool of iniquity of the public school, only to find that they couldn't have cared less or been less interested! Frequently they used the old excuses: `Well, I don't want my child to be that different & separated from others, so that he doesn't know what the World is all about! And how is he going to do any good for other children, & be a witness & missionary for his faith, unless he goes to school with them in the public school?' Of course, the result of this was usually that their child turned out just like most of the rest of the wicked kids in the public school, because he couldn't stand against the stream. He became infected with the same sins, unbelief, criminal tendencies, dope addiction & vices of the rest of the World's children in their damnable, godless, materialistic schools!" (ML#184:47,48)

       QUESTION: But aren't you still depriving your children of a valuable experience & social life at school?
       ANSWER: If there were no other reason for wanting to keep kids out of school, the "experiences" & "social life" they would miss would be reason enough. In all but a very few of the schools I have taught in, visited, or know anything about, the social life of the children is mean-spirited, competitive, exclusive, status-seeking, snobbish, full of talk about who went to whose birthday party & who got what Christmas presents & who got how many Valentine cards & who is talking to so-&-so & who is not. Even in the first grade, classes soon divide up into leaders, their bands of followers, & other outsiders who are pointedly excluded from these groups.
       In the schools there are certain kinds of childishness which it seems most people accept as being natural. Silliness, self-indulgence, random rebelliousness, secretiveness, cruelty to other children, clubbishness, addiction to toys, possessions, junk, spending money, purchased entertainment, exploitation of adults to pay attention, take them places, amuse them, do things with them--all these things seem to me quite unnecessary, not "normal". Children are thrown together in school & develop these means to cope with an oppressive situation. The richer the families the children come from, the worse these traits seem to be.
       A teacher writes: "This morning I asked my third graders, `Do you feel that in our school kids are nice, kind to each other?' Out of 22 kids, only two felt that they saw kindness, & the rest felt most kids are mean, call names, hurt feelings, etc. Frankly I was amazed. I have always felt our school is a uniquely friendly place."
       Not one person of the hundreds with whom I've discussed this has yet said to me that the social life at school is kindly, generous, supporting, democratic, friendly, loving, or good for children.
       But why do parents & others continue to accept & even support this vicious social life the children are exposed to? Without exception, when I condemn the social life of school, people say, "But that's what the children are going to meet in Real Life." --JH
       In "Growing Without Schooling" a news bulletin for home schoolers by John Holt, we found this article: "Comment from my 12-year-old daughter since unschooling: `Mom, you worried about me not having friends (if unschooled) for nothing. But you know, none of us have friends in school. We couldn't talk or help each other, or do anything together, like friends do. If a kid is smart & gets good grades, the other kids put him down, & if a kid is not able to do the work, the kids put him down, so everybody just puts everybody down.'"
       A common misconception is that well-socialized children require the peer group association provided by conventional schools. Research studies prove this to be untrue. Constant exposure to large numbers of other children is not needed for proper socialization, & in fact, may even be counter-productive. At Cornell University, Urie Bronfenbrenner, after studying a group of 766 sixth graders who spent more of their elective time with their agemates than with their parents or other family adults, reported that they have distorted views of parents, peers & themselves. When compared with youngsters who spent most of their early years with adults, the experimental students were more likely to get in trouble, to rate themselves lower, to have negative views of their peers & parents, & to be pessimistic about the future. It is now well-established that by nature most children are not carriers of sound social values. Peer dependency is the social cancer of our times, says Dr. Bronfenbrenner.
       According to Martin Engel, who headed the National Day Care Demonstration Center (HEW), there is even more involved when parents elect to send their children to public schools or day care centers for the "social advantages". He says: "The motive to rid ourselves of our children, even if it is partial, is transmitted more vividly to the child than all of our rationalizations about how good it is for that child to have good interpersonal peer group activities, a good learning experience, a good foundation for school, life etc., etc. And even the best, most humane & personalized day care environment cannot compensate for the feeling of rejection which the children unconsciously sense."

       QUESTION: Since education is linked with democracy & citizenship, don't you believe that your children need to learn in the company of others in public schools?
       ANSWER: Public school systems encourage conformity rather than speaking out, seeking improvement & change. Unthinking conformity is not democracy, & a citizen who is afraid to speak out against injustice contributes little of real value to his society. They are even discovering that university level students on a nationwide basis lack initiative, creativity & a venturesome spirit, & rather prefer to play it safe, say what the professor wants to hear, get their degree & get out. How does that lack of any personal belief or expression serve to further democracy & intelligent citizenship? It doesn't! "Democracy & citizenship" are one thing--but what actually happens in public schools is quite another matter.

       QUESTION: How are we going to prevent children from being taught by "unqualified" teachers? Parents are not qualified to be teachers.
       ANSWER:Dr. Raymond Moore, in Home Grown Kids, says: "Certainly there are parents who are not qualified to educate their own children. But we are not speaking of those qualifications that the state often perceives, such as a teaching certificate or a college education. Rather, the unqualified parent or teacher is one whose attitude is indifferent to a youngster's real needs, or whose motives place his or her own personal freedom above those of the child. We firmly believe that the greatest teaching talent in the World lies in the warm, responsive & consistent parent whose love makes the needs of his children his highest concern. Parents' daily one-to-one example amounts to master teaching at the highest level...There are no programs that can match education by loving parents of even modest ability, working with their own children in the simplest of homes." --Raymond Moore
       In practice, educators who worry about "unqualified" parents who are teaching their own children almost always define "qualified" to mean teachers trained in schools of education & holding teaching certificates. They assume & like to perpetuate the myth that teaching children involves a host of mysterious skills that can be learned only in schools of education & that only people who have this "training" can teach. But as almost any teacher will tell you, if he or she cares to be honest, they did not learn how to teach at university. They started to learn that after they started working with children--not before.
       Modern educators have no monopoly on the art of teaching, & in too many cases they have lost it or never had it. Diplomas don't make teachers. If you closely examine what makes a good teacher you will find that it is more a character trait, a love for children, a unique mind, enthusiasm.
       Until very recently there were no people at all who were trained in teaching, as such. Only very recently did human beings get the extraordinary notion that in order to be able to teach what you knew, or even help someone learn something you didn't know either, you had to spend years being taught how to teach.
       Teaching skills are no mystery. They are among the many common sense things about dealing with other people that, unless we're mistaught, we learn just by living. Colleges give very little thought to the act of teaching itself. What they spend most of their time doing is preparing their students to work in the strange world of schools. Education students are taught to think that what they know is extremely important & that they are the only ones who know it.
       As for the idea that certified teachers teach better than uncertified, or that uncertified teachers cannot teach at all, there is not a shred of evidence to support it, & a great deal of evidence against it. Many highly successful correspondence schools, home study programs & even the most selective, demanding, & successful private schools have among their teachers hardly any, if indeed any at all, who went to teacher training schools & got their degrees in education.--JH

       QUESTION: But what about illiterate parents, can they really be expected to teach their children?
       ANSWER: Well, we are certainly not illiterate & actually not many illiterate parents do decide to take their children out of school & teach them at home. But even if any did, I'd still say, "I don't think that just because you have not yet learned to read & write means that you can't do a better job of helping your children learn about the World than the schools." People do not need a Ph.D. or some kind of certificate to help their children find their way into the World.

       QUESTION: How are you going to find time to teach your child six hours a day?
       ANSWER: Who's teaching him six hours a day right now? It was a rare day indeed in my public schooling when I got fifteen minutes of teaching, that is, of concerned & thoughtful adult talk about something that I found interesting, puzzling, or important. Over the whole of my schooling, the average was probably closer to fifteen minutes a week. For most children in most schools, it is much less than that. When teachers speak to them, it is only to command, correct, warn, threaten, or blame.
       Anyway, children don't need, don't want, & couldn't stand six hours of teaching a day. They need talk, tenderness, sympathy & comfort. They need to have their questions answered, or at least heard. They need some friends their own age, but not dozens of them; two or three, at most half a dozen, is as many real friends as any child can have at one time. Schools rarely provide any of these. --JH

       QUESTION: How are you going to possibly teach your children all they need to know?
       ANSWER: I hope you will not doubt your competence to help your children learn anything they want to learn, or indeed their competence to learn many things without your help.
       Schools like to say they create & spread knowledge. It would be closer to the truth to say that they collect & hoard knowledge, & try to corner the market on it if they can, so that they can sell it at the highest possible price. That's why they want everyone to believe that only what is learned in school is worth anything. That's not true! Most of what we learn of value to us, we learn outside of school.
       It is a kind of Catch-22 situation to say, first, that all children have to spend all that time in schools, & then to say that all kinds of things can only be learned in schools. How do we know how much more children could have done & learned if they hadn't gone to school? Where have we given people a chance to learn anywhere else besides school? Fortunately, a few brave souls have escaped & research shows that they almost always are ahead of kids in school.
       A very important function of institutions of so-called higher learning is not so much to teach people things, but rather to limit access to certain kinds of learning & work. The function of law schools is much less to train lawyers than to keep down the supply of lawyers.
       Almost everything that people now can't do without a degree, often an advanced degree, was not so long ago done by people without such degrees. How & where did they learn what they knew? They learned by reading books, by using their eyes & ears, by asking questions, by working with or for people who knew more, & by doing it.
       You probably remember that your high school had a very extensive chemistry lab. You can probably easily count the number of hours that all but a very few of the students ever got to use it or even a small part of the materials in the lab. I see no real need for "institutional" education at any age. --JH

       QUESTION: But aren't you sheltering your children too much, & running away from adversity?
       ANSWER: Why not? It is your right, & your proper business, as parents, to shelter your children & protect them from adversity, at least as much as you can. Many of the World's children are starved or malnourished, but you would not starve your children so that they would know what this was like. You would not let your children play in the middle of a street full of high-speed traffic. Your business is, as far as you can, to help them realize their human potential, & to that end you put as much as you can that is good into their lives, & keep out as much as you can of the bad. If you think--as you do--that school is bad, then it is clear what you should do. --JH

       QUESTION: Aren't you spoiling your child's chances of going to university or learning a trade?
       ANSWER: Absolutely not! People can get high school diplomas without actually being in a high school, by taking high school correspondence courses, or by passing an equivalency exam. --JH
       Public school education is not a requirement for entering college. Almost all colleges have college entrance examinations that students can take & qualify for entrance. Home-schooled high school children can quite easily obtain a high school diploma by simply taking the HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY EXAMINATION (GED) made available by the American Council of Education. These examinations are especially made & prepared for students & adults who, for various reasons such as travel or Home Education, were not able to get their high school diplomas in the traditional way. With a GED high school diploma they can gain entrance to one of many colleges.
       As a result of the excellent academic performance of home-schoolers & their high standardized achievement test (SAT) scores, most home-schooled children have little difficulty being accepted in colleges & universities, including Harvard, Yale, Oxford & Princeton. (SATs are a uniform, universal exam given to American high school students to determine their college placement.)
       Linda Q. Jones from Idaho says: "Our oldest daughters are now in college. They had years of no formal schooling, years of being taught in small groups with other children, some correspondence work. When the principal of our local high school asked one of the girls why she thought they did so well on the National Merit Exam, her response was, `Probably because we haven't wasted so much time in school.'"
       Nancy Plent, well known in Home Schooling circles, wrote about a boy she had in her 4th grade class who wouldn't do busywork assignments, but rather kept submitting cartoons. He endured school until he was 16, then quit with his mother's blessing, & went on to become a very successful artist & recently drew the cover of TIME magazine. She adds, "His brother is in his second semester at S.F. State University. He never went to high school at all. He went to 1st grade, then two years at a school his mother started, then 6th grade, & that's it. He studied about six months for the equivalency test & got into college."

       QUESTION: Why do schools have compulsory attendance laws & why are they so concerned about enforcing them on home-schoolers?
       ANSWER: Schools receive money grants according to the number of students that attend the school. In addition to that, it's a challenge to their authority & an embarrassment to them that they aren't absolutely essential & absolutely in control of the market. But they really have nothing to fear from a drop in educational standards due to home schooling. They have pretty much run the nation into illiteracy on their own! Almost anything a home schooler could do would only be an improvement!
       As a matter of fact, though the schools may not like it, taxpayers should be happy for home schooling. In 1900 the average annual cost of educating one child in public school was $17.00. In 1975 it rose to $1,286.00. By 1985 it reached $3,429.00. Even after adjusting for inflation, the average cost per student increased 31% between 1975 & 1985. In 1982, John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends, estimated there to be as many as 1 million home-schooled students in the U.S. Based on this figure, home education saves the American taxpayer $3.4 billion annually!

       QUESTION: You seem to talk as though schools were picking on home schoolers. I think you're just letting your kids play hooky.
       ANSWER: In actual fact on a typical day, only 70% of public school students attend classes anyway. With that many students roaming the streets playing hooky, why should they be so upset & concerned about a few happy children at home studying. It sounds like a case of "It's the hit dog that howls". Home schoolers have touched a very sensitive nerve, & schools would rather put on the blinders to the crisis than humble themselves & look for some answers--like helping home schooling programs in the community, sharing tax money, & learning from this approach.
       Things are going seriously wrong in schools, & lots & lots of kids & teachers are getting hurt & discouraged. We're just doing what we believe is best for our kids & wish the schools showed the same concern for the children they already have to take care of. The teaching staff is already overloaded with kids. How can adding mine to the heap really help the situation?

       QUESTION: You seem to be against education!
       ANSWER: We're not against education--at least not our kind! Our entire job as parents is to see that our children are educated.--Educated in the knowledge of God & His Love, as told in the Bible! Home schooling lets us spend our full time in education, day & night--in educating ourselves & others, in the Lord! But secular, materialistic, deceitful, lying, anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Bible, anti-prayer public education that makes raging monsters of its children on drugs, we are against! That kind of education we do not need!


       History shows the sad decline of the American educational system:

       1620--Christian Education: Schools taught the Bible & colleges like Harvard, Princeton & Yale were founded to train young men to preach the Gospel.

       1837--Public education begins: The first public school was established. Horace Mann, a Unitarian worked for a state-controlled educational system. The Bible was still taught in public schools.

       1905--Progressive education: John Dewey, the father of progressive education, introduced socialistic, anti-Christian philosophy in the schools. The Bible was separated from academic studies.

       1933--Humanistic education: "The Humanist Manifesto"
written by John Dewey & 33 other signers enunciates the doctrines of secular humanism. God & the supernatural were rejected & replaced with Man's reason & science.

       1963--Anti-Christian education: Bible reading in public schools is declared unconstitutional. The curriculum is filled with teachings contrary to Scripture, such as evolution.

       1965--Christian Fundamental schools: Many Christian schools were founded to combat the destructive education of public schools.

       1980's--Rise of home education: All across America parents began reclaiming their right to educate their children--a direct consequence of the increase in de-Christianization of schools & textbooks, & the appalling & often dangerous educational environment.

       (From The How & Why of Home Schooling, Ray Ballmann)


       "My dearest, let me recommend to thy care the dear children abundantly beloved of me. For their learning be liberal, spare no cost. Rather keep an ingenuous* person in the house to teach them, than send them to schools, too many evil impressions being commonly received there." -- William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. Written to his wife as he left England for America, leaving his wife & children behind him. June, 1682. (*ingenuous: noble, honorable; showing innocent or childlike simplicity or candidness)

From John & Rose, Texas:
       We are writing in response to the recent request for testimonies of families whose children have attended public schools. Although ours were only in such a school for 3 months, this experience did affect them.
       A few years ago when we returned to the States from the field, we were burdened that especially our older children were really lacking in academics & felt we needed to put at least the older ones in a good Christian school. We spent some time checking the different schools in the area & by a miracle someone donated the tuition for our 2 older girls, then 9 & 10 years old, to attend a "highly accredited" small Christian school. We were all quite excited about this opportunity & so were not as prepared for what happened.
       First of all, the long school day with its early start followed by a very big homework load were a real change for everyone & soon began taking all of the girls' time which began crowding the Word out of their lives. Since we'd spent several years on the field, it was a real change for the girls' to be around other System children, especially as the other children were very much into different fads which our girls had never been exposed to. This caused them a lot of trouble as they were generally made fun of & teased quite a bit, especially at first. This was especially hard on our more sensitive 9-year-old who many times came home from school in tears. The older one, however, was more the glamor type & fit in more, which became evident in her attitude & really started showing especially in her condescending attitude towards her younger brothers & even her younger sister.
       At different times we tried talking to their teachers about some of the harsh treatment the girls were getting from some of the other students, but we found that generally the teachers backed the other children & it was a losing battle.
       Another thing was that as they began making friends, we wound up spending a lot of time going to birthday parties, etc., which put them under a constant influence of others, in & out of school. It became more difficult as the school, helping with homework & attending the different parties & outings, was taking all of our time. The other children also naturally felt left out as they weren't going to all these parties etc.
       As time went on these influences began to take their toll. After about 2 months we saw that we were slowly being drawn into spending a lot of our time around Systemites & began compromising a lot of our convictions & getting further away from the Lord & His Word & His Work. LHU! At about this time our 9-year-old began having trouble with her teacher who, as it turned out, was a real evolutionist & resented our daughter's attempts to stand up for her convictions. Then we learned that our 10-year-old had been offered cigarettes by some of her friends in the bathroom at school. When we realized more fully the extent of the damage that was being done, not just to the girls but our entire family, it became clear that any scholastic advantage gained by being in school was far outweighed by the very negative & damaging effect of being so closely involved with the System.
       One thing we wanted to stress is that this was a Christian school, in a small conservative border town. We can only imagine the much worse influence in the larger cities, or in public schools! We personally do not feel it was worth it at all to have our children in a System school, even a "highly accredited" Christian school as the one our girls attended. The amount of exposure to the System & System children was very damaging & far outweighs anything that they might have learned scholastically. We later realized that the main reason that the girls hadn't had the schooling they needed from us was our own fault & lack of setting priorities, LHU. We certainly learned the hard way & it took a long time to undo the bad influences & to help them gain back their hunger for the Word.

From Aaron Aaron, U.S.A.

       I have had experience teaching Family curriculum in Family Homes, government & Christian correspondence courses, & have also had children in city public schools, country public schools & Christian schools, so I thought I could write a little on the different experiences.
       Of course, the best of all was the Family curriculum. But that was on the field, & would in most cases not be a legal form of education in N.A. (Ed. note: That depends on where you are. Some States actually accept a very "free" curriculum.)
        The next best was a Christian Correspondence course, which we are now using. It is actually quite easy to do & easy to teach with a Christian flavor.
       The Government correspondence courses (Canadian) were much harder & of course were completely worldly. You had to carefully weed through them, but it still was immeasurably better than public schools.
       The Christian schools were for the most part a big disappointment. As expected, the curriculum was very good & basically non-denominational although fundamental. But the children were little different from the public schools & in some cases even worse! As Dad mentioned earlier, often the kids that are from rich families & that were expelled from public schools wind up in Christian schools. The first time our children were ever offered drugs was at a Christian school! Our experiences with these schools has not been good.
       The country public school was actually better than the Christian school. At the time we lived on an acreage in a real farm community, so virtually all of the children were from farms. The children were actually quite well-behaved & evolution was not on the curriculum. But, even though it was better than the Christian school overall, I wouldn't recommend it.
       As far as public schools are concerned, (in either U.S. or Canada) words fail to describe how evil & demonic & damaging they are! I tried to keep my kids from these schools, but whenever we didn't, the effects were immediate. The first thing that came in was a powerful worldly lusts. Even if you don't allow your children to fellowship with the System kids, you still find that they almost immediately start entering into another World. It was really obvious that Satan has some very powerful demons working in the System schools, & they are just devouring those kids! Although our kids have tons of Word, there is still a tremendous force out there demanding that they conform. I am convinced that it is too much to ask to throw our children to face one of Satan's strongest weapons all alone for 35-40 hours a week!

HAPPY HOME-SCHOOLERS!--By Jonathan & Mercy Fighter, U.S.A.

       At the first Family fellowship we attended, after returning to the States from the field, the Lord put the precious teens & OC's of the area & their needs in our hearts, as there was nothing organized for them in the way of a teen program, & they all seemed to need something to help inspire & motivate them. LFU, we didn't really take up the cross, & instead we decided to take off on the road & look for another place of service. Well the day we left, the Lord started spanking us & Mercy started miscarrying. Finally we got desperate & asked the Lord to show us His Will. He showed us the area & the brethren we had left behind in L.A. We asked His forgiveness & forsook all & returned & the Lord began to heal Mercy! TYJ!
       We took an apartment in the heart of Los Angeles, the one place we didn't want to be! Shortly thereafter we were elected as shepherds & we found a nice 2-story house for a co-op, only a mile from the apartments where many of the families were living. Then the Letters on Family Schools came out & the Lord showed us it was His Will to start a day school for all the children in the area.
       Within a week, the little day school was going! What a miracle! The Lord provided inspired teachers, & even those who haven't had much experience at teaching are becoming real anointed teachers, tuning into the children & feeding them much more than ever before! By a miracle the Lord is providing abundantly our every need as we are forsaking all, even much of our tapenessing & mail ministry time, to pour into our children. When it comes time to pay the rent, we just pray, & the Lord brings it in miraculously without having to "work it up in the flesh"! TYJ! The Lord supplied school desks & tables at a System school auction where we paid only about 65 cents per desk!
       The children are all blossoming! Our 4-year-old is reading very well now, after just 5 or 6 weeks of daily school. The mother of a 9-year-old, who is just joining the Family along with her daughter, is marvelling at the change in her daughter! She's so happy & inspired!
       We are using a Christian correspondence course which we have obtained through a private school. Only a couple of hours a day are needed for the children to progress at an acceptable pace, giving us a lot of time to teach the Word! The children are officially & legally registered as bonafide students of the private school, for a fee of $250 per student, although they never attend the school itself, doing all the workbooks at home & corresponding with the school through our P.O. box. We also do all the record-keeping ourselves, for which they gave us a $50 discount.
       We chose this method of enrolling in the private school although it would have been cheaper to become our own private school, because it avoided us registering & being subject to government investigations. (Ed. note: This Family school used an established System school as a way of legalising their home school. This was probably a wise solution in the Los Angeles district, however, you may find that in other areas this is not always necessary & many home schools operate successfully & legally with no connection to System schools or programs. It depends on the laws of your individual state or county & the cooperation of the local school boards.)

Copyright 1996 The Family