Reasons We Do Not Have for Homeschooling, and a Reason We Do
Here are several reasons we do not have for homeschooling:
• We are religious “nuts” who want to shield our children from the theory of evolution, etc.? Nope. I’m a nonbelieving rationalist.
• We are social climbers? Nope. I don’t especially care if my boys go to the best colleges. I am not preparing them for Harvard (or even Reed, where I went). I want them to succeed, of course, but by their own lights, not according to society’s common notions of success, or even mine.
• We are just generally competitive and want to be ahead of other kids? Nope. Already, there are plenty of kids who are ahead of H. But I’m not going to push him. He’ll find his level and I’m sure I’ll be proud of him regardless. I just want him to learn all he can, while still having a happy, reasonably relaxed childhood.
• We want to shelter our boys from the bad influences at public schools? Nope. H. actually attends “specials” twice a week (art, music, P.E., and computers).
• We can’t afford private school? Nope. We probably could, if we sacrificed. But no, there isn’t any private school in the area that would help our boys achieve the goals we have for them.
Here is the main reason, far and away the single most important reason, we do have for homeschooling:
• We want our children to get a solid liberal arts education, which means:
In literature, I want them to know, appreciate, and understand the classics, and to be morally improved for having wrestled with them. I want them to be able to write persuasively, creatively, and thoughtfully, with flawless grammar and spelling, so that they could enter any writing-oriented profession. They should also be able to speak well. In math, I want them not only to study math through calculus and statistics, but to understand it; they will also study logic and, probably, mathematical logic. I want them thoroughly familiar with history, both U.S. and the rest of the world; I want them to know about the world itself, so geography and foreign languages are a must; so in general, I want their understanding of human society to be filled with facts and nuance. I want them to be able not only to do scientific calculations with facility, but actually to understand scientific concepts—well enough to succeed as science majors, or at engineering, if they so desire. I want them to be able to become excellent scholars, and to be able to understand their own language and the roots and nature of western civilization, so we’ll probably study Latin and Greek for several years at least. They’ll learn philosophy with me, reading and digesting a half-dozen of the main classics, such as the Plato’s Republic, Descartes’ Meditations, Locke’s second treatise, and a few others. I want them familiar with music and other fine arts.
Of course, they’ll have plenty of opportunity to pursue interests of their own choosing. H. is really into programming and I’ll continue to support that.
Public schools can’t provide this sort of education, because:
I’ve looked for private and charter schools in the area that I thought might be able to support these goals; I couldn’t find any, except maybe St. Charles Prep for high school, and that’s Catholic…