|Summer 1991||REBOUND Volume 2|
Battle Tips For Homeschooling Parents
Homeschooling parents in this country are at war with the educational system whether they want to be or not. The reason for this war lies in the fact that homeschooling is such a superior form of education that its very existence is a threat to the inferior educational system now in place. The fact that the current educational system has failed and continues to fail to meet the needs of the children of this nation is becoming more apparent each year. As the failures of this system are exposed, politicians and educators continuously attempt to salvage this failing system by throwing more money at it. Politicians and educators think that they can save the educational system by doing more of all of the same things which have already destroyed generations of children, and which have caused this system to fail in the first place. These same educators and political leaders do not realize that the research evidence shows that each time the educational budgets have increased in a state, the rate of crime, poverty, suicide and other forms of mental illness, as well as illiteracy in some cases, has also increased. The cost of keeping this failed educational system in place has grown with each decade. Most taxpayers can no longer afford to bear this enormous financial burden.
While all of this is going on, homeschooling parents are doing a superior job of educating their children. Homeschooled children are often five to ten years ahead of their publicly-schooled peers. Homeschooling parents, regardless of their own levels of education, are able to accomplish these superior results in one-third to one-half the time spent by public school teachers. And best of all, homeschooling parents are able to accomplish all of this at little or no cost to the taxpayer. In short, homeschooling families, because they are doing such a superior job, are causing the existing educational system to look as destructive and aberrant as it actually is. When human beings are dedicated to any destructive system, whether it be the governments of men like Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega, or segregationist practices or an educational system such as the one now in place in this country, they tend (at least initially) to use their resources to defend that system when it is challenged. Human beings, when dedicated to something destructive, also tend to want to eliminate the challengers. This is exactly what the educators and administrators in this country want to do to homeschoolers, who are, by their very existence, challenging the current educational system. Thus, homeschooling families are at war with the educational system. Whether they want to be at war or not, whether they realize it or not, homeschooling families are fighting for their own survival.
Although we at the Gentle Wind School are not homeschooling parents (the children over whom we have control are all grown) and we are not directly involved in these battles, we have learned some things in the course of our research about the nature of the existing educational institution that might be helpful to homeschooling parents who now find themselves in the trenches. The fact that the homeschooling parents, who are willing to make enormous personal sacrifices in order to prevent their children from being harmed by educators in schools, must fight for the right to save their children is a good indicator of how far away from natural reality existing educational practices have taken our society.
Battle Tip Number One: Remember That Government Officials Are Hired Servants.
Educators and government officials have somehow concluded that homeschooling families need to be policed and regulated. The real issue is not how to police homeschooling families, or what regulations to pass or not pass. The real issue is why the Department of Education in any state is trying to police or regulate the activities of homeschooling families at all.
Public officials, including your state Commissioner of Education, are public servants. Public officials are employees of the taxpayers of each state. You the citizens and taxpayers of the state are paying their salaries. Most public officials have lost sight of the fact that they are only hired servants. Public officials, including the Commissioner of Education, are working for you, the taxpaying citizens. This means that you the taxpaying citizens and employers are responsible for making sure that your public servants are doing the jobs which you hired them to do.
The Commissioner of Education is hired by you, the citizens of each state, to make sure that the children of the state receive the best possible education that you, the taxpayers of the state, can afford. You, the citizens of each state, have the right and the responsibility to make sure that the Commissioner of Education, a civil servant, is doing his or her job and that the Commissioner is, in fact, providing each child in the state with the best possible education.
Now, it is apparent from the policing and bullying of homeschooling parents throughout this nation that public officials have various plans for you as homeschooling families. As citizens and taxpayers, you have the right to know exactly what the State has in mind for you. You have the right to know the State's Plan for you as homeschoolers, including the theoretical and philosophical bases of that Plan. You have the right to know how the State's Plan for you will improve the quality of homeschooling in your state. You need to know what paradigm public officials are using to determine a proper set of standards and practices for you as homeschoolers. Where is the research evidence that shows that existing regulations will improve the quality of homeschooling and where is the research evidence that led public officials to the conclusion that you, as a homeschooling family, needed to be regulated in the first place? As the employer of your state's public officials, you have the right to know these things because you must hold all of your employees accountable for their activities regarding the education of the children of your state.
Battle Tip Number Two: Remember That Homeschooling Has Already Proven Itself To Be The Superior Form Of Education When Compared To The Education Offered In Government-Run Schools.
The research evidence that has been collected over the last 200 years in this country indicates beyond any doubt that homeschooling is a far superior form of education when compared to the education provided to children in state-run public schools. It is a well-documented fact that for centuries people have always done better in tutorial situations with someone, such as a parent, who is intensely interested in his or her students. It is a well-documented fact that human beings always learn more in situations in which they are able to learn through direct, practical experiences (which is the way that the majority of homeschoolers are taught.) It is also a well-documented fact that rote memorization is one of the least effective ways for human beings to learn, yet it is the primary method of learning offered to children in each state's public schools.
Recent studies confirm that homeschooled children do better academically and generally score higher on achievement tests than publicly schooled children. This body of research reflects the test scores of thousands of homeschoolers in various states from a wide variety of social, economic and cultural backgrounds. It is also suspected that public school children have the greater advantage when taking these tests since public school teachers tend to gear their curriculum and teaching efforts around the materials contained on the standardized achievement exams. Homeschooling parents, on the other hand, tend not to do this and tend rather to gear their children's learning around the needs of the individual child and the uses of learned information in practical everyday reality. It is very possible that the margin of academic superiority that now exists between homeschooled children and their public school counterparts would widen significantly if homeschooling parents directed their efforts at covering the materials found on the standardized exams. Perhaps this is what public officials who want to police homeschoolers are trying to accomplish.
The research also shows that homeschooled children are better adjusted both socially and psychologically. It is a well-documented fact that children always do better when they are able to remain with their parents, at least until they are approximately nine to ten years of age. Research indicates that children who grow up in the presence of an adult who is intensely interested in them tend to become better adjusted adults. According to a study invoking over 1,000 classroom teachers, the average elementary school child receives anywhere from zero to four or five personal responses from a teacher per day, depending on how aggressive the child is able to be. We can probably assume from this that the more apparently passive children, often found at the bottom of the academic ladder, are the ones who receive no personal responses at all, and that the children to whom the teachers do respond are the ambitious ones with the good memories who are able to be successful in the classroom.
Homeschooled children, on the other hand, are likely to receive anywhere from 200 to 400 personal responses every day from their parents. Furthermore, homeschooling parents do not discriminate among their children in the way that educators do. Homeschooling parents respond to their children whether or not their children have good short-term memories and can do well in school subjects.
It is always ironic to hear educators' claims that homeschooled children are socially isolated. The research shows that this is not true at all. Educators do not realize that homeschooled children are socializing in a natural, healthy way with their parents, siblings, neighbors and members of the community all day long. Studies now show that homeschooled children are much better adjusted socially than their public school counterparts. This is not surprising when you consider the fact that the public school children are forced to sit quietly and passively all day long in hard wooden chairs. Public school children are not allowed to laugh, cry, talk or relate in any normal, healthy human way. They are threatened and publicly humiliated when they cannot or will not memorize isolated data bits, and they are often punished in class for exhibiting healthy human behaviors such as talking or laughing.
Politicians and educators think that they can save the educational system by doing more of all the same things which have already destroyed generations of children, and which have caused this system to fail in the first place.
The only socialization available to public school children is found out in the school-yard. By the time most children reach the school-yard after being confined in an unnatural hostile setting for several hours, they tend to exhibit aberrant, anti-social behaviors that hardly constitute the types of socializing behaviors that parents would want to develop in their children. Furthermore, public school children are forced to compete mentally with each other for grades. Public school children are taught not to share what they know with their fellow classmates, but to use information only for the purpose of promoting oneself. The extreme forms of mental competition found in the public school classrooms tend to bring out the worst in children, not the best. The highly competitive classroom environment breeds the kind of "socializing" that you find among cut-throat corporate executives and hostile takeover artists.
Homeschooling, on the other hand, by its nature, cannot produce the extreme competitive, often mentally violent, atmosphere found in public schools. It is not that some homeschooling parents do not compete with their children, because some do. It is just that even the most ambitious, competitive homeschooling parent cannot duplicate the competition found in the classroom. The home environment, by its nature, is just too natural and reality-oriented to allow for the bizarre competitive behaviors found in all public school classrooms.
Studies show that homeschooled children consistently demonstrate a higher self-concept than their publicly schooled counterparts. It is a well documented fact that having a positive self-concept is directly related to personal self-confidence and a high degree of mental health in adult life. Studies show that publicly schooled children tend to see themselves in a negative light. One study indicated that most children in the sample group (85 percent) began school feeling good about themselves. However, only about 15 percent of this group graduated from high school with the same positive self-image.
The research shows that homeschooled children tend to be more independent in their thinking and less dependent on others, particularly their peers, for approval and recognition. This is true for all children from any society who are able to grow up naturally with their parents. When homeschooled children become teenagers, they more often perceive their parents as friends because they and their parents have had the time they needed to become real friends. When public school children become teenagers, they tend to perceive their parents as enemies. Given the fact that homeschooled children are far less dependent on their peers for approval than are publicly schooled children, it is not surprising that the preliminary evidence indicates that homeschooled children and teenagers are far less prone to alcohol and drug abuse than their public school counterparts.
There is no evidence anywhere to suggest that homeschooling in general is harmful to children. There is no evidence anywhere to suggest that state-run public schools can do as well as homeschooling parents. On the contrary, all of the existing research, including research which the educational system has done on itself, indicates that state-run public schools have failed to meet their own goals and objectives from the outset. Research shows that each time compulsory education was introduced into a state in this country, the rate of crime, poverty, suicide and other forms of mental illness increased. Current educational practices have not created a more moral human being nor have they improved this society, in spite of the false claims made by educators. Furthermore, there is some evidence to show that the rate of illiteracy in this country has increased rather than decreased with the introduction of compulsory education. Research indicates that before the introduction of compulsory education, the literacy rate stood at 98 percent. After the introduction of compulsory education, the literacy rate dropped to 91 percent and has never risen any higher, with the illiteracy rate in some inner cities being as high as 40 percent.
The fact that crime, poverty, suicide and mental illness increased in each state with the introduction of compulsory education may well be caused by current educational practices which break down the family unit by forcing children to leave their parents before they are ready. In spite of this fact, in recent decades, educators have concluded that separating children from their parents and starting them in school at the earliest possible age is the best way to educate a child. (How educators arrived at this conclusion is in and of itself a question that should be asked of the Commissioner of Education by every parent in every state.) Statistics now show that when the first generations of the "early education" craze reached high school, juvenile delinquency jumped over 160 percent. When these generations of orphaned children became adolescents, the rate of alcohol and drug abuse among America's youth skyrocketed. The United States now has the highest rate of illegal drug usage of any industrialized nation in the world. It should also be noted that the teenage gangs that now terrorize this nation's city streets were also victims of the "early education" craze.
Similarly, as children were forced to leave their parents at earlier ages in order to go to school, the rate of teenage suicide and other forms of mental illness also rose. The United States now has the highest teenage suicide rate in the world, making teenage suicide the third leading cause of death among young adults in this nation.
None of this was true before the introduction of compulsory education. As citizens and homeschooling parents, you have the right to challenge the Commissioner of Education in your state to study the results of homeschooling for himself or herself. Invite your Commissioner of Education to do some statistical comparisons. What percentage of publicly schooled children in your state become criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill adults or victims of teenage suicide? What percentage of homeschooled children become criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill adults or victims of teenage suicide? Perhaps we should also extend this study to compare the literacy rates among publicly schooled adults and previously homeschooled adults. National statistics show that the United States ranks at the bottom of 19 industrialized nations in reading, writing and mathematics and this country ranks 49th in literacy among 108 U.N. member nations. Some 13 percent of all 17-year-olds are functionally illiterate. Before the introduction of compulsory education, this was not the case. Today, one out of five people cannot read the directions on a medicine bottle; cannot determine if their paycheck is correct; cannot write a check that will be processed by a bank; cannot address a letter correctly. A staggering 40 percent of Americans cannot match their qualifications to a list of jobs in the help wanted ads nor can they determine whether or not they have received the correct change when they make a purchase.
Most high school graduates can recall less than 5 percent of what they learned in school. A vast majority of these graduates have no skills with which to enter the marketplace. After 12,000 hours of state-run education, most high school graduates cannot change a tire, repair a leaky faucet, fix a broken toaster, or follow the directions for the proper use of a vacuum cleaner. The more academically successful graduates have the least ability to do any of these things.
Now, are 13 percent of all 17-year-old homeschoolers functionally illiterate? Even if they were, this would mean that homeschooling parents (who have so often been accused of not being qualified teachers) would still be doing as well as classroom teachers. Furthermore, they would be doing it in one-half to one-third of the time, and at little or no cost to the taxpayers. Research shows that the vast majority of homeschooling parents have taught their children to read and write. Do public officials believe that one-fifth of all homeschooled adults are unable to read the directions on a bottle of medicine? Do public officials believe that 40 percent of all previously homeschooled adults will be unable to determine whether or not they have received the correct change when they make a purchase? The research shows that, unlike the educators of this country, the majority of homeschooling parents have taken the time to teach their children these skills and many more.
It must be noted here that the falling literacy rates and low achievement test scores found among publicly schooled children in this country may also be traced to the "early education" craze. Studies now indicate that introducing certain kinds of cognitive mental activity at too early an age can cause permanent harm to children. Brain wave studies indicate that the brain cells required to do the types of cognitive mental activities required of children in schools do not develop until children are at least eight to ten years of age. Studies show that, although children who start school early may appear to be achieving at a faster rate than children who start school later, by the time children from either group are eleven or twelve years of age, there are no significant differences between the two groups. And, the children who start school earlier tend to have more negative feelings about school, and about learning in general, as they go on in years. There is also some evidence to suggest that "early starters" suffer some permanent mental damage. Furthermore, children who are held back and not allowed to begin school until they are approximately nine years of age often catch up with their peers in a matter of months. They can usually accomplish in less than one year what "early" starters accomplish in five or six years.
Similarly, research now indicates that the auditory and visual systems necessary for the cognitive activity found in the classroom do not develop until a child is nine or ten. These studies indicate that forcing children to do mental activities prematurely has caused permanent eye damage in some children. These studies also help to explain why so many so-called "learning problems" found in children under nine or ten years of age seem to miraculously disappear as the child matures and develops the physical apparatus required to do cognitive tasks.
There are those who would argue that we now live in a more stressful high-tech society than we did 200 years ago. But people then lived under enormous duress. Children died from now curable diseases and infections. People had no modern conveniences. It took weeks to travel distances we can now travel in a day. Surviving a winter was an enormous physical challenge. Yet none of these stresses drove large numbers of young adults to drink, use drugs, commit crimes or go mad. The Civil War brought enormous physical destruction and loss of life to southern families. And again, there were no significant increases in crime, poverty, suicide or mental illness following the war. These increases did not show up until these states introduced compulsory education which took children from their parents prematurely and destroyed southern families in a way that even the Civil War could not do.
Battle Tip Number Three: Remember That Educators And Public Officials Believe That Malefic Effects Are Occurring In Homeschooled Children And That There Are No Ill Effects From Public Schooling.
Educators have a very low opinion of parents, which they generally try to keep hidden. Educators believe that all parents are low-life slobs who cannot control their hormones, and that they, the educators, the celebrants of knowledge, are required to lift the parents' degenerate offspring, out of the goodness of their hearts, to a world of luminance--something that could never be achieved by the low-life parents who fostered these urchins. This has always been the attitude of educators toward parents, and this attitude is inherent in all the existing educational practices.
This attitude of educators toward parents becomes more evident when you see how educators respond to homeschooling parents, who are doing a much better job than educators. If educators did not have this attitude toward parents, they would treat homeschooling parents very differently. In fact, educators would be happy to have homeschooling parents take the little toads off their hands.
To an educator, homeschooling means to slip back into the saddest epic of the Dark Ages; to lapse into the depths of social, emotional and cultural deprivation, never to emerge; to go backward into the perils of intellectual darkness and degradation. This is the way that most educated people perceive homeschooling, but it is particularly true for educators because they have such low opinions of homeschooling parents. What educators do not see is that their rejection of home schooling parents is an indictment of the educational system and a symptom of its complete failure. What educators are saying when they reject homeschooling parents, most of whom are products of the educational system, is that the educational system itself is such a failure that the graduates of this system are incapable of imparting the knowledge which the system has supposedly imparted to them. Educators think that homeschooling parents are so incapable of teaching their children (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary) that homeschooling parents need to be policed, supervised and watched over at every turn. Educators think this way, in part, because they themselves are so stupid and so incompetent that they have to be policed and supervised all the time. Educators do not know what or when to teach children, or how to teach them a subject. Educators are too unskilled and incompetent to be left to their own devices. They require a prepackaged curriculum and detailed lesson plans which they mechanically adhere to, and from which they never deviate. Even under these conditions, educators require constant supervision and scrutiny. Just consider how wholly inferior the process of education actually is, in this system, grown men and women who call themselves professional educators, many of whom hold masters' degrees, have to be given prepackaged materials to teach and they have to be supervised and watched all the time.
Public officials and educators have concluded that malefic effects are occurring in homeschooled children and that homeschooling parents are negligent. Yet, so far, there is no evidence to show that this is true. While there may be isolated incidents in this country where something malefic occurred in a homeschooling situation, these incidents so far have proven to be rare events which have nothing to do with the general quality of home education.
Now, it must be said here that it has been very difficult for homeschoolers in this nation to move themselves out of a defensive position in reference to the state Departments of Education. It has been very difficult for homeschooling parents to get underneath the apparent intentions of the Departments of Education regarding homeschooling and to find out exactly what these public officials are trying to do. This is due, in part, to the fact that the more outrageous, unnatural and corrupt a system is, the more difficult it is for people to get to the bottom of it. Homeschooling parents generally do not have to deal with anything as outrageous, unnatural and corrupt as the public education system in their everyday lives. Most of the people in this country, including homeschooling parents, are not able to see just how self-serving this educational system actually is, and how this system has never at any time been concerned with the well-being of children.
Homeschooling parents in this country are at war with the educational system whether they want to be or not. The reason for this war lies in the fact that homeschooling is such a superior form of education that its very existence is a threat to the inferior educational system now in place.
All of the research indicates that homeschooling is a superior form of education when compared to the education being offered in state-run schools. All of the research indicates that homeschooling parents are, in general good parents who have chosen to teach their children at home because they believe that homeschooling will benefit their children and prevent their children from being harmed. Now, since all of this is true, homeschooling parents and other concerned citizens are left to wonder why public officials want to police homeschooling families. We all want to believe that public officials are people of good will, in spite of the fact that they tend to think that homeschooling parents are negligent. We all want to believe that public officials, who are paid by us, want to provide all the children in each state with the best available education. But, frankly, things are looking very bad for these public officials right now.
It looks as if some public officials who say they are concerned with the education of our youth want to destroy homeschooling and punish homeschooling families in the process. Think of it this way. Let's say that the Sisters of Christian Mercy, who are crack physicians and surgeons with the lowest mortality rate in the country, decide to come to your state. Their record shows that as physicians they greatly out-perform the existing medical community in your state by every available standard, and the Sisters of Christian Mercy are willing to offer their services for free.
Suddenly, the medical community of your state, which is already in a powerful position, decides to police the practices of the Sisters of Christian Mercy. Now, why do you think the established medical community would want to do this? Do you think that they want to police the Sisters of Christian Mercy because they want to learn from the Sisters, so that they can in turn improve themselves? Or do you think that the existing medical community is trying to destroy the work of the Sisters of Christian Mercy. And, if the existing medical establishment is trying to destroy the superior work of the Sisters of Christian Mercy, why do they want to destroy it? Do they have the right to destroy it? And, most important of all, should we sit back and let them do it? Should we let the inferior medical establishment inflict so many regulations on the Sisters of Mercy that their time is consumed following the regulations and they are no longer able to carry on their superior work? Similarly, does the Department of Education have the right to destroy homeschooling in your state, and should we, the people of the state, sit back and let this happen? The mere fact that so many homeschooling parents are forced to leave their children to defend their superior work at legislative and administrative meetings is a sign that the Department of Education has already begun to succeed at destroying homeschooling throughout this country.
Our state, Maine, has traditionally been a poor state. There is an old axiom in this state that says, "If it isn't broken, then don't fix it." We do not have the financial luxury of going around fixing things that are not broken. Homeschooling is a proven success. It is not broken. However, it is a well established fact that the current educational system in this state is broken and has been broken for many years. Now, why would we want to have a system that is broken and does not work police a system that is not broken and works very well?
It appears that most public officials, particularly those found in each State Department of Education, have run amuck, and that they are going to need a lot of help getting back on track. The current educational system is a very ineffective educational system. The average child spends 60 percent of his or her life during the school year either involved in school activities or sleeping. This does not count the time spent on homework. The average child spends between seven and nine hours or more getting ready for school, traveling to and from school and attending class. For all these hours spent, studies show the average child receives 90 minutes of actual instruction each day. This, by the way, is group instruction--not individual instruction. Research shows that the average schoolchild receives about six minutes of personal, individual instruction per school year. All of this is done at a cost to the taxpayer of $3,000 to $5,000 per child per year.
Homeschooling parents are able to spend two hours a day or less teaching their children the same information in a tutorial setting with nothing but personal, individualized attention. Homeschooling parents are able to do all this for free and they get superior results. Now, why is the Department of Education not spending its resources trying to find out more about what these homeschooling parents are doing? Why is the Department of Education not trying to take what homeschoolers know and apply this knowledge to the existing system in order to relieve the enormous, undue burden that educating the children of this country has placed upon each of us taxpayers?
Public officials are trying to police the wrong people. The malefic effects which they are looking for in homeschooled children do not exist. However, malefic effects are occurring among publicly-schooled children and they are occurring in very high numbers. Public officials should be questioning the psychological fitness of public school teachers, not homeschooling parents. Teachers should be given tests such as the MMPI and the Rorshach in order to determine whether or not they are psychologically fit for the classroom. After all, public schoolteachers and administrators are the ones who spend their days forcing young children to sit quietly in hard wooden chairs. They are the ones forcing children to memorize fragmented data bits which they cannot use in their lives. The teachers and school administrators are the ones who are threatening, punishing and publicly humiliating the children every day. They are the ones wasting our tax dollars doing an ineffective job. Why are we not policing them? Public officials should stop trying to police homeschooling parents who are doing a superior job of educating their children and start policing the people who are doing malefic things and getting inferior results.
Not only should we demand that educators demonstrate that they are psychologically fit to be with children, but we should also come up with a test that will determine whether or not an educator is capable of working with children for long periods of time under conditions of impossible adult-to-child ratios. We should find ways to determine whether or not a teacher has constant warm and supportive responses to children under these conditions. After all, a person could test out within the normal range of an MMPI and Rorschach and still have very negative responses to children when placed under the kinds of conditions found in classrooms.
At the time this newsletter was being written, a legislator in New Jersey had submitted a bill to the New Jersey Assembly requiring that homeschooled children be tested. The bill was apparently introduced after someone reported finding a 13-year-old homeschooler who had difficulty reading an unnamed script under circumstances which were not described. Since educators and politicians are almost always gunning for homeschooling families, it is not known if this story is true or if the assessment of the family involved is accurate. But, assuming that the story is true, then should we not look at the research before passing a law requiring that homeschoolers be tested? We already know that homeschoolers generally outperform their public school counterparts on all the standard achievement tests. Statistics show that there are more illiterate 13-year-olds in the New Jersey public schools than there are among the New Jersey homeschooling families. So, why is that New Jersey legislator not doing something about all those illiterate 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19-year-olds in New Jersey who are products of the New Jersey public school system?
In any population, there will always be people at the bottom of any scale, people at the top, and people in the middle. That is the way life is. An illiterate 13-year-old homeschooler (assuming that this story is true, which is a very big assumption when you consider how hostile educators, social service workers and politicians are toward homeschoolers) is a rare find. It is not the norm. Finding an illiterate 13-year-old public school student is not rare. So should the New Jersey legislators not be concentrating on the group of children who suffer from the most illiteracy and the greatest failures--those in the public schools? Trying to police homeschoolers who are in general doing a superior job is an enormous waste of taxpayers' money when you consider the inferior job that is being done in the New Jersey public schools. It is the New Jersey public schools which desperately need legislators' attention.
Furthermore, there was apparently some concern about the mental and emotional stability of the New Jersey family in question. Now, again, should we not look at the mental and emotional stability of the children found in New Jersey public schools? Let us find out how many 13-year-old public school students use drugs, commit crimes, or suffer from mental and emotional problems. Then, let us compare these results to the 13-year-old homeschoolers in New Jersey. Which group do you think suffers from the most mental and emotional instability, the homeschoolers or their public school counterparts? And, while we are at it, let us give all the homeschooling parents in New Jersey an MMPI and a Rorschach. Then, let us do the same thing with all the New Jersey teachers. Then, let us compare the two groups for psychological fitness and concentrate the efforts of legislators on working with the group that demonstrates the more serious psychological problems. Now, which group do you think has the most serious psychological problems--the homeschooling parents who spend their days helping their children learn under ideal learning conditions, or the teachers who spend their days policing, threatening, grading, punishing and humiliating small children? Now, come on New Jersey legislators, let us get cracking on this one. In fact, should we not test the psychological fitness of the New Jersey legislator who submitted this bill? This bill is going to affect an awful lot of lives. And, should we not also test the person who reported this family in the first place? After all, maybe these are the people who are mentally and emotionally unstable.
What we are saying is that the homeschoolers in New Jersey, or any state for that matter, are not the problem. The problems can be found among the children and young adults in each state who have been exposed to current educational practices. If you have a hole in your tire, you must put the patch on the hole if you want to repair the tire. The New Jersey Assemblywoman who introduced this bill in question is the kind of person who tries to fur her fiat tire by placing the patch two inches away from the hole. After she goes to all the trouble of patching the hole and putting the tire back on the car, she is still going to have a flat tire because she put the patch in the wrong place. If the New Jersey legislators succeed in passing legislation requiring that homeschooling families be tested, they are still going to have a flat tire when they are done. They are still going to have millions of children who have been permanently mentally and emotionally destroyed in the New Jersey public schools. They will have children who have no skills, and who cannot function properly in the adult world.
Battle Tip Number Four: Remember That The Educational System In This Country functions As A Separate, Secret Society With Its Own Police.
Most people assume that, because we in America live in a capitalistic, free, democratic society, the educational system in this country reflects this fact. It has been difficult for homeschooling parents to see what educators and public officials are up to because they, too, have made this assumption. But, in reality, schools in this country are run like a society within a society. The Departments of Education, backed by some members of the legislature, act like Central Planning Committees for a government controlled communist society. The Department of Education makes sure that children are forced to enter an educational system in which they are completely controlled by the government-assigned teachers. Children are told what to talk about, when to talk and when not to talk, when to laugh, when not to laugh, when to play, stand and sit. Children are told when to go to the bathroom, when to eat lunch, when to study and how long to study. They are told what to write and when to write it, what to sing and when to sing it. Public school children in this country are not allowed to express freely any of their own natural thoughts, feelings, hopes or dreams. They are not allowed to build anything or create anything unless, of course, they are ordered to do so. They are not allowed to pursue any of their own personal interests or to develop any of their unique individual skills. Students are not allowed to challenge their state-appointed teachers or to challenge any of the regulations set forth by the Central Planning Committee, called the Department of Education.
When young adults in this country graduate from high school, they have no marketable skills. They do not know who they are, what they are, what they are interested in doing or what makes them happy. After 13 or more years in a system that has never allowed them to think or feel or choose for themselves, they are in no way prepared for adult life in a democratic, free society. They are, in fact, much better prepared for life in the Soviet Union, where they would, upon graduation, be given a state-appointed job for a state-controlled wage. They would have a state-owned apartment to go home to at night, where they could watch state-run television, assuming they were fortunate enough to be able to acquire a TV.
Homeschooling parents are often frightened by the state Department of Education, including their local police KGB units called the district school boards. The Departments of Education, like the Central Planning Committee, have assumed that they have the right to issue mindless mandates and regulations for homeschooling parents, regardless of whether or not those mandates and regulations will improve or destroy the quality of home education in this country. One recently proposed legislation in Maine recommended that the Department of Education send out a representative to the home of each homeschooling family to check up on each of these families on a monthly basis. This is exactly what you would expect to find in any government-controlled police state, isn't it?
It appears that public officials who are responsible for the education of the children of each state have lost sight of the fact that this is a democratic, free society. The United States of America is not a dictatorial police state, in spite of what educators and public officials have been able to get away with. The public officials in charge of this nation's educational system are not members of the Central Planning Committee, in spite of what they have been able to get away with. These public officials are hired civil servants. It is up to homeschooling parents and all concerned citizens to police our public officials and to prevent them from introducing any regulation that is not founded on a sound theoretical and philosophical base, and that does not yield a verifiable, positive result.
Battle Tip Number Five: Remember That Public Officials Such As Members Of The State Department Of Education Are Responsible For Finding Out About The Existing Negative Research On The Subject Of Education.
The policies set by the Departments of Education should be based on the information contained in existing research data. Judging from the regulations that have been inflicted on homeschooling families in this country, very few public officials have done their homework. The research shows beyond any doubt that the existing educational system is a complete failure. The research shows beyond any doubt that homeschooling is a proven success. So why are public officials not closing down the public schools and using tax dollars to implement homeschooling projects throughout the country?
If the public officials in this country have read all the research that has been done on the subject of education and have decided to continue the current system anyway, maybe the citizens of each state have a good case of willful neglect on their hands. Most state laws guarantee the citizens of each state the right to a good education. Maybe the people of each state who feel that the state-run public schools have failed to meet this legal mandate should come forth and seek compensation from their state governments. Perhaps all the people in each state who believe that they were physically or psychologically abused in the course of their education by a teacher or school administrator should band together and bring a law suit seeking damages against the Department of Education.
Educators and school officials want to require homeschooling parents to do the same destructive things to their children at home (testing, grading, teaching subjects out of context, teaching cognitive mental tasks prematurely) that educators do to children all day long in schools.
It is possible that public officials have just not taken the time to read the existing research. If this is true, then the citizens of each state may have a problem only with incompetent leadership. If this is the case, then the existing leadership may be able to police itself or may need to be replaced. The concerned citizens of each state, including homeschooling parents, must now make their judgments.
To give everyone involved in the matter of trying to regulate homeschoolers the benefit of the doubt, we have included in this issue of "Rebound" a short bibliography containing a sampling of the available research on the subject of education. Homeschooling parents and other concerned citizens can freely distribute this bibliography to those public officials in charge of the education of the children of each state. In this way we can all be sure that public officials have this information at their disposal when instituting any regulation designed to police the activities of homeschooling families. Ignorance of the facts can no longer be an excuse for issuing mindless rules against homeschooling families. Nor can ignorance of the facts be an excuse for the failure of public officials to respond to the serious problems that have always existed in our state-run schools.
Battle Tip Number Six: Remember That If You Are A Homeschooling Family, Then The Educational Establishment Is The Enemy. Never, Never Consort With The Enemy!
The existing educational system in this country is actively attempting to destroy homeschooling. Educators and school administrators who are responsible for this nation's failed educational system now want to inflict the inferior standards and practices of this system on homeschooling families. Educators and school officials want to require homeschooling parents to do the same destructive things to their children at home (testing, grading, teaching subjects out of context, teaching cognitive mental tasks prematurely) that educators do to children all day long in schools. Educators and school officials hope to reduce the quality of homeschooling and to force homeschooling parents into accepting the inferior standards and practices that drove homeschooling parents to teach their children at home in the first place. Educators and school officials are not allies to homeschoolers.
It may already be too late! Educators may have already succeeded at introducing and institutionalizing mediocrity into homeschooling! Many homeschooling parents consort with educators because they want the respect and approval of educators. Homeschooling parents who were themselves educated in state-run schools especially want the respect and approval of educators. But educators and school officials are the very people who have caused homeschooling parents to doubt themselves, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to support the fact that homeschooling parents are doing a superior job of educating their children. Educators strip children of their natural self-esteem and self-confidence, and fill children up with self-doubt. Most children who are exposed to state-run public schools are filled with self-doubt before they reach the end of the second grade.
This nation's school system is foul. You cannot get good results by imitating the standards and practices of a foul system. The more homeschooling families try to involve and include themselves in the activities of their local schools, the more local school boards will feel that they have the right to police the activities of homeschoolers. Allowing your children into a public school for art classes or gym or music is the same thing as sending your child into the town sewer. Homeschooling parents will continue to get positive results only if they keep their children out of the sewer.
Some homeschooling parents want the recognition and approval of educators so badly that they are willing to raise the white flag and surrender. It is not necessary to surrender, because the research shows that homeschooling parents are winning the war. Some homeschooling parents are so filled with self-doubt that they raise the white flag, walk into the enemy camp seeking approval, and then complain when the enemy treats them badly. Make no mistake. This is war, and educators and school officials are the enemy.
Battle Tip Number Seven: A Special Battle Tip For Christian Homeschooling Parents -Remember That What You Need Is A Sympathetic Majority.
Homeschooling in this country is an endangered species. School officials and politicians are very powerful people in any community who can and will exterminate homeschooling by inflicting their inferior educational standards and practices on to homeschooling families. Many homeschooling parents who have been bullied by local school officials have already succumbed to the destructive standards and practices of local school boards.
If homeschooling is to survive in this country, homeschooling families must enlist a sympathetic majority of citizens who believe in the right of homeschooling parents to save their children from being harmed in this nation's schools. Homeschooling families must continuously point to the research which shows that homeschooling is the superior form of education when compared to the form of education being offered in government-run schools. Homeschooling parents must continuously point to the harm that is being done to children in public school classrooms. Everyone who was exposed to this nation's educational system knows that schools are not good places for children. Although academically successful people tend to defend what happens to children in schools, even they know that children should not be placed in an environment in which they are subjected to extreme forms of psychological duress including the constant threat of public humiliation.
In order to enlist a sympathetic majority of citizens who will support the right of homeschooling parents to save their children from harm, homeschooling parents must be very careful of the words, phrases, symbols and images which they use to accomplish this goal. We at the Gentle Wind School have spent a great deal of time studying the effects of words, phrases, symbols and images on the human consciousness. We can tell from what we know about the human consciousness that right now Christian homeschoolers are generally soliciting an alienated, angry majority rather than a sympathetic one. So, if you are a Christian Homeschooler, listen up!
First, be careful of phrases such as "secular humanism." As Christian homeschoolers, you often speak of the dangers of secular humanism. "Secular" means of or belonging to the world as distinguished from the affairs of religion. Now, we live in a nation that prides itself on the separation of church and state. We Americans greatly appreciate the fact that we are free to express our individual religious beliefs. By the same token, we Americans also consider one's religion to be a private, personal matter. Whether one worships a cow or a crucifix, most Americans want religion to remain a private, personal matter and want the Church to remain separate from the State.
"Humanism" is, by definition, any system or way of thought or action concerned with the interests and ideals of people. Humanitarians are people who are devoted to the welfare of humanity, especially through the elimination of pain and suffering.
Now, think about these words, "secular humanism." What do you think happens to people when you as Christian homeschoolers write or speak about the dangers of "secular humanism." Secular humanism is very popular in this country. People in this society believe in their right to act and think for themselves without having to consult with Jesus, or the Talmud, or the Koran, or the Bagavadghita. Americans believe that they have the right to build bridges and roads and recycling plants without having to consult the religious works. Going before a legislative body or a district school board and talking about the dangers of secular humanism is like marching through Tel Aviv and yelling, "Kill the Jews!" It is the same thing as marching into Vatican Square yelling, "Kill the Catholics!" We are not against Christianity. It is just that "secular humanism" is the wrong metaphor for a society like ours. Writing and speaking about the dangers of secular humanism in America will never solicit a sympathetic majority.
Similarly, as Christian homeschoolers, you must also be careful of the images and symbols that you display. Most religions, including Christianity, are based on folklore. What is contained in the Bible is the folklore of the time for the period during which the Bible was written. One of the most popular Christian folklorist legends is that Jesus died on the cross to save the Christians (and only the Christians) from eternal damnation. Many Christians like to display a crucifix as the symbol of this legend. What you as Christian homeschoolers do not realize is that the symbol of the crucifix is a very powerful symbol, laden with surplus meanings. The crucifix symbolizes the violent and agonizing death of Jesus on the cross. We should probably all be grateful that Jesus was not hung, or burned at the stake. Otherwise, we might have the Christian folklorists running around with a noose around their necks or, worse yet, they might be wearing small, blackened, charred bodies on chains around their necks. What if Jesus had been guillotined? The high-tech Christians might have a head on a gold chain that when you squeeze the nose, the head plays "Rock of Ages."
When human beings see a crucifix displayed as a piece of jewelry, or in any other form, they often have very adverse reactions to this symbol. This symbol of a death and torture device is very frightening to some people. Others are angered by this symbol because the symbol does not support their unique personal idea of Jesus. Furthermore, wearing a crucifix is an elitist thing to do. It says, "I've been saved and you haven't." No one wants to be told directly or indirectly that he or she is spiritually damned. If you must wear provocative religious paraphernalia, keep it hidden from view when appearing before school or government officials.
Some Christian homeschoolers believe it is their Christian folklorist duty to inflict their religious beliefs on other people. They believe it is their duty to take every opportunity (including public hearings and private meetings) to "SAVE" souls by spreading their Christian folklorist ideas. Most public officials are put off by Bible thumping Christian homeschoolers who are coming from an elitist position and who are behaving like back-ward patients. Legislators and school officials, when confronted with an apparently fanatic Christian folklorist, are thrown into having to decide whether the children are better off with a crazy Christian folklorist parent or an incompetent, destructive, public school teacher. While legislators and school officials may feel sorry for fanatical Christian homeschooling parents they may also decide that allowing children to spend their days with fanatics may not be such a good idea.
Christian homeschooling parents who want to spread Christianity should go out and do it on the street corners, not in public or private meetings. If homeschooling is to survive in this country, Christian homeschoolers must stick to the issues and not try to cram Jesus down anyone's throat by spreading Christian folklorist ideas or by wearing and displaying religious paraphernalia. Bringing Jesus into the battle waters down the real issue, which is that state-run public schools are destroying children and homeschooling parents must be granted the right to save their children from being harmed. Crazy, Bible thumping, Christian militants are confusing the legislators. A confused legislator is a vote against you. Many legislators, schooled in the current system, are not intelligent enough to get past Bible thumping and see the real issue. The political leaders in this country, like the rest of us, are just too beaten up by what happened to them in school to be able to sort out the crazy Jesus jiving and Bible thumping from the fact that the current educational system destroys children for life. What you need is a sympathetic majority. You cannot afford to go around alienating legislators with elitist religious folklore and symbols of death and torture.
Some Christian homeschoolers act as if they were above it all. Our research shows that fundamentalist Christians from the northeast, the Midwest and the south are exactly the same character types as the people from countries like Jamaica and Haiti who practice voodoo. Christians and voodooists have exactly the same mental idea structures. The language, culture and symbols are different, but the mental apparatus in each group are exactly the same. If you strip away the language, the cultural and the skin color differences, you get the same personality structure and the same disconnected approach to life among each of the two groups. Christian fundamentalists must realize that when they take an elitist stand against a legislator or a non-Christian homeschooler, they are having the same impact on those people as a practicing voodooist would have. Fundamentalist Christians should look into this matter further before taking another Christian supremacist stand in public.
Christians must also remember that when you are sitting before a group of legislators and you are trying to convert them to Christianity, you may be sitting before people who are much better people than you are and who may be much further along than you are. Even though you may be a fundamentalist Christian who has been saved by Jesus and who is trying to purge the evil and darkness out of your life, your life may still be a mess. You may still be in the process of dissolving your own self-serving, lower-life-form behaviors. It is possible that the legislators whom you are trying to convert are so far ahead of you that even with your best efforts you will never be able to catch up with them. In fact, if you were not so busy flinging your Bible at them, you might be able to learn some things from some legislators about public life, about public service. No legislator needs to be beaten up with the Bible. What legislators need is for homeschooling parents (Christian and non-Christian alike) to help them see the truth and the reality of the corrupt educational system, so that they as government officials can focus their resources on the real problems and can leave the homeschooling families alone.
Furthermore, Christians, including Christian homeschoolers, have much more important dilemmas to solve than how to convert legislators to Jesus. The real ecclesiastical dilemma for Christians is, how is it that some people are able to lift themselves up out of the ashes of a misbegotten life without ever finding Jesus? How is it that these same people are able to go on and make real contributions in the world without ever finding Jesus? How is it that these people can lead more honest lives of selfless, magnanimous service to humanity in ways that the majority of Christians who have found Jesus will never do? This is the real mystery for Christians to solve. They must explain how it is that people have been doing great things for tens of thousands of years without ever finding Jesus.
Christianity as it is practiced in this country is just a hobby. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby. Hobbies are legitimate endeavors. A good hobby can take up a person's mind and bring great relief from personal problems. Some people have been able to pick up into golf or fishing, for example, and then give up drinking and go on to have a satisfying life. Many people have picked up ham radio, particularly the Morse code aspects, and have found great inner peace. When people are able to do something with their spare time (that does not get them into trouble) that they can climb into and close the door behind them, they will find peace, focus, satisfaction and a sense of purpose. Ham radio, model railroading, building and flying model airplanes, photography, golf, fishing and horseback riding are all hobbies that provide people with peace, focus, satisfaction and a sense of purpose.
When hobbyists with similar interests assemble together, they form a club. For Christian hobbyists, the club is also called a church or a religion. Local clubs usually elect a club president. Club presidents run the meetings where people discuss club business, have intense discussions about the hobby and have presentations on materials related to the hobby. Ministers, including all the television evangelists are self-appointed club presidents who run the meetings and take care of club business.
The reason we say that Christianity as it is practiced in this country is a hobby is that if people took Christianity seriously and treated it as more than just a hobby, they would not be able to utter the name of Jesus. True Christians who are on a spiritual path spend their lives purging themselves of their earthly burdens. These are people who are too embarrassed by the beast and the darkness that they have found in themselves to feel worthy of uttering the name of Jesus. If a Christian who is truly on a spiritual path is successful, by the end of that person's life, he (or she) comes to understand why he was unwilling to utter the name of Jesus. These are the older ones, the people who would be called the keepers of the records, or the keepers of the books. These are the ones who are exemplary in their continuance and their peacefulness. These are people who are accessible to everyone. But you will not find them on television. They are not evangelists. They do not wear Rolex watches, diamond tie tacks or expensive suits. They do not attend Christian colleges, for these are insulting, foolish places to anyone on a spiritual path. They do not have time to give their personal views on world affairs, or preach, or try to convert other people to Christianity. Only the loud-mouth Christian hobbyists who are involved in religious things rather than spiritual things act this way. The true Christian--the man or woman on a real spiritual path--is too busy with real spiritual evolution. These are the ones who never speak. For, he who speaks, does not know, and he who knows, never speaks. All human beings everywhere know these truths in their hearts, from the genius to the oaf.
Christian hobbyists also do not understand that people do not want to hear about someone else's hobby when there is something serious going on. This always makes everyone in the room uneasy. So, when Christians bring their hobby into something as serious as a legislative session on the subject of educating children, everyone in the room who is not a Christian hobbyist feels uneasy. Many educators and legislators in this country are in the business of trying to stamp out homeschooling by inflicting on homeschooled children the same destructive standards and practices that are being used to destroy children in public and private schools. The well-being of children is a very, very serious matter. Schooling a child at home is the only thing that parents can do to prevent their children from being permanently harmed by current educational practices. Any time matters involving homeschooling (including legislative sessions) are being discussed, it is not appropriate for hobbyists to come forth and extol the virtues of their hobby. Christian hobbyists should keep their hobby to themselves. If you are a Christian, just think of how turned off you would be if a ham radio operator or a model railroader got up at a legislative session on matters concerning homeschoolers to extol the virtues of their hobbies. Voodoo, like Christianity, is a hobby, and a pretty intense one at that. Imagine how you would feel if someone who practices voodoo decided to spill his hobby all over at a legislative session. A lot of people would get pretty upset, which is exactly what happens when fundamentalist Christians spill their hobby allover non-Christian homeschoolers, legislators and school administrators--a lot of people get pretty upset.
If you were a real Christian, your life as you now know it would come apart. You would be living as Jesus lived--a life of service to humanity. You would probably be off in some Third World country tending to the poor and the hungry. If the Christian hobbyists looked at the life of Jesus, they would also see that what Jesus found was himself. He never told anyone to go out and find Jesus. What he did was to tell people that they needed to go find themselves. No one has ever found Jesus because only Jesus could find Jesus. Now, educated people cannot even go find themselves because their natural systems for finding themselves were destroyed by the time they reached the end of the second grade.
Christians do not realize that their hobby is just a hobby of words. The true measure of any man or woman's life can never be found in his or her words. The true measure of a man's life can be found only in his or her deeds. The trouble which people get themselves into almost always has to do with what people do and rarely has anything to do with what they say. If Christianity in this country were more than a hobby involving biblical words and phrases, you would not find hungry children in America. You would not find homeless people wandering in the streets, nor would you find millions of people going without adequate medical care. If Christians did what they said they were doing, we would have none of these problems. The Christians in America have enough available resources to eliminate all of these problems not only in America, but probably throughout the world. If Christianity were more than a hobby, our world would be a very different place in which to live. But the Christian hobbyists in this country are so lost that they think masturbation is self-abuse and boxing is a sport. They believe that continuous reruns of "The Rifleman" on television are wholesome entertainment and that killing 200,000 Iraqis in the Gulf War is fair play. The Christian hobbyists believe that if they do not go to church on Sunday, they have violated the laws of God, and they believe that the starvation found in Africa is just God's will.
We are not against Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or anything else. We are not suggesting that people give up their hobbies. In fact, religion as a hobby can be very valuable in that religions convey a moral code. Christianity as a hobby can help an immoral person become a moral person. There is so little morality in the world today that it is hard to talk about it. Immorality is embedded in everything. So any hobby that can help a person become moral is very valuable.
We are not putting down Christianity. We are just trying to tell some Christian homeschoolers that they have lost sight of the real enemy. If Catholics and Egyptians in America are being discriminated against, this is not a Catholic problem and it is not an Egyptian problem. It is a political problem. If trade unions and homeschoolers are being discriminated against, it is not a trade union problem or a homeschoolers' problem. It is a political problem. If you are stopped by a policeman who tells you that the left tail light on your car is out, then you do not go to a mechanic and say that there is something wrong with your starter circuit. You tell the mechanic that you need him to fix your tail light. If you persist in telling the mechanic that the problem with your tail light can be found in the starter circuit, he is probably going to refuse to work on your car because he is going to conclude that you are too boring and too crazy to bother with.
The problems of education in this country are not Christian problems. If Christian homeschoolers realized this, they would stop pounding legislators with their hobby. Some legislators do not enjoy your hobby. They have other hobbies which are just as useful. Some legislators are more moral human beings than the Christian homeschoolers who want to pound on them with Biblical references. Most legislators feel angry and put-off when Christian homeschoolers want to make Christianity the issue. Legislators experience radical Christian homeschoolers as too boring and too crazy to be bothered with.
Some Christian homeschoolers refuse to unite with non-Christian homeschoolers because they do not want to involve themselves with anyone who is not interested in the same hobby. Christian homeschoolers who think this way have lost sight of the real problems. If homeschooling is to survive at all in America. all homeschooling families must unite and keep their focus on the single issue of preserving their right to save their children from being harmed. The children of this society are being massacred in schools. Is the massacre of a Christian child any more horrific than the massacre of a non-Christian child?
Christian homeschoolers who refuse to join efforts with non-Christian homeschoolers have lost sight of the real enemy. The real enemy is the school officials and politicians who are in the business of massacring children with their negligent educational standards and practices, and who now want homeschooling parents to do the same things to their children.
Think of it this way. The homeschooling families in this country have broken away from the educational establishment and have boarded their own unique ship. The school officials and politicians have already shot a hole in the bow of this vessel by inflicting their inferior standards and practices on to homeschooling families. Now, in order for the ship to stay afloat, all the homeschoolers on board must move to the stern. This shift in weight will allow the bow to be lifted out of the water temporarily until it can be repaired. The Christian homeschoolers are being told to go to the back of the boat, and some are willing to go. Others, however, refuse to mingle with the non-Christian homeschoolers. Instead, they insist on standing on the bow displaying religious paraphernalia and preaching about the dangers of secular humanism. (Often, these are the Christian homeschooling parents who make the news and become the "test cases" in their communities, and give homeschooling a negative reputation.) What we all need now is for these Christian hobbyists to take off their blinders, put clothespins on their noses and move to the back of the boat with all the other homeschoolers, Christian and non-Christian alike. We need the radical, militant Bible thumpers to focus on the real issue, which is that children are being destroyed in this nation's schools and homeschooling parents must be given the right to save their children from harm. Homeschooling parents must be granted the right to refuse to use the same educational standards and practices which are causing children so much harm in the government-run schools. If all homeschoolers do not unite and move to the stern of the ship, the ship is going to sink and homeschooling will be exterminated.
Radical Christian homeschoolers need only to take off their blinders and place clothespins on their noses long enough to get the bow repaired and to keep the real enemy (school officials and politicians) from inflicting any more damage to the hull. In a short time, you can put your blinders back on, take the clothes pin off your nose and return to your Christian folklorist practices. If you are not willing to do this, then please get off the ship. Otherwise, all homeschoolers will drown.