Home-based Education has been around for a very long time. The idea of state-controlled, mandatory schooling is a relatively modern remake of an ancient failed experiment. In 1838, Isaac Taylor wrote of home education in a book with that title: Home Education. Taylor linked home education with liberty. He argued that home educated citizens are essential to maintain liberty in the community. His argument runs along these lines:
“The substantial liberties of a community involve much more than either the bare protection of persons and chattels, or the ample exercise of political rights; for there is a liberty of thought and of speech which may be curtailed, or almost destroyed, in countries that are the loudest in boasting of their freedom. There is a liberty, moral and intellectual–the true glory of a people, which consists in, and demands the unrestrained expansion of all faculties, the exercise of all talents, and the spontaneous expression of all diversities of taste, and of all forms of individuality. But this high liberty of mind, forfeited often in the very struggle of nations to secure or to extend political liberty, must assuredly be favored by whatever cherishes distinctness of character; and it must as certainly be endangered by whatever breaks down individuality, and tends to impose uniformity upon the whole.
“In this view, a systematic HOME EDUCATION fairly claims no trivial importance, as a means of sending forth, among the school-bred majority, those with whose habits of mind there is mingled a firm and modest sentiment of self-respect–not cynical, but yet unconquerable, resting as it will upon the steady basis of personal wisdom and virtue. It is men of this stamp who will be the true conservators of their country’s freedom.
“It may accord well enough with the designs of the promoters of despotism, whether democratic or monarchical, to recommend or enforce public education, both among the lower and the upper classes: nor indeed could any species of lawless power be secure so long as, from the bosom of many homes–homes sacred to truth and goodness, there were continually coming forth those whose minds have not been drilled to move in rank and file–who wear no livery of opinion, and whose undefined tastes are as decisively opposed, as are their formal principles, to arrogant usurpation of whatever name.
“If we suppose home education to be very rarely practised in a community, while public education should prevail; it must happen that all methods of teaching would tend continually toward uniformity, and would, every year, with fewer exceptions, be ruled–if not actually by law, at least by fashion, until at length, either by statutes, or by usages which none would dare to infringe, the particular course of study, and the modes of instruction, would become everywhere the same; so that youth, hearing the same things, in the same tone, on all sides, would be moulded into a temper of unthinking acquiescence.
“But instead of this, only let the practice of home education be mixed, in a fair proportion, throughout a country, with that of public education, and then any such dead uniformity must be broken up. Busy law, or intolerant fashion, may rule absolutely in colleges and schools; but neither the one nor the other will so easily invade families. Family training possesses a spring of diversity; it will be spontaneous in its modes of proceeding, various in its results, as well as in its measures; and will, on these accounts, impart a marked character to those who come under its influence” (Taylor, 1838, pp. 18-20).
Liberty demands diversity of thought to stimulate public discussion and debate. There is nothing that suppresses diversity of thought more thoroughly than statist education. He that pays the piper calls the tune, is the old proverb. If the masters of public education are paid by the civil authorities, then the masters will teach whatever is required to keep the cash flowing from the public purse, and that is usually whatever the ruling elite desires to be taught to keep themselves in power. Is this cynical? Well, try and talk about an alternative to Global Cooling, I mean Global Warming, I mean Global Climate Change, in a public school classroom, and see what the response will be. Try and talk about a Biblical definition of marriage in a state-funded classroom, and see what the response will be from the school’s administration.
Home-based Education is essential for the survival of western civilization. We need a sizable number of alternate thinkers, divergent thinkers, who have been educated and not just indoctrinated into kowtowing to political correctness.
Taylor, I. (1838). Home Education. New York: D. Appleton & Co.