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I recently received an email from the National Congress of State Legislators, touting their excitement over states having increased spending over the last year by over $1,000,000,000 (I prefer to put all the zeroes on there to show how big a billion actually is) on early education, meaning day care and preschool programs. That's a lot of money to increase spending for children who aren't even in school yet!
But I have a question: What did the states spend last year? What percentage increase was this, really? The report didn't say. On the one hand, if the states were already spending $50,000,000,000, then this is really only a 2% increase. Hardly enough for those who are excited to actually be excited about. If they were already spending $1,000,000,000, then it doubled! Whoa! Can they show some figures of the effectiveness of throwing twice the amount of money into the program in one year's time? Knowing the dollar amount doesn’t give any perspective on the scope of the change. But $1,000,000,000 is a heck of a lot of money now matter how you slice it.
Salt and Light?
Why is this much being spent on children who are under the compulsory attendance age? If you're a Christian parent, let me ask you: Until you put your child in a "head start" program or kindergarten, what had you been doing with them? Many parents of young children will say they are "thinking about" homeschooling, but their child is "only three" so they "haven't started yet."
What have they been doing all that time? Haven't they trained them to walk, to eat, to say "Thank You," to brush their teeth, to tie their shoes, to chew with their mouths closed, to go potty by themselves, to sleep through the night, to say "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir;" to count to ten, to say their ABCs, to pray, to sing, to play pat-a-cake, to finger-paint, to eat Goldfish, to clean up after themselves, etc.? Where do we get the idea that when a child turns five (or four these days…), now they need formal schooling? What do they do in pre-school and kindergarten? They spend a couple of hours away from home, finger-painting and eating Goldfish. They could have done that at home... and learned to empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, share with their siblings, take care of a puppy, and pray "Now I lay me down to sleep" before their nap.
When we send our children off to a classroom, what they really learn is: "Education" is administered by "professionals" and takes place in a room separate from the "real world" with a bunch of people who are the same age and socio-economic status as me. And so for the next twelve to fifteen years (depending on how much of a "head start" you give them), they spend the majority of their time with people who are the exact age and class as they are. This is called “socialization.” When those years are over, they might extend it for another four years by going to State U. And then they are NEVER in that situation again... Never again will they only be around people that are exactly their age, except in Sunday School! Is the Church impacting culture? Or is culture impacting the Church?
So That’s Where All of This is Leading!
Let's face it: the institutional school as we know it today acts as a massive eugenics program. That's what Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler were seeking to implement with Planned Parenthood and the Nazi Party's "Final Solution" for the Jews.
I hear what you're saying: "Wait just a minute! How does the current school system perpetuate those atrocities?"
Just as Sanger and Hitler placed a value on a certain class of people and called the rest "useless eaters" or "subhuman," we act the same way when we age-segregate everyone by their birthday and tell them which "grade" they're in by their age. Once in their grade, if they don't perform to the mean (the fiftieth percentile), they go into "Special Ed" classes, or are "held back" a grade. If they excel, they're given special treatment, a special designation, and the ability to address their class at graduation.
What about the "average" student? There are none. God has given gifts to all men (1 Corinthians 12:11) and expects them to use their talents wisely (Matthew 25:14-30).
The truth is that some children excel in math, others in science, while others excel in mercy and still others in grace. Yet as a society, we don't reward those who excel in godliness; only those who do well in the eyes of men, academically or athletically.
There are all of the social cliques. Maybe this is what people mean when they ask homeschoolers about "socialization.” They are concerned that our children don't have the "benefit" of trying to be popular among their peers. Institutional schooling—from age-segregation to advanced placement and special education classes, to socialization, to standardized tests and SAT scores—is all about survival of the "fittest" and putting aside those who don't "measure up." No wonder divorce, abortion, euthanasia, and the warehousing of the elderly are so prominent! Not to mention the sending away of our four-year-olds to pre-school. If you're not in this minute's most popular class, you can't have any real worth. We're told that the "Seniors of '08 rule," but last year it was the Seniors of '07 that ruled. So, those "other" people can be done away with. They are "useless eaters" in our minds even if we don't say it out loud.
This even applies to Christian schools that segregate by age and academic or athletic performance and it applies to Sunday Schools that do the same thing. Had Paul been writing today to the church in Galatia, IL, or Galatia, KS, or Galatia, NC, his famous line about there being neither Jew nor Greek might have read something like this: “There is neither Empty Nester nor Crawler, Junior nor Senior, College Ministry nor Singles Ministry, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (paraphrased from Galatians 3:28-29).
What Shall We Then Teach?
A wise father once told me that he and his wife sat down and wrote down all the things they wanted their children to know before they left home. Included among these things were: how to read the Bible; how to balance a checkbook; how to change the oil on the car; how to write a persuasive essay; how the political process works (and how it is supposed to work); how to wash, fold, and put away laundry; how to plan a menu and buy groceries; childcare; home maintenance; how to find and study primary source documents to understand the true events of history; and how to put out a kitchen fire. Along with these, they wanted their children to have a love for their neighbor (saved and unsaved); a respect for authority; a biblical view of marriage; pure hearts, minds, and bodies on their wedding days; honor and respect for their parents; and most importantly that they would love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Since only a couple of those would they learn in an institutional school setting, they decided they should keep their children at home so they wouldn’t get only a partial “education.”
God's Appointed Teacher: Dad
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children;
That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments;
And may not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not set its heart aright,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Homeschooling Today magazine has recently launched an eNewsletter for fathers, named The Father-Led Home. An encouragement to fathers from some of today's best Christian writers, The Father-Led Home joins the popular Homeschooling Helper eNewsletter for moms (and dads alike). To sign up for either of these encouraging newsletters, go to www.homeschooltoday.com/newsletters/sub.