6. Home Schooling

R.J. Rushdoony • Mar, 19 2024

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  • Series: Christian Education: Christian Schools
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[Rushdoony] This is RJ Rushdoony, Easy Chair 120, March 21, 1986. Tonight we’re going to continue our discussion with Samuel L Blumenfeld, our Chalcedon fellow staff member and Otto Scott is with us tonight also. Our subject tonight will be ‘home schooling,’ now before you get started, Sam, I’d like to make a comment or two, I am an outsider to this field in that my acquaintance is mainly through courtrooms. I have been involved in a number of home school cases. To me the very interesting thing is that the homeschool children test out ahead of the Christian school children who are ahead of the public school children. So the gap between the homeschool child and the public school child is a very, very great one. And it became quickly obvious to me why this was so. Before the trials and during the trials and after I talked to the children, I talked to the parents. The thing that came through was this: the parent knows the child and while the child can sometimes hoodwink a teacher, it’s pretty hard to do so with a mother. Now occasionally a teacher will tell an outstanding pupil as a mild rebuke when they’re not doing too well, ‘now you know you can do better than this.’ Well the mother can say that with authority, I know you can do better than that and you’re going to do it. That’s the attitude that so in half a day the home school teaches far more, far more effectively, than any other school. The results are dramatically superior.

[Blumenfeld] Yes there’s no doubt about that, Rush, as a matter of fact you find that the homeschooling youngsters are usually very good conversationalists and they get along with adults so much better than the public schooled children. They are able to converse with adults, they enjoy being with adults, because they are with their parents and they’re being schooled at home. Time of course is a factor and you get much more done in much less time in the homeschool, and also the children there are doing their learning on their own a great deal of the time, because all children are learners, are self-learners, and every child teaches itself to speak its own language from time of birth. And so they’re constantly improving their auditory and verbal skills to a very high degree so that by the time they’re six years old they have achieved a speaking vocabulary between five thousand and thirty five thousand words, and they’ve done this all on their own. Now they have this enormous learning energy and what the home school does is simply let that energy move forward at the highest possible acceleration. No barriers are put in front of the child, no bells are rung to stop the learning process, the child can spend as much time as they want to and they’re not interrupted and they’re not made to do foolish time wasting things like recess, and having to attend all the sort of things that goes on in schools. I taught in schools and I know what it’s like when in the middle of a lesson a bell rings and your entire train of thought is interrupted and stopped and the kids go outside and play for half an hour, then they come in and they are totally a different person because they’re been energized and they’re all over the place. Well you don’t go through that in home school, in a homeschool children learn the way adults learn, you see, and that makes all the difference in the world.

[Scott] Well isn’t also a tutorial system, a home school, it’s a one on one which has always been considered the province of the highly favored, the best advantaged? Because if you have to learn in a crowd you’re limited to the lowest, to the slowest in the crowd, if you’re one on one you can go at your own pace?

[Blumenfeld] Yes, as a matter of fact as you know, royalty use tutors, the aristocrats always had tutors to train their children, to educate their children, and when you do it at home of course you’re more or less replicating that kind of situation, you’re really getting the most highly favored kind of educations possible to get.

[Rushdoony] Yes, Otto, you’ve stated it very clearly, and Sam you said something earlier too, let me bring these things together in terms of something I’ve seen, not original with me, it’s been brought out in some of these cases. One of the problems in our public schools today, among many others, is the fact that teaching has gone from the teacher to the students. In other words, peer-pressure prevails. It becomes an environment in which it’s the mob that governs; the other students determine the attitudes, the perspective of the child. Peer pressure. So that we have what very early in the fifties was called ‘the group-directed child.’ But you said, so very aptly that the home schooled child is oriented to adults. The adult is whom the child is going to learn and the psychologists who’ve dealt with the homeschoolers have found that the homeschooled child is very quickly prepared for life in a world of maturity, not a perpetual childhood.

[Blumenfeld] That’s right, that’s right. And that’s something you notice that the child is so much at ease with adults, and of course you know that the emphasis is put on in public schools on peer, group activities, is really an attempt to socialize the youngster because now the aim of the public schools is not really to educate, not really to elevate, developing the intellect, it’s to socialize the child and they want that peer interaction, they promote and encourage peer interaction which of course leads to all kinds of horrible things, it leads to influences that may be very unhealthy for the child. For example, one of the reasons why you have the terrible drug problems in schools and the sex problems, it’s because of peer pressure, tremendous peer pressure.

[Rushdoony] Yes, well and this is why I think it’s so important that Otto Scott is a part of this, because Otto is less a product of the public schools and more a product of home education and self-education than any of us.

[Scott] Well yes, I also recall one of the things that I detested in school and there wasn’t a boy in the world that hated school as much I did.

[Rushdoony] Public school.

[Scott] Public school. Was the fact that they had different teachers for different subjects which meant that it was impossible to establish any kind of relationship with the teacher in an ongoing way. You went from the hands of one teacher who might be fairly sympathetic to a teacher who was unsympathetic and somebody who was apathetic. And I recall I did have a tutor at one time who had graduated from Cambridge in England. And he was a great teacher. He was insulting, he called me a stupid little boy and he was the best teacher I’ve ever had. He knew exactly what he was dealing with, he wasn’t in the least bit deferential or was he looking at a syllabus, he beat me into shape and I detested him, loathed him, and I’ve never liked anybody from Cambridge University since but I look back at him as a wonderful tutor. And I was lucky to have the experience.

[Rushdoony] You spoke of teachers as sympathetic, apathetic and what else?

[Scott] Oh, I had forgotten ‘antagonistic.’

[Rushdoony] You left out ‘pathetic!’ It fits some I’ve known.

[Scott] My impression is that they have no liberty; that they’re tied to the syllabus.

[Blumenfeld] But also the important thing with the child and the home school is the parent-child relationship. I think that something happens there, that the child does not get when the child is sent to school, for example, when your parent is the teacher, you develop a heightened respect for that parent, and that’s one thing you notice in all homeschooling children, a tremendous admiration, love and respect for that parent. You get none of this business of ‘you don’t know anything, my teacher knows more than you do’ or ‘we’re learning in schools something you don’t know about’, bringing homework to the parent and the parents saying ‘oh, I can’t figure this out’, that kind of thing. The parents actually learn more than the children!

[Scott] I’m sure they do.

[Blumenfeld] And this is the interesting part of the process, Rush, is that we’re creating a superior group of parents in America, because these are parents who are not only learning to teach, but they have to learn an awful lot before they can teach. And I’ve even have home schooling parents, for example, how to improve their children’s spelling, and I suggested that they teach the child Latin, and they’ll answer that they don’t know Latin and I said: “why don’t you learn it?” You know, the two of you can learn it together. Those are the possibilities, there are endless possibilities with the homeschool.

Another thing about the homeschool is that it doesn’t begin at nine and end at three, it’s an ongoing process, it keeps going around the dinner table, it functions on vacations, I know of a homeschooling family in New Orleans that took a vacation by driving out to Los Alamos, they wanted to see the installations there, the atomic installations, and this young child, I suppose he was in his teens, was very much interested in astronomy and happened to find the address of the professor who had discovered the planet Pluto. They actually looked him up and visited him. And this youngster was so enthralled, and this professor greeted the family, he was so delighted, he was in retirement, the world had forgotten him, and here was this family that had come knocking at his door because that son had wanted to meet the man who had discovered Pluto. That’s the sort of thing that goes on in a homeschooling family that no public school and no private school can ever…

[Scott] I guess there’s a point though if they start in homeschools, I can see where all this could follow, because your parents are your natural teachers anyway, and even parents who don’t know that they’re teaching are teaching, because children of course follow the model. But I would imagine that there might be a problem if you take a child from public school where they’ve already become acquainted with a separate, outside-the-family authority, a counter-authority to their parents. And then bring them in and start home schooling, what about that.

[Blumenfeld] Well you know that I talk to parents that have done that, they’ve taken children out of the public schools, and they’ve homeschooled them. I remember one youngster who had many friends in the school, and his parents were afraid that he might miss the peer interchange, but he enjoyed homeschooling a great deal. That year went very well, and at the end of the year they happened to be driving by the school and his mother asked him: “do you miss any of your friends there?” He replied: “yes I do,” and she asked him: “would you like to return to the public school?” His reply was: “well, I don’t miss them that much.” In other words, sure I miss them but he prefers homeschooling. I know very few children who once they had a taste of home schooling would prefer to return to the public school.

[Scott] Well if you may recall, I don’t know about your experience, but there was a period of about a year, a little more than a year, I went to a public school in New York City. I think I told you earlier, there were fellows who had mustaches who were playing hand rock in the courtyard and I used to feel nervous going past those fellows. You remember, that’s when they held you back if you didn’t pass the exam. It was a mixed bag to go to a new school, I had that problem too because some of your classmates were pleasant and friendly, and some were decidedly not. And I think there’s been too much emphasis in American educational circles, at least the ones I’ve read, about having the child become used to all kinds of different people. We grow up in a society that’s so polyglot there’s no way of escaping anybody. As soon as we leave the home we’re in a diverse society, so why should we push children into these difficulties prematurely?

[Blumenfeld] I agree with you. And of course that question is always asked, or that comment is made, that well you want your child to know the real world so put them into public school where he will rub shoulders with real people? The family is composed of fake people, you know! The family is a very real world, as a matter of fact it’s a microcosm of society, and it’s the best place to learn about the real world, as a matter of fact, you learn some pretty awful, you get some pretty awful distortions of the real world in a school room.

[Rushdoony] One of the common questions asked by parents is: “if I do not have a good education myself can I be a homeschooler, can I teach my children?”

[Blumenfeld] Well, if there’s a problem-motivation, a parent can certainly learn, can go out and get the materials, you see today, there’s a lot of satellite homeschooling programs available, for example, Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois supplies a complete curriculum, all the parent has to do is know how to read, and be able to simply give it to the student, and the student takes care of everything. As a matter of fact, the Academy even marks the papers. You send them the papers and the Academy marks them and sends them back. So, for those parents who feel inadequate about teaching their own children there are plenty of very good satellite programs available.

[Rushdoony] Yes, in such cases your child, even though being homeschooled is legally a student of an Academy in another state. Do you want to give the address, you mentioned Christian Liberty Academy as a satellite school.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, Christian Liberty Academy is one of the best in the country, they have a quite thorough and excellent curriculum, a Christian curriculum and their address is Christian Liberty Academy 502 West Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights, IL 60004.

Now, the academy puts out two excellent books. It puts out a legal manual for parents who want to know what their legal status is as homeschoolers, and also a national guide to homeschooling organizations throughout the country so that they can join in a homeschooling organization in their community and have some interaction with other homeschooling families. The notion that the homeschoolers are sort of isolated families that have no social contact with others is ridiculous, because you find a tremendous amount of social interchange among homeschooling families in associations; local associations and state associations.

[Rushdoony] It is right now a very rapidly-growing movement, so much so that it has professional statist educators concerned and afraid. They do not know how many there are in the homeschool movement. I’ve heard estimates on one occasion in Washington DC when some lawyers were talking that ranged from three to ten million. No one really knows.

[Blumenfeld] No, I think ten million may be a little high, Rush, but you know there are many undergroundhomeschooling families that have not surfaced and are doing it on their own without letting the school authorities know because in some states the authorities have been pretty awful and pretty harassing and so these parents have kept a low profile. We’ll never really know.

[Scott] The legal situation is somewhat scrabbled, in some states are homeschools illegal?

[Blumenfeld] Yes, in many states they are, they’re regulated. You see the NEA has become, the National Education Association, has become very alarmed at the growth of the homeschooling movement because they see it as a threat to the entire education establishment. Parents are withdrawing their children by the thousands and educating at home and they are leaving empty seats in the classroom and of course these children are escaping the socialization process that the NEA is so keen on making sure every child goes through. For obvious reasons, they want the children to be able to fit into this new world order that is being prepared for America by our wonderful friends in the United Nations and the Soviet Bloc. So they are very concerned, and the NEA has created its own set of guidelines, they’ve gone to every state legislature in America and they are badgering those legislatures to enact very highly regulatory statutes that would probably make you have to jump through ten hoops before you could homeschool.

[Scott] In effect, you’d wind up with their curriculum.

[Blumenfeld] oh yes, yes, their long range goal is to actually close down the church schools, first to regulate, then to control the church schools. First to regulate and then to outlaw homeschooling, I’m sure that they don’t, their long-range goal is to outlaw homeschooling.

[Rushdoony] Some years ago, I met with a group of catholic mothers who had pulled their children out of a parochial school; they felt with good reason. It was becoming both radical and anti-Catholic, and they did something quite unusual. The mothers split up the grades, one said I’ll take all the children in our group who are kindergarteners and teach them around my dining room table and another said I’ll take the first graders and so on right up through the eighth grade. And now here’s an alternate possibility to that (and I’m throwing this out there for your opinion). Supposing some neighbors have homeschools, each of them, should they interact, one saying while I’m no good at math, will you take over math? The other saying alright, I enjoy literature, I would like to take over that area, and you can send your child to me for that.

[Scott] Wouldn’t that be setting up a school?

[Blumenfeld] So what? I’m for educational freedom; this is what these parents want to do, why not? I mean, you know, shouldn’t education be as free as breathing?! I mean, how do you teach if someone has a talent to teach a particular subject, someone is a whiz in algebra and can really make algebra and geometry interesting to the youngsters, I mean, why not? That’s the whole benefit of it.

[Scott] Well, why not? Because you’re running head into the bureaucracy!

[Rushdoony] It depends on the state. If that would make it easier, then simply calling it a homeschool, in other states you would run into trouble, so it would vary from state to state.

[Blumenfeld] Rush; let me ask you, do parents have an unalienable right to educate their children without interference from the state?

[Rushdoony] I believe that theologically we have to say it is the God-given privilege and duty to parents to educate their own children. IT is not primarily the responsibility of the state nor the church. It is essentially and primarily the responsibility of the family.

[Scott] Well, originally, constitutionally, in the United States, education was a local matter, and a state matter. And the federal government was not supposed to be involved. The federal government got in via the Lyndon Johnson administration by money, and followed the money with their guidelines and so forth, so now we have what is apparently a federal education system in terms of it being funded by Washington.

[Blumenfeld] Let me say this though. George Washington and many of the Founding Fathers were homeschooled, and homeschooling was rather wide spread in the United States particularly in the West during the settlement period. And in fact homeschooling was perfectly legal, and all right, until the first compulsory school attendance laws passed. Now, the first such law was passed in Massachusetts in the 1850s which means that every parent in the United States up to that point in America had the right to educate his or her child at home, without interference from the state. Now you lose that sort of a right simply because the state passes a law requiring compulsory school attendance, if it’s an unalienable right, can you lose an unalienable right?

[Scott] You can lose any right that you do not defend. It is up to the citizenry to defend its rights, just as it’s up to an individual to defend his rights. You can lose your rights by surrendering them, and you can regain your rights by demanding them. The whole question of education is misunderstood here; it’s always discussed in the American society in terms of schooling. Now as Rush indicated, I have virtually no schooling and I am a very well-educated man.

[Rushdoony] Formal Schooling, state controlled schooling.

[Scott] Formal schooling, couldn’t stand government schools.

[Rushdoony] How long did you play hooky one year?

[Scott] I have the New York record for the time being, seven months, without being detected. I was finally unmasked, of course, and all sorts of terrible things went on. I was put in the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and then of course they examined my home and they said anyone who would play hooky from such a wonderful home was just a bad boy and they gave me psychiatric and personality tests at the Mount Sinai Hospital, I was twelve and-a-half. Then the psychologists recommended I go to college because I passed the college exams in all but math, and the probation officer recommended I be sent to reform school. The judge saved me from all that, he took me to chambers and asked me what I wanted, I said I wanted to get out of New York and go to my grandparents area upstate and he therefore made a rule that I was not to be permitted in the New York public school system until I was eighteen. So by that ruling he released me from that terrible system.

[Blumenfeld] So you are actually an individual who experienced the tyranny of the compulsory school attendance laws?

[Scott] Absolutely.

[Blumenfeld] You were treated like a criminal!

[Scott] I was, the probation officer regarded me as a criminal.

[Blumenfeld] That’s what is so horrible about those laws, because they did turn children into criminals!

[Rushdoony] Well, I think that’s true, and they persecuted parents, and still do in many cases. It’s a good thing you ran across such an enlightened judge.

[Scott] Well, I corresponded with him for several years, he was a wonderful man.

[Blumenfeld] But the point today is that they are now using these laws against the parents.

[Scott] Yes! They are putting them in prison.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Otto, when you were sent upstate to your grandparents did your troubles with the public schools cease?

[Scott] No, no, no. I remember one beautiful spring day I decided to go fishing instead of going to school, and I had a pole and all the rest of the equipment and I was walking when the truant officer drove up in a Ford, I recall the car, he was everything, he was the constable, the dog catcher, the truant officer, everything. And he pulled up and he said: “Otto, where are you going” and I said” “uh, I’m going fishing,” and he said: “aren’t you supposed to be in school?” and I said: “I’m sick.” And he said to get in the car, so I got in the car, thinking: “well, this is more trouble!” and he drove to his house, and he came out with a fishing pole and said: “now where were you going to go?”

[Blumenfeld] That was a good truant officer!

[Scott] And we went fishing together.

[Blumenfeld] That’s the kind that we like, not the kind that the NEA send out. Oh my, but you can just see that there are thousands of youngsters who don’t want to go to school, who can probably learn better out of school.

[Scott] I was getting four or five books a day out of the public library. I read omnivorously. The school was distracting me; it was taking me away from the subjects I was interested in.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, yes. And of course now these laws are being perverted and being used against the parents. They’ve been turned against homeschooling parents who are educating these children. You see, the original purpose of these compulsory school attendance laws was to make sure every child got an education…

[Scott] Sounded wonderful at the time.

[Blumenfeld] Parents did not believe at the time that these laws were depriving them of their unalienable right to educate their children at home without interference from the state. But as the state has grown larger and more powerful, it has become now the ruler, the master. You know, the declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights among these being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And then it goes on to say that the purpose of the government is to secure these unalienable rights of the citizens. And we have a government now that is doing just the opposite, it is depriving them of their unalienable rights, it is taking them away not securing them. And therefore you have an illegal government that is doing this.

[Scott] Well it is really a tyrannical government, but some questions do arise, we have now the working parents and this poses a great difficulty for them. And many of them for reasons I find inexplicable will buy new cars and what not with a double-salary but they will not spend the money sending the kid to a private school or a church school, maybe they don’t have a church. You have any suggestions for them? Could they use an aunt? Could they use a family friend?

[Blumenfeld] That’s a very good idea! Why not? If we have full educational freedom, why not!? The parents can delegate a tutor or a teacher.

[Scott] Well, they could get their own tutor.

[Blumenfeld] As a matter of fact the public schools have always felt if they were in loco parentis.

[Scott] Yes, they’re standing in the place of the parents.

[Blumenfeld] But that no longer holds today, now the schools believe that they own the children, the state now ownsthe children.

[Scott] Yes, that was the argument of the revolutionists of France in 1791 and ‘92, that the state owns the child.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, and that’s what the American educational establishment feels, they feel like they own the children, that the parents are depriving them of the children.

[Rushdoony] A common question that interested people raise is this: if you decide to put your child in a homeschool, your own home, and educate your child yourself, what is the best way to pull my child (they ask) out of a public school?

[Blumenfeld] Well I don’t know what is the best way, just, you know, remove that child, of course, I suppose the best way is at the end of a term, you know, and simply just not re enroll. If you’re asked questions, be prepared and to get your legal manual from the Christian Liberty Academy, or from some other source. I believe the Rufford Institute has some material on homeschooling that would be of interest. In other words, you simply have to take the plunge. What I would do, I were that parent, is first get in touch with a homeschooling association and speak to other homeschooling parents, find out what they have done, what is the best way to go about it. Because experience is the best teacher in this instance, and I would rely on the experiences of other homeschoolers.

[Rushdoony] Another question that is very commonplace is: after I homeschooled my child, how does my child get into college?

[Blumenfeld] Very simply, that child takes an entrance exam or an SAT test, and it’s on the basis of that test that the child is admitted to a university or a college. In fact, I’m pretty sure now that when colleges see on the record that this child was homeschooled they realize that they’ve got someone very special on their hands, someone who can read and write, you know, and doesn’t need remediation. As a matter of fact there is a youngster from California who was homeschooled all his life and entered Harvard University, I believe it was about two years ago. He made the headlines because of that.

[Scott] Well, they could enter earlier.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, many of them even enter earlier than the age of eighteen.

[Scott] Because you know that most of high school is repetitive.

[Blumenfeld] Yes. So all they have to do is take the test, that’s all that’s needed, and there are colleges all over the country, I mean, if one college doesn’t take them another one will. That’s not a big problem. I haven’t found a homeschooling family that has any problem getting their children into a decent college or university.

[Rushdoony] Well, the homeschool movement has been growing so rapidly that now in states where the homeschoolers met in living rooms a few years ago they now use the city auditorium when they have meetings, a convention.

[Scott] What about source material?

[Rushdoony] There are manuals that tell you where you can get materials. And this is an area that is growing so rapidly that I’ve given up trying to keep up with what’s being produced. Because it is a rapidly-growing area everybody is producing materials and the quality is improving constantly, and the achievement of the students improves correspondingly. Quite dramatic!

[Blumenfeld] Another thing that is interesting is that at these homeschooling conventions you will have exhibits, publishers are now showing their wares, all sorts of books are available, even the major publishers are now beginning to exhibit at these homeschooling conventions.

[Scott] It would be interesting to see if they are exhibiting the same materials.

[Blumenfeld] Well some of them are as a matter of fact, now we have a new consumer, the parent, who is looking over these materials and wants advice on which particular book to buy. And I’ve been asked that , and of course what you really need is a consumer guide. There are new homeschooling magazines. There is the Home Teacher, there’s several of them available on the market.

Now, I predict that this is a great place for an entrepreneur to get involved because I believe that the homeschooling market is going to be growing very rapidly. And anyone who can create a good homeschooling magazine, a good professional magazine will make a lot of money because you have got a lot of parents out there who want to know what’s available, who are interested in products for homeschooling and who will appreciate a magazine of this kind.

[Scott] It seems to me that this is where the future leadership in the United States is going to come.

[Blumenfeld] Well that’s where the past leadership came, where did the founding fathers come from, you know, they came from the homes and I’ve told homeschooling conventions, I’ve told them, the George Washington’s of tomorrow are going to come out of your homeschools and not the public schools, because you know, George Washington read.

[Scott] Well you know the public schools teach conformity to the group.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, group conformity, they are involved in group dynamics, peer pressure, socialization. That’s the whole thrust of public education today is to destroy the individual’s ability to be an individual, with individual intelligence.

[Rushdoony] Well of course you’ve got to recognize the dire social consequences that bar Christian schools and home schools grow. It will soon depopulate our prisons; we have no alumni from our Christian schools and homeschools in the prisons. Think of all the people that will be unemployed!

[Blumenfeld] Yes, that is a problem, because they say that eighty-five percent of the people in prisons are functionally illiterate. And I would imagine that some of them went into crime because they had no employable skills, they couldn’t read or write.

[Scott] That was the basis for Bolitho’s Murder for Profit. The first book on mass-murderers, which are now very common, by the way. But in his day, in the late twenties, was very uncommon and in every instance it was men who didn’t know how to earn an honest living in any sort of fashion commensurate with their desires. So therefore, by accident in most cases, they found out that murder was a way of earning a living. They became serial murders as we call them today. And as the rise of functional illiteracy expands, as you know, we have more and more of these desperate activities.

[Blumenfeld] And that’s particularly true among the blacks in America, they’ve been so devastated by public education that now the chief cause of death among young blacks is homicide. They are killing one another, and they are on drugs and all sorts of things. Another important development in the homeschooling movement is the politicizing of the parents. You see, the parents have become aware that this is a political issue and that their rights are threatened by legislatures and lawmakers and teacher associations. So now they are organizing lobbies. They realize that, as you said, if they don’t exercise their rights they will lose them,

[Scott] They lose them by default.

[Blumenfeld] And the only way they can make sure they can exercise these rights is to reassert them. And that’s what they’re doing now, they are organizing for legal battle.

[Scott] I can’t forget that Hitler gave several of his most crucial speeches to vast audiences of school teachers.

[Blumenfeld] He outlawed private schools, you know, as a matter of fact the first thing that the communists do when they take over is outlaw private schools and of course homeschooling, because they take control of the children. The socialization of children is a statist idea, in other words, children are to serve the state.

[Scott] All governments only teach what governments want you to know.

[Rushdoony] Yes, I was in one homeschool trial about a year and a half ago. There were two sets of parents, very superior people with remarkable children who were well over five years ahead of the public school children. Which, given the character of the public schools, isn’t that much. But they were not tested in some areas which would have made their standing greater because those areas were not in the tests. Their curriculum included far more. The very ugly fact about that trial which the parents lost, was that the four children, two age seven and two aged nine, were more literate and spoke better English than the judge who was a real yahoo!

[Blumenfeld] That’s the sort of a thing that we have to put up with, but you see, Rush, we need a counter kind of program to repeal the compulsory school attendance laws in this country, I think that the only solution to this problem is, the only way that the parents can ensure that their unalienable rights is to format national movement to repeal compulsory school attendance laws in all of the states. And I have suggested that to homeschooling parents, and they realize that is really the only solution, because once you permit the state to have any say in what you are doing at home, you are ceding to the state a right that they never had, you see. Yyou are giving up your unalienable right. An unalienable right means total freedom.

[Scott] That’s true, and it’s also true that children develop at different rates. Not every child is benefited by being put in a preschool, not every child is benefited by being put in a compulsory school at the age of six. Woodrow Wilson for instance, was taught by his father and didn’t learn to read till he was twelve and nobody is going to say that Mr. Wilson didn’t turn out to be extremely literate. He had an extended childhood, and I sometimes think that an extended childhood would be a great gift for the average child, we’re pushing them into premature adulthood, and we’re taking away their childhood.

[Blumenfeld] Formal schooling is a very artificial kind of setup because you are dealing with children in a kind of lock-step fashion. You’re saying that well they are three months younger than a particular age group, they’ve got to stay back, they can’t fit in. Everything is done for the good of the, the convenience of the educational establishment, not for the good of the child at all. The entire set up is made for the convenience of the establishment and the teachers, and so you’ve got this kind of, strange kind of formalities that really don’t do anything for education.

[Scott] Well there’s also the general feeling, I believe, in the United States or throughout the United States that the most important thing is to make friends and contacts. This is why people should go to college. I mean; my grandfather said no one in our family goes to college to be a gentleman, that’s an English idea! But now it’s an American idea yet it has no relation to real life at all, nothing to do with class at all.

[Blumenfeld] College is now a social event. Well, you know, it’s all social, and those are the main benefits that youngsters seem to want out of college these days, the youth culture. Well I believe that homeschooling, at least prepares the youngsters for college.

[Scott] Well at least they will get there more adult than their peers. More independent and more secure. They won’t, perhaps, go through this experience of having all their values trashed by the professors so they go home at the end of the year a stranger to their own values.

[Blumenfeld] That of course, is the great problem that the public schools pose, that the alienation of the children from the parents. By instilling a set of values that are totally alien to that family. Many a family has been broken up, many a child has been led astray by being indoctrinated in false values, alien values, non-religious values, that have not only destroyed the children’s lives, but also the families.

I believe that homeschooling is also a very big part of our strategy to survive in the coming years ahead, Rush. We don’t know what is going to happen. We see the communists gaining in strength, we see the United States, you know, entering a period of tremendous problems, and how are we going to survive if we don’t have strong families that can sort of get through this period of uncertainty and turmoil? You know, I remember reading somewhere that one of the reasons why the New England, why the American towns were able to survive the Revolutionary War was because each one was a little republic, each one had the Bible, each one was ruled by law, and so you didn’t have the anarchy that the British expected to take place in the Colonies.

[Scott] Well, as they moved west later on they set up their own churches and their own schools. Somebody has recently researched the so called ‘Wild, Wild West’ and they found no sex crimes whatsoever, relatively few robberies, a few burglaries and bar room shootings for a brief period. Then the shopkeepers and their wives came in and a minister and so forth, they organized the town, and they became quite conformable.

[Rushdoony] Most of the so-called Wild West towns, Tombstone, Dodge City, and so forth were wild for about a year, after that they were church-oriented communities.

[Blumenfeld] That’s right, the Bible provides the law for these communities, you see, so they are no longer lawless communities and the Bible provides the law for the family. So families can survive on that in a period of turmoil and anarchy, and who knows what is ahead for us?

[Scott] Well, in many respects, we are living in a world that resembles the first century Chrsitian era. We are surrounded by pagan forces that appear to be overweening, difficult to overcome. For the first time in, I guess, many generations the people of the West are not looking forward to the future with hope or with happy expectations.

[Blumenfeld] Well you know when the Roman Empire disintegrated, I mean, who would have survived, to make it through that period? Well, the small integrated Christian communities who were able to, you know, get through that period of, what was it, lack of organization or destruction of a great empire, as you pointed out in the talk you gave, Otto.

[Scott] Well, the larger society crumbled in a sense, the central government collapsed, but the local infrastructure remained in the form of the states.

[Rushdoony] And especially the local communities, that’s where the strength was. The fact of Rome’s collapse did not mean that the dark ages dawned. That was a myth invented by statists who felt that because there was no central power controlling the region, and because in the political sense there was chaos, there had to be in the social sense a like chaos. So they created the myth of the ‘Dark Ages.’ Originally it extended from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance. Then they began to limit it a bit, till finally it disappeared altogether, although occasionally you find someone who still speaks of them, but it’s a myth.

[Blumenfeld] And that was the time when the great cathedrals were built, incredible magnificent.

[Scott] Well the tapestry of Europe became the richest most variegated civilization the world had ever seen, it exceeded all the pagan wonders and yet without a central government.

[Rushdoony] In the early part of that era, the so-called heart of the ‘Dark Ages,’ you had your first industrial revolution. A number of things were developed as Lynn White has shown in his study of technology in the Middle Ages that revolutionized life. For example, the horse collar. The Romans could not transport much freight because without a horse collar the horse was pulling against his windpipe. So the invention of the horse collar was a major step forward, then the mouldboard plow, later the windmill, and so on. One thing after another revolutionized life in Europe.

[Scott] Well, a great deal of what you learn as a child is family history, the events through which the members of the family have lived through in previous periods. And when you go to a school you don’t get history in any proper sense. As I understand it, right now they are teaching anti-history.

[Blumenfeld] Oh yes, yes. The entire study of history has disintegrated into what they call Social Studies which is a mish-mash of anthropology, psychology, history, geography and all sorts of kinds of things.

[Rushdoony] “What do you think Johnny?” Poor Johnny is just sitting there, age eleven, asking if he has a comment on the Supreme Court.

[Blumenfeld] He also has become an Aristotle, a Plato, to create his own value system, you know, which is only done by the world’s most leading philosophers. But every child is now expected to do it, when only Plato and Aristotle, or a Maimonides could do.

[Rushdoony] Well, to me one of the most exciting aspects of the homeschool movement is that these homeschool children are exceptionally good readers. They enjoy reading; they are continually reading armfuls of books; history, and literature, anything they can get their hands on, with zeal! Now, this gives us a counter-trend to what the public schools have done. They have limited the ability to read and the interest in reading so that is actually affecting the world of publishing, and suddenly now you’re creating an audience.

[Blumenfeld] Right, a new audience of book readers.

[Rushdoony] It is very hopeful for the future.

[Blumenfeld] And also so you find in homeschooling families, they don’t watch television as much as the average family does, you don’t have everyone gathered around the boob-tube at night and also there’s some rooms in which the television is always on even if no one is watching it.

[Scott] That’s fantastic, in my home; in my daughter’s home the television set was broken for eleven years.

[Blumenfeld] On purpose!?

[Rushdoony] Well we have about three and a half minutes left, is there something you’d like to add, Otto, to what has been said?

[Scott] Well I would like to go back to the point I made in the beginning that the absolute aristocratic, top-level education possible to attain is tutorial. And if the family can create the best possible education for their children, I think they would be well advised to do it.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, and I would encourage every parent who wants to educate his or her children to do so, and to not be intimidated by the state. And also to get all the advice and material that is out there to help, there’s plenty of material available. and to do it, to go ahead and do it! Face up to what we may have to deal with, because restoring individual rights. Unalienable rights is a risk these days, you see, the state is very jealous of the rights of the home, and that may mean even going to jail, some parents have gone to jail. It’s better to spend a month or two in a county jail than ten years in the gulag.

[Scott] Well there’s lots of legal help coming of age isn’t there?

[Blumenfeld] There is a lot of legal help, so there is no reason why parents would have to.

[Scott] They won’t be alone!

[Rushdoony] Well, we are seeing in the Christian schools and the home schools the development of a generation who will have the capacity for leadership that does not exist in the state schools. The state schools create a mob. Children with a mob-mentality bow under peer pressure. Our Christian schools and homeschools create people who have a strength of character, and the ability to stand alone. This gives us a great deal of hope for the future.

Well, thank you very much for your part and I hope those who listen will enjoy this as much as I have, and that it will produce some home schools among those who listen. Thank you.

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