Tag Archives: homeschooling

Stolen Money.

Warning.  Rant coming.

I am a hard-core opponent of the public school system.  But, let’s get something straight.

I am not mad at the kids in the system.  They are victims.  Why would I be angry at the victims?

Why am I so opposed to the public school system?  Simple.  The U.S. government uses its badges and its guns to extract money from me.  They then use this money to educate children in atheism.

I am not a Roman Catholic.  But, it does not upset me at all that the Roman Catholic Church has a school in my town.  Why?  Because no Roman Catholic priest is ever going to show up at my house with a badge and a gun demanding that I pay for the education of all those Catholic boys and girls.

I am sick of hearing about the “good schools” here in middle Tennessee… or anywhere in America, for that matter.  Sorry.  “Good schools” do not use force to extract money from unwilling citizens.

I am sorry, Virginia.  I know you don’t want to hear this, but, there is no such thing as a “good” public school.  Just in case you are not following, I will say it again.  “Good” schools don’t send guns and badges to take my money.  If I don’t want to pay for a product, I should not have to pay for it.

Most of my property taxes go to public school funding.  I have been a homeowner since 1997.  I have spent an average of $2,000 per year on property taxes since 1997.  Soooo, that’s about $40,000.

$40,000 for a product I didn’t want, didn’t use, and vehemently oppose.

I suspect I will be a homeowner for the next 40 years, or so.  Another $80,000 down the drain.

I know what you are going to say.  “But, there are good Christian teachers in the public school system!”  What of it?  Would you call me a good teacher if I extracted money from you by force in order to teach every one Latin?

I am a good teacher.  I know I am.  I have seen the emails.  I have heard the praise.  I even have a page dedicated to the subject: https://dwanethomas.com/testimonials/

Yet, I have never taken money from any of my students, or their families, by force.  I am proud of that fact.  I have never worked for the government school system and I never will.  Why?  I will never work for them because they would pay me.  They would pay me with my neighbor’s money.  I am not entitled to my neighbor’s money.  It isn’t mine.  I will not take it.

But, what if the teaching of the public schools lined up with my beliefs?  Would I support them then?

Nope.  Not at all.  I would not care if the schools taught only my beliefs.  They could even name schools after me.  I would still oppose them.  Why?  Because, ultimately, the government schools are based on theft.

I would love to opt out of the system.  I would love to stop sending $2,000 a year to an incompetent system.  But, can I?  If I stop paying my taxes, I would lose the condominium I live in.  The government would seize it.

By the way, why do I live in a condominium… not a house?  I live in a condominium because I tried to make it in the free market as a teacher.   As a result, I earned about half the income I would have earned had I worked for the government.  Instead of earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year with benefits, I spent 20 years earning $25,000 to $35,000 a year with no benefits.

My kids didn’t grow up with much money and in many ways, it hurt. But, at least it wasn’t stolen money.  I can live with that.

I end my rant with a couple of disturbing quotes.  The first is by H. L. Mencken:

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”

The second is from Alexis de Tocqueville.

[The power of government] covers the surface of so­ciety with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power… does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and hard-working animals, of which the government is the shepherd.’

Notice how nicely the two quotes dovetail?  How does the government train its timid and hardworking animals?

I am a teacher.  I will write a quiz for you.

Q: How does the government train its timid, hardworking animals?  The government trains its timid, hardworking animals with…

  1. homeschools
  2. private schools
  3. Catholic schools
  4. public schools funded with your money

If you chose number 4, give yourself an A.  They do it with the public education system.  And, with your money.

If you chose “none of the above, because I hate you Mr. Thomas” then look within.  You may have been trained to be submissive and obedient to your government.

So, how do we change it all?

First, wake up.  H. L. Mencken again:

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself…  Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”

Second, pull your kids out of the system.  Make the sacrifice.  Stop whining.  I did.  For seven years, my family lived in a 2 bedroom condominium.  For seven years, my wife and I slept on a mattress on the living room floor.  Our children shared the bedrooms.   We moved to a larger condominium later.  We still live there.  But, it’s still a condo.  My wife knows that she may never have a house.  I hate it.  It tears me up inside.  I want to buy a house for her.  But, I chose to swim upstream.  I chose to fight the system.  Sometimes, I regret my choice, but I will never regret refusing to live on stolen money.

 

How we homeschool

I received this comment:

I’m so sorry to hear about your technical challenges lately. I hope your work is coming together better now.

Just dropping a note to see if in one of your blog posts you could address how your family homeschool and what things you value as you frame your curriculum choice. I know you’re full of so much wisdom and humor.

Took your advice to have my 13-yo son learn Spanish through Duolingo. He is really interested in learning now and self-propelled because of it.

Blessings and peace,

Here is my reply:

Good morning!

I’m not sure I am the person qualified to respond to such a question.  My wife and I are still trying to figure it out.  I suppose we’ll probably have it all solved by the time our last kid leaves home.  🙂

I don’t know if you have seen this, but, this is the way I was homeschooled when I was a kid: https://www.compassclassroom.com/homeschooling.  This is certainly what we are attempting to do with my own children.  

I want my kids to read extensively, spend a lot of time outside, and, if possible, pursue what they’re interested in.  

This is how I was educated.  I read extensively, spent a ridiculous amount of time outside, and pursued what fascinated me.  Turns out, languages, history, and exploration fascinated me.  They still fascinate me.  

When it comes to homeschooling my kids, I always look for the simple solution.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am rarely interested in the easy solution.  As you very likely know, simple does not mean easy.  

I hope this helps a little.  Happy to keep this conversation alive.

Stick it out. Get it over with.

Every so often I receive emails from parents who are rather concerned.  Usually, their sons (it’s almost always their sons) have no interest in Latin.  For that matter, their sons usually have no interest in school at all.  They email me.  They ask me what they should do.  

I received several this week.  Here is my response to one of the letters.  Due to the sensitive nature of the note, I have not included it.  But, in short someone’s child does not want to do the work, and would rather spend time fooling around online.  Kind of like most of us…

Continue reading Stick it out. Get it over with.

Homeschooling and Math…

I received this comment and question:

I would love to tell you that your class knocked it out of the park.  My son was engaged and excited each Monday night for his Latin class.  He loved when you called out his name and answered his questions.  Please consider doing this type of class again.  It’s our 2nd year homeschooling and your Visual Latin classes have been the bright star in our lesson plan.  My son is in 7th grade and we’re being encouraged to reenroll him back into an expensive gifted school, any words of wisdom you can give us would be appreciated.  Dad doesn’t want him to lose ground in math, but I feel we’ve gained so much more.  I will ask my son to email you as well, but Merry Christmas to you and your family for all the good you done!

Here is my reply:

I am so glad you enjoyed the Harry Potter class.  That one was fun to research and teach.  I really enjoyed it on my end as well.

I am also happy that you are enjoying Visual Latin.  

I am not happy that you asked for homeschooling advice.  🙂

Just kidding.  Kind of.  It really is a tough question. 

My wife and I homeschool our children for one major reason.  For so many years, I was a teacher.  As a result, we could not afford to place our children in private schools.  I refuse to place them in public schools for many reasons.  

I agree with your husband.  Math does seem to be the first animal sacrificed on the homeschool altar.  I am lousy at math.  My kids are lousy at math.  And, I have met many homeschool kids who are lousy at math.  It probably does not have to be this way, but it seems common.  

On the other hand, I agree with you.  You do gain so much more in homeschooling.  Personally, I would never give up the freedom of homeschooling.  My son is interested in filmmaking.  On several occasions, he has been able to work with local filmmakers simply because he is homeschooled.  He has been able to drop everything and go work on movie sets only because he is not trapped by the classroom.  My girls have been able to develop several skills they would have missed had they been stuck in a classroom.  And, because they are not stuck in a classroom, I will be moving my family overseas for three months in order to study Greek intensively.  None of this would be possible with classroom schedules in the way.  

Then, of course, for better or worse, we do get to spend an inordinate amount of time with our children.   I would not want to loose that.  

One more thing about the classroom….  I have been in the classroom for almost 20 years.  I am not fully convinced that much education takes place in there.  Lots of management, lots of arguing, lots of bathroom breaks, but, not a lot of education.  That’s my opinion, of course.  

I worry, too, that my children are getting a lousy math education.  But, then again, the famous real estate investor, John Schaub, has become very successful with, as he says, “an eighth-grade math education and good people skills”.  Meanwhile, thousands of students who are “good at math” are going into a lifetime of debt for a college education.  Mathematically, that makes no sense at all to me.  My wife and I spend more time talking to our kids about financial math (math they will use daily for the rest of  their lives) than algebraic math.  They can always pick algebra up later if they need it.  I doubt they ever will.

I apologize for rambling.  I hope this helps.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Latin – Why pay more?

Years ago, my family was foreclosed on.  We ended up living with my wife’s parents for some time. 

I was a school teacher, earning a teacher’s salary.  This is not such a bad thing if you work for the government, but I was a teacher in a private school.  

We had a growing family.  We had four children at the time.  Several were in diapers.  My wife stayed home with the little ones.  It was out of the question to look at my wife and say, “Get thee also a paycheck.”

A growing family, and a teacher’s salary, it turns out, was a bad combination.  We were not going to make it.  Not to put too fine a point on it, we needed more money.  

Continue reading Latin – Why pay more?