Wednesday, 21 March 2012


"If you want something done right, do it yourself."
Homeschool Domination Last night, one Peter Kim emailed me to ask for my feedback on a graphic his team have put together which "illustrates the state of America’s public education and the rise in homeschooling...". My first reaction is doubt as to the necessity of such an endeavor, in that smart parents will already understand the importance of getting their kids out of the government-run schools and will try to do so anyway. Surely it is the parents who (perhaps mistakenly) believe that they cannot afford to homeschool their children that are the people most in need of information. What I would emphasize more at the expense of the other items in this graphic is the cost: with the advent of cheap computers and the internet, good homeschooling can now surely be accomplished on a very modest budget. However, I would also supplement this point with the use of examples where a student has chosen some goal of interest to her requiring a certain amount of study and has successfully integrated multiple sources of information to attain that goal.

The key point to me is not that homeschooling is necessarily a good idea (though it certainly can be - see my exchange with the German blogger "JR" here) but simply that what we call "education" should be voluntary rather than based on the command and control calculus of government. Set within a broader, voluntary ethics, the motivating desire to acquire knowledge and develop skills would be a salient aspect in which "education" could be different. As David Friedman argues here, there is ample reason to suppose that students learn better when they want to learn something - the corrollary being that they must therefore be free to choose what it is they want to learn.

An additional argument for removing one's kids from the government-run system of course, is obvious: government control of schools, whilst ostensibly argued for under the Left's "equality of opportunity" rubric, also happens to double as a means of social-psychological control with the promulgation of CAGW propaganda, the dumbing down of subjects and standards, and the over-population of the teaching profession with intolerant little Leftist women.

Although I myself went through a government-run system, I was fortunate enough to have one or two teachers who were overflowing with goodness. My English teacher between the ages of, I think, 13 and 16 (I'll omit her name) knew well enough to let me ignore most of what was going on in class (e.g. a lesson on semi-colons or clause structure) and even encourage me to do my own thing, which was trying to get on with not being a hopelessly damned retard like the rest of them.

I don't think I really went off the rails until I went to university, which was largely due to preoccupation with girls and a sublimated sense of intellectual frustration which would stay with me for years and which eventually became unbearable after I went to Edinburgh (and hence my flight to Taiwan).

I don't know how I'd rank on the various criteria Peter's organization have looked at, but at least on the socializiation item, I'd probably do quite poorly: not because I lack social skills (I can be as relaxed and charming as moonlight on water), but because I have become sullen, withdrawn and lazy in an intellectual environment so dimly lit that even a Ben Goren can win an island-wide popularity contest; where the banning of reasoned dissent is considered normal; where students go to the island's top punyversities to study Marxism; and where even an editor of the only national newspaper worth bothering about can gormlessly refer to a political fund-raising gimmick as "Taiwan's version of the Jasmine Revolution".


No apologies for my acquired lack of social graces. I'd rather spend my time driving around the mountains, talking to the poor people and doing what I can for the innocent and abandoned animals.


  1. I find the absence of a "Top Three Homeschooling Mothers' Professions:" conspicuous.

    And the only-13%-proficient-in-history graphic in the "by the numbers" section just looks out of place.

  2. I don't even care what either parents' profession is. The relevant point is how much time/effort/patience they put in.

    And neither do I think the history statistic is out of place, especially given that it is not July 4th that should be celebrated, but rather July 6th seeing as that day marked the final resolve to act for freedom.


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