Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Search the Remnant Newspaper
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to homeschool like it’s 1974

By:   Hilary White
Rate this item
(18 votes)
Learning is fun.... Learning is fun....
The Revolution was very thorough, and whether you ascribe it to the “long march” of Gramsciist infiltration of our institutions to reshape the world in the Marxist mold, or whether you pull the camera back even further and start naming Freemasonic conspiracies, we have a concrete problem right in front of us.

I hated school, with an impassioned devotion that lasted from the first day of kindergarten to the day I signed myself out of high school one day after my 16th birthday, the day it became legal to do so in British Columbia. All through the intervening years I begged and pleaded with my very well-educated mother to homeschool me. But it was the ‘70s and it really just wasn’t done in those days.

In the end, though, she did effectively teach me at home through all our time together. This was simply because school bored me into a coma and I was disgusted with the stupidity and ignorance of most of my teachers and classmates.

I was miserable in school and spent most of my years of incarceration surreptitiously reading books under my desk and ignoring my classmates and teachers as much as possible. For this, I spent a good deal of time in Sr. Norah’s office explaining why I didn’t pay attention. How could I explain? Why would I be interested in them? They knew nothing, read nothing, were interested in nothing, cared about nothing, had been nowhere and done nothing. They were utterly, utterly boring and I hated them heartily and with unrepentant, childish remorselessness from the first days. The only thing I ever wanted to do in school was go home. (I’m sure I was insufferable.)

Already in my kindergarten, my mother was being called into the school to address the concerns the teacher had that I was telling the other children stories: “She’s been saying that she’s been through the Panama Canal and been to France...”

Mum: “Well, she has...”

When I was six, we came back to Canada after a stay in England where I had already been to school. Normal, regular school where we did more than play all day. In those days, before the English school system collapsed to the forces of liberalism it was considered one of the best in the world. They had started me on the times tables, learned by rote recitation and penmanship. Despite being teased for my odd accent, I had enjoyed the school I attended in Manchester and had wanted to stay.

Once back in Canada on the hippie left coast, the move to create an ideological laboratory out of primary education was already well under way, and I was disgusted to see that we did nothing in school. On the first day of the first grade at James Bay Community School, I complained that it was boring. I hated these dumb and ignorant Canadian kids. I hated the teacher who talked to us like we were lobotomized. I hated the ugly modern school. Most of all, I hated the boredom. I went armed with copy book and pencils expecting to be taught things, and was shocked to find that we did nothing but play all day, which to many of the kids meant bully all day. Also, I got stung by a bee.

My mother came and picked me up on that first day and on our walk home I asked, “How long do I have to go to school?” When she said, “About twelve years,” I burst into tears and was inconsolable for a week. I never did manage to really reconcile myself to what I saw as a prison sentence.

Fortunately, having already been raised in an environment where one was simply expected to know things, I retreated into books, which were, after all, already all over the house. When I was in the third grade, my mother started studying for a degree in sciences, marine biology and mathematics – with a side of languages, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. I have her notes from that time, and her trained and beautiful italic handwriting is alone a testament to the superiority of the education that was normal in post-war Britain.

Want More Hilary White?  Read Hilary's non-posted Remnant column every two weeks in the print edition of The Remnant.

She studied during the summers and the solution as to what to do with me was resolved by simply taking me along. I was brought on field trips to the marine biology research stations on the British Columbia coast where I loved to help collect sea weed specimens. I was probably the only ten year-old who could name by sight all the major coniferous tree species in the province.

Back at the campus, while my mother was in classes, Dr. Austen, the director of the department, showed me how to use a low-power dissecting microscope in the tank room and gave me my own dissecting kit and note book. Seaweed was his special area, but the tanks where the specimens were kept alive by a constant flow of cold sea water was also the ideal place for the little creatures that sheltered on the plants. I was taught how to make detailed drawings of tiny crabs, minute sea stars, brine shrimp, insects and flatworms, and how to identify their species using a taxonomic key. It never seemed to occur to anyone that I ought to be doing more childish things and a life-long interest in nature was born. And nothing was more disappointing than when the summers ended and I had to go back to jail.

Starting sciences at U-Vic in 1971, my mother already had a teaching certificate, was fluent in German and did calculus problems the way ordinary people did the crossword. At the time of her death in 2007, Judy had earned a BSc, a first class engineering ticket from the Canadian Coast Guard College, welder’s certifications, grade ten piano and the Canadian government’s bilingual certification in French. She had co-authored a high school mathematics text and had spent several years working both onboard ships (search and rescue as well as ice breaking and aids to navigation) and in the Ottawa office of Vessel Technical Services, where she did refit estimates on the Coast Guard’s fleet of East Coast ice breakers.

Frankly, it’s a bit of a tough act to follow. The shortcomings of my own education, trapped in the Dewey-inspired ideological backwater that was public education in the 70s, I know only too well how important homeschooling is for our times. If my formal education was of hopelessly poor quality, I can only imagine the state of things today.

In my recent time in England, I saw first hand what it was doing to my young cousins. There seems no longer to be even a pretense of an attempt to teach rudimentary facts. My delightful 11 year-old cousin M. came to visit me one day clutching a Gideon soft-cover New Testament. She knocked on the door of my cottage and when I opened it, held it out in front of my eyes and demanded, “What is this?”

“What do you mean?”

“They handed them out to us today in school. What is it?”

I ushered her in and gave her a cup of tea while I tried to explain what the Bible was and why it was important.

M. is a bright girl, and was top of her class throughout her school career. She had a very entertaining habit of asking a million questions an hour about everything. One day she and I were walking together and she asked me if my uncle Mike, her granddad, had fought in the War. Mike was born a year after my mother, in 1945.

I asked, “M___, when do you think World War II started?”

“Oh, um… some time in the 19th century?”

I do not have children and am not going to have any, but I share the frustration of many parents at what can be done about the problem of the corruption of education. The Revolution was very thorough, and whether you ascribe it to the “long march” of Gramsciist infiltration of our institutions to reshape the world in the Marxist mold, or whether you pull the camera back even further and start naming Freemasonic conspiracies, we have a concrete problem right in front of us.

A few weeks ago, I watched a video by Mike Matt about the benefits of homeschooling. He made the point that it is starting to leak out into the general public, no longer the exclusive purview of ghettoized Christians. More and more ordinary secular people are starting to see that children are being taught nothing, and are being corrupted. Sex education and ideological indoctrination in schools is only part of it. The kids just don’t know anything.

When I was a child, I felt vaguely guilty for hating school as furiously as I did. I felt I ought to have been paying attention. When I got older, I thanked God for giving me this wise instinct and my mother for teaching me at home as best she could.

[Comment Guidelines - Click to view]
Last modified on Tuesday, June 2, 2015