By: The Federalist
When the left calls homeschoolers ‘reactionary,’ we should take it as a compliment: Our actions are hindering their goals.
I grew up homeschooled in the 1980s when no one outside the Focus on the Family audience had heard of homeschooling. I remember the looks we’d get at the grocery store if we went during school hours.
It’s different now. These days when I take my crew, the checkout lady knows we’re homeschooled because I have polite and helpful children. She says, “Oh, I wish we could have homeschooled!”
Homeschooling has become more and more widespread over my own 13-year stint as a homeschooling mom, astronomically so in the last two years. Schools’ safety measures, such as inhumane mask requirements and risky vaccine mandates, are making parents fear for their children’s well-being.
Those who never thought they’d homeschool are seriously considering it. Many are nervous though, as they imagine their kids may become socially awkward.
Even though homeschooling is much more mainstream than when I was growing up, it still makes people look at you funny. Back in the ’80s and still today, homeschoolers get called reactionary. And it’s true: we are. Since the French Revolution, “reactionary” has referred to those “opposing political or social liberalization.”
We don’t want to be called reactionary if it means we’re overreacting or using shallow or emotional reasoning. But that’s not the claim. We’re being called names, but maybe we should take it as a compliment. The left is letting us know that our actions are hindering their desires.
Homeschooling Is Reactionary
Homeschooling is legitimately reactionary — in a good way — for two reasons: First, the home is a conducive setting for actual education. Second, family time to strengthen bonds actually takes time, which homeschooling provides and other schooling options steal. Indeed, homeschooling is opposed to Marxism’s goal of separating the family by its very nature.
Many people cannot even fathom education happening at home simply because school happens at school, in their experience. However, history demonstrates that home is a valid setting for learning. When the artificial structures of a school schedule and an institutional conveyor belt are stripped away, each student is simply himself, in his natural and normal habitat, reading and writing and talking and thinking. Learning more readily passes into the inner self because all the social pressures and distractions are removed.
There is no reason, being homeschooled, to not ask a question because you’re afraid what your peers will think. There is likewise no reason not to connect subjects and think about issues as interrelated, because it’s all happening in the same space and at irregular times, not in compartments and classrooms that never intersect.
Homeschooled students tend to read more, and I believe it’s for two primary reasons: they have the time because they don’t have evening homework on top of a fully scheduled day and they aren’t pressured into the posture of treating school subjects as boring.
Believing school is boring comes from schools that make it so by removing most of the real learning. Learning is never boring. School is often boring because so little learning is included. With time, a loving tutor, comfortable surroundings, and worthwhile books, the stage is set for learning. Home is a great place to receive a real education.
Homeschooling is considered reactionary because of its emphasis on and strengthening of family ties. The liberalization of our culture has come about through the weakening of the traditional family. The family is in the crosshairs; it must be diminished to the point of being a non-factor before the Marxists can declare victory. They are working on it.
Schools, particularly government schools, have been used in the past for the same aims as Marxism. Plato’s ideal republic, with its strict social norms, could only be achieved if children were removed from their homes and mothers at a young age and taught by people who knew the plan. Lycurgus made Sparta the warlike communist city it was by beginning state education at age 7, not allowing children to even return home to eat and sleep. Marx himself states in his “Communist Manifesto” that communism demands and requires “free education for all children in public schools.”
One fundamental divide between conservative and liberal, Christian and Marxist, red and blue, is who can best raise children: individual parents of individual children or the state planners. Social outcomes down the road begin at this fork in the road. Whoever shapes the children shapes the future.
Shaping takes time. One hour in the evening around the dinner table (and how many even get that!) and a few minutes in the car each day is not enough to undo the influence of six or more hours at school. Homeschooling brings the influence and responsibility back to the home and the parents, where it belongs. Homeschooling gives the family time together again.
So by its very nature, homeschooling opposes the Marxist agenda. It values, recognizes, and increases the family bond. It refuses to give the bulk of our children’s waking hours to the state. It maintains personal freedom, with students who integrate learning into their whole being and whole day organically rather than walking lock-step with a crowd to the dictates of a teacher, or worse yet, of a test. Life and learning are not two things in the world of a homeschooler, they are intertwined.
Homeschooled kids experience learning personally and relationally, which enables them to think independently and logically. Independent and logical thinkers are not what the public schools turn out. Although there are teachers who try, the very system is set up to create a compulsory conformity that they call unity.
Yes, homeschooling is the best way to be reactionary. It is the best way to threaten the leftist establishment. Homeschooling our children is resistance. It is more effective culturally and socially than voting or protesting, because we, as homeschoolers, are gifting our world with young people who know history, math, and science; who read books for fun; who haven’t been bullied into social conformity for all their formative years.
Yes, homeschoolers stand out awkwardly in society sometimes. If looking people in the eye, having unexpectedly lucid conversation with adults, and walking with shoulders back and a grin for the world around them is socially awkward, I’m all for awkwardness.
I don’t want my children to fit into their average peer group. Therefore, I don’t let them spend most of their days with that peer group. Instead, they spend that time with me. We read books. We have a great time. And when I’m done, my husband and I won’t just be two reactionaries. We’ll be a band of seven reactionaries, bound to become more, because that’s the way families work: generationally.
That is why the Marxists are so antagonistic towards homeschooling and families. Strong families, especially those educated outside the system, are a threat. Take their name-calling as a badge of honor. Homeschooling is a great way to make and keep your family strong, bonded over good books and independent thought. It is an effective way to be politically subversive and resistant in our Marxist age.