Education today vs. yesteryear

Nostalgia. We love it, don’t we? Fond memories of the past. Memories that we want to see our grandchildren enjoy. Or do we?

Grandparents and great-grandparents frequently recall the fond memories of their childhood school days as they see the big yellow school bus rolling down the street today.

We didn’t need buses in the Good Ol’ Days, did we? We did something novel. We WALKED to and from school. Uphill both ways!

Sometimes school was traumatizing. The girls learned not to wear pigtails because the boys would pull them. Gum chewing was a significant offense. We learned the 3 Rs, plus some art and PE. We prayed to our God and pledged allegiance to our country each morning. If we disobeyed the teacher, we were punished at school AND at home. We never did “that thing” again. We learned how to be responsible, educated, caring citizens.

Then something happened. In response to 1962 and 1963 Supreme Court decisions, prayer and Bible reading were banned from the public schools. Simultaneously, evolution was beginning to be taught aggressively, replacing Biblical creation, and the previously taught Christian morality thus was likewise rejected. A decade later, the climate was ripe for Roe v. Wade to usher in the glamorization of teen pregnancies and acceptance of abortions as commonplace. Abortion providers were invited to speak to students in the schools. As discipline and morality disappeared, drugs and alcohol and the sexual revolution took their place, bringing crime and immorality into the schools. There were robberies, assaults, rapes, even suicides. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 there were 828,000 non-fatal criminal incidents in schools. There were 470,000 thefts and 359,000 violent attacks, of which 91,400 were serious. In the same year, 145,100 public-school teachers were physically attacked, and 276,700 were threatened.

All of this was augmented by social and ideological instruction transitioning from the parents to the school. The moms who stayed home to teach their children throughout most of the history of the world had gone back to the work force and families relied on the schools to do much of the child-rearing. The realization finally hit home: The parent was no longer in charge of their child’s education, and it was out of control.

So, how did homeschooling come to be?

Actually, home education has been the standard method of training and educating children throughout most of the history of the world. Public schools and compulsory education are just a recent blip on the continuum of history. Homeschooling isn’t at all new; it’s just new to those of us who have been alive since the 1920s or ’40s or ’60s. Public and private schools were all we knew.

So, why has the past generation or two returned to homeschooling in extraordinary numbers?

It’s because parents looked around them and saw what was happening. No matter how excellent the local school was, or how caring the teachers (and we know there are MANY wonderful teachers out there), it was undeniable that children were exposed to danger, fed watered-down academics, given indoctrination that violated their religious beliefs, and subjected to classroom discussions of sexual matters that usurped parents’ authority and destroyed young children’s innocence. The statistics proved true: Around 85% of the children of Christian parents turned away from their faith after high school. Twelve years of 6-hours-a-day, 5-days-a-week instruction mixed with social agendas, plus evenings and weekends busy with clubs, sports and activities, could not be offset by a couple hours in church once or twice a week and whatever little time was left to spend face to face with parents.

Thus, homeschooling was re-pioneered, somewhat in the ’70s but most observably in the ’80s by parents who were so convinced by Scripture, and believed so passionately that God’s design was for them to raise AND educate their children, that they were willing to go to jail. Some did spend time in jail, others fled to friendlier states, but all of them paved the way for what we have today: the ability to home educate in every state.

But it didn’t stop there. Homeschoolers have not only proved themselves capable; they have proved themselves MORE than capable, as validated by statistical studies over many decades. Homeschooled students nationwide outperform public school students in standardized tests by 30 to 37 percentile points. And they have proved themselves to be thoroughly adept socially, hard workers and responsible as adults. Statistics show that homeschooled children score equally well on standardized tests whether the parents are high school dropouts or college graduates; whether they’re wealthy or poor; whether their state has strict regulations or no regulations. It doesn’t matter. It’s the parents’ love for their children that makes homeschooling a success!

So, if you’re a grandparent who is new to homeschooling, and perhaps a bit concerned about how the children will “turn out” or fear that they will miss out on all those nostalgic memories you have of yesteryear, start networking with other grandparents of homeschoolers. We hope that the connections you make, and information you glean through Grandparents of Homeschoolers, will help you relax, and trust your kids. After all, you raised them. So, in essence, a huge part of YOU is being passed down to your grandchildren by the best teachers in the world, designed especially by God to nurture and educate them.

Now YOU have this wonderful opportunity to dive in, help your kids educate your grandkids (in little ways or big ways) and enjoy the journey! Be assured — it could become the most rewarding journey you’ll ever undertake!