The Weekly Sam: Devising Your Own Philosophy of Education By Samuel L. Blumenfeld

One of the great freedoms that homeschoolers have is the freedom to devise their own
philosophy of education as well as the freedom to implement it. It’s the most important
freedom we have. It’s what we call educational freedom, which is indispensable to the
maintenance of a free society. The liberals and atheists may succeed in getting the Ten
Commandments removed from a government building, but they have no power to impose
their philosophy of education on you and your children. They can impose it on the
children in the public schools, but they cannot impose it on you. And therein lies the true
freedom of the American people.

Thus, every homeschooler should exercise that freedom so that it becomes an important
part of the homeschool experience. What is a philosophy of education? It is a statement
of principles and beliefs that forces us to defme the word education so that it becomes
something of substance and true meaning and not merely a word tossed around by
politicians, judges, and professional educators.

I remember sitting in a courtroom some years ago listening to an attorney, supposedly
defending homeschoolers, who told the judge that he believed that the “state had a
compelling interest in education.” He never bothered to define what he meant by
education. Nor did the judge ask him what the word meant, since we know that what
goes on in today’s public classrooms could hardly be called education. What takes place
there is brainwashing. So, what is education? That’s the question every homeschooling
parent should ask and attempt to answer.

My own definition is quite simple. To me, education is the process of passing on to the
younger generation the knowledge, wisdom, morals, and spiritual values of the older
generation. That’s how a civilization is maintained from one generation to the next.
People often wonder how was it possible for the Jewish people to survive as a people
despite dispersion and persecution, so that they could go from their expulsion from the
land of Israel by the Romans around 131 A.D. to the restoration of the State of Israel in
1948. How did they maintain their identity, their religion, their hopes and dreams for
over fifteen hundred years, scattered allover the world. The answer is simple: the Bible,
the Five Books ofMoses, the Torah. That sacred Bible was handed down from
generation to generation and its message kept alive to this very day.

And that adherence to the Bible, from which the New Testament is derived, must be at
the heart of the American homeschooler’s philosophy of education. It is all spelled out in
Deuteronomy 6. The American nation was fuunded on that Bible, and that is the reason
why we still enjoy educational freedom in America. And that is why Bible study must be
at the heart of the homeschooler’s curriculum.

The liberals and leftists have been conducting their revolution in America by slowly
weaning Americans away from the Bible. Removing the Ten Commandments from a
state courthouse, where it served to educate the public about the origin of our laws, is one
ofthe more insolent and blasphemous of their actions. But what it teaches us is that we
must renew our efforts to bring up Christian children in the love and admonition ofthe
Lord. And so we must diligently teach our children the Word of God.

If you want your child to be able to read the Holy Scripture with ease and enjoyment, you
must teach your child to read by intensive, systematic phonics. That’s the way it was
done in colonial times, and that is why Americans were so highly literate in those days.
They were taught to read in the correct phonetic manner, which made it possible for small
boys and girls to read the Bible fluently and with understanding.
So, from the start, your philosophy of education will be very different from that
espoused by the public school in your neighborhood, which so many of your neighbo~
children attend. It is very different in concept, since the public schools forbid the
teaching ofthe Bible in their curriculum. It is also different in methodology, since the
public schools teach children to read by the whole-word method, which dumbs them
down and intellectually retards them.

How can one teach American history without reference to the Bible? When John
Winthrop and 700 colonists landed in Massachusetts Bay in l630, he told the

“We are a Company, professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, and thus we
ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love ….
We shall find that the God ofIsrael is among us, when ten of us shall be able to
resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that
men of succeeding plantations shall say, ‘The Lord make it like that of New
England.’  For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hil~ the eyes of
all people are upon us…”

Homeschoolers can teach our true history by making their children aware of the deep
religious faith of the founding fathers. But none of this can be taught in the public
school, which means that the history taught there is distorted and false. They cannot even
quote George Washington who issued a National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation in
1789, in which he stated:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty
God, to obey His will~ to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His
protection and favor. …
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of
November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States … that we then
may all unite unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and,
protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; … for
the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish
constitutions ofgovernment for our safety and happiness, and particularly the
national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we
are blessed.”

As Christian parents you have the right to imbue your children with these wonderful
statements of our founding fathers, so that your children will know the true religious
origin of our institutions. Our history is rich with such expressions of religious fervor on
the part of statesmen and politicians who understood the source ofAmerican felicity.
Your philosophy of education should help you choose the materials with which to do the
teaching. Some parents want a highly structured program with much discipline in the
educational process. Other parents prefer a more relaxed approach to give their children
greater freedom to choose what they will study, having confidence that their children will
develop interests in subjects which parents may not have thought of.

One homeschooling mother on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when required by the local
superintendent to submit her education plan for her son, wrote:

“The priorities of our curriculum are daydreaming, natural and social sciences,
self-discipline, respect for self and others, and making mistakes. I encourage an
acceptance of failure so that he will be comfortable taking risks ….My curriculum
was best expressed by Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a
wildflower, To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”

Not all children can handle so much freedom. I remember reading a letter in a magazine
from a homeschooler who wished that her parents had exerted greater discipline over her
education so that she would not have wasted so much time reinventing the wheel.
In other words, many children want guidance from those who know more than they do.
They look at parents as the experts who can lead them to where they should go. Parents
who are professionals can easily lead their children to take up their profession if that is
what the child finds of interest.

Some parents decide very early what they want their children to become: engineers,
physicians, nurses, lawyers, teachers, military men, politicians, policemen, and other such
well-defined professions. Few parents would urge their children to become poets, actors,
TV anchormen, artists, fashion designers, models, journalists, editors, photographers,
Hollywood stuntmen, etc. Young people take up these professions mainly out of their
own interest, unless they have a parent in that line of work. For example, in Hollywood,
the children of actors, directors, and producers usually go into the same line of work as
their parents because of easy access to the profession and the connections of their parents.
Thus, if you want your child to go into a well-defined profession, you can provide the
kind of education that leads to it. On the other hand, by giving your child greater

freedom in choosing the curriculum, he or she may develop a desire to do what comes
naturally: writing stories, designing clothes, painting pictures, playmg an instrument,
singing, acting, or selling things. But they still have to learn the academic basics.

Many homeschooling moms are happy to maintain warm, comfortable, loving homes for
their families while their husbands provide the means to pay the bills. After all,
housekeeping is a profession as well as a science all its own. Cookillg, cleaning,
decorating, gardening, furnishing, sewing, shopping are tasks that virtually every child
learns by just watching their parents do it. A home is a special place for all of us. It is
where we socialize with parents and siblings and learn how to be civil with one another.
We can all remember the days when we had to share the bathroom, wash the dishes,
make our beds, prepare the meals, set up the decorations at Christmas time. Who would
deny that something is being learned every day at home?

Stay-at-home moms also serve as models for their children who sooner or later will marry
and have families of their own and will have to do all ofthe things that their parents did.
When a stay-at-home mom supervises the education of her children, she raises her status
in their eyes. And when she and her husband develop their own philosophy of education
on top of all that, they become true educators.

The public schools have not only destroyed true education, but they have also destroyed
the teaching profession. In the old days a teacher stood in front of her class and taught
the basics in a way that made sense and produced excellent results. Today, that teacher is
a facilitator who simply walks around the room conferring with students but doing very
little real teaching. The children leave that system woefully uneducated and miseducated.
And so, parents who want their children to be smartened up instead of dumbed down
have been forced to do it themselves. And that is all to the good because it has forced
parents to free themselves from an institution that has become evil and destructive of
religion and morality.

Once the academic basics are taught, you can then decide what is important for your
children to know. They should know about our political system, and take an interest in
the electoral process. It’s the politicians who must protect our freedoms, and
homeschoolers should take an active role in supporting legislators who are on the side of
educational freedom. Taking part in political races may inspire your child to become not
only a legislator but also the President! Why not? Let your child aim high.
History, geography, science, mathematics, economics, a foreign language, and of course
English must all be in your curriculum. Each subject represents a challenge in terms of
how to approach it. Homeschool book fairs offer an exciting array of books on all of
these subjects. The public schools offer dull textbooks that put the students to sleep.

You have the freedom to choose books that will make the subject interesting. A good
way to study history is by reading biographies and autobiographies. History is made by
men and women, and we can learn much by how they lived and influenced the future.

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