Jon's Homeschool Resource Page

Jon's Homeschool Resources

Frequently Questioned Answers

Subject: FQA (frequently questioned answers)
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 1995 19:00:19 -0500
From: david mankins

Out of the frying pan:
The Home-ed Frequently Questioned Answers (FQA) list.
Version 0.3

1. What do homeschoolers think about TV?
  • Some forgot to pick theirs up from the repair place ten years ago.
  • Some think it's an instrument of the Forces of Darkness.
  • Some find guilty relief in being able to use it as a babysitter.
  • Some fight with their kids over the channel changer.

2. What do homeschoolers think about public schools?
  • Some think they're a socialist plot.
  • Some think socialist plots are a Good Thing.
  • Some think they are bureaucracies which, like most bureacracies, are more interested in the size of the turf than in how well it is cultivated.
  • Some think they're factories for turning out good little assembly-line workers.
  • Some think they can be pretty good, actually, just not the best way for their kids to learn.

3. What do homeschoolers think about politics?
  • Some have better things to do with their time.
  • Some think Rush Limbaugh would be okay if he wasn't such a feminist.
  • Some think anyone who uses the phrases ``liberal agenda'' or ``secular humanism'' in serious conversation is a few cliches shy of a thought.
  • Some think the author of this note has just tipped his hand.

4. What do homeschoolers think about God?
  • Some think that society has turned its back on God and is sinking into a pit of decay and ruin as a result.
  • Some think that society has turned its back on God and they look forward to the time when society turns its back on rabbits feet and four-leaf clovers too.
  • Some think that without God there are no moral or ethical standards.
  • Some think that God is not a necessary assumption.
  • God? Any god in particular?

A lot of people are home-schooling because they want to shield their children from the corrupting influences of our society until the kids are better equipped to handle those influences. For some, the source of corruption is Godlessness. For others the source of corruption is Post-Industrial Capitalism.

Other people are homeschooling to shield their children from the corrupting influence of being ``institutionalized'' --- being placed on an assembly line and treated like a statistic. For some of these the animosity toward institutions spills over to other institutions (religion, for example).

4.5 What do homeschoolers think about right and wrong?
  • I don't know about you, but I will have to answer to God for the moral choices I make (actually, I do know about you, but I'm too polite to say what'll happen).
  • But what would life be like if everybody stole things??
  • Between you and me, stealing is wrong.
  • e-to-the-i-pi equals 1, therefore stealing is wrong.[*]

[*] Ahem. This is a logically valid statement! e^(i*pi) = -1, so any conclusion drawn from ``e^(i*pi) = 1'' is valid. Pedantically yours, the author.

5. What do homeschoolers think about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child? (Last year: what did homeschoolers think about HR 6?)
  • Some think it's a plot by one-worlders to come in their black helicopters and take the paddles out of the hands of God Fearing Parents(tm), and to mandate sex education in kindergarten.
  • Some think that opposition is a plot by Child Beating Advocates to add to their mailing lists for the next election.
  • Some think that it's a well-meaning document that could too easily play into the hands of Janet Reno.
  • Some think that its opposition is playing into the hands of Jesse Helms and Orrin Hatch.

6. The way to teach kids to read is...
  • Phonics! ``whole language'' is a socialist plot to spread dyslexia!
  • Whole language! ``Phonics'' is the route to a nation that moves its lips as it reads!
  • Whatever works! Children have many different ways of learning, and that whole language engages many of those means, including, as it happens, the use of phonetic sounding out of unfamiliar words.
  • Reading!

A study indicated that both methods were equally successful (and equally unsuccessful!) at teaching reading. What really determines a child's success are the attitudes of the child's parents toward reading and learning, not the method used.

If books aren't a part of the parents' lives, they are unlikely to become a part of the children's lives.

7. What do the phrases ``Learning disabled'' and ``gifted children'' have to do with homeschooling?
  • Some people think that ``learning disabilities'' are bureaucratic creations of the public socialist system to have an excuse to extort more money from the taxpayers.
  • ``Learning-disabled'', and ``gifted'' are labels. Labels are a form of stereotype. Stereotypes are a crutch for people who can't deal with reality.
  • Some people think that our minds are such amazingly complex systems that it's a miracle we aren't ALL learning disabled in one way or another.
  • Everyone has gifts. Homeschooling, because children receive individual attention, is a way to maximize the particular gifts of the particular child.
  • Everyone has difficulties. Homeschooling, because children receive individual attention, is a way of recognizing and overcoming those difficulties.

8. How do homeschooled children grow up to be normal members of society?
  • By growing strong enough, in the bosom of their family, that the things you think they need to not be sheltered from aren't harmful to their psyches, should they ever actually encounter them.
  • I've worked all my life, sitting in a crowded room with people exactly my age, listening to an older person tell me what to do, haven't you? I can't imagine anything better!
  • Shouldn't society grow up to be normal for homeschooled children instead? As the Amish farmer once observed, ``I've seen normal and I don't like it.''

9. What should the standard homeschooling curriculum be?
  • The Bible.
  • Darwin.
  • ``Curriculum'' is such an institutional word, don't you think? I prefer ``library card, clay, and tempera paint'', myself, followed, should my children wish it, by ``microscope, microcomputer, library card, clay, and tempera paint''. Did I mention ``library card''?
  • ``I've seen normal and I don't like it.''

10. How do homeschoolers teach math?
  • Write on the board 1000 times: 2+2=4, 2+3=5, 2+4=6.... (Supplementary exercise: do it against the clock).
  • By playing Parcheesi with ten-sided dice.
  • By teaching their kids the lost art of making change with their own allowance; by having them double or halve recipes (and making them eat the results).

11. What do homeschooler's think about diversity and multiculturalism?
  • We homeschool because we want our children to learn the right way of thinking and acting.
  • Diversity and multiculturalism is a socialist plot to make us think that other people are just as good as we are.
  • After the Saturnalia, we burn a wicker man, and use it to light the taper with which we light the Menorah at the top of the Christmas tree. We recycle the Christmas tree just in time for the Cherry Blossom festival.
  • Diversity and multiculturalism are just a way to confuse children about what their own culture is.
  • A diet of steak, potatoes, bagels, tempura, chilis, croissants, cous-cous and curry is better than a diet of steak and potatoes.

12. What about the importance of speling?
  • If there is an active mailing list that has never seen a spelling flame, it will.
  • For some people, email is an informal communication, like conversation (which it greatly resembles), full of ellipsis, anaphora, and unfinished thoughts, but also full of spontaneity and synergy.
  • For others, email is a formal communication, like writing (which it greatly resembles), and they dislike being distracted from their reading by the snag of a misspelled word.

12.5 How is ``homeschool'' spelled?
  • ``home school''
  • ``home-school''
  • ``homeschool''
  • ``home's cool''

- dave mankins (,

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December 1, 1995..November 30, 2002