The millions of American families who adopt a learn-at-home mentality and approach to education are in a unique position to be the families that help preserve freedom, our Founding Principles, and our American way of life.
Contrary to traditional thought, learning-at-home can be enjoyed full-time, part-time, or as time allows by all American families who truly value profound education. The principle is that in-person schooling does not, and should not, represent all education, all the time, for all students - including ourselves as parents. School cannot be synonymous with learning any longer. A healthy and successful lifestyle means learning never stops, and as parents, we should foster and instill a culture of learning in the home.
With regard to my field of history and civics, we know that the vast majority of American students graduate High School unable to pass a citizenship test. This is unsustainable for a free republic.
The solution is for American students and families to become historically knowledgeable again on our Founding Principles with the courage and conduct to defend them. As citizens of sovereign states and one united country, founded on self-government, we cannot continue to not know American history/civics and what is required of us in a free society while expecting to remain independent, virtuous, and wise.
Parents who take a learn-at-home mentality can impact this trajectory immediately without having to ask school boards for permission or wait around for others. With so many things out of your control, what is in your control are the types of books you read, courses/videos you study, and people you connect with that can help foster and elevate the knowledge required of free citizens.
One of the main reasons the home must be the place to restore American principles and history education is that students and families are not bound by the curriculum of a traditional school. You can take your time and explore subjects in greater depth rather than being forced to rush through topics an inch deep and a mile wide. This can and will facilitate a better understanding of the principles and enjoyment of the learning process.
Enjoyment being central students should view learning as a rewarding experience and one that helps them grow into better people and citizens. Learning from the great minds of the American and Western tradition is a way that a family can become more wise instead of cramming superficial information for the next test.
The other aspect that is influenced is quality. Learning-at-home can and should be more than just an escape from bad curriculums but a virtuous and inspiring way forward. Young Americans have the opportunity to become better at understanding the principles of self-government, individual rights, natural law, and Constitutional government than their peers who are stuck with a history education that in many cases is watered down and uninspiring and in worst cases untrue and deceptive.
Students are yearning for a more meaningful learning experience that pursues truth above all else. More profound learning inspires greatness, cultivates virtue, instills curiosity and wonder, and fortifies the mind to think independently while stimulating students to think deeply about fundamental American and Western values. Liberty, virtue, equality, the Rights of Man, and Natural Law are big, grand, and powerful principles that need to be better understood, not glossed over or misinterpreted. These principles also empower students to become better citizens and versions of themselves.
Instead of being stuck in a system/curriculum that accepts “neutrality” of our Founding Principles for the sake of neutrality, while overlooking the tremendous failures of Big Government and its antithesis to our Founding, students can grapple with principles that transcend the modern moment, and rigorously study the origins, significance, and meaning of the moral, philosophical, and political foundation that made possible the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence. There is a powerful American story and moral universe of profound principles waiting to be rediscovered.
Lastly, the family can build convenience and consistency into their culture of education. Parents can lead by setting a positive and inspiring example of what learning our Founding Principles looks and sounds like. Families can foster discussions by reading similar books or watching similar courses and videos together. They can binge-watch content that promotes and teaches the virtues and truth of the American tradition instead of binge-watching the latest NetFlix show. It doesn’t have to always be formal in order to be effective, profound, and fun.
Whether you learn from home full or part-time students have more resources than ever to learn the values and virtues of self-government and the American tradition without the bounds and PERMISSION of the bureaucratic school system. Families get to set the pace and journey for education for their son/daughter and family while fostering the strength, courage, and wisdom necessary to reclaim the principles and traditions that are uniquely American.
The home is where principles that have weathered away in schools can be resurrected. For the sake of the republic, I pray that they do.