On Friday, the Obama Justice Department and the Obama Education Department issued what they called “a joint directive” (most people call them threats) to the nation’s public school districts, telling them to start letting boys use the girls’ bathroom — and vice versa — or risk legal action and the loss of federal education grants. And here you thought that the most radical of the Obama years were over.
This transgender-bathroom business is hot stuff for progressives searching desperately for an election-year theme to rival 2012’s War on Women. As outrageous as the administration’s bullying of local school districts is, and as furious as you should be that Obama in his waning days in office is behaving more and more like the emperor Diocletian, don’t lose sight of a simple, liberating fact: You do not need to send your kids to government schools. You can homeschool. Like us.
I know it sounds radical. I know it sounds like the kind of thing that will ruin your marriage, delete your social life, and turn everything you’ve worked for upside down and inside out. I know you probably think you’re not capable of educating your kids in the home. You think that’s a job for professionals. But it’s not.
If we can do it, you can do it. Trust me.
My wife has a background in elementary Catholic education, I admit, and that has helped somewhat. But she taught for only a few years before becoming a full-time homeschool mom. She handles the heavy lifting — the day-in, day-out stuff. I help around the margins with the things that suit my skill set. I played in rock bands when I was younger, so it’s my job to police piano lessons. I did a little acting here and there, so I’m the point man for Shakespeare.
Oh, and I was born in Morristown, N.J. — a.k.a. the Military Capital of the Revolution — so I head up the American-history department.
The job of the homeschooling parent is to instill in the homeschooled child a love of learning.
Mostly, however, the job of the homeschooling parent is to instill in the homeschooled child a love of learning. In our house, that means a love of books. We’ve got loads of them. And we can walk to the library to get more if we need them. So long as we have that, there’s nothing we can’t learn on our own.
We also have a computer. You probably do, too. This is 2016. It’s the Internet age. You don’t need an education degree anymore to locate the resources to educate a child. Everything you need is online.
There’s no denying that it’s a radical thing. Though the ranks of homeschoolers are growing, we still represent a tiny slice of the total school-age population. There are something like 77 million children enrolled in public and private schools across the country, and just 2 million kids being educated at home. We are a little platoon.
#share#There are some downsides to homeschooling. You do have to endure some sidelong glances when you drop everything and take your kids for a vigorous hike in the woods on a beautiful, sunny spring day. It’s genuinely shocking to the world at large to see a 12-year-old in the wild when they could be stuck inside a brutalist two-story building on the outskirts of town waiting to have their lunch money stolen or be lectured on all the low-down dirty things have been done by marauding capitalist Americans in the name of so-called democracy over the last 240 years.
So there is that to consider. But homeschooling has its upside, too, and it’s not nothing. I call it the sweet smell of freedom. It’s the thrill of exercising your inalienable right to pursue happiness in any ding-dang way you want. Some guys get it from firing a gun. Some get it by being politically incorrect at dinner parties. I get it from knowing that they can’t touch my family.
No matter how crazy it makes them, no matter how badly they want to, they can’t touch my family.
#related#You can be forgiven for being intimidated by the thought of homeschooling. But what’s the alternative? The education bureaucracy — backed, now, by the full power of the federal government — views job number one as undoing all the silly, outdated, and traditional notions that students have picked up from their parents. Academic excellence comes second to building a compassionate, equitable, and carbon-neutral society.
You may be one of the lucky ones who live in a school district that hasn’t been infected by the Common Core, transgenderism, the green agenda, Ally Week, condoms on bananas, and all the rest. I hope you are. But no matter what standard you are setting for them in the home, if you send your kids to government schools, they eventually will come home speaking excitedly about gender fluidity, racial privilege, microaggressions, environmental justice, and cultural appropriation.
Don’t do it. Exercise your rights. Come on in, the freedom’s great.