By Heather Wilson
Last fall, I was able to realize a dream. After reading “The School Revolution: A New Answer For Our Broken Education System” by Ron Paul for motivation, attending a homeschooling convention and buying hand picked curriculum, I was ready to be a homeschooling mom.
I have a gifted son, and we accomplished so much in one year. We studied Native Americans, early settlers, the Revolutionary War, early American government, math up to algebra, chemistry, blue print drafting, the scientific method, scientific writing and more.
Keep in mind that if he was in public school he would have been entering third grade when we started. In the spring, he tested at the high school level in every area except spelling, which was at sixth grade.
I really believed I could have this kid through college before he reached twenty years old. For motivation, I offered to sponsor his attempt at completing the Appalachian Trail, if he finished at least a year of college before he reached 18 years old.
One of my proudest moments was when he stood in front of a crowd of approximately 150 people and recited with passion a large portion of Patrick Henry’s speech on liberty or death.
I had it all mapped out in my mind. I knew what kind of man this boy was going to become. He was going to be a powerful force in the world for righteousness’ sake.
Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”
Before we finished his first year, he came to me to talk.
“I want to go back to public school.”
Back to public school?! He wanted to go back to that den of vipers? That meat grinder of intellect? That statist institute of conformity?!
“Why, son? Haven’t you finally started learning at your speed? Don’t you enjoy all of our projects and trips?”
“Yeah, mom, but I want to be around other kids. I miss my friends. I don’t like being home all the time.”
The bane of all parents’ hope for their children is when kids choose their friends over their parents’ wisdom. This discussion became its own project in decision making.
We made T tables and venn diagrams of homeschooling and public schooling. We had discussions and debates. I made him write a paper. All the while, I was trying to persuade him to stay homeschooling. But, a person wants to live the life they want.
I felt defeated. Yes, we accomplished a lot. But I wanted to instill every bit of knowledge I have into this kid.
I wanted to do my research to know more that I could pass on. I wanted to watch this kid surpass my level of intellect and critical thinking skills and be greater than I can.
But mostly, I wanted to train him to be a liberty defending man, prepared for higher academia and his career to follow. But, how does a boy learn to be an independent man if his mother is always imposing her personal goals and dreams on him? How can I tell him that individual rights are of highest importance if I won’t let him make his own decisions?
I had to humble myself. Homeschooling was my goal, before he was even born. I had this idea of what lifestyle I wanted to live to match the concept of the person I wanted to be. But, my children are not an extension of myself. They are individuals.
As I pondered on these things, I realized where my fear was based. I was afraid that he would become one of “them,” a liberal. I felt like I had to train him to be a libertarian. But this isn’t true. We never have to be taught to be free. We are born free. We feel it in our core. You can see it as soon as a baby learns to walk. They want to escape from any form of constraints and run free as much as they can.
We are born free men. Over time, our wills are bent, if not beaten out of us. We are forced into conformity like training a tree branch by tying it to the ground. If long enough, it will never go it’s natural way and reach for the sun. But mainly, this is done by parents not schools. Our first inner voice of conscience is the voice of one of our parents.
I can teach my son to be a free man in any environment he is placed. It’s his nature, and I will encourage that. I will not attempt to overpower my son’s will. I will reason with him. I will teach him appropriate ways and times to make a stand, but I will never defeat him.
We met with the principal and gifted student coordinator at the local school. We tested him and placed him in a higher grade.
I grew to accept the fact that he was returning to public schooling. If he is going to be ready for college, which is typically very liberal, he needs to learn to use judgement and critical thinking and be ready for debate when he disagrees. The longer he can practice this with simpler ideas the stronger he will become.
He needs to be able to come home with questions, have open discussions between the two elements of his life and decide where he would make his stands. And stand he did.
One argument was Columbus Day. After our studies the year before, he couldn’t hold his tongue when the teacher said Columbus discovered America.
“How can someone be the first to discover a place where people live? And he wasn’t the first. Leif Erikson came with the Vikings long before then! These kids know nothing about history and you are teaching them lies!”
“Jonathon, out of the class!”
Over time, he was put on a behaviour plan. I had daily reports sent home. He received high grades, but he wasn’t willing to conform to the point of suspension on the last day of school this year.
When accused of fighting, he felt he received an unjust punishment. They were outside at the time, and he walked away from the school.
Once again, I have to ask myself if this was a failure. No, it’s not a failure. The boy is learning. The characteristic he needs to learn now is responsibility. Freedom and principle have to go hand in hand to be successful.
Unfortunately, principle doesn’t come naturally like the love of freedom. Without principle he will just be a rebel without a cause. With principle, he will be a revolutionary.
He is becoming a man. We are both learning every step of the way. As a ten year old, he has challenged a lawyer for being a Hillary Clinton supporter. He jumps into adult conversations to give his opinion on current events.
When we are in the car, we talk about the elections. He sizes up people and his environment with the ability to think quickly. He has written his congressman on rights minors should have that are currently illegal. This boy will never be a statist, and I will not allow him to be unprincipled. He will not change who he is.
He will grow who he is. With the will, the intellect and the home this boy has, he will be a liberty defending man.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”