Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Schooling at Home Protects Kids

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Schooling at Home Protects Kids

Article excerpt

The best people I know home-school their children. As the birth of our third child approaches (in March), I look upon those friends with awe. And I wonder, is it more difficult than it used to be to raise children these days?

Well, it certainly depends upon what we're comparing it to.

Bearing and rearing children before the age of antibiotics, for example, must have been a heartbreaking process. So many children lovingly brought into the world succumbed to illness. Diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, which we glide past with one vaccine, represented untold misery for millions over the years. One reason people had larger families then was that only a percentage of children born were expected to survive into adulthood.

It wasn't just children who were felled by illness. Childbirth itself was an extremely hazardous process for women, and many, many men were left widowers with tiny infants to raise.

Today, almost all of us are mercifully free of worries about infectious disease, food, clothing or shelter for our children. But for many of us, other worries - though they are, to be sure, less calamitous - have taken their place.

We worry about raising children of good character and solid habits in a culture - emphatically including the public schools - that teaches all too many of the wrong lessons. Those who would like to raise respectful, hard-working, morally sensitive children uncorrupted by premature sexuality feel besieged by movies, advertising, television, popular music, the National Education Association and the U.S. judicial system.

Many conservatives, particularly religious conservatives, are looking for a way to escape or a place to create a counterculture. That's what home schooling represents - an archipelago of dissenters stretching across the country, shielding their children from education fads, "values clarification," outcome-based education, condom distribution, multiculturalism, drugs, sex and alcohol. (This is not to suggest that all public schools are infected with some or all of those troubles, but enough are to propel the home-schooling movement.)

Home schoolers tend to lace academic work liberally with Bible reading and prayer. …

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