back to school
It's back-to-school time. You can now find hundreds of "back-to-school" posts with helpful tips on what to buy your kids, how to prepare them for the constant harassment, and what lies to tell them to reduce their anxiety about returning to the factory of bullying, boredom, and bull.

You probably guessed it: I'm not a fan of public school. Neither are students. And guess what, neither are their teachers. While it may sound like I'm joking, I'm dead serious, and I even have the stats to prove it:

A survey of 22,000 high-school students revealed that teenagers feel bored in school 70% of the time and experience stress even more often than that (80% of the time). Can we blame them? How much fun would you have staring at a board 8 hours of the day, trying to fit in to avoid bullying, or being tested on something that has no relevance to your life?

At least they have teachers who care about them, right? Not really. A 2014 Gallup Report found that "nearly 7 in 10 are not emotionally connected to or are dissatisfied with their workplaces." New teachers are slightly more engaged, but I guess after a few years of dealing with school administrators and grumpy children, this changes. I don't blame the teachers, either. How much fun could anyone have teaching a curriculum developed by the government? Just ask John Taylor Gatto.

So, why would you want to get your child ready to go back there? Would you apply to a company that is known for its depressed employees and disengaged leaders? Me, neither. And at least you get paid for a job.

Well, you may think, students don't get paid in money, they get paid through the excellent public school education that they receive. Oh, how I wish that was true.

Only 44.8% of high-school students feel that their school has adequately prepared them for college or their career. And though this number is low enough, those kids actually overestimated their preparedness. The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress found that only 25% of students were prepared for college math and 37% were prepared for college reading and writing.

It very much looks like school is neither educational nor fun for most children. Learning, however, is. It is also essential for living a successful and meaningful life. Learning should happen in a supportive, engaging, and fun environment. A place that allows children to discover their individual interests and adapts to their learning tempo.

That place is not a public school. School represents the opposite of discovery, whether is self-discovery or the exploration of truth. School tells children when to learn something and what to learn. It doesn't take into account how the information is relevant to the individual. It doesn't care if the person is ready or interested in a specific subject. And, maybe saddest of all, if a kid is intrigued by a certain topic, the school-bell demands to drop this interest and move on.

That place is home. It's nature, it's a worksite, it's a library, a city, a book, a YMCA, the internet, a museum ... The place is a great number of possibilities that parents can use to guide their children to find knowledge, ideas, and themselves.

Instead of getting ready to go back to school, it's time to prepare your family, your child, and yourself to learn freely. Like going back to school, this may cause some concern, maybe even anxiety. After years of being told what to learn, becoming your own leader is a risky undertaking. But it's a worthy one.

Here are some basic steps to get you ready:
  • Check out the homeschooling laws in your state. This map makes it easy for you to find out how strict your state is. If you live in New York, I suggest you move (for many reasons).
  • Next, discuss with your family who should stay home with your younger children. Will you need to quit your job or go part-time?
  • Explore different learning philosophies and methods, such as unschooling, online learning, Montessori, or a combination. You can find a summary of different homeschooling styles here.
  • Read some insightful and inspiring books. Your decision to homeschool will probably be opposed by some people in your life. These books will not only encourage you to stick to your guns, but will prepare you for any non-sense argument about socialization or the need for a certified teacher.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto How Children Fail by John Holt
How Children Learn by John Holt Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling by John Holt
The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System by Ron Paul
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
by John Taylor Gatto
  • Find support through local homeschooling organizations or Facebook groups.
  • Explore different homeschooling curricula. While following a curriculum certainly isn't a requirement (unless your specific state mandates it), it can make life easier. If you're a libertarian, you may want to check out Ron Paul's Curriculum, as well as Tom Woods' The Liberty Homeschooler.
So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to not go back to school!