Transcending Politics

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Transcending Politics

October 20, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the power of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of corporations and of government interference in economic transactions… And just as a seemingly minor invention like barbed wire made possible the fencing-off of vast ranches and farms, thus altering forever the concepts of land and property rights in the frontier West, so too will the seemingly minor discovery out of an arcane branch of mathematics come to be the wire clippers which dismantle the barbed wire around intellectual property. Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!” – Timothy C. May

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,144. Gold closed at $1,270 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $51.72 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.75%. Bitcoin is trading around $630 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Today is little Maddie’s birthday! I still remember, two years ago to the day, witnessing her first breath of life. I can see it in my mind’s eye just a clearly as I see the computer screen in front of me. She has become a fantastically sweet and clever young lady in two years time, and her father’s cup runneth over with pride and joy.

Due to scheduling constraints, we actually celebrated her birthday on Tuesday. A few months back I asked Madison what she wanted to do for her birthday. “I want to ride Leo the horse!”, she responded without hesitation. So that’s exactly what we did. Continue reading “Transcending Politics”

The Future of Education

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Future of Education

May 6, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,044. Gold closed at $1,272 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $44.32 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.78%. Bitcoin is trading around $453 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Last week we talked about transitioning away from coercive social organization and towards voluntary association. We suggested that financial dependency was one of the primary excuses for coercive government policies. Today, let’s take a look at the education piece of the puzzle.

I won’t beat around the bush with this: the 20th century classroom model of education is all but obsolete.

We know that every individual is unique. We know that every individual has different skills, talents, interests, and passions. We also know that every individual has different learning styles. I doubt that you can find anyone who would disagree with those three statements. Continue reading “The Future of Education”

Awareness Rising

submitted by jwithrow.awareness

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Awareness Rising

September 25, 2015
Emerald Isle, NC

The S&P closed out Thursday at $1,932. Gold closed at $1,153 per ounce. Oil closed at $44.91 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.14%. Bitcoin is trading around $236 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Maddie took her first unassisted steps this week. Your editor was quietly observing from the glider as she crawled around the back deck, carefully inspecting each nook and cranny in the wood. Suddenly, without warning, her little head popped up and she looked directly at me. There was a strange twinkle in her eyes that I had not seen before. It was almost as though she had just experienced a moment of infinite intelligence, but before I could reckon on it she stood up completely unassisted for the first time and took two steps before easing to her knees. She popped right back up and took three more steps before easing back down to her knees again. Then she looked up at me and laughed hysterically.

I had never before experienced the feeling of unbridled joy that overcame me in that moment.

Later, with Madison calmly napping, I had time to internalize the moment and bask in the joy. As I watched my little angel sleeping peacefully, a strange thought came to me.

If you are going to have highs, know you will also have lows. There are no ordinary moments.

I decided then to cherish every single moment with my little girl. Even when she wants me to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See to her for the thirteenth time. Even when she is screaming at me from the car seat because she is tired of being couped up. I will cherish it all.

Though I vow to cherish each moment of little Madison’s childhood, I am filled with hope and optimism for her future. I marvel at the opportunities that lay in front of her, and the rest of her generation. Generation Next is the first generation in centuries to arrive on this planet precisely as technological advancement is coalescing with a rising Awareness of human potential. Continue reading “Awareness Rising”

Why Peaceful Parenting is More Important Than Ever

submitted by jwithrow.peaceful parenting

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Why Peaceful Parenting is More Important Than Ever

July 10, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,051. Gold closed at $1,160 per ounce. Oil checked out just under $53 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.30%. Bitcoin is now trading up around $287 per BTC as the Greek banks remain closed and the Chinese stock market continues to plummet.

Dear Journal,

We examined the Greek crisis last week and we wondered if depositors would find that they had generously “bailed-in” their bank with their hard-earned money when the banks finally reopened. Sure enough, the Greek banks have yet to reopen and there has been talk of a 30% haircut on all deposit accounts in excess of €8,000.

This is yet another example of why it is a bad idea to warehouse your funds in a domestic bank account. Fortunately, the Infinite Banking Concept offers a much better solution to warehousing capital without sacrificing liquidity.

These financial crises that continuously occur from time to time in various countries, along with government’s heavy-handed response in each instance, are the symptoms of a much deeper problem:

Our world is ill.

Modernity has constructed hierarchical systems of power and control and it has elevated the leaders of these systems to positions of prestige and authority. This has created a scenario in which the least among us fight tooth and nail to reach the top of Modernity’s power structures then they work to grow and perpetuate their power. This is done largely by bribing the masses with wealth-redistribution while aggressively cracking down on non-conformists and disruptors. The predictable result has been the disappearance of personal responsibility and basic human empathy. Continue reading “Why Peaceful Parenting is More Important Than Ever”

The Fragility of Modernity

submitted by jwithrow.modernity

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Fragility of Modernity

June 10, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,080. Gold closed at $1,177 per ounce. Oil checked out at $60 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.42%, and bitcoin is trading around $230 per BTC.

Dear Journal,

In my last entry I brought up the concept of ‘Modernity’ and I suggested that it attempts to put life in a box by emphasizing a fear and control mindset. I felt this concept was worthy of a little more discussion this week because our society has been shaped by this fear and control paradigm.

Here’s how Nassim Taleb, author of Antifragile, views Modernity:

We are moving into a phase of modernity marked by the lobbyist, the very, very limited liability corporation, the MBA, sucker problems, secularization (or rather reinvention of new sacred values like flags to replace altars), the tax man, fear of the boss, spending the weekend in interesting places and the workweek in a putatively less interesting one, the separation of “work” and “leisure” (though the two would look identical to someone from a wiser era), the retirement plan, argumentative intellectuals who would disagree with this definition of modernity, literal thinking, inductive inference, philosophy of science, the invention of social science, smooth surfaces, and egocentric architects. Violence is transferred from individuals to states. So is financial indiscipline. At the center of all this is the denial of antifragility… Modernity starts with the state monopoly on violence, and ends with the state’s monopoly on fiscal irresponsibility.

Continue reading “The Fragility of Modernity”

Creating Learning Communities

by Author Anna Jahns –

“If our earth is to survive, we need to take responsibility for what we do. Taking control of our education is the first step.” —Heidi Priesnetz

Thomas starts the day just like any other child who sets the pace for his own learning. He wakes up with a grin on his face, eager to greet the day that stretches out before him—relatively unscheduled, yet full of learning opportunities just waiting to be discovered. Before he has even rubbed the sleep from his eyes, he is curiously inspecting the progress of the chemistry experiment he stayed up till late in the night concocting, then wanders into the kitchen to meet his family for a relaxed shared breakfast. They all pitch in to finish the chores around the home and garden they have created together, before Thomas and his mother head down to their local resources library to research the solar panel system the family is constructing, and to prepare for his science study group in the afternoon.

Children like Thomas, who are learning naturally outside of the confines of the traditional schooling system, are an emerging group drawing a great deal of interest from those seeking answers to society’s problems. These young people learn to interact with the whole world as their classroom, their parents and others serving as chosen guides, mentors and facilitators. Research proves that these children grow up to be independent thinkers who perform academically ahead of their schooled peers, and have a solid sense of self esteem. A large percentage of them go on to be self-employed, leading fulfilling lives actively involved in their community. Some choose to attend OTEN (Open Training & Education Network) for their higher education, or enroll in university later in life; others prefer to just get on with following their interests into their chosen careers. The lives they go on to lead are as diverse as the learning paths they have chosen to take them there, but one thing they all have in common is a passion for lifelong learning.

With thought processes unfettered by seeking out only the predetermined “right” answers, and free of the fear of being monitored, judged and tested, self-directed learners are free to explore creative ways of problem-solving and of finding information to answer the questions that are meaningful and relevant to their own lives. Parents of self-led learners discover time and again that children really don’t need to be taught in order to learn; learning is a self-actuated process of creating skills, discovering knowledge and satisfying one’s own natural curiosity. As a way of learning, it is built on—and teaches—the inherent right and responsibility of every individual to set her own standards and to live accordingly. As a way of thinking, it instills and fosters respect for the dignity of each individual.


Education Shapes Our Future

When we imagine the kind of future in which we’d like our children and their children to live, most often we imagine one in which we have finally found ways to further the viability of our biosphere and to live in harmony with each other in a sustainable way. A crucial step for this to happen as a global society is that we must collectively learn to think in new ways, or we will not be able to transcend the interrelated set of problems facing us today. In this age of information, an era of increasing unpredictability and accelerating change, learning how to learn, and how to fluidly adapt and transfer knowledge and skills to novel situations, will become critical. The ability to process and source information is a far more important skill to be honing than rote memorization of outdated facts and theories. More important, perhaps, is the ability to interact with other human beings with an implicit understanding and respect for our diversity, and to co-create sustainable possibilities for our evolving global society.

Our fundamental assumption—that learning is something that can only happen in schools—is “like confusing spirituality with religious institutions, or wellness with hospitals,” says Priesnitz. The fact is that children do not need to be taught in order to learn.

Most sociologists seem to agree that schooling plays a primary role in reinforcing the social and economic tone of a society. So what tone is being set by our schools today? In her book Challenging Assumptions in Education, Wendy Priesnitz illustrates that the system of education our children are being indoctrinated into today is fundamentally the same as it was 100 years ago, when it was designed to prepare factory workers for an industrial culture oriented toward manufacturing consumer goods and winning political and economic wars. Through competition, self-repression, standardization, and strict obedience to the clock, it teaches authoritarianism and unquestioned faith in the experts. It’s a billion-dollar industry in and of itself, which by all accounts is ineffective, outdated, disempowering to the individual, and unable even to produce a fully literate population after years of compulsory schooling.

“Let’s face it,” Priesnitz writes, “the majority of the problems facing society today—pollution, unethical politicians, poverty, unsafe cars…the list goes on—have been created or overseen by the best traditional college graduates. Whether these problems were created by design or accident, we cannot fix them by continuing the status quo. We need to create a society that chooses action over consumption, that favors relating to others over developing new weapons, that encourages conservation over production. And this just won’t happen unless we de-institutionalize learning.”


Challenging the Assumptions

Priesnitz explores the main basic assumptions in education that must be challenged if we are to envision a more sustainable approach to learning and living. Our fundamental assumption— that learning is something that can only happen in schools—is “like confusing spirituality with religious institutions, or wellness with hospitals.” The fact is that children do not need to be taught in order to learn.

Priesnetz goes on to describe how institutionalized schooling shapes young people’s attitudes toward themselves and the world they live in. “From kindergarten, young people are robbed of their basic human rights and treated as legally minor. They are forced to attend an often unfriendly—sometimes threatening— place, where they are obliged to dismiss their own experiences, thoughts and opinions, substituting the opinions of a textbook author. They may learn about human rights in their social science classes, but are not allowed to experience—let alone practice— these vital components of good citizenship.” Their experience is instead one of disempowerment, with teachers allowed to exercise a kind of power over their students that we only see matched in jails.

Schools then measure a student’s ability to regurgitate a prefabricated curriculum on an increasingly standardized scale, with no consideration given to the individual’s aptitudes or developmental readiness. At the end of the school assembly line, with a large part of their lives already spent being processed for a life as producers and consumers, students with little authentic knowledge are bumped out into the adult world and suddenly expected to make mature decisions based on the distorted, disassociated information they have been drilled and indoctrinated with, largely from textbooks and TV. Through this very process, we lose the power to think for ourselves. “Maybe that’s why so few of us challenge the premises of nursing homes, television, day-care centers, schools and the global economy,” suggests Priesnitz. “These things are received ideas, not the result of individuals thinking about what would make their own lives—and those of their families and communities—better on a day-to-day basis.” The solution to this crisis of learning is to put learning back into the hands of the learner—and to put the learner back into the community where he or she lives.

Priesnitz echoes the voices of countless other education revisionists and deschooling pioneers, from John Holt to Ivan Illich, in proposing that a more relevant public education system should be diverse enough to accommodate learners of all ages, interests, abilities and styles. It would put individuals in charge of their own learning agendas, beginning by identifying interests and providing the means to develop them. Communitybased databases could connect those who want to share their knowledge and skills (with or without university degrees) with those who want to learn. Our communities are already rich with people whose skills, knowledge and talents could be shared.

The same databases could be used to coordinate volunteers and apprenticeships for community services and learning desired skills. Young Canadian entrepreneur Heidi Priesnitz (daughter of Wendy) describes the function of MAX, the Mentor Apprentice Exchange she initiated in 1994. “The apprentice offers hands-on assistance in exchange for the mentor’s skills and wisdom, which is an exciting and inexpensive way to learn. This barter can take place in any field of activity, between two people of any age. It’s a holistic approach that allows for greater integration of business, education and community.”

Libraries are already ready-made learning centers that could expand and prosper. With a few modifications, they could provide the usual services of a library as well as those of a meeting space, office space, music hall, youth center, arts center and free school, all rolled into one. People would continue to come and go at will, whenever they find it necessary, all day long. They would use computers to access information, reference resource publications or simply relax and read. Perhaps they would access points of view not carried by mainstream corporate media. The learning centers could host meetings, classes and guest speakers, or participate in or patronize art shows, craft sales and exhibits.
In fact, every aspect of the community can be involved—as it already is—as a real-life part of the self-learning program: museums, parks, health clubs, shops, banks, businesses, town offices, farms, factories and even the streets and the environment itself. Learning becomes a service to the community as future citizens become locally involved, taking part in all kinds of community activities that are meaningful and relevant to their learning process. In the words of homeschooling advocate and author Beverley Paine, “Self-directed learning builds community from the center out, by nurturing the individual, the family and the community, and thus the world.”


Evolving Movement

Around the world, self-directed learning movements are spontaneously self-organizing with exciting innovations in the possibilities for creating learning communities. The Coalition for Self-Learning is an ad hoc group of writers, innovative educators, homeschoolers, autodidacts and educational pioneers with a common interest in the future of learning. The coalition is giving voice to the enormous potential of these experimental models, through its book, Creating Learning Communities (available free online at the coalition’s website,

In the beginning, only a couple of decades ago, self-directed learners were homeschooled in autonomous family units, each one setting its own curriculum and providing its own supplies and services. Homeschooling alone evolved into homeschoolers getting together to exchange information and provide support to one another through informal get-togethers or organized activities. These meetings give kids a chance to meet other homeschoolers, and to join into study projects together. Groups started newsletters publicizing activities and exchanging books, equipment and other materials; home-based curriculums and materials began being developed, along with organizations to help homeschoolers with legal and legislative matters.

Closely associated with the homeschooling movement are a broad variety of alternative schools that are moving in the direction of child-centered education. From the original Montessori and Steiner schools to free schools like those based on the Summerhill and Sudbury models, the explorations and experiments with alternative forms of education have taken as many diverse turns as the people who have forged them. Some innovative educators have demonstrated that when we shed conventional assumptions, schools can become dynamic, exciting places of learning that are responsive to students, families and communities. Some have explored different ways of implementing school-based community learning centers. Still others have explored learning in other community settings, such as the emerging virtual world of the Internet.


Learning Centers

An exciting new phase of homeschooling and self-learning has started to emerge in the U.S. and the U.K. in the last few years, as local homeschooling networks and self-learners have started providing themselves with new forms of support programs. The Coalition for Self-Learning is taking an active interest in developing these models, which are being called “cooperative community lifelong learning centers”—places where learning is respected as an act of self-volition, which is integrated into community activities.

Occasionally the center brings in outside instructors to teach specific classes based on the children’s interests. Elective classes include things like papier-mâché, nutrition, math games, newspaper, paper-making and drawing.

These learning centers are cooperatively organized by the member families. Parents pool their talents, resources and expertise, often providing mentoring as well as classes and workshops, using all aspects of the community for education opportunities. Learning communities as diverse as the Pathfinder Learning Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, for homeschooling teenagers, and the Community School in Camden, Maine, whose “relational education” approach has demonstrated striking results with socially challenged individuals, are presenting sustainable models for viable alternatives to institutionalized schooling.

The North Star School & Homeschool Resource Center outside Seattle is just one model of a democratically governed homeschool resource center. The center provides a place for families to meet, share ideas and study together, with a food buying co-op and babysitting exchange available. Although there is an abundant supply of high-quality games, manipulatives and art supplies, the core belief is that the basics are best covered by the homeschooling parents and their children individually. Occasionally the center brings in outside instructors to teach specific classes based on the children’s interests. Elective classes include things like papier-mâché, nutrition, math games, newspaper, paper-making and drawing. By popular request, the center also offers chemistry, geology, theme unit studies, writers’ workshops, drama and community service projects, which appeal to older students.

Some of the coalition writers believe that community learning centers could replace schools as the primary educational agency in a truly democratic, collaborative, sustainable society. More specifically, many believe that diverse expressions of openended, evolving, community-based education are replacing fixed and hierarchical school systems. CSL spokesperson Ron Miller asserts that authentic communities are able to enhance their own development while at the same time enhancing that of each individual in the community, thereby promoting both freedom of personal choice and a sense of responsibility for the whole.

Article originally posted at

College Alternatives

submitted by alternatives

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
College Alternatives

March 20, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,090 today. Gold is up to $1,170 per ounce. Oil checks in at $46 per barrel. Bitcoin is still trading around $262 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.96% today.

Yesterday we opined that the proverbial needle was rapidly approaching the student loan bubble and that the American system of higher education would shrink significantly once the bubble popped. Today I feel it prudent to discuss why this is not such a bad thing.

We briefly analyzed the student loan racket yesterday and discussed how students currently graduate college with a mound of debt disproportionate to the job market and income-prospects they face. This is enough to warrant questioning, but the ills of the college system run even deeper.

We have discussed at length the problems inherent within the public school system here and we have noted how the system systematically conveys a lack of purpose to students. Students are force-fed a medley of politically correct information on various subjects and they are expected to memorize and then regurgitate this information. They are told this is important so they can get good grades which they need to get into college. This is a very vague purpose which tends to lead students away from critical thinking and introspection thus few students really discover and cultivate their individual talents and passions.

To the students’ surprise, the higher education system simply expands upon this vagueness of purpose. Students arrive at these beautiful campuses expecting to learn the secrets to success but they soon find out the college curriculum is mostly more of the same – memorize the chapters in this standardized textbook and regurgitate the information on the test. Oh, and this textbook costs $200 but don’t worry you can get a student loan to cover it. So our student quickly learns that college is not a fountain of knowledge but rather just another system to be gamed.

This model of education encourages what Napoleon Hill, in Outwitting the Devil, referred to as ‘drifting’. Hill defines ‘drift’ by saying “people who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters”. Hill continues: “A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind… He doesn’t know what he wants from life and spends all of his time getting just that. A drifter has lots of opinions but they are not his own.”

The habit of drifting is exactly what the American higher educational system reinforces. Just as high school students were told college acceptance is their ultimate goal, college students are told a high-paying job is the ultimate goal to be pursued. Their focus then is on building best possible ‘resume’ (with as little work as possible) so as to impress the corporate recruiters who show up at job fairs on their campus every spring. Further, the college grading system reinforces the fear of making of mistakes already deeply imbedded in the minds of the students who have completed twelve years of public education. Errors are ridiculed and scorned in college just as they were in high school so the necessity to conform is hammered home even harder.

So upon graduating college most students: lack a defining sense of purpose, have been cultured to avoid mistakes at all costs, and are knee deep in debt. Naturally, they are compelled to take the first job that offers them a decently salary and a health insurance plan regardless of their actual interest in the particular job or industry.

Welcome to the rat-race.

Hill would admonish me for focusing exclusively on the negatives so I will humbly labor to present some positive alternatives to the current model of higher education. Mind you, the current system operates under the institutional model and that is a large part of the problem. The best alternatives are individualized in nature thus they require a break from the institutional way of thinking; simply replacing one institutional model with another will never accomplish much of anything.

Where to start?

Life is meant to be lived. Life is about freedom. Governments and institutions infringe upon personal freedom but try to convince you they are morally justified in doing so. Despite these constant infringements, we have the ability to claim more individual freedom today than ever before in modern history. Technology is the great enabler. It is also the great decentralizer.

The college years are a time to learn how to live independently and to explore various interests and passions. As we have pointed out, college does a poor job of facilitating real learning. I would suggest that college also does a poor job of aiding students in learning to live independently. Cramming two eighteen-year-old kids into a room the size of a single office and forcing them to share a bathroom with even more eighteen-year-olds is not realistic prep for the real world unless the kids plan to live on a commune somewhere. Likewise, living with four or five other twenty-year-old kids in frat (and sorority) houses doesn’t really facilitate independent learning unless the kids want to make a career out of party planning.

At the same time, college towns are a great place to meet people with all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. They are also great places to meet people with similar passions and interests. This exposure certainly fosters a tolerance for different ideas as well as the potential to form lasting partnerships with others of like-mind.

College Alternatives Number One: What if our eighteen-year-old, instead of enrolling in college, simply moved to a college town of their choice? They could take on internships with local businesses for low (or no) pay to explore traditional career paths. They could organize or attend meet-up groups for students with similar passions to share ideas and knowledge. They could work to develop online business opportunities around those passions and interests to learn what works and what doesn’t. They could potentially sit-in on select classes of interest if they wanted to as well. Though the overall curriculum may largely be a waste of time, there are certainly individual classes that are interesting and valuable. Whether it’s art or computer programming or classic literature or astronomy or whatever, the professor would probably be thrilled to have someone in the class who is actually interested in what he has to say… everyone else is simply interested in getting a good grade and moving on within the system. And I am sure our eighteen-year-old would do all kinds of other interesting things that I have never thought of before also.

All with zero student loan debt. Sure there would be living expenses but they would pale in comparison to tuition, room, board, and textbooks. If the parents had employed the Infinite Banking Concept for our student then living expenses would already covered for several years at least.

College Alternatives Number Two: what if our hypothetical eighteen-year-old spent a year traveling internationally? They would experience all sorts of different worldviews and cultures and probably learn a foreign language or two in the process. Maybe they would observe a growing trend somewhere which could lead to a tremendous business or investment opportunity. Maybe they would become a freelance travel writer and make a career out of the experience. Maybe they would blog about their travel and build a readership that would lead to income opportunities. Maybe they would see an underserved community and start a niche charity dedicated to a singular mission.

College Alternatives Number Three: Suppose our eighteen-year-old has been homeschooled and permitted to develop skills around a particular passion already? He could go directly into his chosen field either by starting a business or by seeking out internships and mentors in the chosen industry. If he already knows what he would like his first career to be then there is no reason for him to pursue additional generalized education at this point. The beauty of this scenario is that our eighteen year old will have twenty years of experience in his industry by the young age of thirty-eight. In all likelihood financial success will have followed his career mastership and he will be free to then explore other interests or passions if he desires something new and exciting. The notion of working in a single industry for one’s entire life and then retiring to go fishing and piddle around the house all day is a New Deal relic that will die off when Social Security implodes. Mastering two or three different careers over one’s lifetime will be extremely common going forward. And following this individualized model will leave plenty of time for fishing and piddling should you so desire as well. After all, it’s not work if you are doing what interests you.

These are just three examples of many possible college alternatives. With a little vision and a little faith, anything is possible.

More to come,







Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift currently in motion please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Homeschooling 101

by the Home School Legal Defense Association:homeschooling

Where do I find curriculum and materials?

There’s an ever-increasing variety of curriculum—from traditional textbooks to homeschool-specific curriculum and correspondence courses. Thankfully, experienced homeschool moms have put together review guides, saving newcomers time and frustration. Just two such guides are Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling and Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Start by contacting homeschooling veterans in your local and/or state support group—ask what they have tried, what has or has not worked for them, and why. You need to get to know your child’s learning style. Attend a couple of homeschool seminars and curriculum fairs where you can look at your options firsthand. To find a support group or state homeschool convention near you, visit HSLDA’s website.

How much time does it take?

A lot less than you think. Homeschooled students don’t have to take time to change classes or travel to and from a school, so they can proceed at their own pace. In elementary years especially, parents and children often find that they may only need a few hours to accomplish their work for the day.

What if I have several children in different grade levels?

You’ll be surprised at the subjects that can span grade levels. Certain curricula lend themselves to multilevel teaching. You can design your program so that older children work independently in the morning while you work individually with younger children, and then while younger children take naps in the afternoon, you can have one-on-one time with older students.

What about my child’s special needs?

Thousands of families are homeschooling children whose special needs range from Attention Deficit Disorder to severe multiple handicaps. Parents often find that when they bring these children home to be educated, they come out of the “deep freeze” that has kept them from making significant progress. Gone are the comparisons, labels, social pressures, and distractions that a regular classroom may bring. Parents can offer their children individualized education, flexibility, encouragement, and support, which may be ideal for children who are learning-disabled, medically sensitive, or attention-deficit. HSLDA offers resources and help at

What about socialization & special interests/enrichment activities?

Research has found that most homeschooled students are involved in a wide variety of outside activities, interact with a broad spectrum of people, and make positive contributions to their communities. Experience has shown that homeschoolers are well socialized and able to make lasting friendships across age and cultural divides.

What about the high school years?

Homeschooling your child through high school offers great benefits for parents and students. Sure, there will be challenges such as more difficult subject matter. On the other hand, your high schooler requires less supervision and can take increasing charge of his own education. You can do it, and HSLDA wants to help you! Check out the great resources at HSLDA’s two high school coordinators—moms who’ve graduated their own children from high school at home—bring a wealth of experience and friendly advice to share with member families who are navigating these challenging, yet exciting years.

What about a diploma, graduation, & college?

Homeschool graduates closely parallel their public school counterparts—about two-thirds go on to post-secondary education, and one-third directly into the job market. (Brian Ray, Strengths of Their Own—Home Schoolers Across America, NHERI, 1997.)
Homeschool students who have utilized community colleges for foreign language, lab science, or higher mathematics courses discover as an added bonus that these course credits make it easier to enroll in four-year colleges after high school graduation.

Article originally posted at

Personal Secession: Ideas for Opting Out

by Jeff Deist – Mises Daily:personal secession

So in closing, let me make a few humble suggestions for beginning a journey of personal secession. Not all of these may apply to your personal circumstances; no one but you can decide what’s best for you and your family. But all of us can play a role in a bottom-up revolution by doing everything in our power to withdraw our consent from the state:

• Secede from intellectual isolation. Talk to like-minded friends, family, and neighbors — whether physically or virtually — to spread liberty and cultivate relationships and alliances. The state prefers to have us atomized, without a strong family structure or social network;

• Secede from dependency. Become as self-sufficient as possible with regard to food, water, fuel, cash, firearms, and physical security at home. Resist being reliant on government in the event of a natural disaster, bank crisis, or the like;

• Secede from mainstream media, which promotes the state in a million different ways. Ditch cable, ditch CNN, ditch the major newspapers, and find your own sources of information in this internet age. Take advantage of a luxury previous generations did not enjoy;

• Secede from state control of your children by homeschooling or unschooling them;

• Secede from college by rejecting mainstream academia and its student loan trap. Educate yourself using online learning platforms, obtaining technical credentials, or simply by reading as much as you can;

• Secede from the US dollar by owning physical precious metals, by owning assets denominated in foreign currencies, and by owning assets abroad;

• Secede from the federal tax and regulatory regimes by organizing your business and personal affairs to be as tax efficient and unobtrusive as possible;

• Secede from the legal system, by legally protecting your assets from rapacious lawsuits and probate courts as much as possible;

• Secede from the state healthcare racket by taking control of your health, and questioning medical orthodoxy;

• Secede from your state by moving to another with a better tax and regulatory environment, better homeschooling laws, better gun laws, or just one with more liberty-minded people;

• Secede from political uncertainly in the US by obtaining a second passport;

• Secede from the US altogether by expatriating.

• Most of all, secede from the mindset that government is all-powerful or too formidable an opponent to be overcome. The state is nothing more than Bastiat’s great fiction, or Murray’s gang of thieves writ large. Let’s not give it the power to make us unhappy or pessimistic.

All of us, regardless of ideological bent and regardless of whether we know it or not, are married to a very violent, abusive spendthrift. It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to get a divorce from DC.

Article originally posted at

Common Core and Virtual Education

by William A. Estrada, Esq., Director of Federal Relations – HSLDA:common core\

The Common Core’s impact on public schools is well known. Forty states are now in the process of aligning their public school curriculum with these nationalized standards. Meanwhile, many parents and teachers are concerned that the Common Core is resulting in a dumbed-down, politicized education being pushed upon America’s school kids using unproven teaching methods.

In the growing backlash to the Common Core, some parents—fed up with increasing centralization and loss of parental control over education in the public schools—are choosing to homeschool their children. Private and home education remain outside the reach of the Common Core (although HSLDA has written about the Common Core’s potential to encroach on homeschool freedom).

But there is one particular area of education where families may not realize they are being affected by the Common Core: online public education, which includes virtual charter schools and any other online programs offered through the local public schools.

New Alignment

These programs use the same curriculum, testing, data storage, and privacy policies as the local public school. If your state has adopted the Common Core, every course offered through these virtual public school programs is either already aligned with the Common Core, or very soon will be.

There is no escaping it. Any end-of-year tests offered through these programs will be aligned with the Common Core. And all of the information that the school district collects or requires parents to submit as part of these programs will be stored in the public school’s database.

HSLDA has long been concerned that these programs, marketed to homeschool parents as a way to receive a free computer and other support from the local public schools, carry a risk to homeschool freedom. Nothing from the government is actually free, and these virtual public school programs can open the door to public school officials looking over the shoulder of families who use them.

Because these online courses are actually public school programs, HSLDA is unable to provide legal representation to our member families in connection with any children enrolled full-time in them.

We understand that homeschooling is not always easy or affordable. That is why we partner with the Home School Foundation to offer support, funding, and even free curriculum to homeschool families who are struggling. Due to the generosity of our members, there are other alternatives besides using online public school programs.

Article originally posted at