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Abdicating our responsibility

I've been ruminating off and on for the last couple of years about how we (as a society) raise our children. It seems, given our economic and lifestyle circumstances, we foist our children off on church and state to raise them. How many hours do most children spend in school each week? Who determined this amount? Is it arbitrary? If you send your children to Sunday school have you spent any time in the room or with the program? What exactly are they teaching them? Have you worked through it with your children at home?

I find myself guilty of my own accusation at times. But then again. . . I am aware of the this trade-off of kids for money or time or leisure (not in the Pieperian sense). Why do our children spend so much time away from us? We can blame the industrial revolution for its mixed blessing or variegated curse, but really we ought to blame ourselves. Why do we think others can raise our children better than we? Why do we think others can teach our children better than us? And yet, most of us acquiese and ship them off to the warehouse called school where they can learn from their peers how utterly stupid school is.

I bow to the master:
The idea that the public should be educated is altogether salutary, and since we insist on making this education compulsory we ought, in reason, to reconcile ourselves to the likelihood that it will be mainly poor. I am not nearly so much concerned about its quality as I am about its length. My impression is that the chief, if unadmitted, purpose of the school system is to keep children away from home as much as possible. Parents want their children kept out of their hair; education is merely a by-product, not overly prized.
If public education is to have any meaning or value at all, then public education must be supplemented by home education. . . What can you teach a student whose entire education has been public, whose daily family life for twenty years has consisted of four or five hours of TV, who has never read a book for pleasure or even seen a book so read; whose only work has been schoolwork, who has never learned to perform any essential task? Not much, so far as I could tell.


Perhaps I ought to rename this blog "I Worship Wendell Berry." But man, he's so good!

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