Letter to Growing Without Schooling
by Pat Goltz
September 1, 1996
I am writing about the differences between how a homeschooler turns out and what I have seen in the school age population generally. In the past, I have written about how our seven homeschoolers were doing, and now we can see the results.
Tom (29) has moved back east. As a self-taught computer programmer, with all the college he could afford (a couple of years), he demonstrates a lot of self-discipline and can get a job at $60,000 or more annually.
Marti (24) is married (five years) to Brian, a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo, who owns his own school. Some of us studied under him for awhile. Marti, Phil (18), and Victor (16) have first degree black belts. Ken (21) and I (52) have recommended black belts, and Heidi (20) has a first grade recommended red belt. Heidi will soon marry Marc, who has a second degree black belt. My nephew, who lives in Alabama, got interested, and he now has a yellow belt. A lot of valuable lessons get learned along with the knowledge to defend oneself.
Allen (23) went to Florida to the New World School of the Arts and studied viola for a year. While he was there, he started singing opera. He came back to Tucson and studied voice for a year at the University of Arizona, where he met Angeline. She is from Malaysia by way of Singapore, and was working on a PhD in piano performance. They have been married two years. Some serious difficulties arose in their situation, and Allen's background as a homeschooler meant he has been willing to listen to what I have to say. He didn't respond at first, but eventually he did. Angeline's Chinese culture made things more complicated and interesting, but my husband's and my background in Asian culture helped a lot. There is no way the average public school graduate would have responded the way Allen did. There simply would have been too much alienation between such a young person and his parents.
The five oldest have all earned their GED. Phil has tested but not yet got his results. Heidi is currently attending Pima College. All the kids work full time except Victor, who is the only one left at home. Everyone but Tom still lives in town, so we see each other frequently. Ken intends to study to become an Emergency Medical Technician (one of those folks who man ambulances). He participated for several years in Explorer scouting and earned the respect of his leaders. Angeline and Allen teach music. Ken, Phil, and Heidi work as servers in local restaurants. They are all building savings accounts for their future.
Today a lady at our church told me that Phil and Victor had helped change the attitude of her nephew who lives with her. He had been in trouble with the law and came from an abusive home. He considers our boys his best friends and looks up to them for spiritual guidance. All three boys are active with Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ. Victor, who is now advanced on classical guitar, will be playing for OAFC singing.
We sold the goats. The house we have been building is almost finished. The kids have put their homebuilding skills to good use in adulthood. Tom makes very fine cabinets. Marti helped Brian renovate the buildings he used for his school.
Because of what we learned from homeschooling, when my sister had a baby with Down Syndrome, she and I were able to develop a plan for educating him right after birth. Early intervention programs do not try to train their minds. Timothy is now 6, and his IQ is well above average for a "normal" child. He is being mainstreamed in school, where he is ahead of many of his classmates. I also believe that for most children with Down Syndrome, the problem is not mental retardation, but lack of interest in learning, lack of programs designed to meet their learning style, discouragement on the part of parents, and a societal attitude that they are supposed to be mentally retarded. My sister and I are working on a project to inform the world of the truth. Maybe not all of them have the potential to be geniuses, but there is a lot of potential there, and it is time everybody knew about it. Next time I will write about the details.
Looking back, we are only sorry we didn't start homeschooling sooner. But our efforts with our children go back to the very beginning. Any parent who won't make the commitment to educate his own children is, in today's world, being irresponsible. The bottom line is that homeschooling generally builds character and prepares children to be successful adults. It is a shame that only a privileged few will have parents committed enough to teach their own children, but that is how it has always been. I do not believe the schools can be salvaged, so we homeschoolers badly need to spread the message. All of you, keep up the good work!