Legacy of a 'hardcore homeschooler'  ~  by CarrieLynn Thornton, text based on her qualifying presentation video to the Dr. Phil Show

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New report released 10/06/06 by American Academy of Pediatricians
on the vital role PLAY has in child development --
PDF  download here  >  > 
Homeschoolers already know this -- are we smart or what?

Watch for airing details of "THE GREAT SCHOOL DEBATE" Dr. Phil espisode here!

From THE HOMESCHOOL SCUTTLE article in which another audience guest shares her perspective:  'when Dr. Phil said, "How many people do not support homeschooling?" all those young high school students that had been unwittingly bussed in specifically for that question in this episode, raised their hands -- a forest of "No's" against homeschooling.  Although, that was just one brief question in Dr. Phil's episode, he took no chances. He deliberately rigged that audience to be a few sparsely spread homeschoolers, and an imposing majority of those who were currently enrolled in traditional schools.  The viewing audience will not be able to see the audience as being high school children. To the television viewer, they will just be arms in the air opposing homeschooling.' 
Read the rest of this blog/article here >  >  >

         Certainly, debating a lifestyle choice can be scary, even for the experienced, the convinced or those who thrive on the rush of argument.   It can also make for good ratings on daytime television, hence the subject making its way onto the roster of the Dr. Phil MacGraw Show. 

        If you simply want to be free to go about the private business of parenting your own children well because of your interior convictions, armed with a certainty based on years of careful observation, consistent practice and life-proven successes, then the engagement in a debate can be particularly challenging, as it has been for CarrieLynn.

          The Dr. Phil Great School Debate Forum extended an invitation to my friend and fellow homeschooler CarrieLynn Thornton in early October, 2006.  What follows is the text of the video presentation she was asked to submit to The Dr. Phil Show, the basis for her appearance there as a participant in "THE GREAT SCHOOL DEBATE" as an advocate of what he calls 'hardcore' and CarrieLynn calls 'mainstream homeschooling' ......  Georgia Ana (Watch for www.MainstreamHomeschooling.com blog to activate!)

Can't wait to get to heaven, CarrieLynn!
Here's that "Slice of Heaven Caramel Cake" recipe   >   >  >

"...since we can't know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned."  -- John Holt

      Hi!  My name is Carrielynn, and I am a home school mom.

      I have 5 beautiful children, three of whom are grown and living on their own. I am currently home schooling my two youngest children:  Joshua who is 12 years old and Austin who is age 5.  Josh and Austin have never been to public school.  However, my three oldest children were in the public school system for a time. The three oldest of my children are daughter Jamie, age 19; son Nick, 21; and stepson Corey, who is 24.

      I am a hardcore home schooler. I will always home school. I am not confused about the decisions I am making on behalf of my family. I intentionally and deliberately live a life of freedom through home schooling.

      I have fought for the freedom to home school within my own family structure. My husband did not support my decision to home school. In the beginning he was neutral, no opinion. As we progressed and others began questioning our methods, I lost his support. I only recently found out that his biggest objection was the fact that I was not earning an income outside the home anymore.

      We made it to the brink of divorce over the very complicated life the choice to home school created. Once I had made the decision to home school and began to experience a whole new life with my children, I knew that, no matter what, I would never send them back into a system designed to annihilate their very essence.

      We were forced to sell our home and move into a much smaller, older home. We drive older model cars and live without the luxuries we once enjoyed. I gave up all that was unimportant in order to invest in the lives of my children.


        I began home schooling when my son Nick, who was in the 7th grade at the time, came home from public school and asked me, "Mom, will you home school me?"  I had no idea what he was talking about. But, boy, did our lives change that day.

       I researched homeschooling and did all that was required to satisfy the requirements to withdraw my children from public school. I withdrew the oldest two children in the middle of the year. What a relief! No more fighting for basic human rights for my boys!

      My daughter resisted my decision to home school her. I let her finish out her 5th grade year at public elementary school. However, it became evident  that although our daughter, the seeming poster child for a perfect product of excellent schools, was in need of rescuing, too. 

      Our family began changing immediately. Our approach to learning took on a life of its own. We were in the experimental stage at first All of us were learning how to manage our own lives apart from constant demands of total strangers. We were deschooling, and we were free.


      One of the first indications that were were on the right track came when I was helping my daughter (still in public school) study for a history test. As usual, she had 100% of the answers correct. She would ace the test, for sure. She was still resisting the idea of home schooling the next year. I continued to gently expose her to the wonder of learning as opposed to the grind of memorization and endless, pointless busy work assigned by her school.

       To that end I took a bit of time to create a history project for us to do together for the fun of it. We had just studied together for a major history exam, so I used some of the topics from the exam to integrate into the project knowing that would make it especially relevant for her.

       As I began sharing the details about our project, referencing data she had just studied, Jamie drew a blank. It had only been three days since she'd tested 100% on the very information I was presenting. Good Grief!

      You will never believe what she said:  “Oh, Mom, It’s not like they wanted me to learn the subject.  I just had to pass the test. I never remember that stuff after the test. Why would I? I have to learn all the new stuff for the next test."

       I was in shock and felt very naïve. How could I not have seen what was happening?  For years, Jamie had excelled in achieving high test resules and was even becoming arrogant as she now based her self-worth almost exclusively on her ability to ace those tests. She didn’t have to know the subject or figure out how it applied to her life or her world; the only mastery involved was the mastery of testing.  

      As you can imagine the following year was a difficult one for her. Eventually though, I revived my daughter. The public school system had been slowing killing off all that made her who she is, unique and gifted in so many ways.

      She was in a school that, according to their own standards, had the best a public school could offer:  
              *100% involvement of parents in the PTA,
              *excellent teaching tools, including computers in the classrooms;
              *a qualfied staff and seemingly capable teachers.
Public schools, even very good ones, slowly erode every good thing about our children if they do what they are designed to do.

"It’s absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety;  indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does..."
 –  John Taylor Gatto


       I don’t have to test my child to see if he has retained information. I simply talk to him. I am involved daily with all my children do. Why would I test them? Talking to your child, giving them an audience to wow with their new-found knowledge, is a beautiful gift. It leads to the eventual discovery that we live a world of patterns and connection.

       My children enjoy living with basic human rights which are denied daily to children in public school classrooms. Using the restroom as one needs to, eating a snack or meal when hungry, moving around and changing positions when physically uncomfortable, taking in fresh air from outside -- are all things that happen daily for my children as naturally as it is for their heart to continue pumping blood without my direction or permission. The body knows what it needs, but the public school system is designed to take over the role of a “body director.” Children are even accused of lying about their toileting needs in order to get out of class.

        Home schooling affords my children the opportunity to apprentice at a young age with experts in their fields.  As apprentices to masters, they are valued as a member of the community making a difference. At age 14, my daughter volunteered in a local nursing home. She worked under the Activities Director doing various jobs with the elderly residents. She painted their nails and talked with them. She read to them and played games with them. Is there any school in the world that could offer her more than that setting did??

        Jamie found her life calling that year. She is currently studying at the local community college to become a nurse. She was only 14, when as a real-life apprentice she discovered a goal that gave meaning and purpose in her life. She discovered that in the real world, real work gets one treated as an equal in a professional environment. My goal is to create a similar opportunity for each of my children.


       My 12 year-old son Josh is in the 7th grade and is so fully alive. Never having been to public school, he doesn’t understand why folks send their kids off to school each year. He recently asked me why a particular friend’s parents haven't chosen to home school. His friend is utterly miserable in school. His friend is an above average student who thinks public school is irrelevant to his life. His friend has asked his parents to home school him. They continue to refuse.

     Josh asked me the reasons for their refusal. I told Josh that many parents need two incomes to support their lifestyles and have just never considered homeschooling an option. They believe they are doing what is best for their child. Incredulous, my son replied, “Don’t they know how much their son needs them? Couldn’t they get a smaller house and not buy all the big screen TVs and all that other stuff? Don’t they know he would rather have them and instead of all the things?” My answer was honest:  "I just don’t think they are willing to make that change.  It would cost too much."


          It's true:  I do secretly wish the public school system would finally just collapse. I wish that we could stop trying to prop up a system designed to strip our children of the very education it says it will provide. I dream that parents who have never even considered what a good education is being forced to ask and seek answers to some basic and necessary educational questions.

        Not a single part of the compulsory institution of public schooling exists to serve our children. From the bus ride (without seatbelts) or bike ride to school, to the front office staff, to the Principal, to the teacher -- the physical and emotional safety and well being of our children are being compromised consistently. If you doubt that, you haven't watched the news lately.

        Children’s basic human rights are being violated daily in the public school system. How could a parent know better and submit a child to it anyway? For most parents, the act of sending their children to kindergarten, starting the entire process of violation after violation, is no more than checking off a box on a to do list. It's just what you do when your child turns 6 years old.  It's expected.

        I am hoping to bring attention to home schooling as the best choice, the only choice for an excellent education. There is so much talk about why we  lag behind other countries in educational measures of nearly every sort. It’s simple, folks:   Home school your children.

       Within a very short time, probably as long as it takes to assess, record and interpret the data, America would be #1. We can significantly change the world we live in for the better through the choice to home school. What is more important than your child, his or her education and the lasting personal, societal and generational impact that excellent education could bring? My position is that homeschooling is the only way to ensure our continued freedom in this country. 

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