In the Wake of Mass Shootings, Parents Reconsider Mass Schooling

By Kerry McDonald

Parents who remove their children from the confines of the conventional classroom are not running away from reality. They are running towards it.

In the wake of recent tragic school shootings, anxious parents are contemplating homeschooling to protect their children. After February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Miami Herald reported that more parents were considering the homeschooling option. And after Friday’s disturbing school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, a local ABC news affiliate in Alabama reported the increasing appeal of homeschooling.

“If I had the time, I would teach my kids myself, and I would know that they’re safe,” a father of four told ABC station, WAAY31. A public school teacher interviewed by the channel disagreed with the idea of homeschooling. According to the news story, the teacher “says resorting to homeschooling is teaching your children to run from reality.”

But that raises the question: Is compulsory mass schooling “reality”?

Public Schools Are Consuming More and More of Kids’ Time

Segregating children by age into increasingly restrictive, test-driven classrooms where they are forced by law to be unless a parent or caregiver liberates them is hardly “reality.” What’s worse is that young people are spending increasingly more time in this coercive “reality” than ever before.

For young children ages six to eight, schooling increased from an average of five hours a day in 1981-82 to an average of seven hours a day in 2002-03. And for today’s teens, schooling consumes much more of their time than it did for previous generations, seeping into summertime and other historically school-free periods. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 42 percent of teens were enrolled in school during July 2016, compared to only 10 percent enrolled in July 1985.

In the case of teens, spending more time in school and school-like activities may be further separating them from the actual real world in which they previously came of age. As Business Insider reports: “Almost 60% of teens in 1979 had a job, compared to 34% in 2015.” Spending more time in the contrived reality of forced schooling and less time in authentic, multi-age, productive communities may be taking its toll on today’s youth.

Compulsory Mass Schooling Is Hurting Our Kids

New findings from researchers at Vanderbilt University show a disturbing correlation between time in school and suicidal thoughts and attempts by young people, which have been increasing over the past decade. Whereas most adults see suicide spikes in July and August, most kids see suicide dips in summer. Children’s suicidal tendencies appear strongest during the school year.

Boston College psychology professor Dr. Peter Gray believes that increasingly oppressive schooling is leading to serious psychological damage in some children. He writes on his blog at Psychology Today:

Children now often spend more time at school and at homework than their parents spend at their full-time jobs, and the work of schooling is often more burdensome and stress-inducing than that of a typical adult job. A century ago we came to the conclusion that full-time child labor was child abuse, so we outlawed it; but now school is the equivalent of full-time child labor. The increased time, tedium, and stress of schooling is bringing many kids to the breaking point or beyond, and more and more people are becoming aware of that. It can no longer be believed that schooling is a benign experience for children. The evidence that it induces pathology is overwhelming.”

Recent school shootings may be extreme examples of this rising school-induced pathology.

Choosing to Homeschool Isn’t “Running from Reality”

Instead of overreacting, parents who decide to remove their children from school to homeschool them may be acknowledging the disconnect between the inherent coercion of compulsory mass schooling and the freedom to live in the genuine world around us. Rather than sheltering their children, parents who select the homeschooling option may be endeavoring to widen their child’s community, broaden their experiences, and restore their emotional well-being.

Former New York State Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto, writes in his book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling about his growing disillusionment with mass schooling:

I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of the national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior.”

Parents who remove their children from the confines of the conventional classroom are not running away from reality. They are running towards it.

Kerry McDonald has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning. This article was sourced from

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10 Comments on "In the Wake of Mass Shootings, Parents Reconsider Mass Schooling"

  1. Not only are the school days longer but these kids get ONE recess for 20 minutes & not allowed to socialize during their 20 min lunch break [4th grade]. No time to exercise or blow off steam. We had shorter day in 50,60,70s ,got THREE recesses even in the snow; plus lunch and NO HOMEWORK till 6th grade. Now they get homework from kindergarten on plus no eating or playing on the long bus ride home. A smart kid will get into trouble from boredom because the class can only progress as fast as the dumbest kid; plus there are 25 kids for ONE teacher. We had 13 in a class. They also restrict bathroom time to the point where my grandson was having bladder problems because he was holding it all day. He did not want to drink water either and it is hot in SC. Got a doctors note warning them to stop and they still give him a hard time. Then there are the phucking “fund raisers” [like I don’t pay enough in taxes] where children are not included in the class party if they don’t sell a bunch of crappy overpriced merchandise so the school can get a small % of the profits. Teachers are also expected to take time out to sort & distribute this garbage.

  2. A thought-provoking article. Besides excessive amounts of homework, there are also the organized extracurricular sporting activities on weekends that tie not only the children to the herd but also forces parents to sacrifice their weekends to yet another school activity. No-one dares to keep their kids away, lest they be left standing on the outside looking in.

  3. So… sending your kids to a private or parochial school seems the better alternative than public school.

    • Too expensive for most people and have same risks & rules.

    • Private schools used to be the haven from public schools, but they have been compromised as well. The article puts forward the idea that public schools real purpose is to make kids HATE LEARNING. He is correct. That is exactly what they have been doing. Now just think for a moment on what that means.

  4. This is fantastic news!
    This throws a spinner in the globalists plans to undermine the family unit & have the state bring up your child doesn’t it.
    All these state sponsored mass shootings, incompetence in dealing with them,
    Ramped up & real trauma & injury is making the prospect of sending your child to mass school unhealthy. & it could be argued that you are putting your child In danger or at least being negligent if you send your child to school.
    It’s going to be pretty hard for the govt to force a parent who wants to homeschool their child to send them to these dangerous schools.
    Especially when they are getting a better education & better grades at home.
    They’ve shot thesekves in the foot ( pardon the pun)
    It’s a perfect example of how evil makes the evil doer stupid.

  5. Now we’re talking!! All hierarchic organization can be infiltrated and corrupted. Give parents the choice and this will enable them to destroy the NEA and the State control of their children.

    They’re your kids, NOT the States.

  6. My kids are out of school so maybe my opinion doesn’t count. If I still had school age kids I would try to put together small neighborhood schools taught by patriot parents. The other thought is that Parents have got to start using their heads and and stop voting approval for every damn school referendum proposed. In my district there is a referendum every year and I have never seen one defeated.

  7. Thank you so much for this article Kerry.

    Even way back in the 50’s and 60’s compulsory schooling was child abuse. Over the decades it has only become worse. In Australia the final two years of secondary school (usually between the ages of 16-18) the abuse of these young people is extreme. I really can’t understand why parents tolerate the excessive pressure, unfair testing systems and massive homework loads that are placed on our beautiful children. It is an insidious form of ABUSE and it must stop. The students themselves feel powerless to confront the faceless bureaucrats who impose this inhumane system so it’s up to the parents to put an end to it once and for all. Let’s all work together to give our children a more relaxed and happy childhood.

  8. I am sure simple metal detectors and armed guards would go along way in stopping these types of killers. Sending folks of the NWO crowd to jail would certainly help.

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