HOME Schooling

Prior to the advent of compulsory schooling in the mid 19th century, most of humanity was educated freely.

"I want to make it clear that I don't see homeschooling as some kind of answer to the badness of schools. I think that the home is the proper base for the exploration of the world which we call learning or education. Home would be the best base no matter how good the schools were."

John Holt, Educator and Homeschooling advocate

Problems with School Learning

  • Standardized testing is questionable: Test-taking has marginal utility in the real world but is the primary method of determining competency in schools.

  • Nothing is retained: Despite hours of classroom teaching, millions of dollars of funding and teachers with advanced degrees, school children tend to flush everything the moment examinations are complete.

  • Tiring: Averaging 6.5 hours a day, school is a slog for children and most of that time isn't spent learning in a relaxed, comfortable manner. Much of it is waiting, transitioning and settling in.

  • School bell constantly disrupts deep learning: Children cannot focus on the subjects they love because they must acquiesce to a rigid, arbitrary time schedule that orders them to drop everything and move to the next class repeatedly throughout the day.

  • Impossible classroom ratios: Classrooms can be as large as 30 children, effectively eliminating any possibility of meaningful 1-on-1 supervision by a teacher and slowing down learning to a crawl.

  • Age segregation: Instead of learning by interacting with individuals of all ages, children of the same age are grouped together for long stretches of time and are taught that this is normal, when it is highly unnatural.

  • Emotional and Intellectual dependency: We train our children to react to a teacher's approval or disapproval, and learn to narrowly focus their learning to whatever is the present curriculum, eschewing everything else.

  • Breeds anti-social behavior: Our children quickly learn to be socially risk-averse, stressed about their social image, afraid of being perceived negatively by their peers and contemptuous of those who are unpopular. It takes about 3 years of school to crush a child's enthusiasm, leaving an apathetic, tired, disinterested, moody child. Also, bullying is rampant, another roadblock to learning.

“In 26 years of teaching rich kids and poor, I almost never met a ‘learning disabled’ child; hardly ever met a ‘gifted and talented’ one, either.”

John Taylor Gatto, New York City Teacher of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991.

[1511] The School of Athens (Raphael).jp

How did we learn

in the past?

Some Examples

Michael Faraday


Learned to read, write and cipher at Sunday school. He apprenticed to a bookbinder at 14 and self-taught himself science by reading books. 7 years later apprenticed with a famed chemist at the age of 21. Later contributed significantly to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

Benjamin Franklin


Only attended school for 2 years before dropping out, ending at the age of 10. At 12, worked a 60hr/week job while self-teaching through reading. Founded an independent newspaper at 15. Later regarded as one of the most accomplished men in American history.

Marcus Aurelius


The last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome, Marcus Aurelius later recalled Catilius Severus' [his step-great grand father] influence in his life as preventing him from attending "public places of teaching but to have enjoyed good teachers at home, and to have learned that it is a duty to spend liberally on such things". It was common among Roman aristocracy to study at home.

Thomas Edison


"Thomas Edison only attended school for a few months and was instead taught by his mother. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art."

Steve Jobs


“[In school] I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me.”

(photo credit: Matthew Yohe)

Leonardo da Vinci


Leonardo da Vinci received no formal education beyond basic reading, writing and math. At age 15, he began his apprenticeship to the noted sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio, of Florence. Largely self-educated, he filled dozens of secret notebooks with inventions, observations and theories about pursuits from aeronautics to anatomy.

Blaise Pascal


In 1631, five years after the death of his wife, Étienne Pascal moved with his children to Paris. The newly arrived family soon hired Louise Delfault, a maid who eventually became an instrumental member of the family. Étienne, who never remarried, decided that he alone would educate his children, for they all showed extraordinary intellectual ability, particularly his son Blaise. The young Pascal showed an amazing aptitude for mathematics and science.

John von Neumann


"When he was six years old, he could divide two eight-digit numbers in his head and could converse in Ancient Greek.


Children did not begin formal schooling in Hungary until they were ten years of age; governesses taught von Neumann, his brothers and his cousins. Max believed that knowledge of languages in addition to Hungarian was essential, so the children were tutored in English, French, German and Italian. By the age of eight, von Neumann was familiar with differential and integral calculus, but he was particularly interested in history. He read his way through Wilhelm Oncken's 46-volume Allgemeine Geschichte in Einzeldarstellungen."

[photo: LANL]


Literature Library

Great works of Literature

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)

  • The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer)

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

  • The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri)

  • Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes)

  • The Holy Bible (King James Version or any non-simplified version)

  • The Iliad (Homer)

  • Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)

  • The Mahabhrata (Vyasa)

  • Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

  • The Odyssey (Homer)

  • The Ramayana (Valmiki)

  • Robertson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)

  • Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Economic and Financial Literacy

Recommended books on economics, finance and money.

  • America's Great Depression (Murray N.Rothbard)

  • The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

  • The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur (Peter G. Klein)

  • The Case Against the Fed (Murray N. Rothbard)

  • Economics in One Lesson (Henry Hazlitt)

  • The Ethics of Money Production (Jörg Guido Hülsmann)

  • Fooled By Randomness (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

  • Human Action (Ludwig von Mises)

  • The Intelligent Investor (Benjamin Graham)

  • Man, Economy and State (Murray N. Rothbard)

  • Money, Sound and Unsound (Joseph T. Salerno)

  • The Mystery of Banking (Murray N. Rothbard)

  • Principles of Economics (Carl Menger)

  • Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (Ludwig von Mises)

  • Security Analysis (Benjamin Graham)

  • Theory of Money and Credit (Ludwig von Mises)

  • The Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Hans-Hermann Hoppe)

  • What Has Government Done To Our Money? (Murray N. Rothbard)