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"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4


Learning for Life:

Educational Words of Wisdom

By Teri Ann Berg Olsen


Following are additional quotes that did not make it into the book - and you can also submit your own. If your favorite quote or saying related to teaching or learning is not included, e-mail and I will post it on my website.

* * *

There exists in every age, in every society, a small, still choir of reason emanating from a few scattered thinkers ignored by the mainstream. Their collective voices, when duly discovered a century or so too late, reveal what was wrong with that society and age, and how it could have been corrected if only people had listened and acted accordingly. ~John Simon

"The issue is this," he said, "the government schools are killing our children morally, spiritually and academically. The question we confront as Christian parents is, how dead do we want our children to be?" ~Bruce N. Shortt, a homeschooing dad and attorney who holds advanced degrees from both Harvard and Stanford

What the world now needs is not competition but organisation and cooperation; all belief in the utility of competition has become an anachronism. ... the emotions connected with it are the emotions of hostility and ruthlessness. The conception of society as an organic whole is very difficult for those whose minds have been steeped in competitive ideas. Ethically, therefore, no less than economically, it is undesirable to teach the young to be competitive. ~Bertrand Russell

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. ~Bertrand Russell

A gentleman need not know Latin, but he should at least have forgotten it. ~Brander Matthews

I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would really be educated. ~Al McGuire

To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks. ~A.A. Milne

Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age? ~Eric Fromm

Since home school children have a strong moral and academic foundation, I am convinced they will be the leaders of tomorrow who will be able to fill the vacuum being created by the public schools. ~Chris Klicka

We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique. ~Benjamin Jowett

I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: 'The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair.' In these words he epitomized the history of the human race. ~Bertrand Russell, on Education and the Social Order

It was the policy of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that home was the happiest place in the world; and I value this delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent can bestow. ~Washington Irving

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ~Douglas Adams

The world is a great book, of which those who never stir from home read only a page. ~Saint Augustine

It would be worth the while to select our reading, for books are the society we keep; to read only the serenely true; never statistics, nor fiction, nor news, nor reports, nor periodicals, but only great poems, and when they failed, read them again, or perchance write more. ~Henry David Thoreau

Of two men, one of whom knows nothing about a subject, and what is extremely rare, knows that he knows nothing-and the other really knows something about it, but thinks that he knows all-What great advantage has the latter over the former? Which is the best to deal with? ~Henry David Thoreau

How various are the talents of men! From the brook in which one lover of nature has never, during all his lifetime detected anything larger than a minnow, another extracts a trout that weighs three pounds, or an otter four feet long. How much more game he will see who carries a gun…Though you roam the woods all your days, you will never see by chance what he sees, who goes on purpose to see it. ~Henry David Thoreau

Look and you will find it......what is unsought will go undetected. ~Sophocles

The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius. This is good, say they,--let us hold by this. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us. ~Henry David Thoreau

Most men even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance-which his growth requires-who has so often to use his knowledge? ~Henry David Thoreau

The object [of my education bill was] to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind which in proportion to our population shall be the double or treble of what it is in most countries. ~Thomas Jefferson

The truth is that the want of common education with us is not from our poverty, but from the want of an orderly system. More money is now paid for the education of a part than would be paid for that of the whole if systematically arranged. ~Thomas Jefferson

In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. ~Benjamin Rush

There is reading without learning; learning without knowledge; knowledge without sense; and sense without genius. And vice versa. ~Benjamin Rush

A thought: We never acquire knowledge to direct our conduct from history, nor from biography, nor from the experience of other people, nor even from our [own] experience, unless repeated two or three times. ~Benjamin Rush

Idleness is the parent of every vice….Labor of all kinds favors and facilitates the practice of virtue. ~Benjamin Rush

Great events have been brought about by small beginnings. ~Benjamin Rush

Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. "Light! Give me light!" was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour. ~Helen Keller

I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest man thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all encumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life… ~Henry David Thoreau

Many people have a foolish way of talking about small things, and apologize for themselves or another having attended to a small thing, having neglected their ordinary business and amused or instructed themselves by attending to a small thing; when, if the truth were known, their ordinary business was the small thing, and almost their whole lives were misspent, but they were such fools as not to know it. ~Henry David Thoreau

The editors of newspapers, the popular clergy, politicians and orators of the day and office-holders, though they may be thought to be of very different politics and religion, are essentially one and homogeneous, inasmuch as they are only the various ingredients of the froth which ever floats on the surface of society. ~Henry David Thoreau

Men talk of freedom! How many are free to think? free from fear, from perturbation, from prejudice? Nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand are perfect slaves. How many can exercise the highest human faculties? He is the man truly--courageous, wise, ingenious--who can use his thoughts and ecstasies as the material of fair and durable creations. One man shall derive from the fisherman's story more than the fisher has got who tells it. The mass of men do not know how to cultivate the fields they traverse. The mass glean only a scanty pittance where the thinker reaps an abundant harvest. What is all your building, if you do not build with thoughts? No exercise implies more real manhood and vigor than joining thought to thought. How few men can tell what they have thought! I hardly know half a dozen who are not too lazy for this. They cannot get over some difficulty, and therefore they are on the long way round. You conquer fate by thought. If you think the fatal thought of men and institutions, you need never pull the trigger. The consequences of thinking inevitably follow. There is no more Herculean task than to think a thought about this life and then get it expressed. ~Henry David Thoreau

After lecturing twice this winter I feel that I am in danger of cheapening myself by trying to become a successful lecturer, i.e., to interest my audience. I am disappointed to find that most that I am and value myself for is lost, or worse than lost, on my audience. I fail to get even the attention of the mass. I should suit them better if I suited myself less. I feel that the public demand an average man, --average thoughts and manners, --not originality, nor even absolute excellence. You cannot interest them except as you are like them and sympathize with them. I would rather that my audience come to me than that I should go to them, and so they be sifted; i.e., I would rather write books than lectures. That is fine, this coarse. ~Henry David Thoreau

I do not look on a human being as a machine, made to be kept in action by a foreign force, to accomplish an unvarying succession of motions, to do a fixed amount of work, and then to fall to pieces at death, but as a being of free spiritual powers; and I place little value on any culture but that which aims to bring out these, and to give them perpetual impulse and expansion. ~William Ellery Channing

But the ground of a man's [sic] culture lies in his nature, not in his calling. His powers are to be unfolded on account of their inherent dignity, not their outward direction. He is to be educated, because he is a man, not because he is to make shoes, nail, or pins. ~William Ellery Channing

There is no greater crime than to stand between a man and his development; to take any law or institution and put it around him like a collar, and fasten it there, so that as he grows and enlarges, he presses against it till he suffocates and dies. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Moral education, as I understand it, is not about inculcating obedience to law or cultivating self-virtue... It is about how we can develop and deepen our intuitive sense of beauty and creativity. ~Andrew Linzey

We live in a hierarchical world in which we defend ourselves ....from our eternal infancy and childhood by insisting on a graded, necessary elevation through learning and technological sophistication out of the child into the adult. This is not a true initiation that values both the previous form of existence and the newly attained one; it is a defence against the humiliating reality of the child. ~Thomas Moore

What you get out of the book depends on your cooperation in the social business of learning. ~Lancelot Hogben, "Mathematics for the Million"

As for money, the relationship between it and effective schools has been studied to death. The unanimous conclusion is that there is no connection between school funding and school performance. ~John Chubb and Terry Moe, Brookings Institution scholars, 1990

No use to shout at them to pay attention. If the situations, the materials, the problems before the child do not interest him, his attention will slip off to what does interest him, and no amount of exhortation or threats will bring it back. ~John Holt

Do you think nobody would willingly entrust his children to you or pay you for teaching them? Why do you have to extort your fees and collect your pupils by compulsion? ~Isabel Paterson

The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately... education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence. ~Oscar Wilde

Whenever people talk glibly of a need to achieve educational "excellence," I think of what an improvement it would be if our public schools could just achieve mediocrity. ~Thomas Sowell

Anyone who argues by referring to authority is not using his mind but rather his memory. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change. Education is essential to change, for education creates both new wants and the ability to satisfy them. ~Henry Steele Commager

Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival. ~W. Edwards Deming

[Memory is] the library of the mind. ~Francis Fauvel-Gourand

I go to school, but I never learn what I want to know. ~Calvin (The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes)

If nobody makes you do it, it counts as fun. ~Hobbes (from Calvin and Hobbes)

Try not to have a good time . . . this is supposed to be educational. ~Charles Schulz

Charter schools are just public schools on a slightly longer leash. A dog on a long leash is still a dog on a leash. ~Marshall Fritz (Founder, The Alliance for the Separation of School & State)

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents.... ~John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, The Underground History of American Education

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run. ~Mark Twain

Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog. ~Doug Larson

We're not trying to do "School at Home." We're trying to do homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We're not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we're trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7 days each week. The "formal" portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceberg. ~Steve and Jane Lambert (Five In A Row )

How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book. ~Henry David Thoreau

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. ~Henry David Thoreau

People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are always those who think they know what is your responsibility better than you do." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Television is bubble-gum for the mind. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

I learned the way a monkey learns, by watching its parents. ~Queen Elizabeth II

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. ~Marie Curie

The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life. ~Ernest Renan

The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth which it prevents you from achieving. ~Russell Green

If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world. Heinrich Heine

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. Sydney J. Harris I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. ~Helen Keller

You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. ~Abraham Lincoln

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. ~Harold B. Melchart

A teacher is one who, in their youth, admired teachers. ~Henry Menken

A book which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last. A book which is not worth reading at age 50 is not worth reading at age 10. ~C.S. Lewis

The will to succeed is important, but what's even more important is the will to prepare. ~Robert Knight

He who opens a school door, closes a prison. ~Victor Hugo

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly. ~Michel de Montaigne

The more that learn to read the less learn how to make a living. That's one thing about a little education. It spoils you for actual work. The more you know the more you think somebody owes you a living. ~Will Rogers

Modern education too often covers the fingers with rings, and at the same time cuts the sinews at the wrist. ~John Sterling, British Essayist, 1806-1844

Many a man is praised for his reserve and so-called shyness when he is simply too proud to risk making a fool of himself. ~J.B. Priestley

With the…public school system under humanist control…it is obvious to anyone who can see that, under the guise of secularization, the humanists have created the most powerful and pervasive government-funded establishment of religion that has ever existed in the United States. ~Jay Rogers, "A Brief History of Christian Influence in U.S. Colleges"

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students. ~John Ciardi

A university professor set an examination question in which he asked what is the difference between ignorance and apathy. The professor had to give an A+ to a student who answered: I don't know and I don't care. ~Richard Pratt, Pacific Computer Weekly, July 20, 1990

Sort children by judgments of learning capacity; separate the bright from the dull. This is the fundamental operating principle of our education program, the imperative that drives norm-referenced testing, tracking, ability grouping, gifted and talented programs and all the rest. Practices explicitly designed to exclude millions from rigorous education seem entirely reasonable if you believe the requisite abilities to be unequally distributed. By now five generations have received this treatment; we have come to accept it as a fundamental aspect of "the way things are." ~Jeff Howard, President, The Efficacy Institute

When students do not meet established standards it's not unknown for some schools and districts to "solve" the problem by lowering the standards. Sometimes termed "dumbing down," "The first known instance ... took place in Boston as far back as 1919. The city attempted to administer a test to eighth grade honor students previously given in 1845, but had to change 82 percent of the questions because the nineteenth-century test was too difficult for their school generation." ~Martin Morse Wooster, Angry Classrooms, San Francisco, CA: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1999

I think children can be very cruel especially in adolescence and if you are slow, and I was (I was in a school which was quite competitive) you do get a lot of slamming about from the other kids. I don't know about girls, but I know that boys are very cruel and very tough. It built up a tremendous resentment in me because I was also bad at sport and athletics and all I could do was play the piano. So I always got the sense in my adolescent years that 'Oh, Hopkins, you know he's, well he's not worth much, or he's a failure. ~Anthony Hopkins

It is tempting to impose our goals on other people, particularly on children or our subordinates. It is tempting for society to try to impose its priorities on everybody. The strategy will however be self-defeating if our goals, or society's goals, do not fit the goals of the others. We may get our way but we don't get their learning. They may have to comply but they will not change. We have pushed out their goals with ours and stolen their purposes. It is a pernicious form of theft which kills the will to learn. ~Charles Handy

Christ didn't set up the Judea Compulsory School System. He issued an invitation, "Follow me," and some did, and some didn't. And Christ didn't send the truant officer after those who didn't. ~John Taylor Gatto

English is not history and history is not science and science is not art and art is not music, and art and music are minor subjects and English, history and science major subjects, and a subject is something you 'take' and when you have taken it, you have 'had' it, and if you have 'had' it, you are immune and need not take it again. (The Vaccination Theory of Education?) ~Postman & Weingartner

I have not done a full survey or review of education systems around the world, so that the views I express are based on personal experience. I would say that all education systems I've had contact with are a disgrace and a disaster. ~Edward de Bono

I remember that I was never able to get along at school. I was always at the foot of the class. ~Thomas Edison

Learning from experience is a faculty almost never practiced. ~Barbara Tuchman

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright told how a lecture he received at the age of nine helped set his philosophy of life: An uncle, a stolid no-nonsense type, had taken him for a long walk across a snow-covered field. At the far side, his uncle told him to look back at their two sets of tracks. "See, my boy," he said, "how your foot prints go aimlessly back and forth from those trees, to the cattle back to the fence and then over there where you where throwing sticks? But notice how MY path comes straight across, directly to my goal. You should never forget this lesson!" "And I never did," Wright said, grinning. "I determined right then not to miss most things in life, as my uncle had."

Great spirits have always been violently oppressed by mediocre minds. ~Albert Einstein

It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service. ~Albert Einstein

The Bible tells us how to get to Heaven, but science tells us how the heavens go. ~Galileo Galilei

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. ~Plato

One attraction of Latin is that you can immerse yourself in the poems of Horace and Catullus without fretting over how to say, "Have a nice day." ~Peter Brodie

A good education is the next best thing to a pushy mother. ~C. Schultz

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, under which Michigan came into the Union, states in Article III: "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them. ~Albert Einstein

Remember… amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. ~Anonymous

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. ~Willa A. Foster

If you live in a material universe where acquiring things is very important to you, then family is an absolute deterrent to maintaining that sort of a world, because family involves values like affection, and sympathy, and passion, and types of pleasure that lead nowhere in a material sense. ~John Taylor Gatto, in "Alternatives in Education"

"I do [think homeschooling is a good idea]. Parents are willing and disciplined enough to make sure their child gets a good education. And in most cases the parents I've met who homeschool their children are very, very disciplined. I think it's a fine idea if people want to do it." ~Laura Bush in Reader's Digest, January 2002

Forced schooling arose from the new logic of the Industrial Age -- the logic imposed on flesh and blood by fossil fuel and high-speed machinery. This simple reality is hidden from view by early philosophical and theological anticipations of mass schooling in various writings about social order and human nature. But you shouldn't be fooled any more than Charles Francis Adams was fooled when he observed in 1880 that what was being cooked up for kids unlucky enough to be snared by the newly proposed institutional school net combined characteristics of the cotton mill and the railroad with those of a state prison. ~John Taylor Gatto in "The Underground History of American Education"

Parents are their children's first and most influential teachers. What parents do to help their children learn is more important to academic success than how well off the family is. ~US Department of Education, "What Works: Research About Teaching and Learning"

They say that we are better educated than our parents' generation. What they mean is that we go to school longer. They are not the same thing. ~Douglas Yates

A native American who cannot read or write is as rare an a comet or an earthquake. ~John Adams, 1765

When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children. ~Albert Shanker, longtime American Federation of Teachers president

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. ~Dale Carnegie

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. ~George Washington Carver

Nine requisites for contented living: Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor. Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

An entry in Mark Twain's notebook, dated 1908 said: "All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The theological knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal. That is, when a man is buying a basket of strawberries it can profit him to know that the bottom half of it is rotten."

Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Madison, Henry and one third of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States were educated at home. ~Cathy Cuthbert (homeschool mother and editor of "The School Liberator," published by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State)

Whenever the teacher said, 'If you don't get good grades, you won't do well in the real world,' Mike and I just raised our eyebrows. When we were told to follow set procedures and not deviate from the rules, we could see how the schooling process actually discouraged creativity. We started to understand why our rich dad told us that schools were designed to produce good employees instead of employers. ~Robert Kiyosaki, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"

I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly view their role as the proselytizers of a new faith… The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new; the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of Humanism… ~from The Official Journal of the American Humanist Association [1983]

The kindly spirits that sent the children of the poor to the charity schools in England, for example, had no intention of permitting these pupils to rise above their station: the point of this schooling was to produce piety and insure deference; when some attempt was made to teach the most intelligent of these children something more than reading, petty tradesmen objected to this potential competition with their own children." ~Peter Gay, writing of the 18th century in volume two of his work, "The Enlightenment"

One of the misuses of the words "schooling" and "education" is the common reference to "compulsory education." That is a misnomer if there ever was one. There are no compulsory education laws--laws which require that all children be educated. As is commonly known, huge numbers are not educated to any minimum level, including many who graduate from high school. ~David Kirkpatrick in his column "More on Compulsory Schooling" (

Tax-funded schools are welfare, pure and simple. If a free lunch at noon is welfare, so is a free math lesson at ten a.m. ~Marshall Fritz, President, The Alliance for the Separation of School and State

Nine out of 10 parents were publicly schooled. If they are unfit as adults to direct the education of their own children, then public schooling should hang its collective head and change its ways - not cement its collective failures into the constitution. ~J.J. Ross, Ed.D.

It would be better for us not to be able to cast up a single sum in addition and be humble before the Lord than to have ever so much knowledge and permit that knowledge to lead us to destruction. ~Wilford Woodruff

I've seen the fruits of our current education system firsthand, and it's deeply troubling. For example, it's nearly impossible these days to find executives who know how to write. This vital skill appears to be vanishing quickly. I'm not just talking about high school graduates, but people with degrees from prestigious Ivy League schools. The lack of this basic ability turns day-to-day business into a trudge through the swamp….There is an even more fundamental skill than writing - thinking. When it comes to finding employees who know how to think rationally and evaluate information for themselves, combing through a crop of recent high school or even college graduates is like looking for a needle in a haystack. These people are so hard to find that when you get them, you make sure you never let them go. Entrepreneurs recognize these people as the pillars that companies are built on. The question is: why do we have so few of them? ~Sky Dayton, founder and CEO, Earthlink

You are not paying for education twice if you send your child to a private school. You are paying once for the government indoctrination of other people's children and once for the education of yours. You are not paying for education when you pay taxes. ~Marshall Fritz, President, The Alliance for the Separation of School and State

How is it that the majority of the citizenry…like the Romper Room "Do Bees" of our childhood… [send their] children to school, especially with homeschooling legal in every state. The question is not, "Why do people comply?" Chicanery, force and fear, habit, of course. The question is, "Why do they comply willingly?" Why do they march forward to sacrifice not only their own well being but that of their children and seem happy to do so? Why do they deny all the evidence of their senses and proclaim proudly that we Americans are free?" ~Cathy Cuthbert (homeschool mother and editor of "The School Liberator," published by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State)

Compulsory government schooling began in the US in 1852 in Massachusetts. At that time, it took guns, soldiers and the threat of bloody violence, rather than expert advice, to force parents to submit to giving up their children. ~Cathy Cuthbert, homeschool mother and editor of "The School Liberator," published by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State (

Earl Gary Stevens wrote in Home Education Magazine, 1990: "A homeschooling parent in Canada recently sent me a letter which ended with a quote by Roque Dalton: 'May we keep hauling up the morning.' I like the metaphor of a sailing ship upon the sea for parenthood and for homeschooling. There are no completely reliable charts, and so we must often navigate without them. We must learn for ourselves how to find the currents, avoid the reefs and storms, and enter the harbors. As we haul up the sails to go on sailing, so we haul up the morning for the adventures of each successive day. There is room for everybody on this ocean, and there is no pilot's license required or worth having. We must trust ourselves and our children. May each of us keep hauling up the morning."

In Growing Up Creative, Ansel Adams, who was homeschooled as a child, summarizes his father's role: "I am certain he established the positive direction of my life that otherwise, given my native hyperactivity, could have been confused and catastrophic. I trace who I am and the direction of my development to those years of growing up in our house on the dune, propelled especially by an internal spark, tenderly kept alive and glowing, by my father."

Did You Know…?Peter Kindersley was homeschooled as a child and worked as a book illustrator before becoming a publisher. His company Web site ( boasts a quote from Peter: "The home is the first school, and parents are the first teachers."



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