I then take the opportunity to bring up the Justinian Code that they heard about earlier in the morning, and how many of our laws are based on those original ideas. They listen attentively, but are far less interested because it’s not “theirs” like the Constitution is.
At some point during this conversation, my oldest asks about when she will be old enough to do things related to these legal concepts. She asks when she will be able to vote, etc. I tell her that she does not have to wait until she is 18 to do things, she can start right now! I suggest that she can write a letter or an article for a newspaper about something she cares about or wants to change.
She then declares her intention to write a letter “to the government” regarding the conditions of prisons in other countries, and her belief that every country should have a constitution. I tell her that I will be glad to look up the address for whomever she wishes to write when we arrive home.
The conversation then changes course, as the girls begin to inquire about Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I answer questions about what this process means under Jewish law, what the process entails, whom the girls can invite, etc.
Before long, we are home, amazingly having encountered only light traffic. As we prepare for the end of the day routine, my oldest begins a draft of her letter, asking which countries have constitutions and which do not. I encourage her to look this up in our 1957 Collier’s Encyclopedia, she declares her wish that I could “just ask Siri.”
At some point, I jump onto Twitter, to do some electronic advocacy. I see an updated flier for a rally my friend will be speaking at that week. I re-tweet some interesting articles related to my interests and advocacy, and surf a little bit.
Sooner or later, the kids are all in bed, and asleep, and the day of homeschooling comes to an end.
One of the books that I am currently reading, Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, makes claims in accordance with our philosophy in regarding to learning. It states: “There are learning opportunities everywhere you look.” And further, “When we perceive the world as ripe with social and learning opportunities, we will help our children to grow.” Learning is everywhere all the time. Constitutional Law happens to be my passion that I am able to share with my children, but it’s certainly not the only thing that children can be or are interested in. (See also, Learning All The Time, Free to Learn, and Dumbing Us Down).
Homeschooling affords us the freedom to spend both quantity and quality time with our children, as well as showing the world to them, perhaps even learning some things we hadn’t considered to ask about before. In our family, every day is an opportunity to learn something new and interesting together. If you think homeschooling may be in your family’s future, I encourage you to learn more and embrace the freedom that it affords.
Regardless of whether you homeschool or not, one of the most critical things you can do is a parent is to lead by example. In leadership education, we refer to this as “leading out.” Children mimic what they see. Thus, if they see their parents reading books, they will want to also read books. If they see their parents asking questions, they will want to ask questions, and so on.
One of the most meaningful quotes I have come across in regards to what we are trying to achieve as a family, was this one, regarding the nature of character and raising children: “In the midst of America’s endless argument about charter schools and vouchers [etc.], I hear almost no one asserting that one of the things education should aim at is to produce children who have what Aristotle called a great soul.” A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century. It rings true to me because experience, and several other authors (see e.g., Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students), have confirmed this character gap. (For further reading, see How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, and NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children). If the schools aren’t teaching the children moral character, due to value relativity, and the parents aren’t teaching the children moral character because they are too busy and falsely believe that the schools are doing so, then who is?
Related to the notion of character, in this context, is the incredibly cardinal issue of teaching freedom. “Only a nation of people who understand freedom, really understand it, is capable of maintaining it.” The U.S. Constitution and the 196 Indispensable Principles of Freedom. This book was the one that inspired me the most to use my abilities to fight for the cause of freedom. For, “[a]nation of people who know their rights and responsibilities will give everything to establish and maintain freedom, and nothing can stop them.” Id.
“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” The Great Conversation, Great Books of the Western World.
Related to this need to maintain freedom, is the concept of mission. Mission means different things to different people. A leadership education supports the notion that every person has their own mission to fulfill in this life. “We believe that a person who fulfills his mission will literally change the world. We believe this is true of every single person who is born and every single individual mission.” Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning.
This is critical to every person, because this means that moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandparents, and cousins, and literally everyone has their own mission to achieve. By following our own mission, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to our children the importance of following our path. “There are few things more incongruent than someone who says they have an important mission and then lives in conflict with it…The most important thing about mission it to carry out yours and invite your children to carry out theirs.” Id. By choosing to put everything off to another day, that other day is never going to come.
“Modern Americans would do well also to see sacrifice and suffering as part of progress, and independent initiative, ingenuity and vigilance– as opposed to government as the savior of everyone and everything– as vital to maintaining freedom.” The U.S. Constitution and the 196 Indispensable Principles of Freedom. We have seen this maxim prove absolutely true in the health freedom movement. It’s going to take a lot of work to protect our freedoms, but many hands make light work.
“Children should be educated and instructed on the principles of freedom.” John Adams. Let’s start showing our kids what it means to be leaders pursuing our missions, as we work toward health freedom together.