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Archive 1 (20th March 2008)

Snipping George Bernard Shaw and Mark Twain

I'm removing

Both men had complex opinions that varied during the course of their lives, but calling them "Christian" is a stretch. My reasons for excluding Shaw are given above. As for Mark Twain, he did write a sympathetic book about Joan of Arc. However, his writings are replete with sarcastic and dismissive remarks about organized religion. He refused to let "Letters from the Earth" be published until after his death. In Mark Twain's Letters, we read:

From a gentleman in Buffalo Clemens one day received a letter inclosing an incompleted list of the world's "One Hundred Greatest Men," men who had exerted "the largest visible influence on the life and activities of the race." The writer asked that Mark Twain examine the list and suggest names, adding "would you include Jesus, as the founder of Christianity, in the list?" To the list of statesmen Clemens added the name of Thomas Paine; to the list of inventors, Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. The question he answered in detail.

Twain's answer was that if the compiler of the list added Jesus, he should also add Satan: "From A.D. 350 to A.D. 1850 these gentlemen exercised a vaster influence over a fifth part of the human race than was exercised over that fraction of the race by all other influences combined. Ninety-nine hundredths of this influence proceeded from Satan, the remaining fraction of it from Jesus."

Twain has been labelled "deist," "agnostic," and "atheist." Gary Sloan suggests (Mark Twain's Covert War with his Maker) that he believed in a malignant God, and says "Viewing Satan as a heroic rebel against the real Archfiend, Twain came to identify with the fallen cherub and often used him as a mouthpiece." Perhaps his views were so complex that he was all of these things and a Christian at the same time, but he was certainly not a Christian as the term is ordinarily meant. Dpbsmith 20:03, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

But if they were homeschooled, shouldn't they be in the "other" section of the list? Human 18:21, 4 May 2007 (EDT)
Sure. That section didn't exist when I removed them; it was a single list of Christians. Dpbsmith 20:32, 4 May 2007 (EDT)
Doing. Human 21:25, 4 May 2007 (EDT)

The part on Mark Twain doesn't even discuss him being homeschooled, only him completing five grades of school. Also the majority of the people on the list were born before state sponsored public schooling. Rellik 22:56, 18 March 2008 (EDT)

You're in the wrong place if you want to censor information from the page.--Aschlafly 23:09, 18 March 2008 (EDT)

Marx, Himmler, Oscar Wilde...

I would love to see a good, non-ideological reason as to why these names were eliminated from the list. AliceBG 20:08, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

Why is a non-ideological reason necessary? DanH 20:10, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

Because if they were only deleted for ideological reasons that is an admission that the article is intentionally misleading. --Merriweather 20:13, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
Well, this is an encyclopedia article about homeschooling, right? And a section of that article is dedicated to listing prominent persons who were homeschooled in one way or another, right? And a noted political/economic theorist, an important figure in the Nazi regime, and a great Irish writer all fit both parts of the prominent/homeschooled criteria for that list, so there is no reason to take them off the list...unless including them on the list somehow makes homeschooling look bad; in that case the removal is strictly ideological....which brings into question the intellectual honesty and integrity of the article, and thus the project writ large. AliceBG 20:16, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
I undid the ideological deletion as it runs counter to Conservapedia's ethos of censorship of facts see Conservapedia:How_Conservapedia_Differs_from_Wikipedia, Item 9 - "Wikipedia editors who are far more liberal than the American public frequently censor factual information. Conservapedia does not censor any facts that comport with the basic rules." Brixham 14:44, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
DanH, so if you won't provide a non-ideological reason can you tell me why you blatantly go against the Conservapedia differences with Wikipedia? I always thought you seemed a reasonable guy. Brixham 15:19, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
The removal was no less ideological than the inclusion of the names. I mean, Himmler? DanH 19:24, 15 March 2008 (EDT)
Touché :) 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 19:28, 15 March 2008 (EDT)
If they are to be put in, I would at the very least ask for a citation. DanH 19:26, 15 March 2008 (EDT)

Where are the citations that Karl Marx was homeschooled? I'll look further for them, but haven't found any yet.--Aschlafly 22:56, 15 March 2008 (EDT)

Problems with this page

I think there are some major problems with this article; not in terms of the content being wildly inaccurate but rather being rather narrow in its focus. If you look at the opening line, it defines homeschool as "a movement consisting of 1-2 million students in the United States". That's problematic because for a start, because homeschooling is not a "movement" (at best, it's a subsection of the conservative movement) and it's definitely not isolated to the United States.

Furthermore, I think you're striving a little too hard to give homeschooling as much credit as possible. Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against homeschooling. But at no stage in the article have you clearly and accurately defined what homeschooling is, because as I noted, the opening definition is extremely flawed. Consequently, when you get to someone like Charles Dickens, I reckon you're drawing a bit of a long bow. To take the Dickens example: as a history teacher, I feel that we should be quite clear that Charles Dickens was never formally homeschooled in the manner that the article implies and the fact that he didn't receive an education for much of his childhood had nothing to do with such things as "a different, often better, education environment with different, often better, opportunities" or "freedom from liberal and/or atheistic bias and culture in schools". To simplify things as much as possible, he ceased to have a formal education because his father was imprisoned for financial reasons. And I can tell you that his mother was no great believer in Dickens getting an education: she was the one that forced Dickens to work in a factory. In short, there is no evidence whatsoever that Dickens received any active home education. Dickens is just one example of the wider problem with the entire article, in that you suffer from a poor definition which consequently makes many of the names that you list as "arguably homeschooled" look silly. Even under a solid definition of homeschooling, I don't think people such as Dickens qualify. PeterS 05:36, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

PeterS, you may be an expert in history, but your logic does not follow. The entry does not care why someone was homeschooled in listing who was homeschooled.--Aschlafly 21:55, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
I think PeterS has a valid point, at least in his first line. As he points out, the article describes homeschooling as "a movement consisting of 1-2 million students in the United States". So for starters, how many on the list were homeschooled in the United States? Clearly, however, homeschooling is not confined to the U.S., so it's the definition rather than the list that should be changed (as far as my argument goes so far).
I don't agree with him that it's not a movement; I think that's probably an apt term. But that raises the next problem with the list. Homeschooling as a movement is a relatively recent phenomenon, over the last forty years, I would guess. So anybody on that list who was educated at home more than around forty years ago does not fit the definition.
There's more that I could say, along the lines of PeterS' second paragraph, but perhaps I'll leave it there for the moment.
Philip J. Rayment 22:14, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
Similar to my comment below, this criticism is overly literal. But to play that game, "homeschooling" is the movement, while those who were "homeschooled" is a broader category that can go beyond the movement.--Aschlafly 22:17, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
My immediate response to that, without thinking through it, is that that might make sense, but if it does, at the very least that distinction should be made clear in the article. Philip J. Rayment 22:19, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps the opening part of the article could refer to a general, specific definition of homeschooling. That would clear up some of the conceptual difficulties that become more evident later in the article. Then you could branch out after that and comment on the "homeschooling movement" in the United States. PeterS 00:46, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
An addendum to my previous post: I still think my dispute with the Dickens example stands. Just because someone does not receive a formal education at a school, it does not mean they were homeschooled. The facts are these: Dickens was educated as long as was financially possible. When his father was jailed, he was sent to work in a factory, like many financially disadvantaged young people at the time. To my knowledge (and the minutiae of the personal histories of English authors are not my strongest point), there is no evidence that his mother actively homeschooled him. Indeed, all the evidence points to his mother being firmly in favour of him working at a boot-blacking factory instead of getting an education. If you have evidential proof that this was not the case, feel free to cite it. Once again, if you think my argumentation over this is not valid, then you've got to sort out the definitional problem ASAP. PeterS 00:58, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

I've reworded the introduction to:

  • Remove the United States as part of the definition.
  • To define homeschooling as being educated "primarily at home", rather than "outside the traditional school system", as the latter could include non-traditional schools. The existing text later in the article expands on "primarily at home", to explain the parts that are not at home.

Philip J. Rayment 06:54, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

I've also changed references to homeschooling in the prominent people list to "educated at home" or "taught at home" (as some entries already were) for all persons whose education preceded the formation of the homeschooling movement. By the way, the entry for Leonardo doesn't actually say that he was taught at home. Philip J. Rayment 07:09, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

Nobody uses the phrase "educated at home," Philip. Have you ever heard anyone use it? An encyclopedia should use common and easily understood terminology, first and foremost. "Homeschooled" is the term that is used. Also, I'm not aware of a category that is "outside the traditional school system" but not homeschooled. Homeschooling is not dependent on the physical location, but on the approach. Again, I object to the overly literal and materialistic approach.--Aschlafly 10:50, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
Regarding "educated at home"...
  • I'm not in the habit of noting down every phrase I hear, so in one sense I couldn't say whether I've ever heard it, but I would think that I have heard it.
  • That's apart from this article, which as I said, already used it, the phrase having been included by Dpbsmith ([1]), Hsmom ([2], [3], [4], [5],[6]), and NonXtianConservative ([7]).
  • Google returns 106,000 hits for "educated at home", so it's fairly common.
  • And even if none of that was the case, isn't Conservapedia proud of inventing new terms?
"Homeschooled" is one of a number of terms that are used. Another is "taught at home", which was used by none other than one Aschlafly ([8])! I've used both those terms to avoid too much repetition.
And of course there is the reason I made those changes, that if homeschooling is defined (correctly, I believe) to be a movement that started in the 1960s, then anybody educated/taught/tutored at home prior to then cannot be said to be "homeschooled". That's not to say that their situation is necessarily quite different, but it does mean that the term itself should not be used of them.
"outside the traditional school system" depends on what is meant by "traditional". It could mean schools that allow the students to decide what they learn, for example, or other schools that take a non-traditional approach in any number of ways. It could include parent-controlled Christian schools, as traditionally schools have been controlled by governments or religious denominations. Yes, those examples are all schools, but they're not necessarily traditional schools.
If "homeschooling" is not dependent (to a fair extent) on the physical location, then why is it called "homeschooling"? And if it's dependent on the approach, why is it not defined in terms of the approach? In any case, the previous definition was based on physical location, that being "outside ... schools".
How is my definition "overly literal"?
And how is is "materialistic"?
Philip J. Rayment 09:53, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Philip, you say that "Google returns 106,000 hits for 'educated at home,' so it's fairly common." But that is only about 5% of the frequency of use of "homeschooled", which generates nearly 2 million hits on Google. So "educated at home" is not "fairly common" relative to its counterpart. It is also meaningless to define where someone is taught rather than focusing on the approach.
It is overly literal and materialistic to define homeschooling in terms of the physical location (e.g., at home) rather than the approach (e.g., parental control). Shall we next define Christians based on where they pray? Of course not.--Aschlafly 11:28, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Googling "homeschooled" without the quotes I get 1.6 million hits (which includes variations such as homeschooling and homeschool). Googling "homeschooled with the quotes, I get 1.49 million hits. So the percentage is actually about 7. But I wasn't trying to claim that it's the most common use of the term. I was pointing out that your claim that "Nobody uses the phrase" is incorrect. If 7% is "nobody", then I guess nobody gets homeschooled, as the figure there is "only" 2%. But clearly 2% still amounts to a large figure, and 7% is also quite sufficient to say that the term is commonly used, even if "homeschooled" is considerably more common.
As I said, the previous definition focused on "where" and "the physical location", except for it being a positive "at home" it was a negative "not at school". So my change did not change that the definition was location-based. However, the new definition that you've now provided is a good one, and I'm reasonably happy with that (it could be tweaked a bit. For example, it links to the American definition of 'public school' rather than the broader 'school').
Philip J. Rayment 20:06, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Some thoughts - I use the term "educated at home" quite frequently, as it can include quite a number of educational approaches, only some of which I'd call "homeschooling". In some states in the USA, various terms have very specific meaning. As an example, in Pennsylvania, students can be "privately tutored", "receiving homebound instruction", "enrolled in a cyber-charter school", or "enrolled in a home education program". All four of these kinds of students are educated at home - that is, they get much of their education in their own home. Some folks call all four kinds "homeschooled". However, in two of these cases the students are public school students (educated at taxpayer expense, with school-provided curriculum). Many people would not consider this "homeschooling", at least in the traditional sense, especially as the parents have little say in the curriculum content, which has to meet state standards. Students can be "privately tutored" by their parent or a hired tutor - for various reasons, some would consider only the former to be "homeschooling". "Home education programs" create a broad umbrella which can encompas a variety of approaches. For example, home educated students can enroll in homeschool co-ops - essentially "schools for homeschoolers", and may actually do little if any of their learning in their own home. In some other states, no one is, legally speaking, homeschooling - they are all enrolled in private schools, some of which are so small as to have only students from a single family. With the rise of publicly-run and publicly-funded internet-based schools, people are being more careful about how they use the term "homeschooling". We do not want the general public to assume that anyone who is homeschooling is doing so at significant taxpayer expense, as that could result in an unacceptable level of government oversight and control, so we must be careful with our terminology. It's tricky stuff.
Aschlafly, I think that the list of arguably homeschooled people stretches the definition of homeschooling beyond my recognition (as a homeschooling mom). PeterS makes a good case that Dickens was not homeschooled (lack of education does not IMHO equal homeschooling, as discussed previously with George Washington Carver). I also think Joan of Arc was not homeschooled - her mother taught her prayers and household skills, as most mothers have taught their daughters for centuries, but there is no evidence she gave any academic instruction. But Aschlafly, it's your sandbox, so your say goes. --Hsmom 20:56, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Read an interesting article

I generally don't follow "homeschooling politics" but I recently read an interesting article. Apparently CA has recently placed a de facto ban on homeschooling. Does that sound like something appropriate for this article? (It would be nice to have something not in list form.) HelpJazz 16:20, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

The government of California has said they will not enforce it, but to have it on the books begs a time when the government may not be as friendly and could decide to crack down. They didn't allow homeschooling per se, but did it's equivalent by saying a special license was necessary to teach. Since homeschoolers score higher on standardized tests than their public school counterparts, it is especially troubling to see efforts made to curtail it. Learn together 20:59, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the info, Learn Together! I didn't read it from a primary source, I read it from someone who regurgitated it for me. They said that that they would require extensive training/licencing to be a homeschool teacher, which would essentially kill the movement. The article I read didn't say that CA wasn't going to enforce the ruling (because that would make for a significantly less interesting article for a libertarian newsletter!) HelpJazz 21:35, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

"Nearly every great mathematician"

Can I object to the statement that "nearly every great mathematician" was homeschooled? It is patently ridiculous, even to a supporter of homeschooling. Here's just a few of the many famous mathematicians from the last few centuries who were not homeschooled: Isaac Newton, Leonhard Euler, George Polya, Carl Friedrich Gauss, John Venn, several of the Bernoulli family, Pierre de Fermat and Johannes Kepler. Off the top of my head, August Möbius was homeschooled only to the age of 13, and some mathematicians were born into European aristocracy who would never even think of allowing their children to be taught in a normal education system, which at the time would have been grossly inferior. Less hyperbole, please! PeterS 21:00, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

Fine, let's look at your examples, several of whom would not be described as "great mathematicians"; others in your list who were homeschooled; and still more who were schooled but achieved despite it. Spell out the schooling of each of your examples and you'll find that nearly all of them fall in one of the categories I just identified, and hence my reversion.--Aschlafly 21:54, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
That last category ("were schooled but achieved despite it") is of people who were not homeschooled. Correct? Philip J. Rayment 22:04, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
Well, yes, you are literally correct, but figuratively that category reinforces the thesis.--Aschlafly 22:13, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
How does "people who were educated in a regular shool and did well" (to rephrase it) support the thesis? (The phrase "despite it" presumes what the thesis is trying to demonstrate, so is a circular argument.) Philip J. Rayment 22:19, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
Right, so let's have a look at the first criterion. In other words, "several of whom would not be described as great mathematicians". Actually, I don't think that's my job. I think if you want to make a statement claiming that "nearly every great mathematician" was homeschooled, you need to prove it. You need to identify exactly who you would classify as a "great mathematician" and name them all: or have you already done that? What are your criteria for great mathematicians? Then you need to identify what percentage of those were homeschooled. Then you can assert that "nearly every great mathematician" was homeschooled. Now: "others in your list who were homeschooled". Again, it's a meaningless statement because you have never defined exactly what constitutes a homeschooled person - how many years they need to have been homeschooled - and when people have asked on this talk page, you haven't answered. Next: "still more who were schooled but achieved despite it". Hmmm... so you're making the assumption that because they were high achievers but attended school, they must have achieved despite their education? And you're using that justify the contention that homeschooling is better than a regular education? Which means that those who achieved highly did so despite their education? Which means that homeschooling is better than a regular education? Where does the circular nature of that argument end? Can I reiterate: I think that homeschooling is great if people are prepared to do it, and I think that you personally have done a lot of good things in terms of homeschooling. But I don't think it helps our conservative cause if we make silly hyperbolic statements all over the place in a futile gesture to stick it up to the liberals/atheists. PeterS 00:35, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
PeterS, our list of homeschoolers includes many of the greatest mathematicians. Please read it. Your list does not disprove the statement that nearly every great mathematician was homeschooled. I invited you to spell out the schooling of those in your list (as I have done for those homeschooled), but so far you've declined to do so. So your objection does not persuade.--Aschlafly 10:53, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
Andrew, I have read the list. But "many of the greatest mathematicians" is a different statement from "nearly every great mathematician". "Many" is completely different from "nearly every". "Many" is fairly uncontroversial, because it doesn't directly imply proportionality - it could mean a majority, or it could mean a sizeable minority, or it could mean some arbitrary proportion that you specify. "Nearly every" implies a sizeable majority, probably somewhere in the region of 90-95% - I'm being arbitrary here, but "nearly every" would, in the English language, be somewhere close to 100%. Now, until you can tell us what a "great mathematician" is, and list all those that you classify as great mathematicians, you cannot say that almost 100% of great mathematicians were homeschooled. If a student came to me with an essay saying something like "nearly every person killed in the Reign of Terror was an aristocrat", I would underline the statement, ask in the page margin for a citation of the number of people killed in the Terror, ask for a citation of the number of aristocrats killed in the Terror, and ask them to justify why that may have been the case (based on a historical interpretation). Your statement does not match any of these rather non-exhaustive criteria, and it'd be interesting if you could address this. On to the second part of your question: citations for my names. It should not be my job to find citations to help to prove or disprove your unproven statement. And I ask that before you try to pick apart my examples and set arbitrary criteria, you address what I've just said in this paragraph and my previous statements. But I'll do this anyway.
  • Isaac Newton - accounts vary, but all acknowledge that he received a formal education in at least one school. According to this source, [9], he was educated at King's School, Grantham. According to this source, [10] he was educated at Free Grammar School, Grantham. Despite the inconsistency in the name, we can conclude that whichever school(s) he attended, he did attend school for most of his childhood. This source [11] tells us that while he spent years out of school, he was not homeschooled during that time: indeed, it was felt that "he did not need an education". Without even requiring criteria, I think we can conclude that the development of Calculus is enough to make him a "great mathematician", not to mention these things called the laws of motion...
  • Leonhard Euler - this source [12] tells us that he went to a low quality school, but the fact stands: he attended school during that time, even if he self-taught and received tutoring at the same time. But even if you choose to disagree with my contention, it doesn't change my objections, noted in all my above comments. Anyway, Euler = great mathematician, no contest, even without criteria.
  • George Pólya - [13] says it all. Again, criteria are a problem, because you have never specified any, but Pólya is one of the world's foremost modern contributors to mathematical logic and combinatorics through elements such as the Pólya enumeration theorem and his four principles of mathematical proofs/problem solving.
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss - this source [14] tells us that he was educated from the age of seven. Case closed. That page also details his mathematical achievements very well in areas such as number theory in particular.
  • John Venn - [15]: went straight through Cholmley's and Islington. End of story. As for being a great mathematician... ever used a Venn diagram?
  • Bernoulli family - it is much more difficult to find evidence for the Bernoulli family - it is a pattern that people would either be taught at home or sent to a local school before moving onto more prestigious pursuits in secondary school or university. Obviously it's difficult to be consistent in researching across a cross-generational family. I'll gladly ignore this one.
  • Pierre de Fermat - he self-taught mathematics [16], but that came once he had already studied jurisprudence at university and become a councillor. This source [17] tells us that he did indeed receive a primary and secondary education. This source confirms that he was probably schooled at a Franciscan monastery [18]. And he was great; no matter what criteria you set.
  • Johannes Kepler - this source [19] tells us that although he helped in his grandfather's inn, he attended a local school and then a seminary. Kepler did of course achieve extraordinary things in astronomy, physics and mathematics including things such as positing the Kepler conjecture (which will probably become a theorem).
—The preceding unsigned comment was added by PeterS (talk)
OK, your list of great mathematicians who were not homeschooled is dwindling fast. Working backwards, Kepler evidently was educated while helped at his relative's inn, and he isn't considered a great mathematician anyway. Fermat was self-taught in mathematics. The Bernouilli family almost certainly handed down their expertise through homeschooling, and you've conceded dropping them. Venn was not a great mathematician.
We're left with only four: Newton, Euler, Polya, and Gauss. I'll check them out now. It may be that a few of them were not homeschooled, which is why the claim is not that every great mathematician was homeschooled, but that nearly every great mathematician was homeschooled. But I'm curious to investigate the education of these four.--Aschlafly 22:47, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
Newton apparently did not attend school until age 10, making him another homeschooler. [20] --Aschlafly 22:51, 20 March 2008 (EDT)
The fact that Newton did not attend school until the age of 10 does not make him a homeschooler. Indeed the source you cited says nothing about what his education was before Free Grammar School, if he had one. A homeschooling education seems unlikely, as the source says that Newton's grandfather, whom he was living with, practically ignored Newton, and that Newton hated his mother and step-father. ZTak 23:16, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Andrew Schlafly, you claim to be an expert in everything yet you are totally incapable of answering a simple request of another person is only trying to improve your encyclopaedia. I have spent several screenfuls of this discussion page trying to ask you two very simple questions, which shouldn't be too difficult whether the answerer is homeschooled or not. (1) What is your definition of a great mathematician? and (2) What exactly constitutes homeschooling? Your page does neither. Under your (highly elusive) criteria, spending a couple of years at home while of primary school age is sufficient to qualify as homeschooling. Under your criteria, receiving private tutoring while simultaneously attending school daily is sufficient to qualify as homeschooling. Under your criteria, a mathematician is great only if you say so, because under your criteria, Johannes Kepler and John Venn cease to become a great mathematician. Schlafly, this encyclopaedia will only live up to its name - Conservapedia - when it becomes an accurate reflection of a conservative viewpoint. At the moment, its Schlaflipedia: if you don't want to answer a reasonable question, you block your ears. That's also why you lock Conservapedia from editing when there aren't sysops around to jump on people who are trying to improve articles. You are driving away conservatives who want to make a difference but can't because Sleep-ly (grab a German dictionary if you don't get the pun) doesn't want his personal authority challenged. I am a conservative on every issue - foreign policy, economic policy, social policy et al - but that won't keep me at Conservapedia. You are harming the good work of real conservatives who deal in facts and proofs. I should note that I don't expect this comment to be here tomorrow; I expect that it will be "archived" in the rubbish bin, along with my user account. "Godspeed" to anyone who ever tries to object to Schlafly's perverse logic and warped ideas. PeterS 05:41, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
PeterS, your comments are becoming increasingly long-winded, incoherent and insulting. Get to the point succinctly and politely, and I'll respond to you. Otherwise, I'm not going to waste my time. By the way, I don't have a definition for "great mathematician," nor is one necessary for such a term.--Aschlafly 10:24, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Then you've just conceded his point. If you don't define what constitutes a "great mathematician" then you can not define the set of "great mathematicians" therefore you can not legitimately claim that "nearly every great mathematician was homeschooled" be cause it is completely unquantifiable. Like-wise, you refuse to define what constitutes "homeschooled". For you, it appears to mean anyone who ever learned anything outside of a traditional public school system education from K-12 and college... but this ignores the fact that such traditional structure has not been commonplace since the dawn of history. Many of the examples you give are from several hundred years ago when this structure was not in plaace in the manner it is to day, yet you conflate any kind of home learning in that time period with homescholling as it is today... the two are not necessarily equivalent. You want them to be, in order to push your ideology. Also, discounting any example given as either "not a great mathematician" or labelling them "homeschooled" because they have some minor period of time that they were not traditionally schooled seems a prime example of either conservative deceit or deliberate ignorance. And, in case you are actually interested in true facts, and a quantifiable definition of great mathematicians... here's at least one list of the 100 greatest per Mathematics Teacher magazine from 1962: You might note that Kepler is among the names listed. QNA 11:22, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Taking a look at the first 10 names on the list:
  • Newton - not homeschooled
  • Leibnitz - not homeschooled
  • Lagrange - self taught
  • Euler - attended schooler and studied under Bernoulli
  • Laplace - not homeschooled
  • Euclid - unkown, though he did probably attend Plato's Academy
  • Gauss - not homeschooled
  • Archimedes - his schooling is also unknown
  • Descartes - not homeschooled
  • Cardano - homeschooled
So 5 of the top 10 were definitely not homeschooled. One (Cardano) definitely was, one's (Lagrange's) status depends on how you define homeschooling, one (Euler) had both simultaneously, and two are unknown. Do you really want to continue the claim that nearly every great mathematician was homeschooled? ZTak 13:36, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
You don't say, but perhaps your "list" is from the 1962 ranking by "Mathematics Teacher." Nearly all the entries are (oddly) prior to the 19th century, and it's likely that most of the referenced individuals were homeschooled. I've already checked Newton, as explained above, and he did not enter a school under after age 10. So I don't find anything credible about your statements. If you want to provide details about the schooling of those to support a claim they were not homeschooled, then we can look at your detail. Otherwise, your objection is not persuasive.--Aschlafly 14:18, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
If you really count being schooled at home until only about fourth or fifth grade and then speding the rest of his schooling years being taught in formal schools as homeschooling (which seems to be a poor definition), then yes, Newton was homeschooled. However, even in modern times, alegbra isn't even taught that young, so how much math schooling Newton could have received before the age of 10 is questionable. As for the others:
  • Leibnitz: "At the age of seven, Leibniz entered the Nicolai School in Leipzig"[21]
  • Laplace: "Laplace attended a Benedictine priory school in Beaumont-en-Auge, as a day pupil, between the ages of 7 and 16." [22]
  • Gauss: "At the age of seven, Carl Friedrich Gauss started elementary school" [23]
  • Descartes: "Descartes was educated at the Jesuit college of La Flèche in Anjou. He entered the college at the age of eight years" [24]
And while we have been providing sources, you have yet to provide a source showing that "nearly every great mathematician" was homeschooled. ZTak 15:52, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Our entry has numerous examples of great mathematicians who were homeschooled. Have you even read it yet???
For all the bluster by critics, we are down to only four great mathematicians who may not have been homeschooled: Leibnitz, Laplace, Gauss and Descartes. But even your description of those four are not persuasive, and raise more questions than they answer. By age 7 or 8, great mathematicians are often quite a bit along already in their skills. And what did these four mathematicians do after they entered school? Laplace, for example, was apparently taught mathematics in a special way by his uncle in connection with the school. [25] --Aschlafly 17:24, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
First of all, I highly resent the use of the word bluster. Second of all, you've forgotten Euler, Polya, Kepler, and Venn, mentioned above. Third, here are more of from the list of the top 100:
  • Legendre: Went to college in Paris, before that schooling unstated [26]
  • Monge: attended Oragion college before going to Lyons at 16 [27]
  • D'Alembert: attended private school, then attended Collège des Quatre Nations [28]
  • Fourier: first studied at Pallais's school [29]
  • Napier: homeschooled until age of 13 after (interestingly enough) his uncle sent his father a letter: "I pray you, sir, to send your son John to school; over to France or Flanders; for he cannot learn well at home" [30]
  • Viete: attended school in Fontenay-le-Comte [31]
  • Maclaurin: his family moved to Dumbarton specifically for the attendence of school [32]
  • Cavalieri: studied at a Jesuit monestary and the University of Pisa [33]
  • Wallis: attended school in Ashford and Tenterden [34]
  • Tartaglia: attended school from the age of four [35]
  • Poncet: attended Lycee Imperial [36]
  • Chasles: attended Lycee Imperial [37]
  • Cremona: educated at Ginnasio in Pavia [38]
  • Boscovich: attended Ragusinum starting at age 9 [39]
  • Lambert: attended school in Mulhouse [40]
  • Barrow: attended Charterhouse and Felstead [41]
These are just ones whose non-homeschooled education can be confirmed. This is also only from the top 50 of this one list. Many of the top 50 not mentioned weren't necessarily homeschooled either. ZTak 18:20, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Looking back, others and I have listed 24 mathematicians not homeschooled (Barrow, Boscovich, Cavalieri, Chasles, Cremona, D'Alembert, Descartes, Euler, Fourier, Gauss, Kepler, Lambert, Laplace, Legrende, Leibnitz, Maclaurin, Monge, Napier, Polya, Poncet, Tartaglia, Venn, Viete, Wallis). Your article lists 11 who were homeschooled (Cauchy, Chebyshev, Erdos, Fermat, Galois, Hamilton, Jacobi, Mandelbrot, Pascal, Poincare, Riemann) (though I might have missed one or two) ZTak 20:04, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Were you unable to provide details about your four mathematicians (Leibnitz, Laplace, Gauss and Descartes) as discussed above? It seems you're now resorting to quantity rather than quality. I've already debunked several claims among your new list of 24, and at least half of them fail to qualify as "great" mathematicians. Unless you can back up your claim with respect to the four mentioned above, I'm going to move on confident that the great mathematicians were almost all homeschooled.--Aschlafly 20:50, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
"By the way, I don't have a definition for "great mathematician,"" are your own words. So why can't I call them great mathematicians? I don't have a definition either, but I think all of them are great, and I certainly think a publication entitled "Mathematics Teacher" is more qualified than you to determine who qualifies as great. Of Leibnitz, Laplace, Gauss, and Descartes, only for Laplace did you provide any evidence against formal education being their primary source of education, while I have sources that outright state that they attended a formal school of some kind. Also, I looked at your source for Laplace and I can't see beyond the first page, which states merely that Laplace's uncle was on the staff of his school and kindled his interest in mathematics, not that his uncle actually taught him in a special form. My previous citations for their education still stand. If you have any real proof that their education was still homeschooling of some sort after they entered a formal school, please enlighten me. Also, if you have debunked some of my claims, would you be so kind as to show some proof for those as well? ZTak 21:10, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, ZTak, I'm not going to do your research for you. You haven't provided a single mathematician with evidence that he was never homeschooled. I've provided in this entry countless examples of great mathematicians who were. I'll take a look at your other three examples, but am confident that nearly all of them were homeschooled also. A mathematician is unlikely to develop to greatness without the head start, independence, encouragement and flexibility that homeschooling uniquely provides.--Aschlafly 21:18, 21 March 2008 (EDT)
Now you're moving the goalposts. I have to prove they were never homeschooled? That's a universal negative. I can't ever prove that. That would be like asking me to prove that none of them were ever abducted by aliens who fed knowledge directly into their brain. I can't prove that such abudctions never happened. I can prove, which I did, that their main education was at some sort of formal school. I proved that for Legendre, Monge, D'Alembert, Fourier, Napier, Viete, Maclaurin, Cavalieri, Wallis, Tartaglia, Poncet, Chasles, Cremona, Boscovich, Lambert, and Barrow. Finally, you still have yet to prove your statement that Laplace was specially educated by his uncle. ZTak 22:03, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

I guess I can qualify too, eh? I wrote a theorem for Synthetic Division--which had many, many corollaries--and I was "fake schooled" up to 2nd grade mathematics to substitute for missing the preschool deadline. ("fake school" is what I called homeschooling at that age). -^_^- Fuzzy|AFK 22:10, 21 March 2008 (EDT)


This article voices personal opinions more so than fact with a conservative point of view, directly in line with the Conservapedia Commandments. Opinions? I can find examples in the text if you would like. Adg2011 20:55, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

Sufiah Yusof

Homeschooled prodigy Sufiah Yusof, who went to Oxford at 13, has been found working as a prostitute ten years later. Will this mentioned in the article? Doubt it. [42] PeterS 21:03, 5 April 2008 (EDT)

Parents who send a 13-year-old girl off to a liberal college should have their heads examined. Your link supports that decision as the cause of this tragedy.--Aschlafly 21:30, 5 April 2008 (EDT)
The University of Oxford is a "liberal college"? I see that it is also "One of the most influential universities in history...". At least that's what the Conservapedia article says. Fancy that! Pretty good going for a mere liberal college. --VincentMC 22:38, 5 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes on both points, and there's no contradiction there. Hello, Oxford is liberal today.--Aschlafly 23:04, 5 April 2008 (EDT)
Hello. On what basis do you say that? --VincentMC 23:07, 5 April 2008 (EDT)
Ah, time for liberal denial, I see. If you can identify a half-dozen conservative professors at Oxford, then I'd be astonished. I'm confident you can't. Meanwhile, observe all the atheists and liberals there, and how students like Christopher Hitchens became Trotskyists while at Oxford. [43].--Aschlafly 23:46, 5 April 2008 (EDT)
Schlafly, when you become a qualified psychologist, then perhaps you will be in a position to make your insensitive and blasé judgements about this case. I challenge you to find a single reputable psychologist who will tell you that Sufiah Yusof's present condition is caused not by pushy parenting, "hot house" homeschooling, or excessive media exposure (or a combination of the three) but instead caused by attending an institution which you claim is a hotbed for "liberal deceit". Or perhaps you'd instead like to play a game of Schlafly word bingo and throw in mentions of homosexuality, intelligent design, liberal hypocrisy, liberal hysteria and liberal myths in your next post. PeterS 19:32, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Peter, you're clueless about the dangers of sending a 13-year-old girl off to a liberal college. If you think it takes a credentialed psychologist to explain that, then you have a lot to learn.--Aschlafly 19:52, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, I can't think what came over me: for a moment, I thought that facts and evidence were actually valued in this place. The issue here isn't that she was sent to a liberal college at age 13. It is that she was sent to a college at all at age 13. It is that she was hot-housed (a form of extremely rigorous homeschooling) and driven mercilessly by a pushy and overambitious father. It is that her father also did everything he could to overwhelm her with media attention. You boast on the Homeschooling page about people who went to university at age 13 or 14 and then became great mathematicians or philosophers or whatever. But the simple fact is that large numbers of homeschooled prodigies do not reach such pinnacles and instead have their lives ruined by the reckless practices of their parents. You're right. It doesn't take a credentialed psychologist to explain this scenario: Sufiah Yusof herself describes her experience at the hands of her parents (that's right, not Oxford's oppressive liberal regime) as a living hell and says that she has "enough of 15 years of physical and emotional abuse".[44] Happy now? (I doubt it.) PeterS 06:09, 8 April 2008 (EDT)


This article looks pretty strange to me, since it includes people who lived centuries ago, such as Leonardo Da Vinci. But my understanding of the homeschooling movement indicates that it exists only in contrast to public schooling... and widespread public schooling is a much more recent innovation. In the United States, for example, public schooling began shortly before the twentieth century. Certainly many of these individuals belong on the page, but it seems disingenuous to claim that Benjamin Franklin was "homeschooled," for example, since at that time such was still mostly the norm. This makes it quite distinct from the modern era, wherein homeschooling is very unusual (speaking statistically, not as a value judgment). By the same token, I wouldn't call him "public schooled," either, naturally. But this article blurs the line between modern homeschooling (a distinct "movement" in opposition to national institutionalized public schools) and the simple sparcity of formal schooling in the centuries before government public schools. Given the fact that the owner of this site, Andy Schlafly, is a well-known homeschooling advocate, indeed even teaching homeschooling classes on the site, and his personal view is endorsed by most of the sysops on the site, I think this gives the appearance (if not the fact) of trying to deliberately smudge the dividing line between the two eras. Such an appearance or fact should be corrected.

Another criticism might be made in that the list of "homeschooled" individuals is very liberal with that assignation. I would suggest a clarifying sentence at the fore of the list, mentioning what the requirements for the list are... currently they are simply described as being "educated at home," which is a very broad statement. It should be clarified that these are individuals who have spent any portion of their youth or young adulthood being educated at home, since many of them spent years in formal education. Please consider each of the above points separately on their own merit.--TomMoore 22:59, 5 April 2008 (EDT)

Your comments, though thoughtful, seem to reject the definition of homeschooling:
Homeschooling is a movement in which students receive education from a parent or guardian, or instructors acting under the direction of a parent or guardian, rather than from certified teachers in a formal school setting like a public school.
Though you implicitly seem to reject this definition, you don't propose an alternative. Note that this definition applies whenever a formal school setting existed, which goes back at least to ancient Greece, before Christ.--Aschlafly 23:13, 5 April 2008 (EDT)
As I note, there exists a generally understood distinction in most people's minds between the modern homeschooling "movement," as it is described on the page, and the previous lack of public schools. If you request a different definition, then I would suggest something such as "Homeschooling is the modern movement in which students... etc.", and then the examples of individuals "homeschooled" previous to a certain date (1850 or so would seem reasonable, as that was about when public schooling came into being in America to the best of my knowledge) could be moved to a different section. This new section could have the heading connecting the modern homeschooling movement with the tradition of home schooling which existed prior to the alternative of public schooling. This would allow all of the names and such to remain on the page, and keep that connection which reflects positively on homeschooling (the clear intent) without being quite so absurd. Would those changes satisfy you?--TomMoore 00:12, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I agree with TomMoore, and am very disappointed that Andy has ignored the previous discussion on this page and reverted to terminology that was changed because of these very concerns, and after discussion. The article also says that "homeschooling began in the 1960s", and whilst I don't know the exact date, or even the exact decade, I would think that the 1960s would be about right. So people educated outside schools centuries or even millennia ago cannot properly be called "homeschooled".
(Actually, since writing that, I've been done a little research. "Dr. Raymond S Moore, the inspiration to many homeschoolers of recent generations" started homeschooling in the 1940s. The book "No More Public School", published in 1972, is described as a "Pioneering how-to book about homeschooling, from the days when homeschooling had a tenuous legal status and the term "homeschooling" hadn't been coined".)
If the article is meant to be about the modern movement, then those older examples don't belong here. If the page is meant to be about people educated outside the school system, then the title and content should be altered to reflect that, and the term "homeschooling" should be dropped for those older examples.
It is true that schools have existed as far back as ancient Greece (at least), but that doesn't mean that they have always existed since then, nor in all societies. For much of history, there were no schools, or what ones there were, were only for the very rich. In other words, for much of history, being educated at home (or etc.) was the normal way that people got educated, and was not the exception, and was certainly not called "homeschooling".
Philip J. Rayment 03:58, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Is it not the case that homeschooling in the contemporary sense exists in opposition to, or any rate as distinct from, 'compulsory' state education? One can only 'opt out' of a system if that system exists in the first place; and therefore one could say homeschooling o0nly became a valid concept once education of children was made compulsory by the state. Thus in the UK 'homeschooling' would only be a realistic concept after the Education Act of 1871 which decreed that all children should receive elementary education. That is not to say, of course, that children were not educated at home before then; but the notion of 'homeschooling' as a 'political' act or act of resistance against the perceived shortcomings (educational, moral, religious) of the official education system can only date from that point. Mediaevalist 07:14, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Homeschooling must be as old as schooling itself. There's no way around that. Just as pacifism is as old as war, and adultery is as old as marriage, and theft is as old as private property, and literacy is as old as the Bible. The modern homeschooling movement can be traced to the 1960s, just as anti-war movements can have modern beginnings. I've changed a phrase in the entry to reflect this. Thanks.
Philip says, "For much of history, there were no schools, or what ones there were, were only for the very rich." I doubt that, as schooling was often done by religions independent of wealth. I doubt that ancient Greece had a financial test for admitting students to its fine schools. But, regardless, I think that is an overly material view of the concept of homeschooling, which refers to a decision made by parents to eschew common or customary education in favor of an alternative form of learning that they believe is more beneficial to the child. That type of decision is as old as families and education.--Aschlafly 09:18, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
"Modern" schooling was begun, I believe, by Christian churches. "Sunday School" was not religious education for children while the adults listened to the sermon, but "secular" education on the only day that the children were not at work in the mines, fields, or factories. Eventually, this church-sponsored education was taken over by governments, but prior to the churches doing this, there was little if anything in the way of formal education. Ancient Greece may have been different; I don't know, but I wasn't trying to suggest that schooling started off only for the rich; I actually meant that this likely came later than Greece, although even in Greece I suspect that it was not for everyone.
But more to the point is what Mediaevalist said above, that homeschooling is an 'opting out' of the official education system, and as such can't exist until there is an official education system.
Your change to the homeschooling movement starting in the 1960s doesn't help: The first line of the article defines homeschooling as the movement. Previously the article said (in effect), "Homeschooling is a movement... Homeschooling began in the 1960s" Now, it says (in effect) "Homeschooling is a movement...that began in the 1960s". So pre-1960s examples are still not "homeschooling".
Philip J. Rayment 10:21, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Good point about the flaw in the definition. Homeschooling should not be defined as a movement, and I've deleted that reference. There is a "homeschooling movement." Just as a pacifist does not have to belong to an antiwar movement, a homeschooler need not belong to any movement.
Homeschooling does not require "opting out" and to limit the definition to that is to relegate it perpetually to the fringe. Homeschooling does typically entail rejecting a formalized and popularized schooling system, but as already noted such systems have existed at least since ancient Greece. Surely the ancient Hebrews and Christians also had church-based schooling systems.--Aschlafly 10:56, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I don't particularly agree with modern homeschooling and all those older examples being lumped in together, but I have to admit that the article is probably more consistent and less objectionable now.
I guess that the answer to whether or not the ancient Hebrews and Christians had church-based schooling systems depends on what you mean by "schooling", but I think the answer is essentially "no", they didn't. That is, there might well have been some things that children learnt in church, but as far as I know, there were no formalised schools run by anyone for the most part, for thousands of years. Almost all education was done directly by parents, and even this was pretty limited, with the result that most could not even read and write. Sure, no doubt they learnt various life skills, but even this would not have been in any sort of formalised schooling in the home, let along in schools. It was probably more in the form akin to apprenticeships, that is, children learnt their parent's trade by helping their parents in their work.
Philip J. Rayment 11:26, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I appreciate your first paragraph, but must disagree with your second. I'm sure the ancient Hebrews had schooling just as the ancient Greeks did, and probably many other ancient civilizations did also. How else could Pharisees and other members of the priestly class be trained?
There is a modern (and liberal) tendency to look down on our ancient ancestors. All indications, however, are that they were smarter than people today.--Aschlafly 12:54, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

(Unindented) This is a minor improvement, Mr. Schlafly, but I still think the problem exists. Let me address your replies.

Homeschooling must be as old as schooling itself. There's no way around that. Just as pacifism is as old as war, and adultery is as old as marriage, and theft is as old as private property, and literacy is as old as the Bible. The modern homeschooling movement can be traced to the 1960s, just as anti-war movements can have modern beginnings. I've changed a phrase in the entry to reflect this. Thanks.

That is not necessarily true. I would argue that homeschooling as a concept, as it is understood by the vast majority of people, would be construed as the deliberate choice to teach a child at home as specifically opposed to public schooling. This latter part of the definition is the one missing from this article's approach to the matter, since most people (as indicated here) disagree with the idea that anyone in history taught at home was "homeschooled" in the sense in which the idea is understood today. I think this is the real substantive point, in fact, behind this disagreement. You should take note, I think, of that fact that both I (as liberal as they come) and PJR (as conservative as they come, and your most intelligent sysop) are neither of us opposed to homeschooling, and yet we feel that this article is misleadingly favorable to the practice, whereas you (a strong advocate) feel it is not. Perhaps you might want to step back from this one, and a few other outside opinions on the matter?

Tom, you overrely on your perceptions of what others think (see point 11 in liberal style). Homeschooling is not defined in terms of public school. The view of homeschoolers towards public school is varied, and public schools themselves have changed throughout history and are different in different locations today. Homeschooling is a parental approach to child-rearing that would exist regardless of the form taken by public schools.--Aschlafly 16:23, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I assume from your aspersion that you are declining to take a step back from this, despite the fact that you are extraordinarily partisan to one side in this discussion? That is somewhat disappointing.
It seems to me that it is only reasonable to rely on "perceptions of what others think" when it comes to interpreting the meaning of words. Words mean only what they are agreed-upon to mean; this is why meanings shift over time in a sometimes-dramatic manner (such as "geek"). "Homeschooling" to you seems to mean "any alternative schooling by non-certified individuals at home." That is a very reasonable interpretation, and I am not saying it is wrong. I am just saying that the vast majority of people specifically identify homeschooling with the more modern "movement" (as it was put previously), not with your broader definition, and that should be taken into account. Or, if you want to change the way people think about it, you should specifically contradict the colloquial definition and state more explicitly the difference between the customary understanding and your usage.--TomMoore 17:45, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Tom, you're not even quoting me correctly and still don't seem to understand the essence of homeschooling. Please expand your horizons and get to know some homeschooling families, and read about those who have homeschooled in history. Then we can chat again.--Aschlafly 19:54, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I thought I was quoting you adequately, and apologize if there was some error in the above quote ("perceptions of what others think"). It was copy-and-pasted from your own words, though.
If the definition of homeschooling I give above is also inaccurate, that is possible, but it is not a quote, it was an attempt to sum up for use in our dialog. Please substitute your whole definition above, if that helps.
I am not sure what you mean about "expanding my horizons;" I was good friends with an enormous family that homeschooled all their children and then sent them to the University of Stuebenville. They were about as devout a set of devotees to homeschooling as can be imagined. I know them and their views, as well as your own, quite well. That's why I opened this conversation, to address a gross shortcoming in the article.
The "homeschooled in history" item is the crux of the issue here, and so I strongly urge you not to dismiss me as you have. My concerns are stated clearly and substantively several times: I feel that the article blurs the divide between the commonly-held perspective of what "homeschooling" is, and a historical although perhaps technically accurate analogue, and that this blurring is encyclopedic. It is easy to brush me aside with personal remarks about how I need to "expand my horizons," but clearly less easy to address my concerns.--TomMoore 20:03, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Tom, I'm not going to spend all night discussing this with you, and your account will be blocked if you just talk here. You misquoted the definition of homeschooling and seem blinded by your contact with an unusual single homeschooling family. If you continue to think that people today are very different from people hundreds of years ago, and homeschool for very different reasons, you're wrong. Meet more homeschoolers and read more history; you can do both on this site. Then let's chat further.--Aschlafly 20:11, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I have made substantive edits tonight, such as to Alice and Wonderland, Beowulf, and Mind/body, so I am not worried about being blocked for "just talk[ing] here," since I am not doing so.
I am sorry if it appears as though I misquoted the definition. As I said scrupulously above, you may substitute the whole of your definition if you would like, since I was simply quoting it as I referred to it, rather than suggesting it as some sort of change.
Please, do not continue to speculate as to my personal knowledge of homeschooling. That is not the only homeschooling family I know, I was mentioning them only to let you know that your assertion that I was not familiar with any was entirely wrong. I am an Eagle Scout, and many of those in my troop were homeschooled. I assure you, I am fully familiar with the concepts and people involved, and it doesn't change my considered opinion of the article at all. How would it, after all?
I really am only trying to get a firm conclusion on the matter to which I have referred you: the discrepancy between your definition of homeschooling, which includes all such schooling throughout history, and the common understanding which generally is understood as referring to the modern movement. Please do not block me by way of avoiding this matter, I am quite serious and think I have presented a very compelling case. If you personally do not have time (since you say you don't want to spend all night on it), you have numerous other sysops. Ordinarily, of course, I would just make the edits myself, but it is pretty clear that on topics like this no one is allowed to edit anything that might be disagreed with, without checking with an authority figure first. Perhaps one of the other active sysops - Conservative, Croicite, Ed Poor, or the like - might also weigh in, since Phillip J Rayment concurred with me earlier along with another user?--TomMoore 20:32, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

Philip says, "For much of history, there were no schools, or what ones there were, were only for the very rich." I doubt that, as schooling was often done by religions independent of wealth. I doubt that ancient Greece had a financial test for admitting students to its fine schools. But, regardless, I think that is an overly material view of the concept of homeschooling, which refers to a decision made by parents to eschew common or customary education in favor of an alternative form of learning that they believe is more beneficial to the child. That type of decision is as old as families and education.

But that type of decision is not being described in the article. If you want to broaden it to include that, I think it would be appropriate to do so. The key would be specificity, then; the article should be changed to reflect that this is a list of people who have "eschew[ed] common or customary education in favor of an alternative form of learning", very different from what most people think when they read the article currently (which presents the matter as synonymous with modern homeschooling).

Modern homeschoolers are no different from ancient ones in rejecting formal schools. We define the term homeschooling and I doubt many would argue with it. The people listed satisfy that definition.--Aschlafly 16:23, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
The people do satisfy the definition, but I disagree that many would not argue with the blurring between modern homeschooling and historical "homeschooling" that is engaged in. At the very least, your change in the customary usage should be acknowledged.--TomMoore 17:45, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

Consider, for example, the fact that a large proportion of wealthy children were "homeschooled" in Europe for centuries, in the sense that they were tutored in their home by professionals. This was the norm for the wealthy, yet your definition includes such as being "homeschooled," contradictory to the common perception of the matter.--TomMoore 15:43, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

No, the definition is clear that homeschooling rejects the approach of "certified" teachers (or its equivalent). Wealthy children in Europe who were schooled in a formal setting by certified teachers (or its equivalent) should not be included; those taught by their parents, relatives, or non-certified teachers (or its equivalent) should be included.--Aschlafly 16:23, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
I agree, the definition is clear, but it is only natural to assume that when one is speaking of "homeschooling" that one is speaking of what most people know of with the concept, as explained above. At the very least, explicate further. Otherwise at least the appearance of an attempt to deceive exists, even if that is not the case.
And again, I would urge you to step back from this and let other sysops handle it; it's only appropriate.--TomMoore 17:45, 6 April 2008 (EDT)


I'm deleting the reference to homeschooling being remedy for pornogrpahy addiction. I read a study earlier this month which showed that there was actually a higher chance of a child becoming involved in pornography and other unsavoury internet based activities if home schooled. Of course the study applied to equally supervised children, which is, of course, rarely the case in homeschooling. Still rather than promote complacancy and information which is empirically wrong I felt the need to delete the reference. I can find the name of the study if anyone needs it, but as far as I know there is no digital reference. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by ObamaSharma (talk)

To the "Disadvantages of Homeschooling"

I think one of the major disadvantages that is not mentioned in the article (though it is generally touched on) involves a certain kind of social interaction. The article, as it is right now, implies that the social development that homeschooling can stunt is more or less limited to making friends, having conversations, etc. (on top of peer pressure, bullying, intimidation, etc. as mentioned). I feel it is important to include Tolerance, Working together in spite of differences, and Compromise to accomplish like goals. I think it goes without saying that we all have had to work very closely with people we've disagreed with on almost everything, and elitism (which I never thought to be a characteristic of homeschooling until I came to Conservapedia) can stall progress. I think mentioning parents enrolling their kids in social organizations can satisfy compromise to accomplish like goals, but I question how much the kids would be exposed to other cultures and races, that would develop tolerance, since these organizations often have many class and moral characteristics in common. I know many of the conservative sysops on this page "Don't believe in tolerance when it compromises truth" but I think we can still agree that different races, classes, and faiths can still produce good people that certainly don't deserve being inferior to the stereotypical american WASP. Please keep in mind that I'm not talking about anything other than the physical world, so please take any arguments of what Jesus said or what will happen to their souls if they don't accept Him elsewhere. --Capolavoro046 17:17, 17 May 2008 (EDT)

If public schools were about these things, then I would agree. Unfortunately what you have is positions being forced upon children in the name of 'tolerance'. As long as you agree with them then you're fine. If you don't -- look out. Homeschooling is about allowing children to avoid having a value system pushed upon them from a "community" that has decided it already knows what is right and will tell you to accept the same -- even against your own family. Learn together 13:20, 17 May 2008 (EDT)
That's a good point, and I can concede to it. Could not the argument be made that the value system that the family lives by (which could include racist, elitism, exclusivity, among other things) be more aggressively pushed onto the subordinate child? I find that I'm a little uncomfortable with people who were raised with limited exposure to different ideas and cultures, but I am no expert on the subject, as I'm sure is apparent, which is why I'm speaking here instead of trying to edit the page. --Capolavoro046 17:17, 17 May 2008 (EDT)
Anything can be misused, and certainly homeschooling can have these problems if it is not done properly, but you seem to be seeing government schools through rose-coloured glasses. When I was in primary school, there was some racism there (although I didn't understand what it was at the time), but I remember none of that from Sunday School and church. Many homeschooling families are Christians, and my point is that they can get many of these social interactions via church and church-related activities, and that's likely to be a better environment for them than a government school environment that often has undesirable values. Philip J. Rayment 23:11, 17 May 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps I'm simply recalling my own experiences, which were better than most since I attended one of the better elementary schools in my county before finishing elementary and middle school in the fundamental system, and my high school was one of the better schools in the county as well. I suppose it all should be taken on a case by case basis, and my problem then is with the elitism (and in some cases blatant discrimination against public schools) exhibited around Conservapedia instead of having any problems with homeschooling. --Capolavoro046 11:46, 18 May 2008 (EDT)

Capolavoro046, I read as far as your absurd accusation of "elitism" above. There is nothing about homeschooling or this site that is "elitist" and I suspect that ideology is clouding your opinions here. Maybe you did have a good experience in public school at some time in the past, but without more information it is impossible to assess that. No one is claiming that every student is ruined by public school, but public school does deprive its students of classroom prayer. As a teacher, I can assure you that such deprivation does have an adverse effect.--Aschlafly 14:06, 18 May 2008 (EDT)

Considering that one of this site's very strong focal points is trying to influence homeschooling, I would say that my "accusations" (though I would describe them as observations) of some people having an elitist view are not absurd at all. For example, the entire list of professor values demonstrates the elitist view, as its sole purpose is propaganda against teachers. Do not be so quick to apply a label to everyone that falls into a classification. I think they have a word for that... what is it? Oh yes, stereotyping. To address the depravity of prayer, I disagree passionately with you. Every year in school, we as students were offered a "moment of silence" following the pledge of allegiance (which did not ignore "Under God") for prayer, among other things. I feel that you have a very closed-minded view of things, and coming from a SysOp from a site that works so fervently against the media, I feel you use media coverage of incidences in public schools as a crutch, and choose not to look at things on a case by case basis because it could possibly hurt your arguments. --Capolavoro046 23:06, 18 May 2008 (EDT)
Oh, and as far as a direct example of elitism on this site: The caption under the photo about the fight that went up on YouTube reads, "A fight typical of public school students." I wish I knew you, Ashclafay, so I could ask you to look me in the eye and say that isn't an elitist statement. --Capolavoro046 15:26, 19 May 2008 (EDT)
Capolavoro046, I'll look you in the eye and ask you to be concise. I didn't read all your comments above. Surely you can make your point well in a few short sentences. Thanks.--Aschlafly 23:07, 20 May 2008 (EDT)
You know, having an outspoken proponent of homeschooling such as yourself respond to a reasoned objection with "Too long; didn't read." would not exactly fill me with confidence about you teaching my hypothetical children. --Gulik 17:42, 23 May 2008 (EDT)
I've been accused of wordiness many times; but I can also be concise. --Ed Poor Talk 19:53, 29 May 2008 (EDT)
My addition is what happens when the parents are not effective teachers? I have no problem with homeschooling, and believe that both homeschooling and public school have their advantages and disadvantages, but I do believe that while teachers at public school are forced to be held to a standard (not that they always meet it, and not always are the standards enforced, but generally) whereas homeschooling is not always as effective as this article would have you believe. Looking at the pros and cons of every issue is a good thing, and maybe some credibility would be gained by this article by adding some of the potential disadvantages. -- Aaronp 23:19, 29 May 2008 PST

Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks won the American Idol contest one year, which is good and fun for her. I wish her the best. But does that media award place her as a "prominent American" in the league of the others on the list? I don't think so, and think she should remain a footnote on the music issue and not in the main list.--Aschlafly 23:07, 20 May 2008 (EDT)

I added her because we have so few examples of homeschoolers born in the late 20th century, and thus homeschooled during the modern homeschooling movement. Such people are likely to be less prominent, simply because they are younger. I have some thoughts on how to manage this, but I must do our schooling here at home before spending time editing this morning. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hsmom (talk)
If there is a goal of having homeschoolers born in the late 20th century, then the math prodigies would be better picks. But I don't see what is so special about the late 20th century. Homeschooling now is not that different from 100 years ago. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 17:27, 23 May 2008 (EDT)

This has been removed

Completely =)


Parents whose children attend public schools can't constantly monitor what is served at the schools. Diet is worse in public schools because the "junk" is readily available and rather inexpensive too.

A trial experiment is in order. Stock a homeschooler's fridge with a variety of "health" and "junk" foods and leave them to their studying/eating. I think you can view one example... 5 cans of w*****d c***m disappear within a week.

Also, "appears" isn't fact. +_+ always tired Kektk 16:18, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

You make good points. But whatever the reason, the difference is not likely to change. And parents don't usually put greasy french fries in the fridge.--Aschlafly 19:44, 29 May 2008 (EDT)
What is preventing the parents from sending the child to school with a healthy lunch instead? The related question is are cuts to school lunch programs having a negative impact on the options for the school for providing healthy food (fast food style is less expensive than getting good produce). Ketchup is not a vegetable. --Rutm 20:25, 29 May 2008 (EDT)

I don't know if this is a difference between Australia and America or between now and when I went to school, but when I was in primary school (years 0 to 6), the school didn't serve any food, and we either brought our own or (rarely in my case) bought it from the milk bar over the road. Admittedly there was a canteen in high school (years 7 to 12), but again, I rarely used it, instead bringing my lunch from home.

I can quite accept that the diet of homeschoolers is better than in government schools (although it should have a reference), but how much of this is because the homeschooling parent can "constantly monitor" what their children eat, and how much is because the homeschooling parent cares more than some (not all) parents of government school students, which is likely a factor in why they are homeschooling in the first place?

Philip J. Rayment 10:05, 31 May 2008 (EDT)


Just out of curiosity, why are so many people listed as being homeschooled, when the explanation then goes on to say that they joined school at age 10 or 9 or whatever. Surely that's just a mix of both, and so a little irrelevant?

I don't think where one learns to read, write and do arithmetic is "a little irrelevant." Ask the millions of illiterate people, or the people who help them, if their lack of learning is "irrelevant".--Aschlafly 20:14, 30 June 2008 (EDT)
Ahh but reading, writing, and arithmetic are just tools. They do not form any abstract thought. So, these peope listed who learned the basics at home before attending institutionalized education systems, if you think they are so wonderful, you can't cite their very limited homeschooling as the reason.Jros83 19:03, 2 September 2008 (EDT) (this was deleted before... please don't delete it again, it doesn't read like my usual fiery stuff, lol...)
I don't agree with your downplaying the significance of reading, writing and arithmetic.--Aschlafly 19:42, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree with Aschlafly. Reading, writing and arithmetic are the backbone of an education. I look forward to homeschooling my own children one day, at least until their teenage years, so I can teach them one other important thing missing in government run schools - values. ClarkeD 19:52, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Nowhere did I downplay the signifigance of the "three R's." The point I was making, is that they form the foundation for advanced knowledge, but do not in and of themselves create the values that some people are attributing to homeschooling. They are neutral things, and have nothing to do with anything liberal or conservative. Mr. Schlafly's point was that these children who went to institutionalized school systems after 9 or 10 still learned their basics at home, and that somehow was responsible for their prominence. But I beg to differ. What you've learned by 9 or 10 years old, I don't feel is the deciding factor. I have no issue with Mr. Schlafly defending homeschooling. He's chosen it as his cause, and whether I personally agree or not the fact remains that at least he is motivated by the desire to educate children. We ca debate his methods all day and night but the decision to brighten a child's mind, in itself is never a bad decision at all. But I digress... I just wanted to show that he may not have chosen the best battleground for defending homeschooling with THIS PARTICULAR facet of homeschooling (go back up to the start of this specific topic in case my ramblings have made you forget, lol...).Jros83 08:03, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
If we're going to count people who were taught at home then started school at the age of eight to fifteen, we're missing one: Charles Darwin. The mistake, I think, is in counting as "home-schooled" upper and upper-middle class 18th and 19th century men who were taught by governors or tutors until they went to grammar school or even university. This is a mistake because almost ALL upper and upper-middle class men did this; local and parish schools were for the poor. --HarryPagett 18:15, 21 December 2011 (EST)

Other Factors Contributing to Homeschool Success

Without disputing the achievements of homeschooled students, I would like to see a more detailed examination of related factors which likely contribute to this achievement. For instance: homeschooled students are almost certainly going to benefit from having a full-time, stay-at-home parent, as this is essentially a prerequisite to proper homeschooling. Surely full-time parenting carries substantial benefits in and of itself; it has been my experience that students who come from a home environment with a stay-at-home parent tend to be more disciplined, more courteous, and typically more academically advanced than those who do not. Additionally, by the same logic, homeschooled students are quite likely to come from a stable two-parent household; it seems very unlikely that a single parent would be able to both make ends meet and properly homeschool. The benefits of a two-parent household are, if anything, more pronounced than the benefits of full-time parenting; of the students who have failed my class in the past several years, better than half came from single parent homes.

Would this article be an appropriate place for such an examination, or should it be placed in a related article? --Benp 12:14, 30 June 2008 (EDT)

You make good conservative points, but they are more appropriate for a different entry. Homeschooling produces achievement and behavior that cannot be found among public school kids from wealthy, two-parent homes. Many of the teen mass murderers were public school kids from "ideal", privileged families, for example. Virtually all the extraordinary geniuses and super-achievers were homeschooled, but not all were from "ideal" families.--Aschlafly 20:18, 30 June 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the response. I'll work on a new article to cover the issue. --Benp 20:28, 30 June 2008 (EDT)


Most of the content on this subject seems to be from the viewpoint of the pupil or parent. Have you any advice for potential tutors? -CraigW 09:22, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

Atheist Homeschooler.

Hi. I am a Homeschooler. Been one since second grade. Starting college next year. I'm also an atheist. I just wanted to let you guys know that not all atheists like the public schools. They teach all about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, but we never learned what Christmas was about. (Incidentally, we also never learned that there are lots of people out there who don't believe in a god at all.)

So I can see why many Christians get mad at the PS system. I read the story about the kid who got an "F" in art for writing a bible verse on his drawing. That is unfair. But most atheists I know aren't like that. In fact, my whole Home school group in Lynchburg is made up of atheists or agnostics. Most of us don't see anything wrong with classroom prayer, either. As long as the child who's praying makes up his own mind to pray (without being forced to by a teacher), and it doesn't disturb the rest of the class, who cares if they pray?

So please, don't think that all atheists are evil, oppressive overlords of education. It's just a handful of Liberals in charge of the school board who are way too worried that some minority is going to get their feelings hurt, and not worried enough about educating young Americans. --PatV 10:12, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Tim Tebow

Not sure if he's as notable as the one's listed, but Tim Tebow—as I learned last night during the BCS Championship—was homeschooled but allowed to play football for a public school due to Florida law. Jeffrey W. LauttamusDiscussion 14:46, 9 January 2009 (EST)

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

I added, in part, "An example of such possible restriction is seen in the United States, in which a New Hampshire Court ordered a thriving 10 year old Christian homeschooled girl to attend public school, solely in order to expose her to "different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior."[1] The Fairness doctrine as it is designed to work. The girl offended the counselor by witnessing to him/her, and was disturbed by his refusal. If she expressed a different liberal "ideologies" and found resistance, i think it would be the counselor would undergo "sensitivity training.

Consistent with the courts reasoning, all children who are raised in secular environments (and are basically protected from Christian practices such as prayer and Bible reading in school under State-sponsored secularism), should be compelled to go to a Christian school to be exposed to that "POV". Daniel1212 17:09, 30 August 2009 (EDT)

Excellent point. Very well put!--Andy Schlafly 22:31, 30 August 2009 (EDT)

There is a serious issue here that Conservapedia is failing to acknowledge

In my personal geographic location, the vast majority of homeschoolers are educated by the public school system, either through a website known as Florida Virtual School, which is operated by the state government under the Florida Department of Education, or through a program known as "homebound" where the local school district sends a tuitor to the homeschooled students' homes and use the same liberal textbooks used in public school facilities. There are homeschooled students that are not associated with the public school system as well, but changing the setting to students' homes opposed to "brick and mortar institutions" does not combat atheist and liberal indoctrination in itself. I would note this on the article myself, but I figured it would be best to bring it to the talk page first to discuss. Also note that I personally have nothing against homeschooling, but it's simply not a "cure all." DMorris 16:34, 20 January 2010 (EST)

You're absolutely right, and please feel free to make appropriate edits to this (or any other) entry. That said, this is another example of how the exceptions do not prove the rule. The correlation is still very high being homeschooling and open-mindedness or faith, even with the problem you describe. Students are better off in a virtual school than a bricks-and-mortar school, and most homeschooled students nationwide reject the virtual school curricula anyway. So it's a bit like saying that not all non-smokers are healthy. True, but the non-smokers are better off than the smokers, on average.--Andy Schlafly 17:22, 20 January 2010 (EST)
Absolutely; I never intended to be any kind of an "exception to any rule," but rather to point out a very important point. In my opinion, liberal bias is a terrible problem in all settings, not just public schools, private schools, or homeschooling. DMorris 16:26, 21 January 2010 (EST)

Irrelevant information

There's a couple of bits of information which seem totally irrelevant:

- The most successful mathematician in contests in history, Reid Barton, was homeschooled.[2] - One example out of a bunch of mathematicians isn't really evidence.

- The top college football player and the first to win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, Tim Tebow, was homeschooled until college.[3] - Doesn't have anything to do with homeschooling since the football skills he learned weren't learned by being homeschooled.

- A Wimbledon tennis star, Melanie Oudin, chose homeschooling beginning in 7th grade: - Also doesn't have anything to do with homeschool.

I'm all for homeschooling, I was homeschooled myself, and several of my friends were, but this still seems irrelavent to the concept of homeschooling, and it shouldn't be included in the first paragraph of the text. Maybe later, as examples of people who were homeschooled but not like it's used right now, like a reason be homeschooled.

These aren't irrelevant. They show that homeschooled kids aren't at a disadvantage, which counters the (biased?) claim that schools are obviously better for kids than homeschooling, used in arguments against permitting parents to homeschool their kids. --Ed Poor Talk 16:58, 19 August 2011 (EDT)

Joan of Arc

I don't think it's known if Joan of Arc was literate are not. It is known that she was homeschooled, regardless of whether that included learning to read and write. It certainly included learning values and, apparently, extraordinary skills of leadership.--Andy Schlafly 19:51, 21 December 2011 (EST)


Here's an interesting meme. [45] RobSFree Kyle! 02:57, August 15, 2021 (EDT)


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