Years ago I thought it in my youngest daughter’s best interest not to attend any of the public education options available to us during her 6th grade year. With the help of family, friends and tax credit programs my three other children attended a private school we are very happy with that starts in the 7th grade. I was not willing to risk having one child exposed to all of the things I knew were going on without another one of their siblings there to keep me informed of what was happening (which they always did). So for my daughter’s entire 6th grade year she went to work with her mother and me at our family’s pizza restaurant. For a couple of hours each morning, a long time friend that was retired from the Air Force would tutor her for a small fee. She would then work about 6 hours a day where she was taught everything about running a restaurant. She was paid less than minimum wage but was expected to maintain a high standard in all that she did. Dealing with vendors, employees and customers at every level was soon mastered by this young lady and she earned the respect of anyone that came into contact with her. When she expressed a desire to become a veterinarian we arranged for her to work as a volunteer at an animal hospital near our home for the entire school year. This single year was responsible for making certain in our minds that our daughter would be able to survive in the world on her own while contributing to her community instead of being a burden.
During this time I had both State and Federal labor departments send men that reminded me of the small man in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang that wore all black with a top hat and a big net that peered around corners saying, “where are the children, where are the children”. Regardless of the fear tactics used I knew the law and what I was doing was legal. Children and Grandchildren of business owners are exempt from child labor laws (that family farm thing) and home schooling curriculum is the parent’s business. Would I have been right to do as I did in a state that would put me in jail for what I did?
I remember after a lecture from the federal agent with the big shiny badge, I asked how he thought he was going to convince a libertarian that government knew what was best for my children? The conversation continued but with much more respect for what our family thought was important.
This experience reinforced what I already knew. Real life experience for our children is far more productive for their development as young adults and there’s a long list of government agencies that want to play parent with my children. I was pumping gas and learning to weld in my father’s service station when I was 6 years old. I’m sure many of you have similar stories to tell. Did you benefit from the experience? I believe mothers and fathers are far better parents than any level of government and every form of Social and Economic Engineering I encounter has been proven to be detrimental not only to freedom but to building a strong and self-confident America. There was a day that apprenticeships were common. And I predict that they’ll be back in vogue soon… because parents love their children.
An objective evaluation of your children at the end of this school year may prompt you to ask yourself how they would fare in the job market. Did others you entrusted to help raise them give them the tools needed to survive on their own? Are they on a path to being a self sustaining individual that will not be a burden to others?
It might be time for a summer job, and I wouldn’t wait until the government approved age of 16 either.