They need to learn about the world

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

I haven’t seen Captain Fantastic, but Bryan Caplan’s favorite scene from the movie amused me:

Subtle it’s not, but for me, awesome always beats subtle. The stage: Homeschooling dad Captain Fantastic and his six kids are visiting his mundane sister and her two kids (Justin and Jackson). The sister lets her brother know she’s not too happy with his child-rearing…

Sister: They’re children! They need to go to school. They need to learn about the world.

Captain: [shouting] Justin. Jackson? Would you please come down here for a second?

Jackson: What?

Captain: How old are you now, Jackson?

Jackson: Thirteen.

Captain: Can you tell me what the Bill of Rights is?

Jackson: Um, what something costs, I guess.

Captain: That’s a good guess. Justin, you’re in high school?

Justin: Yeah.

Captain: Do you like your school?

Justin: It’s whatever.

Captain: Do you know what the Bill of Rights is?

Justin: It’s a government thing, right? Like, rights that people have in America and stuff.

Captain: Yep. [shouting] Hey, Zaja?

Zaja: [Captain's 2nd-youngest kid] Yes?

Captain: Would you please come down here a moment, sweetie? I wanted to ask you a quick question. Zaja’s just turned eight, by the way. The Bill of Rights.

Zaja: Amendment one: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; Or abridging the freedom of…

Captain: Stop. Regurgitating memorized amendments isn’t what I’m asking for. Just tell me something about it in your own words.

Zaja: Without the Bill of Rights we’d be more like China. Here, at least, we don’t have warrantless searches. We have free speech. Citizens are protected from cruel and unusual punishments…

Sister: That’s enough.


  1. Some Random Guy says:

    I know a few people who homeschool, and I wouldn’t argue that academically their children do very well, often years ahead of their age-peers. However, their kids seem stunted socially. Particularly in this age of no-sibling families the youngsters often only have mom-n-dad to interact with on a daily basis, which has an even further knock-on effect of screwing up normal family dynamics (children clearly subordinate to parents). This leaves them in the abominable position of knowing reams of data yet unable to cope with Homo sapiens outside of a very small circle. Thankfully it wasn’t an option for my wife and me (money reasons), and my own kinder have developed very well socially even if they never got invited to Harvard…

  2. Scott says:

    We live in an area where there are a ton of homeschoolers, almost exclusively religious oriented. We homeschool too, though because we want our kids to get a good education. Of the religiously oriented homeschoolers, they seem to run the spectrum from completely socially inept to perfectly normal. Ours participate in the family business, work around adults for much of the day, and then go hang out with the employees’ kids afterwards. They have learned from experience how to effectively participate in both worlds.

    Just like any other kind of schooling, homeschooling is what you make of it. If you want to raised socially inept kids, you can. But those are the kids who are going to catch hell in a normal school, hate every minute of it, and grow up depressed. If you want to raise well socialized homeschooled kids, it’s not that hard to do. It just takes some effort.

  3. Lucklucky says:

    “And my own kinder have developed very well socially even if they never got invited to Harvard…”

    Well, why would you want them in Harvard?

  4. Coyote says:

    Public school was invented to train robotic little factory workers during the industrial age. Prior to that, the only schooling was for the children of the aristocracy. When the whistle blows, all the little chilluns and all the cubicle warriors lines up for massa like good little ‘bots: a world of drones producing for the oligarchy until they break down and are discarded. Home-schooled children are more likely to break through the blue-pilled world and actually be dangerous to that model. Gosh, could that be why the Cathedral continues to fight homeschooling?

  5. Some Random Guy says:

    Who said I wanted it?

  6. Jehu says:

    My little homeschool family has three children. We’re actually quite small by homeschool family standards (our closest homeschool family friends have 4 and 6 respectively). So rarely do they lack for other children in their family, and unlike my own upbringing (where I had a grand total of 1 first cousin, and I got that one pretty late), they have tons of cousins. I only know one homeschoooled only child.

  7. Lucklucky says:

    Some Random Guy, since what you said can be read as a parent badge of honor:

    Today I would be very careful about putting anyone in a university just because it is the “chosen path.”

  8. Some Random Guy says:

    Lucklucky, it was merely a figure of speech, a way of saying “my kid is so smart he got a spot in the Ivy League,” which would signal pretty strongly here in deep flyover country. As it goes, my son went for four years and never went back, lacking a single class to graduate. My daughter is currently going to become an x-ray tech under the aegis of a local hospital, a program more in line with trade school.

  9. Lucklucky says:

    Ok. Congrats. It seems your kids do something useful for others. That is the main step to have work.

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