Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The FOUR "R's"?

I heard a homeschooling advocate say in an interview recently that history was more important than math and language.  The interviewer's response was the same as mine, which was that it's not one of the three "R's".  He went on to make his case but it gave me reason to wonder.

In thinking about this I found that I could make the case that deficiencies in any of these four areas would result in various barriers to a more fulfilled life.  I decided that the "R" representing "reading" probably trumped history, because if a person can read he can teach himself the other three.  But there is another reason that we have the 3 "R's" and not the 4 R's... which I now think should include  "Retrospect".   (Hey, if Arithmetic can start with "r" then why not "retrospect" for history?)

Education's primary goal, it might be said, is to provide the opportunity for a more prosperous life.  If a person, at the very least, cannot read, write and do math, his prospects of being productive are weak.  He brings only his brawn to the marketplace.  But while the impact that ignorance of history makes on well-being is of more of a secondary nature, the consequences of such ignorance when it is more wide-spread can actually be more severe than ignorance of just reading, writing and math.

The reality of this is not as readily obvious for if only one person finds no reason or purpose to think outside his own time, society can easily absorb his ignorance into itself and the society, as well as the one, will probably be no worse off.

But when masses of people become ignorant of history the impact changes drastically.  A culture that is predominately ignorant of history lives in a time bubble devoid of the stabilizing influences it offers to the present.  History provides a culture with a reference point beyond its own time by which it can judge its own direction.  If a person knows history he can observe and discern the course of events according to that history.  He need not endure the trials and tribulations of his ancestors, or have a faulty view of the nature and proclivities of himself and his fellow man.  He is able to judge with clarity those who offer security in exchange for liberty.  But without a predominance of that knowledge, a culture becomes lost in time, and consequently, ripe for the oppressor's picking.

The prospects, therefore, of prosperity. that give us reason to apply ourselves to the 3 "R's" can all become nullified by our culture's whole-scale ignorance of history.  The Despot's restraints are first loosened by that ignorance, then broken.  And while the Despot lures the hapless citizen into deeper captivity with promises of a brighter future, the need and desire for that future grows ever more desperate as the cultural state of being declines.

This is of course why we homeschool our children.  The men who lust for power know that the opportunity to achieve that unfettered power lies in the classroom of the masses with the chief focal point being history.  They know that they must detach the child from the actual past and provide for him a past that is more conducive to the garnishment from them of power.  While our children may not escape the oppression of the tyrant, with a clear understanding of history, they won't have to fall prey to his wiles, and may possibly become a voice of reason in a dark and desperate culture.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Excellent! I have long said reading is the most important skill for the same reason you stated - being able to read will allow one to learn everything else. But I've always considered history to be super important for the simple reason that if we don't learn from history we will just repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Liberals apparently hate history; they never learn from it.

Stan said...

Suffering over history homework, my daughter bemoaned, "Why do we have to take history?" I sagely warned her, "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it." To which she finally agreed: "Yeah, you're probably right. If I don't pass this class, I'll just have to take it again." Sigh.

History is indeed vital. So ... in what class do we teach "thinking"?

Dan said...

Glenn, I don't know if I would say liberals hate history. I guess it depends on whose history. There is actual history, and then there is the warped history in which the revisionist at best focuses on the warts of its enemy while ignoring the beauty, or worse makes it up. But it is not the history they hate, history is simply a tool used by someone with an agenda to indoctrinate others into their way of thinking.

Stan, thinking? Thinking is no longer required. Someone else will be doing that for us from now on.

Susan said...

I have always felt that reading was #1 because of the reason you stated: if you can read and are taught to love reading you not only can learn any subject, but you will be far more interested in a broad range of things, which would and could include history. We must remember that the first attack made against our schools was removing God. When that was done the others followed suit and "thinking" is surely not taught. "As it was in the beginning......"

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Liberals hate history because if they were forced to learn it they would see their own policy and ideology failures. They only like history when they can revise it to suit their agenda.

Dan said...


I would categorize the removal of God from our schools as more of a result than an attack, although it certainly was an attack, it just didn't have the look of an attack because of the absence of resistance. It was much too easily won... which is telling.

There was also the Dayton Monkey Trial, just an example of one of the bricks that were laid in the wall. That was an attack that met fierce resistance. at first it perhaps looked like a loss for the ACLU, but as it turned out it was actually a huge win. It was the children in those classes of 1925 that would become the judges who, by fiat, would revise the constitution by a de facto insertion of the words "Separation of Church and State"; words, which in their original context were meant to assure protection of the church from the state and not the other way around. The rest of the children, as if they had become subjects, simply said "look at what they're doing" as if they had no recourse... generally speaking of course. The church had agreed through it tax attempt status, to remain silent on the issue... again generally speaking. But they did, have a recourse but were either, in sufficient numbers, ignorant of their options, or unwilling to exercise them.

One of the root problems I discern is that American Christianity, in general, misunderstands the word love. In the 60's the preponderance of Christianity did not see fit to love their off-spring enough to fight the judicial decision at the ballot box while it was yet a tender reed. That decision is now a tall oak and the vast majority, with little exception, have been indoctrinated by those who themselves were indoctrinated by yet more who were indoctrinated into a godless worldview in which the state has usurped God as master, as a result of that decision. We are now just beginning to reap the whirlwind from that loveless, albeit ignorant, negligence.

Susan said...

Sadly, Dad, Mickey & I were ones who "sat idle" as prayer was taken out of the schools. We were passive and thought "that will never happen". It did. Thanks for the info about the prior moves, see I was not even away of those, having not been taught and being too lazy to seek it out myself.