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Homeschooled Kids Scare Me . . . in a Good Way By Kevin Mark Smith, Esq.

I’m experimenting on a group of homeschooled high school kids, aged 15–18 years. Specifically, I’m dissecting their brains to determine ho s iftly their neurons transmit data and ho this physiological process translates into their ability to think logically. I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am an attorney. !y scalpel is a metaphorical one. It is the Socratic method of instruction herein one "uestion leads to an ans er, hich leads to more "uestions and yet more ans ers, ith the ultimate destination being the truth. #fter $ust four eeks of teaching these kids %onstitutional &a , my experiment’s initial result has affirmed the ise choice my o n family made many years ago to homeschool our o n kids. 'omeschooled kids are brilliant( It may be helpful to kno ho I am conducting the class so that you can understand hy I am so surprised by ho sharp these kids are. )e ha*e a syllabus ith assigned readings for each class, but the class discussion is *ery fluid. +ust like during my la school days, there is no ,lecturing- in my class .as today’s go*ernment/schooled high school and undergraduate college students are sub$ected to0, although my students ill be held accountable for the readings *ia one final exam .there ill also be a mid/term paper and a legal brief on a legal "uestion to be determined later0. Instead, I re*ie the assignment and prepare a list of "uestions to spur discussion. 1oing into the first class four eeks ago, I as a little fearful that these young men and omen barely past the age of puberty ould be engaged and prepared ell enough to sustain a full hour of class time. !y fears ere unfounded2 the first fe "uestions stirred their minds so effecti*ely that many debates ensued, and at the conclusion they asked me if they could extend the class time by half an hour. Since that first class, e’*e gone for at least 34 minutes per class, and most of the students linger after ards much longer than that, peppering me ith many more "uestions related to topics beyond the scope of the class’s reading assignments. 5ig deal, you say. #nyone can blo*iate his or her ay into an extended discussion. In la school they call such students ,gunners,- al ays talking but ne*er listening, and most of them end up in the bottom "uarter of their classes6if they manage to graduate at all. 'o e*er, that is not hat is happening ith these brilliant homeschooled kids. %onsider their unanimous response to a "uestion that as posed to them in eek four’s session. )hile discussing the e*er/encroaching federal go*ernment and hat led to such centrali7ed po er, I brought up the 8hirteenth and 9ourteenth #mendments. I then asked them hat led to the %i*il )ar. 'ere’s hat go*ernment/schooled kids most often say led to the %i*il )ar: sla*ery. 8heir textbooks and teachers focus on the &incoln/;ouglas debates and the different *ie s of sla*ery held by #braham &incoln and Stephen ;ouglas. )hen the abolitionist &incoln as elected, the South’s fear of losing its sla*es led it to an armed insurrection. Indeed, most people reading this article might ha*e said the same thing.

Copyright © 2011 Kevin Mark Smith


'ere’s hat all of my students said .prepare to be blo n a ay0, rephrased by me to include all of their points in the most succinct ay possible: 8he %i*il )ar as caused by the <nited States’ unbalanced trade policy, hich fa*ored manufactured goods o*er agrarian products, including bans on exportation of agricultural products to =urope, hich forced the South to employ cheap sla*e labor to offset the exorbitant cost of maintaining their agrarian economy in a hostile tax and tariff en*ironment. &incoln’s election forced the South to se*er its ties to the >orthern politicians, ho ere intent on destroying the South’s economy. )o ( In the back of my mind I had prepared se*eral follo /up "uestions meant to lead them to that conclusion, anticipating the typical response and being intent on using my scalpel to lead them to the correct ans er, yet . . . they kne it already. <nbelie*able. 8o be completely frank about hat I ha*e seen so far in these kids, I ould put them up against many undergraduate and la school students .and la yers, for that matter0. 8hanks to the commitment their parents made to homeschool them many years ago, these homeschooled students ha*e the ability to think for themsel*es and to analy7e complex "uestions better than their go*ernment/ schooled counterparts. 5ut I am also afraid. I am afraid that one day these kids ill go to la school and return to )ichita, ?ansas, to practice la in the *ery same courts I practice in. #nother ten or so years of learning and maturing $ust might make my $ob that much more difficult hen I am forced to fight them toe to toe ith the substandard go*ernment/school foundation I am cursed ith. !aybe teaching a fe more of these classes ill result in their brilliance rubbing off on me@ I can only hope. Kevin Mark Smith is an attorney in Wichita, Kansas, where he lives with his wife and three daughters. He writes often on the law, homeschooling, and issues of importance to Christians, families, and conservatives on %opyright A41A, used ith permission. #ll rights reser*ed by author. Briginally appeared in the ;ecember A41A issue of The ld Schoolhouse! Maga"ine, the family education maga7ine. Cead the maga7ine free at .8BS! or read it on the go and do nload the free apps at to read the maga7ine on your mobile de*ices.

Copyright © 2011 Kevin Mark Smith