Saturday, April 2, 2011


I am weary of hearing homeschoolers getting grilled for their preference of homeschool over public or private (aka, corporate) education, and I am tired that my Microsoft Word underscores the word "homeschool" red unless I hyphenate it. Our era has been one of shattered Cold-War monopolies like telecommunications, oil, trade, etc. Antitrust laws prevent mergers that would eliminate competition and “fix” prices, funneling and then forcing the consumer to patronize its own product, despite substandard outcomes at times. At one time private education was targeted by the regulation machine, and then homeschooling. You cannot grasp oil in your hand. Neither can you machinate something so organic as education.

Despite the ragging homeschool gets in the media, I am curious as to why the mooch-schooler does not get the same treatment. The mooch-schooler is the grown child (man or woman) who lives with mom and dad for extended periods of time without the expectations or responsibilities of an adult. They expect private accommodations, eat mom and dad’s food, and do not routinely contribute to the upkeep of the house. Worse yet, they do not see anything wrong with what they are doing. They find it perfectly normal. Oftentimes, they are under the delusion that they are going somewhere when it is obvious to all that they are stalling. The following are four broad types of mooch-schoolers:

1. The UNDECIDED Mooch-Schooler. This student perpetually provides the excuse that he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life or that he is confused about his many options (whatever they may be). Worse yet, it is the fault of God for why he does not know what he wants to do, because God just won’t tell him. The UNDECIDED enjoys the comforts of free room and board, free utilities, free television, free-gaming systems, free home-cooked meals, free Internet, a free phone. Quite honestly, who would want to leave a situation like this? When pressured by parents, he tries to justify his indecision by taking a course or two at a community college or by taking on a “part-time” job which affords him enough money for fast food, gas for the car, and maybe a new article of clothing or two each month. Until a crisis happens like Mom or Dad getting pissed off or the UNDECIDED getting pissed off with mom and dad’s questions about his comings and goings and leapfrogging from friend’s house to friend’s house, there will be virtually no way to dislodge him from the house accept by making a clear decision with a clear timetable.

2. The STUTTER STEP Mooch-Schooler. This student has ambition. Actually, he has more ambition than he knows how to rightly manage, because he is always developing grandiose plans and stalling out at the implementation of it. For example, a student like this might watch a movie about, I don’t know, PREDATOR, and get a hunkering for military action. So he will make plans to join the Navy Seals or the Special Forces or the Rangers. When the time comes for him to go see the recruiter, he comes back home only to reveal to his parents that he had been doing “some thinking” on his way to the recruiter and ended up not seeing the recruiter at all. And it is always a “selfless” thought like he was thinking how his parents need him around the house or how his friends nearby who are going through a hard time need him or how he feels that he has unfinished business around the house. What eventually happens to this student is that he grows old under his parents’ roof, eventually getting a job or two to help out around the house, as he is the “selfless” type. When these types come across me once or twice a year, they feel the need to explain their intricate plans for fame. Hahaha. It always involves living at home.

3. The SUCCESSFUL Mooch-Schooler. This student actually has success under his belt. He is degreed, or he has finished a stint in the military, or he has traveled abroad. However, his success leads him no where but back home. A large number of Mooch-schoolers strangely fall into this category. These students are highly motivated and brave enough to venture away from home for several years. However, their ambition is short-term and involves short-term goals like securing a certain amount of money or a degree or a marriage prospect. They seem to lack the long-term ability to make a break from Mom and Dad. Worse yet, this Mooch-schooler might marry and even have children under Mom and Dad’s roof. I knew of a couple who did this. Right after marriage they fell upon hard times and moved in with Mom and Dad. Then they had a child. Then they split up. Under Mom and Dad’s roof. The entire story of their life together was shrouded in the comfort of someone else’s home.

4. The YOYO Mooch-Schooler. This student wobbles back and forth between his parents’ house and his own temporary accommodations, and he does this for years on end. I knew a forty-five year old man in my little town who worked on a fishing boat. He had a couple of failed marriages, enjoyed the unimposing schedule of the water, and would come home after every few seasons to stay with mom. That is, if he didn’t have a girlfriend to take care of him during the off-season. He and I would talk downstairs in the laundry room of my condo complex. He missed the fishing season of 2001 because he accidentally cut off his finger doing some construction work which meant that he stayed with his mother for another year until he got tired of her complaining about his sitting around the house and smoking. One day (I remember the week) he left entirely.

I find it curious that the stereotypically oppositional nature of homeschool gets raked over the coals when the diversity of homeschooling is less the religiously fundamentalist population of the 70’s and 80’s and more an economically diverse people who are tired of the stifling, uniform micro-monopolies they find in the educational world. People who have a vendetta against homeschool do not understand the signs of the times: the post-modern alternative in every area of industry is towards diversity and that includes education. If you ask me, certain traits instilled in homeschoolers like responsibility and an entrepreneurial bent provide an answer to economic problems we are facing like the cultural genuflecting we are showing China and the eventual obeisance we will be forced to concede. I don’t see mooch-schoolers providing an answer to that problem.


  1. These last several posts are eerie. It's like I know these people or something....Honestly, these issues I see in various shades and nascent forms in my own life and the life of my family. Thank you brother for this yeomanry of unspoken subjects and uncomfortable files. This is a distinctively masculine and fatherly venture that you have undertaken in your language and choice of topics. We need this!

  2. I once read that we should not be surprised that the lung system of a cat and a human look similar, for we were fitted for the same environment. This certainly is not an "us/them" problem. It's symptomatic: the cause of a lack of culturally beneficial "vitamins" and a hundred "trace minerals." It is often sad that the religiously aware who try to insure that their children never end up this way find their children ending up this way. There is no such thing as "bad' air. You cannot fight air. All humans have to breathe. When you withhold air from someone, you only cause them to take deeper breaths.

  3. enjoyed your post, my hubby recently told me of someone he works with who still lives with his family even though he and his wife work- unbelievable! they also don't understand why we homeschool and they think it's a horrible thing only uneducated people do.

  4. Haha, Brodie, but what sad humor! I am not sure why homeschooling has a stigma with such people other than they think education only takes place in the factory.


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