school is only a preparation for the home

From “Uneducating the Educated” in Common Sense 101: Lessons from G. K. Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist (103-107):

“The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their common sense” [Illustrated London News, September 7, 1929].

What common sense tells us is that most people have this simple basic desire: to have a happy family and a happy home. Chesterton says that “just now there is a tendency to forget that the school is only a preparation for the home, and not the home a mere jumping off place for school” [“The Best Toy in the World”, Merry-Go-Round, June 1924].

As is so often the case in the modern world, we have things exactly backwards. In the process of turning our children over to the public education system, we have turned our backs on the home and the family.

“The human house,” says Chesterton, “is a paradox for it is larger inside than out” [Fancies Versus Fads (London: Methuen, 1923), 196]. When we step out of the home, when we pass from private life to public life, we are passing from a greater work to a smaller one, and from a harder work to an easier one. And that is why most modern people wish to pass from the great domestic task to the smaller and easier commercial one. They would rather be in the business world serving the minor needs of a hundred different needs of a hundred different people than meeting all the major needs of just one person, which includes serving meals, conversation, and the moral support. They would rather teach a course in trigonometry to a hundred children than struggle with the whole human charter of one child. Chesterton says that anyone “who makes himself responsible for one small baby, as a whole, will soon find that he is wrestling with gigantic angels and demons.” [Fancies Versus Fads, 202.]

“The truth is that the modern world has committed itself to two totally different and inconsistent conceptions about education. It is always trying to expand the scope of education; and always trying to exclude from it all religion and philosophy. But this is sheer nonsense.” [The Common Man (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1950), 168-69.]

“The one thing that is never taught by any chance in the atmosphere of public schools is this: that there is a whole truth of things, and that in knowing it and speaking it we are happy” [Illustrated London News, August 11, 1906].

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