One of the very best things about learning with the children at home is that I get a second chance. I have a second chance to learn all the things that I either chose to only memorize for a test or just never learned to begin with.

I could blame public education, as I am a product of that system. But why would I? Once I learned to read (not within the public ed confines, by the way), the door was open to me. I was able to read whatever I wanted. I could learn anything I wanted.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda knew this. She knew more than most adults will ever know. But Matilda is a fictional character.

Archimedes was real. Born in 287BC in Syracuse, a city on the Greek island of Sicily, his mind never stopped. His father, Phideas, an astronomer, taught Archimedes to read and taught him the basic math skills we all learn in the lower elementary grades. Then Archimedes thought. And thought. And thought.

He didn’t just think, he acted. He acted out experiments to determine if his thoughts were true or not. Some were, some weren’t. But most importantly, he thought about things and acted on things that had never been thought of or acted on before. He had to start at the beginning.

We don’t have to start at the beginning anymore. The groundwork, the heavy lifting has been done for us. We need only to think.

That’s all our kids need, too. They do not need more money. They do not need teachers with more training (unless that training is a Conceal Carry Class). They do not need new textbooks every year. Or even every other year.

Children are not even students unless they are actively engaged in learning. Being force-fed predetermined-by-the-state material is not active learning.

All a child needs to become a life-long student is simply a true phonics foundation and a true arithmetic. If the child wants to learn, he will. Does he have to learn? No.

There are jobs available for people of all skills. A college degree is not necessary to collect sewer samples. It may be required, but not necessary. It is only because of our own greedy self-importance that alphabet soup has to litter our names…

A college degree is not necessary to teach. Ability to read and perform the four basic math functions, yes. Anyone with those skills can teach. I watch my children teach one another nearly every day. And they should. It reinforces their own skills.

So, when I watch all this hogwash in Wisconsin and hear the teachers whining about pay and bargaining, I think about Archimedes. A couple of hundred years before Christ was born, he discovered six planets and began the science of mechanics leading to his creation of the Archimedes screw which is an essential part of life all over the globe. He also developed the principles of hydrostatics, buoyancy, specific gravity, and measuring a circle. And I haven’t even touched on all of his impacts on our lives today. And he started with less already-discovered knowledge than I have given to my children who are all “6th grade” and younger. And while I have a college education, I have yet to use it in learning with them. All I do is read with them. Study with them. Think with them.

And I am learning more than I thought possible. Without stealing your money.