- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dear President and Mrs. Obama,

Welcome to Washington! I thought I would weigh in on your schooling choice, as columnists seem to be advising you on every other part of your job.

Since your two beautiful daughters will need to be educated, I would like to suggest that you choose the best school in the nation, which happens to be located less than a stone’s throw from your door. In fact, it’s inside your door. Naturally, I’m referring to home-schooling.

Home-schooling will relieve the need for Secret Service agents and drivers to accompany your daughters to school each day, saving taxpayer funds. It will allow maximum security, because they will be with their parents, and there’s no better security than that.

Home-schooling produces better academic results than public or private schools. According to a study just published by the Home School Legal Defense Association, when students from a sampling of Ivy League colleges took the American Civic Literacy Test, (on factual knowledge of American history and the Constitution) college seniors from Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities scored 69.50 percent, 65.85 percent and 61.90 percent, respectively.

These Ivy League seniors were bested by freshmen at Patrick Henry College, who earned a 71.6 percent. The Patrick Henry freshmen - most of whom were home-schooled - not only beat out Harvard seniors, they also scored 17 points higher than the mean score of seniors at the 50 best colleges in the country.

In the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress, which tests critical thinking, reading, writing and math skills, again the home-schooled freshmen outperformed college seniors at all of the 253 participating universities and officer training academies.

Home-schooling will do more for your daughters than give them great academic instruction. It will keep your family sane and give you all a sense of stability and togetherness through a trying time in your lives. Even at the best of times, the presidency can take a terrible toll on the individual and the family.

If you can have your daughters with you at various times during the day, it will help keep things focused on the right priorities. Instead of having to endure the separation and loneliness that happens when a parent has a high-stress job, they would be able to learn from the opportunities of the White House, meeting some of the most knowledgeable people in the world, including heads of countries, and learning languages, geography and history from the source. They can travel with you, and visit the places abroad that they would only read about in a schoolroom, and learn about their own country and the greatness of its people through seeing it with their own eyes.

Far from keeping them isolated, home-schooling will allow them great flexibility. For instance, they may want to visit all of the District’s public schools and share with their same-age peers what life is like in the White House. They can report back to you on the state of the public school system, and what help is needed.

Mrs. Obama, you would be able to take them to see the historic sites of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Virginia, visiting the United Nations, ground zero, Bunker Hill and Williamsburg. They could sit in on congressional sessions, spend days in the Smithsonian and visit Arlington National Cemetery to honor those who paid for our freedom.

Instead of being gawked at and lionized or gossiped over by star-struck classmates, they will be able to socialize with their parents, and the natural acquaintances of their lives. They can enjoy their childhood and grow into their adulthood naturally despite the glare of the limelight, because within the family, the coping mechanisms and sensible guidance of the parents can prevail.

Wouldn’t it be great to come out of the four or eight years of living in the White House with a stronger family, better relationship with your kids, and having them more knowledgeable than Ivy League seniors as entering college freshmen?

I can tell you that the other decisions you make as president certainly will affect our nation and history, but the decision to home-school would be the best one you could make to affect your daughters’ future.

Kate Tsubata, a home-schooling mother of three, is a freelance writer who lives in Maryland.

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