Another High School Homeschool Essay

Dear Reader,

I recently shared an essay my 10th grader wrote so to be fair I thought I should share one from my 9th grader as well. My point here is to show that kids who have been educated with a Charlotte Mason education and with little direct focus on writing skills can wrote coherently and even better have intelligent thoughts, that they can, as Charlotte says, form relationships with the material.

My dd is working through the American literature curriculum I developed last year for my son which can be found here. Her assignment was to discuss Thoreau’s view of government and her own responses to it. She had some preparation for this in the short answer questions I had her do as she read the passages but was here asked to pull it all together.

In Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Resistance to Civil Government,” he says that he believes the best government is no government. He also says that the government is run by a few people with a lot of power, and those people misuse their power.

I do not think the world would go well if everyone could do whatever they liked. Thoreau is a transcendentalist and transcendentalists believe that the most pure and sacred thing is the human mind. God says that all people have sinful, imperfect minds. If you take the “pure mind” point of view, then no government might work out pretty well. Unfortunately, since people have sinful minds, then if everyone did exactly as they wanted, the world would be chaos because people would want to do sinful things and people do not naturally get along with each other.

If everyone was running around, doing exactly as they pleased, and probably fighting with each other quite a lot, then it is quite possible that a few people would become more powerful and start a government. In other words, there is a good chance that a government would start all over again.

Now, to look at the other side of the argument, there is no reason that just because there [are] laws doesn’t mean everyone obeys them. In fact, there are quite a lot of people who don’t. The laws do cut down on bad things, but they don’t completely get rid of them.

Just because the government says some thing is illegal doesn’t mean that thing is bad. There are probably quite a few laws that outlaw perfectly good things. I think most laws are necessary to keep order, like laws about not murdering, and laws about not yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater. There are also a good many laws that don’t really help anyone, like about not running over small children getting off a schoolbus.

Thoreau thinks that the government shouldn’t be able to tax people. There are probably some useless taxes. A lot of taxes, though, help the military, and help to set up libraries and things like that. If one had a choice whether to pay money to fund a library or not, then most people would not pay and would get to use the library for free. That is not fair.

To sum up, I think everyone should be smarter in general. The government should only do what it needs to do. People should pay only taxes that benefit them and society. Thoreau views taxes as a burden because he doesn’t experience any of the things taxes fund because he lives in a tiny cabin in the woods.

Okay, it’s not perfect. She uses the word “things” way too much for too many . . . well, er . . .things. And that last sentence probably should have been earlier on. But, she is thinking about the material and forming her own opinions. Also when I asked her how she knew transcendentalists value the human mind, she said Emerson (whom she studied previously) said so and that he was a transcendentalist too. So bonus points for that. Oh, and the bit about running over school children not hurting anyone? I didn’t teach them that. Honest.


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