National School Choice Week

Sibling Grammy Winners Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell Praise Homeschooling

"I've never been to school. I grew up homeschooled, stayed homeschooled, never was not homeschooled."

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"I've never been to school. I grew up homeschooled, stayed homeschooled, never was not homeschooled," says Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old musician who took home five statues—including ones for album of the year, song of the year, and best new artist—at Sunday's Grammy Awards.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Eilish told the music magazine Pitchfork last summer that she views traditional K-12 education as the equivalent of being forced to eat vegetables.

I learned how to do math by cooking with my mom…I learned, like, how to build shit from my dad. What I'm saying is I learned shit in life…I feel like when you're sat down and somebody's like shoving things in your throat, you're not gonna want to eat them.

Eilish has been praised for her wildly inventive and idiosyncratic songs and sense of style. Her main collaborator is her older brother Finneas O'Connell, who was also homeschooled and, as her producer and co-writer, shared in her big haul at the Grammys. In a 2014 interview with Your Teen Media about the movie Life Inside Out (written by their mother, Maggie Baird) which was partly inspired by his childhood and in which he appears, O'Connell also gave homeschooling high marks for cultivating individualism.

Finneas at the 2020 Grammys.

Being homeschooled is all about self-discovery. It's something that I've really enjoyed and thrived under. I'm not at a high school where I have to base my self-worth off what other people think of me. I have to think, "What would I like to be doing? How would I like to be as a person?" I think that's an enormously positive thing.

In the same interview, Baird stressed the flexibility of homeschooling for parents and children alike.

Everybody's always out doing things, traveling, going places, meeting for classes, and organizing field trips. It's like going to college. You take what you want, where you want it, and you find what you need…Homeschooling allows us to let them do the things that they really love to do and not have a giant academic schedule on top of it.

Patrick O'Connell, the father of Eilish and Finneas, told The New York Times in March 2019 that he and his wife were inspired to try homeschooling by reading about the experience of the '90s band Hanson:

I was completely swept away by these kids… They were religious Oklahoma home-schooled, but nonetheless. Clearly what had happened was they'd been allowed to pursue the things that they were interested in.

About 3.3 percent of K-12 students are homeschooled, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The total number of homeschooled kids was about 1.7 million, or double the number in 1999. The most common reason for homeschooling is concern over "school environment, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure," with slightly more than one-third of parents citing such worries. The next two top reasons are dissatisfaction with academics (17 percent) and a desire to provide religious instruction (16 percent).

Homeschooling is one form among many options when it comes to school choice (go to National School Choice Week for more information on the varieties of options available for K-12 students and their parents). According to NCES, the percentage of students attending traditional public schools based on residential assignment has declined from 74 percent in 1999 to 69 percent in 2016, the last year for which full data is available. About 6 million kids attend private schools and 3 million attend public charter schools.

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  1. But she’s an outlier. Usually, all great musicians attended regular public schools.

    Right?

    1. Right. Take, for example, the guys from Nickelback…

    2. Close. All great musicians failed or dropped out of public schools.

      1. I don’t think Mozart dropped out of public school, smart guy.

        1. he never dropped IN to public school. Nor did Bach, Beethoven, etc.

          How many of the great surf and rock n roll musicians of the 1960’s and 70’s stayied in school till gradjitayshun? How bout them Beatles, or Silly Wizard or….. Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe.. and their musician sidemen.I seem to rememer Linda Ronstadt travelling with Flatt and Scruggs when she was about sixteen. I also know a number of old time/bluegrass musicians that never went to them gummit skelwz……. The Bullas, the Wintons, Chris Thiele, Mark O connor if I remember barely survived pubilc high school, there was a pretty constant battle between his music and school.

          1. I wasn’t, technically, being fully serious. I mean, not like 100% serious. Not really 10% serious, either, for that matter.

  2. Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old musician who took home five statues

    Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest…

    1. LOL!

    2. Nice.

  3. Homeschooling: Because your kids could grow up to be as intelligent, classy, and erudite as Billie Eilish.

    Also, doesn’t it make you at all uncomfortable that 99% of people who homeschool are religious fundamentalists who you would happily send to the gas chambers?

    1. citation please?

            1. “Religious families, nearly exclusively Christians, make up more than two-thirds of them”

              “91 percent of homeschooling parents are more concerned about the environment of schools and want to offer a religious (64 percent)”

              But 99% of them are religious fundamentalists. Math. How does it work?

              1. You realize you are being a pedantic asshole, right? He said in his very next comment that 99% was hyperbole.

                A good majority of home-schoolers are christian weirdos. A fact which he cited very well.

                Also, have any of you met a home schooled kid turned adult? It’s instantly apparent that they were home schooled, and not in a good way.

                1. Christian != willing to put people into gas chambers. Who’s the cunt here?

                  1. FFS man, read for comprehension. I was suggesting that since Reason fucking despises Christians and supports stripping away their rights to free association and free exercise (figuratively, although only by a little bit, willing to see them gassed) it was a bit ironic for them to be defending homeschooling since the vast majority of people who homeschool are Christian fundamentalists.

                    1. Christian != christian fundamentalist.

                2. Being christian is now being weirdo? WTF I’m not even Christian but you sound like an ignorant bigot.

                3. Yeah, yeah. Sua Sponte, Liber.

                4. I’ve known a few people who were homeschooled. They’re fairly normal. At least two of them were homeschooled because they’re parents were religious, but the kids themselves ended up non-religious (they still believe in God, but show no other signs of being religious). All the religious fanatics I know attended public schools.

                5. @De Oppresso Liber and you do know, asshat, that a majority of home schooled kids get into college compared to kids trapped in government prison schools, right? But of course YOU would deny that control freak, leftard asshole.

                  1. You are suffering from mental illness and should consult a professional. I cannot believe how rude or society has become. That is not something you say to your enemies, much less a random person you have never met that happens to have a different opinion from you.

            2. and the “people who homeschool are religious fundamentalists who you would happily send to the gas chamber” part?

              1. and the “people who homeschool are religious fundamentalists who you would happily send to the gas chamber” part?

                That’s the part I, too, was sort of curious about . . .

                1. Holy fuck. It wasn’t remotely ambiguous. I’ve helpfully explained it for you and anyone else who takes the short bus to work.

            3. so you make some statements and attach, it would seem, moral judgement on those factoids and statistics. Basis for your complaints? SO WHAT if some parents want to raise their children according to some moral standards OTHER than what is pushed in the gummit skewlz? Is that not THEIR prerogative, being the PARENTS of those kids? They have examined the product of the public schools in every category one might examine, and found them wanting. THEIR prerogative. Deal.

              VERY FEW homeschooled kids end up pregnant, strung out on drugs, offing themselves with guns, drugs, bridges, cars, motorcycles.

              It sickens me to be at a checkout stand somehwere, pay cash for an order, and watch as the ignorant recent high school graduate cannot count out the change, either up or down, even when the register TELLS them how much to give me back. Conversation with such is painful. They do not speak what I learned a few decades back as “english”. I often do better at a Mexican restaurant conversing with the staff in spanish.
              I have known at least two hindred children to be homeschooled start to finish. Nearly every one of them (95+%) can communicate far above the level of their gummit skewl “peers”. I know some who have, with NO financial help from their parents, attended college, graduated, earned law degrees, are ioperating VERY successful busintesses in service, desigh/manufacture, distributioin, law, engineering, agriculture, medicine, social services, government, aerospace, IT, security (physical and/or cyber), finance….. and are now well along in raising their own families and repeating the high level of success they have had in their own lives. How many ten year olds to YOU know who can carry on an intellilgent, well expressed and articulated, rational and factual discussion on government, economics, current events, natural phenomena, histpry…….. I know ten or fifteen such kids for every ONE child of the same age who has endured the gummit skewlz…….

          1. The numbers are skewed by Homeschool Legal Defense Fund. They’re really active in politically pushing their agenda that only religious homeschoolers should be allowed to homeschool. They have lobbied hard to become the one and only voice of homeschooling in government and the government just takes them at their word.

        1. I know a lot of home schoolers. And they are Christians.

          But mostly they choose home schooling for non religious reasons. We have lots of Christian schools and Christianity is common in the public schools.

          So don’t confuse correlation with causation?

          1. “…But mostly they choose home schooling for non religious reasons…”
            I’m an atheist and I don’t care why parents opt for home schooling. If those parents want to teach their kids that humans rode dinosaurs, it doesn’t affect me one bit; it is their choice, not mine.
            Further, those kids are going to do far less harm to me, our liberties and the world than the kids who were marched out of class on 11/9/16 to ‘resist Trump!’ and ‘want to end violence by outlawing guns’ and are told from K-through-tertiary classes that the government should do (XXXXX).
            Learning to be stupid is available in many forms as lefties constantly demonstrate.

    2. “Everything I know I learned from my mom.”

      /homeschooler

      1. Like how to win a bar fight without spilling your beer?

        1. And how to do your own stitches.

          1. These are not trivial skills.

    3. It’s ugly when people make those bigoted claims. It’s despicable when you make the claim despite being directly contradicted by statistics in the very article you’re commenting on. It is painfully apparent that you didn’t even bother to read.

    4. As a homeschooling parent whom interacts with many other such families, I can assure you, you’re mistaken.
      We’re predominantly libertarian.

      1. Are your kids also illiterate retards who can’t read the 3 fucking links I gave you too?

        1. you seem really angry about homeschoolers. Did you lose to a homeschooler at the chess club or something?

        2. show us on the doll where the homeschool kid touched you

        3. @Raoul Wallenberg your really fucking stupid aren’t you? You also didn’t fucking put links to the statistics that show people who are home schooled get into college at higher rates than ones who are in public schools because it doesn’t support your fucking retarded control freak narrative. Now go fucking die already, asshead.

      2. Cool handle, but this was a post where you really needed to nail your who/whom usage.

    5. religious fundamentalists who you would happily send to the gas chambers?

      Why would I happily send religious fundamentalists to the gas chambers?

      1. He’s doing Yoda-speak.

        1. No, retard. It was a commentary on how Reason and the vast majority of its readers would happily send Christians to the gas chambers. Which was only mild hyperbole compared to the “99%” comment.

          1. No, retard.

            Lighten up, Francis.

            Reason and the vast majority of its readers would happily send Christians to the gas chambers

            Yeah – that’s still retarded.

          2. musta spent your childhood in bummit skelwz…. the statement as YOU rendered it is not as it was in the referenced comment. It was HOMESCHOOLERS he’d gladly send to the gas chambers.

            I’d like to see him try….. as a group, I’m confident those homeschool kids, well accustomed to thinking way outside any box you’ve ever seen, would all but certainly somehow manage to escape, avoid, disable, or otherwise render ineffective, YOUR gas chambers. Woodchippers, too. Some of them have engineered better woodchippers, and thus know how they work. ergo how to disable them.

      2. You aren’t a Reason staffer so you might have different views. The Reason staff would happily see Christians excluded from society entirely, if not literally sent to gas chambers.

        1. The Reason staff would happily see Christians excluded from society entirely, if not literally sent to gas chambers.

          Especially Slade. I hear that chick decorates her walls with the entrails of Christians she’s sacrificed to her Progressive Demon-Gods.

        2. where do you come up with such stupid statements?

          1. He went to gummint schools; what else could it be?

  4. it’s too bad the music is not good.

    1. Awful songs, just terrible…as if there are no young talents to give this award to?

  5. While I was thinking about buying tickets the show sold out. Now the scalpers want three hundred bucks for tickets in the nosebleeds, and eight hundred for the floor. Dicks.

  6. Yes but wherever did you learn your English?

  7. If you are for individualism, against government corruption, against public sector unions, against government indoctrination, for parents’ rights, homeschooling is an obvious choice. It takes a lot of work.

    If you have parenting or discipline issues, it will amplify them.

    But if you can do basic math and have a reasonable adult reading level, homeschooling is a very attainable possibility for you and I think the benefits to your children are huge.

  8. Well, the reputation of homeschooling could have done without being associated with this degenerate sadomasochistic music video teen. Although, her brother does appear to be good at writing the pop music, which is why she’s famous, along with the professional producer workshopped aesthetic, so there’s that. That and the gajillion dollars.

    1. It’s probably an attempt to expand homeschooling. I’ve seen 3 main types: Religious types, hippy/commune types, and those that are too lazy to get up and send their children to school.

      1. Right. Because lazy people would much rather develop lesson plans and curriculum that has to be approved by the state instead of the extremely laborious activity of making sure your kids get on the bus each morning.

        1. You’re right. I’m probably making it up and have no idea what I’m talking about.

    2. That’s a pretty baseless smear.

  9. Eilish has been praised for her wildly inventive and idiosyncratic songs and sense of style.

    Is that what they’re calling it these days?

    1. Says the Ke$ha fan.

      1. You know who else was into Ke$ha?

        And I don’t want to hear and of that “too soon” crap!

        1. Your mom?

        2. I thought you means $he had ¢roaked.

          1. That was Kobe. A man that I had no beef with.

          2. From Wiki –

            A series of lawsuits, known collectively as Kesha v. Dr. Luke, were exchanged between the two parties in which Kesha accused him of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and employment discrimination against her

            1. She lost all those lawsuits.

      2. I’m not a fan of Ke$ha’s music, it’s pretty much garbage. I’m a fan of Ke$ha the same way some people are fans of Miley Cyrus.

    2. I think when a new artist is being praised by the likes of Dave Grohl and Elton John, its hard to support the idea that her music is boring and not creative.

      1. I checked out a few of her songs the other day and didn’t find anything overly impressive about them. I’m sure it’s because I’m neither a high-powered industry mogul or her target audience.

        1. I suspect the latter. There’s definitely a thing right now with the low-energy vocal over a downtempo, chill tune (see my comprehensive review below), but yeah, not entirely my thing. I’ve only randomly chosen two of her songs so maybe there’s a wide variety once you start listening to her full catalog. But based on the first two random picks I don’t feel the desire to dig a lot further.

          1. Yeah, I wasn’t really into the emo stuff when Depeche Mode was doing it either.

            1. I’m listening to a third now, it’s a liiiittle more peppy, but still has the low energy vocals as her signature style. Her videos are visually interesting which I appreciate. Again, it’s not bad at all. The only thing that’s disconcerting to me she’s not just young, but particularly young-looking for her age, so it’s a bit off-putting (maybe too strong a word) to watch her sing these songs in the videos.

              I’m listening to her ‘hit tune’ Bad Guy now. It’s pretty good. But going back to the sustainability of those low-wattage vocals… it’s gonna get old really fast.

              1. But going back to the sustainability of those low-wattage vocals… it’s gonna get old really fast.

                Yeah – I get tired of it after about 20 minutes. And it’s pretty much all teen posturing. It’s reasonably intelligent teen posturing, but teen posturing nonetheless.

                She’s painting herself into a corner with her style, and I wonder whether she has the range to pull out of it.

                1. She’s painting herself into a corner with her style, and I wonder whether she has the range to pull out of it.

                  Well see how it goes after she checks out of rehab next year.

              2. But Lorde!

              3. Not if you’re twelve!

          2. maybe there’s a wide variety once you start listening to her full catalog

            My daughter’s a fan so I can tell you no, not really. She’s got the thing that she does and that’s what she does.

            She’s clearly pretty bright and talented, as is her brother, but it’s very likely they’ll both be ruined by all the attention.

            Ironic that it was Alicia Keys presenting, since she got the same level of wunderkind-hype when her first album came out, and was unable to follow it up with anything noteworthy, having hit peak-career-achievement at 19.

            Turns out, if a 19-year-old doesn’t really have anything to say to the world, a 22-year-old multi-millionaire who’s been world famous since teenage years really doesn’t have anything to say to the world.

            1. And it’s instructive that, IIRC, the last person to sweep the “big four” was Christopher Cross in 1981, and we all remember how the ’80s were dominated by Christopher Cross, right?

            2. Turns out, if a 19-year-old doesn’t really have anything to say to the world, a 22-year-old multi-millionaire who’s been world famous since teenage years really doesn’t have anything to say to the world.

              So a spokesperson for the climate change movement, then.

              1. Now that you mention it, she may have a bright future, after all.

            3. I must’ve missed that “bright and talented” part.

        2. all she really has to do to succeed is to be noticeably different than most of the pap, drek, and garbage out there, just a bit more creativity, yet still enough the same they won’t think she’s really for a different crowd. And it seems she’s found the mark… and the marks….. enough targets to shell out the Dough Ray Me to keep the train rolling.

      2. Dave Grohl and Elton John make some of the most deplorably boring and uncreative tripe ever put to tape, but OK.

        1. Agreed. What went through my mind was “Dave Grohl and Elton John are perfectly fine endorsing whomever their management asks them to, because they are hacks.”

  10. *sigh*

    Ok, I guess I gotta go watch this English kid and see what xe’s all about.

    1. sorry, Eilish. My bad. No disrespect intended.

    2. Heads up Paul, she sucks, IMO.

      1. So I listened to two songs. It’s not bad. I really thought it was going to be weak, candy, bubblegum youtube shit, but she’s got a style and a sound.

        However, the low-energy, moody vocals are going to have limited sustainability for the long term. Don’t know if EVERY song is that way, but the first two I clicked on were 173% that way. I don’t hate it, but it’s not really my thing.

  11. What could be more libertarian than homeschooling?
    My children are free to pursue their interests and develop their individual aptitudes, while pursuing a curriculum unencumbered by political nonsense.
    As a parent, I feel I’m in the best position to provide the supervision and guidance for MY offspring.
    When public school kids are doing mass shooter drills, my kids are improving their marksmanship skills.
    When public school kids are literally getting fucked by their teachers, mine are winning violin and STEM competitions.
    They have rich social lives, and are allowed the freedom to develop in the real world, instead of a union controlled P.C. meat grinder.
    When compared to their publicly educated peers, they consistently test several grades higher than there publicly educated contemporaries.
    We’re not in a cult, a hippy commune, or lazy.
    We are safer, better educated, and in control of our own lives.
    There are many myths, lies and stereotypes about homeschool kids. I find these are often promulgated by worshipers of the state in furtherance of protecting their socialist Kool-aid dispensing racket.
    School choice is Liberty.

    1. What could be more libertarian than homeschooling?

      Homelessschooling.

    2. When public school kids are doing mass shooter drills, my kids are improving their marksmanship skills.

      CNN is going to run this byline tonight.

      1. Viewers hardest hit……both of ’em

      2. And it rhymed!

    3. “What could be more libertarian than homeschooling?”

      Depends on how much you pay the teachers, doesn’t it? If homeschooling can offer salaries competitive with public and private schools, then yes, it’s libertarian. If it ignores the market, then it isn’t.

  12. As a 36 year old former homeschooler, I think she should wait until she has lived longer before voicing her opinions about homeschooling. Homeschooling leaves children at the mercy of their parents, who may or may not be completely sane. Homeschooled children can be sheltered to the point that they do not even know that they can call the police if they are being abused. It also creates an unequal educational environment because the education depends mainly on what parents you have, whereas if you go to school you are all supposed to be getting the same opportunities. It’s all fun and games if you have great parents, sadly the desire to homeschool, I feel, generally comes from parents’ past traumas and paranoias related to their own education and experiences and a desire to have their children turn out in a way they feel benefits them and fits with their chosen circle, not necessarily what the particular child wants or would benefit from.

    1. “Libertarians for government schools!”

      1. Libertarians For Child Abuse (Homeschooling Involving Substandard Parents).

        1. Fake Reverends for Child Programming!!! (Indoc-based state education)

          1. What is “fake” about the Congregation Of Exalted Reason?

            1. What is the delay in you killing yourself in the most violent fashion imaginable so the rest of the world can have a parade in celebration of you removing yourself from the gene pool, you useless turd?

              1. You know, Jack Klompus, sometimes I love you.

        2. Libertarians and the Entire Community of Decent Human Beings for Shove a 45 up Kirkland’s Ass and Pull the Trigger .

    2. Unlike public schools whose sanity isn’t even questioned.

    3. Beyond the terrible equity argument, Cathy is espousing the classic fallacy of the ‘public servant’
      Most people do things out of selfish motives, whether you’re running a business, working at a hospital, or teaching your children. Because these people are selfish and self-centered, the results are going to be bad.
      However, when a government worker does these things, they do them from selfless love for kids and the public… so the results are obviously going to be better. And even if they’re not, at least everyone’s getting an equally bad education, and that levels out some of our white privilege.

      But seriously. Who cares more about a kid’s education and future success? The parents or the teacher, principal, and school board?
      On top of that, who is better able to craft a child’s education to fit their child’s particular needs?
      I’d bet on the one who isn’t also watching 20 other kids at the same time.

      1. “…Cathy is espousing the classic fallacy of the ‘public servant’…”

        How dare you?
        Why, in SF, the teachers emptied the class-rooms on 11/9/16 ‘let’ the kids “resist Trump!”. Even those kids whose parents voted for him, and did so without informing those parents.
        How can you possibly doubt their sincere interest in their *own damn political views*?

      2. “Who cares more about a kid’s education and future success?”

        Who cares more about a kid’s health?

  13. I like her tunes. Especially in the car with the sub turned up. Makes my butt tingle.

  14. “In all countries, in all centuries, the primary reason for government to set up schools is to undermine the politically weak by convincing their children that the leaders are good and their policies are wise.” ~ Marshall Fritz
    “And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps.” ~ H.L. Mencken
    “Governments have ever been known to hold a high hand over the education of the people. They know, better than anyone else, that their power is based almost entirely on the school. Hence, they monopolize it more and more.” ~ Francisco Ferrer
    “Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

  15. These guys went to government school and it didn’t do them any harm:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5ApYxkU-U

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  19. Is this story to prove that crappie music starts at home? If you want to call it music. Push button on Cakewalk to give beat, mumble crap into auto tuned mic setup and viola you’re a Grammy winner! Industry still pushing the flavor of the day for nothing more than $$$.

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  21. Am I right in assuming that the teachers of homeschooled students are typically unpaid? This doesn’t seem a good way to incentivize the best teachers. A private school like the Philips Academy or any public school will be able to attract better teachers simply because they pay a salary.

    1. Unless there are other incentives besides money…

      1. How do homeschools attract the best teachers? The Philips Academy attracts them with a generous salary, paid vacations, and other benefits besides its fine reputation. How can a homeschool hope to compete?

  22. If there ever was a good example why kids should be in actual school, it’s probably them. For every Billie Eilish and whats-his-face there are thousands of superfluous bodies being spit out of the bottom of the porn industry or leaching off entitlement programs.

    Congrats to them – they certainly made it – but yeah, no, stay in actual school, kids.

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  25. True, public schools are terrible mostly, but not solely, because of teachers unions.

    Also true, her music is lame emo stuff for weepy teenage girls.

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