Sam Sorbo: On Homeschooling During COVID 19 and Common Misconceptions About Homeschool

May 15, 2020 Updated: June 4, 2020

Just how has the time of coronavirus changed the game with respect to homeschooling, with so many schools forced to close?

What failures do homeschoolers see in the public education system?

What are some of the major misconceptions people have about homeschooling?

And why might a Harvard professor be giving a scathing criticism of homeschooling, at this time?

In this episode, we sit down with Sam Sorbo, an actress, author, and radio show host. She’s also the author of “They’re Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate.”

This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

Jan Jekielek: Sam Sorbo, so great to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Sam Sorbo: Well, thanks for having me. I’m so pleased to be here.

Mr. Jekielek: Sam, we’re kind of in an unprecedented time here. Homeschooling has not really been in the mainstream, and this whole COVID-19— Wuhan coronavirus, or CCP virus as we call it here—situation has mainstreamed it forcibly, almost. And you became a bit of a go-to person for a lot of people, from what I’ve seen. What are you seeing [about] homeschooling in the time of COVID-19?

Ms. Sorbo: Yeah, exactly in the time of the coronavirus. So we almost overnight became a nation of what I like to call accidental homeschoolers. I’m a 10-year-plus veteran of homeschooling myself, and I’ve written a couple of books about it, and so I immediately began launching a series of videos that I’ve called, “The Accidental Homeschooler,” to encourage parents because a lot of parents feel completely inadequate. They’re just not up to the task, and that’s sad to me. I don’t think that should be the case.

And the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that it is the case that we feel inadequate because that is the way that we’ve been educated to feel. And in fact, I would say that we haven’t so much been educated as we’ve been schooled. So parents say to me, “Oh, I can’t do it. I can’t homeschool because I just don’t even know how,” and I say to them, “But you went through high school, right?” [They reply,] “Yeah, I graduated high school.” And yet you feel unqualified to teach a third grader? You want to then question your education—how effective was your education if you’re not able to impart the things that you learned? And then if in fact you say, “No, my education was awful,” why would you consign your child to the same system that arguably is worse today than when you went to school?

And so I actually took that journey myself when I pulled my oldest out of school when he was in second grade. I just determined that the school really wasn’t getting it done. I realized that by doing homework with him every day after school, I was actually homeschooling. I just was doing it at the end of the day when we were both tired, and cranky, and hungry, and it was not very successful. And so I thought, “I’m just going to give home education a try,” and I signed up. I said, “Okay, I’ll do it for the first semester of the year. I’ll just do it for the fall semester.” And I stuck with it for a year and a half before I put my kids back into school, and then I took them out six weeks later because I was so filled with self-doubt; I was so filled with self-recrimination— “You’re not getting the job done; you’re doing a terrible job; you’re going to fail”—when in fact, really, the job of the home educator is to be the lead learner.

So if you find yourself in a position of saying, “But I don’t even remember the grammar that I learned. How can I teach the grammar,” well, if you are on the learning quest, and let’s face it, you’re an adult now, you know how to learn, you’re in the perfect position to show your child how to learn, and that’s what we want to teach them. We want to teach our children how to learn so that when they get older, they can learn anything that they choose.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s fascinating. What is this “learning quest” you alluded to here? That’s interesting.

Ms. Sorbo: Well, home education is strangely as much about the parent as it is about the child, in terms of education. So I think that God gives children to the parent as a gift. I think that it’s the parents’ job to open that gift and not to give that gift to somebody else to open. And part of the reason that we have children—that God gives us these children—that they need to be nurtured and raised for 18 years, is because we need to nurture and raise for 18 years, we need to go through all of the experience of the child from the adult perspective, and grow as individuals into, I would say, better adults after having children.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everybody has to have children in order to become a full-fledged adult—that’s not what I’m saying. But I am saying that our culture today, as disposable as we’ve made children, that we’ve sort of denigrated the role of the parents with as much as we’ve said to young women, “You need to get a job, get a career, have a life for yourself, make something of yourself, be your own individual,” and all of that, and we’re dissuading them from becoming a parent. We’re actually robbing them of, in that sense, the opportunity that parenting actually affords an individual for growth and self discovery. And so I know that through parenting my own kids and educating them myself, I’ve learned a great deal, and I’ve become a better person than I would have been. It certainly brings you out of a selfish attitude very quickly.

Mr. Jekielek: I want to dig into that a little bit more in a moment, but let’s just talk about the millions of people across America right now that we’re just thrust into this situation. They believed in the system; they didn’t have your journey; they didn’t really have these realizations. It was just, “Okay, here you go. It’s on.” And of course, there might be resentment, there might be these feelings of inadequacy, all sorts of stuff, and frankly, a chaotic situation. How should people deal with this?

Ms. Sorbo: So first of all, relax, because everybody’s in the same boat. So it’s not, “Oh, you’re the loser because you don’t know what you’re doing.” It’s, nobody knows what they’re doing for the most part. Homeschoolers, yeah, we got it covered but we’re a minority, right? So you’re in the majority of people who are like, “Oh my gosh! What am I supposed to do now? Now, there are a lot of schools that are sending home curriculum, home lesson plans, for the parents to pursue with their children.

And my message to parents is, embrace this opportunity to come together as a family because it will never come again. And there’s always a silver lining. Of course, I’m an optimist, so that’s just my offset valve, right? So I looked at this as, “Hey, this is an opportunity for us to have lunch together every day.” And mind you, we do have lunch together because I already homeschool. But homeschoolers are also suffering under coronavirus because we can’t do the social things that we would typically be doing as home educators, and so we have curtailed some of what we typically do. But for the family that just suddenly finds themselves in this position, understand that you’ve also found … time in not having to commute to work. You’ve found time in other areas of not having to drop the kids off at school, not having to sit in the pickup line at school, or not having to walk them to school, or what have you.

And so it’s a shift, yes. It’s an enormous paradigm shift for a limited period of time. Also remember, this is for a limited period of time. Now there are plenty of families who, now that they’re going through this for one reason or another, and there are myriad reasons, are rethinking sending their children back into the system in the fall. Some of it has to do with what the schools are sending home. They’re saying, “Hey, here’s the work that the child should do,” and you’re looking at it because you’re now the teacher, so you really have to look at what they’re being assigned, and you’re going, “This is dumb. Why is this part of the curriculum,” which is actually partly what happened to me in second grade. I was looking at what they were telling my son to do, and I was going, “This is dumb. I can actually make it up and do better than this”—that kind of thing. Some of the parents are just saying, “I can do whatever the school sends home and actually, it’s just more fun spending the day being around my kids.”

And by the way, it’s not the whole day; it’s not school at home; it’s not you standing at a blackboard for eight hours. In fact, home education takes a lot less time than school does. And that’s a really important distinction that I’m trying to make, more readily accessible for people, is that homeschool is not “school at home.” Homeschool is actually home education, but it’s education anywhere you find it.

And so there’s a really famous TED Talk. It’s got 60 million hits or something of this young [person]—I think he’s 13; he’s an astrophysicist. He’s just some little genius kid. He’s home educated. He says, “I educate myself at the Starbucks; I educate myself at the library.” He’s just going wherever and he can look up so much that’s available now online. So if your child has a proclivity for engineering or for auto mechanics, they can actually learn a whole bunch of stuff without leaving the house. The idea that we’re living through COVID-19 right now with all of the resources that we have at our fingertips—seriously, let’s not complain about that. Let’s take advantage of that. And yes, complain about COVID-19 because it’s a horrible thing and that’s for a separate conversation, all of that. But let’s just look at what are the benefits to this—there are some. They weren’t intended but they’re there.

So let’s take a look at those and see what we can glean. I’ve done, I don’t know, 90 interviews in the past few weeks and I’ve gone on record asking parents to email me at any sex ed curriculum that they get from the schools, and I have received zero. And I don’t know if it’s because the schools have said, “Well, I guess we can’t teach sex ed because we simply can’t trust the parent to teach their child that, so we’re not even going to send home the curriculum,” in which case, my question is, “Well, then how important is it anyway?” Or they don’t want the parents to see what they’re teaching the children, which I suspect is more the case because—I’ve gone into this in considerable depth in my book—what kind of education they are offering for our children, and it might not be what you think. Now that the veil has been pulled away, I think parents are getting an opportunity to see exactly what all this education stuff is about that the schools are doing, and there are a lot of parents who are saying, “This isn’t really what I thought it was supposed to be. This isn’t what I think they’re supposed to be doing.” I’m hoping that we’ll see a bit of a shift coming up this fall.

Mr. Jekielek: I really do want to talk about this element of institutional education and how it juxtaposes with homeschooling. Before that, I was thinking back about myself when I was basically in grade school and high school. I was interested in lots of things but the reality was, in school, I only did things when I was absolutely forced to. Otherwise I would procrastinate, or I would try to do something else, or something that was fun, or whatever. Now, for these kids that you’re describing, that are just so fascinated and want to learn, and that’s great, I can imagine this. But what about a kid like me, perhaps a little bit gifted, but unless there’s someone there with a stick, they’re not doing it. Or they need to hand it in, there’s a deadline—I don’t know. How does this work in a homeschooling scenario?

Ms. Sorbo: … How old were you when you stopped being interested in what the school was teaching and had to just deal with getting the work done just because if you didn’t, you were going to get the stick? Do you remember how old you were?

Mr. Jekielek: I can’t remember. I think I operated this way for the bulk of grade and high school, to be honest. I really have to think about it.

Ms. Sorbo: Well, I would put to you that children are innately curious and that’s why they go outside and they play, and that’s why they inspect bugs, and they dig in the dirt, and they get filthy, and they paint the way that they do. They’re innately curious.

And the institution as it’s erected now basically teaches them that education is hard and that they have to work at it. And there are those of us who are like, “Urgh. I don’t want to work at it.” I hated school. I was an A/B student and I hated school. And it wasn’t until I got out of school that I learned how to learn, and actually I learned how to study in my first year in college—I learned how to study finally. Nobody taught me how to study; nobody taught me how to learn. They just said, “Do this. Do this now.”

So how do you motivate a young person who has given up on education? Yeah, it’s going to take a bit of a transition from the institution to get that young person then motivated to study something that he’s actually interested in. But the thing is that if you find interest in something, you’ll find a way to learn about it. And if you want to learn about one thing, typically, you have to learn about a bunch of other things in order to really understand the one thing that you’re interested in.

I am dealing with emails and comments on my YouTube videos from parents who are like, “But I have teenagers and I think that they’re going online for their classes, but that’s really their social time. So how do I get them motivated to learn stuff?” You have to find the things that interest them and try to curtail some of their education towards that. And then the other thing is you have to incentivize them, or disincentivize them from not doing it, so there are a number of different techniques to do that. I was incentivized to get good grades because it was just a matter of personal, not fulfillment, but my mother just held out a very high bar, and so I just held myself accountable for that. Other kids, not so much.

But here’s the thing—you think sending him to school is going to solve that problem? … Sure, that’s a problem; school’s not solving it. How are you going to solve [it]? Well, you’re the parent, so you really should take an interest and figure out how to solve that problem for your child. And that’s why our school system—which is a one-size-fits-all education, and now more so than ever with common core—it’s not working. That’s why we spend more money per student than almost every other country in the world and we ranked 27th in academic achievement because we are not getting it done within the system. And that’s why now the system is attacking homeschoolers because they don’t like the fact that homeschoolers are actually achieving 15-30 percent higher on the achievement tests and scoring better overall, and winning the spelling bees and all of the other things that are happening.

Mr. Jekielek: I want to dive into that but something just occurred to me. I have to ask you because I’m sure that you’ve faced this, or at least someone has asked you. I have a very good friend whose son is addicted to video games. This is a common thing from what I’ve heard about; what I’ve seen. In this situation, again, I can imagine there’s all sorts of folks whose kids are suddenly at home. The parents need to discipline, the kids might be addicted to something like video games or worse, I don’t know what, and now the parent has to deal with that. Is there any kind of prescription? Is there a place to look? Because you’re stuck at home; you can’t get out; you can’t get help.

Ms. Sorbo: So this is a question about parenting more than it’s a question about education, but we’ll go there. So your child, and depending on the age of the child, … an addiction is less of a disease than it is an inability to control yourself. So we have to focus on self-control. Now if your child has zero self-control, and is simply playing video games and not getting work done, well, who pays for the internet, for the video game? Well, I suppose some video games aren’t [on] the internet. Most of them are [on] the internet, and who pays for the internet? I think it’s the parents. And therefore, if you need to control access to the video games, you change the password. And then the child earns the video games and they earn a limited period of time on the video games.

I had friends whose son was on one of the very popular video games—I can’t remember which one—and he had temper tantrums. He was basically uncontrollable. He lashed out and broke things on purpose in the house, and so they took away the video game because it was his love for the video game that actually instigated that violent behavior. You need to parent—it’s called “parenting.” So if you’re dealing with that, then you have to implement, and then you say, “I’m so sorry—”

And here’s the thing, and this is what I tell parents, “It’s not a fight,” because the parent has the power; the parent has the authority; the parent has the control. So exercise power, authority and control in a controlled manner. There’s no fighting; there’s no yelling and screaming. If your child yells and screams, fine, they go to their room. There will be no yelling and screaming around me because here’s the thing: I control the internet. And so—I don’t know—if there’s more yelling and screaming, well, “Then you’ve just lost your video games for the next week. I’m sorry.” This is the way it is and it’s very calm. It doesn’t have to be a huge battle. Of course, depending on how far down this road we’ve gone.

But here’s a problem that most people don’t think about. When you drop your child off at the school, you are telling the child that the school has the authority. You’re telling the child, “I am not capable. I’ve taught you to tie your shoes, I’ve taught you to feed yourself, I’ve taught you how to get dressed in the morning, I’ve taught you how to bathe, yes, I’ve taught you all of these things. But now, I am irrelevant because the school is in charge, and I now work for the school.” Because what happens: The child comes home with homework and says, “Mommy, you have to sign my homework to say that I did this,” “Oh Mommy, you have to read me this book and sign it so that we can tell the teacher that you did this.” You just did homework for the school, which by the way, why are we allowing the schools to send home homework? They have the child for almost eight hours a day; they can’t get everything done then? Come on! So we signed, “Okay, … give me the thing. I’ll sign it.” I signed the thing, send it back to the school, and now the child sees: Mommy is subordinate to the school. Where did my authority just go? Gone.

Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. This sounds tough then for a lot of people because you’re kind of having to, in the midst of all this, reclaim that authority.

Ms. Sorbo: Well, it doesn’t make me popular. The truth doesn’t make me popular, but it is the truth. And so when people say, I say I’ve got three teenagers, and they go, “Oh, boy. You’ve got your hands full,” and I say, “Full of love. What do you mean? My teenagers are fantastic. I love my teens.” [They reply,] “Well, they talk back”—no they don’t. They’re not allowed to. And yet, if you send your child away from you every day, for seven and a half or eight hours a day, plus whatever other sports or whatever they’re doing, then you’ve already told the child that your authority is under the authority of the school. The moment the school says something or teaches the child something that is antithetical to your beliefs, your beliefs go out the side window; not the school’s. You’re not going to come back in and mitigate, and say, “Oh no! The school is wrong on this point,” because you already gave your authority away.

And parents don’t think about this because we’re all on a treadmill. We’ve been schooled. Where do children go? “Children go to school. That’s what children do”—no, they don’t. Not my children. But it took me a long time to realize that. I’m just trying to help other parents wake up to the fact that what they don’t understand is that they are sacrificing their children at the steps of the schoolhouse for convenience; for compliance; for I don’t know what. I don’t know what.

Mr. Jekielek: This is actually a very fascinating juxtaposition because really, of course, the schools should work for us; not the other way around.

Ms. Sorbo: That’s funny. They don’t! In the United States, our system is “Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Where does the power reside? With the people. That’s the way it’s designed: Power resides with the people. You have one person, one vote, and we vote in our representational republic or our democratically inspired elections. So the power resides with the people.

This is the weird thing: We’re not teaching civics anymore in school. We’re barely teaching how government functions; we’re barely teaching civics. I’ve seen articles that in some schools, they teach the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights for six weeks and they teach the Declaration of Independence for less than a week. The constitution gets maybe another five days. Isn’t that odd? The government isn’t teaching United States civics. The government’s not teaching the people that the power resides with them. Oh, wait—the government doesn’t teach the American citizens that they have the power? Why wouldn’t they do that? Maybe they don’t want us to know that we have the power.

Mr. Jekielek: Exactly. Education basically shapes our entire worldview. It’s the foundation on which all our thinking comes from afterwards. This is a critical, critical issue. And you mentioned earlier about how there is this pushback even now. I’m thinking back to this Harvard magazine article where it was Professor Elizabeth Bartholet who said: Homeschooling not only violates children’s right to a meaningful education and the right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society. She’s also says it’s also important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about non-discrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints. This does sound good. I know that you vehemently disagree with this. But what is she saying?

Ms. Sorbo: But it would sound good if she wasn’t intolerant and a bigot herself. So the bigot is trying to teach us how to not be bigoted? Please! … She’s a Harvard professor, right? She’s trying to teach us how dangerous homeschoolers are? Her own university recruits homeschooled children. … And in fact, they excel at Harvard. We have several examples of home educated youth, they were home educated K-12, went to Harvard and made a huge splash because they were so gifted at Harvard. At Harvard! And here she comes and she says, “We want to teach them.” …

First of all, how is she going to prevent child abuse in the schools when we have the case of … a Seattle kindergarten teacher who over a period of a few years finagled his way into the one classroom that had its own bathroom and then installed cameras so then he could photograph and film his young charges, his children of kindergarten age, in the bathroom to complete his pornography—his child pornography collection at home. He was arrested, his place was searched because of drug charges which he was put away for, and also now all the child porn.

How is she going to protect children from that? And why is she so mistrustful of parents? I wonder what her upbringing was like because she seems to be very distrustful of parents and specifically, Christians. Because in that same article, she says, “We don’t want children indoctrinated with Christian values.” By the way, the Christian values are the values of tolerance, and democracy, and individual rights, and individual sovereignty, which she practices but she doesn’t have any idea where they came from.

Mr. Jekielek: When I read this article, I feel like she feels very threatened by something.

Ms. Sorbo: Yes! Parents.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s not just Christianity—that’s alluded to in there. [You said] parents—what do you mean?

Ms. Sorbo: She said she doesn’t want parents to have input in their child’s education. She thinks parents are incompetent. And I’ve dealt with this before, and there are parents who are incompetent. There are also a lot of teachers who are incompetent. Not all of them; not by any stretch. There are no guarantees in life. You can’t tell me that, “Look, I moved to the school system that we were in because it was a really good school system.” Well, good compared to what? We’re 27th in the world. Who’s guaranteeing anything?

So she’s just making a blanket statement which, mind you, is terribly intolerant of her: “Parents bad at teaching; teachers good at teaching.” Well, … let’s look at the results then. So our education system, the K-12, is based on what? College prep and career readiness. That is its stated goal that it’s selling to us, is we’re going to get your children college prepared and career ready.

Let’s take the second half: Are they career ready when they graduate? Ostensibly no because so many of them are now living in their parents’ basement. And by the way, we’ve just had record low unemployment before COVID-19. So this is all pre-COVID-19. We’re not going to deal with the COVID-19 period because that’s a whole different set of statistics now that aren’t yet in. But before COVID-19, we had young people who couldn’t get jobs. Why? Well, 60 percent of jobs involve sales. I would argue that actually the number is 100 percent because you have to sell yourself to get a job. So every job involves sales. But 60 percent actually involves sales as part of the work that you get paid for. Where on the K-12 spectrum do we teach sales? Nowhere. So then they’re definitely not career ready because even when they graduate college, they’re not having careers, and many of them are graduating in tremendous debt. They’re very upset about the debt and they’re thinking that the government should bail them out. That’s another tip off that our education system isn’t getting it right because of course it shouldn’t be the government’s responsibility to bail them out. In fact, they should actually sue the institution that sold them the degree because the institution sold them the degree on the preface that they would be career ready, and they’re not.

So now what? Let’s put career readiness aside. Let’s look at college prep. What is college prep? College prep is, we are going to prepare your child to go to college. And what does that translate to? We’re going to prepare your child to spend a lot of money in order to obtain some kind of a career whereby they can earn a lot of money to pay us back. It’s actually like indentured servitude. College prep is a pyramid scheme. All they’re doing is preparing you to spend a lot of money. Now, does it work for some people? Sure. Elizabeth Bartlett thinks that it works for everybody and that’s why we should follow that. But if she were any kind of science-minded individual, anybody who dealt with reality, she would instead look at the statistics, and she would discover that our education system is not getting the job done—certainly not the job that they are promising to do. And for her to now attack parents and say [that] children need to be separated from their parents at a young age of five or four—I’m sure she’s for enforced preschool because that’s the whole plan—separate a child from his parents so that he can’t possibly get any traditional values. Remove him from history. It’s nefarious. And I laugh about it because I would cry, because otherwise I would get so angry at her. But she’s not knowing. She’s not a knowing individual because clearly she hasn’t looked at the statistics.

Mr. Jekielek: Sam, … I have two vantage points here. But let’s start with this one. Imagine that homeschooling is traditionally a religious thing. You’re Christian; you’re very open about your Christianity; you share it with others. And I think certainly in the popular consciousness that a lot of people will take their kids out of the system because they want them to have a religious education and they feel they can do that better. So does homeschooling have a religious focus in general? Of course, pre-COVID-19, you’re saying.

Ms. Sorbo: Yeah. All education is religious in nature. All education is religious in nature. Just because you can’t identify the religion doesn’t mean it’s not there. So in our public schools, we have secular humanism—that is a religion. It’s actually in Wikipedia. It’s termed “irreligion.” It’s the combination of agnosticism and atheism—irreligion. It is basically the absence of the Christian god, or the absence of the Islamic god, or the absence of the Hindu gods, or basically it’s that each individual human is only accountable to him or herself. So when you say that a lot of people take their children out of school because of religion, well, let’s define religion instead because when you say “religion,” you mean Christianity, or Islam, or maybe Buddhism, Judaism. We lump those together but you’re not considering secular humanism, or irreligion, or atheism is actually a religion. It is a set of beliefs or worldview.

So when we transfer the term “religion” into “worldview,” because that’s what your religion is, your religion informs how you view the world. That’s what it is. Your belief system shows you how to perceive the things that are coming at you, and so if we’re talking about worldview, every education system has a worldview. Now, there are a lot of Christians who understand that the public schools are antithetical to Christianity. There are a lot of Christian teachers who are in the public school trying to mitigate for some of that and I would say to them, “Good luck,” because when you teach a child that the Bible is not a history book—which it is, by the way, it is the best documented, best sourced history book that we have—when you teach children that it’s just a collection of fairy tales, you will end up with children who have no grounding in Judeo-Christianity. Now the problem with that is, our entire society is based on Judeo-Christian principles.

Just because Elizabeth Bartholet, and some of the other professors at Harvard, and some of the professors at other higher institutions, and even some of our school teachers don’t want to admit that, they behave that way. Because they behave as if … each individual that they respect has autonomy. The people that they don’t respect, they couldn’t care less about, and that’s why she feels free to go after parents. She doesn’t like parents, therefore they have no value to her. But that’s a dangerous ideology because that’s an ideology that says: Some people have value and other people don’t. That’s not the American ideology. The Judeo-Christian ideology that America inherited was that each human being has an inherent value.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s a fascinating perspective. The other question that I have before I forget is we have this unprecedented situation where a lot of folks that traditionally had never occurred to them that homeschooling would be a thing now. As you said, it’s mandated that homeschooling be a thing. Now, a lot of these people are either in single parent situations and they have to work during that time, or they’re in a two-parent situation but both the parents need to work. Let’s say they want to homeschool now. How does that happen? I’m sure people have come to you with this question.

Ms. Sorbo: Yeah. And the thing is that everybody’s specifics are different. So I had a friend who wanted to home educate. His wife wasn’t working but she had no desire, and so he hired out-of-work, retired school teachers, and he actually hired one per child. And his daughter went to an Ivy League school, and graduated top of her class with honors and all that. So that’s one way to get it done. It was more expensive than other ways but there are lots of different ways to get it done.

But it’s like this: If you think of secular humanism, which is socialism—it’s linked to socialism. And the proof that we are teaching socialism to our youth in our schools via the secular humanist worldview, the proof is that more of our youth voted for Bernie Sanders, an avowed octogenarian socialist, than both Hillary and Donald Trump combined. So we are churning out little socialists from our schools. We need to be cognizant of that. Then we have to say, “Well, what does that mean?” That means that there’s a cancer in our schools that’s worse than COVID-19. It’s an ideology that’s worse than COVID-19 and once it has a hold of your child, it won’t let go easily.

So you’re saying to me, “But I want what I want. I’m a working parent, and I can’t.” If I gave you a diagnosis of cancer, could you do something about that? Well, yeah, that’s life and death. Well, I’m sorry, this is a clarion call—it’s life and death. And I’m not saying every school across the United States; I’m saying the school system. So I do get letters and notes from parents who say, “Well, we live in a very small town. We know all of our teachers individually. They’re all fervent Christians, or they’re all great people, or whatever.” Fine. You’ve done your research and you figured it out.

But I also have a friend who works in the inner city and he calls the schools that are in the inner cities “gang prep centers.” They’re not schools. They’re just preparing kids to become gang members. I can’t solve everyone’s problems. All I can really do is sound an alarm bell and try to help people navigate their way to figuring out how to get it done. If it means moving out of the city and working at the 7-Eleven nights for you to be spending the days with your kid, would you do that?

I had a parent who did that. He was a driver, and his son was failing seventh grade, and his wife said, “Absolutely not. I’m not doing it,” and so he switched to night shift. And he worked the night shift, and then in the morning, at the end of a long night of work, he did seventh and eighth grade with his son so that his son would be prepared to re enter school at ninth grade. Sadly, his son went back into school. But I asked him, “How was your relationship with your son,” and he said, “Well, it was rocky at first. It was really hard.” He was coming from a place of failure, so they had to overcome that, and they had to overcome the border, the thing that had built up between them, when the son was gone all day; the dad was gone all day—they sort of barely knew each other. They had to rekindle their relationship. He said, “But at the end, it was amazing.”

So I’m just saying there’s opportunity here. It might be hard for you to get it done; I can’t help that. It is hard sometimes. I’ve had to make these choices in my life, and yes, I’ve been very blessed because I didn’t have the financial choices that I had to make. I made other choices.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s fascinating. I want to give you a chance to just talk about some of the resources that are out there. Of course you have your podcasts that you’re doing all the time now; there’s a website. Just where can people go to school themselves up to get some immediate resources and advice?

Ms. Sorbo: I do a daily radio show at 10 a.m. and that’s on Also, my website is The radio show is a podcast. If you [need] any information, you just go to, and of course I have my book which is “They’re Your Kids.” … That book basically tells you what is wrong in our school system today, and how I went about the job of home education, and I share with you all of my insecurities because I was terribly insecure at first. It is a wonder that I’m speaking like this judging from where I came [from], with the tremendous insecurities and just the sense that if I didn’t at least try, that I was actually going to fail my children by leaving them in a system.

By the way, let’s think about this: So the secular humanism in the system teaches Darwinism, survival of the fittest, and “don’t bully.” What is survival of the fittest if it isn’t bullying? And now we wonder why we have a bullying problem in our schools. Well, because we have a number of people, who believe in survival of the fittest, teaching our children and they actually are bullies. If you look at Michael Mulgrew, … he’s the head of the Federation of Teachers, and at the convention, and the convention is filled with teachers, thousands of teachers, and he says, “I will beat you in the face and I will push you on the ground if you try to take away my common core.” It wasn’t so much that he said it—he’s a bully, I get it, … that’s how he rose to the ranks in his union—but all the teachers cheered.

They cheered that. They cheered that violence. And then we’re expecting them to go and teach children, “No, no. Don’t be violent, but ‘survival of the fittest’ because that’s just the law of the land.” It sets up a contradiction in the child’s mind to teach them that. … And I’m starting a new TV show soon, so I’m excited about that. That will focus somewhat on education, but basically current events seen through the lens of education because our education colors everything that we experience. Everything we see; everything we hear; it colors everything. And right now, we’re going through COVID-19. It’s amazing to me how we are not asking the pertinent questions. We’ve been taught not to.

Mr. Jekielek: That’s actually quite interesting. While we’re preparing for the interview, you told me that this whole coronavirus situation, you see it as a Pearl Harbor moment vis-Ă -vis China and the Chinese Communist Party. I wanted to give you a chance to speak to that a little bit. This is a topic I’ve been covering extensively on the show.

Ms. Sorbo: Yeah. You guys have done a great deal of work on this, and let me just say this: We know that China locked down Wuhan for three weeks for domestic travel before they instituted an international travel ban. In other words, they knew that there was something going on. They had to wait and the timeline lines up with their trade deal with the United States somehow. They locked down for domestic but not for international, and then they went and said, “Oh, by the way, there’s a pandemic coming your way.” And so basically, they allowed this virus to infect the world.

But what I meant by, “It’s a Pearl Harbor moment,” is it seems like we’ve been attacked. So there’s a war here. And my question is whether we will respond to it as if it were an attack and that there is actually a war, or if we’re going to somehow take the easy way out—like when Biden went and visited China ostensibly to talk them out of the military bases that they were building in the South China Sea—and didn’t do anything of the kind. Is that the way we’re going to handle this or are we going to handle this like adults? I don’t know.

Mr. Jekielek: Wonderful. Any final words before we finish up?

Ms. Sorbo: Just to encourage parents: They’re your kids. Strangely, that’s the name of my book—but they are. And they’re the greatest gift that you’ll ever have, and so I wish you health and happiness in a pursuit of educating them yourselves because it is the most wonderful thing that you can do.

Mr. Jekielek: Sam Sorbo, such a pleasure to have you on.

Ms. Sorbo: Thanks.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. 

American Thought Leaders is an Epoch Times show available on Facebook and YouTube and The Epoch Times website.

Follow Jan on Twitter: @JanJekielek