Home Life and Education

From the January 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

A September 2006 study of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute showed that college students across the United States lack a rudimentary knowledge of history. One finding, however, was left out of virtually every news report. The study stated: “[W]e found that family matters. … [S]tudents from intact families—those who report having two parents married and living together—demonstrated greater civic learning than did students whose parents are separated or divorced or where at least one parent is deceased. Furthermore, parental education and the frequency of family discussions of current events are associated with higher civic learning.”

At the two lowest-ranking colleges—Berkeley and Johns Hopkins—“only half of all families engaged in discussions of current events or history on a weekly or daily basis,” the report stated.

Though the media ignored this conclusion, the family approach to education is a defining principle. Not that children must have a mother and father to understand history; rather, the study shows that the interaction young people have with parents has a profound effect on their education.

Time spent with children helps determine whether they are ignorant of history—and, consequently, of what has shaped current events—and whether they can apply the lessons of history in their lives. If we want our children to ignore history, we need simply do nothing.