QUESTION:  "How do we provide an education for our kids without the state?"

First, I would break down "an education" a bit.  The whole concept of "education" as something apart from living and learning bugs me anyway.  I assume you're talking about things like reading, writing, math, etc.  The more important things (i.e. not the things mentioned above) can and should be learned from ethically sound and reasonably intelligent parents, whether they can spell "arachnid" or not.

As for "academic" stuff, or anything else the parents don't know, but that the children should learn, a trade (moolah in exchange for instruction) is fine and dandy by me.  Actually, in these modern times, it is quite easy for people to, in effect, teach things they don't know.  Things like computer programs, the Phonics Game, the zillions of math puzzles, etc., make learning at home very effective, even if no one in the home knows the stuff.  As for learning about more specialized stuff, the Internet kicks some serious butt for research about virtually anything (especially if you are doing research on "HOT WILD SEX").  It is now a lot more valuable to know how to find the truth, than to know a lot of little pieces of the truth.  AltaVista rules.  Good old-fashioned encyclopedias do, too (I mean the really old ones that are made of paper, not the plastic silver discs).

For some specialties, however, the best arrangement (in my arrogant opinion) is called "apprenticeship," where someone learns something by helping someone do something who already knows how: bicycle repair, computer programming, music production, hired assassin (just kidding).  This works for 5-year-old students and 80-year-old students alike — and often makes money for the apprentice in the meantime — and that way they learn from someone who knows something, not something from some theorizing beanhead professor who couldn't get a job in the real world.

Incidentally, moronic child labor laws and the minimum wage (price control) often screw this arrangement up.

I have a couple major beefs with the accepted formal "education" system (and I mean the whole concept, not whoever happens to be screwing it up at the moment):

(If anyone is offended by these … tough shit.)

1. Parents should be raising their children.  Handing off your kid to someone else for eight hours a day is not parenting.  Eight hours a day, five days a week, a few hundred days a year, for twelve years or so is a lot of time.  That much lack of exposure of a kid to his parents sucks ass.  The time left over is usually pretty damn noneducational and nonstimulating, i.e. everyone eats, collapses, watches TV, goes to bed.  Kids learn by example, from the day they are born until at least the teenage years (and often until they die).  I intend to be that example to my children, not trust that some school will provide such an example.  (Radical, I know.)

2. The curriculum and clone quality of the formal "education" system is about the worst arrangement I can think of for learning.  For 30 minutes, you will sit in your chair and hear about geography, whether you give a care about it or not.  For the next 30 minutes, you will stop learning about geography, even if you started actually getting interested in it.  You will then sit in your chair and hear about math, whether you give a care about it or not.  Regardless of whether you started getting interested in math, you will now sit and hear about history.  Do that a bunch more times with a bunch more subjects, and you will have had the most inefficient exposure to raw truth imaginable.  The clone mentality sucks ass.  If a kid is interested in something, let him learn about it!  There's this sort of religious underlying assumption that all kids must know a list of things by a certain age.  Know how to add by age ____.  Spell "cat" by age ____ (and I'm pretty sure the ___ is lower than Joe's age ).  Name the states by age ____.

Since I ragged on Joe just then, I'll use him as an example, and give him a big, fat retarded head.  His spelling wasn't exactly superb a while back (although I bet it's above average by a good bit now).  What did it matter?  Yeah, there are times it would look better if he didn't use "your" instead of "you're," like on a resumé ("I think your going too bee glad ewe highered me" … aak).  How does that inconvenience compare with the benefit to him of his "research" into what he was interested in?  Not even close.  I've seen enough anal-retentive, mindless, communist-and-don't-even-know-it, anti-human, anti-mind, crowd-following spelling masters to say that they aren't shit compared to Joe.  If he never gets "your"/"you're" right, how much does it really matter?

Now expand that to all grade-school subjects.  If someone learns to think, which happens most often when that person is allowed to pursue what interests him, the ability to spell, add, conjugate a verb, or find the volume of a cylinder, is not that important.  That being said, someone's interests usually give them some degree of competency in these areas anyway.

I'm not saying parents shouldn't try to spark interest in things, but dragging some kid through 200 hours of listening to something he couldn't care less about does no good, not even in that subject.  I remember jack squat about history from school.  I didn't care about it then.  I sat through plenty of it, and forgot it all by the time I handed in the test that I spewed it back on.  Recently I've started to care about it, and I've accidentally (without any real intentional research) learned more about it in a few months than I ever learned in school.  The assumption that everyone should know the same stuff, in the same amounts, by the same age SUCKS ROYAL ASS.  Not only that, but the methods used to try to make this happen don't work.

"I know lots about _________, and I learned it all outside of school."
Fill in the blank above.  I can think of a few for myself.  Now try this:

"I know lots about _________, and I learned it all at school."

Um … I'm drawing a blank here.  How about you?

In general, formal "education" does not:

1.    Teach anyone to think.
2.    Teach anyone much that they remember a month later.
3.    Give a good example of how human beings should behave.

Instead (again, in general), here's what the "formal" education system does teach:

1.    You should sit still and wait for the "authority" figure to enlighten you.  (aak)
2.    You should learn the things that the "authority" thinks you should know.  (Aak)
3.    You should not talk to anyone without permission from the "authority." (Aak!)
4.    If accused of doing something wrong, you must prove your innocence.  (AAK)
5.    If one person does something wrong, it is okay for all to be punished.  (AAK!)
6.    You have nothing that is not subject to a search by "authority." (AAK!!)
7.    "Authority" will determine every detail of what you will do, and when.  (AAAK!!!!)

The list goes on, but I better stop before I get the urge to go blow up the nearest public school.

Anyway, to answer the question (if I can remember it after all that ranting), paying someone to help instruct your kids in a way you feel you can't is fine and dandy by me.  A kid learning something from someone other than his parents is not somehow evil, but a lot of the things that often go with it are.  If a kid wants to know something, it's tough to keep him from knowing it.  If he doesn't want to know something, it's tough to make him learn it.  Once an interest is sparked in something, the dog will pretty much walk itself (you just make sure it doesn't wander into the road, or poop on someone else's living room rug).