Blogs Dec 7, 2013 at 10:37 am


I was homeschooled for most of elementary school, not because of anything religious, but because I was so socially-maladjusted that my mother felt that school wouldn't work for me. The existence of this other movement of religious fundamentalist homeschooling, where the content of school rather than the societal experience is the issue, is foreign and disturbing to me.
Religions are all horrid, terrible things.
"Homeschooling leaders argue that child abuse is no more prevalent in homeschooling families than in those that enroll their kids in public school". Maybe they "argue" it because it's true? Kind of like how gay parents "argue" that their kids are abused no more often than in straight families? The sleazy innuendo is the same. The lack of evidence is the same.

There's no need to sink to this level of bigoted rhetoric if you want to draw attention to patterns of child abuse among some families, some of which home school.

You could just as easily say schooled kids are abused "all too often". And only 3 percent, at most, of American kids are home schooled; you'll find at least 30 times as many abused kids if you look for them in schools than out of them.

If there was a shred of evidence that homeschooled kids are abused at a higher rate, or that they have worse outcomes, than schooled kids, you guys would cite it. This is no different than the utterly unfounded attacks on gay parents. It's the same kind of slander against a minority by an ignorant majority.

If you're that interested in child abuse, you ought to be asking yourself how come so many kids spend every day in the hands of your school system yet somehow your highly trained professional teachers can't detect it. You could prevent far more child abuse by figuring that one out than by harassing home schoolers.

Your real beef is with fundamentalist Christians, and most of them send their kids to school. But if you think you can prove that home schooling leads to abuse, then present your evidence and then go ahead and ban home schooling. We're talking about only 3% of parents; how hard could it be for the other 97% to scare up enough votes to pass a home schooling ban?

If that's what you want, then show your facts and make your case.
I worked at a homeschool support program and often pondered about the liability the school and assigned teachers held for kids whose parents "unschooled" them.
@ 3, I don't see Dan making any such sweeping claim. What he DOES say is supported by the story.
I had two friends who homeschooled, one because her son was Asbergers, who had difficulty with the social aspects of high school, the other because she wanted to spare her daughter the horrifying social aspects of Middle School.

Both were college educated women, one with a PHD, who were willing and able to educate their children to the highest standards.

Made their children college ready -- but both were appalled that there were so little in the way of legal educational standards for homeschooling.

Their children thrived in homeschooling, but they saw so many others fall by the wayside.
@3 Homeschooling can be great. And many homeschooled children aren't abused. But it's a common thread with abuse to try to decrease outside contact and prevent people from learning that there are other ways to live and prevent people from reporting abuse. Unfortunately, it's often not hard to train a child not to talk about abuse even in school, so it's hard to detect and I highly doubt teachers are anywhere near adequately trained to be good at learning the signs. Teachers are already asked to do way too many tasks that they are underpaid for, so I don't blame them. But at least a kid in a school has a better chance of getting help than a kid who is isolated further than that. That's the danger - anything that isolates people with no oversight. Personally, I support mandatory oversight for all children. I'd like annual mental health evaluations. Not just to detect abuse, but also to do early detection for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or all sorts of mental health issues that tend to have far better outcomes if caught early. But it'd also be helpful for catching more abused children and getting them help. But I'd want it for all kids - homeschooled or in school. But a child that is sent to public school and is also abused at home at least sometimes has a bit of a reprieve and bit of safety most days. Never having anywhere or any time when you are safe seems like it would be even more stressful and horrible than abuse already is.

Oh, and yes, I also am deeply against schools that allow children to be abused, and I consider most bullying to be child abuse. That's another issue I feel we need to work on as a society, but most schools are starting to work on that.

Where's your evidence that there's a better chance of detecting abuse in schools than out of schools? You just admitted teachers are too busy. So how's that supposed to work? And where's your evidence that home schooled kids are isolated?

I can regale you with anecdotes of kids who had to be pulled out of school to get them a reprieve from abuse, especially bullying from other kids that teachers were "too busy" to stop. And also abuse from the school staff. What do anecdotes prove?

This kind of uninformed fear mongering is no different than the arguments that we should let the government spy on everybody all the time, because maybe that will catch a terrorist. Because of fantastic imagined scenarios and paranoid dreams.

Apparently interacting in the same room with teachers eight hours a day isn't intrusive enough to detect abuse. Just how much to we need to pry into families to stop abuse? Do we need surveillance cameras in every child's home? Should we waterboard parents to get at the truth?

I'd say, no. Let's start with some actual facts about how abuse happens and respond appropriately to what those facts tell us. Not scapegoat a minority because they seem weird and your imagination runs wild when you start to wonder what goes on in their homes.

What does "all too often, abusive families" mean to you? To me it says there is reason to believe it happens with disproportionate frequency.

If I said "gay families are, all too often, abusive" or "black families are, all too often, abusive", you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. "All too often" is not at all the same as saying "some gay/black/home schooling families are abusive".

Show me evidence that home schooling -- even home schooling by Xtian fundies -- leads to more abuse. Or else expect pushback to this kind of unfounded innuendo.
Hi, Dennis. My name is Sarah Jones. You might have seen my face (or at least, my face at the age of four) in the Prospect article--if you bothered to read it, that is.

The piece cannot reasonably be considered an anti-homeschooling manifesto. I believe, however, that our stories are evidence that homeschooling needs to be more regulated. Right now, the regulation laws are so lax that it's impossible to collect data, nationally, about the efficacy of homeschooling and rates of abuse in the community. How can you measure these factors when 11 states don't even require families to notify the school district they're going to homeschool?

Stop using our stories as a platform for anti-government fear-mongering. I think we deserve better than that.
Dennis, you don't get it. There is no evidence BECAUSE this culture exists in the shadows. Who could compile such a study? As the people in the article attest (and myself also, as a former fundie home school kid) the problem with the culture is that our abuse was never reported, never believed. It isn't "unfounded innuendo" - we're telling you about our lives. And you, like anyone we ever turned to as children, refuse to believe us.
@ 9, I've heard enough stories from Chritian kids that I will never require that kind of evidence.

Home schooling isn't all socially conservative Christians. And teabaggers aren't all old white racists who think being poor is a moral failing. Sometimes a group is so dominated by one semographic that that's how they are perceived. It's up to those groups to do something about it, not their critics.

My anecdotes are just as good as yours. The home schoolers I now are not isolated and as a rule they are more involved in their kids lives than schooled kids. There is a more diverse group of adults who have contact with the kids than those in schools, making it harder for the kids to conceal anything about their family life. There are more opportunties to expose problems because of the inherent social necessities of home schooling.

This "shadow culture" you imagine is nonsense, and it's pernicious that you define it in a way that's unfalsifiable. The less evidence we see of disproportionate abuse among home schoolers, the more you can claim that "proves" just how secretive the "shadow culture" is. It's a witch hunt.

Social scientists study every aspect of life, no matter how private. If this abusive shadow culture were real, there would be proof.

First you imagine this shadow culture that sounds like it came out of a melodrama, all because you heard some scary stories. Then you say that all home school parents have to find some way to prove to you that your paranoid fantasy isn't real? Guilty until prove innocent, because you of your anecdotes?

I've heard scare stories about all sorts of poorly understood minorities. We all have. Scary stories about outsiders do get around, don't they? We must have the strength of character to not become prejudiced based on ignorance and fear.
Some parents fuck up their kids, who then fuck up their kids, etc., etc.

"Social scientists study every aspect of life, no matter how private. If this abusive shadow culture were real, there would be proof."

Well isn't this a crock of shit. AS a social scientist, I can assure you that it is EXTREMELY difficult to get information and statistics out of abuse, particularly abuse that is hidden. If someone doesn't want you in their community, if there is no opening for you to actually investigate (as I'm sure fundi homeschooling is), then you can't fully investigate (if at all).

There's a reason that the amount of abuse and rape (with society as a whole) is based almost entirely on estimates. And that's BECAUSE its so damn difficult to investigate. By your standards, rape must not be that rampant seeing as the amount of convicted rapists is still relatively low.

But, seeing as you know how social science works and how easy it must be to gather up evidence, please go into the Andes and find me the exact amount of domestic abuse. I'm sure it'll be a walk in the park for you. I bet you won't have ANY trouble with the fact that there is almost zero help for it and that the women have no where else to go if they DO report it.

Yes, by your standards, the Andes must have absolutely NO domestic abuse! Because evidence!
"Then you say that all home school parents have to find some way to prove to you that your paranoid fantasy isn't real? Guilty until prove innocent, because you of your anecdotes?"

Oh no! Oversight! Oh, the horror! Yes, someone making sure your kids are alright when they otherwise would never get a chance to see the outside world is terrible! Absolutely frightening! What's the point of ANY investigation! If we stick our heads in the sand nothing bad will EVER happen! The world will be perfect!

Oh, and I found this quote from you: "It's all a joke from where you sit, but without your privileges, discrimination against breastfeeding is real and it has consequences."

Well, you're just scare mongering! You have no data on that! Why are you being so damn melodramatic, huh? Why aren't there social scientists gathering data on this right now? Why aren't there papers already published? Hmm, that means it doesn't exist, now does it?
@16 @!7

I have no idea what you're ranting on about with all your all caps and exclamation points, or what great contradiction you think you've uncovered. I oppose discrimination against both breastfeeding and home schooling and so... what?

But be my guest if you think you can pass a new law to send inspectors into every kid's home to root out possible abuse. Based on no evidence of wrongdoing. Based on the very lack of evidence, something must be done. Because "think of the children". Is that the plan?

As a social scientist, what do you think your odds are of passing this new law? Will the public like paying for your home inspectors to fan out across America on their fishing expedition? Will nobody ask if that's a good use of scarce resources?

Maybe. I certainly can't stop you. Go propose your new law. Good luck with that.
If it's working well, and abuse is rare, then oversight will show that. Resistance to oversight, therefore, tends to make one wonder what's being hidden.

I work in early childhood education. At any time, with no notice, my boss, parents, and government regulators can enter my classroom, see what I'm up to, and ask me to justify my choices in programming, discipline, etc. This is not onerous - it's how things should be. Why should the children I care for be protected more than children who are cared for by their parents?

Homeschooling parents should welcome oversight. It's the way people behave when they have nothing to hide.
@8 I didn't claim that. Nor did you seem to pay attention to what I was saying. But if you want a simple fact, what I was taught back in Principles of Child Development was not about abuse (since the study would have had to take action if it discovered any), but about general good versus poor care. Good care at either home or a daycare program generally led to good outcomes. Even if one or the other had problems, having good care for the child part time seemed sufficient. Whereas for kids who were not in daycare, if their homecare was bad, then they tended to have much worse outcomes. As did kids in bad daycares with bad parents.

It's not much to extrapolate that school is a protective influence, because it decreases the odds of problems at both home and school. However, as I said, I strongly support a twofold approach of both checking on all kids at least annually and working hard to make sure that schools do not allow abuse to happen within them. I agree that there are many terrible stories of children abused at school. Fortunately, it's a problem being given a fair bit of attention (finally) and being worked on. But that doesn't mean that schools can't be protective influences. We just need to make sure that they are.

I also am not opposed to all homeschooling. I just do feel that all children deserve at least some basic protection that oversight would create. As stated, I think it should be done by mental health professionals - not teachers - since that puts the oversight in the hands of people better trained for it. And I don't know why you are so angry at the idea of children having some basic minor protections. You really do seem to be arguing that no child should be given protection or oversight, because sometimes it doesn't work. And that argument makes no sense to me.
@ 14, no. Guilty because my witnessed are credible.

NEVER impugn the stories of abuse victims.
You... You're not very bright, are you? The contradiction is that you're asserting one thing with no statistical evidence and placing that thing as a problem while asserting that this thing is not happening because there is no statistical evidence and, therefore, not a problem.

This is basic logic 101 and the fact that you're willing to jump from the two so easily shows intellectual laziness.

"I have no idea what you're ranting on about with all your all caps and exclamation points"

Oh no! He doesn't understand the point of using exclamation marks and capitalization in order to emphasize words and/or voice! I wonder if he understood that I was trying to be sarcastic in my posts with the "oh noes!" and whatnot! But, you know, use fallacies like that because that's an actual argument!

"But be my guest if you think you can pass a new law to send inspectors into every kid's home to root out possible abuse. Based on no evidence of wrongdoing. Based on the very lack of evidence, something must be done. Because "think of the children". Is that the plan?"

Boy, that's one big straw man you've built there. Yes, having a kid go to a councilor or have someone come to see if they're on the right intellectual track is totally the same as bursting through the door and "rooting out" any abuse!

"Will the public like paying for your home inspectors to fan out across America on their fishing expedition? Will nobody ask if that's a good use of scarce resources?"

Because if you can't possibly pass the law, there's no reason to bring it into the national discussion!

You also completely ignore the fact that I have called your premise (that this shouldn't be an issue because there isn't any evidence for it) into question. In order for evidence to be obtained, one must be able to collect it in the first place. You're argument is no better than saying so and so's corporation isn't polluting the soil surrounding their manufacturing plant because they won't let anyone in to actually test the soil. If you can't actually go in and see, wait for it, you can't actually see if anything is wrong! I know! Crazy!

You know what? I can use fallacies too! I think Dennis here just wants to have homeschooling unregulated so he can have complete control to abuse any and all children that enter into his home.

Nobody's impugning any stories of abuse. Some home school kids have been abused. Totally true. But some schooled kids have been abused too. What's your justification for picking on this subset of kids to the exclusion of others?
@16: I was about to write the same thing but you beat me to it.

Social scientists do not study "every aspect of life." They study what they are interested in, what they can get funding for, what they can get published, and (importantly) what they can gain access to study. For a population this small the most likely approach would be ethnography or other qualitative method, none of which are generalizable to populations in the way you are demanding. You'd have to have access to a pretty large sample before you could draw statistically valid inferences - but there would be formidable obstacles to recruiting enough informants among homeschooled youth (whether fundamentalist Christian or otherwise.)

In other words, you are insisting on an impossibly high standard of proof before laws could be enacted to provide these children some measure of protection from abusive homeschooling environments. (And since you brought LGBT into the discussion, note that civil rights protection began to be extended to gay people many years before social science began to catch up.)

I agree that the issue here isn't fundamentalist Christianity per se, but rather patterns of child abuse. But it would be disingenuous to pretend that fundamentalist Christianity didn't encourage those abusive patterns.
It seems to me that there are two things to glean from this:
1. Homeschooling should have stricter guidelines and possibly even a system of monitoring/checking in with the homeschooled.
2. Christian fundamentalists are scary. Maybe even the scariest. Ever.

Yes, you must be vastly smarter than me because I don't follow a single thing you're trying to say. Do take your superior intelligence and go lead the way to a new home school oversight system. The public will love it because it won't cost anything. And it's going to uncover a vipers nest of shadowy child abuse. Anyone who asks for prior justification is probably part of the abuse conspiracy and mustn't be trusted.

Inspect away. Oversee all you want. You're not going to find anything. I know this because I know so many home school families. You don't believe me because you don't know a single one.
@23 I don't think anyone is picking on this subset to the exclusion of others. This particular article is pointing out that this subset is not given the oversight that others are, and that this is problematic. Oversight would not solve the problem of abuse of homeschooled kids, just as it hasnot solved the problem of abuse of public schooled kids, but it's part of one aspect of the solution.
Dennis, you don't make much sense, either. You're obviously angry.

Mostly what I get from you is it bothers you that the kids in this story were homeschooled. Why, I don't know. Perhaps you think that because *some* homeschoolers have been abused, (some not so much, others much worse), you interpret the story to claim that *all* homeschoolers are abused, and thus you're here to argue that *no* homeschoolers are abused.

Or something.

Oh, and you feel anyone who disagrees w/ you is an idiot & thus you're free to insult them. You're obviously angry-- something about this story has set off your buttons BIG TIME.

My only suggestion is to be careful: your words read like you want to silence kids who have been abused, because bringing up their stories somehow sends a wrong message about homeschooling. It seems to me that people who support homeschooling would be the most appalled, and want to do everything they could to clean up this obvious problem. But then, I thought that way over ten years ago when I first started reading about the Catholic Church's problem w/ child abuse. So I suppose your attitude doesn't really come much as a surprise.
Holy shit, Dennis Bratland. I've always hated it when I'm trying to passionately defend something I feel strongly about, and I run into a tidal wave of "Hey, why are you so DEFENSIVE? Huh? HUH??". Well, I'm DEFENDING that thing I feel strongly about, DUH! (pardon my caps).

But I recognize it as a signal to step back, take a deep breath, and explain exactly why I feel so passionately about that thing.

What's the deal? Are you an exponent (product or practitioner) of some benign Buddhist or hippie home-schooling tradition, where kids never get abused and have lots of exposure to alternative experiences?

Great. Just, cards on the table, please.
I really don't understand arguing against basic check-ups for all children. My vision problems were detected early, because I was sent to nursery school and the nursery school did a routine vision and hearing exam. Fortunately, my issues were correctable with glasses, but they weren't caught before the school caught it. Eventually, I'm sure my pediatrician would have noticed, but the school got it noticed faster. I know somebody who had scoliosis detected because her school did routine checks on every kid between a certain age range. Routine checks on every child for various health problems help. Some kids will slip through the cracks, but more will be caught.. And I think this should be extended to basic mental health.

As stated, it'd help both wit abuse and also with numerous other mental health problems. It can be very difficult for a parent to tell the difference between normal teenage moodiness and serious depression or anxiety. It's not the sort of thing where you want your first wake-up call to be a suicide attempt (or success), and that can happen even with good parents. There is so much benefit to annual check-ups that I can't see a good reason to argue against it other than that it would sometimes catch child abuse and abusers might lose their kids, which can be very threatening if you think you might be labeled an abuser. And yes, false positives are an issue, which is part of why I think it's important to have trained experts involved. And we can study how best to tell, but we currently have way too many false negatives that it's pretty clear something should be done.

I support it for all children, as I said. I just worry more about homeschooled children because they do not even have the option to tell a trusted teacher. Sometimes an abused child will tell a trusted teacher. It's not that all homeschooled kids are isolated, it's that abusers tend to isolate victims, so the ones being abused are also more likely to be isolated. Homeschooling is a fantastic mechanism for controlling and isolating children which is incredibly easy to abuse. This means that absolutely must have oversight. But yes, I believe every child deserves some basic oversight and protection, because too many abusers manage to scare or shame kids into silence even when they have a path to tell somebody.

Yes, Inspector Clouseau, how clever of you to see behind my ruse. I'm part of the vast conspiracy to silence home school abuse victims. By commenting on this blog asking for evidence that home school parents get away with abuse more than other parents, our evil culture shall remain forever hidden in the shadows. Anyone who asks for a shred of proof that home school kids are abused at a higher rate than non-home schooled kids is in on it too.

You know, I think if you started clamoring for Muslim parents to bring their kids in for inspection to prove none of them are being raised as jihadi terrorists, you might get a slightly angry-sounding reaction to that too. Why, I don't know.
It seems to me that people who support homeschooling would be the most appalled, and want to do everything they could to clean up this obvious problem.
That's my feeling also, and I certainly hope it's true.

I've got homeschoolers in my family, and my niece who was homeschooled is most likely going to homeschool her own children - they are babies still. I'm not anti-homeschooling - in some ways it can fit in very well with what we know about how children learn, better than conventional schooling. What I am "anti" is no standards, and isolation.
Ugh, this argument again?

I will admit right here to not knowing a whole lot about the process of education, and the State requirements with respect to teacher training, certification, and continuing education requirements. But I acknowledge that those things exist, and the State necessarily sets a pretty high bar for the requirements needed before one can teach.

So I assume it's pretty much given that by the time one is teaching students in middle school (seventh, eighth, or ninth grade, say) that any one teacher must specialize and know a whole lot about one subject to be a good teacher.

So how many regular family-raising non-teachers know jack about trigonometry, and the history of the middle ages, and english literature, and every other goddamn subject? How many of them could actually and effectively teach?

Because lemme tell ya, nothing exposes how little you know about something as trying to teach it to someone else.

Teaching means one must possess a thorough knowledge of the subject as well as a good knowledge of how to teach as well. And I doubt many of the home-school crowd can effectively teach every middle-school subject with any competency.

Whenever I hear anyone mention that they're homeschooling their li'l darlin's, I automatically assume those parents are insufferable dolts and their children will suffer for it.
@34's ...nothing exposes how little you know about something as trying to teach it to someone else."

A thousand time yes. Probably stopped more Slog comments by me than anything else. XD

It's shocking to think untrained parents could educate their kids as well as a giant institution staffed by certified professionals, isn't it? If it were true, it would stand as a pretty damning indictment of our school system, wouldn't it?

Yet where is the evidence of worse outcomes among the millions of Americans walking around today who were home schooled? Why aren't they all unemployed? Why aren't they social cripples? How come they don't have lower SAT scores and lower college graduation rates?

It doesn't add up, does it? Either our school system is wasting incredible amounts of money, or home school parents are ruining some two million kids a year. Which is it? And where are they hiding all these ruined kids?
Man, it's hard to hold a conversation with a billboard, isn't it?
*shrugs* Does a minimal amount of research on Google Scholar. Oh look, here's an article on how homeschooled kids are less likely to be given medical care - which is a form of abuse. Neglect of basic needs is a form of abuse.…
I'd do more research, except that my argument wasn't that homeschooling is bad or homeschooled kids are abused, but that every kid deserves oversight. But if you want me to actually research it, it looks like there is evidence that in at least one way homeschooled kids are more likely to be abused. Now I know. Well, it's one study. So, there should probably be more studies. But it's evidence toward that view.
@34 -- I suspect one of the underlying ideas of the homeschooling movement is a deprofessionalized view of education. I'm not sure quite how to say this, but the idea that anybody can teach, and that professional teachers either don't have or don't use their mastery of subject matter... at some level you have to think teaching is not a "real" career in order to try it yourself *on your kids*. You'd be obviously crazy if you took the same approach to, really, any other professional service for kids. Unfortunately, you can see this idea among large swathes of school reformers, too. I know people have legitimate problems with teachers' unions, some public schools, and colleges of education -- but disregarding teaching as a skilled career is a mistake.

@ the guy who says homeschooled kids do about as well on the SAT, etc: Shouldn't a student getting one-on-one instruction for 12 years do much better than kids from 20-30 person classrooms + a different teacher every year?

Yes, that is very likely one reason why home schooling works. Hence it is rather unfair to say home schooling parents are "insufferable dolts and their children will suffer for it."


Your link is broken. You'll probably have to create an account to post it. Please do.

Look. Here are the known risk factors of child abuse and neglect:………

Note the lack of religion or home schooling as a known risk factor? It would make far more sense to require extra counseling or scrutiny of kids whose parents have substance abuse problems, or are single parents, or who recently lost a job or have other stress in their lives. We have research which is what the CDC and the APA and the Mayo Clinic have used to identify what leads to child abuse. Home schooling isn't a factor. Single parents suffering from depression and job loss don't home school. Home schooling is more typical of two parent households with stable incomes and the luxury to spend extra time with their kids.

To me the best way to reduce abuse of kids is to tackle the underlying factor: poverty and inequality. Give people better jobs and better working conditions, and health care. Failing that, then direct social services to single parents, people with depression, unemployment, and so on, as described above. If home schooling were an actual risk factor in abuse, I'd be all in favor of extra scrutiny.

But it's like the TSA's dumb, reactionary practice of making everybody take off their shoes in the airport. It harasses innocent people and wastes effort on the wrong thing.
I'm not sure about others in this discussion, but my point is that in many places, it's not a question of "extra scrutiny", but rather of "almost no scrutiny".

And, as has been mentioned above- it is unknown whether homeschooling is a risk factor, because it has not really been studied.

So we have something we have little data on, that can be practiced in isolation, and of which there is some anecdotal evidence that it might be problematic. That all makes it worth taking a look at.

Resistance to scrutiny seems counterproductive. Instead of this "no, no!" surely something like "We'd like a part in developing overviews that take into account our culture" would be more useful.

When I search for "homeschooling" at Google Scholar I get 9,170 results. And 18,600 results for "home schooling". Hasn't been studied? Really?

Your point about a lack of regulation in some states is quite useful. Some states make home school parents do a lot of paperwork and testing and they check up on the kids. Other states have a totally hands off approach. Which, over the course of the last 30 years, provides a perfect laboratory to show that all that extra scrutiny leads to better outcomes. So? What have we got to show for all that inspection and testing in the states that follow that regimen?

Here in Washington, there is nothing but a toothless law requiring some kind of annual testing, but it's unenforceable and essentially leaves it entirely at the discretion of the parents. Which means you ought to be able to show some kind of harm to Washington's home schooled kids. Or else admit that the real problem lies elsewhere.
I am a teacher, and in the past two years, I've gotten two students who were "homeschooled" in Kindergarten. Both children were vastly unprepared for first grade. The worse of the two cases was three years behind. In first grade.

So, my views of homeschooling are biased, but the problem is that we don't know how homeschooled kids do compared with their peers because there is no oversight. We only hear about the one homeschooled kid who wins a spelling bee, or the family of 20 homeschooled kids where none of them reads at a basic level of literacy and all of them have been subject to abusive religious brainwashing. So at the very minimum, we do need oversight in the form of homevisits and state testing. Although I suspect that in the vast majority of cases, homeschooling is a bad idea.

I'm curious, are you yourself the product of homeschooling? You're clearly deeply invested in the subject and just by your writing you're clearly the product of a decent education. Your answer, of course, has no bearing on the validity of your opinions. I'm just trying to understand the context of your vehemence here.
@42 sorry for the misunderstanding - I meant "studied as a risk factor for abuse". Homeschooling on the scale that it is practiced today is a relatively recent phenomena, and we just don't have the long term data.

As I said, I'm in the field of early childhood education, and if I heard of a program that vehemently refused oversight, saying that it's not necessary because there is no proof of wrongdoing - well, gotta say I'd be reluctant to put my kid in it. Your "there's no harm here people, move along, no study needed, don't investigate those allegations" approach isn't really making the impression you want it to make.

And I suppose you've never once had any kids who were not home schooled who were unprepared for first grade? Because I read news stories all the time about kids who were in the school system from kindergarten on up, and many of them were one, two, three, or more grades behind. These are the so-called "failing" schools that we hear so much about. They've tried to inspect quality into failing schools, but more testing and more oversight hasn't consistently solved anything.

You're statement that there is "no oversight" of home schooling is false. Some states have a lot of oversight over home schoolers. Other states have none. Yet oversight seems to have made little difference.

I would think teachers would appreciate that home schooling at least reduces class sizes. It's not like charter schools, that takes both kids and money out of the system. Home schoolers take their kids but leave the money, to be spent on the kids remaining behind.


I don't think this about me. The only context is that while I know there are lots and lots of people out there who are viscerally opposed to home schooling, I can't get any of them to cough up objective evidence against it. I've never been able to find any myself. I know some home schooled kids have bad outcomes, but some schooled kids have bad outcomes too. I'm hoping one of these virulently anti-home schooling commenters can find what I've been unable to find. Instead, I get FUD and innuendo and ad hominem. Which reinforces my belief that home schooling is not harmful.

I think the prejudice is due to a violent hatred of religious fundamentalists. Some people can't let go of their hate. Some people have a real axe to grind against religion and they think that attacking home schooling is one way to get their revenge. I don't like fundies either, but that doesn't mean everything fundies like is automatically evil.

You're wrong about the lack of long term data. The number of home schooled kids in the US has remained close to 2% going back at least 30 years. After the economic crash, a lot of private school parents moved to home schooling so there was a big uptick, but prior to that, there were still 1.5 million kids each year home schooled. That's plenty of data, over plenty of time.

And I'm not asking you to home school your kid. I never said it was the best choice for most parents, and it's none of my business what other people do with their kids. Most families don't have the economic freedom to choose home schooling if they wanted to, obviously, so it's moot. All I'm asking is for the haters to either back up their attacks with objective facts, or else leave well enough alone.

Thank you for very succinctly restating your support for home schooling as an institution and speculating about the motives of those who's opinions differ from yours.

But if we could get back to the question I actually asked, are you yourself a product of home schooling? If you'd rather not answer that question--and not answering is entirely your prerogative--I'm equally curious as to why not.

If you choose to answer, I'd be very grateful if you would stay on point.
I have had in my classrooms over the years a whole lot of homeschooled kids, and a whole lot of privately educated kids from both religious and secular schools, and of course a majority of kids from public schools. There's a huge amount of variation in how well those kids have been trained to handle college biology. Kids from parochial and public schools have been generally okay. Kids from homeschool and other religious schools have been almost uniformly unprepared, and sadly, shocked at how unprepared they were: they thought they WERE prepared.

I know a lot of parents who homeschool. Many do so for only one or two subjects for which they feel the public school is not adequate. I can't help but wonder how many parents out there are really able to teach kids biology, chemistry, physics, math up through calculus, world and English literature, world and US history, how to write effectively and grammatically, and something about the comparative human geography of the planet. These are the things a high school graduate is supposed to have (I left out a foreign language: it's important, but most districts no longer require it). I can teach effectively in any science classroom, for instance, but while I love reading and consider myself well-read, I am in no way able to teach literature. Handing a kid a book and saying "read it" is not teaching.

I'll cop to some hostility to religious-based homeschooling, mostly because it inevitably seems to involve lying to kids about evolution. Any parent who considers it his or her right to lie to his kids is a sad excuse for a human being, and it takes years for real scientists and real educators to undo the damage such ersatz "teaching" does.
I'm also curious about some of the things Mr. Bratland has said, and I wonder if he could provide some documentation (or pointers to that documentation). In particular, two statements:

"The number of home schooled kids in the US has remained close to 2% going back at least 30 years."


"Some states make home school parents do a lot of paperwork and testing and they check up on the kids. Other states have a totally hands off approach."

I'd like to know which states are which in this case. Your point about this being a natural experiment, however, is completely wrong: since those states with no oversight can provide no data on abuse or other failures, how can they be compared? And, harkening back to my previous note, I would suggest that teaching kids creationism is tantamount to abuse. I know others will regard that as hyperbole.

Thanks for sharing this information. I want to state upfront that I homeschooled my son for two years. However, I am about as agnostic as it comes and my goal was to prevent giving my son heavy stimulants at age 6 to deal with his out of control ADHD and other issues. So I have some actual experience in this area.
I was impressed actually with how many activities and classes are set up for homeschoolers here in MN. My son took classes at zoos, science museums, art museums, YMCA's, and much more. Now I only taught elementary school so I felt more than capable of teaching multiplication and reading. But I soon learned that there were really many different types of homeschoolers.
The two I saw the most were: middle class highly educated families who chose homeschooling because they couldn't afford private schools and the families who wanted to protect their kids from "the world". This wasn't always religious families. I could understand both ideals in moderation.
The group that scared me the most were those Quiverfull families. They really believed that they know best about Everything! Picture 19 Kids and Counting type of families. However, I didn't see too much physical punishment as much as I saw complete squashing of individuality and a focus on obedience. Their kids are very, very well behaved. As a social worker, I can tell you about how families that see their children as property will see no issue with abuse. This is a belief that transcends religious belief. However, even normal people who believe that it is in their child's "best interest" to be taught obedience can cross acceptable limits. Religion and peer pressure can make horrific things seem like the best thing to do. A lot of the religious homeschooler families really do not teach science and have little understanding (in my experience only) of basic child development. If their child is doing fine, it is all good. If their child is a late bed wetter, a poor learner, or naturally overactive - pray for that poor kid. Now that is not all or even most of the homeschoolers. In my experience homeschoolers tend to be very loving families. However, in the religious homeschooling community, there is more support for physical punishment, extreme restrictions, and other punishments than there is in most other communities. This is also a group that self isolates and already feels persecuted. They fear government interference and teach their kids that talking about problems is a betrayal of the family.
My son only had to pass one huge assessment test each year and I had to have a college degree. That is all the regulation that I had to deal with. I actually miss homeschooling as it was fun and I really got to see my son becoming an individual. If I had issues, however, I had no support, no resources, and no one overseeing my decisions. When my son decided he wanted to go back to school, he scored off the charts on everything. I don't regret the sacrifices I made to ensure my son became the healthy, self confident young man he is. But if I had just let him watch videos and read Harry Potter it would have been just as legal.
I can see this is going to keep going in circles.

I'll just leave off by repeating that the burden isn't on home schoolers to prove anything to those who "can't help but wonder..." and who "worry..." and who "have questions..." Your worries and questions aren't justification to pry into other people's families. The burden isn't on Muslims to prove to xenophobes why they shouldn't be racially profiled. The burden isn't on innocent people to prove to the NSA that their emails shouldn't be read and their cell phones shouldn't be tracked. And to attack those who don't want their email read or their phones tracked without prior cause by suggesting they have something to hide? It's offensive.

The burden rests on those who want to pry into the families of home schoolers -- or any other kind of family -- and subject their kids to interviews or tests or whatever kind of surveillance you have in mind. Show probable cause first, and only then do you get to do your search. That's how a free society works.
The "purity" that these writers describe is not real purity. It's ignorance that was labeled purity. When I say "purity is good," like I have on so many threads, I'm talking about real purity, which is rooted in self-control and self-knowledge.

This is why people hate religion, because so many people take religious words onto their own control issues. It's not religion or Christianity that abused these kids; it was adults who were willing to co-opt anything to bully someone else.
Homeschooling ought to be super-tightly regulated. By its very nature it increases the power of parents and raises the risk of abuse. No parent who is even slightly dodgy should be allowed to do it, and of those who are allowed, the kids should have to come in to a real school every now and then, take the same tests as everyone else, as be regularly assessed and screened to ensure that they are not being abused and are getting a proper education.

I see red every time I hear someone say that being able to raise your kids as you please is a "fundamental right". BEING ALLOWED TO DO AS YOU PLEASE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE SMALLER AND WEAKER THAN YOURSELF IS NEVER A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT. The child's right to be free from abuse is far more important than the grownup's privilege of passing on whatever their values may happen to be, and the child's right to reject those values as an adult if they want to is inalienable.
@53 - We are talking about CHILDREN. People who are small and weak and ignorant and vulnerable. The government doesn't only have a right to pry into families to make sure parents aren't abusing their power over their kids, it has a DUTY to the children to protect them. The harm that abusive parents do to their children is life-ruining. Having the government take the occasional look into your home, if you have chosen to pursue a child-rearing strategy that removes the usual counterweight against the power of parents (namely teachers and friends met at school) is at worst a nuisance. No individual adult should ever have absolute power over a child.
@Dennis Bratland:
You might want to read the mission statement of homeschoolers anonymous. They are not completely against homeschooling; they want to improve it.

"We are a diverse community that welcomes all sorts of people. We do not advocate any one particular path — some of us are religious, some are not; some of us are politically liberal, others are conservative; some of us might homeschool our children in the future, others want nothing to do with homeschooling anymore. We are not interested in championing any particular doctrine.


Our mission is to make homeschooling better for future generations through awareness, community building, and healing."
@53 I think you made good points (mostly). Clap clap clap.

@56 What you seem to advocate strikes me as no less creepy than fundies teaching their kids to hate govt and 'others'.

Thinking on it a bit, being honest with myself, I do feel that there is (should be) some human right to raise one's children with whatever values one sees fit... so long as it isn't violating those children's human rights. That's a freaking difficult line to draw ... you betcha. ... But... fuck all if you think the state should dictate that I should or shouldn't raise my kid as religous, non-religous, vegan, carnivore, republican, libertarian, tree hugger, capitalist, xenophobe, tolerant, tobacco smoker, performance artist, ceo, future nobel peace prize nominee.

I'm not in the article, but I was a homeschooled Quiverfull kid. My parents weren't abusive, and I did well academically (well, in most subjects - the entirety of my science was religious crap from Bob Jones University), but holy crap is the culture weird (patriarchy, female submission/male supremacy, warriors-for-Christ, memorizing the entire Bible, etc). I don't think I'll ever get over feeling like an alien.

(I'm also incredibly grateful that my parents have evolved a bit over the years, because as depressed as my dad is that a third of his enormous family of warriors-for-Christ have turned out to be atheists, I can't imagine how furious he'd have been in the old days. And two lesbians, to boot? God forbid.)
I see the state as having a duty of moderate oversight over how all children are raised - not to interfere with parents passing on their values, but to see that the children are receiving an education up to a basic standard, and (to the extent that this is reasonably possible) ensure that the children are not being abused or neglected.

The public schools are one of the ways the state performs this duty. For those who opt out of the public school system, it's only reasonable to expect there to be some other way for the state to do its job. The onus is not on the state to prove abuse before stepping in, just as it is not on the state to prove that standards are not being upheld before inspecting, say, a meat packing plant.
@60 That's closer to what I meant to say.
I've been a teacher for going on five years now, and I've had to make that call to Child Protective Services AT LEAST once every year that I've been teaching. For those of you who say that teachers are just too busy to notice or care, I must say that not all of us are. I care deeply about my students. I connect with them. They trust me. They tell me their secrets. (The good and the bad - I know who Jennie has a crush on!) I take offense at teachers being painted with the broad brush of apathy. It's not just me, either. If you go into the staff room at my school and listen to the conversations, over half of the time they are about students. Yes, there are bad teachers out there, but for the most part, we do this because we love it. (We certainly don't do it because of the AWESOME respect and salary!)
Also, thank you, Dan Savage, for making me lose two hours of my life reading about Christian fundamentalist homeschooling. :D
@Dennis - You seem to think that because there are a lot of Google Scholar results for "homeschooled", there's clearly been a lot of research on the subject. It's a natural experiment, and we can obviously see that homeschoolers are doing fine, so there's no need to promote further regulation.

But as an education policy researcher who's been studying homeschooling for the last six months, I can tell you that's absolutely not true. Most of the studies that are out there are based off of research put out there by the HSLDA or Dr. Brian Ray's National Home Education Research Institute -- but these studies are ideologically driven, are not done with randomly selected samples (in fact, they exclude large segments of the homeschooling population), and are not peer-reviewed. Any assumptions you have because of the research that's currently in the field are, frankly, bunk. Go read the research by Robert Kunzman and Milton Gaither at ICHER to see the current sum of knowledge we have about homeschoolers (which, again, is very little).
8 Dennis Braitland-free comments in a row. Good job, Slog.

@59, my heart goes out to you and your siblings, as well as the kids in the article. the "i don't think i'll ever get over feeling like an alien" is exactly the sort of comment that makes me FEEL (not know, Dennis Braitland) that fundy homeschooling is abusive.

i would be filled with rage when i learned i been lied to like you were, being taught "young earth science" from Bob Jones U.

i'm trying to imagine fundy homeschooling occurring in Europe or Japan, and i can't. they'd think you were insane.

ah. i stand corrected. it does exist in europe in small numbers, most significantly in the UK. probably because American fundy insanity most easily infects other English-speaking nations.…
@59: I'd be very interested to hear more of your insight into this Quiverfull business, I'd never heard of them before this thread.
Interesting. If you go to the Homeschool Anonymous site and read the essay called "Counting Sheep" you'll see that the points that Dennis Braitland has been raising so forcefully here on SLOG are the standard arguments that get trotted out anytime some of these homeschooled kids try to tell their story: claiming that not all homeschool situations are alike; claiming there are no statistics to bear out these tales of abuse; etc. Sounds to me like Dennis has just been spouting some well-worn talking points used to marginalize critics of fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers.
People homeschool for a variety of reasons. And as in people's experience with public and private schools, the quality of the education, as well as the positivity or negativity of the experience varies, depending on a ton of factors.

I've known kids that were homeschooled temporarily (though middle school, for example) because of social issues. One of my good friends homeschools her son, and makes sure that he is getting an excellent education, entirely driven by his interests (which means that he began by learning how to sew, which turned into learning about the industrial revolution and its origins in the textile industry--at age 9). Another of my friends homeschools his kids because he doesn't like the quality of his local public school district and can't afford private schools, and to be honest, I don't think his kids are getting much of an education at all. My cousin has a child with a serious case of ADHD, was afraid that this kid would be seen only as a disciplinary problem in public school, didn't have any private schools that weren't religious where he lived, and so decided to homeschool. Once that decision was made, the couple thought it best to homeschool all three of their kids. The wife puts considerable thought and effort, and has done an incredible amount of work to make sure that her kids' educational, emotional, social, and physical needs are being met. I sure as hell couldn't do it.

But it's true that the vast majority of American kids getting homeschooled are being homeschooled for religious reasons. And it is true that there is no oversight. And it is true that people who want to control their children's lives in ways that the rest of society frequently has issues with or considers harmful are more easily able to do so when those children don't come into contact with the outside.

It would seem to make sense that in the same way organic farmers want to protect the integrity of their crops, and therefore have instituted a stricter regulating system than any government agency, there would be an independent council or oversight authority who regulates homeschools, who "accreditates" them, so to speak.

For what it's worth, I am a college instructor who teaches writing to freshmen. I have had a few homeschooled students who were very Christian in my freshman classes, and they have been among the best-prepared students I've had. So there's that.
Looking forward to the day when all kids are wards of the state, because man does it suck to be a kid in an abusive household where your parents have total control over you, and you can't even make educational or healthcare decisions for yourself. DB, that's not a free society for all, and you know it. Stop telling parents what they can do with their kids? Well, then you should also give those kids the freedom to opt out of their families too. Which means actual non-dangerous places for them to go, currently not an existing option. You'd see quite the exodus if there were.
@69 You've had a biased sample I think. Homeschooled kids have obstacles getting into college because the colleges don't know what they've learned or even if they can handle classroom learning. In order to prove competency, they'd have to have both more impressive SAT/ACTs than average, as well as one hell of an essay. Writing well is one of the few kinds of actual learning they can demonstrate in the application process, so of course they're all good writers. They'd have to be to have any kind of shot at getting in. (Wealthy homeschooled kids would also be ok (summer educational camps at Stanford, working in labs at John's Hopkins, round the world trips on WWF sailing ships, the usual crap their parents can buy or arrange for them) get them in fine, but again, they'd likely have private tutors prepping them so it's not so much homeschooling as their own personal school with paid staff. And of course, they are full pay.). It would be interesting to see the stats on homeschooled kids going to college percentagewise. You'd expect a much higher college admittance rate, due to parental time investment in education, but maybe that's optimistic and most people homeschool not to improve their kids education above and beyond public school limits, but to limit their exposure to challenging ideas. Who knows?
@71 (gnot): Oh, I don't claim to have had an exhaustive or comprehensive sample, not only in the cases of my friends/relatives who homeschool (not one of them is Christian or homeschools for religious reasons, though one is distrustful of government institutions), but also in the case of the very few students I've taught who were the product of homeschooling. I thought I made that clear.

I'm not an advocate for or defender of homeschooling, and I find religious fundamentalism dangerous and abhorrent. I also don't believe that parents should have absolute and total unsupervised control over their children's lives when it comes to issues of education, healthcare, safety.

I was just trying to bring some more nuance to a complex issue. Not all homeschoolers are religious. Not all religion-based homeschooling is inadequate. That was my whole point.
@Dr. Z (#67) - I'm happy to answer any questions you have, though I don't claim to be representative of all Quiverfull-raised homeschoolers (our area is a hotbed of them, though, so I know a good range of experiences as well as my own).

Basicallly, Quiverfull is a hardcore religious philosophy. Not all Quiverfull people are homeschoolers, and not all homeschoolers are Quiverfull. But the two things do lend themselves to each other - if you're forsaking birth control in order to let God give you an enormous family of Christian warriors, then you also often believe that you should have absolute control over their minds and souls (to better raise them to be such warriors), and homeschooling works well for that (particularly in states without any oversight). You can simply refuse to teach your kids anything you don't want them to know.

(I didn't know LGBT people existed until I was 14 years old, for example, didn't hear the f-word until about then either, and I didn't know anything about evolution beyond "they think we are descendants of monkeys, which obviously isn't true".)

I should also say that I always knew I was loved (although I wonder what my childhood would have been like if I hadn't stayed closeted until I left home, or if I'd been a less-obedient child), I was never abused, and I adore all my siblings and can't imagine life with only a few of them. Even if having a family numbering in the double-digits is a bit overwhelming at times. ;)

If nothing else we should agree teaching children is a difficult and time consuming task, and that people that do so are deserving of recognition and respect.

WHAT the children are taught, and HOW they are taught is the crux of the problem: What and who do you believe? Abuse can take the form of isolation, neglect, deprivation, but also bullying and ridicule. Society HAS to step in to regulate the treatment of children based upon consensus; In no small part, the question of a 12,000 YO world, or a 4.5 billion YO world is "arguable", but how children may be mistreated is not. Oversight is standard for the majority of children, but abuse still occurs anyway; shouldn't home schooled children get at least some protection, even if it isn't perfect?

Abuse thrives in environments of isolation. Simply put, if your homeschooling parents are abusing you and the only people you have contact with are said parents (as opposed to being in a school system where there's a chance for outside intervention of some kind, however flawed) or your siblings who are being abused, and you're a child w/out money, transportation or any way to live without your parents, there's no way to stop the abuse or get away from it. That's it. Seems pretty obvious.

Add to that religious beliefs which enforce a system of men wielding power over women, and adults over children beyond what is reasonable to keep the children safe and cared for, and the locks are sealed even tighter.

Yeah, all parents who homeschool may not be fundamentalist freaks with anti-social personality disorder, but if they are, they will be able to abuse their children with impunity.
"If it were real we would know about it by now" is a logical fallacy. Don't feed the trolls.

Quiverfull is fucking nuts.
@74 I don't know how well oversight would help, tbh. Everyone I knew in the movement was raised to believe that if you ever complained about your family to any outsider, CPS would come and take you away, separate you from all your siblings, and put you in an abusive foster home. I would never EVER have told anyone that we were spanked (paddles, rods, etc) or that we got our mouths washed out with soap for talking back/sassing/etc. If the person asking came from the State, even less so.

I'm not saying more oversight would be a bad thing or shouldn't be attempted (hopefully it would discover serious cases of abuse?), but I just don't know how well it would work. CPS was the archenemy, not something it ever would have occurred to me to think was on my side.
Just to add to my last comment, I'm not saying the spankings/soap/etc were serious abuse, just that if it had escalated I probably would have thought I deserved it, and even if I had thought it unjust I wouldn't have told anyone.
There are only 11 states that have no homeschool regulations or oversight: Idaho, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Alaska. I'm a homeschooling mother of two in Maine, and I like the system that my state has in place. It's not incredibly strict, like some states; I'm not required to teach the same way the school system does. However, I'm not free to neglect or make a complete mess of my child's education, either. At the beginning of each school year I have to send a letter of intent to my school district and to the state, agreeing to teach certain subjects and provide at least 170 days of instruction. It is legally binding. At the end of each year, I must either have my children complete standardized tests (and pass), or submit portfolios of their work to be reviewed by licensed teachers (a better option for kids with developmental delays or disabilities). While I'm free to teach these subjects any way I see fit, I do have to prove on a yearly basis that my child is making significant progress in all of the academic subjects required by state law. It gives me the freedom to be creative with my teaching, but not so much freedom that my children will pay the price if I'm inept or some kind of religious psychopath. I'm also required to have documentation from a pediatrician that my kids are safe, healthy, and well-fed.
That sounds pretty good, Haley, and I can't see how any reasonable person would feel that it is unnecessarily intrusive.
Thank you @73, that is helpful. I didn't grow up homeschooled as you did, but I did grow up in rural Oklahoma in the 1960s-70s so I at least know what it's like to grow up in an extremely insular religious community (Catholics are "idol worshippers" and Jews wear jewel-encrusted gold breastplates when they make blood sacrifices at the Temple.)

Like you, I always knew I was loved, I loved my siblings, and I stayed firmly in the closet until I was 20. I guess the homeschooling matters less than the village where you were raised.
Awfully quiet around here. I miss Dennis.
Ms Cute - Those who are homeschooled and taught exclusively by their parents always make me think of the great discovery for most of Miss Brodie's class that grown-ups could differ in their opinions of such things as chrysanthemums or prime ministers.

And some delightful Austensplaining on the occasion of Elinor Dashwood managing not to be put off Edward Ferrars (who, though, strictly speaking, was not educated in his own home but in someone else's, would not have done any better had he been educated entirely within his own domicile) even after she meets his brother Robert:

"Why they were different, Robert explained to her himself in the course of a quarter of an hour's conversation; for, talking of his brother, and lamenting the extreme gaucherie which he really believed kept him from mixing in proper society, he candidly and generously attributed it much less to any natural deficiency, than to the misfortune of a private education: while he himself, though probably without any particular, any material superiourity by nature, merely from the advantage of a public school, was as well fitted to mix in the world as any other man...

Elinor would not oppose his opinion, because whatever might be her general estimation of the advantage of a public school, she could not think of Edward's abode in Mr Pratt's family with any satisfaction."

I shall refrain from reminding the forgetful that it was during his stay in Mr Pratt's home that Edward so rashly engaged himself to Lucy Steele, although in so doing I feel rather like Mrs Croft expressing confidence in Mrs Musgrove's supposed knowledge that one did not call Bermuda or Bahama the West Indies.
Be grateful for pretty succinctly restating your help for house schooling People colleges are one of many techniques the state executes this duty. For all those who prefer out of the open public school system, it really is only affordable to count on there to be another technique for their state to complete its task. The onus is just not around the state to prove abuse ahead of stepping in stepping i, the onus is not around the condition to demonstrate misuse n
My home schooled daughter is a biomedical engineer and works for a prestigious research institution. My son will be graduating with an electrical engineering degree this spring. Home schooling allowed them to indulge their interests in science early age. Please don't judge home schooling by the fringe wackos.
Holy Cow, Mr. Ven: You're mixing your Austens! I was happily humming along with S&S and then you throw some Persuasion in. Before I'd had my morning cup of coffee.

P.S. No need to remind me that Mr. Pratt's home is where Edward Ferrars made the acquaintance of Lucy Steele. As if one could ever forget something so monumental.
It might be a good idea to mention the people who homeschool because of unrecognized hatred towards any marginalized minority, whom the majority justifies outright despicable behavior.

Even on the West Coast where people seem to better understand what wrongful discrimination is all about, the children of openly non-traditional parents are sometimes subjected to the despicable behavior and atrocities that bigots justify.

Look at how many so-called psychologist "experts" ---- sometimes leading experts in their field ---- still don't understand that being raised by same sex parents can have not any negative effects at all ---- NONE ---- and when the children are negatively affected it due to the shit they are subjected to be people who take out their unrecognized hatred of homosexuals out on the innocent children.

Sometimes these fuckers are in such denial they fool themselves they are doing good

And these obvious facts are NOT EVEN RECOGNIZED. If children of same sex parents grew up in a community that could distinguish between love and hate (ie did not wrongly discriminate against people who had the courage to be themselves and start families with who the fell in love with rather than who some random, uninvolved person dictated they must) there would be absolutely no difference in emotional health when children of same sex parents were compared with hetero.

But any children who have to live in a community where they are treated with disgust and hate, will be lucky to not be damaged beyond repair. If there was a community of homosexuals who couldn't distinguish between love and hate and the hetero families were the marginalized minority whom the community justified fuck up behavior, it would be the hetero children who were severely affected and damaged emotionally.

Do NOT confuse hatred with love or truth from lies, and the truth is that if parents are abusive, the child will be affected. It's not religion that is traumatizing these children, it is abusive parenting.

I think it is important to not ignorantly blame "religion" when it is the twisted parents, amirite Urgurtha?

Perhaps we should remember that we are just now realizing -- and it still is not even accepted -- what is actually harming are children.

And it seems like a no brainer to me

I would homeschool my kids if I was marginalized by a hate-filled community.

This is something LGBT people should understand,

This is something poly people should understand

This is something journalists should understand

and I am starting to get really pissed off here because I am starting to think nobody on this goddamned planet understands. Why does every walk of life seem blind.

It's not just the right wing bigots that harm this world, it's also LGBT bigots and the poly bigots

fuck all yall

I think I am finally done here

Fortunately, I was not homeschooled. But my conservative, religious, Polish peasant grandmother had undue influence on me as my parents turned their attention to my older sister. The "18 going on 12" statement rings true. I was robbed of adolescence and the chance for trial and error and had to jump into adulthood, fearing that I had no idea what to do. I also had to endure lots of abuse from other kids while I was in school because they could not understand why I did not try to fit in--the mismatched clothes mentioned in the article did not help either.

My grandmother died after my first year in college. I continued having nightmares that she was still alive for years. One time, I screamed "You're fucking dead!" and woke up to find that I had leapt up and knocked over the water on my nightstand.
It might be a good idea to mention the people who homeschool because of unrecognized hatred towards any marginalized minority, whom the majority justifies outright despicable behavior.

Even on the West Coast where people seem to better understand what wrongful discrimination is all about, the children of openly non-traditional parents are sometimes subjected to despicable behavior and atrocities that bigots justify.

Look at how many so-called psychologist "experts" ---- sometimes leading experts in their field ---- still don't understand that being raised by same sex parents doesn't cause negative effects at ---- NONE ---- and when the children are negatively affected it's due to all the shit they are subjected to by people who take out their unrecognized hatred of homosexuals, on their innocent children.

Sometimes these fuckers are so far out there they believe they are fighting the good fight

And these obvious facts are NOT EVEN RECOGNIZED:

If children of same sex parents grew up in a community that didn't practice active and passive discrimination, and hate filled bigotry, there would be no difference in emotional health when children of same sex parents are compared with hetero.

ANY children who live in a community where they are marginalized, treated with disgust and hate, ANY child will be lucky to make it through the adolescence without being damaged beyond repair. If there was a community of homosexuals who couldn't distinguish between love and hate and the hetero families were the marginalized minority whom the community justified fuck up behavior, AND we too stupid to see that it was their subtle and not so subtle shitty treatment that harmed kids, it would be the hetero children who were severely affected and irreparably damaged emotionally.

Do NOT confuse hatred with love or truth from lies, and the truth is that if parents are abusive, the child will be affected. It's not religion that is traumatizing these children, it is abusive parenting.

I think it is important to not ignorantly blame "religion" when it is the twisted parents, amirite Urgurtha?

The first casualty in any war in the truth, if you know what it's like to have right wing fuckwits lie and exaggerate about, why do you feel it is OK for YOU to turn around and do it?

Because you feel you are fighting the good fight? I can't fucking believe this

Perhaps we should remember that we are just now realizing -- and it still is not even accepted -- what is actually harming The Children in America and in the world.

You don't need to stoop to those lowlife no integrity right fucking winger tactics, or you'll be no better, no more justice than those extremely confused people

And it seems like a no brainer to me

I would homeschool my kids if I was marginalized by a hate-filled community.

This is something LGBT people should understand,

This is something poly people should understand

This is something journalists should understand

I am starting to think nobody on this goddamned planet understands. Why does every walk of life seem blind.

It's not just the right wing bigots that harm this world, it's also LGBT bigots and the poly bigots

It's the jounalists , political journoterrorists that spread lies, that doesn't help

and fuck you 89 it's an almost nightly occurrence that I take a swing or kick at something not realizing I am bed.

Any journalist who can't see through this shit, your publication would be more successful if you paid them not to write for you. While the personal stories are true, the rest is complete and utter bullshit, or exaggerated to the point it isn't accurate. You fucking suck SLOG
"The first casualty in any war is the truth"

typo, and fuck you
Anyone interested in bausers using lack of oversight of homeschooling to cover up the abuse will be interested in this article by a former homeschooler. (Note that Dennis Bratland uses talking points from the HSLDA quoted here.)…
And anyone interested in child abuse denialism by christian right homeschoolers will be interested in this post and its links:…
An honest to God, goddamned bloodsucking JOT, I can't fucking believe that I am about to defend a fucking right wing Chistian, and you know what, No stupid fucking journoterrorist is going to put me in that position, so I will leave SLOG like I left a poly forum only I got banned from there amirite?

You are just as fucking confused as the evil fucking bigots YOU and right wingers ARE what is wrong You really are that dumb.

And the thing is, You could fucking blow these bigots out of the water with Truth, but instead you exaggerate for "the cause" which we already won anyway, and instead of working for positive and equality, you help perpetuate the exact same false stereotype that those maggots slandered LGBT people with.

Assholes like you make doing what is right harder than it is, just another Franklin Fuckhead Veaux JOT like 89 up there is

way to sneak in the piss poor journalism Dan, WTF, your younger sibblings are fucking sell outs Dan,

do your fucking worst, it's why as activists we have to agree to not have custody of our children for six months to a year, for safety reasons because we will not stand down. Fuck you, do you worst
Ms Cute - Think of it as a double Austen rather than a mixture. Declining to "remind the forgetful" just seemed much more polite than appearing to presume that there might be some people out there unacquainted with Miss Austen.
No, Mr. Ven--mixed Austens sounds like a tennis reference and you play tennis, so I intend to pretend that I was trying to be witty. Of course double Austen (or Austen doubles) could be another, different tennis reference. Mixed (Austen) Doubles, right?

Double Austen sounds like a drink: "I'll have a double Austen on the rocks." Or like two scoops of your favorite ice cream: "I'd like a double Austen on a sugar cone." Really, either one works for me.

In any case, thank you for taking the bitter taste of a story about Quiverfull and the mean-spirited comment thread away.
Wow the homeschoolers certainly know how to flood a comments page and redirect attention away from the problem of lack of supervision for homeschooling families and the special problem that causes for the children of fundamentalists.

It's almost like they know there's something very wrong with their movement and they're working hard to keep it under wraps. Like maybe the fundamentalist wing of homeschooling is rife with abuse and bone-chilling Right Wing indoctrination and the non-fundamentalist wing care more about keeping their own kids out of school then it cares about keeping some other kids from getting married off when they're 12.
@90: I'm pretty sure nobody here is saying what you think they're saying. All anybody wants, including those in the article to which Dan linked, is over site, and consistent educational standards to be applied to home schooling.
What is wrong with that?

You've had two days to find any evidence that home schooling is a risk factor for child abuse, or any evidence that increasing supervision of home schooling would accomplish anything, or any evidence that states with more supervision have anything to show for their efforts.

And so after two days, your "evidence" consists of the existence of commenters who point out to you that you lack any evidence. The fact that there are people who will highlight your lack of proof is "proof" that there is "something very wrong". It's the kind of reasoning that drove the Inquisition. Anyone who dares to question your orthodoxy must be in league with the devil.

So many people are having fits that there are some parents out there teaching their kids creationism, but your reasoning is no better than the creationists.

We discovered the true age of the Earth by assimilating large amounts of data, and by being intellectually honest about evidence that didn't fit our preconceived notions. The way creationists cling to their young Earth hypothesis is by cherry picking anecdotes, as you do, and discounting any facts that don't reinforce their prejudices, as you do.

You accuse them of indoctrination, but look at yourself. Your very lack of facts to support your accusation is used to justify your paranoid fear that something is being hidden. The less evidence you find of disproportionate child abuse, the more convinced you are of the sinister nature of the conspiracy. That's called unfalsifiable. It's the opposite of scientific reason.

If I saw data saying home schooling was a risk factor for abuse or neglect, or that increased supervision would yield tangible benefits, then I'd change my mind. I'll go where the facts lead me. But you? You rely on your prejudice alone devoid of facts. All because fundamentalists and quiverfull types seem weird and alien, and so they scare you. And it's just easier to paint all home schoolers with the same stereotypical fundamentalist, quiverfull brush, rather than take an honest look at who home schoolers really are. Who needs facts when you're already so convinced you're right and you know best?

Because increased oversight of home schoolers is about as necessary as taking off your shoes in the airport. Why do you think making home schooling families jump through more hoops would accomplish anything? Eleven states have no supervision of home schoolers. Do you have evidence of a problem in those states? Do you have evidence that the states that heavily regulate home schoolers achieve anything?

You know child protective services in most places is already behind on their caseload. They can't check up on all the kids with known risk factors, like poverty or substance abuse or divorce. Yet we should put resources into regulation of this slim minority? Why?

We legalized pot in Washington because the drug warriors couldn't justify their persecution of pot smokers. They couldn't show that pot smokers were hurting anybody. So you leave them alone and focus your surveillance and supervision where it will do some good.

And you want educational standards? Which is another term for standardized testing? Testing is the biggest failure of schooling. Look at the revolt against testing right here in Washington. You can't test your way to educational excellence. And much of the whole point of home schooling is to go your own way and not follow a centralized, standardized curriculum.

And not to sound like a broken record, but can you cite any evidence that letting home schoolers follow their own curriculum and set their own standards leads to any harm? If all this centralized control was so vital, then show me proof that something bad happens when you take the control away and let parents teach whatever they like.
@99: Ok Dennis, I'll ask you since all any one wants including the article is about, is oversight and consistent educational standards what is the problem? If people want to homeschool they certainly should be allowed to for all the different reasons home schooling posters here have given. Why are you opposed to a national uniform set of educational standards for homeschool curricula, and a system that would ensure that those standards are being met and that the kids involved are on the radar?
Oh you answered me, while I was asking you! :)
I think flexability should be allowed to homeschoolers as to how they wish to teach certainly, but I don't understand your objection to certain bench marks being met or a way to test that accurate information is being taught. Not all children thrive in a standard academic environment, and homeschooling can be the answer for a lot of kids, but not making sure that they are actually being educated or are safe (whatever the philosophical position of their parents) is a disservice to those children.

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