4 Tremendously Serious Problems within the Fundamentalist Homeschooling Movement

Let me begin by saying that I do not oppose homeschooling. One of my best friends homeschooled his son, and that son was among the most broadly educated children I have ever known. A lot of this had to do with his father being very well-educated and being commitment to exposing his son to good textbooks, other foundational books, traveling to educational sites, and to doing projects. The son was also eager to learn.

Education was part of the very substance of the way they lived. However, much of fundamentalist homeschooling is not like this at all and is harmful to children in many ways.

The Fundamentalist Homeschooling Movement

In the late 1800s, fundamentalists protested evolution which led eventually to the 1925 Scopes trial against teaching evolution in public schools. When I was in sixth grade I clearly remember the outrage when school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading were banned in public schools in 1962. Some 10-15 years later I was aware that a lot of Christian parents were buying sets of the old mid-1800s McGuffey Readers—partially for its religious content.

Many conservative believers have been in conflict with public education for a long time. In the early 1960s leaders like Rousas Rushdoony, Bill Gothard, and John Holt began to lay the foundations of homeschooling. In the late 1970s the fundamentalist homeschooling movement began to coalesce and in the 1980s it picked up considerable speed. It is now a huge, organized movement.

Homeschooling, in itself, can be an effective choice for a variety of reasons, but the fundamentalist homeschooling movement carries with it some very serious problems. Not everything I mention is true of all fundamentalist homeschoolers.

1. Quality of Education

Homeschooling parents choose the educational curriculum for their children, and the choice is vital. Good homeschooling curriculum is available, but there are also several fundamentalist curricula developed specifically for fundamentalist families. Some of it might be generally adequate—I don’t know—though evolution is always presented in a negative light.

ACE, the curriculum with which I am most familiar, is certainly inadequate. It consists of units on various subjects designed for student self-learning. The student reads through the material and then takes a test on that unit; answers are based on rote memorization. Then the student scores themselves using a scoring key. The curriculum also contains a lot of biblical material.

Perhaps some former homeschoolers can provide information on other curricula.

Another aspect of homeschooling quality is the level of the homeschooling parents’ knowledge and teaching skills. Often this is woefully inadequate and sometimes nonexistent. In 2016 16% of homeschooling parents had a high school or equivalency education; 15% never finished high school.

In most cases the state is unable to track or evaluate the students’ level of achievement because homeschoolers have successfully demanded little or no monitoring by the state. Therefore, many students—who are promised that the homeschooling program matches or exceeds public education—find that they must take remedial education to get into college.

2. Strong Anti-Science Bias and Extensive Religious Indoctrination

creationism - dinosaurs with humans

Fundamentalist homeschooling has a very strong anti-science bias—especially in any field related to evolution, such as archaeology, genetics, and age-dating techniques. So far as I know, all fundamentalist homeschooling embraces Young Earth Creationism, which claims that the earth is no older than 10,000 years, that humans lived with dinosaurs, and that evolution is a lie.

One might expect fundamentalist homeschooling to include biblical content, but heavy religious indoctrination is the norm.

3. Isolation of Children and Lack of Socialization

For about a century, one of the characteristics of fundamentalism has been that they isolate themselves from non-fundamentalists as much as possible. This is one appeal of homeschooling; not only are the students isolated from unacceptable teaching, but to a great extent they are isolated from non-fundamentalist students as well. Some leaders caution against even allowing fundamentalist children to play with non-fundamentalist children.

As a result, fundamentalist children can be very isolated from the ‘outside’ and often suffer from lack of socialization with other children. I have read many accounts of homeschooled children who socialized with adults and with children of all ages but had little opportunity to socialize with groups of children their own age.

Being raised fundamentalist, myself, I experienced this to a great extent even though I attended public school (there was no homeschooling at that time). My socialization was primarily with my family and my small church; I rarely interacted with my public school friends outside of school because our focus was totally on our fundamentalist group, where there were no kids my age—or very few. I suffered a lot from this situation, and I can only imagine how it must be for fundamentalist kids who don’t attend public school.

This isolation is sometimes tied to a more sinister problem—child abuse.

4. Widespread Child Abuse

You probably have heard some of the horror stories of homeschooled children who have been severely abused—they seem to be far too common in the press. Not all parents are child abusers but many are, and I think there are two reasons for this connection.

First, severe child-rearing techniques are widely popular among fundamentalists. There are a number of widely distributed books that promote these principles, which many outside fundamentalism consider abusive. One principle is to ‘break the spirit’ of the child—even as an infant. Another is to use corporal punishment (hitting the child) as a primary way to form control and secure obedience.

Secondly, some parents are criminally abusive to their children in additional ways. For both groups homeschooling is a convenient way to avoid detection and possible arrest. We will discuss this terrible situation further next time.

An excellent resource on fundamentalist homeschooling issues is the Coalition for Responsible Home Education.

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51 Responses to 4 Tremendously Serious Problems within the Fundamentalist Homeschooling Movement

  1. Beth says:

    This is a fascinating topic. You are spot-on. I, too, was raised in a fundamental home, in church every time the doors were open. I also went to public school but was fortunate to have developed some friendships in my neighborhood who ultimately saved me from myself. I discovered the world in college and knew I wanted more for my kids than the bubble in which I was raised. It’s ironic, though, that when the time came to have kids, I immediately went back to church and signed on for the same life I had grown up in. Only now, there was the aggressive homeschool movement – and I was always an outcast and suspect because I worked outside the home and sent my kids to school. I’m so glad I held onto at least some of what I knew I wanted in the end for my kids.

    Now, those homeschool kids are grown. Not a single one of them went to college. Their only aspiration is to work in the church and be a wife and mother. There isn’t any intellectual curiosity, no love of learning. My brother homeschooled his boys. They are both in college now, but can barely make it. Worse, they are very unprepared to find any points of unity with those who have a liberal point of view and their extremism has led them into some very unfortunate altercations. They struggle greatly with spiritual arrogance and continue to gravitate toward those who think as they do. They are emblematic of the alt-right and it’s a dangerous place to be. Isolation is a deliberate decision of the fundamentalist movement, creating a cultish culture and a group-think that is very disturbing.

    I’m so relieved that I found my strength and escaped from that group of “friends.” In the secular community I found people who really understand what it means to love, to be accepting, to experience life. I found highly moral, profoundly interesting people – not homogenized, not moralistic, not judgmental. Thank you for exploring this important topic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Beth, thank you for the kind words about exploring this topic. I think it is a very important one, and you just confirmed that. I am glad your children are doing well in college but sorry that your brother’s kids are struggling there. And I am even more sorry for the other homeschooled church kids you described who have limited ambition and limited knowledge of the outside world.

      Your conclusion is thrilling, “I’m so relieved that I found my strength and escaped from that group of “friends.” In the secular community I found people who really understand what it means to love, to be accepting, to experience life. I found highly moral, profoundly interesting people – not homogenized, not moralistic, not judgmental.”

      I wish this were true of everyone; it is very sad, indeed, to be raised in such an isolated culture and never escape.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anthony Paul says:

    Tim, thanks for this well-written article on something that has been a sore subject in our home for many years. My wife, who taught in public schools for over 30 years, has been opposed to home schooling from the beginning; as more of a libertarian and as someone who sees a great deal wrong with public education today, I’ve been of a mind to allow everyone the freedom to do as they see fit in their home without considering the possible consequences of these choices. Also, being a product of a Catholic School education myself I think I may have equated home schooling with parochial schools in general as standing against the public school model… that was a big mistake, I fear. Your article offers some compelling reasons why we need to be a bit more skeptical about the value of home schooling — and beyond that, to the actual harm it may be causing these young people. It would be interesting to see some statistics on how well home-schooled pupils fare in a secular college as compared to conventionally schooled individuals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks Anthony. I would like to see some valid statistics on outcomes as well. Of course, my comments concern fundamentalist homeschooling; I don’t know how these issues apply to Catholic schooling.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. fiddlrts says:

    As one who was homeschooled from second grade on – and spent a decent bit of my teens in Bill Gothard’s fundamentalist cult – I can confirm a lot of this. It wasn’t true for my family, for the most part, however. We got into homeschooling in the first place because I as a sickly child, and took so much work home with me that my principal eventually recommended we “officially” homeschool since we were doing it anyway. My parents, although at the time they didn’t have college degrees, were strongly into academics. Even though we used some fundie curriculum, it wasn’t ALL we used, so we all got a solid grounding in math, science, English, history, and more. Considering the neighborhood we were in, I think we did much better than average. There were a few gaps. I had to fill in most of what I know about evolution in my teens and adulthood. And our history kind of stopped with World War II for all practical purposes. I had to add in more 20th century literature. But these are minor quibbles considering the many things we did learn really well. While we did get plenty of religious indoctrination, my parents weren’t as fundie as most in the movement, so I suspect we weren’t any more indoctrinated than any other Evangelical/Fundie kids who attended public schools. We also never lacked socialization. We played with the neighbor kids all the time, we had secular extracurricular activities. I would say just by virtue of where we grew up and who my parents’ friends were, we had a lot more exposure to people who weren’t white and middle class than many who grew up in majority-white public schools. My parents also rejected most of the abusive theology – and didn’t abuse us, in my view. We have had our differences as adults, but overall, I think we got a good upbringing.

    That all said, I do believe the four things you have outlined are indeed significant risks to homeschooling. I know people who suffered each of those – there are more than a few of them too. You mention Rushdoony, and I think his theocratic vision is largely to blame here. While some of us were homeschooled (and homeschool our kids) for legitimate reasons, far too many do so out of a fear of having their children “contaminated” by modern culture. That is a real problem, and I think it is already backfiring in the number of people I know who have left the faith, left the GOP, and are seeking to shine a light on the abuses you highlight.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Fiddlrts, it sounds as though you had a pretty good homeschooling experience for a fundamentalist. Thanks for all the details; it really helps in understanding the downsides of fundamentalist homeschooling.

    I agree that Rushdoony was a significant force in establishing fundamentalist homeschooling and added a ‘scholarly’ apologetic for it, though I am not sure most homeschoolers are familiar with him. Top leaders would be though.

    Can you share what fundamentalist curriculum you used?

    Liked by 1 person

    • fiddlrts says:

      We dabbled in a few, but the main one was A Beka. For the most part, it was academically legitimate. My big quibbles are the Young Earth Creationism and the glossing of the Civil Rights Movement. I would say that overall, I got a better than average elementary education – but it did take plenty of work on the part of my parents, who cared about academics.

      If I might add one thing, just from my experience as a homeschooled kid, and my current experience homeschooling my own kids: most homeschooled kids are fairly proficient in English, writing and reading better than average. (Although, obviously, there is variation.) However, the one major gap that I see over and over again is in the area of math. While there are some parents like mine who seek out help (I used video courses) and there are others I know who know math well enough to teach it; in general, in the US, we are weak – deficient even – in math, and most parents are NOT competent to teach high school level math. Which means that a shocking number of homeschoolers I know just kind of let math slide, and their kids are not prepared. In an era where STEM is increasingly important, this is worrisome to me. This is one reason why we have our high schooler in a local charter (public) school. Although my wife and I are pretty good at math, neither of us has the time to really do it right – so we are making sure our kids get a chance at real AP Algebra, Geometry, and so on.

      Just my two cents.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Fiddlrts, thanks for the feedback on A Beka. This was probably the first curriculum I was AWARE of many years ago, but I never knew anything further about it. I am glad it is more academically legitimate than other curricula I know more about. I think creationism comes with the territory.

        I have heard from others that math is a subject that requires more skill than most families can provide on their own.

        Like

  5. Kristi says:

    I was a homeschooled kid and I now homeschool my own kids. I apologize for what will likely be a far too long comment!

    I can’t say that any of your statements are wrong, but I will say it’s terribly important not make assumptions based on what things seem. There are not, at least to my knowledge, any studies that compare educational or social outcomes between homeschooled and traditionally schooled kids. Nor any statistics that show children are more abused in homeschooled homes than those who go to school, Very often, as of course happens with many other issues, a broad brush based on a few horrible publicized incidents is used to paint the entire concept.

    I have often ran into folks who have a cousin (it is so often a cousin, lol) who homeschools and it was terrible and so they quite unfairly judge homeschoolers by that measure. Or they knew a few homeschoolers who were “weird” and that colored their views. Homeschoolers can be quite different as to why and how they homeschool, even in fundamental circles. Outside of fundamental groups, one homeschool family is rarely like the other in form or outcome. There are certainly poor results sometimes, as there are in traditionally schooled kids. There are also widely successful outcomes, as there are in public and private schools. But, like most kids and families, most of us sit somewhere in the middle.

    You mention the ACES curriculum… I run a Christian co-op oF 150+ that meets for classes 1x a week. I would not say it’s fundamental group, though some folks in it probably lean that way. ACES has a poor reputation amongst the group and I don’t know anyone personally who uses it, though I have seen it used often in local private schools. There are literally thousands of curriculum options and most families mix and match. I personally use mostly secular curriculum for our homeschool.

    My own schooling was, I suppose, fundamental because my Mom very much was into Bill Gothard. Luckily, my Dad was not a Christian and we could not join. Back then, there were not a lot of curriculum options and they were expensive and hard to get so my Mom (a high school graduste) cobbled together things and did a great job overall! I remember we used Abeka, Saxon Math, Bob Jones, public school textbooks, etc. Yes, some topics were poorly covered due to those fundamental beliefs but all of us transitioned to college classes at 16 with no problems and all my siblings except me (always the rebel!) went on to graduate and now have successful careers. My Mom instilled a solid foundation outside of creationism and other silliness, and most importantly gave us confidence to always be self-educating and a great curiosity for the world. We happened to attend a church that had a lot of homeschoolers (but they were not fundamentalists) so I had lots of friends growing up. We also hung out with neighborhood friends, and I was blessed with 12 cousins who lived locally and we saw every week. We also participated in a homeschool drama group run by someone who owned a theatre and we put on 3 major, professional level productions during my childhood. We were fortunate to homeschool near a large city and I think that helped us have more opportunities early on than many of the first generation homeschoolers.

    I think that is long enough. I could write more 🙂 Again, I don’t disagree with what you wrote but from personal experience know that even in fundamentalist circles it’s often more nuanced than it can seem. I think the type of homeschooler you talk about here is a dying breed, fortunately.

    Thank you for your blog. I enjoy all your articles!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thank you for your response, Kristi! I am glad you pointed out that the problems I share in the article do not apply to all homeschoolers or even all fundamentalist homeschoolers. I mentioned the same thing in the article itself but some readers who responded in other venues seem to have overlooked that.

      I agree that it is difficult to find good statistical data on comparisons between homeschooling and public homeschooling experience and outcomes–I really wish there were some.

      Kristi, I am so glad you had a good homeschooling experience. Are you able to provide any insights into the fundamentalist curricula? What I know of Gothard’s homeschooling curriculum seems particularly inadequate.

      I appreciate your kind words about my blog!

      Like

  6. Marjorie Weiss says:

    I was a Lutheran Parish Pastor for 35 years and sad to say all the homeschooled children who were part of the church where “odd.” When they were part of my confirmation classes they did not fit in primarily because of the socialization aspect that you noted. I do agree with the writer above who says that not all home-schooled kids can fit in one basket. However, my observation of children at my churches has not given me a positive outlook on homeschooling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Marjorie, thanks for your observations and insight; they are helpful. I also agree that not all homeschoolers fit in one basket, but I do know that some homeschooling is inadequate and harmful.

      Like

  7. John Ballard says:

    Thanks for your insightful observation and those in this comments section.

    I have always been an enthusiastic advocate of public education since my mother and her mother were both teachers, and her father was a minister. Because my family moved a lot as I was growing up I was in five different school systems in KY and GA before getting to high school (including a one-room school in KY with six grades — four in my grade — long story) I never thought much about homeschooling until the phenomenon bloomed following the civil rights movement of the Sixties. Following desegrragation “private” schools multiplied across the South mainly to insure white kids didn’t have to attend integrated public schools. I’m sure any student of contemporary history can fill in the rest.

    Following that change in how education was handled, church communities followed suit, thanks in no small part to the co-mingling (love that word, don’t you?) of politics and faith. The Christian Coalition kick-started that trend and the rest is modern history. It didn’t take long for the homeschooling movement to become the widespread phenomenon that it has become. Two of my grandchildren are likely to be home-schooled but I have reservations for two reasons. One reason (and I’m sure this horse has been beaten to death by others) is the importance of socialization with others in society, even those tagged sinners and publicans. But that is not my main objection.

    I have watched social movements all my life, from my days as a student activist in the civil rights and anti-war movements. My need to participate in the growth and improvement of the society in which we live, the USA, the most important experiment in human history, has always been foundational to my world view. Public education has been and continues to be foundational to that experiment, and home schooling (together with charter and “target” schools) have a way of cherry-picking from public schools the very students most needed to be there, not as much for their own benefit, but as positive examples for their peers and serving as peer-coaches, helping their teachers in the mission of teaching others. I have vivid memories of the good students in my past who helped me in ways that teachers either didn’t have time for, and in some cases never even knew I needed that help. And to the extent that I was able to help others, that experience helped me become a more responsible leader as I grew up.

    I could rattle on for more, but think that makes the point I wanted to leave. The more good students are removed from public schools (and their parental support is lost along with them) the weaker we become as a society. It’s not a good trend in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      John, I think there are some good reasons for homeschooling but there are very poor reasons as well. And there are both good results and poor results. I agree with you that widespread abandonment of public education is not at all good for the nation.

      Like

    • Chas says:

      This contribution brings to mind something that all of us in the ‘First World’ maybe ought to consider. Is it reasonable for our rich nations to cherry-pick able people from the Third and Second Worlds to fill posts in our industries and health services, etc. and so robbing those countries of their talents?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. newtonfinn says:

    Couldn’t agree more, John. Public schooling, for all of its shortcomings, means that we’re in this thing called American society TOGETHER. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Does anyone know of any proof that this statement ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’ is true? We all tend to believe it, but is there any proof?

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Chas, I think the reference is to Matthew 12:26, ‘And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?’

        And elaborated on by Abraham Lincoln, ‘A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.’

        Like

        • Chas says:

          Tim, having given this further thought, there seem to be examples where divided families seem to have endured, and other examples where unified nations seem to have fallen. It seems that God’s influence has to be taken into consideration and His timing often differs from ours. Abraham Lincoln appears to have been a very patient man, who had the ability to judge the right time to take action.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. We have homeschooled all our kids, with the exception of sending them to the public school for a few specific classes that we are not qualified to teach, like chemistry. Your miss representation of home schooling here is cringe worthy. In any critique of any movement, it is critical to maintain some kind of objectivity and not paint all participants with the same brush. You might at least also point out the poor quality of education in many public schools.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wild, I am sorry I was not more clear. I began the article by saying that I was not opposed to homeschooling, and later I said that the issues I mentioned did not apply even to all fundamentalist homeschoolers. However, the four issues are real issues in some circles.

      This is neither an anti-homeschooling article nor a pro-public schooling article. I suspect that your homeschooling is not among the ones I mention simply because you sent your children to public school for chemistry and other subjects. The homeschoolers I am talking about would never do that.

      I know that homeschoolers are sensitive to criticism–and for good reason–but, as a homeschooler, I am sure you are aware of these problems in some homeschooling circles.

      Like

      • Sure, there are problems with every system. The question for me is who is responsible for my children’s education? It’s surely not the state.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Wild, I think the key word here is the one you use–responsible. Whether educated in public school, private school, or at home, I think the education should be administered responsibly. When it is not it does the child harm.

          Like

        • Chas says:

          If a state can conscript adults to go to war, surely its politicians think that they can dictate to its citizens how they should educate their children.

          Like

      • Ok, let me try to address the issues you bring up, just a bit. Quality of education varies a great deal between different public schools and between teachers. Exactly the same as it varies between different teaching parents. We used Bob Jones quite a bit, but didn’t limit ourselves to one curriculum. One of the huge advantages in home schooling is that the teaching can be tailored to the child. This is next to impossible in the public school system. It’s true that the child who advances the fastest will be the child who is most motivated. One of our daughters was ready to graduate at fifteen (although we didn’t graduate her then) and capable of taking college classes, but she was strongly self motivated. The advantage is that you can also teach the slower student at different levels. If he is slow at math, he might be held back a year. The public schools often push kids through who have not learned what they need to advance. Now, my wife has a good relationship with our local public school and has tutored public school students in the past and home school students, so what I’m saying is not just based on speculation. Even if a parent doesn’t have the teacher training my wife has, using a curriculum doesn’t really require that training, and actually home schooled students tend to do better in college than public school students and score higher on standardized tests.
        Religious indoctrination? Why would any Christian not sure his or her belief system with their children? Anti science? Just because you don’t like Young Earth Creation? That’s a pretty thin argument. But I don’t want to derail onto a creation vs Evolution debate. Christians also aren’t the only ones who believe what we are taught about origins is problematic and speculative. Close to half of US citizens believe in some form of creationism. The key word here in either case is “belief”. We all have the same evidence from the past, we only interpret it differently.
        Lack of socialization-this one actually makes me laugh. Maybe it’s just that my kids have been exposed to so many different types of people compared to the average school student who is only around his peers for most of his young life. Much better to expose them to people of all ages and all types, which is much easier to do outside of a highly regulated school system.
        Child abuse? Maybe if you think spanking is abuse. Most of us were spanked as kids and don’t consider a swat abusive. I would have to see something more convincing than just a statement about some parents being abusive. Sure, some are, but where their kids are schooled has nothing to do with it. What was most shocking to me is that when my first daughter went to the public school, she discovered how few kids had two parents who lived together and how few parent really seem to even care about their kids lives. I think the most wide spread abuse in America is parents who basically abandon all responsibility for their kids, and spend all their time on their own pleasures.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chas says:

          Wilds, I think you make a good point here. We in UK are again suffering from an outbreak of violence, mostly of young men stabbing other young men. When this occurred before, a friend of mine lost her son, who was shot dead while merely talking to friends. She formed a group called Mothers Against Violence and began to talk to various young men who had been involved in violence, including those in prison. A significant number of them told her that they felt no-one was interested in them at home and that the gang to which they had become involved felt like a family to them, because their co-members seemed to care for them. Of even greater significance was that many of these identified the absence of their father from the family home as a cause for these feelings.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It is a fact, that in nearly every school shooting and in a huge percentage of the prison population here in the US the common denominator is the absence of an engaged father.

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Wilds, The effects of drug use also needs to be taken into account. It is being recognised increasingly that cannabis abuse causes mental illness, which is often revealed in the use of violence. Most Muslim terrorists seems have a background of minor crime, followed by cannabis use, which leads to extremely violent acts against society. It is not clear if this is an increased tendency to violence of itself, or whether it might be the loss of rationality.

            Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Wild, I repeat: “This is neither an anti-homeschooling article nor a pro-public schooling article.” Three of my four concerns are drawn from reports and stories of people who have been homeschooled as children; the fourth is child abuse and we will talk about that in the next few articles.

          Like

    • Chas says:

      Wilds similarly, do you have proof that your statement about the poor quality of education in MANY public schools is true? It might seem reasonable to say some, but many?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. John Ballard says:

    Coincidentally this turned up in my Twitter timeline today.
    These stats are pretty disturbing.
    Jeff Yang
    ‏@originalspin

    “Thi… is…damning. 36% of kids pulled out of school for “homeschooling” were removed by families who have been accused of abuse. And 47% (!) of all cases of child torture involve kids who were removed from school for homeschooling.”

    He cites this is from Alisa Harris @alisaharris
    “Anyone following homeschool abuse cases is well aware of a pattern in the most horrific cases: parent is credibly accused of abuse and pulls child out of school to “homeschool,” removing child from any contact with mandatory reporters or other safe adults.”

    This thread is a string of specific examples, with links…

    Like

    • John Ballard says:

      Twitter is not a comfortable medium for those not familiar with how to navigate, so I curated the thread at my blog for easier reading.
      I don’t know anything about Alisa Harris (yet) but she appears to be keenly interested and well-informed.
      Here is a link to my post.
      http://hootsnewplace.blogspot.com/2018/04/alisa-harris-twitter-thread-on.html

      Like

    • “Thi… is…damning. 36% of kids pulled out of school for “homeschooling” were removed by families who have been accused of abuse. And 47% (!) of all cases of child torture involve kids who were removed from school for homeschooling.”

      Let’s think about this for a moment. What does this say about homeschooling? Absolutely nothing. All it says is that parents who abuse their kids when they are in school will continue to abuse them when they are not. This is the kind of statistics that make home schooling look bad if you just glance at them, until you hopefully stop and realize that it’s not an honest statistic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John Ballard says:

        Classic instance of “lies, damn lies and statistics” I suppose.
        I get the point.
        The main difference is that abused children are more apt to be noticed and reported to authorities in a public school than at home. That’s part of the job description for teachers, counselors, etc. Even ER personnel are alert to signs of abuse and are expected to report it for followup. From what I gather, the homeschooling landscape if not subject to much oversight from authorities — local, state or otherwise. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that many advocates for home schooling are at the edge of the social matrix, suspicious of authorities. There seems not to be any uniform standard for homeschooling.
        One of the links in the thread has recommendations:
        • Background checks: Bar parents from homeschooling if they have committed a crime that would prevent them from teaching in a public school.
        • A flagging system: Bar parents from homeschooling if they or anyone in the household have previously had a founded abuse or neglect report.
        • Risk assessments: Conduct risk assessments when parents begin to homeschool after a recent child abuse report or concerning history of reports.
        • Mandatory reporter contact: Ensure that homeschooled children are seen by mandatory reporters via academic assessments, medical visits, or other means.
        • Medical care: Require homeschooled children to have the same medical visits required of children who attend public school.
        • Disability services: Require parents of children with disabilities to create annual services plans outlining the therapies and interventions their child will receive.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          John, I am quite sure you are right in these two respects:

          “The main difference is that abused children are more apt to be noticed and reported to authorities in a public school than at home. That’s part of the job description for teachers, counselors, etc. Even ER personnel are alert to signs of abuse and are expected to report it for followup.” And…

          “From what I gather, the homeschooling landscape if not subject to much oversight from authorities — local, state or otherwise.”

          This can produce very risky environments for kids.

          Like

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Wild: “Let’s think about this for a moment. What does this say about homeschooling? Absolutely nothing. All it says is that parents who abuse their kids when they are in school will continue to abuse them when they are not. This is the kind of statistics that make home schooling look bad if you just glance at them, until you hopefully stop and realize that it’s not an honest statistic.”

        You are absolutely right! These stats can be very misleading; it is important that we understand their true context.

        Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      John, I am aware of these types of stories. In fact, this is the topic of my next post. I do not accuse homeschooling for these severe, criminal cased, but homeschooling IS a good cover for severe child abuse.

      I am not sure about the stats; I will have to check that out.

      Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      John, I did some follow-up and I think Alisa’s stats are a bit misleading AS READ. The stats are not about percentages of homeschoolers but of serious child abusers who began homeschooling to cover their abuse. This does not reduce the problem of severe child abuse but should remove the possible perception that severe child abuse is PRODUCED by homeschooling or is prevalent in homeschooling.

      However, thanks for introducing me specifically to Alisa’s Twitter site. I already have high respect for the organization where she is a board member, and now I follow Alisa on Twitter. Thanks again.

      Like

      • John Ballard says:

        I hesitate to use the term “stats” for what is mainly a collection of anecdotal citations. I only find the term “statistics” in two places, neither of which was about homeschooling specifically. One was a paper specific to defining “serial abuse” making no claim about homeschooling. The other from US News was simply a ranking of states in terms of regulatory oversight.
        In any case, she makes points that merit further scrutiny.
        Homeschooling is not a subject with a burning interest for me, btw, except as one of several derivatives of desegregation. As you can tell from my blog and my initial comment a couple days ago I’m more focused on other subjects, but my visit here has been a good diversion.

        Liked by 1 person

        • John Ballard says:

          For an ancillary look, search “black homeschooling” and see what comes up.
          My preoccupation with how the trend puzzles together with desegregation is not as obscure as it seems.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            John, I think the case for homeschooling for black children is particularly strong. Of course much would depend on the quality of curriculum and the teacher(s). Socialization could still be a problem but could be compensated. Thanks for the suggestion.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          John, I agree with you that Alisa is a good writer and makes very good points. I am glad you feel that this post has been a good diversion for you. We all need good diversions.

          Like

  11. Paz says:

    I think whether education takes place at home, in a public or private school, a child’s individual needs must be always taken into consideration and including some short-term and long-term goals, and in regard to what is most suitable and well supported, in a nurturing and safe environment.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You are making a lot of judgements here with zero facts to back them. Many homeschool parents are abusive but some aren’t? Not sure you have much idea what you are talking about. Great, I thought I found a unique resourse about Jesus but find out it’s just another judgemental Christian thing spouting ignorance from it’s podium. I know you will delete this. That’s what Christian “leaders” do when disagreed with. Please dont contact me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      William, I am not going to delete this; you must not understand me very well. But your objection is not clear to me: “Many homeschool parents are abusive but some aren’t?” Are you suggesting that homeschool parents are NOT abusive or that ALL homeschool parents are abusive?

      How did you determine that I don’t know what I am talking about?

      And I don’t think I am, “just another judgemental Christian thing spouting ignorance from it’s podium.” I talk a lot about HARMFUL beliefs–beliefs that significantly hurt other people. Is this not a good thing?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great thoughts. I do feel the education system has a long way to go to provide everyone with a good support and upbringing so I can understand why people would do it. Hopefully there will be a better system soon!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Mike, I agree. However, I don’t think all homeschooling is bad. It is fundamentalist home schooling I have problems with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I completely understand why and don’t disagree. I don’t think homeschooling has to be bad at all, in fact a lot of it is probably better than the education system in how students feel about learning/ about failing

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Brett says:

    Interesting post!

    Like

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