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Just because

Michelle Goldberg also recently wrote about homeschooling as a way to shield child abuse. In the Daily Beast:

On September 9, the parents of Hana Williams, an Ethiopian teenager living in the state of Washington, were convicted of killing her. During the last year of her life, court documents show, she had lost almost 30 pounds as she was beaten, denied food, forced to sleep in a barn, and given cold outdoor showers with a garden hose. Much of the time she was kept barefoot, although she was allowed shoes if there was snow on the ground. Sometimes she was given nothing but a towel to wear. If Williams had been in school, someone might have noticed that she was underdressed and emaciated. But she was homeschooled, and so her parents, fundamentalist Christians in thrall to a harsh disciplinary philosophy, had complete privacy to punish her as they saw fit. She died naked, face down in the mud in their backyard.

Like so many things, privacy is a double-edged sword. We all want it and depend on it; we consider it a right; but god damn it can be abused. Domestic violence wouldn’t exist without privacy; “domestic” and “private” are much the same thing.

Heather Doney and Rachel Coleman, two women who themselves grew up in homeschooling families, have documented dozens of horrific cases on their website, Homeschooling’s Invisible Children, which launched in May. A database of local news stories and official documents, the site is searchable by category, including Fatality, Food Deprivation, Imprisonment, Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse. Under Sexual Abuse, to take just one of them, Doney and Coleman found almost 70 victims since 2000—and those are just cases that made the papers.

Coleman, an Indiana University Ph.D. student who studies the role of children in the Christian right, does not believe that homeschooling parents are more abusive than others. Some 1.5 million Americans kids are taught at home, and there’s no reason to think that more than a small fraction of them are subject to severe violence. Indeed, Coleman says she wouldn’t even rule out homeschooling her own children. But she argues that because the practice is almost entirely unregulated in much of the country, it can make abusive situations worse, allowing parents to hide their crimes and denying kids access to outside authority. “Homeschooling enables parents to isolate children,” Coleman says. “That can enable them to abuse them.”

It’s a helluva knotty problem, because monitoring homeschooling would obviously be massively labor-intensive. If I were a bureaucrat tasked with figuring out how to do it I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin.

The Home School Legal Defense Association was founded in 1983, just as homeschooling was catching on among an ascendant Christian right. Many in the movement believed that public schools indoctrinated children in godless secularism and saw homeschooling as a way to give their kids an education steeped in biblical values. At first, homeschoolers faced a great deal of official resistance—some states banned homeschooling outright, while others strictly limited it. During the past 30 years, though, HSLDA has successfully fought to eliminate or drastically loosen those regulations.

Even regulations about monitoring parents who have already been reported for abuse…

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania state Sen. Andrew Dinniman sponsored new legislation in response to the 2012 deaths of two young homeschooled boys in Philadelphia: 6-year-old Khalil Wime, whose parents were arrested for starving and torturing him to death, and 5-year-old Dashawn Harris, reportedly beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend for mispronouncing the word “sad” during a homeschooling lesson. He is awaiting trial for first-degree murder.

Under Dinniman’s bill, when families with recent child-abuse complaints start homeschooling, child protective services would have to be notified. The parents wouldn’t necessarily be prohibited from pulling their kids out of school, but there would be an outside risk assessment.

The homeschooling movement reacted with outrage. “Bad Bills Threaten Homeschooling Freedom” said an alert sent out by HSLDA. The organization was indignant that families that had already been investigated for abuse would be investigated a second time “just because they had decided to homeschool their children.” As of now, legislation’s future is unclear. “We have heard some concerns in questions about the bill,” said Dinniman’s legislative director, refusing to speculate on its chances.

That “just because” is telling. Yes, parents suspected of abusing their children would be subject to a risk assessment “just because” they decided to homeschool their children – imagine that! Imagine thinking that removing children from the one environment where they have ready access to adults who are not their parents might not be ideal for children subject to abuse.

 

Comments

  1. Pen says

    It’s a helluva knotty problem, because monitoring homeschooling would obviously be massively labor-intensive.

    I homeschooled in France and the UK for over six years. In France the monitoring consisted of one educational visit yearly. I submitted a report on the work we’d done, my daughter spoke with an educational inspector for an hour, did some tests and showed her work. I also had to submit a plan at the start of each year but that was all done in writing. We also had a social services visit every two years. We are not systematically regarded as under suspicion you see, but they want to see our kid. Fair enough as far as I’m concerned. Obviously, if the educational inspector had concerns he would have referred her also.

    In the UK, we had what seemed to be a social services and educational inspection combined, every trimester. In none of these cases did it seem to be a massive problem. In France registration of homeschoolers is compulsory, in the UK it is not. To my knowledge some states in the US already have various forms of registration and inspection for homeschoolers.

    PS: I’m sure everyone realises that kids in school also slip through the net and get abused, that attending school includes a great deal of abuse in itself for many kids and that 50% of US homeschoolers and many more worldwide are in it for reasons unconnected to religion.

  2. stever says

    It’s worth noting that there is another sort of homeschooler, who just wants to rescue his children from the rotting wreck of American public education but can’t afford private schools.

  3. says

    It’s worth noting that there is another sort of homeschooler, who just wants to rescue his children from the rotting wreck of American public education but can’t afford private schools.

    Yes. FFS yes. We know. There isn’t a bloody post on homeschooling that doesn’t get responses about how “rotted out” the public school system is (without citation, natch).

    And these are the exact people who should be up in arms about these abuses and working together to find a way to create regulations and oversight that allow parents the ability to homeschool their child when that is the best option for them.

    This isn’t about the fucking parents. This is about the children, and making sure that they get the fucking education they need whether it’s by homeschooling or by private school or by public school. The fact is that in too fucking many states a parent can pull their child from school and that child will thenceforth fucking disappear. That parent can (and many do) give no education at all. That, in and of itself, is abuse, aside from the documented cases of physical abuse of homeschoolers facilitated by the complete isolation of the child.

  4. says

    Sorry for the double post, but I realised I wasn’t done.

    For every one of you so called “rational” homeschooling parents who always finds these threads to whinge about how awful the public school system is and how you’re only doing it because it’s what’s best for your special little snowflake, I guarantee you there are at least a dozen die-hard Christians, especially quiverfull christians, fighting the good fight to remove any-and-fucking-all laws that require them to actually educate their fucking child. HSLDA is a powerhouse, so maybe instead of fucking whinging about how you’re being oppressed, maybe you should take a look at what fundamentalist homeschooling parents are doing in your own fucking name.

  5. anbheal says

    I’m with you, NF.

    What about that old-fashioned wacky idea of getting involved with your local PTA and schoolboard, trying to make your local schools better, rather than opting out into Libertarian/Fundamentalist isolation behind your moat and armory??? What about any impulse whatseover to improve your community, get a better educational prospect underway for all of its children???

    Oh, sorry, would that require they become vaccinated against the most painful and deadly diseases known to man? How terribly frightful!!!

    Home schooling, in nearly every case I’ve ever witnessed personally (a sample size of a several dozen acquaintences) has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of public education, nor financial resources — more than half of these assholes I know went to private schools themselves, and have plenty of dough. It has to do with ONE FOUNDING PRINCIPLE: Daddy is a control freak.

    As a sub-heading, Mommy is often also, to my eyes, a victim of abuse. She just writes it off to either Scripture, or her own shortcomings, repeated to her by Daddy every day. The kids are shellshocked freakshows. Some win spelling bees and get into Ivies. That this proves homeschooling is oh-so-awesome denies the other 98 percent of classmates in the very same colleges the miraculous evidence of having gotten there without being locked up for 12 years.

    While the local homeschool lawyer litigates for access to sports teams and school libraries and laboratories, those dastardly examples of public school decay. Not to mention the Libertarian’s worst nightmare, public funds spent on the public.

    If you aren’t living in the most rural of outposts, homeschooling is all about Daddy being a dick. Full stop.

  6. Pen says

    A comment that adds more is in no sense a double post. The more the better

    It would have been nice, then, and better for his case, if he’d checked his figures.

    For every one of you so called “rational” homeschooling parents who always finds these threads to whinge about how awful the public school system is and how you’re only doing it because it’s what’s best for your special little snowflake, I guarantee you there are at least a dozen die-hard Christians, especially quiverfull christians

    That’s a vast overestimate of the proportion of rational to die-hard Christians in homeschooling, even in the USA.

    I don’t really have any other gripe with Nathaniel. He didn’t actually say he wanted homeschooling banned, I’m certainly not opposed to monitoring.

  7. says

    I know this is anecdote, but I have recently spent some time around a young woman who was home-schooled. It appears that home-schooling is being used to perpetuate horrible ignorance. :(

  8. Pen says

    Double post for correction purposes:

    That’s a vast overestimate of the proportion of rational to die-hard Christians in homeschooling, even in the USA.

    I mean he over-estimates the number of Christians of course.

    Last I checked, which was admittedly a few years ago, the best available figures suggested it was 50/50. Half of American homeschoolers quote religious reasons, the other half quote a variety of other reasons from medical or educational special needs, a desire for ‘better’ or different education, lifestyle reasons such as travel, remoteness, mere preference and more…

    Incidentally, you may like to know that the vast and diverse group of secular homeschoolers are sometimes treated quite aggressively by the religious extremists who would like to ‘own’ the homeschooling movement. I prefer not to see people playing into their hands.

  9. Pen says

    Hi Nathaniel @9 – I’ll try to answer your question, but I should point out that I’m basing my answer on contact with American homeschoolers from a few years ago. One of the issues that tends to come up with proposed regulation is that it’s often badly designed. It tries to impose a school-at-home situation which is completely inappropriate. It may insist on certain hours or days, or a particular type of curriculum. Secular homeschoolers usually join wholeheartedly in the fight against that – I would too.

    And at the same time, are you asking a bit much if you think secular homeschoolers would fight the HSLDA’s fight against regulations? If they think they’re doing a good job, they know they don’t need oversight, and if they suspect they’re not, they’re not going to want it. Would they accept suitable oversight without resistance, if it was passed by law? Quite probably. I know of many who jump through whatever hoops are there without fuss. But they don’t typically campaign for more hoops.

    I do agree that there is a possibly very American problem in that even secular homeschoolers may have a kind of ‘nobody’s allowed oversight on us’ attitude and they may dislike oversight. To have an authority oversee what you’re doing smacks to them of intrusion and unjustified suspicion, rather than routine. It’s particularly true of social services, whose visit is taken to imply that one is doing something wrong . That’s something that runs very deep in US culture, or would you disagree? I can’t explain it to you because I don’t feel it. To me, it’s like getting my bag scanned at the airport, I don’t take it personally, but then I’m from another culture.

  10. AnotherAnonymouse says

    If I can back up Pen, I’d like to add my experience. We chose to homeschool for high school because we had a child who was very advanced in some areas and barely-above-average in others. The public school simply couldn’t accommodate and the private schools in my county are either the speaking-in-tongues kind or the $25,000/year (wish i was making that up) college-prep. We ended up in an accredited private high school that counted college classes for high school credit (for example, one semester of college calculus counted as one year of high school calculus; one semester of Chemistry w/chem lab counted as a year-long science-with-lab credit). The child went off to college at 17 with an accumulated 21 credits of college work.

    We’re a completely secular and liberal family and had a *very* tough time trying to socialize with other homeschool families because our beliefs simply didn’t mesh well with the majority of families in our area who homeschool. Why didn’t we fight the HSLDA? Because we never paid to join them.

    In our state, the only acceptable way to homeschool is to join a church homeschool “umbrella”; we found one group that was affiliated in name only (the leader paid money to the church who then claimed the group as theirs). Church-affiliated homeschool groups vary widely in supervision, and my experience was that there were entirely too many parents out there who didn’t care one bit about education or their children’s future–they simply didn’t want their children exposed to any thought the parents didn’t fully endorse.

  11. says

    Incidentally, you may like to know that the vast and diverse group of secular homeschoolers are sometimes treated quite aggressively by the religious extremists who would like to ‘own’ the homeschooling movement. I prefer not to see people playing into their hands.

    If as you say, half of parents are homeschooling for religious reasons, while the other half are for “diverse” reasons, then that unified half does, in fact, represent the controlling majority of the movement, until that “diverse” half decides to do something about it.

    Hi Nathaniel @9 – I’ll try to answer your question, but I should point out that I’m basing my answer on contact with American homeschoolers from a few years ago. One of the issues that tends to come up with proposed regulation is that it’s often badly designed. It tries to impose a school-at-home situation which is completely inappropriate. It may insist on certain hours or days, or a particular type of curriculum. Secular homeschoolers usually join wholeheartedly in the fight against that – I would too.

    So the answer to bad regulation is no regulation?

    And at the same time, are you asking a bit much if you think secular homeschoolers would fight the HSLDA’s fight against regulations? If they think they’re doing a good job, they know they don’t need oversight, and if they suspect they’re not, they’re not going to want it. Would they accept suitable oversight without resistance, if it was passed by law? Quite probably. I know of many who jump through whatever hoops are there without fuss. But they don’t typically campaign for more hoops.

    If a “rational” homeschooler is standing by while orgs like the HSLDA systematically dismantles any and all regulation or oversight on homeschoolers, then they are contributing to the trope that homeschoolers are undereducated. Regulation and oversight works for “rational” homeschoolers in that it validates the work they have done in educating their children.

    In our state, the only acceptable way to homeschool is to join a church homeschool “umbrella”; we found one group that was affiliated in name only (the leader paid money to the church who then claimed the group as theirs). Church-affiliated homeschool groups vary widely in supervision, and my experience was that there were entirely too many parents out there who didn’t care one bit about education or their children’s future–they simply didn’t want their children exposed to any thought the parents didn’t fully endorse.

    This is exactly the kind of problem that needs to be addressed, and that orgs like Homeschoolers Anonymous try to fight. None of which is helped by dipshits like Stever who has to come and remind us every time a thread like this is posted that the public school system is “rotted out” and that they’re totes cool secular homeschool parents and stop oppressing them!

    I do agree that there is a possibly very American problem in that even secular homeschoolers may have a kind of ‘nobody’s allowed oversight on us’ attitude and they may dislike oversight. To have an authority oversee what you’re doing smacks to them of intrusion and unjustified suspicion, rather than routine. It’s particularly true of social services, whose visit is taken to imply that one is doing something wrong.

    Society has a vested interest in how its children are raised and educated. When someone becomes a parent, they’re only required to deal with the child for about two decades (whether or not the choose to continue after that is up to them). Society, on the other hand, has to deal with the children for their entire life. Therefore, when a child is removed from the standard, regulated school system, society has every reason, and every right, to check in now and then to make sure everything’s going okay and that the children are, in fact, getting an education.

    I really could not care less if some parents think this is unreasonable. This is not about the parents. This is about the children, who really don’t get a choice, or a voice, otherwise.

  12. says

    All you folks who claim you take your child out because your child is too advanced…most of that is also bullshit.

    My son goes to public school. And then, at home, guess what I do? I teach him still more, stuff that doesn’t get enough detail in school, hands-on real world applications of the stuff he has learned in school, letting him seek out new things to learn, etc…

    Why?

    Because parent is also a VERB.

    There are extremely few good reasons to exclusively home school. If your child is being bullied, you might home school while you are in the process of taking legal action against the bullies. That’s, well, pretty much it. For everything else, there is being a goddamned parent.

  13. Stevarious, Public Health Problem says

    As a person who was homeschooled for two years (last two years of high school) I thought I’d chuck in my two cents.

    I began homeschooling for the singular reason that the bullying (that is, of me personally) at the public school I attended reached a level of sheer viciousness and cruelty that I simply stopped going to school anymore. Homeschooling was the only compromise I could make with my parents besides that of dropping out completely, and I think for me it was the best choice out of a host of extremely shitty options.

    That said, once the homeschooling was set up, I was shocked by how little oversight there was. This was in the state of Pennsylvania in the 90’s and I can’t speak to how much change there might have been since, but we were effectively abandoned to our own devices with no guidance, only the vaguest of requirements, and maybe a hearty ‘Good luck!’. No effort was made to confirm that the ‘work’ I turned in at the end of the year was actually mine. No effort was made on their part to even find out if I had actually passed the classes I had attended at high school. I simply turned in my folders at the end of the school year and was given credit for all the classes I claimed to have studied.

    The first year, I actually did try very hard. For a few months. We purchased some calculus software and some chemistry software, that had built-in tests that qualified under whatever state law pretended to regulate these things. I don’t remember doing any sort of English-related studies – perhaps at the time, PA only required two English credits to graduate? Not actually sure.

    I didn’t take long for me to figure out how to bypass the software and get perfect scores on all my tests. It didn’t take long after THAT for me to stop bothering to actually learn the material before I clicked through the tests. By the end of the semester, I had completely ALL of the tests and ‘homework’ assignments through to the end of the two years.

    We went to a few homeschool parties every couple of months. I suppose they were designed to keep the homeschool kids socialized? I hated them, and we stopped going after the first year. None of the other homeschooled kids that I talked to (and this was very very telling to me at the time) seemed to know half as much about math and science and history that my years of public school had granted me – they all had nice neat handwriting but misspelled words I learned in middle school, hadn’t a clue about biology or chemistry, and didn’t seem to know any history past the revolutionary war. Math was a joke to them – they all knew their times tables and division tables by rote, but didn’t know a lick about trigonometry (which I had aced in 8th grade, back when I cared) or anything more advanced, and regarded me as something of a freak for actually choosing to study calculus when I didn’t have to.

    There were a few other assignments in my ‘senior year’ (Astronomy: I photocopied some star charts out of a book at the library and called it done. Public Speaking: I actually wrote a speech (more of an essay) and read it aloud at Thanksgiving to my family.) but for the most part I was simply done. And at the end of the year, we turned in the work and were assured that we would hear back from the state about a diploma in a few weeks.

    Of course, in a few weeks, we heard back that I wasn’t getting a diploma. The homeschooling association had never bothered to pull my transcript from the high school, so they never noticed that I’d flunked biology in 9th grade. I, of course, didn’t care. I had (correctly) determined that the whole thing was a farce designed to just make it look like my parents shouldn’t be arrested for my truancy. But since I desperately wanted to escape the shitty town I’d grown up in and knew no college would take me without a diploma, I went out and snagged a GED. (In retrospect, I should have done that two years earlier.)

    The rest is even less relevant, but that was my experience with homeschooling. It was a farce and a show, and nobody involved (including myself) seemed at all concerned about whether anyone was actually learning anything. I spoke to my parents a couple years about it, out of curiosity and they confirmed for me what I long ago knew – between her untreated severe depression and his equally untreated, hmmm, issues, neither of them had cared beyond getting me to 18 without fines or jail time, and were perfectly happy to accept my insistence that all was well whenever they asked me how my studies were coming.

    So, what to take from this? Well, it would be foolish to assign all the blame to my parents. I made my choices and lived with them. What’s clear, however, is that at the time the system was trivially easy to game. All it took was parental apathy, a substance in no small supply in modern America. And if it’s so easy for a 16 year old the game the system without even trying very hard, how much easier is it for parents to do so when they are actively trying to cover up their own malfeasance?

    HAVE things gotten better in the last 15 years?

    (I guess that was more like two dimes but whatever)

  14. senritsu says

    Nathaniel@13: Where are all the “rational” non-homeschoolers while HSLDA is working to dismantle every regulation on homeschooling? You’ve clamied a vested interest in them, so where are you when these changes are being made? Don’t you have just as much power as secular homeschoolers in influencing the government?

    You say regulations work for “rational” homeschoolers, so we should be fighting to have more of them. I assume you, since you’re rational without scare quotes, can tell me exactly what regulations I should fight for?

    Minnesota (where I live) requires annual reports be filed with the district, including immunization records. Annual nationally normed achievement tests are required, although the results don’t have to be submitted to the district. The district can require the parent to submit the student’s curriculum for review, as well as requesting an interview with the student at any time. The state requires instruction in reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, government, heath and physical education. There’s no requirement that any particular curriculum be used.

    The last change to those regulations was to drop the requirement that parents without a bachelor’s degree or higher submit quarterly report cards (which was a joke since the parents just filled them out as they saw fit), and that if you’ve been homeschooling for more than a year, you can fill out a short form declaring your intention to continue homeschooling.

    How should these be changed to satisfy society’s vested interest?

  15. says

    Nathaniel@13: Where are all the “rational” non-homeschoolers while HSLDA is working to dismantle every regulation on homeschooling? You’ve clamied a vested interest in them, so where are you when these changes are being made? Don’t you have just as much power as secular homeschoolers in influencing the government?

    I vote for regulations in my area when I have the opportunity. I also signal boost among my online and offline communities when possible about what legislation the HSLDA is targeting. And I don’t fucking troll posts like these a la Stever’s nonsense.

    You say regulations work for “rational” homeschoolers, so we should be fighting to have more of them. I assume you, since you’re rational without scare quotes, can tell me exactly what regulations I should fight for?

    Minnesota (where I live) requires annual reports be filed with the district, including immunization records. Annual nationally normed achievement tests are required, although the results don’t have to be submitted to the district. The district can require the parent to submit the student’s curriculum for review, as well as requesting an interview with the student at any time. The state requires instruction in reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, government, heath and physical education. There’s no requirement that any particular curriculum be used.

    I don’t have a problem with those regulations, and if you actually read what I posted honestly, instead of deciding to be butthurt cuz I have no use for dipshits like Stever, you’d clue in to the fact that Minnesota is doing better than many states. Did you think we were joking when we said that in many states, thanks to the diligent efforts of HSLDA, a parent can pull their child from school and that child can disappear and no one will notice? That there’s no curriculum requirements? No evaluations? Nothing?

    So I’m happy for you, living in Minnesota. Minnesota isn’t a problem.

    Just wish I could say that for other states.

  16. senritsu says

    Actually, you asked @9:

    Next question: Where are all these rational homeschooling parents while HSLDA is working to dismantle every regulation on homeschooling?

    So I gave you an answer. I’m right where you are. I vote for regulations in my area when I have the opportunity. I’m involved with a local secular homeschool group that keeps me posted about any proposed changes to the law, and I don’t fucking troll posts like these whinging about public schools.

    If a “rational” homeschooler is standing by while orgs like the HSLDA systematically dismantles any and all regulation or oversight on homeschoolers, then they are contributing to the trope that homeschoolers are undereducated.

    Just because HSLDA is successful doesn’t mean that secular homeschoolers are standing by, although that seems to be your assumption. You’re asking where we are, and why we aren’t standing up to HSLDA, and I’m telling you that we’re here, and that we do, just as much as you, anyway.

  17. says

    So I gave you an answer. I’m right where you are. I vote for regulations in my area when I have the opportunity. I’m involved with a local secular homeschool group that keeps me posted about any proposed changes to the law, and I don’t fucking troll posts like these whinging about public schools.

    Then my post was not about you. Have a nice day.

  18. senritsu says

    I’m so thrilled I passed your test! But I can’t help but think upon poor stever, who whinged about public education, yet never said anything about his stance on HSDLA or regulations, and still failed. Or Pen, who didn’t whinge, yet offered a possible explanation as to why some homeschoolers wouldn’t push for unspecified regulations. Luckily, I managed to answer the Bridgekeeper’s questions correctly, and now will have the luxury of having a nice day. You have a nice evening!

  19. says

    Oh do get over yourself. Stever’s type comes to muck up any thread like this. If they had anything of value to add they would have been back to respond, but it’s clear they’re a fire-and-forget troll more concerned with letting us know that the public school system sucks rather than actually comment on the bloody OP.

  20. AnotherAnonymouse says

    hey, within, thanks for ‘splainin’! Why, yes, every school system is beyond reproach and therefore parent who homeschools is just a horrible, horrible parent. What color is the sky on your planet, anyway?

  21. AnotherAnonymouse says

    @SteveR: in my time as a homeschool parent, I met a number of students like you were. Bullying is shockingly common and the school system (in my state at least) is completely unwilling to do anything about it. Also in my state, “We homeschool for religious reasons” is a perfectly good explanation to the state and nobody checks to see if the single piece of paper the parents fill out every year is actually true. Some families move counties and neglect to notify the county school board, and some families never register their kids in any county at all.

    It *is* possible for a homeschooler to get a top-notch education, but the family and the child have to want it and actively pursue it. One of my child’s homeschooled peers was accepted at Penn State at 16, another was accepted Duke at 17, and my child is a junior majoring in Physics at the state university at 18 because half the high school credits were actually earned at college. For every half-baked homeschool curriculum out there, there are online college classes and fully-accredited academic programs for a motivated student to take.

    OTOH, I’ve met homeschool “graduates” who fit every negative stereotype you could imagine.

    A current fight in my state is over the age when a student can drop out of education. There’s a huge contingent of homeschool parents who want the age of 16 to be lowered or even dropped, because how dare the state tell them what to do? These are the same folks who bring their kids to the public library and public parks via the public highways and then complain about paying taxes.

  22. senritsu says

    Yes, Nathaniel, I’m sure the only possible reason Stever didn’t come back to discuss the issue with you was because he’s a troll. Not interested in replying to you = troll that can be assigned beliefs on subjects they never addressed. It’s just logic, isnt’ it?

  23. says

    Yes, Nathaniel, I’m sure the only possible reason Stever didn’t come back to discuss the issue with you was because he’s a troll. Not interested in replying to you = troll that can be assigned beliefs on subjects they never addressed. It’s just logic, isnt’ it?

    No, it’s pattern recognition.

    Senritsu, when you’re done tone trolling, I’ll be happy to have a discussion with you. Until then, have a nice day, cupcake.

  24. senritsu says

    I don’t give a shit about your tone, Eccles cake. You set up stever as a representative of “rational” homeschoolers, regardless of what beliefs he actually expressed. You wondered where “rational” homeschoolers were while HSDLA was dismantling the regulations.

    So I answered your question. We’re invisible, just like you, because we have limited powers to do anything when faced with HSDLA. Our lack of ability to stop them doesn’t mean we aren’t here, and I wondered why that seemed to be your assumption.

    But sadly for me, by not fitting your vision of a “rational” homeschooler, the post was no longer about me, and you channeled your inner Wonka and said “Good day!.” Now you say that you’re happy to have a discussion with me, which you have to admit, is a bit of a mixed message. What is it you’d like to discuss?

  25. says

    No, my problem was with people like Stever, who jump on a thread about dead children to remind us how shitty public school is. Who find it more important to troll those of us who want to fix the holes in homeschooling oversight than in trying to do anything about it. Or people like this poster who is more interested in finding “oppression” in Ophelia’s previous post on dead homeschool children than, once again, addressing the problem. Those are the “rational” homeschoolers I talked about. If that is not what you are, then no, you are not invisible, and you are not what I was referring to.

    I am sick of people like Stever mucking up these threads with their inanity. I specifically targeted that behavior. You decided otherwise.

    But sadly for me, by not fitting your vision of a “rational” homeschooler, the post was no longer about me, and you channeled your inner Wonka and said “Good day!.” Now you say that you’re happy to have a discussion with me, which you have to admit, is a bit of a mixed message. What is it you’d like to discuss?

    You decided that “rational-in-scare-quotes” referred to you. I did not assign it to you. If you want to argue in good faith and read me honestly, I’m happy to engage with anything you want to contribute to the thread. Pen asked honest questions and got honest answers from me. You seem to prefer clutching pearls.

  26. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    Nathaniel,
    You’re being an ignorant asshole.

  27. quixote says

    Privacy ends where another human being’s begins. It’s misapplied to “domestic” cases because, let’s face it, everyone except the paterfamilias is still just chattel. In too many people’s heads, at least.

    The “stupid homeschoolers” argument going on upthread seems misplaced on this blog. Isn’t the rational approach to say, “Home schooling which is a cover for abuse is evil. Home schooling which only does the ‘home’ part and forgets the ‘schooling’ damages children and must be prevented. Home schooling that works is just another type of school.”

    Admittedly, the third category is rare, but far from non-existent. As a college teacher, students from that background cross my path now and again. Just recently, I had a real character, a boy, a few inches over 5 feet, who loved learning, was excited about a dozen different things, was an A student, and a real pleasure to have in class. In a US public school he would have been bullied to within an inch of his life. For him, in his circumstances, with his particular well-educated, devoted, and stay-at-home mother, it worked very well. The father in that family was anything but a control freak. His mantra was pretty much, “Hey, whatever Jane wants, we’ll make it happen.”

  28. senritsu says

    Those are the “rational” homeschoolers I talked about. If that is not what you are, then no, you are not invisible, and you are not what I was referring to.

    Apart from the derailing, the “rational” homeschoolers you talked about also “stood by” while HSDLA dismantled state regulations. I can’t do any more than you about that, and that’s little to nothing. How does that differ from “standing by”?

    I’m not sure how I’m not invisible, either. If I don’t derail threads on homeschool regulation, and don’t have any reason to lobby for additional regulations in my state, how is that making me visible?

  29. wondering says

    @Stevarious

    Your experience meeting other students at homeschooling parties sounds just like that of my younger siblings. Except they were the other students. And their handwriting wasn’t that hot either.

    As eldest sibling (and living far away) I fought a number of battles for my siblings to get better education, but no. I guess it’s just as well that my family is mostly blue-collar (a couple of us have “escaped” into white collar jobs), though I don’t know if the youngest have the math for any trades.

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