Vignettes from home school conferences


If you want to know why America is getting stupider, read these short accounts of incidents at home school conferences. The author has to go to these events — she’s selling materials to teach feminism, but of course she can’t mention feminism. She gets nauseous every morning before hitting the aisles at the thought of the rabid Christian/conservatives she has to be nice to.

One sample:

I am in Texas, my home state. A mom wanders in, picks up a journal, and reads about Kate Warne, the first woman detective.

“Where do you do your research?” she asks. I give her several sites. “That’s good, that’s good,” she says.

“Now then,” she begins again, “what is your slant?”

“Slant?” I ask.

“Which way do you lean?”

“Just historical facts,” I tell her.

“OK. But listen, I need you to do something for me.”

She reaches out and takes my hand. Apparently we are best friends now.

“Write about Biblical characters,” she says. “We need that. Especially the men.”

I tilt my head to the side.

“Well, we focus on actual women from history,” I say.

Wrong answer.

“Well, I will have to think about this.”

She drops my hand. The friendship is over.

Keep in mind that Ken Ham is the king of homeschooling. The dreck that floods these conferences is guaranteed to degrade the quality of the homeschool experience.

Note: I am not dead set against homeschooling — some homeschooled kids emerge from the experience with great educations. But it’s really, really hard, they are the minority, and the majority of homeschooled kids are there entirely because their parents are ignorant and don’t want their kids to be smarter than they are, and the schooling is often driven by religious fanaticism. Or nowadays, weird political fanaticism. MAGA parents don’t want their kids exposed to Liberals and Socialists and Ideas.

I would never have homeschooled my kids, because my wife and I don’t know enough. And we both have PhDs!


  1. stuffin says

    Since they couldn’t put the bible in classrooms, we will take the child out of the classroom and put them where (home) we can teach them about the bible.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    “Note: I am not dead set against homeschooling…”

    Sorry, but I prefer a society that wasn’t educated by untrained amateurs. I don’t even believe there ought to be private schools and certainly NO religious schools.

    ALL EDUCATION MUST BE CONTROLLED AND IMPLIMENTED BY THE STATE. Anything less is just inviting stupidity.

  3. raven says

    I’m not dead set against home schooling either.

    Especially since some school boards are being taken over by right wingnuts whose main goal is to…destroy public education. Or in one case, an entire state is out to destroy public education. That is of course, DeSantis and Florida.

    The right wing has decided that public education is bad but the schools could make nice re-education camps for children.

    That being said, homeschooling is sometimes actually no schooling.
    I knew of two children (both seculars) who ended up home schooled by clueless parents. Both children were of at least average intelligence.
    The home schooling ended being low effort and almost nonexistent.

    One kid read on a third grade level and died of a drug overdose in his early 20s.
    The other kid was minimally educated and has struggled throughout his adult life.

  4. submoron says

    Do the Mitford sisters count as being home schooled?
    ‘They were celebrated and at times scandalous figures, who were described by The Times journalist Ben Macintyre as “Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur” ‘ (from wikipedia)

  5. raven says

    Just for fun, I asked Google what percentage of 2023 home schoolers were religious fanatics.
    In 2012 it was 66%.
    Today it is 34%.

    The fundie xian home schoolers are now a minority of home schoolers.
    I don’t know if that means seculars have gone up or fundies have gone down though.
    I suspect it is both.

    Home schooling today is less religious and more diverse, poll finds

    Fear of school shootings, bullying and indoctrination helped fuel a pandemic-era boom in home schooling, according to an exclusive Washington Post-Schar School survey
    By Laura Meckler, Peter Jamison, Emily Guskin and Scott Clement
    September 26, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

    In a 2012 federal survey, nearly 2 in 3 home-school parents listed a desire to provide religious instruction as a reason for home schooling. That dropped to about half of parents in 2016 and a small majority in 2019 federal surveys.

    Now the share has fallen much further, The Post-Schar School poll finds, to 34 percent.
    Those who home-schooled before the pandemic are twice as likely to name providing religious instruction as those who began after.

  6. wzrd1 says

    I remember speaking with a rather low information voter, home schooled and it showed. He actually denied the existence of nuclear weapons.
    In his world view, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed with really big conventional bombs. The size of mountains, given their yield.
    Worse, some peers agreed with him and few that didn’t, did argue with all manner of illogic.
    I successfully escaped before my IQ dropped into negative numbers.

  7. lasius says

    Over here in Germany homeschooling is actually illegal. The reasoning being that each child has a right to adequate education as well as social contacts to other children their age, as well as this being a measure against parallel societies and cults.

  8. larrylyons says

    After I finished grad school I briefly taught intro Psych at a small private college in southwest Virginia that attracted a lot of homeschooled kids. Since I was teaching intro psych a lot of these kids ended up in my course or similar ones. One thing I found with these is that if it came to rote learning they were fine, but when it required critical thinking abilities they utterly floundered. And if the course material went against dogma (most if not all were Christian btw), they completely shut down.

    There was a phrase I remember reading that I never completely got until teaching that single term,
    Colonizing the Future.

    That is what those parents are doing,

  9. euclide says

    @7 found that while reading wikipedia on that subject

    I could make jokes about Germany and totalitarianism, but that would be bad taste.
    It reminded my that Germany is against liberty of religion because they consider Scientology to be dangerous and that the US States Department found that objectionable

  10. lasius says


    I could make jokes about Germany and totalitarianism, but that would be bad taste.

    The mere mention in this context is already in bad taste.

    It reminded my that Germany is against liberty of religion

    It is not. Religious freedom is enshrined in our constitution. You are free to personally believe whatever bullshit Scientology tells you, but Scientology as an organization is rightfully not considered a religious institution, but a money-making scam whose tenets and goals are incompatible with our constitution.

  11. says

    I AM dead set against homeschooling and I wish my country would stop with its foolish experimentation with it, which only costs us needlessly resources that should be better employed elsewhere. It is rarely justified and needed, and with some very, very rare exceptions, parents are not qualified to give their kids a well-rounded education. Not to mention that the kids really miss out on socializing with their peers, which is important for developing into actually functioning adults.
    Even here it is apparent that it is mostly just a way for religious fanatics to shield their kids from influences outside their cult, although in CZ they are more coy about saving that than they are in the USA. At least here in CZ, the kids are actually thoroughly tested for knowledge of the curriculum bi-annually and they have to pass the tests for their parents to be allowed to keep on homeschooling. But I think homeschooling should be generally illegal with some very, very, very rare exceptions.

  12. robro says

    I worked with a fellow who was home schooling his kids. That was in San Cruz, California, though…not Texas or Arkansas or…you know, some Bible-belt area looking to broaden the reach of Sunday School. Sounded like a great program. The public schools actively helped, they provided resources including books, counseling and training for parents, and social gathering opportunities like field trips for children.

  13. euclide says

    @10 I know that, and I approve. But somehow, the US government disagrees which I found fascinating.

    To make my first post more clear : I found completely absurd to ask for asylum for such completely bogus question, especially in that context and from a very liberal democracy

    And being European citizens, they could have simply moved in another EU country that allowed them homeschooling, because that’s a right we all have in the union.

  14. asclepias says

    One of the benefits of an education is to know when you don’t know enough about something. The difference between you and them is that you know enough to know that you don’t know enough.

  15. Larry says

    I have no problems with home schooling. After all, the world needs fast food employees, too.

  16. magistramarla says

    Two of my granddaughters (ages 11 and 7) are homeschooled out of medical necessity. They both have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, which is allergies on steroids. They are both allergic to many foods and many things in the environment.
    The younger one even has a meat allergy, and eats fish for her protein source. They are both very familiar with having an epi-pen constantly at hand. The public schools simply do not want the liability of attempting to keep them safe at school.

    Luckily, my son-in-law is a child psychologist. Since my daughter is a CEO in the financial sector, he has chosen to stay home and to be Mr. Mom and teacher. Both parents are Atheists and both are very well educated.
    When they lived in Texas, there were no guidelines for homeschooling at all. Now that they live in Washington state, the girls are required to be grade-level tested every year. Recently, the oldest tested at a 9th grade level overall, with her science knowledge and reading comprehension at grade12+. She would have entered the 5th grade this year.
    The younger girl, who would have entered 2nd grade this year, tested at grade 4.7, with her reading comprehension at grade 6 and her math abilities at grade 4. The school administrators just shake their heads and tell their Dad to keep doing what he’s doing.
    As a family, they take many road trips to learn about history, etc. They visit parks and children’s museums for socialization, with the parents supervising and making sure that he girls wear masks properly. It’s not been easy for the parents, but I’m proud of the job that they are doing.
    My son-in-law even helped my daughter’s older son with preparing for college. He had noticed that the boy displayed signs of dyslexia, but his Texas high school refused to do anything for him because he was passing and not causing trouble.
    COVID was a lucky break for him. He spent it with his Mom and Stepdad. With his stepdad’s help he maxed out the classes that he could take from the community college online. His Stepdad taught him techniques for overcoming dyslexia, note-taking and organizational skills that he would need in college. He was accepted into SUNY as a sophomore, with a merit scholarship and he’s halfway through his junior year now.
    I’m a retired public school teacher, but I’ve slowly come to the realization that sometimes homeschooling (if done properly) can be the best thing for a particular child.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    The British “public schools” (expensive schools for the posh kids) instill a sense of entitlement while rarely teaching stuff that are useful.
    The worst of the worst UK politicians have come from those schools.
    A semi-literate yokel from Appalachia would probably be a step up.
    At least the yokel might pass out and let the civil servants get on with the job of saving the nation from becoming a third world country.

  18. wzrd1 says

    magistramarla @ 16, “not been easy for the parents” was exceeded just with mast cell activation syndrome! That’s pretty much allergic to life itself, so many triggers abound. I get a bare edge of that spectrum of hell with random allergy attacks that’ll suddenly flood me with phlegm and coughing, with the bonus features of nausea and vomiting. Thankfully, although I’ve had my airway briefly slam shut, it immediately reopened enough to at least allow a coughing jag from hell. Weird hives popping up randomly.
    With full on MCAS, I feel for those kids! Especially needing epi on such a regular basis for anaphylaxis. Hopefully, some of the treatments as preventatives for attacks help, otherwise that’s just a living hell that actually achieving well in education makes beyond remarkable.
    For me, those attacks began late in life, thankfully.
    My parents noticed signs of dyslexia before I went to preschool, had doctor check and confirm it, then drilled me mercilessly until I did compensate quite well. By 7th grade, I topped the school’s standardized testing at junior college level in vocabulary, reading comprehension and my reading rate was literally off the charts. Science scores were similar, not as proficient in history or math. Social studies wended into cultures, which I again blew the scores out of the water, as my parents did preach diversity of experience and meeting people and learning about their cultures. I joked with them that moving to a predominantly Jewish neighborhood obviously had the yearning for education rub off. ;)

    birgerjohansson @ 17, yeah, we’ve heard of Boris Johnson. :P:p:P:p
    I’ll just get my brolly…

  19. stuffin says

    @ 9. Euclide



    You both mentioned Scientology, last night on Rick and Morty there was a character who claimed to be Scientologist, Rick called him a “Space Mormon.” First time I heard that, I thought that was extremely funny.

  20. wonderpants says

    No 17

    What about Liz Truss? Far as I know. She didn’t go to private school.

    Still didn’t stop her from being so bad that she only lasted a month and a bit (and a good chunk of that was while the Queen’s funeral was going on) because she merrily tried to bankrupt the whole country in pursuit of a right wing ideology.

  21. says

    The unwritten unspoken thing about homeschooling is racism. Homeschooling was one way that non-wealthy can avoid integrated schools. Wealthier racist parents can pay for private schools where minorities are mostly tokens. Another racist scam in American education is that the tax-base that funds schools is unequal, too. So poor areas, established by redlining, have poorly funded schools.

  22. devnll says

    I’m horrifiedly amused by the way the idea of homeschooling treats education as an unskilled profession. Homeschoolers will tell you that they want to teach their kids themselves “to make sure that its done right”, but you rarely hear about someone home-electricianing “to make sure that its done right”. Here’s a hint; if you think that teaching kids is easier than digging a hole in the ground, you probably shouldn’t be trying to teach kids. If you are one of those people who actually is a highly-trained educator, and you’re willing to teach your kids fulltime, you may have good results with homeschooling.

  23. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @23: One thing you learn in home schooling is that Sir Francis Drake circumcised the globe with a 100-foot clipper.

  24. outis says

    @10, Iasius:
    well said, but due to having very very deep pockets Scientology is still legal in the EU. And they maintain really impressive headquarters, the one in Madrid is a frickin’ palace, and where I live in Germany they keep a whole old-style building in the city centre.
    There was a close shave years ago, when judicial authorities in Belgium and Italy got a millimetre close to having them declared a mafia-type org, EU-wide, but failed. Those deep pockets have very good lawyers camping inside, alas.
    We can only wait and hope to see those grotesque crooks catapulted out of Europe forever, sooner or later.

  25. John Morales says

    nomdeplume, there was a lot of discussion about that in the early years of this blog; around 2007 or so IIRC. A lot!

    At least one well-respected regular was a practitioner and made good case that the problems were more about doing it wrong or for the wrong reason. Like religion.

  26. nomdeplume says

    @28 OK. I’d forgotten, or didn’t see that discussion. But I can’t think of a single advantage, and can think of many disadvantages, and the latter apply whether someone is doing it “right” or wrong.

  27. chigau (違う) says

    John, I think the home-school discussion was more recent than that.
    I remember it and I don’t think I was reading that long ago.

  28. magistramarla says

    It’s nice that you understand. The girls get it from their Mom. All of our five kids had lots of weird allergies growing up.
    We nearly lost their Mom a few years ago when she suddenly had a huge flare that was finally pegged as MCAS.
    She was so ill, she reacted to any food, even to water. A wise doctor at UCLA gave her the dx and suggested Pedialyte for adults. She still swears by the electrolyte packets from Costco. It was a long journey for her to get back on her feet and back to being able to eat some foods. Her husband is wonderful, and obsessively watches over her and the girls.
    My daughter has recently been dx’d with what her doc calls the autoimmune trifecta – MCAS, POTS and Ehler’s Danlos.
    The girls both have MCAS, and the 7 yr old probably has Ehler’s Danlos.
    I sit here right now with a fractured bone in my foot, caused when my ankle popped out of place while I was walking.
    My joints have popped out of place easily all of my life. I also have Sjogren’s Disease.
    Another daughter has the same sort of “trick ankles” and has broken bones in her feet often, and she has severe asthma.
    My son reminded me that he had the very same injury in Marine training, and that he freaked out girls in HS by bending his thumbs back to his wrists.
    We seem to have a family that is just chock full of autoimmune issues.

  29. bcw bcw says

    @5 raven – I don’t think I believe your interpretation, my own search “distribution homeschool religious” led to “Historically, the movement was predominantly religious and right-leaning; in 2019, the most recent year for which federal data are available, 59% of home-schooling parents selected religious instruction as a factor in their choice, and three times as many were Republicans as Democrats.”

    You are probably looking at
    which has 34% saying their purpose was religious instruction but there is also “Provide moral instruction” at 68% which is a nice code word for religious indoctrination. Parents can always provide religious instruction, home schooling’s religious purpose is to prevent children from being taught secular facts and history.

  30. anat says

    nomdeplume @29: There is already an example in this thread of a case where homeschooling was the best option – a child with a medical condition that makes attending school dangerous for them. There are also situations where a child with disabilities is not properly accommodated in the available public school system. For instance Schools that use abusive methods for behavioral modification (ABA for students on the autism spectrum).

  31. unclefrogy says

    if you think that teaching kids is easier than digging a hole in the ground, you probably shouldn’t be trying to teach kids.

    or much about digging holes in the ground either both are a lot harder to do well then they look

  32. nomdeplume says

    @34 Yes, but unusual examples like this don’t mean the whole structure is correct. It also seems to me that even in these extreme cases the aim should be to make the child’s education as unlike home schooling as is medically possible.

  33. raven says

    @33 OK.
    Yeah, I just glanced at the Washington Post article from 2023.
    The main point is that religious indoctrination schooling is going down and secular is going up.

    Here is another article I just found that says the same thing.

    Homeschooling 2.0: Less Religious and Conservative, More Focused on Quality
    Greg Toppo February 2, 2023 From Yahoo News.

    And it found that the reasons families began homeschooling in the past year are “shifting away from being a values-driven decision to an environment-driven decision.”

    Among other findings:

    12% of new homeschooling parents said their decision was primarily because their child’s neurodiversity wasn’t supported in traditional schools, up from 7% before the pandemic;

    Just 1% of new homeschooling parents said their No. 1 reason was based on religious beliefs, down from 14% of parents already homeschooling who said the same;

    47% of new homeschoolers described themselves as “progressive” or “liberal,” up from 32%;

    6% of new homeschoolers said they had conservative views vs. 27% of pre-Covid homeschoolers.

    Significantly, few parents said their decision, either in 2020 or 2022, was based on politically charged issues such as vaccines or schools’ political stances.

    The trend is the same as the Washington Post article but their numbers in categories aren’t all that close.

    This is from a poll.
    “In the Outschool survey, which tapped 622 homeschool families in August, Black families comprised 9% of respondents, but the results didn’t probe whether there has been a rise in these families. “

  34. says

    Additionally, when a school can’t provide accommodations, the district is legally required to find and pay for placement for the student in a school that CAN provide appropriate accommodations.

    So there really is NO reason to homeschool. Even in those outlier cases.

  35. chigau (違う) says

    What if you do not live in a “district”?
    Is a “district” some kind of Yankee political boundary?

  36. wzrd1 says

    magistramarla @ 32, holy hand grenades! Yeah, immune wise, the family seems to have won a lottery none would want to win!
    Although, Ehlos-Dantos isn’t autoimmune or immune mediated, it’s connective tissue errors. Gotta watch the aorta with some variants of the mutation.
    My wife had lupus, the kids come up fairly good currently, other than PCOS that they likely received from their mother, I have Raynaud syndrome in my hands, thankfully not in my feet as well, so there’s a chance for rheumatoid arthritis later, but I also had hypermobility when I was younger (yeah, did the thumb trick, but my skin wasn’t quite as stretchy and currently, I do have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that’s around 3.5 cm dilated (at around 5 cm they start talking surgery). Autoimmune hyperthyroid, eldest granddaughter has Hashimoto’s, thus far everyone else seems OK.
    Sounds like a good idea for a full body transplant, all around.
    Who am I kidding? Insurance company wouldn’t cover it, they’re really not in the business of paying claims, but instead in the business of ducking claims.

    Back to the topic at hand, I do like the idea of the state/county making resources available to parents that do home school and proper testing to verify education is up to standard.
    Training isn’t training, save if it’s up to a specified standard. Something I learned as an instructor in the military, where I trained lieutenants and adults.*

    *Old joke, what’s the difference between the Boy Scouts and the military? The Boy Scouts don’t eat their crayons and have adult leadership.

    unclefrogy @ 35, ah, but how many learn that critical lesson about digging holes? When you want to get out of the hole, stop digging.

  37. beholder says

    I remember being opposed to homeschooling in all its forms a few years back. Then COVID happened, and I had to admit there was simply no good reason for any kids to be in a school building around a crowd of other humans during a pandemic ― and there still isn’t. Score one for homeschooling.

    @43 Bob

    it’s a weird sort of abuse that has overwhelming support from the abused

    They call it “brainwashing”. Religion’s got that too.

  38. Kevin Karplus says

    You make the claim that ” the majority of homeschooled kids are there entirely because their parents are ignorant and don’t want their kids to be smarter than they are, and the schooling is often driven by religious fanaticism.” That may be true where you live, and is almost certainly true of Texas, but that is not my experience in Santa Cruz, CA. Here, home schoolers come from a lot of different families, and many of them are home schooling because the public schools can’t reasonably handle quirky kids. A lot of the brightest kids end up being home schooled, at least part of the time, as do many of the neurodivergent kids.

    Disclaimer: we home-schooled our son for 10th–12th grades through an umbrella school that was part of the public school district. We met many other homeschoolers, whose kids covered a wide range of abilities—many were “2E” (twice exceptional), in that they were both very bright and had a learning disability (like dyslexia or ADHD), and the local schools could only hand one or the other difference.

  39. Kevin Karplus says

    @Robro—my good experience with home schooling was in Santa Cruz also. When teaching at UCSC, some of my brightest students were home-schooled locally, also, which is part of what led me to consider home schooling for my son (after trying both private and public schools for many years).

  40. fernando says

    How can home schooling be something good, excepting situations linked to health problems?
    Children need to learn, and be tested, in many things:
    Literature and Grammatic, Foreign languages, History, Philosophy, Geography, Mathematic, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Arts…
    I don’t believe that is possible with home schooling. Sure, some parents are very competent in several areas, enjoying the suport of family, friends and associations, and that can work reasonably well until their children reaches 10-12 years old, but after that?
    I teach History in the last 23 years and i only know 1 student that was home schooled, about 10 years ago, because of a serious health problem.

  41. John Morales says

    Children need to learn, and be tested, in many things:
    Literature and Grammatic, Foreign languages, History, Philosophy, Geography, Mathematic, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Arts…

    Need? I doubt that. Where’s the vocational training?

    (FWIW, this is the Information Age. Best time ever to become an autodidact)

  42. seversky says

    30 October 2023 at 2:21 pm


    At least the yokel might pass out and let the civil servants get on with the job of saving the nation from becoming a third world country.

    Too late, I fear

  43. unclefrogy says

    well not many sadly. home schooling might have worked fairly well when a high school education was a lot but to succeed in trades today you need a lot more education for the more technical higher payed trades in demand or you need to be able to compete with “third world” immigrants who will work harder and learn faster for the less skilled jobs

  44. Akira MacKenzie says

    FWIW, this is the Information Age. Best time ever to become an autodidact…

    That’s the sort of thinking that resulted in horse paste being used to treat a pandemic and loons shooting up pizza restaurants because of the child sex dungeon in their nonexistent basement.

    As with EVERYTHING IMPORTANT, leave education to the experts.

  45. nomaduk says

    leave education to the experts

    Yeah, you know, that’s generally true, but working in an elementary school gives one a somewhat more nuanced perspective on these things. As in, there are a lot of teachers out there who are complete morons. There’s a reason why my old Roman History professor often started his lecture with a reading of the latest memo from the university’s Department of Education: there are a lot of fucking idiots in the education biz.

    My own local school district was bamboozled several years ago by a new, smooth-talking superintendent into jumping onto the International Baccalaureate bandwagon, which is a fantastic way to shovel budget dollars into consultants, conferences, ‘professional development’, membership fees, and other bottomless pits, whilst still turning out students who can’t read or write and paying the people who have to chase the runners down the hall $15/hour and then wondering why nobody wants to work here.

    Along similar lines, an international grift of astounding proportions made some ‘experts’ very wealthy and continues to turn out students who can’t read: .

    Not always impressed by the experts, I’m afraid.

  46. wzrd1 says

    Akira @ 52, so you’re saying that we screwed up in helping our children with their school work and homework?
    Funny, those “experts”, upon seeing their stellar scores in standardized testing wanted us to stop helping them. Underperformance of the students guaranteeing additional federal funding and all. To the point of scheduling a fire drill for the middle of said testing once and students being instructed to “mark anything down for an answer, you don’t have enough time”.
    There was a federal investigation, it didn’t go well for Philadelphia public schools. The words conspiracy and fraud being prominently utilized frequently in the report.

    Meanwhile, your blanket statement would leave magistramarla with a substantially smaller family, by condemning their young family members to death by public school allergen exposure.

    What was outlined elsewhere in the comments was workable, the school district making help to parents, text books, coaching and standardized testing available and even mandatory for the parents to utilize.

  47. wzrd1 says

    nomaduk @ 53, there’s an old joke that speaks to that phenomenon. “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t do neither, manage”.
    Many assume it’s a knock on teachers, but it’s really a despairing comment on management and abysmal pay and hiring practices. That was exacerbated by “teach to the test”, while never assuring comprehension was present for what became rote memorization of test answers.
    Then, the school boards became hopelessly contaminated with tea…
    Resulting in graduates that need a year or two of remedial education in college, with many not making it to college as they can’t read or write beyond the 5th grade level, if that.

  48. says

    I work with a lot of home-schooled kids at my job—I work as a studio teacher, working with child actors on film sets. (If it’s a schoolday, they’re required to have at least three hours of schooling on set; if it’s not a schoolday, they’re not required to have schooltime on set, but a studio teacher is still legally required to be there because it’s also my job to look after the kids’ welfare, making sure the production isn’t working them too many hours or having them do anything else dangerous, inappropriate, or illegal.) Not all child actors are homeschooled, but a significant proportion are.

    The child actors I work with generally seem to be doing well with homeschooling, but they’re definitely not a representative random sample of homeschooled students. For one thing, they’re generally homeschooled for practical reasons, not ideological, just because it makes it easier to work around their schedules. For another, child actors tend to be bright and motivated kids who are good at keeping themselves on task. (As a matter of fact, one of the requirements for a child to get an entertainment work permit is to present evidence of satisfactory academic progress, so a kid who is struggling scholastically can’t work on set anyway; child actors are commonly straight A students.) Also, most if not all of them make use of online programs that provide curricula and regular contact with teachers; it’s not just the parents trying to educate the kids on their own. So while I’ve seen kids apparently thrive with homeschooling, that’s because of special circumstances and definitely not indicative that homeschooling is always a good idea.

  49. wzrd1 says

    JSNuttall @ 56, that’s more like personal tutor/teaching. Something generally only available for the extremely wealthy or royalty. A wee bit different than parental based homeschooling.
    The teacher, an degreed educational professional vs undegreed (typically) parents.
    Gotta be a bear to get into when starting out, unless one’s worked in a traditional educational environment for a number of years first.

  50. says

    wzrd1 @ 57: The kids aren’t on set every day. I’m referring to their schooling when they’re not on set. Very few child actors are actually on set more than a few days a month. Unless they’re a series regular or a lead in big feature films or in the very tiny fraction of actors who work comparably frequently, the on-set schooling with a studio teacher makes up only a small part of their education. The rest of the time, they go to school the same as other kids. Again, not all or necessarily even the majority of child actors are homeschooled; many, probably most (I don’t know the exact percentages), attend public schools when they’re not on set. Typically they get their assignments for the days they’ll be on set in advance from their regular teachers, and I just supervise them and make sure they get the time to do their schoolwork on set, and help them out if necessary (which it often isn’t; again, child actors tend to be bright and self-motivated kids). Sometimes they finish all the schoolwork their regular teacher assigned them before the required three hours are up, and then I have to find something else educational for them to do for the rest of the required schooltime (reading, online math activities, etc.). At the end of the day, I give them a school report recording that they had the required three hours of schooling on set from a certified studio teacher, and their school excuses their absence.

    However, as I said, a significant proportion of child actors are homeschooled when they’re not on set. This seems to work out well for them, but it’s not really representative of homeschooled children in general, for the reasons stated in my previous post.

  51. slebaud says

    It’s astounding that save for #46, the majority commenting here are not direct homeschoolers and that the overwhelming feedback is negative (“I can’t think of a single advantage”, say what?). Let me give you just one. Teacher/Student ratio. How’s that for starters? Homeschoolers have a huge advantage over state taught kids when it comes to special attention. And not only that, but who’s better placed to know my children’s likes and dislikes, learning ability and preferences? Don’t get me started about peer pressure! And before you can even begin to say “yea, well what about socialization …”, let me pre-empt you quickly. What do you think is best for a society? A child who learns to bond with children his age, and not one year older, and not one year younger, or a child who is part of a community of other children (siblings, neighbors, other homeschooled kids) AND, wait for it, ADULTS! Perhaps schools are doing better nowadays to avoid this age segregation, but I don’t see it. You’re 12, you’re in this class and all day you’ll spend it with 12 year old just like you, and forget about befriending someone a grade above or below you.

    Most homeschooled kids I met (the secular and non-secular kind) were just as comfortable striking up a conversation with their aged peers as with adults. That’s the society we live in once we enter the work force. Advantage: homeschooled kids (I’m NOT talking about sanitized homeschooled kids who are stuck in a room learning history from a Bible and who are “protected” from their society and culture).

    Also, I am secular, not well off, and no PhD for this fellow. My wife (mostly) and I homeschooled four children from the get-go. All four are grown up now ranging from 27 to 19. It’s not about knowing things, it’s about knowing your kid and guiding your child to learn to love to learn.

    Did we succeed? I’m sure some here would be horrified to know that my oldest graduated and proudly told me, “Dad, I never read a book”. I know I was horrified. But he listened to them instead, he made use of the technology, and at 27 he’s a successful business owner with four employees and a huge network of friends and co-workers in his machinery business. A kid like that, in the system, could have failed tremendously!

    My daughter is studying in IT. My other daughter is closing in her second year at an HR job. My youngest is still looking for himself. (And those three do read, LOL). They all have their strengths and weaknesses, like any kid would coming out of the system.

    Admittedly, this is my experience. I cannot speak of all homeschoolers. Nor am I attempting to. Homeschooling is such a vague term (free style where the child ‘comes up’ with the curriculum all the way to recreating a classroom in the home where a parent can actually use the school system’s curriculum, with hourly schedules and all). But for those who so denigrate it, let a first hand homeschooler tell you, yes it can work and it has its place in a free society.

  52. says

    @slebaud LOL what is this drivel? Parents are not teachers! Not educated as such, not qualified as such, and certainly unable to perform as such, as proven during the pandemic.
    Leave the teaching to actual teachers, and get a life.

  53. John Morales says


    @slebaud LOL what is this drivel?

    The word for it is ‘testimony’.

    You may or may not believe it, but to dismiss it a priori is no better than to ignore anyone else’s lived experience.

  54. Silentbob says

    @ ^

    It’s not a matter of not believing it knucklehead. A parent may tell a credible story of performing home surgery on their child without any medical qualifications.
    The point is children have a human right to education from qualified professionals, regardless of the whims of their parents.

  55. Rob Grigjanis says

    Some parents (no doubt a small minority) can provide a better education than their local school can. Nothing particularly outrageous about that idea, especially given some of the teachers I encountered in my childhood, including a non-trivial number of pedophiles.

    Generally, yeah – public education better than home schooling. But comparing home schooling to “home surgery”, or saying it’s like “spanking OK” is just silly.

  56. John Morales says

    SullenBib, you do amuse when you attempt to preach to me.

    It’s not a matter of not believing it knucklehead.

    Whatever makes you imagine I thought it was a matter of not believing it?
    First, I was responding to a specific ejaculation, which I quoted in full, and second, since I wrote “You may or may not believe it” indicating that it was irrelevant to the consideration at hand, which is that testimony was called drivel.
    No, my point (the one you are missing entirely) is that it is testimony, not drivel.

    Do you even get that if it makes no difference whether or not belief is given, that I am not trying to insinuate that it’s about “not believing it knucklehead”?


    The point is children have a human right to education from qualified professionals, regardless of the whims of their parents.

    Again: “@slebaud LOL what is this drivel?”

    It was a weak attempted putdown, and I noted that.
    Too obliquely for you, of course, though I actually wrote it quite explicitly.

    It was neither nonsense nor meaningless nor irrelevant, and certainly not drivel.

    (One can see who is a knucklehead, that’s for sure)

  57. says

    Yes, John, we can all see that YOU are a knucklehead.
    I called it drivel because it WAS drivel. Meaningless blather, designed to make excuses for child abuse. If you’re too dumb to understand that, I’m sorry — I don’t have any crayons left to draw you a diagram.

  58. John Morales says

    I called it drivel because it WAS drivel.

    Do you actually know what the meaning of ‘drivel’ is?

    Meaningless blather, designed to make excuses for child abuse.

    If it were truly meaningless, it could not excuse anything, could it?

    (Designed drivel is an oxymoron)

    If you’re too dumb to understand that, I’m sorry — I don’t have any crayons left to draw you a diagram.

    Your apology is appreciated, but misplaced.
    I understand what you are trying to express in your clumsy manner, but I think it lacks merit.

    And you are very confused when you imagine drivel could excuse anything (however imaginary) even in principle.

    (You need crayons, oh my!)

  59. wzrd1 says

    JSNuttall @ 58, not an indictment of homeschooling or child actors, as you said and I agree, those full time on set are a massive minority.
    And schooled a bit, well, better. Individualized education is always better, assuming a good instructor.
    And that isn’t indicting our educational system, which already was convicted. Don’t know an educator that would’ve love to give individualized education to one and all. But, massive needs get massive efforts to minimize effort…

    @John, crayons? I’m hungry! Got any green ones?
    As for child abuse, I’ve never gotten into that one, I’m too big on majority abuse. You know, beating down adults that abuse children, using my elder’s adult cane, knees, elbows and fists (one of the rare times I’ll actually willingly use fists) and probably my more toxic bites on internal organs.
    My wife and I both shared a common trait, protect children. Probably due to 16 pregnancies, 2 live births, one ectopic pregnancy. Harm a child, I’ll crush your soul, then hurt you.

  60. beholder says

    I wonder how many people unconditionally trashing on homeschooling in this thread are sending or have sent their kids to private schools, to keep them away from the riff-raff.

    From the perspective of benefit to the general public, there’s little difference between the two.

  61. KG says

    I wonder how many people unconditionally trashing on homeschooling in this thread are sending or have sent their kids to private schools, to keep them away from the riff-raff. – beholder@69

    Do you have any evidence that any of them have?

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