Homeschooling Is Finally Condemned in the National Media

Finally, the tragedy of homeschooled children is getting attention from the national media:

Powell was taught at home, his parents using a religious exemption that allows families to entirely opt out of public education, a Virginia law that is unlike any other in the country. That means that not only are their children excused from attending school — as those educated under the state’s home-school statute are — but they also are exempt from all government oversight.

School officials don’t ever ask them for transcripts, test scores or proof of education of any kind: Parents have total control.

This is real progress because just a couple of years ago I was cyberbullied and cyberstalked by a bunch of deranged hysterics for saying exactly what this article says.

93 thoughts on “Homeschooling Is Finally Condemned in the National Media

  1. This reminds me of something I wanted to ask your opinion about…..One day, I came to my office and discovered a voicemail from a homeschooling mother who asked me an absolutely inane question (truly embarrassingly ignorant) and rather imperiously asked me to call her back with the answer so that she and her son could continue their “studies.” I have since discovered that this is a fairly common homeschooling tactic: in other words, homeschooling parents apparently call or sometimes “pop in” on teachers and professors when they “need an answer” to some question. I find the whole thing irritating. Not only does it signify a disregard for the time of a professional but I also find it hypocritical. If schools are so repugnant to their worldview, they shouldn’t rely on teachers and professors when convenient.

    Anyway, I didn’t call this woman back and she thankfully never called again. But I wonder what I would have done had she called me while I was in my office and I answered the phone. My instinct is to refuse to answer the question because I find homeschooling so repugnant. But then again, I feel bad for the child and wouldn’t want to deprive anybody of a bit of “real education.” What would you do if that happened to you? Refuse to answer? Or take pity on the poor homeschooled child and answer for his/her sake?

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    1. Let’s say you feel compassion for the child and offer an answer. How can you be sure that the parent will transmit it correctly and not mangle it beyond all recognition? I don’t think you can be sure that the retelling of the response heard over the phone will be of a very high quality. And then you run the risk of people saying, “Well, Professor Evelina at College X taught us that . . .” followed by some complete atrocity.

      So no, I don’t think I would offer second-hand instruction over the phone. Id say, “I’m sorry, but this is something best learned in a classroom setting and not over the phone.”

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  2. There are people that do homeschool wrong, but there are also those that do it right. People think that we need the government to provide education for everyone. Some need it, some don’t. A great deal of classroom education is a joke too. In fact, most classroom education is failing in a lot of ways. If a parent thinks they can do it better, why shouldn’t they try?

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    1. Because a child should not be held hostage to an ignorant and abusive parent’s uninformed thinking. In today’s reality, life without any knowledge, any marketable skills, any communication skills, etc. is not very pleasant. And why should children be subjected to this? Just to give some bored housewife a sense that she is not completely useless?

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      1. C’mon clarissa… You are making so many generalizations and assumptions in this one paragraph that I don’t even know where to start. It makes you seem vastly uneducated yourself. And I don’t blame you… You probably picked up some of your own bad habits in the classroom just like I did. If you want to have a real conversation about this, do some research.

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      2. “There are people that do homeschool wrong, but there are also those that do it right.”

        People love to stay stuff like this, repeat it again and again like trained parrots, but it never gets any closer to resembling a coherent thought. If you don’t want to have an opinion on homeschooling, just say so. Or better yet, don’t say anything at all.

        There is no reason to ever assume an unqualified parent can educate a child as well as a trained professional. Nobody can fly a plane or operate heavy machinery without proper training. There may be a rare civilian out there who can fly a plane as well as a trained pliot, but that doesn’t mean you should trust the lives of 200 passengers to just anyone. This is children’s futures we’re talking about. It’s not something you can wave away with “live and let live”.

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    2. Actually, the article just says that homeschoolers should be held to certain educational standards and that children who want to leave homeschool for public school should be allowed to do so.

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      1. The problem is that for such children it is incredibly difficult to express their wishes to the parents and make themselves heard. If you are completely isolated from the world by the parents (which is strategy #1 in any abusive family), asserting your will in anything, let alone something this major, becomes impossible.

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  3. I just think you assume and generalize quite a bit when it comes to both home school and classroom education.

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      1. I’ve already freely admitted that some do homeschooling wrong, it would be good for you to depict the reality though. That is that a lot of people do it right. It’s not wrong for everyone.

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        1. It is absolutely wrong for everyone for reasons that have been listed in detail. Are you capable of a dialogue, or do you just repeat the same thing over and over again and pretend you are discussing something?

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          1. How could you say it’s wrong for everybody? That makes absolutely no sense. That statement is completely false concerning the many success stories that have come from home school.
            If you could support any of your statements, I would stop saying that you’re generalizing. But you can’t because you’ve made definitive statements that just are not true. I’ll call you out every time you do it.
            The truth is, Not every mother is worthless, their are many methods of home schooling, and you don’t see the world the way it is, you see it the way you are. Don’t expect what you think to be true for everyone. This is why you can’t generalize like you have. You have to base things on principle. Like liberty… Any parent has the ability to choose to put their kids in school or teach them at home. It’s taking away freedom when you say nobody has that right.

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            1. OK, can you try and concentrate? Your freedom ends where the freedom of another human being begins. Children are human beings. Are you capable of processing this simple idea or will you continue repeating the same boring and meaningless set of slogans?

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              1. Look clarissa, I think you have blinders on. Its obvious to me that you’ll keep to your guns. Which would be admirable except you obviously can’t do it without belittling or condescending those that may disagree with you. So I am not going to try and direct this reply to you. Instead, I’ll leave this hear for others to read. Yes, Children have freedom too. But you can’t leave it up to a five year old to make some of the most important decisions. That’s where parents come in. Some are good and some are bad. But, if we assume the good in people rather than the bad, (which seems to be the trend in politics and so called academics like clarissa) Then we have to assume that they will have their best interest in mind when they make those decisions. I can’t, however, say the same thing for the government. The governments purpose is to provide options not to take them away. The more we give the government reign over things that should begin and be based in the home. The more freedom we will lose. You can see it happening over the last hundred years and its continuing today. So no, home school isn’t right for every family, but neither is public school. It’s up to the parent to provide education for their children and that can mean many things. If someone like Clarissa really wanted to help, It would be better to help parents be better educated about both the pro’s and con’s that, in reality, exist in all the options and then allow them their agency.

                It’s people like Clarissa that made me want to leave formal higher education in pursuit of my own education that is personalized to my goals and dreams. We often get bogged down in a system that says there is only one right way to achieve success, but history tells us otherwise. There are many ways to be successful. The only thing that should be the same, are the principles that made up the foundation for all of the worlds success in the past and have proven the test of time. If we disregard these, we can never say we are educated.

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              2. Buddy, I have to say, you made a really lousy decision when you chose not to get educated. Your intellectual impotence and non-existent verbal skills are embarrassing to observe. You can’t even follow what is being said here. This is just sad.

                You can’t even use the apostrophe and have no understanding of the difference between the singular and the plural. Maybe you should stop embarrassing yourself on blogs and go read a textbook for second graders.

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              3. Well, I’m on my phone and I don’t care much for that when I’m on my phone. But also, I’m so glad that I can treat people with respect when confronting them. Maybe you could read a book on how to treat people for second graders. If this is education, I don’t want it.

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              4. Call it pity… I feel sorry for you. But also, I’m giving up. I’m just rolling with the pigs here.

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              5. Once again, you’re pulling ideas from thin air. Didn’t they teach you what assuming does to people while you were in school? I never said anything about you caring about my feelings. And don’t pride yourself in thinking you’ve hurt mine. Also, you should look up what maturity means. In the world outside of Clarissa’s, putting down other people because they think differently would be considered immature. You should venture outside your little bubble more often.

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              6. And I really dig if how every comment you make is just a collection of meaningless verbal cliches. It’s like you don’t have a voice of your own and just parrot the stuff you heard on crappy TV shows.

                I will now direct people who doubt the value of education to this thread so they can see your comments and get really scared.

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    1. “It’s taking away freedom when you say nobody has that right.”

      What about the rights of the child to receive a basic well-rounded education? What about the rights of the child to have some personal space free from excessive parental involvement? The decision to homeschool can’t be undone. It’s not like an 18 year old can go back to Kindergarten and start over. This language of “parental freedom” drives me crazy. Children aren’t property.

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  4. “If a parent thinks they can do it better, why shouldn’t they try?’

    In my opinion, there is no such thing as “doing homeschooling right.” Children need school in order to explore identities and interests without their parents hovering. In the homeschooling model, the parent is always there: at every social event; at every education activity, and at every extra-curricular activity. And that’s the fundamental problem with homeschooling. Children need a break from even the best parents. I think that parents who homeschool are profoundly selfish and are trying to ensure that they are the one and only influence on their children’s lives.

    I also think that there is no way that one person can adequately provide a strong education from birth to 18. It’s just not possible. I have advanced degrees in both Education and English and there is no way that I could teach math or science to high school students. Quite frankly, I don’t think I could teach science much beyond fifth grade and I’m more educated that the majority of homeschooling parents. Really, only someone with an extremely inflated ego can possibly think that they have the expertise of 40 adults (by the age of 18, the average students has had about 40 teachers.)

    I could go on and on about this subject. But I will stop here. Quite frankly, I think homeschooling is immoral and abusive and I hope it becomes outlawed one day.

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    1. I agree with everything Evelina said 100%. Even a parent with an encyclopedic erudition who is a Nobel Prize winner and a world authority on child psychology will not be able to provide what any regular school does: a variety of experience, time away from parental gaze, free and uninhibited interaction with peers, existence outside of parental authority, self-management, self-motivation, etc.

      And it isn’t like there are any homeschooling Nobel Prize winners, so we are left with people who are social, academic and professional losers depriving their children of everything I just listed because of their own immaturity and social phobias.

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  5. Homeschooling does not have to mean all instruction is by parents. It just means children are not in a school setting 8-3 Monday through Friday. For example: In my city there’s a program for homeschoolers that offers classes taught by the same teachers who work at area schools. The homeschoolers can participate in this for one, two, or three days a week. These are classes in a *classroom*, with peers and a teacher, no parents present.

    People are different and while many children do best in a formal school for five days a week, there are others who are fine with three days and some for whom five days is not enough.

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    1. I’m guessing these children are being trained for only being able to hold down a part-time job in the future? It is curious that parents would think it’s a good idea to prepare their kids so aggressively for something like that in today’s economy. It’s like even the most remote hope that they will ever have full-time employment is denied to them from the start.

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        1. I’m not talking about homeschooling but about the model you describe. I’m also not talking about college. These are profoundly different developmental stages that cannot be compared. People who are trained from early on to be away from home and in a structured hierarchical environment with their peers are a lot less traumatized by the demands of a workplace than people who aren’t.

          I was kept at home until age 7 and when I did go to school, it was torture. I still cannot even contemplate working a regular 9 to 5 job. This was a crippling experience for me.

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  6. // I still cannot even contemplate working a regular 9 to 5 job.

    Why do you think it’s 100% because of being at home until age 7? And not, for example, your personality and, partly because of autism, needing more time alone? And 9 to 5 job, plus travelling time to and from it, not leaving people any free time for 5/6 days a week, which is truly hard? Plenty of people never went to kindergarten and hold 9 to 5 jobs.

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    1. “Why do you think it’s 100% because of being at home until age 7? And not, for example, your personality and, partly because of autism, needing more time alone?”

      – Personality and autism don’t come out of nowhere. They are a result of my life experiences. I couldn’t fit in at 7 and I feel like I haven’t caught up 100% until now. Whatever I do, I’m still behind.

      “Plenty of people never went to kindergarten and hold 9 to 5 jobs.”

      – The issue is how easy or hard they find it and how much they need to compensate as a result.

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  7. It never fails to surprise me how many people defend homeschooling or defend the “rights” of parents to homeschool. And in this regard I’m not surprised by the homeschooling parents (of course they are going to defend their decision to homeschool); I’m surpised by the defences of those who were not homeschooled and who don’t plan to homeschool their children. Even Libby Anne, whose blog provides a great deal of useful information about the horrors of homeschooling always feels compelled to state that homeschooling CAN be good. Why do so many feel so compelled to defend this insane practise? I really don’t understand this cultural investment in homeschooling.

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    1. “Even Libby Anne, whose blog provides a great deal of useful information about the horrors of homeschooling always feels compelled to state that homeschooling CAN be good. Why do so many feel so compelled to defend this insane practise? ”

      – I share your bewilderment. People are so invested into proving that homeschooling can work that they never even try to answer what is it that makes it so necessary to try to make it work. It’s a complete mystery.

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      1. They don’t have to prove that it can work. There are success stories. Pretty big ones. If you’d do some objective research, you’d have found them already.

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        1. Instead, we have found you, a really sad failure. Man, people will think I made you up to illustrate my point that only the grievously uneducated can defend home schooling.

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  8. Some schools are bad. Are all schools bad? No, some are great, some are average and some are bad. Is all learning at home bad? No, some homeschooling families are great, some are average, and some are not teaching correctly and have learners yearning to learn, but not able to do so under the home circumstances.

    Do I know everything? No, I have a curriculum that guides my children to the scope and sequence of their particular grade level. I have certified teachers available to answer questions (or usually to fix a computer glitch that scored a test incorrectly, that just happened the other day.) Do I sit on my butt all day and let the kids wander down the path of learning? No, I read books on everything, I guide them along, I read out loud to them (currently The Odyssey) and I take classes. Right now I am taking (for my own personal benefit) Art and Inquiry: Museum teaching strategies for your classroom (taught on-line by MOMA, 4 week class), in 2 weeks I have Calculus (on-line by Ohio SU, 14 weeks) and a month after that I have a course on Ancient Greece (on-line from Wesleyan University, 7 weeks.) I’m sure that I will put all three courses to good use at some point in the future, whether it’s teaching my own children or offering a co-op class to our homeschool group.

    But, why do I invest my time into this venture? I love being around my kids. I love seeing that aha! moment and we have fun. Today we did math, wrote sentences, read a chapter from The Odyssey and then went on a 2 mile hike up a mountain. (We school year round, we do less formal schooling in the Summer, but we keep up with math, reading and writing almost every day so there is retention and I don’t have to reteach material that got lost over Summer break.)

    It works for us, it doesn’t work for everyone. I know people in my homeschool group that should really put their kids in school (and I urge them to do it.) I don’t tell them that it will get better or that it will get easier, because honestly, if if isn’t working it won’t work. Some people kid themselves into thinking that their kids will love it, and they don’t and won’t. When I see that, I tell them that public schools are not evil and that maybe their kids would do better (and their family’s functioning would be better) if they did put their kids in school. But, I can’t make that decision for them (which is too bad.)

    Anyway, I hope this gets posted (I’ll try to go around the system on my end) and I hope that the dandelion root is working out for you and that your baby is blessed with good health (and you too) upon delivery.

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  9. I would have gone mad if I’d been around my parents 24/7. Life in school is a kid’s private space away from parents. I think some parents object to their kids having private space, a life away from them, because for them parenting is all about the parent, not the child and they cannot keep their noses out of their kids’ affairs.

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    1. You are absolutely right. It cannot possibly be in the best interests of any child to be deprived of personal space and separate existence. But it’s impossible to get this point across to people.

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  10. You have to wonder how all our ancestors did it before school came around? Oh yeah, their parents taught them everything!

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  11. “You have to wonder how all our ancestors did it before school came around? Oh yeah, their parents taught them everything!”

    This is a profound (though sadly common) misunderstanding of history. Obviously “history” is very long and there is no one uniform way that children were educated and I am generalizing and simplifying here. But this is the basic thrust….So education was radically different depending on social class: there was a “middle class/wealthy” experience and a “poor” experience. Poor children went to work very very early. Generally at the age of 5 or 6 (which is what we consider school age) the children in poor families were making money. And, even in families where the children did not work quite so early, poor children did not see their parents much during the day as both parents worked. (Pre-industrialization, this work was generally agrarian and post industrialization, this work was factory oriented.) Even after compulsory education laws were enacted, many poor families would keep their children out of school because they needed their income.

    Regarding middle class/wealthy children….they perhaps saw their parents even less than poor children. Boys were first educated by a Nanny (from infancy), then by a series of tutors. Before boarding schools became common, boys went to universities very early (around 15 or so if not earlier) but boarding schools became the norm for genteel boys very early on. Boys were also sent to travel the world to “finish” their education and often did so at 16 or so. Young girls did not have quite as broad an experience but they still tended to follow the Nanny/Governess sort of trajectory. Either way, parents had very little to do with the formal schooling no their children.

    So the idea that parents should be the ones in sole charge of their children’s education is very very new. In fact, the very idea that one parent stays at home with the child all day is very new. Pre WWII, the model of one parent and one child at home alone all day was unheard of. So really we are sort of in the middle of a culture shift here and radically different approaches to parenting have quickly developed over the last 70 years are so. Some of these developments are good; some of these developments are not so good. But make no mistake, this isn’t the way our ancestors handled child rearing or education.

    Sorry of the lengthy and pedantic post. I am not sure anybody managed to read this all! But this is something I actually know a fair amount about and I felt compelled to provide some historical context. 🙂

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    1. “Oh yeah, their parents taught them everything!””

      – Given that until the XIXth century – when compulsory public education began to be instituted, over 90% of population was illiterate, “their parents” taught them nothing. The children of the aristocracy who were the only ones who were literate were not educated by parents either. Where do you think the tradition of the famous borading schools in European countries came from?

      Come on, folks, we are an educated bunch on this blog, let’s not spread weird childish myths about “our ancestors.”

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    2. “So the idea that parents should be the ones in sole charge of their children’s education is very very new. In fact, the very idea that one parent stays at home with the child all day is very new. Pre WWII, the model of one parent and one child at home alone all day was unheard of.”

      – Exactly. This is something I never manage to get across to my students who are convinced that the model of family life they see on TV shows from the 1950s is how things were historically starting from the times of the Roman Empire.

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    3. “Sorry of the lengthy and pedantic post. I am not sure anybody managed to read this all! But this is something I actually know a fair amount about and I felt compelled to provide some historical context.”

      – No, this is a brilliant comment. For some reason, even very intelligent people slip into strange uninformed stereotypes when the issue is mentioned.

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    4. @Evelina

      Well, if you want to give us a history lesson why not go even further back. I wonder what you have to say about pre agricultural societies. 🙂

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  12. Evelina, I read it! Very informative and interesting, thank you. It is incredible how frequently people will spew out comments based on nothing but ignorance (ahem, Titfotat).

    Liese, how sad that you justify your decision to homeschool by purely selfish reasons. You were answering your own question of why you do it & nothing in the answer referred to how your children benefit from this. YOU are happy doing this, YOU like to monopolize the special moments of their lives, YOU don’t want to go over the same material. Of course, now you will go on to provide me with a monologue on how ecstatic your children are being stuck with you, but your first gut response was all about you. Unfortunately this is what homeschooling is all about – selfish parents (usually bored mommas who don’t want to hold a real job). My heart aches.

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    1. That’s because most people do ask why I do it and do not ask why my kids choose to stay at home rather than go to school. My children are free to choose the local public school, but they haven’t chosen that as yet. Like I said, schools aren’t evil, my children would rather (right now) have more time to pursue their individual interests which they could not do if there were in a 7-3 public school. (For instance, my 14 y/o is shadowing a respiratory therapist, from 9-11am, which is the only time they were available to do the shadowing.)

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      1. “My children are free to choose the local public school, but they haven’t chosen that as yet. ”

        – I have addressed the issue of why children do not have any real choice in this matter about 6 times within this very thread. Let’s at least be honest here. Getting a parent to hear what the parent doesn’t want to hear is an impossible task even for a completely independent adult, let alone for a fully dependent child.

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      2. And when will your children start getting used to a 9-5 / 7-3 or a similar schedule VS pursuing their personal interest at any moment they want to? Or perhaps you hope they too will stay at home and not work?

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      3. My son works a midnight to 7am shift as a security guard while going to the local college to finish his EMT training. He didn’t seem to have any trouble going from a 9-1 pm school schedule to his current position. Not everyone has 9-5 job that they work. I was just using the shadowing as an example of a time constraint that someone else is imposing because it works for them.

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  13. The people in the article are borderline. Outliers. Eleven kids. Where are the child protective services? Lack of education is only a small part of what is wrong with this disastrous family. We all pay for their lunacy.

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  14. Take Clarissa’s advice… let the children speak for themselves and demand the education of their choice. If they want to choose a government school, they should have those rights. I’m sure they’ll make the right choice. And there’s NO WAY a ‘housewife’ will be more qualified than a government school teacher. I’ve met government teachers and they’re ALL BRILLIANT, highly motivated, dedicated, and will always present all sides of an issue so the student can draw their own conclusions. Because that’s how they roll in government schools. You tell ’em Clarissa! Power to the children!

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    1. Another person incapable of reading what is being written. It is fascinating how many illiterates and people incapable of processing what is being said such discussions invariably attract.

      If you concentrate just a tiny little bit, I’m sure you will notice how it was reiterated in this thread that children of such abusive homes find it incredibly hard to voice any wish their abusive parents do not welcome. Keep concentrating and maybe you will even manage to catch up with the discussion.

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      1. Sorry, Clarissa. If this blog of yours is not a discussion. You’ve made your case and you have the right to do so. Some thoughtful people have attempted to present a different viewpoint and you’ve shut them down with condescension and ridicule. If you really want a discussion, you’re the one that needs to take a deep breath and allow different views to be presented.

        You’re actually doing exactly what government schools have prepared your for… presenting one view and shooting down anyone else. This is exactly why alternatives to government school (including private schools) are THRIVING today.

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        1. It is a mistake to believe that all opinions are worthy of attention and respect. You have to prove that you are a worthy discussion partner first and you, KBeans, have failed to convince me of your value in this role. It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you are an interesting, thinking, intellectual individual whose opinions have merit. For now, you have not succeeded in demonstrating anything of the kind.

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  15. Our local public schools are horrible. My stepson graduated with a high school diploma and failed to get a temp job at Manpower because he couldn’t pass their basic literacy and numeracy tests. He failed the driver’s licensing exam several times because he couldn’t read well enough to understand the questions. He ended up having the test read aloud to him and the questions explained before he was able to pass it. We have a few private schools in our area but they are all very religious and we are not. I realize that those who dislike home education like to assume that all of the folks who end up teaching their kids at home do it for religious reasons, but the reality is that some of us are simply desperate for our kids to get a decent education.
    I actually agree with you about the poor academic standards of people who homeschool for religious reasons. I also have a problem with the private religious schools that are popular with Amish, Mennonite, and Evangelical Christian groups in my area.
    Since you believe that all home education is wrong, what would you do if you lived in an area with terrible public schools and no secular private schools? It isn’t helpful to opt out of the question by simply saying ‘move’, and brushing off the issue by insisting one should “try to change the school system” is clearly not realistic or helpful. Would you sacrifice your children to six hours a day in a school notorious for low academic standards and call it good? Would you try to find some other way to educate your kids? What are the options for families in low performing public school districts? Should we enroll the kids in a religious school and run the risk of not only a poor education but indoctrination into bizarre religious ideas? Should we take a chance on one of the controversial cyber charter schools? These are real questions real families like mine have had to deal with. Public education is failing kids in more than one area and more and more families have to find a solution. We need practical solutions, not starry-eyed idealistic rhetoric on ‘being the change’.

    We do live in a state in which home education is carefully regulated and parents are required to submit evidence that their kids are learning on schedule. Personally, I would like to see all children in our state, including kids enrolled in the private religious schools (which teach creationism and other odd ideas), homeschool kids and public school kids take the same standardized tests every year. I would like to see a basic competency exam required before any kid is allowed to ‘drop out’ or in the case of the Amish, ‘graduate’ from eighth grade. I’d like to see kids required to pass a stringent exam before a high school diploma is granted, with no way to circumvent the requirement by ‘graduating’ from a private religious school or homeschool. I’d like to see academic standards, real standards, enforced for all kids because I think that is the real issue, rather than arguing over where the education takes place and who is doing the teaching.

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    1. “My stepson graduated with a high school diploma and failed to get a temp job at Manpower because he couldn’t pass their basic literacy and numeracy tests. He failed the driver’s licensing exam several times because he couldn’t read well enough to understand the questions. He ended up having the test read aloud to him and the questions explained before he was able to pass it.”

      – Ok, let me see if I understand this. This poor kid has such horrible, indifferent parents that they don’t notice he is functionally illiterate at 18. And the solution to this tragedy would have been to lock him at home all day long with these same horrible indifferent parents, right? Because the problem is that bad, evil school-teachers prevented them from paying any attention to their son at all in these 18 years. is this what you are saying?

      “I realize that those who dislike home education like to assume that all of the folks who end up teaching their kids at home do it for religious reasons, but the reality is that some of us are simply desperate for our kids to get a decent education.”

      – Has something prevented you from reading my posts on the subject and avoiding directing these ridiculous laments to me? Why should I be subjected to your bizarre fantasies as to what other people assume? My position on homeschooling is that it is something that abusive, infantile, horrible parents with no life of their own engage in.

      “I actually agree with you about the poor academic standards of people who homeschool for religious reasons. ”

      – OK, I’m ending this exchange now because you have obviously not read a word I have to say on the subject. You are just one of those trolls who travel from site to site with their pre-written rants and are completely incapable of entering into an actual dialogue with anybody. Leaving the whole issue of homeschooling aside, I pity any child who has to spend any time at all with somebody so incapable of entering into an actual dialogue with others. How can you socialize anybody if you are so lacking in basic social skills yourself?

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    2. “Since you believe that all home education is wrong, what would you do if you lived in an area with terrible public schools and no secular private schools? Would you sacrifice your children to six hours a day in a school notorious for low academic standards and call it good?”

      – On a very distant hope that you are capable of allowing any idea to sink into your brain, I will respond. I went to a Soviet school compared to which all American schools with no exception are phenomenal. So please don’t give me this boring drama about teh supposed horror of American schools. Obviously, all of my vast store of knowledge was accumulated outside of my school. However, my parents did not sacrifice my socialization and normal age-appropriate behavior by locking me at home away from my peers. Because guess what? This is what even the worst school on the planet gives a child and what not even the most phenomenal parent can provide. And guess what else? This is what I named as the main problem of homeschooling. You would have known that had you actually read what I have to say.

      And in the future, please just read the what I wrote about homeschooling before ranting. It’s all in there and it’s extremely annoying to have to respond for the gazillionth time to people who are congenitally incapable of any form of communication but monologizing.

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  16. “Since you believe that all home education is wrong, what would you do if you lived in an area with terrible public schools and no secular private schools?”

    What would I do? Well I would send them to the best public school in the immediate area. I understand moving is not an option but generally moving to a good district would be. As a former public school teacher myself, I have found that the stories of “terrible public schooling” are grossly grossly exaggerated. So I feel confident that there is some school somewhere in the immediate area that is at least somewhat decent. I would look for a school that was pretty, pleasant, with nice, cheerful teachers, and an administration that promoted extra curricular activities. As long as my child felt safe and happy, I would be satisfied.

    In order to meet their academic needs, I would supplement at home. Buy lots of books; provide a text rich environment; take the child to the museum and concerts; if s/he is so inclined, enroll the child in youth theatre; find a cultural summer camp; take them to fun science demonstrations etc etc. They are only in school for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year. Parents can more than make up for lacking academics in ways that are fun and interesting for the child

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    1. “In order to meet their academic needs, I would supplement at home. Buy lots of books; provide a text rich environment; take the child to the museum and concerts; if s/he is so inclined, enroll the child in youth theatre; find a cultural summer camp; take them to fun science demonstrations etc etc. ”

      – Exactly. Normally, adults are at work in the hours when school is in anyways. And in the evenings and on weekends they can be doing a lot to create learning opportunities for children. If they feel that school somehow prevents them from doing all this, I think they are just looking for excuses. I see absolutely no reason why parents should limit their educational endeavors to those hours when children could be at school.

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  17. Hmmm…while I agree that homeschooling is a far inferior option than a comprehensive education, I would want to reserve the right to teach my child privately if the school in my area was teaching to a poor standard and I couldn’t afford to move or send him/her to a private school. I would also reserve the right to do that if my son/daughter was in a public school where harm would come to him/her physically. Not tp mention the intellectuak harm, there are some schools in the US that are openly teaching creationism.

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    1. “Not tp mention the intellectuak harm, there are some schools in the US that are openly teaching creationism.”

      – The harm that creationism will cause is minuscule compared with the horrible developmental damage of being deprived of normal socialization. I was openly and insistently taught Leninism at my school for many years. This did not make me a Leninist because my parents held different beliefs. But I was not deprived of normal developmental environment and locked at home with a parent to avoid the non-existent damage of Leninist teachings.

      “I would also reserve the right to do that if my son/daughter was in a public school where harm would come to him/her physically.”

      – Children who get bullied at school are the ones bullied at home. Don’t be a bully and no harm will come to your child.

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      1. – Children who get bullied at school are the ones bullied at home. Don’t be a bully and no harm will come to your child.

        This tends to be true. If the parent makes a point of undermining some aspect of the child’s confidence, then that becomes a point of vulnerability that others can easily exploit.

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          1. Sometimes they think that by injuring their children they will prevent them from being too assertive and being stomped on. I believe this was my father’s philosophy with me. Stamp her down, because it is better I do this now than others do this later. Also, “If others are bullying her, this means I have not done enough work in teaching her discipline.”

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          2. It’s not just parents who can’t see that this is problematic though. Nobody wants to see it, even when you point it out. They assert that even to see that there is parental bullying means you have evil within. So they try to purge your evil, because they don’t like what you see. They like the three wise monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

            But my memoir addresses the issue of evil.

            People read it and criticize my character, pointing out its flaws.

            I don’t mind, really. That is actually a very good start when people are actually able to focus enough to pinpoint what they take to be flaws. I’m more than happy with that.

            It’s the people who can’t even speak in concrete terms about the situation, because they feel it is too shameless to address such issues, that I have a problem with.

            They make oblique statements about how they would rather not associate with me, and then go on their way.

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      2. – Children who get bullied at school are the ones bullied at home. Don’t be a bully and no harm will come to your child.

        …not talking about bullying…talking about guns…I live in the US

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    2. “not talking about bullying…talking about guns…I live in the US”

      I don’t want to minimize the horror of the children who died as a result of senseless school shootings. That being said, children are far far far more likely to die at home or in the family car than at school and nobody is advocating that children stop riding in cars or stop living at home. Statistically, public schools are _incredibly_ safe. That’s one of their benefits. Where else can children safely and independently explore their identities?

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  18. @TitforTat: well I can see how you thought my long response was a bit obnoxious (I did admit it was pedantic) but, like I said, this is something of a field of expertise for me and it grieves me to see historical inaccuracies touted as gospel. And to answer your (probably insincere) question, you can go as afar back as you want to, you will never find a time in which parents were predominately responsible for their children’s education. In hunter/gatherer societies, children are immediately incorporated in to a larger community. The family unit, as we now conceive of it, is a modern concept. Now I don’t necessarily think the family unit is a bad concept and I don’t think we should go back to a pre Victorian conception of the family. If you think homeschooling is a good idea, you have a right to your opinion. But again, it’s a very modern concept.

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  19. Evelina

    Try not to assume Im insincere. I think there is more than one view when it comes to homeschooling. Granted the majority of homeschoolers may have their collective heads up their ass BUT and it is a big but. You can be sure there are some that are doing well and for all the right reasons. I get where Clarissa is coming from though I do find it somewhat limiting, but hey, were all entitled to our beliefs. Life and learning comes in all shapes and forms. To label all homeschool as inherently bad is just, well, wrong.

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    1. It is curious how every supporter of homeschooling can only produce meaningless platitudes that get repeated in a parrot-like way. Not a single actual argument has been advanced by them in all of the discussions I have witnessed on the subject. I would love to hear how they explain their position to themselves, but, apparently, they simply don’t. Instead, they believe that repeating like a broken record “homeschooling can be good” is an argument.

      I can only imagine what such intellectually limited people can teach to their miserable children.

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    2. “I think there is more than one view when it comes to homeschooling.”
      Of course, there is more than one view. Otherwise this thread wouldn’t be pushing 100 comments. But you were arguing that, at some point in history, parents were predominately in charge of their children’s education. I merely was pointing out that this have never been the case until very very recently.

      “To label all homeschool as inherently bad is just, well, wrong.”
      Why? I think it’s abusive and hyper-controlling. To me, abuse and hyper control is wrong in every situation. I feel like people are trying to argue that sometimes abuse is OK and my position is that abuse is never OK.

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      1. ““To label all homeschool as inherently bad is just, well, wrong.”
        Why?”

        – That’s precisely the problem. Supporters of homeschooling are yet to offer a single argument to support their position. For instance, it would be nice to hear them explain the following:

        I believe that spending all day under parental gaze is useful to a child because. . .
        I believe that a single person with a single set of opinions and a single perspective can substitute the perspectives of a crowd of peers and teachers because. . .
        I believe that a single person who has achieved nothing academically, professionally or socially will be able to teach a child to be academically, professionally and socially successful because. . .
        I believe that one person with zero qualifications is capable of delivering high quality instruction in a variety of very different subjects because. . .
        I believe that learning to manage your own social life is not a valuable life skill because. . .

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  20. I know, I was pointing out that parents at one point(hunter/gatherer) societies took a more active role overall than parenting today. Today we allow more strangers to do what parents and the immediate social group did in those societies. I dont concur that all homeschooling is abusive, you do, and here we are at an impasse. Just because you have some on this site that agree with you doesnt mean you are correct.

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    1. We are at an impasse regarding homeschooling clearly. But just to clarify…..there has never been a moment in history in which parents took a MORE active role in the lives of their children than today. Never. You can idealize Hunter/Gatherer societies but their social structures would be considered abusive and neglectful by most contemporary parents.

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    2. “I know, I was pointing out that parents at one point(hunter/gatherer) societies took a more active role overall than parenting today. Today we allow more strangers to do what parents and the immediate social group did in those societies. I dont concur that all homeschooling is abusive, you do, and here we are at an impasse. Just because you have some on this site that agree with you doesnt mean you are correct.”

      – Didn’t I just warn you against repeating the same stupid statement without offering any actual informed argument? You are spamming the thread, don’t you see that? “No, it isn’t because I said it isn’t” is not an interesting argument. Is that clear?

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      1. People have given you different ideas, you dismiss them. You are an ideologue in many discussions. But, it is your blog. Censor away if you must.

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        1. “People have given you different ideas, you dismiss them. ”

          – Read the thread. There are no ideas beyond the childish “It is so because I said it is so.”

          “But, it is your blog.”

          – And yet another statement of the painfully obvious.

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  21. As a contemporary parent we wouldnt. Nor do we fit your model. Just ask our 16 and 19yr old. They might paint you a very different picture than the one you are.

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    1. I would bet you any manner of money that you are considerably more involved in the lives of your children than any hunter/gatherer. Even the fact that you are still involved in the lives of your 16 and 19 year old alone signifies that fact. In most hunter/gatherer societies, children were entirely independent by about 13 or so.

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  22. I don’t understand this fascination with hunter/gatherer societies (‘Paleo’ diet being another example of this stupidity). How terrible must your life be to assume that cave dwelling assholes with their 20 year expected life spans had life totally figured out? Yeah, those guys, they really knew how to live, maaan!

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    1. “I don’t understand this fascination with hunter/gatherer societies (‘Paleo’ diet being another example of this stupidity). How terrible must your life be to assume that cave dwelling assholes with their 20 year expected life spans had life totally figured out? Yeah, those guys, they really knew how to live, maaan!”

      – I agree with you completely! This is some sort of a fad in certain academic circles where people who would not survive for three days without their iPad and their A/C sing praise of pre-agricultural societies. I’m mystified by this.

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      1. I agree with you completely! This is some sort of a fad in certain academic circles where people who would not survive for three days without their iPad and their A/C sing praise of pre-agricultural societies. I’m mystified by this.

        OMG, I am cracking up over here! Plus, cavemen had no Zingers, so of course they died early.

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    2. Ah stringer, you should read up on the life expectancy of most hunter/gatherer societies, you might be surprised. I think you may have been reading too much Hobbes.

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