Homeschooling Archives

Henry Neufeld and Timothy Sandefur (here and here) have both blogged about the NC divorce case that I highlighted yesterday.  Both point to a PDF of the judges ruling in the case, and note that there is more to the ruling on schooling.

Mrs. Mills has joined the Sound Doctrine church, a church that many who have “escaped” from it (that’s the term they, in fact, use) say has anything but sound doctrine.  After reading excerpts of the affidavits in the ruling, I would have to agree.

The concerns that Mr. Mills had to homeschooling included misconceptions that those don’t homeschool typically have about the practice; that it did not expose the Mills children to “the real world” and didn’t give them a “firm foundation for their future social relationships”.  Some of their extra-curricular activities are listed, and it sounds like they could easily find socialization in those.  He also said that it was his understanding was the the homeschooling was temporary.

At the end of the section about schooling, he does mention that some of this included religious training from this Sound Doctrine church, which he was concerned about.  Fair enough, but here is where we find ourselves at a decision that could, contrary to Mr. Neufeld’s and Mr. Sandefur’s thoughts, have widening influence.  The judge finds that it would be in the best interest of the children to pull them out of a schooling situation where, the judge agrees, the children have “thrived academically”.  There can be only two reasons for this based on what’s in the ruling; either it’s the “only temporary” issue or it’s the religious issue.

If it’s because the understanding was that homeschooling was to be only temporary, then perhaps some other education needs to be done to make sure that this isn’t being nixed by the husband because of misconceptions about homeschooling.  The whole “real world socialization” idea has been thoroughly debunked.  And on page 7, point #5, the judge “clearly recognizes the benefits of home school”.  So this appears not to be the main reason.

Which brings us to the religious issue.  After conceding the benefits of homeschooling, the judge, in the same point, then agrees to Mr. Mills’ request to “re-enroll the children back into the public school system and expose them and challenge them to more than just Venessa Mills’ viewpoint.”  This is where it gets dicey.

Others cited in the ruling consider the Sound Doctrine church to be a “cult”, and I’m not in a position to disagree with them.  The behavior of Mrs. Mills tends to back up their assertions.  However, if this ruling is made specifically to expose the children to other viewpoints, than any homeschooler of any religion or philosophy could have their choice annulled by a court for that reason, cult or not.  (I imagine, indeed, a judge that took children out of an atheist homeschooling situation to “challenge” that viewpoint would find all sorts of “friend of the court” briefs from the ACLU.)  The mother could lose custody of the children based on her religious beliefs and how those beliefs translate into abuse, but, while even that is a difficult thing for a court to decide, that is not, as I read it, the reason that the children are being sent to public school.

There’s that poem that has lines “First they came for ___, and I did not speak up because I wasn’t a ___.”  It’s been used and misused over the years, but I think it applies here.  I don’t think we can see this ruling and not feel some concern over perhaps government coming for Christians or Jews, or whatever other religion that a judge thinks needs to be “challenged”, on the say-so of an aggrieved spouse.  Whether the grievance is valid or not, or whether the religion is a cult or not, it should be cause for concern.

In the Best Interest of the Children?

Last week, a judge in North Carolina was ruling in a divorce case.  The husband was an admitted adulterer.  His wife was going to get custody of the kids. 

However, the husband decided he didn’t want to pay for the expenses of continuing to homeschooling the children, so his lawyer drew up a request, and the judge granted it.

Even with abundant evidence showing the Mills children are well adjusted and well educated, Judge [Ned W.] Mangum ruled overwhelmingly against Mrs. [Venessa] Mills on every point. He stated the children would do better in public school despite the fact that they are currently at or beyond their grade level.  Evidence showed two children tested several grades ahead.

When issuing his verdict Judge Mangum stated his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated. However, he told Mrs. Mills public school will "challenge the ideas you’ve taught them."

Typical big-government mentality.  Never mind results, you gotta’ get with the program.

More details here.

Post-Vacation Catch-up Links

During my Thanksgiving vacation, I didn’t do any blogging but I did still read the news.  I’ll have long posts about some of the items later on, but just wanted to do a quick hit of some bits I found interesting:

* Tying up some loose ends, the state agency director that pried into Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher’s confidential information will be punished, if by "punished"  you mean "one month unpaid leave".  I think that qualifies more for "lightly tapped on the wrist". 

* The singles dating service eHarmony had chosen not to match same-sex couples.  The reason shouldn’t matter, as its a private business, but psychologist Neil Clark Warren, who started the site, had done his personality studies on heterosexual couples and didn’t think that, scientifically, he could extrapolate his findings to homosexual couples.  Disagree if you want, but it was his business and he can run it the way he wants to.

Well, perhaps not.  eHarmony has just caved to a lawsuit by a gay man, and now has a new site for same-sex matches.  Coming next; meat-eaters suing vegetarian restaurants.  So much for "tolerance".

* Archaeologists have found new evidence that they have indeed found King Herod’s tomb

* A funny little list that has made the rounds on why public schooling is better than homeshooling.

* Opposition parties gained ground in Venezuela against Chavez. 

* Academia’s assault on Thanksgiving is descending into self-parody, where a pair of public schools decided to stop a long-standing tradition of having kids from one school dress up as pilgrims and the other as American Indians and come together for Thanksgiving.  When opponents of this celebration of a very bright spot in our nation’s history protest it with signs saying "Don’t Celebrate Genocide", you know that either they are just full of anger or are simply products of the public education system.  Or both.

* Academia’s assault on Christmas is descending into self-parody (sensing a trend here?) with one school banning, not just Jesus, but even Santa.  When Jews and Wiccans are standing up for Christmas, you know you are light-years over the line.

* Salvation Army bell-ringers considered noise pollution?  Now, while I rang those bells as a kid growing up, and even in college, I just gotta’ say that this is serious over-sensitivity.  Bell ringers have been at malls for decades; it’s not all that loud.  If the bell-ringer can handle the "noise", the kiosk merchants should be able to.  And let’s not forget that the Christmas song "Silver Bells" was inspired by those bell-ringers.

Unwanted Advances at School

In Florida, evidence of a growing problem with the public schools.

At least 150 Florida teachers have been disciplined in the past three years after being accused of sexual misconduct with students, an Orlando Sentinel review has found.

Some of the most severe cases resulted in arrests and criminal convictions for offenses such as secretly watching a boy change and shower, tricking elementary-school girls into touching a man’s genitals and having sex with minor students. But the Sentinel’s case-by-case review of teacher discipline records from the Florida Department of Education found that a lot of the alleged misconduct did not rise to the criminal level.

Still, parents would be alarmed.


Those 150 cases don’t include the dozens of educators who have been suspended or lost their teaching certificates since 2006 for molesting non-students, downloading porn at school, having sex in public and trying to pick up prostitutes.

There is no research to show whether this is indeed an actual trend or a case of students reporting it more often.  However, there is research, cited later in the article, that shows that students now are very reluctant to report it.

Researchers, however, say far more children are affected by sexual misconduct at school than many people may realize.

The most in-depth study to date, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education in 2004, showed that nearly 10 percent of the country’s public-school students — 4.5 million children — had received unwanted sexual attention from school employees, including teachers.

Only 11 percent of students who are sexually abused by teachers report it, said Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who authored the 2004 study and is one of the nation’s top experts on the issue.

If only 11 percent reported it in 2004, we’d have to believe it was in the low-to-mid-single-digits in the decades prior to that.  That’s stretching things rather thin, in my opinion. 

And if only 11 percent are reporting it now, what we’re seeing, in Florida and elsewhere, could be 9 or 10 times worse that it looks. 

Homeschooling keeps looking better all the time.

Another Sign of the Times

And another reason homeschooling looks better all the time (and why those folks in California need a re-hearing on that homeschooling case).

It’s an increasingly familiar scenario: An educator or coach, someone in a position of great trust, is accused of sexual misconduct with one or more students.

In Chicago, former Walter Payton College Prep basketball coach George Turner, 45, was charged recently with the criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two 15-year-old female students.

While it’s "increasingly familiar", a study in 2004 makes one wonder how bad it must be now.

In 2004, Congress released the results of a report it had commissioned on teacher sexual misconduct. Compiled by Hofstra University Professor Charol Shakeshaft, it concluded that an estimated 4.5 million of 50 million students in American public schools "are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade."

It’s still a very underground sort of thing, as it mostly goes unreported.

"These cases tend to slip under the rug," said Terri Miller, president of the national organization Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation. "They let teachers quietly resign and move on."

That’s possible in part, she said, because state boards aren’t required to report incidents to the U.S. Department of Education.

"One of the big problems is that you’re in a situation where the acts by themselves are very private," said Chicago personal injury attorney Joe Klest, who has represented victims of sexual abuse by teachers and coaches.

"And even though they’re involving minors, and minors can’t legally consent, they are often groomed into consenting. So you’ve got two people — one saying it happened, one saying it didn’t — and there’s very rarely any extrinsic physical evidence."

I’ve covered this before, but it bears repeating.  What I’m waiting for is a public outcry like that which followed the same issue among Catholic priests.  The cynic in me wonders how much of this goes unreported so that the public school system doesn’t look bad, which would put privatization and homeschooling in a much better light.  The Teacher’s Union should be taking the point on this, but other than issuing statements tut-tutting each incident, not much changes. 

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The Bulletproof Backpack

From Gizmodo comes word of this new item that, frankly, speaks volumes about our public school system.

Made from 13 layers of K-29 Kevlar, this thin, lightweight plate fits in most backpacks and can stop every bullet from a 9mm all the way to Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum.

Yeah, that’s the kind of “socialization” my homeschooled kids are missing out on.

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That’s the bumper sticker that Linda Whitlock used to have on her car. She’s got a great article on the socialization of homeschool kids, including her grandchildren. OK, she may have a conflict of interest, but she still makes great points.

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When the public school system starts forcing kids to lie to their parents about what they’re being taught, you know it’s time to homeschool.

And when what they’re being taught is homosexual sensitivity training, you have to wonder why they feel they can’t be open and honest about it. Yeah, I know the presumed reason; that parent might object. But if parents are not allowed any say as to their children’s education, it’s no longer public education anymore, is it? It’s state education. (And I really hope this school district doesn’t ever complain about not enough parental involvement.)

Click here for a link to audio from Concerned Women for America, and click here for the WND news story.

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German Homeschool Family Update

It’s only getting worse.

A German appeals court has not only affirmed a lower court’s decision that ripped a 15-year-old homeschooler from her family and subjected her to a forced stay in a psychiatric hospital because she is homeschooled, but also ordered her parents to be given psychiatric evaluations, an international rights organization says.

The government psychologists, who had previously diagnosed Melissa Busekros with “schoolphobia”, would now get a shot at labelling the parents. What’s more, the court ignored the fact that the parents have been willing to accept a government compromise.

The appeals court ruling came despite the fact that all three of the lawyers representing Melissa Busekros clearly stated in their request to the court the family had accepted a compromise offered by a lower court for her to return home under government supervision.

“In spite of [that] … the appeals court held that the family refused the court’s initial compromise to let Melissa become an outpatient,” Thornton said.

Read the whole thing for details, and to get caught up if you hadn’t seen this before.

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Religious Freedom Inconvenient for Public Schools

Would you believe that here in the United States, someone would suggest that religious freedom and parental right undermine the public school system? It’s happened. A US District Judge has used that as part of his reasoning in a recent ruling.

A federal judge in Massachusetts has ordered the “gay” agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts, finding that they need the teachings to be “engaged and productive citizens.”

U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf yesterday dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by David Parker, ordering that it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.

Wolf essentially adopted the reasoning in a brief submitted by a number of homosexual-advocacy groups, who said “the rights of religious freedom and parental control over the upbringing of children … would undermine teaching and learning…”

This started in 2005 when David Parker objected to the fact that he couldn’t get his kindergarten child opted out of, or even notified of, same-sex household issues when they were brought up. The judge’s ruling gives them three options; private school, home school, or vote in enough School Committee members to get things changed. Fair enough, but can you imagine a court telling a black man that if he doesn’t like being forced into blacks-only restrooms and schools that these are his only choices? It would be unthinkable, but religious freedom, written quite plainly into the Constitution, is being afforded less protection than civil rights laws.

We are losing our constitutional rights at the hands of the judicial branch of government, and few notice, care, or even agree that it’s being eroded. The folks with the latter view are the most blind.

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