29 November 2010

Hideaway at Home

One argument I keep hearing against more state regulation of homeschooling is that children in states that are very strict do not perform better on these useless tests than they do states where no such regulation exists.

What a crock. Um... let's see... children who ALL have to take a test in one state not doing better in the aggregate than children whose parents in another state have OPTED for testing their brainiacs (probably to show off to their neighbours that homeschoolers outperform the public schoolers). Hmm.

To my mind, the central issue is not performance and achievement, but the reasonable rights of the family to be autonomous in this department. In a maybe-not-related, but then again maybe very apropos story, here's a family that opted to have its children away from others. I mean everybody. Judging from the article, no birth certificates, no doctor visits, no friends, no relationships with relatives, no going to see the cookie aisle in the grocery store and learning not to talk to strangers... nothing.

How could you hide your children away with no doctor appointments for 13 YEARS?? I don't buy it. Note the article said "no EVIDENCE of medical care." Bet you she showed up anonymous at an emergency room or paid a doctor cash at some point. You can't get through 13 years without an accident or strep throat. How do you even get groceries to the 13-year-old alone (nevermind the other children) without the neighbours suspecting you're keeping livestock in the attic or wondering about your metabolism?

It isn't the lifestyle I would pick for my children at all. I don't know that it's "child endangerment" though. Not having a friend or ever picking a flower outside is sad, sad stuff... but I don't know about child endangerment. Must be more going on than is being reported.

Incidentally, this happened in Pennsylvania, one of the strictest states (homeschooling-wise) in the nation. Stricter laws do not necessarily mean a safer populace. Stricter laws can force some otherwise well-meaning and connected people "underground." Not even sure that this family was homeschooling, or well-meaning, or "underground," or even "sane." I wish the articles were more thorough on these things as well as told us where the children wound up. Certainly it could be argued that this is none of our business, to which I would have to ask whyyy the original article was even published in that case?

In any event, that family is an extreme example. Honestly, at first blush (and there's not much to go on!) they seem a little wack, but probably not illegal. I'm not sure if it's illegal to do without a birth certificate, or even a doctor visit if there is no immediate apparent medical need. They mentioned no SCHOOLING, but there was no mention of illiteracy. Um, incidentally... illiteracy? My 15-year-old is illiterate. He is a public education student. He has had an IEP since he was three. Illiterate does not necessarily mean lack of eduation or effort. Just thought I'd mention that. With great effort he might read a low-level first grade sentence or two before handing the book back to you and asking you to just tell him what it says.

Every child is different, and looking back, I'm not sure that my son was best served by sending him to school. Then again, if I had kept him home to educate him and he were illiterate now, guess who would be blamed? Um, yup. Just sayin'.


  1. And well said too.
    Good point about illiteracy.

    And thank you for your comment on my blog :)

  2. Well said!!

    I saw that article yesterday, and I loved how as soon as the state got their hands on these children they immediately vaccinated them.

    Yes, the children have been kept from society, yes they parents might be a little off, but it's not abuse to not vaccinate.Crazy parents or not.

  3. It is hard to believe anyone would want to isolate their child(ren) to that degree. How sad for the child.
    as for your son being illiterate....yep you would be 'blamed' if you had chosen to homeschool him for sure!
    One good reason why our Griffin is going to school!

  4. And now, for the rest of the story...


    Good day.

    I feel like Paul Harvey.


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