June 17, 2008

Child abuse is bad parenting. Therefor, if we monitor homeschools for bad parenting, we are going to have to monitor children at home, who are sent to school, as well. Because abusive parenting is abusive parenting, no matter where the children are schooled. Children who go to school have the same risk of abuse as those who are homeschooled. It would be interesting to investigate, but I suppose that children who are enrolled in traditional schools are not better protected from profound abuse than homeschoolers. Children who are schooled away from home are abused and killed at the same rate as homeschooled children. Homeschool oversight isn't going to change that. Note that, in the first family this article mentions, these children were being monitored by social services. But that didn't help or save them. Also, notice the implication that these children were behind in grade level because they were homeschooled. More likely, they were behind because they were living in an abusive situation and being raised by someone insane. This little boy would have died, most likely, if he was enrolled or not. And I think, at the time he died, he was enrolled in a preschool. That didn't save him. So why, the call for more oversight? The preponderance of homeschooled children are equal to or ahead, academically and socially, of their schooled peers even though they live in "unsupervised" homes.

Death investigations prompt homeschooling recommendations Posted: Jun. 16 5:30 p.m. Updated: Jun. 16 8:43 p.m.Raleigh, N.C. — A state task force that reviewed the death of a 4-year-old boy at the hands of his adoptive mother recommended more oversight for children taught at home.The Department of Social Services report on Sean Paddock's death was released last week, hours after the boy's adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock, was convicted of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in his February 2006 death.The report called for more state monitoring of home schools, including having medical examiners track the school status of children who die under suspicious circumstances.The six surviving Paddock children testified during the three-week trial that Lynn Paddock homeschooled them after the family moved to Smithfield in 2001, but that the instruction gradually devolved into reading the Bible and copying scripture passages. Several of the children, who have moved to new families, are now a grade or two behind their peers.More than 68,700 students were homeschooled in 2006-07 in 36,068 schools registered with the state Division of Non-Public Education.The state requires homeschooled students to take annual tests, but the results don't have to be turned in and aren't tracked by the state. The five-person staff of the Division of Non-Public Instruction doesn't have the resources to maintain those records, officials said.The state has the right to inspect home schools, and records show that 362 inspections were conducted in the past year – about 1 percent of the home schools registered in the state.Lynn Paddock did little more than register her home school with the state, according to testimony.The same day the Paddock was convicted, 13-year-old Tyler McMillan died after being tied to a tree for 18 hours by his father. The family homeschooled the teen and his siblings, according to authorities.Home-school parents said the two deaths are tragic but shouldn't result in more regulation."I really don't think that more government intervention in the world would've stopped (the deaths)," homeschooler Kristie Bloem said. "The vast majority of home schools have careful, loving parents who are dedicated to their children's future."


Amy said...


I was wondering if you were going to post on the local homeschool witch hunt or not. I was thinking about it, but your response was much more civilized than mine would have been. My heart aches over the death of these two boys, but you are correct that in the Paddock case there was regular social service involvement which didn't save Sean's life. And, in the first story on the 13 yr old a commenter was one of his teachers for classes the children were taking outside the home. He/She didn't have any clues that the family was in trouble. Based on the number of children who die each year under the supervision of social services and public schools, how in the world can they correlate that hoemschool children are at more risk.


Katherine said...

I think it is important to notice that the Department of Social Services is calling for more homeschool oversight. I think they are worried about being blamed for missing the horrible abuse happening in this family, a family that was already in their system. By their own implication, its their fault this boy died? Did oversight make any difference to this boy?

The truth is, we can not protect children from their parents. And were it the government's job to monitor parenting, I shudder to think what would happen.

Clearly, government run schools are mediocre. Do we want government run homes as well? Because, lets be clear, this is a call to monitor parenting. Homeschool didn't hurt these children. Parents hurt these children.

Ugh, I could go on and on. Its all so sick and so sad.

Amy said...

After leaving the previous comment I went back to WRAL's story and there was a link to the 'task force' findings. Said task force is made up of DSS officers and members of the Guardian Ad Litum services. There were seven points that were addressed, one of which was homeschooling. Out of that one point, WRAL took one paragraph and has created a witch hunt.

You are absolutely correct that this is nothing more than an attempt to divert the attention to their failures, one being placing additional children into the Paddock home after abuse had already been alleged and was being followed-up by DSS.

Last night I fell asleep after reading the story to images of Ayn Rand's book "Anthem." It isn't pretty where all this government oversight can head.

OT - can you tell me if the Denim Jumper site is down, or is it just my computer?


Heather said...

I was going to respond to this, but it got so long and drawn out I decided to blog about it. This is just really, really tragic and stupid and infuriating and ignorant and.. and.. and..

Mommylion said...

This makes me sick too. I HATE the thought of children being abused and killed, but funneling money into monitoring homeschooling isn't going to solve those problems. If anything it will take funding away from areas that are in a better position to help these kids.

Most of the homeschooling families that end up on the news in abuse situations already have a record with social services, police, etc. They have already had several 'mandatory reporters' involved in their lives, in fact THE mandatory reporters that have any power to change their situation. Teachers cannot, they just report to social services or police if they suspect a problem.

So I don't get, if the system already failed these kids, how is more oversight from people with less power supposed to help? It is all about getting more money and who gets the blame. I wish it were more about the kids.

My sister is a mental health counselor. I know how the system works and frankly it doesn't. It is sick how much a child has to suffer before he is removed from an abusive home. And foster care isn't a happy ending for that child. The thing that needs fixing is not the homeschooling requirements. It is the mental health/social service system that is broken.

Sorry, ranting... oops! This issue always strikes a nerve with me.

MOM #1 said...

It's so sad what these children, as well as many others like them, are forced to endure.

You stated very well that the problem in these circumstances is a parenting issue, not a homeschooling issue.

Sometimes I think the government is just looking for any excuse to trample into our homes and monitor our private lives. For some reason, they feel led to start with the home schoolers, I just can't figure out why.

Rachel said...

So a FOUR-YEAR-OLD child (i.e., NOT school-age)is killed and the answer is to monitor homeschooling families more closely? WTF?

PS I can't get onto TDJ, either, so it's not just you, Amy.