Mostly because I just don’t have time to read everything that I come across, but maybe also because it’s too sad to think about. I couldn’t avoid it forever though. I clicked on one today, and it’s even worse than I thought.
When the news first broke, I read a few short opinions posted by other homeschoolers and I got angry right along with them. How could anyone link all of homeschooling with child abuse because of a few crazy people exposed in the news?
Then I came across a whole database of children who were abused and sometimes killed by homeschooling parents, and it got really depressing. I thought, “Oh… that’s how.”
There’s no accurate way yet to compare the amount of abuse in both homeschooled and traditionally schooled homes, due to lack of reporting and data. Sometimes it doesn’t come out that abused children were homeschooling.
Yet, the “...preliminary research suggests that homeschooled children are at a greater risk of dying from child abuse than are traditionally schooled children.” That makes sense when you think about it. It’s much easier to hide when you don’t have to send abused children into the world to be seen and asked questions by concerned adults.
It became clear to me that homeschooling is not inherently evil (of course I'm biased from my own experience), but sadly it is used as a tool to hide abuse. Just like any other good thing used for evil, these people are not like those of us who intend homeschooling for good.
They are not in it for the well-being of their offspring.
They are not loving parents who care to nourish and raise thoughtful, well-educated children into adults.
We shouldn’t be afraid of these false generalizations when there’s no basis in them. All the public really needs to do is look at the growing population of healthy, thriving adults who spent their formative years at home.
I think deep down a lot of us know the dark side exists though. Why? Because we sometimes make fun of ourselves as a group of hippie, out-there people crazy enough (in a positive way) to go against the grain and take on the task of homeschooling. We know that at the fringe of this group we belong to, there are those who take things too far and justify it with religion or some backward parenting philosophy.
So, my two cents are this: We must reject the media-crazed narrative that all of homeschooling is one way or the another. It looks different for each family, good or bad (mostly good). But also we must be careful not to downplay, nor forget, all the invisible children under the banner of homeschooling who suffer, undetected, at the hands of ill-intentioned parents.
How do we do both? By continuing to share the positives of homeschooling with those around us who are supportive and willing to listen. In the meantime, we never forget the Turpin children and we keep our eyes open for signs of abuse/neglect in others (homeschooled or otherwise).
Who knows how much sooner the parents would have been caught if any of those neighbors, friends, and family had not ignored the red flags they now say they noticed. Click here for some helpful information on the signs of abuse and what to do.
Say a prayer for these children and say a prayer for all of homeschooling.
I realize this is a highly charged and emotional topic. What are your thoughts and comments?