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View Full Version : When hs-ers make the news for non-hs things...sorta rant



dragonfly
10-19-2011, 01:40 PM
Okay. There was a news story recently (the New Hampshirites and other New Englanders here will probably know what I'm talking about), about a 9 year old boy who was last seen at home Monday at 1 p.m., reported missing 4 hours later, and after an extensive search, was found Tues. evening in a nearby house. Apparently, he slipped into the house on Monday, hid under the bed, unbeknownst to the homeowners, and slept there that night. Tues. evening, the homeowners came home to a mess of food wrappers and spoons. They found him under their bed with a tub of ice cream and bottle of water. They didn't know the boy, but knew who he was, because the search efforts were all over the news. He was scared to go home, because he figured he'd be in big trouble. He was reunited with parents, everyone was happy, press conference was held, yay.

On the news website, there are places for people to comment. It was asked why he wasn't in school on Mon., and the answer was that he is homeschooled.

Inevitably, this prompts a number of people to say that he should be sent to (public) school.

As if homeschooling was somehow directly responsible for his taking off.:rolleyes:

I've seen other stories that are similar.


Here's my rant: Stories like these always seem to get the "homeschool haters" (or homeschool ignoramuses) going, saying he should be in school, he needs socialization, etc., etc. It makes me crazy! :mad: He could just as easily have wandered off after he came home from a public school!

I cannot remember any stories in which homeschooling led directly to a bad result (such as the parents of an abused child admitting that they hs-ed only because it enabled them to abuse the child), most stories I've read mention homeschooling tangentially at best (do you like my math terminology there, Farrar? :) ).

Maybe I'm just too sensitive about it. Sigh.

Okay, rant over...for now. :)

Accidental Homeschooler
10-19-2011, 01:53 PM
I cannot remember any stories in which homeschooling led directly to a bad result (such as the parents of an abused child admitting that they hs-ed only because it enabled them to abuse the child)

I have read a couple stories like this. One was a woman in DC who took her daughters out of school and later killed them. Then there was one about a little boy whose parents took him out of school and kept him in a cage and eventually killed him. None of the parents said they took them out because they could then abuse them freely but I suppose that they probably did. In both of these cases social services had already been involved and that is all a school can do if they suspect abuse, contact social services, but still homeschooling was part of the article/story. Of course, sending children to school does not prevent parents killing them as we have sadly learned in our community, but for those who wish to sadistically abuse them, it would make it easier to not get caught.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-19-2011, 02:17 PM
I saw the story but didn't catch that he was home schooled. I did read that he was adopted and has developmental delays.

I think most of us can state for the record that our children haven't run away to sleep under other people's beds. :)

farrarwilliams
10-19-2011, 02:21 PM
I think we should all just use math terms in everyday language more often... and that people really should stop assuming that everything about a homeschooled kid is because they're homeschooled, good or bad.

That DC case. Ugh. That's how we got homeschool regulations after having none at all for many years. And there's also those UK cases that led to the huge kerfuffle there a year or two ago.

dragonfly
10-19-2011, 02:25 PM
[QUOTE=Accidental Homeschooler;62555]I have read a couple stories like this. [QUOTE]

Yeah, there probably are a few. Of those, I wonder how many of them actually did any homeschooling, or did they just use that as a convenient excuse? If homeschooling were illegal, for example, would they have taken their kids out of school anyway, perhaps telling the school district that they were moving, or using a private school, or going on vacation, etc.? If so, then homeschooling per se really had nothing to do with what happened to the poor kids.

A couple years ago, when speaking in front of our state's House Education Committee about a proposed, homeschool-friendly bill, an anti-homeschool state rep. actually used the Jaycee Dugard case as a reason why homeschoolers need to be more regulated. Sigh. Sometimes people are so misinformed, I don't even know where to start.

dragonfly
10-19-2011, 02:27 PM
people really should stop assuming that everything about a homeschooled kid is because they're homeschooled, good or bad.

See, that's exactly what I was trying to say in my rant--you just said it sooo much better! :)

dragonfly
10-19-2011, 02:36 PM
I wonder, has anyone done a study of cases of child abuse, showing what percentage of them involve children who are public, private, or home schooled?

If not, someone should!

MarkInMD
10-19-2011, 02:44 PM
Here's the comment I hate that I've heard from a few people in various forms. "Your kids, they're normal. I'd never know they were homeschooled." Sometimes followed by a story about someone they once knew who was homeschooled who they could supposedly tell from a mile away that they weren't in PS. I consider that an educational moment to inform them about all the different types of HSers out there and that just as you can't paint all PS kids with a broad brush, you can't do the same with HS kids. After all, for lots of us, "They are not that way because we homeschool; we homeschool because they are that way." (Credit to whomever originally said that.) By and large, the way a kid acts in life is the way he or she would act regardless of what school environment they're in.

I have no obligatory math reference to add. :)

Accidental Homeschooler
10-19-2011, 02:52 PM
I wonder, has anyone done a study of cases of child abuse, showing what percentage of them involve children who are public, private, or home schooled?

If not, someone should!

When I have read this concern about hsing and abuse, it isn't that hsing parents are more likely to abuse their children. It is that the schools provide a place for a child to tell someone if they are being abused or where they have a relationship with other adults who might figure it out. It is more that a child who is being abused and homeschooled is isolated and will be less likely to be discovered than one attending ps. I think that is the arguement, not that hs parents are more likely to abuse their kids.

dbmamaz
10-19-2011, 03:58 PM
Right, but the vast majority of kids who are killed by their parents are not homeschooled. Public schools dont do a very good job of preventing it. Nor do social services. My understanding is that the majority of kids who are killed by their parents have already been reported to or investigated by socail services. But they are understaffed and overworked and not all that effective. People say these things because it sounds like it makes common sense, but it has nothing to do with the truth of the situation.

which brings me right back to what i'm hating about politics.

dragonfly
10-19-2011, 04:05 PM
When I have read this concern about hsing and abuse, it isn't that hsing parents are more likely to abuse their children. It is that the schools provide a place for a child to tell someone if they are being abused or where they have a relationship with other adults who might figure it out. It is more that a child who is being abused and homeschooled is isolated and will be less likely to be discovered than one attending ps. I think that is the arguement, not that hs parents are more likely to abuse their kids.

I've heard that, too. I think the argument is faulty, and I say so if someone brings up that particular argument. (Not trying to convince you here, just saying what I've said to others) Not all abuse is physical, and can be seen outwardly. Not all abused kids are inclined to share their problems with school officials, teachers, etc. Some might be too scared or ashamed to talk about it. Kids are not in school 24/7/365, so there are plenty of times when a kid could be abused by parents unbeknownst to anyone in p.s. Not all school teachers, counselors, etc. are aware enough, or even care enough to pursue possible cases of abuse. Even within public schools, kids are being bullied and abused by other students, and even teachers, and it's not always caught and/or dealt with by the school. Does that mean the public schooling in general is the problem, or is it simply a problem with that specific school?

I submit that homeschooled kids who are kept home so that the abuse perpetrated upon them by parents can be more easily hidden are probably not, in fact, being educated in any meaningful way, and therefore are more correctly labeled "truant" than homeschooled. Just my opinion, I can't back it up with any statistics, probably because none exist.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-19-2011, 04:11 PM
Right, but the vast majority of kids who are killed by their parents are not homeschooled. Public schools dont do a very good job of preventing it. Nor do social services. My understanding is that the majority of kids who are killed by their parents have already been reported to or investigated by socail services. But they are understaffed and overworked and not all that effective. People say these things because it sounds like it makes common sense, but it has nothing to do with the truth of the situation.

which brings me right back to what i'm hating about politics.

Yes, attending ps is not going to guarantee that a child who is being abused is helped, it just increases the opportunities for discovering the abuse (and social services, may completely drop the ball even if the school does make a report). I would never argue this as a reason that all children should attend school. I don't think legislating for the many based on the bad behavior of the very few is fair or even effective. And schools don't seem to be held to the same standards by many people. A hsing parent does a bad job (or just appears to) and all hsing is bad. Something horrible happens in a school and people don't start lobbying for the ps system to be closed down.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-19-2011, 04:43 PM
I submit that homeschooled kids who are kept home so that the abuse perpetrated upon them by parents can be more easily hidden are probably not, in fact, being educated in any meaningful way, and therefore are more correctly labeled "truant" than homeschooled. Just my opinion, I can't back it up with any statistics, probably because none exist.

I agree. However, I can't help pointing out (sorry) that the argument would then be that hsing gives the "truant" parents a place to hide or way to get away with it.... Now I need to stop because I don't want to think about this anymore.

farrarwilliams
10-19-2011, 04:53 PM
This sort of gets at how people have trouble making rational decisions based on statistics or anecdotes. People tend to weight anecdotes (that one family homeschooled and killed their kid, so homeschoolers have some serious problems!) over rational statistics. Part of it is stupidity or ignorance... but part of it is that our brains are actually wired to think that way, which kind of sucks.

Pefa
10-20-2011, 09:55 PM
I've got other fish to fry so I don't sweat this one. If I happen to know that the commentator has kids in school, I'll calmly ask "and what are your child's gang colors and how's your child's crack habit?" When they go huh? I point out all the publicity about gangs and drugs in schools. The only universal for schooled kids is that they are in school. The only universal for hs'd kids is that they are hs'd.

hockeymom
10-21-2011, 06:07 AM
Good response Pefa.

elkhollow
10-21-2011, 07:39 AM
Yes, the abuse is more likely to be detected if the child attends school and that is legitimate fodder for anti-homeschoolers. Saying homeschooled children are more likely to be abused is flat untrue. The child abuse rate is 1 in 58 and they can be anywhere, of any race, of any economic group.

I have heard of people homeschooling to avoid legal authorities for one reason or another: child abuse, illegal immigration status, illegal activities, etc... I cannot verify it but this comes from my sister in law, who works at a rural elementary school in an impoverished area. Apparently previously "homeschooled" students placed into her school have reported all these things, including being trained to run and hide if someone knocked on the door. This is an isolated case, of course, but it does happen all over the country, I'm sure. These "homeschoolers" are not the type to join homeschool groups or put their kids into scouts and camps...so we don't often see or hear about them. They stay under the radar as best as possible and when one of them makes it into the news we all get judged for it.

Her description of the children she teaches who were never homeschooled doesn't paint a much better picture, though. She works with damaged children every day, and a lot of them. Many of them come from horribly dysfunctional families. Many of them have never seen a book by the time the are enrolled in kindergarten or VPK. The free and reduced lunch rate it her school is about 75%, I think, and for most of them it is the only meal they receive all day. She has told me the most heart breaking stories that I will spare you. I agree absolutely with pefa, I think it was, who points out that you can't make an assumption about all children who attend public school based on these kinds of statistics, either.

dbmamaz
10-21-2011, 09:40 AM
Her description of the children she teaches who were never homeschooled doesn't paint a much better picture, though. She works with damaged children every day, and a lot of them. Many of them come from horribly dysfunctional families. Many of them have never seen a book by the time the are enrolled in kindergarten or VPK. The free and reduced lunch rate it her school is about 75%, I think, and for most of them it is the only meal they receive all day.
When I lived in a poor, rural town and my kids were going to an aftercare program. It run by the county, in the grade school, and the two head teachers were sisters who also ran w the ambulance, and they were really good people. I teased them once about how much 'snacks' they had piled up in the room - the older one looked at me and said, "A lot of these kids, this will be the last food they eat before bed." I was shocked. It is kinda sad, everyone yelling about mortgages and student loans, and there are so many kids in this country who dont know if they'll get dinner.

Greenmother
10-21-2011, 09:58 AM
I've got other fish to fry so I don't sweat this one. If I happen to know that the commentator has kids in school, I'll calmly ask "and what are your child's gang colors and how's your child's crack habit?" When they go huh? I point out all the publicity about gangs and drugs in schools. The only universal for schooled kids is that they are in school. The only universal for hs'd kids is that they are hs'd.

Holy Smoke! Pefa!

It was true where I went to school.

Greenmother
10-21-2011, 10:00 AM
Elkhollow--Scary.

We haven't joined any groups at all. But my kids don't run and hide and they have no suspicious marks, nor do they cower or shake. So sad to hear that.

As far as everyone getting judged for the wackadoos--That happens in every subculture. Even the big ones that don't consider themselves subcultures.