I have been a critic of home schooling for many years now. My reasons are many but the major points are
- Home schooling too often is used to promote an ideology, religious or political.
- Home schooling, despite professional support, is not monitored and cannot be verified as efficacious.
- Anecdotal evidence concerning home schooling is almost exclusively about successes and failures are seldom mentioned.
- Home schooled children are not exposed to alternate learning and are less prone to develop critical thinking skills.
- Home schooled children are not socialized with other children, especially other children that are different from them.
Now I read about another problem, one related to my other concerns but something I really had not thought of:
- Home schooled children are not observed in a non-family environment and this allows mistreatment of those children to more easily go on without being noticed.
This revelation made me stop and think: not only are the home schooled students not exposed to other children at school, but the officials at the school are not available to observe any questionable behavior or body damage that might suggest a problem at the student’s home which should be followed up on. If a student came to school with a black eye and bruises on arms and legs, the teacher would notice this and make a report; but if the student is home schooled, no one would ever know if the student was being abused in the home.
The article in The Daily Beast by Michelle Goldberg leads with this example:
Because the practice is almost entirely unregulated in much of the country, parents are able to hide their crimes—sometimes fatally.
On September 9, the parents of Hana Williams, an Ethiopian teenager living in the state of Washington, were convicted of killing her. During the last year of her life, court documents show, she had lost almost 30 pounds as she was beaten, denied food, forced to sleep in a barn, and given cold outdoor showers with a garden hose. Much of the time she was kept barefoot, although she was allowed shoes if there was snow on the ground. Sometimes she was given nothing but a towel to wear. If Williams had been in school, someone might have noticed that she was underdressed and emaciated. But she was homeschooled, and so her parents, fundamentalist Christians in thrall to a harsh disciplinary philosophy, had complete privacy to punish her as they saw fit. She died naked, face down in the mud in their backyard.
Read the article in The Daily Beast for a more complete discussion of this problem.