I don’t like writing about child abuse

A while back I had decided I wasn’t going to write much about homeschooling anymore. I’d much rather enjoy my years of homeschooling than to write about it, but the recent chaos about child abuse in the homeschool community has me deeply concerned. I don’t like writing about child abuse.  The easy way out of the chaos is to say absolutely nothing, but that has it’s share of trouble too.

“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

If humanity had remained silent all these years, we’d be stuck in prehistoric mentality. Making our voices heard certainly can bring out the opposition, but it can also make huge changes for humanity as we propel ourselves into a better future.

It’s sad that when we MUST talk about such an important topic as child abuse, that we would get critics from within the Christian Homeschool community. They should be the FIRST to speak up when it’s happening in their own ‘back yards’. I’m not talking about smearing one another’s names through back yard gossip over the fence line while sipping your mochas with neighbors. I’m not talking about indulging in self righteous jibber jabber about how  Suzie Republican Homeschooler lost her temper at the park  when Sharon Democrat-Homeschooler spoke in favor of universal healthcare. I’m talking about how urgent it is that Janice Homeschooler reach out to Julie Homeschooler when she sees Julie smacking her 3 year old son in a fit of rage because he accidentally spilled his grape juice on her white culottes. I’m talking about Mr. Stevens-Homeschooler having a man to man talk with Mr. Jones-Homeschooler when he notices Mr. Jones publicly berating his wife when she refuses to smack her little girl for picking her boogers.

Some parents feel that if they speak up, they’d be intruding in a family’s private matters. So they assume they are being polite by looking the other way.

Is it polite to let a child or wife be abused?

If you don’t know how to wisely intervene, then find out how to!

Find out what your community resources are for battered women and children. Go to their group meetings and talk to the counselor in charge. Let them know you are there to gain wisdom and discover resources available so you can help your friends. Ask LOTS of questions. Become a better friend by equipping yourself with the knowledge that can help transform a family.

But for goodness sake, don’t remain silent.

If you have a blog, say something!

You may not like that some of the bloggers throwing a fit about this are atheists, but should it matter what a person’s belief system is when they’re shouting from the roof tops about child abuse? We should be on the rooftops with them!

There SHOULD be more Christian Homeschoolers blogging about abuse in the homeschool community than any other bloggers. It should be US who throw a fit about how it’s being hidden under the homeschool label. It’s not “evil propaganda” when a nonChristian speaks up about abuse. If it bothers you that much then YOU be the louder voice and start blogging about how your community plans to help families in need.


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Homeschooling isn’t best for all kids

As a homeschool mom of faith, this post is going to be quite controversial. I understand that my opinions and philosophy in life is not in line with the beliefs of many Christian Homeschoolers, so I’m not going to expect that this post will be well accepted by them. However, I do hope they’ll at least consider what I’m going to say. I hope they consider my thoughts, because children are being abused and neglected. I hope that their deeply religious hearts will consider my words for the sake of children in their own community. I’m not against parents who have genuine hearts to educate their children at home, but there is a deeply troubling dilemma plaguing the homeschool community and we need to open our eyes to it and do something about it. I pleaded with abused women to reach out for help and I’ve offered some advice to help begin the process of offering help to them. Today, I’m going to be blunt with the leaders who preach that homeschooling is best for all children, because it’s not! Homeschool isn’t best for all kids.

Homeschooling is not best for kids …

  • whose parents blindly follow conspiracy theories.
  • whose parents live in fear of everyone outside their own group.
  • whose parents have anger problems.
  • whose parents don’t think they have what it takes to home educate.
  • whose parents can’t stand to be with their kids all day.
  • whose parents spank for every infraction.
  • whose parents lack grace.
  • whose parents threaten their kids with CPS if they don’t do as their told.
  • whose parents threaten their kids with after-life punishments.
  • whose parents are threatening.
  • whose parents lack patience.
  • whose parents are pressured into homeschooling by other leaders.

The list could go on and on.

I’ve seen the arguments around the Internet and quite honestly, some arguments make me want to bang my head on a wall.

“Parents shouldn’t be allowed to teach their own kids.”

So people can have sex and give birth to children, but they can’t teach their kids reading, math, or history? I don’t think people realize how asinine their arguments are.

“Parents should only homeschool if they have a degree.”

But people can have sex and give birth to babies without a parenting degree.

*shakes head*

If you’re going to make an argument about education and parenting, then get better at expressing your perspective. These statements aren’t helping anyone and they just make you look ridiculous.

Most homeschool parents were educated in the public school system. If these parents don’t have what it takes to teach the very subjects they learned in public school for 13 years, then God help the public school system! And you want their kids to attend the same schools their parents did?

But lets move the conversation to the hot topic of the week; children who suffer abuse in the homeschool environment.

If your leaders are pressuring you to homeschool out of some religious idea that only parents should educate their children, then don’t you dare bring your kids home!

You may not be the best teacher for your kids. Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you’re the right teacher for them.

Leaders, stop pressuring people to homeschool! You don’t know every family out there who is listening to your teaching. You don’t know which parents are abusive, mentally ill, or narcissistic. You should NOT be telling parents that they alone are the best teachers for their kids. You don’t know them!

Making the choice to home educate is a deeply serious decision that should never be taken lightly. If a parent is considering it, then they need to look into what it takes before they make their decision. Just because HSLDA says you have “parental rights to choose your child’s education”, doesn’t mean all parents are making their choice from a wise place.

Parents should look at ALL their options and research each and every option available to them. They should ask themselves if home educating is best for their child and if it’s best for themselves. Parents who hide in the “homeschool” community so they can continue to be abusive are NOT home educating. They are NOT homeschooling. They are abusing, period! Oh their kids might learn to read, write, and do simple math…but lots of kids who suffer abuse can read, write, and do math. Homeschooling is SO MUCH MORE than reading, writing, and doing math.

In fact, so called ‘homeschoolers’ who are hiding abuse aren’t REALLY a part of the homeschool community. They’re just trying to blend in by using the lingo. Of the homeschool abuse I’ve read about, those families lived highly isolated lives. A COMMUNITY isn’t isolated. Isolation and community are in opposition to one another. Isolated homeschoolers might make some public appearances so they are seen, but still live extremely private lives.

I’ve tried playing ‘devil’s advocate’ in understanding such an isolated life and I just don’t see how that can be healthy for anyone, let alone a child.

Home educating should be safe for kids. It should be preparing them for the world they will step into when they are an adult. Better yet, it should be preparing them to merge into this world. But if your idea of homeschool is about locking your kid away from the world out of fear, then homeschooling isn’t the best option for you. I’m not saying it can’t be at some point, but you may need to get help for yourself before you bring the kids home.

Learn all you can about home education. Learn about how hard it is, how much dedication it takes, how much of your life it’s going to take. In the mean time, be AS INVOLVED AS POSSIBLE with your child’s public education. Meet with teachers and ask lots of questions. It’s rare that a parent wants to spend that kind of time with a teacher so when those teachers meet a parent like that, they love it. Volunteer in the school, grade papers, read the books the kids are reading. Look at their papers, read their book reports, study their math papers and see where they’re struggling. You might find that keeping them in public school and being active in their school is better for you and for your child, than homeschooling would be.

Homeschooling isn’t best for all kids, especially not for kids whose parents are abusive. Since we don’t always know who is abusive, don’t advise people that “homeschooling is best for all kids”.


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How to protect children in a homeschool environment

When abuse happens in a community, we need to do what ever we can to help make a difference. Abuse happens in all kinds of communities, but for this post I want to focus on the Christian community and the Christian Homeschool community. One abused child is too many. One dead child is too many. But what are we doing to make a difference? Are we so quick to defend our parental rights that we shove right passed our children’s rights to be safe? What are we doing to help our community’s children? How can we protect children in a homeschool (or religious) environment?

I’m a bit different than some of my peers who want state regulation over home education and parenting. I’m also quite opinionated about how some Christians and Homeschoolers interpret the Constitution as well as the Bible. We should NEVER use the Bible to promote child abuse nor should we use it to dismiss abusive parents.

I’m an advocate for our freedom while being responsible for that freedom. Some parents violate that freedom when they violate their children’s freedom to be in a safe and secure environment. Children are the most vulnerable of our human species and deserve our protection.

I’m the kind of person that points to myself first before trying to point at some other parent so when it comes to me stepping up for another kid I keep in mind that I’m not a perfect parent either. I’m not trying to be a nosy busybody who is wanting to send a government official into every child’s home and interrogate a parent and insist they need government oversight into their home. At the same time, I think we could do a lot better job of being a good neighbor and a compassionate human being when it comes to kids.

The recent drama surrounding the HSLDA and the abuse of children has spawned a lot of conversation…much needed conversation. It’s also brought out a lot of angry, hurt, and suspicious people who want to send big brother into the mess to ‘set parents straight” and force them to be regulated by the government’s already volatile school system.

What’s a happy and reasonable medium so kids have the protection they need?

After knowing too many children who have suffered abuse in both churches and isolated homeschools, I’ve debated the pros and cons of state regulation. I’ve been discussing Constitutional freedom as well, and I think I have an idea for a good start.

I think communities need to be cooperating together with local professionals to make sure we ALL have the resources available to us so we can ALL be better parents.

So with that in mind, here are my recommendations to churches and homeschool co ops.

1. Pastors, church leaders, Nursery Directors, and Sunday School teachers should be fully trained as mandatory reporters. I don’t buy into the idea that pastors should be exempt so people can confess without being turned in. I think that’s hogwash.

2. Homeschool Co Ops should have their leaders be fully trained mandatory reporters as well.

3. Churches and Homeschool Co Ops should help coordinate with local authorities to provide low cost or free seminars for ALL parents where local professionals can come in and teach what is abuse and how to get help.

4. Offer support groups for anger management classes. If your church doesn’t already have a certified anger management counselor on staff, get someone certified or hire an outside counselor for classes.

5. Offer low cost or free child care during the classes. Be sure your child care workers are finger print approved by the FBI. You can get them to your local police department for a finger print  and background check.

I don’t think pastors or homeschool leaders should attempt to do this on their own without professionals, because often times organization leaders will use loop holes to protect their organization’s image rather than to be truly on the side of the children.

Being a mandatory reporter doesn’t mean you have a full powered license to report people in an abusive manner. Some states have legal penalties for people who file false reports. So there’s no need to be afraid of them or of becoming one. The key is to be responsible.  You’re not going to be pressured to scrutinize every parent you come in contact with. Being trained to recognize abuse is good training. You can have resources at your disposal to offer to families in need.

If we were more professional and pro-active in helping to protect children (and report properly and only when necessary), then we could help so many more children than we realize. When we cooperate with our local professional leaders, we wouldn’t need so many “big brother'” types trying to cram more government control on us.

We must be more responsible and we must do better to assist families in need.

Freedom comes with great responsibility.

Your thoughts?



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