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Article on homeschooled children and tragic death - frustrating.


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http://www.startribune.com/tragic-deaths-of-home-schooled-kids-rarely-lead-to-new-rules/360724831/

 

I wish that they would come out with a report on all tragic deaths of school-age children and find a link between them - not just the deaths of homeschooled children.  

 

I don't know, maybe mental illness in a parent?  Drug use by a parent?  There have to be other common threads than homeschooling.  

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I don't know, maybe mental illness in a parent?  Drug use by a parent?  There have to be other common threads than homeschooling. 

 

Undoubtedly. However, the point that they make is not "homeschooling leads to child murder" (which is patently ridiculous) but "when children are in school, they are guaranteed to see other adults - mandated reporters - 180 days of the year".

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Undoubtedly. However, the point that they make is not "homeschooling leads to child murder" (which is patently ridiculous) but "when children are in school, they are guaranteed to see other adults - mandated reporters - 180 days of the year".

 

I agree with you, I just wish the title wasn't so misleading.

 

I am in a state where we have to file a form stating that we intend to homeschool - I don't find that intrusive at all.  But, I wouldn't appreciate being checked up on during the year either.  I'm not sure what the right answer is....

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Undoubtedly. However, the point that they make is not "homeschooling leads to child murder" (which is patently ridiculous) but "when children are in school, they are guaranteed to see other adults - mandated reporters - 180 days of the year".

 

Yes, and it assumes that the mandated reporters always catch what's going on and always report. Trust me, that's not 100% either.

 

I'm a mandated reporter at the community college because I teach a class in the dual enrollment program, and I know that I missed at least one case that if I had known, I would have reported it. A friend told me about the situation after the fact. The poor girl was very quiet and actually did fine academically, so I had no reason to be concerned.

 

And this semester I had a student who seemed engaged and overall happy. Then I got a notice that he had come after an advisor with his fists, and security had to remove him. He was withdrawn from all of his classes and a "do not trespass" order was obtained to bar him from being anywhere on the college property. I seriously saw none of that in him.

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Undoubtedly. However, the point that they make is not "homeschooling leads to child murder" (which is patently ridiculous) but "when children are in school, they are guaranteed to see other adults - mandated reporters - 180 days of the year".

 

And we just had another thread not too long about about kids suing Oklahoma DHS, I believe, (Not 100% sure on the details)  because of  horrible abuse that the schools saw and could ultimately do nothing about. 

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Yes, and it assumes that the mandated reporters always catch what's going on and always report. Trust me, that's not 100% either.

 

Didn't claim it was. I'm just pointing out what the argument actually is. We get nowhere when we misrepresent each other, you know?

 

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Sad. The problem is, what regulation would help? They aren't saying that homeschooled children aren't being educated, so registering and testing aren't really the issue. They are saying homeschooling makes it easier to abuse children. There is no doubt this is true. Homeschooled children CAN be isolated by their family. They CAN disappear without anyone knowing. But the only way I see that changing is if homeschooled children were registered and had to report in daily somewhere. That is obviously overly burdensome.

 

"Knox said she would like to see uniform home-schooling laws across the country that at least keep tabs on children with open or previous Child Protective Services cases who are removed from school to be home-schooled."
 
This makes some sense to me. If the state already has reason to fear for your children and you try to take them out of school, I think someone should be watching more closely. 
 
Protecting children is important. Protecting parental rights and families' privacy is important too. Finding the balancing point is a challenge.

 

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In MN you have to report your student to the district and the district superintendent has the right to check up on you - though I have never heard of one actually doing so. I don't think this is overly burdensome.

 

I also agree with the pp, I could support extra scrutiny being given when kids who have past CPS cases are pulled to homeschool. It is very frightening to think that an abusive family could pull their child out of school under the guise of homeschooling just to be able to perpetuate the abuse.

 

Having said that, I think the article is hogwash. A quick google search shows that between 1500-1800 children die each year at the hands of abusive caregivers. To pull 4 children from this group in an attempt to link this to homeschooling is complete nonsense.

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But the only way I see that changing is if homeschooled children were registered and had to report in daily somewhere. That is obviously overly burdensome.

 

Not necessarily. I'm thinking this through and NOT making an argument here, but what about a scenario like this:

 

All school-aged children are required to have one well-child visit yearly. Children younger than that are expected to go to more well-child visits. Ideally, this is covered by the state so it's no cost to families.

 

Additionally, children who are not enrolled in a physical school are expected to have their learning evaluated in some way yearly - standardized test, portfolio, interview - and expected to visit with a mandated reporter such as a teacher or social worker (at home or elsewhere) once a year, preferably about six months from the doctor's visit. This visit can coincide with the evaluation if you're choosing to do a proctored test or an interview or something.

 

That's two visits yearly with a mandated reporter, one of which you're probably already making. It's a little intrusive, but not nearly as much as daily visits (which really would be ridiculous). I can't help but think that if you're abusing your child to the point where you're probably going to kill them, there will probably be signs six months before the fact.

 

I'm not saying this is a good idea, or we should all be gung-ho and sign up for it now! but I am pointing out a possible middle path some states might take in between "none of this" and "daily check-ins for all homeschoolers". (Actually, given the efforts of a certain lobbying group, I'd be surprised if any states actually do move for more regulation any time in the near future, but let's assume that's a possibility.)

 

I also agree with the pp, I could support extra scrutiny being given when kids who have past CPS cases are pulled to homeschool. It is very frightening to think that an abusive family could pull their child out of school under the guise of homeschooling just to be able to perpetuate the abuse.

 

I am also willing to clearly say that if the pull-out for homeschooling is suspiciously timed, or if they have previous cases that were not eventually found to be unwarranted, then I'm on board with extra scrutiny for those particular families.

 

Obviously, public schooled students enrolled in an online program can be isolated as well, but I have yet to see one of these types of "studies" that even considers this segment of the population.

 

I'm not sure that most people are fully aware that this isn't homeschooling. I mean, you're doing school at home, and that's as far as most people get.

Edited by Tanaqui
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I'm not sure that most people are fully aware that this isn't homeschooling. I mean, you're doing school at home, and that's as far as most people get.

Oh, I completely agree. We had a situation in our state a couple of years ago where a child was removed from public school and enrolled in an online public school. CPS had been contacted both while this child was in B&M school and while he was enrolled in the online school. His mother's boyfriend beat him to death, and the media blamed his death on homeschooling. A state senator even went so far as to propose a bill to "prevent abuse in the homeschooling population." Ironically, this bill didn't even include those students who are enrolled in online public schools. The fact that this proposed bill would have done absolutely nothing to prevent this boy's death was a concept that was beyond the grasp of the local media and the general population.

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Not necessarily. I'm thinking this through and NOT making an argument here, but what about a scenario like this:

 

All school-aged children are required to have one well-child visit yearly. Children younger than that are expected to go to more well-child visits. Ideally, this is covered by the state so it's no cost to families.

 

Additionally, children who are not enrolled in a physical school are expected to have their learning evaluated in some way yearly - standardized test, portfolio, interview - and expected to visit with a mandated reporter such as a teacher or social worker (at home or elsewhere) once a year, preferably about six months from the doctor's visit. This visit can coincide with the evaluation if you're choosing to do a proctored test or an interview or something.

 

That's two visits yearly with a mandated reporter, one of which you're probably already making. It's a little intrusive, but not nearly as much as daily visits (which really would be ridiculous). I can't help but think that if you're abusing your child to the point where you're probably going to kill them, there will probably be signs six months before the fact.

 

I'm not saying this is a good idea, or we should all be gung-ho and sign up for it now! but I am pointing out a possible middle path some states might take in between "none of this" and "daily check-ins for all homeschoolers". (Actually, given the efforts of a certain lobbying group, I'd be surprised if any states actually do move for more regulation any time in the near future, but let's assume that's a possibility.)

In PA, this is pretty much the case. We are required to have yearly physicals, and to meet with an evaluator who is almost always a mandated reporter (teacher or child psychologist usually) once every year. Of course, the physical is not covered by the state, nor is the evaluator's fee, but for the most part I really like the system. Despite PA being considered 'high regulation,' I don't find it burdensome at all, however I could understand some families finding the fees hard to manage. I have always liked the idea that homeschooled kids in PA see mandated reporters several times per year, just by meeting the PA law. (Not that this will catch every case of abuse or neglect. But then, nothing wiil.) Edited by Jayne J
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I don't see how yearly check-ins would help. An abusive parent who knows a check-in is happening would be careful not to leave marks for a week. I mean really. There are kids that die from abuse that are seen the day before in ps. I don't think someone having seen them a year ago would be of use at all, but maybe I'm just too cynical.

 

In this area it isn't at all uncommon for kids to get pulled from ps because the parents are going to be in trouble for truancy. They are too lazy to get their kids to school, so the pull them and say they are homeschooling. I'm sure abusers do the same thing. I can't send my child to school with those bruises, it is time to say we are homeschooling. I don't know if being in a state with more regulation would help prevent that.

 

I don't know if there is any research that says there is less child abuse (of homeschooled children) in high regulation states than in low regulation states. I think any research could be viewed as suspicious by high regulation states because they might claim more abuse is found there (a good thing). I don't know how you can actually get valid stats on something people are trying to hide (and too often succeed in hiding).

 

 

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An abusive parent who knows a check-in is happening would be careful not to leave marks for a week.

 

Harder to fake is the child's attitude towards the parent (is it particularly fearful? do they look at their parents before answering even the most innocuous question?), or whether or not the kid is half starved.

 

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I think the link is tenuous and there should be a proper randomized study done. There are ways to do studies like this from autopsies and other statistics.

 

I am concerned about extremists and cults which may abuse homeschooling laws to isolate children and keep them from getting an education.

 

I do not think that this article adequately addresses the confounding factors either, or the fact that most people aren't sending their kids to PS for monitoring even if we are happy for the free eye exam.

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I would be open to more regulations like those listed above. We already do the well child visits. I could support a weekly check-in for homeschooled kids with previous cps cases. For the rest though, resources would be better spent on monitoring those kids that are not even old enough to fall under compulsory laws. A great many of the child abuse deaths are infants, and the majority are under 6. Unless we are going to require check ins for that population, it doesn't really make sense to single out homeschoolers for added scrutiny, with the exception of the previous cps cases. Required check ins for infants and toddlers would be more effective for preventing child abuse deaths.

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Not necessarily. I'm thinking this through and NOT making an argument here, but what about a scenario like this:

 

All school-aged children are required to have one well-child visit yearly. Children younger than that are expected to go to more well-child visits. Ideally, this is covered by the state so it's no cost to families.

 

Additionally, children who are not enrolled in a physical school are expected to have their learning evaluated in some way yearly - standardized test, portfolio, interview - and expected to visit with a mandated reporter such as a teacher or social worker (at home or elsewhere) once a year, preferably about six months from the doctor's visit. This visit can coincide with the evaluation if you're choosing to do a proctored test or an interview or something.

 

That's two visits yearly with a mandated reporter, one of which you're probably already making. It's a little intrusive, but not nearly as much as daily visits (which really would be ridiculous). I can't help but think that if you're abusing your child to the point where you're probably going to kill them, there will probably be signs six months before the fact.

 

I'm not saying this is a good idea, or we should all be gung-ho and sign up for it now! but I am pointing out a possible middle path some states might take in between "none of this" and "daily check-ins for all homeschoolers". (Actually, given the efforts of a certain lobbying group, I'd be surprised if any states actually do move for more regulation any time in the near future, but let's assume that's a possibility.)

 

 

I am also willing to clearly say that if the pull-out for homeschooling is suspiciously timed, or if they have previous cases that were not eventually found to be unwarranted, then I'm on board with extra scrutiny for those particular families.

 

 

I'm not sure that most people are fully aware that this isn't homeschooling. I mean, you're doing school at home, and that's as far as most people get.

 

That all sounds perfectly reasonable to me. HSLDA, of course, would say that well-child visits are obviously the first step in a plan that concludes by putting homeschooled kids into concentration camps. Sadly, there's always going to be a (large) segment of the homeschool population that doesn't believe the lives of a small number of children are worth any hassle on their part.

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I agree that articles like this are frustrating because they depict homeschooling as a problem and wrongly cast suspicion on all of us. Of course, let's not forget the fact that year after year, tons of teachers are accused of abuse and thus make the news! Or the fact that other students can and often do bully/harm/harass their fellow students. So, to imply that children are fundamentally safer at school is, of course, ridiculous. 

 

My heart does go out to these children though, obviously! How terrible to know children have suffered at the hands of their caregivers. It's sad in any context. 

Edited by EKT
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I would be open to more regulations like those listed above. We already do the well child visits. I could support a weekly check-in for homeschooled kids with previous cps cases. For the rest though, resources would be better spent on monitoring those kids that are not even old enough to fall under compulsory laws. A great many of the child abuse deaths are infants, and the majority are under 6. Unless we are going to require check ins for that population, it doesn't really make sense to single out homeschoolers for added scrutiny, with the exception of the previous cps cases. Required check ins for infants and toddlers would be more effective for preventing child abuse deaths.

 

This is a really interesting point!

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I would love to protect children from abusive parents but the state is short on resources, no the state has other things they want to do with the money. The Office of Child Services is underfunded and overworked where I live. There have been families discovered that were doing atrocious disgusting things that were not investigated despite have having multiple people report suspicions. We need to focus on making the investigative departments better funded so they can handle their case loads and not just throw on top of that checking every home school parent in the state. That would spread resources even thinner. I think that would be a huge mistake. Another thing that would greatly help would be to have more foster families. I have cared for children not my own before but now I need to protect my young ones. When they are older perhaps I will have the opportunity again.

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I don't think checks would do any good. If a particular family doesn't register their kids the district doesn't know about them. For all the neighbors know, they are registered. Is it even legal for the district to tell the neighbors if a certain child is registered there?

 

Parents cannot be reported because their child looks at them before answering a question or seems nervous at a once/year doctor visit. Do we really think the kinds of people who keep kids in a cage and starve them will follow a law and register with the district? If they just move across town they'll often be in a new district, or a bit further and a new county or possibly state.

 

And what about people who homeschool in an RV, or take a year to explore national parks or do family volunteer work abroad? 

 

Additionally, in states like CA, there's no "homeschooler" category. You homeschool under an umbrella or you register as a private school, so the state would have to try and pass a law asking all private school students in the state to check in with the local district and record their plans and do a well-visit. A quick Google search reveals there are about 5,000,000 private school students in CA.

Edited by idnib
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I don't think checks would do any good. If a particular family doesn't register their kids the district doesn't know about them. For all the neighbors know, they are registered. Is it even legal for the district to tell the neighbors if a certain child is registered there?

 

Not all abusive parents are abusive on purpose, cruelly starving their children and beating them to death, fully aware that this is wrong. Lots of them are more... overwhelmed. That's one reason child abuse cases increase as the economy tanks. Even if we can't catch the worst of them, we can still catch an awful lot of the more middlingly abusive ones.

 

Do we really think the kinds of people who keep kids in a cage and starve them will follow a law and register with the district?

 

Do we really think that it's all or nothing with abuse? Either you're a great parent, or you're caging your kids?

 

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I'd also point out that I'm guessing most school-age kids who are in financially stable homes probably see a dentist at least once a year (the recommendation is every 6 months). Dentists are also mandatory reporters, and honestly, our dentist talks to DD more than the pediatrician does.

 

I think the thing that might help most is for mandated reporters already in a child's life to call and check up if he family has missed appointments or otherwise fallen off the radar.

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I don't think checks would do any good. If a particular family doesn't register their kids the district doesn't know about them. For all the neighbors know, they are registered. Is it even legal for the district to tell the neighbors if a certain child is registered there?

 

*snip*

 

Our state requires registration and annual testing. The state board of education has a listing on their website of every single homeschooling household (by surname and county). So, if something looks fishy with the neighbors, you can definitely go online and look up the neighbors to see whether they are really registered as homeschoolers.

 

There is also a page on the homeschooling section of the state board of education website for handling homeschooling complaints and concerns. They have a form for reporting concerns, and they also explain that you cannot report anyone during the summer or anonymously. Anonymous complaints are not investigated. You have to be willing to put your name on the complaint, and they are very clear about the fact that your exact complaint and name will be given to the accused family. If the state finds, after an investigation, that the family is following homeschool law then the case is closed. If the state finds that the family is not following homeschool law, then the case is referred to truancy officers (not CPS).

 

I have never heard of anyone facing an investigation, but I also haven't seen a case of in-real-life educational neglect. I like our law; it's not overly intrusive, but it provides a safety net. 

Edited by MinivanMom
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Our state requires registration and annual testing. The state board of education has a listing on their website of every single homeschooling household (by surname and county). So, if something looks fishy with the neighbors, you can definitely go online and look up the neighbors to see whether they are really registered as homeschoolers.

 

<snip>

 

Anyone can look up a family and see if they are homeschoolers?

 

Why is that considered public information?   Are all kids - public and private-schooled - also available to be viewed on that website? 

 

Am I misunderstanding? 

 

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Not all abusive parents are abusive on purpose, cruelly starving their children and beating them to death, fully aware that this is wrong. Lots of them are more... overwhelmed. That's one reason child abuse cases increase as the economy tanks. Even if we can't catch the worst of them, we can still catch an awful lot of the more middlingly abusive ones.

 

 

Do we really think that it's all or nothing with abuse? Either you're a great parent, or you're caging your kids?

 

 

Well I was specifically speaking to your examples in post #15 of children looking at parents to answer, appearing nervous, or being half-starved. I agree there's a spectrum.

Edited by idnib
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Our state requires registration and annual testing. The state board of education has a listing on their website of every single homeschooling household (by surname and county). So, if something looks fishy with the neighbors, you can definitely go online and look up the neighbors to see whether they are really registered as homeschoolers.

 

Interesting. It wouldn't have occurred to me that this was public information any more than my being able to swing by the local Catholic school and ask if Janey Doe is an attendee there. Perhaps my views are colored by having homeschoolers function as private schools in my state.

 

I would definitely find this a bit creepy. Is there an opt-out, for example, if someone has fled a stalker or DV situation?

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Anyone can look up a family and see if they are homeschoolers?

 

Why is that considered public information?   Are all kids - public and private-schooled - also available to be viewed on that website? 

 

Am I misunderstanding? 

 

 

Yes, anyone can look us up and see that we're homeschoolers.

 

The information listed on the website is the name of your homeschool and the name of the "chief administrator". So if you go on the website and look up my county, you can scroll down to see my name listed as the "chief administrator" along with the name of our homeschool. No information is listed about my children. But - in reverse - if you were to google my name and the name of our homeschool, then the page with our name on the state education website pops up on the very first page. So if I were to share my name and the name of our homeschool here online, then anyone could google those two pieces of information to find out the state and county we live in. 

 

My understanding is that it's considered public information, because the homeschool statue was written (back in the 80's) to mirror the private school statute, except the private school statue is longer and has lots more requirements. They're not listing personal information about individual children (or even the number of children enrolled in the homeschool); they're just sharing the name of the school and the school's "chief administrator". As far as I know, there isn't a way to opt out, but you can choose which parent to list as the "chief administrator". I don't know what someone hiding from dv would do. Theoretically, you could enroll as a second family in someone else's homeschool (up to two families can be educated in any one homeschool), so that the school is registered in the other family's name instead of your own.

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Yes, anyone can look us up and see that we're homeschoolers.

 

The information listed on the website is the name of your homeschool and the name of the "chief administrator". So if you go on the website and look up my county, you can scroll down to see my name listed as the "chief administrator" along with the name of our homeschool. No information is listed about my children. But - in reverse - if you were to google my name and the name of our homeschool, then the page with our name on the state education website pops up on the very first page. So if I were to share my name and the name of our homeschool here online, then anyone could google those two pieces of information to find out the state and county we live in. 

 

My understanding is that it's considered public information, because the homeschool statue was written (back in the 80's) to mirror the private school statute, except the private school statue is longer and has lots more requirements. They're not listing personal information about individual children (or even the number of children enrolled in the homeschool); they're just sharing the name of the school and the school's "chief administrator". As far as I know, there isn't a way to opt out, but you can choose which parent to list as the "chief administrator". I don't know what someone hiding from dv would do. Theoretically, you could enroll as a second family in someone else's homeschool (up to two families can be educated in any one homeschool), so that the school is registered in the other family's name instead of your own.

 

Interesting. Just to clarify, if a neighbor wanted to see if you were homeschooling, could they do it without knowing the name of your homeschool? Would your personal name + the generic word "homeschool" be enough for them to confirm that you've registered?

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Interesting. Just to clarify, if a neighbor wanted to see if you were homeschooling, could they do it without knowing the name of your homeschool? Would your personal name + the generic word "homeschool" be enough for them to confirm that you've registered?

 

Oh, yeah. My neighbor could just go to the state education website, click on homeschooling, click on the prominent tab for "complaints and concerns", and it pulls up an explanation how to file a complaint along with a link to the list of all homeschools by county and surname. All she has to do is click on our county, then scroll down to look for our name. She wouldn't need to know the name of our homeschool.

 

If nosy neighbor wasn't savvy enough to know that this list exists on our state education website (cause how many non-homeschoolers would know?), then she could just google my name. If I enter just my name, the word "homeschool", our county, and our state into google, then our listing on the state website pops up as the very first website found. When I type in just my name and the word "homeschool", then our listing falls to the 4th website found (still on the first page). So my neighbor wouldn't need to know the name of our homeschool to stumble across the state database.

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Oh, yeah. My neighbor could just go to the state education website, click on homeschooling, click on the prominent tab for "complaints and concerns", and it pulls up an explanation how to file a complaint along with a link to the list of all homeschools by county and surname. All she has to do is click on our county, then scroll down to look for our name. She wouldn't need to know the name of our homeschool.

 

I have to file an affidavit with the state each year but the publicly available private school directory only lists schools with more than 6 children enrolled. So the state knows, but my neighbor couldn't find out if I had failed to file, as far as I know.

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I doubt that any of the parents who killed their kids where actually homeschooling them..its just an easy ruse to keep them out of the public eye. Someone who abuses their child is not someone who is also reading aloud to them every night and practicing math flash cards with them.

 

Schools aren't all that great at keeping tabs either. We had a case here in Australia of a 6 year old girl who was abused and murdered by her mum. She was enrolled at school and in several months had only been to class 3-4 times and yet NOBODY from the school called the parents to find out where she was or if they did the mother flat out lied and they took it no further.

 

We have yearly interviews here...someone from the education board comes out to check what you are doing and I assume check on the kids as the kids have to be there and sighted and chatted with. It doesn't bug me at all... I know they are just doing their best to keep tabs on kids...I don't ever feel they are acussing me of doing anything because they do this. It really is kind of pointless though...the parents who abuse their kids will homeschool under the radar and not register. Those who follow the homeschooling laws and allow someone into their home are not the ones who are going to have at risk children.

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Those who follow the homeschooling laws and allow someone into their home are not the ones who are going to have at risk children.

 

Except when they do.

 

I don't suppose we can fill in all the cracks kids fall through.

Edited by Rosie_0801
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I doubt that any of the parents who killed their kids where actually homeschooling them..its just an easy ruse to keep them out of the public eye. Someone who abuses their child is not someone who is also reading aloud to them every night and practicing math flash cards with them.

 

That's actually not true, and it's a harmful story to perpetuate. People can abuse their kids and also give them hugs and tuck them in at night.

 

That's one of the things that makes it so hard to escape abuse, whether it's an abusive parent or an abusive partner. Your abuser probably isn't ALWAYS bad ALL the time - and especially right after a bout of beating or berating you, they may be especially kind and solicitous, giving gifts and lavishing positive attention and promising never to do it again.

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That's actually not true, and it's a harmful story to perpetuate. People can abuse their kids and also give them hugs and tuck them in at night.

 

That's one of the things that makes it so hard to escape abuse, whether it's an abusive parent or an abusive partner. Your abuser probably isn't ALWAYS bad ALL the time - and especially right after a bout of beating or berating you, they may be especially kind and solicitous, giving gifts and lavishing positive attention and promising never to do it again.

 

 

Agreed.

 

Haven't we all seen, at least once, one of those stories where some horrific thing happens, a kid kills a parent or something, and stories of abuse come out, and all the neighbors are interviewed saying "they seemed like such a nice family..."

Edited by marbel
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I think what bothers me about cases like this (whether the child was homeschooled or had been attending public school) is how long the children are often missing before anyone realizes they are missing.

 

Yes, cases fall through the cracks. Yes, teachers and doctors and other mandatory reporters will often miss the signs that a child is in danger. But the idea that a child could be missing for months or even years without anyone missing that child is really disturbing to me. Heck, my oldest daughter missed two ballet classes in a row after I gave birth and the director called me immediately to ask where dd had been and if we were okay. That's what should happen when you are a part of your community, and everyone should be a part of their community whether they are homeschooled or public schooled. That community doesn't have to be government social workers or teachers or doctors; it could be extended family or neighbors or a church community of some sort.

 

But people should miss you when you go missing, and I think people (in general) react really strongly to the idea that a child could be so isolated that no one would even notice if they vanished. Because even if the parents aren't abusive, that level of isolation is something we (as a society) should be concerned about. When I read articles like this, I don't see an attack on homeschooling; I see genuine concern about children who are isolated.

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But people should miss you when you go missing, and I think people (in general) react really strongly to the idea that a child could be so isolated that no one would even notice if they vanished. Because even if the parents aren't abusive, that level of isolation is something we (as a society) should be concerned about. When I read articles like this, I don't see an attack on homeschooling; I see genuine concern about children who are isolated.

 

I absolutely agree with the concept, but I'm not sure you can (or should) legislate it.

 

If someone truly wants to isolate a child (and I consider this abusive) it can be done. Families often live far apart or even in other countries, states don't share information, people have rights to privacy and to own large pieces of land, etc. 

 

One way to keep somewhat better track of children would be to have federal single payer healthcare for them.

Edited by idnib
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One way to keep somewhat better track of children would be to have federal single payer healthcare for them.

 

That would also make it easier to mandate that all children have yearly checkups with the pediatrician, dentist, and optometrist.

 

This next part doesn't relate to the quoted section:

 

I'm thinking more about the issue of... let's call them incidentally abusive parents, people who aren't cold-heartedly isolating their kids just so they can starve and beat them to death in peace. The other sort, the sort who might be overwhelmed or not know the best methods or might not realize that they are abusing or who might realize but not know how to stop. Some of those people are homeschoolers. (Actually, if stress is associated with a greater likelihood of child abuse - and it is - then homeschoolers have got to have the same rate of child abuse as everybody else. Spending all day with somebody IS stressful. Raising kids on one income in a country where most people need two IS stressful, or at least, it can be. Nobody likes to think of this, but it's dishonest to think that our rates of abuse are probably lower than in the rest of the population. I just don't think that's likely.)

 

I'm wondering if it would help if we made a greater incentive for them to get into places where there are more eyes on their kids. More carrot, less stick.

 

For example, kids in middle school and high school are switching classes. Scheduling a student who isn't there all the time has got to be easier than it is in elementary school - so why don't all middle and high schools offer dual enrollment? This would be an advantage to anybody who feels more comfortable letting somebody else handle That One Tricky Subject and doesn't quite have the money to hire a tutor or do a private class. It would allow a bit of breather for parents and children who have been spending a little more time with each other than either of them quite like. And for those people who are actually being abused, it would give them more time both with other people who can set them up with some perspective, and also with mandated reporters.

 

Extracurriculars are a huge expense for parents no matter how their children are educated. Why not run more extracurriculars through the parks department, and fewer of them through the schools? And those things which ARE run by the schools, if they aren't competitive - like geography club or no-audition chorus - could be offered to all students in the area, whether or not they attend that specific school. I'd even be on board with vouchers for private afterschool activities to lower income families. And then everybody benefits.

 

Again, I have no illusions that this is really going to help the sadists out there. But it can help a whole lot of other families who are much more borderline, and also help families that aren't abusing their kids at all. And it's not intrusive like You Must Meet With A Social Worker Monthly. It's more like "Hey, here are these resources!"

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*snip*

 

I'm wondering if it would help if we made a greater incentive for them to get into places where there are more eyes on their kids. More carrot, less stick.

 

For example, kids in middle school and high school are switching classes. Scheduling a student who isn't there all the time has got to be easier than it is in elementary school - so why don't all middle and high schools offer dual enrollment? This would be an advantage to anybody who feels more comfortable letting somebody else handle That One Tricky Subject and doesn't quite have the money to hire a tutor or do a private class. It would allow a bit of breather for parents and children who have been spending a little more time with each other than either of them quite like. And for those people who are actually being abused, it would give them more time both with other people who can set them up with some perspective, and also with mandated reporters.

 

Extracurriculars are a huge expense for parents no matter how their children are educated. Why not run more extracurriculars through the parks department, and fewer of them through the schools? And those things which ARE run by the schools, if they aren't competitive - like geography club or no-audition chorus - could be offered to all students in the area, whether or not they attend that specific school. I'd even be on board with vouchers for private afterschool activities to lower income families. And then everybody benefits.

 

*snip*

 

I love this idea. And I really like the concept of making more things community-based rather than school-based. 

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That would also make it easier to mandate that all children have yearly checkups with the pediatrician, dentist, and optometrist.

 

This next part doesn't relate to the quoted section:

 

I'm thinking more about the issue of... let's call them incidentally abusive parents, people who aren't cold-heartedly isolating their kids just so they can starve and beat them to death in peace. The other sort, the sort who might be overwhelmed or not know the best methods or might not realize that they are abusing or who might realize but not know how to stop. Some of those people are homeschoolers. (Actually, if stress is associated with a greater likelihood of child abuse - and it is - then homeschoolers have got to have the same rate of child abuse as everybody else. Spending all day with somebody IS stressful. Raising kids on one income in a country where most people need two IS stressful, or at least, it can be. Nobody likes to think of this, but it's dishonest to think that our rates of abuse are probably lower than in the rest of the population. I just don't think that's likely.)

 

I'm wondering if it would help if we made a greater incentive for them to get into places where there are more eyes on their kids. More carrot, less stick.

 

For example, kids in middle school and high school are switching classes. Scheduling a student who isn't there all the time has got to be easier than it is in elementary school - so why don't all middle and high schools offer dual enrollment? This would be an advantage to anybody who feels more comfortable letting somebody else handle That One Tricky Subject and doesn't quite have the money to hire a tutor or do a private class. It would allow a bit of breather for parents and children who have been spending a little more time with each other than either of them quite like. And for those people who are actually being abused, it would give them more time both with other people who can set them up with some perspective, and also with mandated reporters.

 

Extracurriculars are a huge expense for parents no matter how their children are educated. Why not run more extracurriculars through the parks department, and fewer of them through the schools? And those things which ARE run by the schools, if they aren't competitive - like geography club or no-audition chorus - could be offered to all students in the area, whether or not they attend that specific school. I'd even be on board with vouchers for private afterschool activities to lower income families. And then everybody benefits.

 

Again, I have no illusions that this is really going to help the sadists out there. But it can help a whole lot of other families who are much more borderline, and also help families that aren't abusing their kids at all. And it's not intrusive like You Must Meet With A Social Worker Monthly. It's more like "Hey, here are these resources!"

 

 

Why just non-competitive activities? I think all extra-curricular activities including sports and classes should be open to homeschoolers. I think schools are being short-sighted when they close off extra-curricular activities and classes to homeschoolers. 

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Why just non-competitive activities?

 

Whether or not it is reasonable, the argument I seem to see over and over again is that some families might pull their kid out of school just to focus on sports (or, to a lesser extent, music or drama or whatever), thus not only harming their education but also giving them an unfair competitive advantage over other students, especially if the school has GPA requirements for sports.

 

It'd be easier to get non-competitive activities universally open than competitive ones, where one must audition or try out. I would, of course, like to see more sports and whatnot run through the parks or through clubs outside of schools.

 

I think schools are being short-sighted when they close off extra-curricular activities and classes to homeschoolers.

 

I quite agree. I understand it on the elementary level - kids are in the same class all day, so the scheduling has got to be tricky. (Would still like to see more opt-in district-run programs for homeschoolers on that level, though, if the district has a reasonable percentage of homeschooled students. Would also like those programs to be available to families out of district, perhaps if they pay a small fee on a sliding scale.)

Edited by Tanaqui
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For example, kids in middle school and high school are switching classes. Scheduling a student who isn't there all the time has got to be easier than it is in elementary school - so why don't all middle and high schools offer dual enrollment? This would be an advantage to anybody who feels more comfortable letting somebody else handle That One Tricky Subject and doesn't quite have the money to hire a tutor or do a private class. It would allow a bit of breather for parents and children who have been spending a little more time with each other than either of them quite like. And for those people who are actually being abused, it would give them more time both with other people who can set them up with some perspective, and also with mandated reporters.

 

Extracurriculars are a huge expense for parents no matter how their children are educated. Why not run more extracurriculars through the parks department, and fewer of them through the schools? And those things which ARE run by the schools, if they aren't competitive - like geography club or no-audition chorus - could be offered to all students in the area, whether or not they attend that specific school. I'd even be on board with vouchers for private afterschool activities to lower income families. And then everybody benefits.

 

Again, I have no illusions that this is really going to help the sadists out there. But it can help a whole lot of other families who are much more borderline, and also help families that aren't abusing their kids at all. And it's not intrusive like You Must Meet With A Social Worker Monthly. It's more like "Hey, here are these resources!"

 

I sound like such a Negative Nellie.  :blush:

 

For the dual enrollment, I definitely think that would work to give parents a break and get kids out of the house and near mandated reporters. (And I would be happy to be able to take part, don't get me wrong!) But don't you think the overwhelmed parents who are not intentionally abusing their kids are also likely to go to the doctor, dentist, church, etc. It seems the overlap of those who are homeschooling, abusing kids without knowing it, and never joining any activities or partaking of health and dental care is very small. As I mentioned, it wouldn't work in CA unless they opened it up to all private schools and I'm guessing they rely on a certain percentage of kids paying for public school and not partaking.

 

In our district the extracurriculars are funded by a foundation and the parents pay in, as do businesses who want to sponsor activities in exchange for recognition. I did inquire at one point about whether we could join but they were booked with public school kids and didn't have enough space and teachers. We have a fair amount of things through our rec department, but I'm not sure if those employees are mandated reporters. Looking over the web site, they need CPR cards, in some case driving licenses, TB shots, criminal checks and fingerprints, but nothing about mandated reporter training.

Edited by idnib
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That's actually not true, and it's a harmful story to perpetuate. People can abuse their kids and also give them hugs and tuck them in at night.

 

That's one of the things that makes it so hard to escape abuse, whether it's an abusive parent or an abusive partner. Your abuser probably isn't ALWAYS bad ALL the time - and especially right after a bout of beating or berating you, they may be especially kind and solicitous, giving gifts and lavishing positive attention and promising never to do it again.

Yes. And and in a dv situation the homeschooling parent could be a victim too.

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The very sad truth is that there is no 100% guarantee against abuse.  A couple of years ago a local doctor was on trial for abusing kids at his practice.  Now I thiink it is healthy for people to have some social outlets where they are part of a community.  And I think it is healthy for kids to have a doctor who sees them as needed or for physicals.  But to see these things as panaceas is a bit naive, I think. 

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On one hand, I think having kids seen periodically by a school employee or other appropriate person sounds reasonable.  On the other hand, there must be some reason for the lack of trust by homeschooling parents.  It seems there needs to be some cooperation in figuring out what the government employee should do when they check in with homeschoolers.  If they could reach a consensus on what the scope of the visit and the powers should be, perhaps it wouldn't be so fiercely resisted.

 

I also think maybe it makes sense to provide a waiver if the child is regularly in contact with a mandated reporter - sports coach, therapist, tutor, scout leader, Sunday School teacher, etc.  I think that would cover most kids.

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I think the thing that might help most is for mandated reporters already in a child's life to call and check up if he family has missed appointments or otherwise fallen off the radar.

 

Absolutely. I've noticed that the offices in our area don't follow up if we miss an appointment. So you could just stop going without them bothering you.

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