A Double Legacy: Conform and Be Different

I was recently talking to a friend who grew up in a family much like mine, and we identified something very interesting. We both feel that being homeschooled and raised the way we were left us a double legacy. Since leaving home, my friend has been involved in the Emerging Church and has even spent time on a Christian commune. Her parents have been less than pleased to see her question the traditional doctrines and lifestyle choices they raised her with. She feels this is ironic, because they also raised her to think and to question the mainstream culture, and she feels that what she is doing is merely a continuation of that. The legacy she and I received from our parents was a twofold message: Conform, and be different.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that for so many homeschool parents a movement that started as radical and counter-cultural has turned into a way to force their children into a specific mold? But the cracks and fissures are there. “If you could be different,” the child wonders, “if you could set out on a radical path and follow your conscience, why can’t I?


I have avoided commenting on an article written by Reb Bradley, a homeschool advocate, titled “Homeschool Blind Spots,” because the article bothers me so much.  The article starts like this:

In the last couple of years, I have heard from multitudes of troubled homeschool parents around the country, a good many of whom were leaders. These parents have graduated their first batch of kids, only to discover that their children didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. Many of these children were model homeschoolers while growing up, but sometime after their 18th birthday they began to reveal that they didn’t hold to their parents’ values.

Some of these young people grew up and left home in defiance of their parents. Others got married against their parents’ wishes, and still others got involved with drugs, alcohol, and immorality. I have even heard of several exemplary young men who no longer even believe in God. My own adult children have gone through struggles I never guessed they would have faced.

Most of these parents remain stunned by their children’s choices, because they were fully confident their approach to parenting was going to prevent any such rebellion. Some were especially confident, because as teens these kids were only obedient.  Needless to say, the dreams of these homeschool parents have crashed, and many other parents want to know what they can do to prevent their own children from following the same course.

The author goes on to say that homeschool parents need to change their methods, allowing their children greater freedom and exposure, but he never changes his goal, and that is what bugs me. His goal is to raise children identical to their parents in doctrinal beliefs and lifestyle choices. He sees homeschooling as a process for forcing a child into a specific mold. Like Michael Pearl has stated explicitly, the goal here is to raise clones.

Now some readers may object here, arguing that it’s natural for parents to teach their children their beliefs, especially if they believe that their eternal fate hangs in the balance. By way of responding to this critique, I want to quote an exchange I had with Hermana Linda when she mentioned this article on her excellent Why Not To Train A Child site.

Libby Anne: I was also both heartened and dissatisfied by his article (which I read several years ago). Young Mom points out that he is dissatisfied because he did not get the results and is therefore arguing for changing methods (not because the methods were intrinsically harmful), but I would add simply that he does not change the results he wants: children with identical belief systems and identical lifestyles to his. He wants to produce clones, and he DOES NOT change this desire. It’s this desire that’s the problem, not simply the methods, because if he changes to more loving methods and STILL does not produce clones of himself he will see himself and his children as a failure. Parents need to stop making it their goal to produce clones and realize that their children are individual human beings who need to grow up and live their own choices and choose their own beliefs. That, of course, was exactly what this article did NOT say.

Hermana Linda: I agree with you up to a point but I cannot agree that parents should not have a goal to produce Christian children. For a Christian, a lost child is a great tragedy. They will spend eternity in Heaven but their child will spend eternity suffering the torment of hell. Yes, the children are individual human beings who need to grow up and make their own choices, but it’s the parents’ job to guide them in making wise choices. The fact that controlling and micromanaging them often turns them away from the faith is enough proof that this method is wrong.

Libby Anne: Ah, but I did not say his goal is to create “Christians” but rather that his goal is to create “clones.” I don’t know how you define “Christian,” but I would assume you probably have a broader definition than either Bradley or my parents.

I have known many people for whom being a Christian simply means the desire to follow Christ, and issues like creation or evolution, pretrib or midtrib, the exact type of discipline used, dating verses courtship, stay at home mom verses working mom, small family verses big family, skirts verses pants, homeschool verse public school, and on and on, are largely irrelevant to that desire because they are a matter of individual leading and not Christian dogma. These individuals expect their adult children to follow Jesus FOR THEMSELVES and place them in God’s hands and trust Him to know what is best and to work everything out for good.

For people like Bradley and my parents it is different. For them, being a “Christian” means not being a Christ follower but rather sharing their beliefs to the exact minutia (seriously, questioning the wisdom of parent guided courtship, or rejecting spanking as a method of punishment is enough to show that you are damned or at least headed on a path straight to Satan’s lair). As soon as the child disagrees with this sort of parent on anything, no matter how small a point it may seem, that Child is seen as broken, ruined, no longer truly Christian – EVEN IF THEY SAY THEY LOVE JESUS MORE THAN ANYTHING.

The thing to remember is that I did not become an atheist until years after having trouble with my parents. Actually, when I had trouble with my parents, my faith had never felt so vibrant. It was JESUS who told me it was okay to question my parents’ beliefs, that it was okay to make my own. The issue my parents had with me wasn’t me leaving faith, it was me making my faith my own. So I did not say that the problem was the desire to produce Christian children, but rather that the problem was the desire to produce clones.

Hermana Linda: Oh, I understand. Thanks for clarifying. In that case, I do agree. <3

I understand wanting your children to share your basic faith. What I do not think is healthy is wanting your children to be your clones, miming your beliefs and lifestyle in every detail. Someone once told me that they love what “wild cards” kids are. Kids grow up and make their own choices, and parents can’t stop that – and shouldn’t try to. I wish more parents understood that, but parents like Bradley clearly do not.

Be Different!

But what these homeschool parents don’t see is that by homeschooling, by daring to step out of the mainstream and be different, they are giving their children another legacy altogether. My friend and I both saw the contradictions and grabbed hold of this second legacy. We both became nonconformists in every sense of the word, asking questions and watching as the whole world opened up. We moved beyond our parents’ beliefs in an attempt to forge our own beliefs, just as our parents moved beyond their parents’ beliefs to forge their own beliefs.

By choosing to homeschool, our parents challenged one of the most fundamental parts of American culture: the belief that children should be sent to school to study under teachers and learn to interact with their peers. That’s revolutionary. Our parents dared to be very, very different. That sends a message.

Here’s an interesting analogy. Many historians have argued that during the American Revolution the Founding Fathers saw a future nation in which well educated elite gentlemen would rule the country wisely, applying enlightenment philosophical ideas. The problem was that the common people took the Founding Fathers’ rhetoric of rights and equality seriously, and after the Revolution old ideas of deference faded as the people demanded a truly participatory democracy. These historians have argued that the Constitutional Convention was an “attempt to put the democratic genie back in the bottle,” but even that failed to stem the tide of popular democarcy, and many Founding Fathers died disillusioned, surrounded by a nation a far different from what they had hoped and dreamed of.

I think what you see with homeschooled young people like myself is similar. My parents had a vision for my future, but by homeschooling and daring to be different and question what most deemed common knowledge, they planted seeds in me that I took seriously, and once I was an adult I forged my own path and created a life very different from the one they had had planned for me. The Founding Fathers were disillusioned, wondering where their Revolution went wrong without realizing that they themselves planted the seeds for the people’s “rebellion” through their own rhetoric; likewise, my parents are disillusioned, wondering where they went wrong in raising me without realizing that they themselves planted the seeds for my “rebellion” through their own actions. They never realized the revolutionary potential of their own example.

For more on this idea, see a previous post of mine, I Was Raised To Be A Skeptic.


It is true that many homeschooled children seem to come away with only the first message and not the latter. I am overwhelmed, sometimes, by the inability to think critically that I see in too many of the homeschool graduates raised similarly to me. They seem to be unable to think outside of the box in which they grew up, to take everything their parents taught them as gospel truth without question.

It seems to me that homeschool families run a spectrum, secular unschoolers on the left focusing solely on “be different” and the most controlling conservative religious homeschoolers on the right focusing solely on “conform.” My family was somewhere on the right side of the spectrum, but there are plenty of families even further to the right where the “conform” message is even louder. I think, though, that even as the “be different” message is smothered in those families, it is still there, beneath the surface, waiting for some child coming of age to see it and grab hold of it. The double legacy is alive and well.

More Blatant Hypocrisy from Chris Jeub
#makehomeschoolsafe and Michigan's HB 4498
The Latest Threat to Homeschooling---a Citizenship Test
A Letter from Jesus and Living in Fear
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17684892649684706052 Tequilamonky

    This is fascinating. I know of several Christian home-schooling families who have chosen that route purposefully to avoid their child being exposed to other cultures and ideas. I am about to begin home-schooling our own children and one of my fears was that I would somehow be restricting them to only hearing my own opinions and have been trying to work out ways to still be able to expose my children to a wealth of ideas and faiths. It never occurred to me that the method itself could promote scepticism. It gives me great hope for my own children and for the children in the Christian families I know.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    I have expressed this in my own words many times:"She feels this is ironic, because they also raised her to think and to question the mainstream culture, and she feels that what she is doing is merely a continuation of that. The legacy she and I received from our parents was a twofold message: Conform, and be different.It's ironic, isn't it, that for so many homeschool parents a movement that started as radical and counter-cultural has turned into a way to force their children into a specific mold? But the cracks and fissures are there. "If you could be different," the child wonders, "if you could set out on a radical path and follow your conscience, why can't I?"I whole-heartedly agree that the example of being independent and strong-willed in setting out an unorthodox course for your own life, and having a leaning towards giving iconoclastic ideas a fair hearing, is INHERENT in being a home school family. That is one reason I was comfortable with choosing to home school my own children. Growing up as a young parent, the wall plaque "Children Learn What They Live" was on a lot of nursery walls, in baby stores to give as gifts, etc. While the poem is worth reading, and has powerful insights, the most powerful insight is in the title itself:Children Learn What They LiveThat is both the blessing and the bane of all parenting. As it applies to home schooling, it has always given me hope for my children's future. The very act of home schooling was telling them that they are free to choose against the flow when their conscience called them to do so. The very act of home schooling gives them permission to toss out any part of the way they were raised and try something totally different. I *liked* this about home schooling.

  • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

    "For a Christian, a lost child is a great tragedy. They will spend eternity in Heaven but their child will spend eternity suffering the torment of hell."For me, this is the great fallacy of their philosophy. I have heard the ol' Heaven verses Hell theme time and time again. Is the final goal of life really just where you go when you die? Christians are supposed to be defined by their relationship with Jesus and He is becoming a distant second, third, or lost completely in their works only, purity, act this way-think this way morality system. They are not making actual Christians.Personally if I knew my child was going to Hell, there would not exist a Heaven for me. So it is pointless to try to use it as a means to control or manipulate me.Sorry, a little off topic but their the world is a great big place and trying to squeeze it down into a few catch phrases and Bible verses will not work on an intelligent, curious child.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    However, I have been engaged in a learning process myself about home schooling, in which I am having to open my eyes to see uncomfortable truths that have set in. Many early advocates like myself did choose home schooling as an expression of independence. We had an willingness to take on the weighty responsibility for our children's learning and nurture into adults knowing it was damned serious business. It seems to me that since that time many, MANY parents coming after us have chosen home schooling as conformists.As a Christian, I avoided this kind of analysis for a long time. It seemed proud and we all know what a sin pride is, am I right? I said "anyone could home school" because to say that:intelligent, motivated, responsible, empathetic parents who were willing to commit much time to learning about parenting, pedagogy, and every subject they'll need to pass on (history, science, geography, English, literature, economics, civics, computer literacy, etc.) to their children, plus those who have the other resources (chiefly transportation and money) to search out other teachers/mentors to fill in the gaps AND can afford good quality materials AND have a great enthusiasm for a life-style of learningsounded elitist. And so I contributed to the conformists folly by parroting the idea that anyone who wants to could home school. I defined "wants to" as the above. Others came after me and pushed home schooling as the only way for good Christians to raise children. Now merely wanting to fit into the herd of fundamentalist Christian meant "wants to" home school. Huge difference!So what did these unmotivated parents who did not much care for learning use to educate their children? Canned curriculum marketed by fundamentalist Christians, of course. Such material does not make for a quality education and such teachers are probably less motivated to teach than the cynical burned out public school teacher of home school myth. These fundamentalist women are being encouraged to spend their whole reproductive lives pregnant or caring for young babies anyway. Who has time to devote themselves to a lifestyle of learning? In a way, I feel sorry for these women because they are being sold an ideal they can never NEVER live up to fulfilling. But I feel worse for their children, who are born into this world intended to be clones, not even of their parents really, but of their parents ideal fantasy Christian.But since children DO learn what they live, that'll never happen. They *might* turn out to be just like their parents with all the depression and disappointment inherent in that lifestyle, but they will never turn out to be the ideal fantasy Christian they were intended to become.My greatest hope is that the independence of home schooling will germinate and grow in them to someday set them free to strike out on their own independent path. And I am very glad it seems to be working that way for many, even if it means they become atheists. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09371826731550331938 AztecQueen2000

    I've often joked that my younger child will, at the ripe old age of 18, hop on a Harley and split. (She's 3) For me, as a homeschool parent, my job is to give my children the tools to grow into independent adults who can make wise decisions. Decisions that I may not have made!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967070182847617840 kisekileia

    I really hope I can raise my future kids to think critically and independently. The problem is that there are some beliefs that I consider seriously problematic ethically, and some (specifically related to aspects of psychiatry) that I feel negate my identity and am triggered by. I would have a really hard time dealing with it if a child of mine grew up to, say, not believe in ADHD.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    My young friend (home school grad) says how about a permit or license, like a driver's licence or hunting license? Read through a booklet about childhood development, signs of learning disabilities, when to see a medical doctor, and how/when to comply with existing state regulations and what constitutes child abuse and mandatory reporting guidelines. Take a test, score 80% and you're good to go for a year. I would add annual physicals for the students and standardized test results/portfolio review be submitted for a renewal of your annual permit. It wouldn't solve all the problems, but it would go a long way toward solving many of them. It would at least weed out the people who couldn't pass the test, and it would make it impossible for people to put off seeing a doctor or showing academic progress. Even unschoolers (those who are for real) can put together a portfolio of what you have been doing for the past year. But yeah, I know, HSLDA would come out with both guns blaring. I wish someone would have the courage to push for it, though. I would support them, and formerly I was a big fan of HSLDA. I can't be the only home school mom who sees the need for better regulation.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    You bring up a VERY interesting point. While the original homeschoolers began homeschooling as a way of daring to be different, many homeschoolers since have begun homeschooling in order to accommodate to their church/friend group. Homeschooling ceased to be about doing something individual and becomes a sort of group think. I hadn't thought about it in that way before!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    I actually really like your ideas for proposed regulations. I wonder if there could be a way of having a list of approved curricula, though? It's just that as long as things like history and science are taught from books that teach pseudohistory and pseudoscience, there's a problem and children aren't getting accurate information. I'm not sure how to fix that without the response being "OMG government censorship!" though. It's just that as a person who highly values education, I hate to see people miseducated.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15809248960102035040 Ashton

    When I read the title of your post, I thought it was going in a different direction. It absolutely isn't just homeschooled kids who get the message of conform but be different. The message that I always got from church, religious literature, and sometimes even family boiled down to, "don't conform – except when it's to what we want you to do!" These things would talk about the danger of conforming as they talk about teens and sex (because a teen girl would never want to have sex for any other reason, of course) and things like drinking, but the moment a young person doesn't conform to church standards, they are viewed suspiciously. This happens even for innocent things like dressing a little unusually even when it isn't at all revealing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Ashton, thank you for that excellent point! I feel like I need to write a "part II" now! You're right, though – the church DOES send that message. "We have to be different from the world," it says. "We have to question how the world does things, how the world sees things, and what the world thinks about things." But with that "be different" comes the "conform" pressure too. "Sex outside marriage is wrong." No discussion, no room for difference of opinion. "Don't wear those clothes, they're worldly. Don't listen to that music, don't watch those movies. Follow OUR standards." Etc. Thank you for pointing that out!

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    "Many historians have argued that during the American Revolution the Founding Fathers saw a future nation in which well educated elite gentlemen would rule the country wisely, applying enlightenment philosophical ideas. The problem was that the common people took the Founding Fathers' rhetoric of rights and equality seriously, and after the Revolution old ideas of deference faded as the people demanded a truly participatory democracy. These historians have argued that the Constitutional Convention was an "attempt to put the democratic genie back in the bottle," but even that failed to stem the tide of popular democarcy, and many Founding Fathers died disillusioned, surrounded by a nation a far different from what they had hoped and dreamed of."Do you know of some good online resources for this? I'd be interested in reading more about it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    I'm not sure what online resources there are, but I would recommend checking out two books: Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American RevolutionWoody Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the ConstitutionIt sometimes seems strange to me that patriotic discourse in this topic differs so highly from scholarly discussion. Scholars agree without much debate that the Founding Fathers were highly conservative, fighting not for popular democracy so much as enlightened home rule. Scholars also agree without dissension that after the Revolution conflict developed between the Founders and the ordinary people who had imbibed the new rhetoric of rights and equality, and that the decades that followed were truly revolutionary, with surging democracy and the defeat of the elites. But this isn't exactly the picture you see portrayed on the Fourth of July or in our deification of the Constitution (a document born out of the elite/people conflict). Not only that, scholars have agreed on this for, well, basically since the historical profession was born! It's not like this is some sort of new "revisionist history" or something! The two books listed above give an excellent discussion of this, and I'll let you know if I find any web resources.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01741166832975924830 Ashley

    As a liberal secular homeschooler (who suffers from severe train-wreck-syndrome when it comes to fundie issues, and thus found this post), I'm not sure how to write regulations that ensure a good education while still giving homeschoolers the freedom they demand to educate their child as they see fit. For instance, my degree is in history, my husband's math (and we were both angling for PhDs in it before we decided we wanted a real life) and both of us reject the standard model for teaching our subjects. We'll be putting together our own curricula because we don't find any of the options adequate. Consequently, our children will be well-educated by any standard BUT in a different way and order from the state guidelines. We very much fit the definition you list above as "wanting to homeschool" and an order to use approved curricula would seriously undermine that. That said, I totally understand your problem. I have some good friends who mean very well but aren't as prepared for upper level homeschooling as we are, don't have as many resources, and thus I worry about their childrens' future because they'll be homeschooled. That's not even getting into the homeschoolers who do it to isolate their children. I want there to be more oversight, but I don't know how it could be done right. I'm not sure it could be.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    I think it could be done right, but not to perfection. Little changes have big consequences. Perhaps in the booklet outlining the responsibilities of home schooling, it could include the requirement that home schools teach accepted scientific theory and that they teach social sciences (US history, economics, civics) from multiple perspectives (this allows for them to keep their Christian textbooks but requires the secular perspective to at least be mentioned)?At the very least, more regulation means more contact with people outside the home schooling world. And while our suggestions do not make bad home education impossible, it would make it harder. That's a worthwhile goal!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Haha! Steve Taylor's song "I Want To Be a Clone" comes to mind. The final lines:So now I see the whole designMy church is an assembly lineThe parts are there, I'm feeling fineI want to be a cloneI've learned enough to stay afloatBut not so much I rock the boatI'm glad they shoved it down my throatI want to be a cloneEverybody must get cloned

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    When I look at the Occupy movement, I always think of the Whiskey Rebellion, most specifically as the first (but by no means final) use of government forces to suppress dissent. That was the late 1700s. Woops! Democracy happens! Clean it up quickly! :

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10543171815602322808 AmieLou

    Kids as clones is not at all restricted to religion or homeschooling, though. Parents of all ideologies seem to have the notion of creating clones. I see more young parents online and off who refer to their kids as "minis" or "mini-mes", the very language implies that they are seeking to create adults identical to themselves. But it is nothing new…how many parents attempt to force kids to follow in their footsteps in sports, college choice, and other activities?Someday, my own father will get over the fact that my brother (who is now 46 years old) didn't play football in high school and become a local star like he did himself. There is a U.S. figure skater who has gone off to her father's alma mater to major in her father's field while her training goes to hell because she's two hours from the nearest ice rink and I find myself unable to agree with fans who laud her for being such a "strong young woman" because it occurs to me that a strong young woman would make an independent choice that is best for her–not be her daddy's little professional clone.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967070182847617840 kisekileia

    I really like that idea, but I'd also add in testing of the parent(s) who will be teaching to make sure that they are knowledgeable enough to teach kids effectively. I really worry about parents with very little education themselves homeschooling their kids. Some of those parents are probably reasonably effectively self-educated, but I'd like to see testing to weed out the ones who simply don't have an adequate knowledge base to teach kids.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08060294887790881860 Cindy

    Libby, This is a brilliant post.

  • http://theneongodtheymade.wordpress.com/ Talia

    Oh god. I'm in the process, right now, of assertiveness training with the help of a therapist, so that I can achieve my goal of going to college on the other side of the country. Which is /completely/ against my parents' wills, and we've had so many arguments about it, about how they must've failed me as parents because somewhere along the line they obviously failed to impart the truth of Christianity and the value of family to me. When I tried to mend some hurts by telling them I valued my homeschool education because it taught me to think for myself, they were horrified, and my mother screamed that she'd never taught me to think for myself, I was supposed to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.THANK YOU.

  • Caravelle

    I think their problem really comes down to the strictness of their worldview. I mean, there are some opinions and people out there I find truly reprehensible, and while if I had a child who turned out more different from me than I can currently imagine I like to think I would learn about their point of view and find some good in it, enough to reconcile me with my child still being fundamentally good and their worldview not being quite as bad as I thought… it's still in the realm of the possible they'd end up as somewhere I absolutely cannot accept.The thing is, they'd have to try REALLY HARD to end up someplace where not only do I not agree with them, not only do I *disapprove* of their position, but I actually cannot accept them as basically good people deserving of good things anymore. Well, I'd probably never get to THAT point, but you know. Have them turn out to be people that if they weren't my children I'd want nothing to do with.Of course, my current worldview places a high emphasis on managing uncertainty and changing one's mind as needed, and my current morals allow for a fairly wide range of behaviors and the potential to allow for more as I learn more about them. So my children can turn out differently from what I expect them to by a fairly large amount and still be totally okay by me. And I also don't fool myself into thinking there's a magic bullet out there that will keep my children from turning out badly. But ultimately it looks to me as if Reb Bradley and I really have the same issue – it's just that his worldview is so specific, his moral code so narrow, and the consequences from straying from either so dire that children will almost NECESSARILY end up beyond the pale. Because the pale is so very, very tiny.So yeah, I wanted to say that I don't think Reb Bradley is *qualitatively* different from other parents in wanting "clones", it's just that his range of acceptable options is so narrow… but I could have that backwards. After all, some secular parents also expect their children to end up as clones of themselves, without a rigid worldview and the threat of Hell to justify it.

  • Caravelle

    Re the Founding Fathers : I had not heard this (why ? I'll fall back on my well-worn excuse that I know nothing of history) but it makes perfect sense. After all the United States were the world's first major democracy for that time period, and I always found it a bit strange how democracy was conflated with independence in the founding stories of the country. It makes a lot more sense that the two didn't in fact come totally hand-in-hand, and that this first democracy didn't arise by Washington snapping his fingers or something. (of course philosophers and various intelligentsia figures had been talking democracy and republics for a long time already, but actually putting it in practice for the first time had to be rather daunting)

  • Lucy121

    I think it’s important to make sure homeschooling is appropriate, not just for the parents, but also for the students. Some students just don’t do well in a homeschooling environment whereas an environment that allowed for, say, organized sports and theater classes, or special-needs tutors, would be better for them.

    Also, I have met homeschooled students that were abused–be it mentally, emotionally, or physically–to a degree that definitely would’ve been noticed had they attended a public school and been seen by teachers who, by law, must report abuse to authorities. These cases are much rarer than a typical homeschool case, but they definitely exist and shouldn’t be discounted.