Iowa’s Homeschool Regulations Protect Children

I just came upon a fascinating illustration of exactly why we need homeschooling laws like Iowa’s. In fact, it’s a concrete example of the good Iowa’s regulations actually do for children. And when I read the stories of what can happen when states don’t have oversight of homeschooling or when existing laws are not enforced, well, it’s good to hear a positive story like this one.

The Iowa Story

The Iowa Department of Human Services first began investigating accused child-endangerer and homeschool dad Jon Neely when his daughter failed to show up for a public school test required by Iowa homeschool regulations.

Later they found his 10-year-old daughter, weighing 59 pounds, locked in a dark room with no furniture or light while her father and his girl friend were out. The couple were charged with child endangerment for leaving the girl with no escape in case of fire.

Quotes from a February 23 Des Moines Register story suggest that Jon Neely hated this child that he had had with his just-divorced wife:

Jon Neely told police he had taken out the light bulbs in the room because his daughter was being punished. He said he had removed all of the furniture because his daughter “breaks everything,” according to the warrant.

Police also reported in the document that Neely later said his daughter “peed on everything and she steals.”

The Iowa case was nipped in the bud because of the quick reaction of government officials when the girl did not show up for a test required by the Iowa homeschool law. According to an AP story, Iowa Governor Vilsack reviewed the case and “says that appropriate measures were taken.”

This example is provided in the newsletter of a Pennsylvania homeschooling group that believes that some level of homeschool regulation—most particularly, contact between homeschooled children and outside evaluators—is in children’s best interests and is something homeschool parents should support as “a way to protect homeschooled children and at the same time protect our own reputation.”

The Iowa homeschool laws that enabled officials to nip this case of child abuse in the bud are currently on the brink of being eliminated, their repeal having been tacked onto an educational reform bill by opportunists who care more about saving parents from any shred of paperwork than about safeguarding the best interests of homeschooled children. The only chance that remains to keep these laws is to convince the governor to do a line item veto of the particular section that repeals them. The governor’s office is closed for the weekend, but make sure to pick up the phone and call first thing on Tuesday—and spread the word, especially to friends or relatives who may live in Iowa! Here is an article with more information.

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.

  • Mishellie

    It makes me sick that some parents feel that they’d rather this girl have no chance of being saved than be subjected to the oversight these sort of laws provide. I get it… It’s an inconvenience, it may hurt your pride that your child has to be held to someone else’s standard in some way… But how could this story NOT illuminate to people just how much some kind of oversight is needed? If they’re doing a great job, the oversight will be just that and no more any way.

    • Rilian Sharp

      For me, at least, it’s not about my pride. It’s about what’s right. I know, from my experience as a child, that I did not like having schooling forced on me, and I liked it when I started homeschooling because then I was in charge of at least that aspect of my own life. If I want that freedom for myself, I have to allow it for other people.

      • mishellie

        Right, but I’m not saying homeschool should be illegal. I just think there should be checks to make sure that this sort of situation isn’t occuring. I’d rather you have gone to school without liking it, than this little girl suffering like she did (being starved in a dark room by a father who seemed to legitimately dispise her, and I’m guessing beaten and other horrible things…) for one more day. I’m not begrudging that homeschool wouldn’t work Better for some, but I don’t understand anyone who is unwilling to be subject to regulations that are potentially life saving and could stop the suffering of any child.

      • Rilian Sharp

        What does me having to study stupid vocabulary words have to do with saving someone from abuse?

      • NeaDods

        I suggest that your next area of study be logical fallacies, because that was one. Can you name it?

      • Rilian Sharp

        If you’re going to claim it was a fallacy, explain why.
        Me studying any of the stuff that’s usually part of school doesn’t protect anyone from abuse.

      • NeaDods

        From U of TX: “False Analogy: The fallacy of incorrectly comparing one thing to another in order to draw a false conclusion” and “Either-Or Reasoning: (also False Dilemma, Black / White Fallacy). A fallacy that falsely offers only two possible alternatives even though a broad range of possible alternatives are really available.” Followed by “Begging the Question (also Circular Reasoning): Falsely arguing that something is true by repeating the same statement in different words.”

        That’s the last time I do your homework for you, Rilian; as you claim to be well homeschooled I’m sure that the next time your logic is challenged you will know what the issue is and be able to defend it. Including, just to save time, if your next response to me was going to be “you’re wrong” as a blunt assertion without any other attempt to show your reasoning. (That would be a fallacy too. Look it up.)

      • Rilian Sharp

        No, me looking up your argument for you would be me doing your “homework”.

      • Amtep

        Being able to name a couple of fallacies is nice (though not if you do it in such a contemptuous way), but it’s not very useful unless you also understand them. You forgot the “explain why” part, where you would actually make your point.

        None of the fallacies you listed applied to what Rilian said.

      • NeaDods

        You think that twice equating having to unwillingly learn English with protecting children from abuse needs further explanation as to why those fallacies fit?

      • Ariel

        Is your objection to Iowa’s homeschooling laws that there is a substantial minority of parents who are committed enough to homeschool well but not committed enough to go through with the paperwork, and so the registration requirement means that fewer children get to homeschool?

        Is your objection instead (or also) that there are required subjects, and you think that children ought to be able to study whatever they want? Do you completely discount the possibility of skills that seem stupid and pointless to a child at the time she’s learning it but that then turn out to be necessary in her future life? (This has actually happened to me–I never expected to write a history paper again after I graduated but as it turns out I wound up doing essentially that last year.)

        Saving someone from educational neglect–what can do that while they’re still children, that is not having someone check to see if they are actually learning something? An educational check can be beneficial for neglected children, even if it has a few silly requirements which, yes, lead to you studying stupid things.

        I feel like the relevant question is, “Does this educational check do more good than harm?” You seem to think that the relevant question should be, “Does this check do any harm at all?”

      • mishellie

        For real?

        This girl was ONLY saved from being tortured because her father didn’t bring her to a required educational check in meeting. Even if you had to learn some stupid vocabulary words, you don’t feel that would have been worth it if, somewhere in your state or area, another child, who not only wasn’t learning those words but was also being beaten and abused and tortured, was discovered and saved? Also… Seriously. Not liking vocabulary tests was your biggest problem with school? Glad you got what you wanted and are happy with it but… Come on.

      • Rilian Sharp

        No, that was just an example. My problem with school is that I was forced to go, and then on top of that I was coerced into doing a lot of stupid shit that I didn’t want to do, time that I could have spent doing things *I* valued was stolen from me, I was taught that my desires don’t matter, but only if I get a “good grade” on something that someone else values. I was not being treated as a person, I was being treated as a product, a robot to fill up with information and programming.

        If you were just saying that kids should check in somewhere, not a school, but just *somewhere*, I don’t think I’d have a problem with it.

      • Baby_Raptor

        So…Basically your entire complaint is that you had to submit to what someone else thought was important.

        Someone else who, might I remind you, is actually educated and knows what kids will and won’t need to get into college and to get through life in general.

        Yes, you know what you like. The problem is, the world only revolves around you in your head. And that’s something you *really* need to come to grips with.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Absolutely nothing. That is why nobody, not one person, is suggesting that homeschooling be outlawed, or that mandatory public schooling for all is the only way to protect children against abuse. Reasonable regulations=/=all children being forced to go to public school.

        And look, dude, I think there is a lot that can be done to make traditional schooling more engaging for kids and I think this is a matter that deserves a lot of attention. That being said, your lack of enthusiasm for vocabulary lists when you were a kid is not the preeminent social justice issue of our day. It’s just not. Please get over yourself, seriously.

      • Rilian Sharp

        That’s just one example! It’s not any of those one things. It’s the WHOLE thing. It’s being kept prisoner for 7 hours a day and made to do ALL of those things. It was terrible! If I could go back in time and make it not have happened to me, I would! So I’m sure as hell not going to support subjecting anyone else to that (against their will).

      • wmdkitty

        Well aren’t you precious…

      • NeaDods

        It occurs to me that people have to be at work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and often have to do boring or disliked tasks. If you hated school, you’re gonna loathe earning a paycheck.

      • Conuly

        You should know its pointless trying to argue with Rilian. It might be smartest to disengage entirely. Watching paint dry would be more fulfilling.

      • NeaDods

        You have a point there… Especially as I’ve been painting all day and really did watch it dry!

  • Rilian Sharp

    Making sure that people are not being abused, and helping them if they are, is important. It doesn’t make sense to do it with school. Requiring schooling of any kind is harmful.

    • jmb

      Right, and then you end up with a population of near-illiterates who can’t follow basic directions for their own and others’ safety, like we did in WWII, which turned out to be demonstrably harmful. Which is why we have mandatory schooling these days in the USA.

    • Nate Frein

      I would love to see your evidence for your assertion that schooling is harmful.

      • wmdkitty

        “I hated it, therefore it’s totes harmful.”

        (Which is a load of bollocks — standardised education, regardless of how some uneducated people regard it, is beneficial to both children and to society.)

    • Trollface McGee

      Yes, school is horrible. Why I remember being forcibly taken every weekday to the gulag where I would be subject to horrible tortures like figuring out how many apples Sally has after she gives Andrew 10 apples and indoctrinating us into Communism because only Communist Sally would be giving away apples instead of selling them at a comfortable profit margin. I remember the toil of exams and group projects, the kind that POWs would shudder at hearing. And if that were not bad enough, when we were bussed back from the gulag, we were given the last insult – homework. Yes, work we had to do at home. I didn’t want to do it but my rights didn’t matter.

      And what did I get out of 12 years hard labour? Sure, I can read and write and do maths and have a solid foundation which got me top marks in grad school but I still have flashbacks and nightmares of plus signs, cosines, hyperboles.. please, won’t anyone think of the children?

    • Baby_Raptor

      Oh, please. Really? Requiring something is harmful because you didn’t like it?

      I don’t even. I’m beginning to see why some posters don’t take you seriously.

  • smrnda

    Though home-schooling doesn’t necessarily entail child abuse, it can cause children and families to become isolated, which makes abuse harder to detect. If you neglect or abuse your kids, there tend to be visible signs of this that might be noticed. Kids can find out that the abuse going on in their home isn’t normal from being exposed to other kids. If you home-school, keep your kids away from ‘outsiders’ or perhaps socialize them only with other like-minded fundy cult members, there’s tremendous risk for abuse. Little Johnny and Mary (respective ages 7 and 8) won’t know that it’s strange for kids their age to be told that they need to switch their newborn baby brother for crying with a leather belt.

    It’s a mistake to think of home-schooling as giving kids control. It’s more like giving parents control.

  • Rilian Sharp

    I don’t understand why some of the people who respond to me are so mean. You’re not even trying to understand what I’m saying, and your responses are uncommunicative and MEAN. Why?? Some of the responses to me are nothing but insults.

    • wmdkitty

      What you’re saying is patently ridiculous, deserving of mockery, and shows just how uneducated you really are.

    • mishellie

      I think it’s because you sound like the bratty girl from Charlie and the chocolate factory.

    • Sophie

      I think it’s because people are sick of you posting the same stuff over and over. In the six months I’ve been reading Libby’s blog, I have seen you post the same thing on pretty much all the posts regarding education and I’ve seen people’s responses go from polite to more and more exasperated. We get it you hated school and you don’t plan on educating your own children! The thing is Rillian, a lot of people hated school but we are still able to see the value in it. I was bullied from 4-16, school was hell for me but I still love learning and I tell my younger brothers to stick it out because learning is more important than any of the other crap. Learning how to learn and how to love it is the most important skill a child can have because humans learn their entire lives and it’s much easier to acquire that skill when your brain is still developing. But you all know that you see no value in it.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Hearing things that you don’t like does not mean people are being mean to you. Also, not accepting your view and immediately agreeing that you are right and totally superior does not mean that we’re mean, nor does it mean that we’re not communicating, and lastly it doesn’t mean that we’re not getting what you’re saying.

      It just means that we’re not buying what you’re trying to sell. And, here, I’ll say it again: That doesn’t make us mean.

  • Rilian Sharp

    You want to save children from abuse. OBVIOUSLY a good goal. But the way you want to do it is to require school. Even if you “let” them do the schoolwork outside of a typical school, if you require anything, you’re stealing their time and energy, you’re stealing part of their life. You’re *also* ruining their innate desire to study the things you try to force them to study, a little bit at a time.

    Hours and hours of my life were stolen from me. About 13000 hours. Not counting the time I had to do schoolwork at home. You think that’s not a reasonable thing for me to be upset about!?

    If the point is just to catch abuse, then you just need a check-in, you don’t need 7 hours a day of drudgery. And you don’t need standardized tests or curricula.

    And the problem with those standards is that *no one* has the right or knowledge to declare that everyone should know such-and-such. And anyway, trying to force people to learn things they don’t want to learn will just make them hate the idea of learning it, hate that subject, and be worse at it than if they had learned it on their own schedule.

    • mishellie

      No there is the right to those standards. They keep out country strong. The public is already woefully under informed, especially when it comes to the political process, the statistics are actually depressing and very much explain the woeful mess out government is in. Having people know things is good for society. Some children may be totally uninterested in ever learning to read! But they must! So that they can read street signs when they drive and so that they understand safety warnings and can sign papers when they go to the hospital. Imagine if there were an army of former disinterested children who we had to provide interpreters for because they didn’t want the hours they spent learning to read “stolen” from them. You may not like that there needs to be a level of competency, but there does. Even if its less for te individual’s benefit and more for society’s. like heard immunity – you may not LIKE a vaccine requirement, but the less people get the shot, the more people are in danger of dying of a preventable disease. It’s not ALL ABOUT YOU.

  • Judith Pyrah Arnold

    Lovely reasoning. I suppose the next law we should support is one in which the government sends visitors to ‘check’ on stay at home wives (on the grounds that they are also potentially isolated and vulnerable). Shall we register at the local courthouse?

    • Rosa

      Are you suggesting that grown women are as vulnerable as children?

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        I’m suggesting that the entire idea is ridiculous. It used to be that people were considered ‘innocent until proven guilty’, now it seems that choosing an alternative to the mainstream is suspect enough that one is automatically ‘guilty until proven innocent’. If the concern is actually about child abuse, why don’t we require that all parents submit to having their homes ‘checked’ regularly? How many abused kids are not reported by the school? Why not require ‘checks’ for everyone who has kids? Heck, since some women HAVE been in situations in which they were as vulnerable as children why don’t we require ‘checks’ for all women? And ‘checks’ for all people with mental or physical challenges since they have an increased risk for abuse as well. Oh, and the elderly, and while we are at it how about the low income, and oh heck, why not just check everyone?

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        Yes. And some are

  • Judith Pyrah Arnold

    You know what, not all homeschoolers are even Christian let alone fundamentalists. I homeschool and I’m not Christian. We don’t go to church and we don’t isolate our kids. We homeschool because our local school sucks academically. My stepson has a diploma from our local public school and he failed the basic literacy and numeracy tests at M-Ploy. He failed his state driver’s exam several times because he didn’t read well enough to understand the questions. Damned if I’m sending my kids to that school. But you folks want to require me to? Hell NO. Why don’t you go after the public schools that graduate illiterate kids? I’m perfectly happy to have my kids take whatever test you want every year, because they will outscore your public schooled kids every time. BUT you can keep your ‘checks’, because guess what? Making a choice outside of the mainstream does NOT make me ‘guilty until proven innocent’. How many abused kids are overlooked by the school system? Are you going after the teachers who missed the signs? NO? But you want to come to MY house, and investigate MY kids? I know some CPS workers and I can tell you that many of them ought to be investigated and taught to properly clean their own houses and prepare decent meals. A lot of them can’t even use proper grammar and spelling in their reports. But you want to send them to MY house because I actually care enough about my kids to quit my job to make sure they are educated properly? What are you people, NUTS?

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Damned if I’m sending my kids to that school. But you folks want to require me to?


      Why don’t you go after the public schools that graduate illiterate kids?

      Many of us do, including me. A great deal of my professional and academic work has focused on fixing or mitigating problems with public schools. However, that topic is not what this post is about. There are many other things which this post is not about that people can still care about. See how this works?

      I’m perfectly happy to have my kids take whatever test you want every year

      Great! Then we don’t have a problem here, although even that is more than what some people here are asking for.

      because they will outscore your public schooled kids every time.

      Good thing this whole issue isn’t about you and your kids and your local school district. You do know that, right?

      Making a choice outside of the mainstream does NOT make me ‘guilty until proven innocent’.

      I couldn’t agree more.

      How many abused kids are overlooked by the school system?

      Fewer than if there were no mandatory reporters trained to keep their eyes out for the signs of abuse.

      Are you going after the teachers who missed the signs? NO?

      Failing to notice the signs of abuse is by far not the same thing as committing abuse, which some of these parents are doing. Teachers should be as well-trained as possible to pick up on the signs but there will always be human error. If on the other hand, it could be proven that a mandatory reporter had noticed the signs and failed to act, I would want to “go after them,” yes. Because they would have broken the law and failed in their responsibility.

      I know some CPS workers and I can tell you that many of them ought to be investigated and taught to properly clean their own houses and prepare decent meals. A lot of them can’t even use proper grammar and spelling in their reports. But you want to send them to MY house because I actually care enough about my kids to quit my job to make sure they are educated properly?

      No, nobody ever said that. I also fail to see how the fact that some people are bad at making meals, house-cleaning and grammar and that some of those people might be CPS workers is relevant to this discussion. Of course, most of what you’re saying is not relevant to this discussion.

      What are you people, NUTS?

      We’re not the ones posting all-caps-filled rants that have almost nothing to do with the OP.

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        This RANT is because you people think I ought to have government workers come to my home to ‘inspect’ my kids because I made a choice that you don’t like. This is about control, not about child abuse. If you were concerned about child abuse you would be concerned more about the far more numerous examples of abused kids overlooked by the system you think is supposed to protect them than the very few cases of child abuse that involved people allegedly homeschooling. You are trying to paint all homeschoolers as whacko fundamentalist isolationists who are potential child abusers. Well, homeschoolers are not more likely to abuse their kids and the statistics bear that out. I think kids are also in more danger from bullying and other fear tactics practiced in public schools. You don’t see homeschoolers committing suicide because their classmates were cruel to them. Why don’t you advocate having government workers check up on public school kids since the teachers are doing such a poor job? Why don’t you want the bullies prosecuted? Why can’t the kids who graduate but can’t read at a second grade level sue their schools? Why don’t you concern yourself with improving the safety and quality of the public schools? Statistically speaking a lot more kids attending public schools are abused undetected by the school system than the number of kids who are abused in a homeschool situation, but you aren’t advocating better training for teachers in detecting abuse or better monitoring of the majority of kids who attend public schools, are you? No, you are concerned about solely home educated kids, because you are against home education. That is what this is about, not child abuse.

      • Libby Anne

        Okay, let me see if I can clear this up.

        Most school age kids have contact with teachers and other school officials every day. Teachers are trained to notice signs of abuse and are required to report suspicions of abuse. Further, having daily access with trusted adults means that abused kids have someone to tell about their abuse. Does this system always work? No. Could it use further improvement, training, etc.? Yes. But it’s still there, and is a major way that child abuse is detected in this country — and prevented too, because abusive parents know there are limits on how far they can go without someone finding out.

        When parents choose to homeschool, they remove their children from daily contact with teachers, meaning that if the parent is abusive it is less likely someone will pick up on that abuse, and the children have fewer options for getting help. Am I saying that all homeschoolers are abusive or that we should assume homeschoolers are abusive? Of course not! It does, however, mean that there is less protecting homeschool kids from child abuse than there is protecting public school kids. This is why it’s not actually hypocritical that we’re focusing on homeschool kids here, rather than just kids in general.

        You stated that I want homeschooled kids to have contact with mandatory reporters because I don’t like your choice to homeschool. That’s not true. It’s actually because I care about homeschool kids and think there should be safeguards in place to protect them from abuse to replace the safeguards they lose when they are removed from public schools. Don’t you want kids to have safeguards to protect them from abuse? Sure, *you’re* not abusive, but some parents are, and furthermore, wouldn’t you want someone to stand up for your kids in the improbability that you were to somehow *become* abusive? I know *I* would!

        You stated that homeschoolers are less likely to be abused by their parents that public schoolers. What evidence of this do you have? I have seen no such evidence, and given that I have read literally dozens of stories of kids whose abusive parents pulled them out of public school *so that* they could hide their abuse, I suspect that the opposite of that may be true. Of course, I don’t have evidence to back that up, but neither do you—no such studies examining the rate of child abuse in homeschooling families exist. (And to be clear, I would argue that the vast, vast majority of homeschool parents are *not* abusive.)

        Why this issue, and not improving reporting in public schools or increasing funding for CPS? Well, I was homeschooled. People tend to try to fix things in their own backyards first. This is why parents of abducted kids start charities to protect kids from being abducted. Does anyone ask those parents why they aren’t instead working on decreasing child abuse perpetrated by parents, say? No. This is the same thing.

        As for not wanting someone to come into your house, I think having kids come to their local school to take a test like the Iowa Basic Skills test each year, or meeting a teacher elsewhere for a portfolio evaluation, are good ways of ensuring contact with mandatory reporters without requiring you to let someone into your house. And yes, I get that these things may seem like inconveniences to you, but isn’t protecting kids worth it?

        I hope this helps explain where I’m coming from.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        It might, but that would actually require her to read and comprehend it. Given her past comments, I think the chances of that are slim to none.

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        “You stated that homeschoolers are less likely to be abused by their parents that public schoolers. What evidence of this do you have? I have seen no such evidence, and given that I have read literally dozens of stories of kids whose abusive parents pulled them out of public school *so that* they could hide their abuse, ”

        The plural of anecdote is not ‘data’. Statistics do exist on abused children and the majority of those kids are not homeschoolers. Period.

        You do realize that you are arguing that the major purpose of public education is so that teachers can inspect your kids for abuse? I suppose that must be true, since there is very little actual education going on there. I refuse to be treated as a criminal because I want better for my kids.

      • Feminerd

        Oh dear, another person who misunderstands “raw data” and “rate”.

        More abused kids go to public school than are homeschooled because more kids to go public school. That’s a given. Since only a tiny fraction of children are homeschooled, even if every single one is abused (and they are clearly not), there would still be more abused kids going to public schools. The question is, what percentage of kids who are public schooled are abused? What percentage of kids who are homeschooled are abused? We simply don’t have enough data to make that comparison, because we don’t know how many kids are homeschooled or how many of those are abused. We can make fairly solid guesses for public school kids, though even those are nowhere close to perfect.

        The raw numbers matter much less than the comparative rates. I sincerely hope you are not transmitting your ignorance of basic statistics to your children.

      • Libby Anne

        There are no statistics because no one has ever actually compiled and *looked* at the statistics. And the fact is, so many abusive parents pull their kids out of public school to homeschool them to hide the abuse that child protective services is aware of the problem and worried about it, but there’s nothing they can do about it because of the lax to non existent homeschool law in most states.

      • victoria

        Actually, there are some statistics available, sort of. The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect separates out incidences of abuse and neglect based on enrollment status in school. (The tricky thing is that some homeschoolers do count as enrolled by their standards; if they’re using a dual-enrollment option or their home schools are considered private schools legally, then they’d be considered enrolled.) You can find the report here:

        Students who are not enrolled in school have a higher incidence rate of sexual abuse and endangerment-level neglect, while students who are enrolled in school have a higher incidence rate of physical abuse and educational neglect.

      • wmdkitty

        The lady doth protest too much.

        What are you hiding?

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        A sharp interest in Constitutional Law, dearie. Unfortunately for you, it applies to everyone and not just the people you think deserve it. If you were more familiar with the document and the history you would understand why it is so important and why people have died for it. But people like you don’t get it until until it is your own rights that are being violated.

      • Arakasi_99

        I strongly suggest that if you have a strong interest in Constitutional law, then you might actually want to learn some. I have seen no indication in this thread that you actually understand the document that you are “defending”

  • Judith Pyrah Arnold

    Your plan only makes sense if you begin with the assumption that families are guilty until proven innocent. Why should I have to prove i don’t abuse my kids? Isn’t the law supposed to work the other way around? Does having kids in the first place mean that parents have an obligation to somehow prove they won’t abuse them?

    • Libby Anne

      How is making sure that kids are seen by other people so that someone can notice if there’s a problem treating you as guilty until proven innocent? I mean, you are aware that your kids aren’t your property, and that they have rights as individuals too?

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        Making sure my kids are ‘seen’ by an authority just because i choose not to send them to a failing public school? Guilty until I prove my innocence? What country IS this anymore? What crimes do YOU want to have to prove YOUR innocence for? Where does this end? Homeschooling does not equal criminal behavior, I should not have to ‘prove’ I’m not a criminal. How would you like to have to ‘prove’ you aren’t a drug dealer just because you are the wrong skin color? How would you like to have to ‘prove’ you aren’t a thief because of your ethnicity? Last time I checked, this is the USA and we had a constitution and some basic rights. We aren’t supposed to be judged guilty until we ‘prove’ we are not. Where do you live?

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Yes, being a homeschooler is totally like being black person in America. First you think that filling Libby’s comment thread with raging, semi-coherent non-sequiturs makes you Captain America, not you seem to think it makes you Martin Luther King. This rabbit hole just keeps going deeper…

      • Libby Anne

        Your response indicates that you didn’t actually read what I wrote.

  • Judith Pyrah Arnold

    Further, most of the alleged homeschool abuse cases listed on that website that was cited were adopted kids, so where are your plans to investigate the well-being of adopted children?

    And yes, it is true that the majority of child abuse cases involve publicly schooled children, and in most of those cases the children were abused for years before the abuse was reported. Only a small minority of children in this country are homeschooled. I only have statistics for my county, with eighty homeschooled families, two hundred cyberschooled families and zero incidence of abuse versus approximately 150 founded cases of child abuse in the public school population.

    I find it very strange that only homeschooled children are your focus.

    What other crimes are there that you think people should have to report to authorities to prove their innocence of in the absence of allegations?

    • wmdkitty

      You’re paranoid.

      What are you trying to hide?

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        I am a veteran of the US Army, sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and you kooks qualify as domestic enemies since you seem to think the Constitution should only apply to you.

      • wmdkitty

        Wah, Wah, I’m a veteran, and therefore better than you!

        Shut. UP.

        You’re very clearly PARANOID if you’re classifying me as a “domestic enemy” for the oh-so-horrible crime of — and this is just awful — wanting children to get the education that they are entitled to.


      • Petticoat Philosopher

        lol, I’ve got a few veteran friends myself and and they never told me about the part of basic where you get trained in how to flame bloggers who annoy you to defend the country. How brave! You’re a true American hero!

        So now you think you’re rabidly trolling Libby Anne on behalf of national security? You’re starting to sound seriously unstable.

      • wmdkitty

        …starting to?

        She’s struck me as completely unhinged from the first post!

      • Libby Anne

        Do you believe that your children have any rights under the Constitution?

    • sylvia_rachel

      Approximately 150 founded cases of child abuse in the public-school population of how many?

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        A couple thousand. Zero involving alternative schoolers.

      • sylvia_rachel

        A couple of thousand children, or a couple of thousand families? Either way, I think the denominators in your fractions are sufficiently different that you can’t legitimately show anything by just comparing the raw numbers. The bigger the population, the more likely you are to find some incidence of X, whatever phenomenon X is.

        Also, you don’t say what period these numbers cover, and whether the two sets of numbers are for the same period.

        And also, when you say “zero incidence of abuse”, do you mean there have been reports to the authorities that were found to be groundless, or that there have been no reports? And if the latter, since you live in one of those states where there’s practically no regulation or oversight of people who claim to be homeschooling, is there any way to tell the difference between “no abuse has been reported because there’s no abuse” and “no abuse has been reported because no one outside the family is around to see it”?

        Nobody here is saying that all or even most homeschooling parents are abusive. What we are saying is that when there is absolutely no regulation or oversight of homeschooling, that fact gives those parents who *are* abusive a really handy way to escape detection, and that is VERY BAD FOR THEIR KIDS.

    • Libby Anne

      And yes, it is true that the majority of child abuse cases involve publicly schooled children, and in most of those cases the children were abused for years before the abuse was reported. Only a small minority of children in this country are homeschooled.

      You do understand that in order to show that public school kids are more likely to be abused than homeschool kids you have to go by percentage, not sheer numbers, right? The fact that more public school kids total are abused than homeschool kids total is irrelevant to that question, since only a very small percentage of children are homechooled.

      I only have statistics for my county, with eighty homeschooled families, two hundred cyberschooled families and zero incidence of abuse versus approximately 150 founded cases of child abuse in the public school population.

      What statistics do you have, exactly? My understanding is that child protective services is bound by privacy laws, so I would be surprised if you had access to those actual statistics. If you do, I want to know how you got that access, because I want to look at those numbers not just in your county, but on state and national levels. If you don’t have the actual statistics and are instead going off of not having heard of any abuse in the homeschooling circles you are familiar with, I’d point out that the homeschool families most likely to be abusive are probably the ones who are most isolated, meaning they wouldn’t necessarily be in your homeschool groups.

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        The statistics are not bound by privacy laws, only the names of the clients. But since you are spouting off about all of that I’m surprised you don’t know that. And you are quite welcome to request numbers from your own county and state. I would imagine you would have to compile the national numbers, as I don’t know that any particular agency is doing that on that level.
        If you want to hunt bogeymen, be my guest.Is your next quest to cross check all lists of homeschoolers with the membership rosters of fundamentalist churches? Don’t read history much, do you?

      • Libby Anne

        And the statistics state what kind of school each kid went to? Awesome. I will see if I can get some of those. On that website I gave you the link for, there are several years in which more homeschooled kids were killed by child abuse percentage-wise than public schooled kids, and the cases are still being compiled.

        As for suggesting that I think all homeschoolers are Christian fundamentalists, have you looked at the homeschool page under my “Background” tab? For all your claims that *I’m* hunting boogeyman, I would suggest that you’re the one actually tilting at windmills here.

        And as it so happens, I do read a lot of history.

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        Oh yeah, and about those ‘more public school kids are abused than homeschoolers’ ….You made that comment. So why aren’t you focused on remedying that situation instead of vilifying homeschoolers?

      • BringTheNoise

        Because every case of abuse deserves to be dealt with, and THAT INCLUDES THOSE PERPETRATED BY HOMESCHOOLERS.

      • Libby Anne

        You didn’t read what I wrote, did you? The answer is, *because I was homeschooled.* Would you seriously ask someone who had had a kid abducted why they were starting a charity for abducted kids when most kids who are abused are abused by their parents and very few are abducted? Really?

    • Libby Anne

      As for most of the cases on HIC being adopted kids, that’s actually not true. I just counted—the category tag makes it pretty easy—and 31 out of around 80 total are adopted. But even if the majority were adopted, the fact that there are lots of adopted families using homeschooling laws as a cover to abuse their kids is not at all an argument against reforming homeschooling laws so that they can’t do that.

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        It is true, Read the cases. There are only 22 reported cases of abuse and 21 of them involved adopted children. There were often other children in the family both adopted and biological but the abuse allegations were only made on the behalf of the 22. Again, 21 of the 22 were adopted. This is from the website you nuts cited. So go start protesting against adoption now.

      • Judith Pyrah Arnold

        Or am I giving you too much credit. Maybe you can’t read or perform basic arithmetic because you went to public school. Certainly you were never taught American History or Civics.

      • wmdkitty

        Libby Anne was homeschooled. How’s that for your superiority complex?

      • Libby Anne

        Are you kidding me? I never went to public school. I was homeschooled K-12. But you know what? This just confirms that you didn’t read my original response to you, because if you had you would have *known* that.

      • Libby Anne

        Only 22 cases? What are you talking about? The site features 80 cases total, I just counted, and if you use the adoption category tag to figure out how many were adopted, you’ll find that number is 31. Take a look yourself:

        Now who’s the one having problems reading and performing basic arithmetic?

      • Libby Anne

        Also, you’re violating my commenting policy.

        If you can’t avoid personal attacks and if you comment again attacking me as a person instead of attacking what I have actually said (most of which, by the way, you haven’t actually responded to, and some of which you have demonstrated you haven’t actually read), I’m going to ban you.

    • Libby Anne