Abuse and Neglect in Homeschooling Families

Homeschool advocacy groups spin a narrative in which every homeschooled child is well cared for, well loved, well educated, and above average. To hear them tell it, you would think homeschooling is a panacea that has the potential to cure all of society’s ills. They talk of homeschoolers winning spelling bees, entering Harvard, and starting small businesses. But while many children do excel in homeschooling environments, not all do. There is a dark underbelly to homeschooling that is usually left unmentioned.

There are homeschooled children who are physically abused through excessively harsh corporal punishment and homeschooled children who are not well educated, if they are educated at all, because their parents believe godliness is more important than book learning. There are also abusive parents who begin homeschooling specifically to hide their children from the authorities, and families who drop out of school and slip under the radar because of the dent the homeschool loophole has put in local school districts’ ability to curb truancy.

These are homeschooled children you don’t see winning spelling bees. In fact, these are the homeschooled children you don’t see at all. This page is a collection of links and articles about and by these children. Some end in tragedy, and others will simply induce heartbreak. I’m warning you now—it won’t be pretty.



Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Link.

“Children Killed or Abused within Their Homeschooling Adoptive Family.” Pound Pup Legacy. Link.

Feature Articles:

“Orphan Fever: The Evangelical Movement’s Adoption Obsession.” Mother Jones, 2013. Link.

“Home School Oversight Is Lacking, Investigation Finds.” Dayton Daily News, 2012. Link.

“Homeschool Kids, Now Grown, Blog against the Past.” Daily Beast, 2012. Link.

“Barely Literate? How Christian Fundamentalist Homeschooling Hurts Kids.” Alternet, 2012. Link.

“Homeschooling, Risk, and the Grand Canyon.” Roger Canaaf, 2011. Link.

“Khyra Would Still Be Alive If Lessons Had Been Learned from My Case.” Sun, 2010. Link.

“Home-Schooling Hid Calista’s Abuse.” Detroit News, 2009. Link.

“Lack of Supervision Noted in Deaths of Home-Schooled.” New York Times, 2008. Link.

“Home Schoolers May Be No Safer in Their Homes Than Other Children.” Akron Beacon Journal, 2004. Link.

“A Dark Side to Homeschooling.” CBS Evening News, 2003. Link.

“Home Schooling Nightmares.” CBS Evening News, 2003. Link.

State Task Force and Judicial Recommendations:

“The Nubia Report.” Florida Department of Children and Families, 2011. Link.

“State Child Fatality Review.” North Carolina Division of Social Services, 2008. Link.

Stephen V. Hamilton v. Tara J. Hamilton, 2007. Link.

Personal Blog Stories: 

“Home Is Where the Hurt Is,” on Homechoolers Anonymous. Link.

“The Home in San Francisco,” on Date Is a Four Letter Word. Link.

“What I SHould Have Said 13 Years Ago,” on Strange Figures. Link.

“Copy Kids: The Immortality of Individuality,” on Homeschooler Anonymous. Link.

“I Was Trained to Torture Myself,” on Homeschoolers Anonymous. Link.

“The End of the Red Stick,” on Becoming Worldly. Link.

“Can Homeschooling Be a Haven for Abuse?” on Running with a Book Cart. Link.’

“Why Don’t We Prohibit Convicted Abusers from Homeschooling?” on Becoming Worldly. Link.

“Christian Homeschooling and Abuse,” on Deep Thoughts. Link.

“I Am a Homeschool Abuse Survivor,” on Experience Project. Link.

“One Girl’s Journey in a Homeschool Cult,” on No Longer Quivering. Link.

“Justice Is No Lady,” on No Longer Quivering. Link.

Truancy and Educational Neglect: 

“Parents Use Homeschooling to Avoid Truancy Charges.” KOTA TV, 2013. Link.

“How ‘Private Schools’ Help Lower Texas’ Dropout Numbers.” PBS, 2012. Link.

“Truant Officer on Michigan’s Homeschooling Policy,” Mlive.com, 2012. Link.

“An Analysis of Illinois Practice of Non-Purposeful Home-Schooling.” Illinois State University, 2011. Link.

“Educational Neglect and Compulsory Schooling: A Status Report.” Center for School Improvement & Policy, 2006. Link.

“Home School Mom Charged with Allowing Truancy.” The Southern, 2005. Link.

The Response of Homeschool Advocacy Groups: 

“Don’t Link Home School with Abuse.” Home School Legal Defense Association, 2002. Link.