Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Homeschooling Moms Homeschooling Moms

Are most homeschoolers you know negligent?

Posted by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:12 AM
  • 50 Replies

I'm not a fan of the perspective of this article, and from what I have seen this isn't the case at all with homeschool kids- what are your thoughts?

Who's Minding the Children?: Educational Neglect and the Homeschool Movement

The Religious Right touts homeschooling as the "responsible" educational choice. But what about the kids whose parents opt-out of the system -- and out of educating them, as well?
 
Photo Credit: jcjgphotography / Shutterstock.com

In recent weeks, homeschooling has received nationwide attention because of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s homeschooling family. Though Santorum paints a rosy picture of homeschooling in the United States, and calls attention to the “responsibility” all parents have to take their children’s education into their own hands, he fails to acknowledge the very real potential for educational neglect among some homeschooling families – neglect that has been taking place for decades, and continues to this day. 

While the practice of homeschooling is new to many people, my own interest in it was sparked nearly 20 years ago. I was a socially awkward adolescent with a chaotic family life, and became close to a conservative Christian homeschooling family that seemed perfect in every way. Through my connection to this family, I was introduced to a whole world of conservative Christian homeschoolers, some of whom we would now consider “Quiverfull” families: homeschooling conservatives who eschew any form of family planning and choose instead to “trust God” with matters related to procreation.  

Though I fell out of touch with my homeschooled friends as we grew older, a few years ago, I reconnected with a few ex-Quiverfull peers on a new support blog called No Longer Quivering. Poring over their stories, I was shocked to find so many tales of gross educational neglect. I don’t merely mean that they had received what I now view as an overly politicized education with huge gaps, for example, in American history, evolution or sexuality. Rather, what disturbed me were the many stories about homeschoolers who were barely literate when they graduated, or whose math and science education had never extended much past middle school. 

Take Vyckie Garrison, an ex-Quiverfull mother of seven who, in 2008, enrolled her six school-age children in public school after 18 years of teaching them at home. Garrison, who started the No Longer Quivering blog, says her near-constant pregnancies – which tended to result either in miscarriages or life-threatening deliveries – took a toll on her body and depleted her energy. She wasn’t able to devote enough time and energy to homeschooling to ensure a quality education for each child. And she says the lack of regulation in Nebraska, where the family lived, “allowed us to get away with some really shoddy homeschooling for a lot of years.”  

“I’ll admit it,” she confesses. “Because I was so overwhelmed with my life… It was a real struggle to do the basics, so it didn’t take long for my kids to fall far behind. One of my daughters could not read at 11 years old.” 

At the time, Garrison was taking parenting advice from Quiverfull leaders who deemphasized academic achievement in favor of family values. She remembers one Quiverfull leader saying, “If they can do mathematics perfectly but they have no morals, you have failed them.” 

The implication, she says, was that, “if they’re not doing so well academically, well, then they can catch up on that later. It’s not such a big deal. It was a really convenient way of thinking for me because I wasn’t able to keep up anyway.” This kind of rhetoric, Garrison notes, provided a “high-minded justification for educational neglect. I would not have gotten away with that if I’d had to get my kids tested every year.” 

Over time, Garrison lost faith in her fundamentalist ideology and became aware that her children’s education was being neglected. Eventually all but one of her six younger children ended up entering and excelling in the public school system

by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:12 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Boobah
by Nikki :) on Mar. 15, 2012 at 8:22 AM
4 moms liked this
There are neglectful homeschoolers, just like there are neglectful public school parents. I know grown ups who were homeschooled and their parents literally did nothing with them and excluded them from society completely. I also know adults who were homeschooled and their parents did an amazing job, they are now awesome people.

I do not think homeschool is for everyone. If you aren't committed to making your child's education your first priority, you may want to reconsider. Things come up, and we all have bad days, but for the most part, school comes before everything else. For those who unschool, you are still responsible for providing the opportunities and materials to allow your child to explore and grow.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 15, 2012 at 8:36 AM
1 mom liked this
I think it is a problem in some areas. While we are 'child led homeschoolers' i have a problem with the 'Radical Unschooling'' movement. That being said, i think most of us, at some time or another, have doubted ourselves. Most of us, when such doubt hits, take a look at our schooling and the kids successes and realize the kids are ahead or on level - which contradicts the neglect theory.

My other problem is that i don't see the connection between the statement in. Article "if they can do math, but have no morals, you have failed them." andthe mother taking THAT to mean it was fine to let the kids slack acedemically. I don't see how this statement can be interpreted that way. I think it just means it's ok to include morality in your HS curriculum, even though it wouldn't be included in a PS curriculum.

So, it sounds to me like the mom in the article was one of those who doubted herself. Maybe she didn't have the support structure to validate her choices? I can see no other way that a HS parent, who isn't doing Radical US, could have a child be far beind. If they were that far behind then othercurriculums needed tobw chosen, other teaching styles employed. I don't see how giving a child LESS personal attention wold benefit them in any way.


*sorry for typos, i'm on an ipad*
twyliatepeka
by Bronze Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM
5 moms liked this

i am going to leave my opinion out of this so i do not cause drama. all i will say is that it is a shame that we all get lumped under this statement because of a few parents.

msmed
by Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM
2 moms liked this

There is always going to be a small minority who have had a bad homeschool experience.  The author of this article seemed to be seeking out those w/ horror stories about homeschooling.  The Quiverfull movement the author speaks of, is certainly not a representation of most homeschoolers. 

With all due respect, this seems to be quite a negative article on homeschooling to be posted on a homeschool board.  Gacgbaker, are you a homeschooling mom?  I've seen your posts on other boards & they are frequently articles that "stir the pot."  On another board, you mentioned your child's homework after school.  I just don't understand why you would post these kinds of articles on a homeschooling board, if you yourself do not homeschool - unless I've misconstrued something.

tennisgal
by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 2:02 PM
2 moms liked this

I realize that it seems homeschooling is always presented in a negative way in the public but I have never met these neglectful, barely literate families. We know a lot of homeschooling families, some like us and some completely different than us but none have ever been truly neglectful or "just used homeschooling as an excuse to not do anything." Where are these neglectful parents!?

gacgbaker
by Bronze Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 4:13 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting tennisgal:

I realize that it seems homeschooling is always presented in a negative way in the public but I have never met these neglectful, barely literate families. We know a lot of homeschooling families, some like us and some completely different than us but none have ever been truly neglectful or "just used homeschooling as an excuse to not do anything." Where are these neglectful parents!?

That's exactly what I was thinking too- all homeschooling parents I have run into would NEVER use it as an excuse to do nothing- I was really shocked that this was the opinion of the writer.  I've been exposed to homeschooling in two different states even, and never seen this.  

AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 4:36 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm not sure that this article holds even an ounce of validity. He is talking to (and about) people who were homeschooled over 20 years ago.

Now, there are TONS of choices for curriculum, enrichment, co-ops, tutors, dual enrollment, early college entrance (as young as 14!) for interested high schoolers, etc.

Yes, I know some families I consider neglectful in the academic department, BUT that is because their philosophy is different than mine. I am fully capable of recognizing that as more a subjective "me" thing, than assuming they really ARE educationally neglectful. Most elder children I know who feel they received an inadequate education, and are "barely literate", come from the homes of unschoolers - but I know it's a popular choice and some do it better than others, just like any other parenting or homeschool method.

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Academic pushing Mother. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosey, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my child. I believe that my place, as a woman, is in the home caring for my husband and children. My husband is head of our home.             Aimee











AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 4:38 PM

I love a good debate - and I think all sides should be presented to homeschoolers and potential homeschoolers. Bad and good.

Quoting msmed:

There is always going to be a small minority who have had a bad homeschool experience.  The author of this article seemed to be seeking out those w/ horror stories about homeschooling.  The Quiverfull movement the author speaks of, is certainly not a representation of most homeschoolers. 

With all due respect, this seems to be quite a negative article on homeschooling to be posted on a homeschool board.  Gacgbaker, are you a homeschooling mom?  I've seen your posts on other boards & they are frequently articles that "stir the pot."  On another board, you mentioned your child's homework after school.  I just don't understand why you would post these kinds of articles on a homeschooling board, if you yourself do not homeschool - unless I've misconstrued something.


I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Academic pushing Mother. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosey, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my child. I believe that my place, as a woman, is in the home caring for my husband and children. My husband is head of our home.             Aimee











gacgbaker
by Bronze Member on Mar. 15, 2012 at 4:44 PM


Quoting msmed:

There is always going to be a small minority who have had a bad homeschool experience.  The author of this article seemed to be seeking out those w/ horror stories about homeschooling.  The Quiverfull movement the author speaks of, is certainly not a representation of most homeschoolers. 

With all due respect, this seems to be quite a negative article on homeschooling to be posted on a homeschool board.  Gacgbaker, are you a homeschooling mom?  I've seen your posts on other boards & they are frequently articles that "stir the pot."  On another board, you mentioned your child's homework after school.  I just don't understand why you would post these kinds of articles on a homeschooling board, if you yourself do not homeschool - unless I've misconstrued something.

I was homeschooled as a child, and learning more about it to explore it for my children- right now they are in a private school that we really like, but it only goes up to 6th grade, and homeschooling is my best option- and one I really am growing to love more and more.  I don't intend to just stir the pot, but I do appreciate a good discussion- as I said in my post, I'm not a fan of this perspective, but as a homeschooling parent (for myself a potential one)- I feel these opinions are ones we face or will face and I really like hearing the perspective on them from other homeschooling moms.  I know my mother faced a lot of opposition when she homeschooled us, and I really would like to be prepared for that as well.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

oredeb
by on Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:38 PM
1 mom liked this

 why do people have to blame their own problems on something or someone else! its her fault no one elses, take responsiblity for your kids and yourself!

Take Vyckie Garrison, an ex-Quiverfull mother of seven who, in 2008, enrolled her six school-age children in public school after 18 years of teaching them at home. Garrison, who started the No Longer Quivering blog, says her near-constant pregnancies – which tended to result either in miscarriages or life-threatening deliveries – took a toll on her body and depleted her energy. She wasn’t able to devote enough time and energy to homeschooling to ensure a quality education for each child. And she says the lack of regulation in Nebraska, where the family lived, “allowed us to get away with some really shoddy homeschooling for a lot of years.”

 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)