Legal oversight of homeschooling is vital to ensuring that homeschooled children receive a good education and have safeguards against abuse and neglect. However, we understand that legal oversight is not in itself a panacea. Homeschooling communities need to acknowledge and act on the fact that abuse and neglect can arise within their own communities. This requires a willingness to take the necessary steps to protecting homeschooled children within other families and a humility to place one’s own parenting practices under examination.
“Try to work to have a culture that encourages not hitting kids and allowing kids to be educated. Consider mandatory meetings about gentle or positive parenting. Please stop the culture of fear of CPS. Realize that calling CPS isn’t a betrayal. The parent who neglected and abused his/her child is the one who betrayed your community. Don’t be complicit in the abuse. Please protect the children by calling CPS to investigate.” ~ April Duvall, 33, homeschooled 2nd-12th
There is a taboo within many homeschooling communities at the moment concerning reporting observed instances of abuse and neglect. This taboo needs to be shattered. In cases of children isolated from wider spheres of socialization, sometimes the only individuals who have the power to reach out and rescue children from a bad situation are other homeschoolers.
“It seems very taboo to criticize another family’s parenting style or to report them. I guess I would say that you should do your best to ignore the social repercussions and do what you can to help a kid who’s helpless.” ~ Sam, 23, homeschooled 1st-12th
“Please do not be afraid to confront other homeschool parents about obvious signs of neglect, or bring up the subject with fellow responsible homeschool parents. Just because some parents are abusive and neglectful does not (or should not) incriminate the entire community. By denying that bad homeschool situations exist, you deny that many children are currently enduring incredible levels of pain and torture.” ~ Lana Martin, 29, homeschooled 5th-12th
For more, see our Child Abuse and Neglect section. You may also find A Message for Family, Friends, and Neighbors and 40 Ways to Help Homeschool Kids in Bad Situations helpful. Make an effort to be a resources and support for the homeschooled children in your community. You never know—you may change a child’s life.