Tuesday, 17 May 2011

More news from the USA

Following a high profile murder case involving home education, some are calling for stricter monitoring:



  1. The call for monitoring is pretty much a given after a case like this (and there's room for it in this case - it's in one of the least regulated states in the US, and parents could register without any intrusion on their ability to provide an education)

    In this case, however, it's pretty clear that the child was being abused for years _while enrolled in a maintained school_ and was only removed late in the game. By all appearances, the removal was because the parents were becoming concerned that he would tell someone at the school what was happening, not because the school suspected anything or showed any signs of wanting to check in on the child.

    I understand why some form of registration might make sense in a state that has none, not least because it woud allow home educated children to prove their status. What registration won't do is protect children like this - he was registered at school, and no one appears to have suspected anything at all, for years.

  2. There are quite a significant number of high profile murder cases in the US that involve home schoolers.
    I've never seen any concerns regarding them on HE-UK, and yet there are regular comments about HE in Japan.
    Quite how the Lydia Schatz case has been missed is a mystery.
    That case involved a Christian homeschool doctrine written by Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries.
    You might assume that was 'an isolated but tragic case', except it wasn't.
    Four year old Sean Paddock was killed by his parents too, they were also believers in the doctrines of Michael and Debi Pearl.
    The Pearls advocate 'common sense parenting' and are 'training parents to break the bad habits handed down through the generations'...by whipping children with plastic tubing! and much worse.
    The Pearls were/are Christian homeschool parents of 5 children. Those kids grew to become missionaries and church leaders, presumably coming to a church near you or preaching to you through the internet.
    Maybe they'll be big at HESFES touting some form of homeschool/Christian philosophy.
    Maybe next time the Pearls surface it'll have connections to home schooling in Britain.

  3. The Pearls are indeed a piece of work. They justify the whipping with plastic tubing thing on the grounds that a parent's hands should only be used lovingly, not for hitting children! They even tell people the exact length and gauge of tubing to use for flogging their kids.

    There has been a rash of cases in America involving Christian parents, adopted children, home edcuation and murder. It is not common, but happens often enough to be making people uneasy.

    And just before anybody accuses me of being anti-Christian, I might point out that I am a regular church goer who uused the Bible as his primary guide when home educating. It never made me feel like hitting my child though!

  4. Hell, if criticizing the Pearls is viewed as anti Christian there's no hope.

  5. "Maybe they'll be big at HESFES touting some form of homeschool/Christian philosophy.
    Maybe next time the Pearls surface it'll have connections to home schooling in Britain."

    You seem to have forgotten, or maybe never knew, that those same wacky email lists that Simon is slating in today's blog article campaigned against a tour of the UK by the Pearls in 2006. Add to this the fact that the organiser of HESFES is vehemently anti corporal punishment. Basically you seem to know very, very, little about home education in the UK, or at least about the bits you rant against.


  6. http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2006/03/22/us-fundamentalists-to-hold-child-abuse-seminars-in-the-uk/#comments

  7. If the Pearl's ever tried again with the UK home ed scene then HESFES would be the last place I'd expect. The idea is laughable if you've ever actually been to HESFES!

  8. Oh goodness no. Lots of people made it very clear in the UK home ed community that the Pearls were not welcome when they tried to tour here with their horrid ideas that are in fact abuse. Some of us even contacted the NSPCC/police etc so that if they did arrive they would be monitored that way too.

    As for the story you link to, it is tragic but at the same time this could just as easily happen to a child in school. To me it is not about closer monitoring of home education because you would end up using resources monitoring a load of families who don't need to be monitored. Rather it is that the authorities can act swiftly and appropriately if a report is made about a child's welfare and ensure that they are not just acting out of a bias against home ed. This means that social workers need more support, more resources, more time and energy to do the jobs that they would be good at if only they had a budget. It is all too often the case though that our structures can only act after the worst has happened.

  9. And yet on here just yesterday someone said that the 'Old Schoolhouse' was a good website..

    It promotes the Pearl's book 'To Train Up A Child'.

  10. Ever hear about the David Ludwig case?

  11. Or the Patrick Armstrong case?

  12. Or Banita M.Jacks?

  13. Ever hear about the Long's case?

  14. Or Charles Carl Roberts IV?

  15. "And yet on here just yesterday someone said that the 'Old Schoolhouse' was a good website.."

    I missed that - what comment thread is it in?

  16. OK, found it now. Actually, what the person said was,

    "if you are looking for the views of American right-wing homeschoolers"

    then that website was a good place to go. That's a bit different to what you said. Speaking personally, the Old School house site makes me nauseous but that's the case with an awful lot of US homeschooling sites.

  17. I wouldn't call it good at all.

  18. And the UK sites have their episodes of inducing nausea.

  19. "I wouldn't call it good at all."

    Not a good site, no, but a good site to read the views of American right-wing homeschoolers. There's a difference. Unless you don't think it gives the views of American right-wing homeschoolers?

  20. As the anon who made the post in the other thread, I can confirm that I was pointing to the sites I listed because they are closer to the mainstream of US right-wing Christian homeschooling than the site that Simon's post drew on (which is a mouthpiece for the 'birther' movement). I don't think the Old Schoolhouse (or any of the other sites listed) is a good place to go to for advice!

    The Pearls are horrid and evil...although many of the people (homeschoolers and Christian school families both) who buy and read their awful books do so unsuspectingly (having been told that Mary Pride or some other 'Christian' leader recommends them), and don't go on to follow their advice (thank goodness.) So the number of their books in circulation is in no way indicative of how many people are really following their nasty advice.

  21. 'Read their books unsuspectingly'.
    How thick do you have to be to do that?

  22. Not too thick actually - have you ever actually seen a copy of any of the Pearl's books? They get crazier and scarier as you go along.

    If you don't know what's coming up, it's easy to pick up a book that looks to be about how to have 'a harmonious home' through 'old-fashioned discipline' and not realise until the third or forth chapter how insane the authors are. This is particularly true if the person picking up the book doesn't know much about it and has been told that the book is recommended as sensible by respected religious figures.

  23. 'If you don't know what's coming up', well you should have got a damned good idea from the title.
    'To Train Up A Child', you train a dog not a child. If you're so thick that you haven't the mental capacity to work that one out then you really are in trouble.
    If you are rearing your child on the recommendations of some respected religious figure, you're in a cult or sect.

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