Thursday, 3 October 2013

Home education in America

I am always interested to read about home education in the USA, because a lot of the time it is so very different from the scene in this country. Possibly because there are so many more home educated children in America, compared with here, the death rate is considerably higher; to the extent that most months one reads of  home educated children killed by their parents, often after hideous abuse. Here are a couple of  examples in the last few  weeks:

One of the things one notices about many of the American cases is that they have strong similarities. The two cases above are good instances. The first common theme is that the kids being killed are either black or from other ethnic minorities. The second is the number who are not the natural children of those who murder them, but are instead fostered or adopted. The final point which one sees very frequently is that the killers claim to be Christians. I’m sure that readers will soon turn up any number of such cases with these features if they look around a bit.

The reason that I am interested in this phenomenon is that although there are few  deaths of this sort in the United Kingdom, we most of us know that where America leads in trends; this country tends to follow.  As I said, very few cases of the abuse or murder of home educated children occur in the United Kingdom, but of those which do, there are some faint indications that ethnic minority children are more likely to be the victims than are white children. There aren’t of course enough cases to draw any conclusion yet, but that may well be because there are perhaps forty or fifty times as many home educated children in America as there are here. I would be interested to know what would happen if the numbers of home educated children in the United Kingdom rose substantially.


  1. Hmm, I don't know, Simon. Yes, these are horrible stories and do involve HE children, but as you say, since home education is more common in the US, that is what you would expect. Here today though a quick glance at the Daily Mail features other tragic deaths - that of Hamzah Khan, Keanu Williams ... last week it was Daniel Pelka. None involved HE of course - Daniel died despite schools concerns because they were not acted on; the others were pre schoolers anyway. Sadly there will always be evil or sick people who do this - but I can't see that it is more likely to afflict home educated children than others.

    1. 'but I can't see that it is more likely to afflict home educated children than others.'

      Well, you anticipate me, Julie. Looking at a random sample of every Serious Case Reviews over a period of six months, suggests to me that the rate of abuse of home educated children in this country could be ten times as high as with children at school! I'll be posting about that tomorrow.