No, Homeschooling is NOT a “Sickening Danger”

The classroom is not (nor can it be) neutral, objective, or indifferent concerning philosophical value-statements, and it is necessarily the case that public indoctrination is a consequence of public education – just as private indoctrination and home indoctrination is a result of private and home-school institutions. Parents are realizing this and would rather supervise first-hand the intellectual controls than submit their children to the social experiment of public schools.


If you haven’t heard of the horrors at the Turpin household in Perris, CA, be warned that reading accounts can be quite unsettling. The abuse of 13 children (and adult children) aged between 2 and 29 has consequently started a national conversation on the need for increased regulation on private home schools – because the Turpins were a homeschooling family.

Damon Linker at The Week has penned an article with the provocative headline “The Sickening Danger of Homeschooling,” in which he drags the reader through a lament over the rise of homeschooling families in the United States and state-level deregulation allowing more liberty to educate children on families’ own terms. His solution is to insert the government into the home school in order to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

While he attempts to qualify up front that while “the vast majority of parents who home-school – most of whom are conservative or fundamentalist Protestants – do not abuse their children,” he then sweeps the floor by isolating and generalizing, “Yet it is also the case that home-schooling sometimes serves as an easy cover for stomach-churning cases of cruelty and mistreatment.”

You know what else sometimes serves as an easy cover for stomach-churning cases of cruelty and mistreatment? Public SchoolsChurchesHollywoodUniversitiesCongressThe White HouseYour favorite news channelDay care facilities. Sports ProgramsHomes that send their children to public schools. I think I’ve made my point.

Some of these institutions are highly regulated – like public schools; others we would bristle at the state inspecting and interviewing staff and customers – like churches. (Actually, more and more people are arguing that the government should exercise more control of the church, so I’ll go with “your favorite news channel.”)

The premise of this piece seems to imply is that horrors are magnified in – if not isolated to – a highly diverse population whose commonality is simply that they prefer education to be home-based. It’s as bad to generalize the homeschooling population as it is to generalize the “gun owner population” or the “feminist population.”

One of the justifications for increasing regulation mentioned in the article and by history professor Jeremy C. Young, is that since 2000, 123 non-accidental fatalities have occurred in homeschooling homes. That’s about 7.25 per year! This is true, so far as we can tell, but to suppose that each of these deaths was correlative with the families’ decision to homeschool is tenuous at best, a logical fallacy at worse. Besides, this number pales to the total number of child deaths due to abuse and neglect, which in 2015 alone reached 1,670. That’s a 22,000% greater incident rate among non-homeschooling families than it is among homeschooling families. If I were to continue this line of argumentation, I could make the case that it’s more dangerous for children to NOT be homeschooled.

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Part 2 of this article continues here:

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