Don't want to go to school? It's OK, God said so...

From the Washington Post

Nearly 7,000 Virginia children whose families have opted to keep them out of public school for religious reasons are not required to get an education, the only children in the country who do not have to prove they are being home-schooled or otherwise educated, according to a study.

Virginia is the only state that allows families to avoid government intrusion once they are given permission to opt out of public school, according to a report from the University of Virginia’s School of Law. It’s a law that is defended for promoting religious freedom and criticized for leaving open the possibility that some children will not be educated.

I understand the concept that if you feel that your local school system doesn't meet your needs (especially your religious needs), you might want to pull your kids out and teach them yourself, but really? You do not have to be held to any standards what so ever?

I guess Libertarians and Religious nut jobs(not necessarily the same people) might like this, but I cannot see the logic of totally exempting the parents from any standards.

Err won't they eventually have to write tests to get a GED or some such in order to get a job? (I presume college and university are likewise evil forces to be avoided)

That's hardly sufficient when contrasted to the standards I know some home school-ers are held to but it might be a starting place at least.

“It is based on sincere religious conviction. If that’s not the case, they need to just comply with the home-schooling law.”

*facepalm* and who exactly evaluates the sincerity of the belief in each case? Maybe what we need is for 'Sincere religious conviction' to stop being a socially and culturally acceptable loophole to so many things.

Not all states have homeschooling standards which are stringent. We homeschooled our kids for a couple of years. North Carolina required us to file paperwork registering our "school", and required that we have the kids take a standardized test periodically. We didn't have to send the test or results in. We only had to file it away. That's it in terms of standards here.

Not that I'm complaining. It frees up parents to use the methods which they feel are best for their own children. Yeah, some bad situations may come out of it, but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers receive a better education with more family involvement than their publically educated peers.

"No child left behind" seems even more hollow after reading that.

NCLB is a direct synonym for No Child Gets Ahead.

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too...

LouZiffer wrote:

Yeah, some bad situations may come out of it, but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers receive a better education with more family involvement than their publically educated peers.

I'd kind of like a citation on that "overwhelming majority" thing, especially when you're using a subjective term. How do you define "better?" Sure they get more family involvement, but they get far less of a social education unless they intentionally seek it out. Kids learn a lot more from public education than simply what they're tested on. It's how they learn to interact with people.

And to be blunt, when a kid's been removed from public schooling for religious reasons, I don't personally think that a student with an excellent faith-based education has had a better result than a student with a mediocre fact-based education. I say that from a purely functional perspective, independent of a parent's right to teach their child what they please and a child's right to believe what they please. I think that a faith-based education limits a child's options later in life.

LouZiffer wrote:

...but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers receive a better education with more family involvement than their publically educated peers.

{citation needed}

LouZiffer wrote:

Not all states have homeschooling standards which are stringent. We homeschooled our kids for a couple of years. North Carolina required us to file paperwork registering our "school", and required that we have the kids take a standardized test periodically. We didn't have to send the test or results in. We only had to file it away. That's it in terms of standards here.

But it sounds like in Virginia, they don't even have to homeschool them at all. This isn't about the quality of homeschooling, it's about its very existence.

edosan wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

...but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers receive a better education with more family involvement than their publically educated peers.

{citation needed}

Yes studies have shown it, I am not certain on the sampling or the size, in truth. What most studies leave out is that not all home schooling is created equal. A strong curriculum based education is needed. And what we are getting into there, I suspect is the correlation with having the latest textbooks and a small class size. The reasons are interesting as well, having a child with special needs is a prevalent reason to home school.

Plenty of links here.
http://parentables.howstuffworks.com...

Fun Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...

Now what has not been studied is the effect of the conservative christian-young earth creation, biblical literalism, kind of curriculum has on Home Schooled students.

So far as I can tell, most home schooled kids are not just being brainwashed by some Baptist sect. The parents may be in one of the many areas of the US with substandard public education, private schools may be expensive or too far away.

Virginia is a weird place; I've been in a lot of places with significant urban/rural differences, but never anywhere so much as there. I have said it before and I will say it again; the four counties of Northern Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William) that make up the D.C. suburbs just need to go ahead and secede from the rest of the state.

I willing to bet that there won't be as many scientists or doctors coming out of Viriginia in the near future.

KingGorilla wrote:
edosan wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

...but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers receive a better education with more family involvement than their publically educated peers.

{citation needed}

Yes studies have shown it, I am not certain on the sampling or the size, in truth. What most studies leave out is that not all home schooling is created equal. A strong curriculum based education is needed. And what we are getting into there, I suspect is the correlation with having the latest textbooks and a small class size. The reasons are interesting as well, having a child with special needs is a prevalent reason to home school.

Plenty of links here.
http://parentables.howstuffworks.com...

Fun Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...

Now what has not been studied is the effect of the conservative christian-young earth creation, biblical literalism, kind of curriculum has on Home Schooled students.

So far as I can tell, most home schooled kids are not just being brainwashed by some Baptist sect. The parents may be in one of the many areas of the US with substandard public education, private schools may be expensive or too far away.

Seeing that both articles reference the same study from the "National Home Education Research Institute" I'm going to take a guess and say that maybe they might be a bit biased in their outlook. ("This just in: homeschooling advocacy group says homeschooling is awesome!")

It would be interesting to see an unbiased, comprehensive survey of the long-term benefits and consequences of choosing alternative education though.

The Conformist wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them. Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

The strength of the emotion should have no bearing on how we judge these decisions. Rather, we should judge on the effect it will have on the future of these kids. And from that point of view, LobsterMobster is likely, and sadly, correct.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them (Not to mention the condescending connotations the topic title has ;-)). Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

The Conformist wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them (Not to mention the condescending connotations the topic title has ;-)). Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

There was a case here in Minnesota about five years back where a teenage boy was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, but, if it wasn't treated soon, it would spread and kill him. His parents had strong emotions about this; they believed they should just pray the cancer away. It resulted in a court battle. The court ruled the parents' religious belief was not sufficient cause to, you know, KILL THEIR CHILD, and mandated he receive treatment. He's alive today because the parents' "strong emotions" were ignored as the idiocy they were.

Clearly, that's an extreme example and raising your kids to be stupid isn't fatal, but saying "strong emotions" is justification to ignore things is not a precedent I like the idea of. Not educating your child in the proverbial Information Age means they are completely and utterly screwed, plain and simple.

Rallick wrote:
The Conformist wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them. Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

The strength of the emotion should have no bearing on how we judge these decisions. Rather, we should judge on the effect it will have on the future of these kids. And from that point of view, LobsterMobster is likely, and sadly, correct.

True but his statement is simply based on opinions not facts. I was home-schooled for two years as a teen, the curriculum was the same if not harder than what I had experienced in public schooling. There are too many variables that can go into a child's education (their will to learn, the other children or lack-thereof) to determine how they will function in society as an adult.

If what they are doing amounts to harming their child then is it not the place of society to step in and say 'hey, sorry but you can't continue like this' regardless of their emotions or beliefs? Yes that begs the question as to what amounts to harm and who gets to decide that. Personally given the option to be educated I deem being uneducated a harm not only to the child who is missing out but also to our society and culture as a whole. I do however acknowledge that establishing agreement on this point is not likely to be a trivial matter and I have no idea as of yet on how to approach that.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:
The Conformist wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them (Not to mention the condescending connotations the topic title has ;-)). Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

There was a case here in Minnesota about five years back where a teenage boy was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, but, if it wasn't treated soon, it would spread and kill him. His parents had strong emotions about this; they believed they should just pray the cancer away. It resulted in a court battle. The court ruled the parents' religious belief was not sufficient cause to, you know, KILL THEIR CHILD, and mandated he receive treatment. He's alive today because the parents' "strong emotions" were ignored as the idiocy they were.

Clearly, that's an extreme example and raising your kids to be stupid isn't fatal, but saying "strong emotions" is justification to ignore things is not a precedent I like the idea of. Not educating your child in the proverbial Information Age means they are completely and utterly screwed, plain and simple.

We're discussing the impact of education on these children, not a medical condition. While I understand where you are coming from, it really can't be considered a similar situation. While I don't disagree with your sentiment on the child with cancer, it is still there right as Americans to make that decision no matter how cruel we view it as. Luckily, in my opinion the courts made the right choice.

The Conformist wrote:
Rallick wrote:
The Conformist wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them. Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

The strength of the emotion should have no bearing on how we judge these decisions. Rather, we should judge on the effect it will have on the future of these kids. And from that point of view, LobsterMobster is likely, and sadly, correct.

True but his statement is simply based on opinions not facts. I was home-schooled for two years as a teen, the curriculum was the same if not harder than what I had experienced in public schooling. There are too many variables that can go into a child's education (their will to learn, the other children or lack-thereof) to determine how they will function in society as an adult.

Dare I say you're letting your personal experience get in the way?

Note that the original article wasn't talking about public school versus home schooling. It was talking about public school versus no school. The article says if you take your kid out of school for any reason besides a religious exemption, you have to show you're actually doing something. If you claim a religious exemption, your kid doesn't have to go to school, doesn't have to take any sort of assessments -- nothing. As far as the Virginia DOE is concerned, they could just be working on grandpa's tobacco farm all day.

(By the way, I also agree that the "let's give them a pass because they feel so strongly about this" argument is a bad one. There are all sorts of people that feel strongly about all sorts of things that I would say are out of line.)

The Conformist wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:
The Conformist wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Guess the world needs ditch diggers too....

That in a way, is a harsh and uncalled for comment since we have no clue what these children's future holds for them (Not to mention the condescending connotations the topic title has ;-)). Living in the country that we do, it's the families right to make decisions such as this. Is it the right choice from an educational standpoint? That has yet to be determined. But I don't believe it is our place to criticize or judge the decisions of these families, especially since they have such strong emotions backing these decisions.

There was a case here in Minnesota about five years back where a teenage boy was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, but, if it wasn't treated soon, it would spread and kill him. His parents had strong emotions about this; they believed they should just pray the cancer away. It resulted in a court battle. The court ruled the parents' religious belief was not sufficient cause to, you know, KILL THEIR CHILD, and mandated he receive treatment. He's alive today because the parents' "strong emotions" were ignored as the idiocy they were.

Clearly, that's an extreme example and raising your kids to be stupid isn't fatal, but saying "strong emotions" is justification to ignore things is not a precedent I like the idea of. Not educating your child in the proverbial Information Age means they are completely and utterly screwed, plain and simple.

We're discussing the impact of education on these children, not a medical condition. While I understand where you are coming from, it really can't be considered a similar situation. While I don't disagree with your sentiment on the child with cancer, it is still there right as Americans to make that decision no matter how cruel we view it as. Luckily, in my opinion the courts made the right choice.

I disagree that they made the right choice. Sure, their strong emotions were respected, but from what I understand now the children will receive no schooling at all. No education other than what they pick up themselves or whatever fables their parents give them. No math, no literature, no history, no science. To me, that's borderline child abuse. If you are so afraid that the facts will make your children leave your religion, then maybe you should have a long, hard look at your religion.

Edit: partly Tannhauser'd by edosan!

edosan wrote:

(By the way, I also agree that the "let's give them a pass because they feel so strongly about this" argument is a bad one. There are all sorts of people that feel strongly about all sorts of things that I would say are out of line.)

I wasn't referring as "feeling strongly" as a strong argument to hold up in court. I was simply saying within the context of that paragraph, I think it's not our place on this board to make such claims as "Guess the world needs ditch diggers too" since we don't know what the future holds.

Rallick wrote:

I disagree that they made the right choice. Sure, their strong emotions were respected, but from what I understand now the children will receive no schooling at all. No education other than what they pick up themselves or whatever fables their parents give them. No math, no literature, no history, no science. To me, that's borderline child abuse. If you are so afraid that the facts will make your children leave your religion, then maybe you should have a long, hard look at your religion.

Edit: partly Tannhauser'd by edosan!

I was referring to the courts decision on the child with cancer, not the children removed from school. I also was under the impression that these children would be home-schooled, that being said, while I don't agree, I still think that Church and State should be kept separate. These decisions made by the family are made religiously no?

edosan wrote:

Seeing that both articles reference the same study from the "National Home Education Research Institute" I'm going to take a guess and say that maybe they might be a bit biased in their outlook. ("This just in: homeschooling advocacy group says homeschooling is awesome!")

It would be interesting to see an unbiased, comprehensive survey of the long-term benefits and consequences of choosing alternative education though.

Well we then get into my wheelhouse. Many state departments of education buy into those studies. Just like many/most state departments of justice buy into AA or NA for treatment. What is important is that the people holding the purse and making the policy think these studies are gospel.

Further I think it belies the real issue. On an individual scale private or home schooling might be better. But the real issue is that the public education system is in dire straights and threatened from many directions. If your kids were in Kansas schools you may home school or go to a private school because that state has turned its back on science and reason in education. We then get the continuing downward spiral of the public schools.

By and large I think the problem is our weak public education system. It is reaching a point where public education not only is insufficient to get students into college, but those that do are woefully unprepared.

KingGorilla wrote:

By and large I think the problem is our weak public education system. It is reaching a point where public education not only is insufficient to get students into college, but those that do are woefully unprepared.

Oh, you won't get any disagreement from me on that. I just find Virginia's ideas somewhat...unorthodox.

As someone that was educated in Virginia under the religious exemption provision I find this thread hilarious.

Well technically, I was educated in Virginia under this provision until I was 15. We then moved to Idaho where my parents weren't required to get any kind of approval or submit to any testing to continue home schooling the 4 of us.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

Not all states have homeschooling standards which are stringent. We homeschooled our kids for a couple of years. North Carolina required us to file paperwork registering our "school", and required that we have the kids take a standardized test periodically. We didn't have to send the test or results in. We only had to file it away. That's it in terms of standards here.

But it sounds like in Virginia, they don't even have to homeschool them at all. This isn't about the quality of homeschooling, it's about its very existence.

krev82 wrote:

That's hardly sufficient when contrasted to the standards I know some home school-ers are held to but it might be a starting place at least.

Sorry, I should have quoted Krev82, who I was responding to. Not that he was saying ALL homeschoolers are subject to strict standards. I just wanted to elaborate on that a bit.

From what I've read of Virginia law the parents of these kids are still legally bound to provide an education. However, they are exempt from enforcement. That would be similar to states which have lax homeschooling laws, like NC.

edosan wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

...but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers receive a better education with more family involvement than their publically educated peers.

{citation needed}

That's my opinion up there, and I shouldn't have stated it as fact. (This is a forum, right? Making sure I didn't stumble upon wikipedia.) It's based on reading studies that show the positive influence of homeschooling, my own experience with homeschooling, and actively seeking out data which shows a negative or neutral influence on academic performance (and finding none) before we decided to homeschool our kids.

Personally, I think a major influencing factor is that the type of parents who would decide to homeschool their children tend toward being more involved with their kids anyway. Overall, homeschooled kids would probably do better than their peers even if they were kept in public schools because of this increased involvement.

LouZiffer wrote:

Personally, I think a major influencing factor is that the type of parents who would decide to homeschool their children tend toward being more involved with their kids anyway. Overall, homeschooled kids would probably do better than their peers even if they were kept in public schools because of this increased involvement.

That's the question: is it the homeschooling or the parental involvement that has the bigger impact? Unfortunately, it's hard to do a study of something like that.

To me, that's borderline child abuse.

No, it IS child abuse. It IS neglect. It isn't to make ditch diggers. It is to make slaves to the family.

fangblackbone wrote:
To me, that's borderline child abuse.

No, it IS child abuse. It IS neglect. It isn't to make ditch diggers. It is to make slaves to the family.

Oh come now, are we talking about home-school here or the complete lack of an education? Even if they aren't being educated in public schools to call it neglect and slavery is a very bold statement considering you have no clue what the families plan on doing. Not to mention, what's wrong with learning to work the land and learn the trade of farming? The family could also be very warm and loving and instill great values in their children. We don't know if the parents are educating them in that AND common sense, it's not like they are just going to run around like mindless zombies and contribute nothing to society. Just because certain families tend to live there lives in a more secluded fashion doesn't make it wrong.

LobsterMobster wrote:

I think a homeschool education is incomplete, no matter how thorough and quality it is, simply due to social factors, but I've known enough people who were homeschooled to see that they are not unequivocally doomed by the choices of their parents.

Incomplete or not comparable? What social factors?

I think edosan got at what I was talking about. I wasn't saying that homeschooled kids are doomed to become ditch diggers. I was saying that kids with absolutely no education of any sort won't be suited for much else.

I think a homeschool education is incomplete - no matter how thorough and quality it may be - simply due to social factors, but I've known enough people who were homeschooled to see that they are not unequivocally doomed by the choices of their parents.

LouZiffer wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

I think a homeschool education is incomplete, no matter how thorough and quality it is, simply due to social factors, but I've known enough people who were homeschooled to see that they are not unequivocally doomed by the choices of their parents.

Incomplete or not comparable? What social factors?

School is where people learn how to deal with people outside of their family. It's where they learn how to form friendships, how to deal with antagonism, and how to meet the expectations of people who honestly do not give a crap about them as a person one way or the other. It's where they first step outside of their comfort zone and learn how to grow from that sort of challenge. It's where they expand their horizons beyond the same people and surroundings in which they've spent their entire lives. For some, it's their first exposure to systems of ethics and morality outside of their family, including the consequences of upholding - or breaking - social norms. And, most importantly, it's an opportunity for a student to learn how to handle him or herself in conflict with people who are not their mom or dad, in situations where they do not have the direct support of their mom or dad.

In other words, it's where they learn how to become people.