By Michael and Mary Leppert
I, Mary, was recently reading the Washington (DC) Examiner and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the following which is a result of the recent child abuse case in the Turpin family:
“California Is Seeking To Treat Homeschool Families As Presumptive Child-Abusers
Lawmakers in that state have indicated plans to categorically require homeschool parents to prove – through home visits, interviews and other government oversight – that indeed, the parent is not abusive if they choose to exercise a legally-protected and valid option for school choice. This measure would shift the burden to the parent to prove to the government’s satisfaction his or her parental fitness. This is absurdly unconstitutional.”
We are appalled that any politician would even dream of considering such government interference over a media mistake of labeling the Turpin family as “homeschoolers”! Suggesting such government interference is outrageous, particularly in light of the number of public school shootings and other school-related scandals constantly in the news:
- Child Suicides caused by bullying
- Sexual intimidation and harassment
- Bullying and non-gun violence – possibly still fatal
- Students demonstrating no respect for teachers
- Academic disasters and drop-out rates
Let’s set the record straight: The case of the Turpin family’s 13 imprisoned children is not a “homeschooling” case — it is a child-abuse case! This is not the first time the media has had a knee-jerk reaction, erroneously labeling child-abusers as “homeschoolers” without any research or facts to verify the claim.
If you don’t feed your children and chain them to the bed and never let them leave the house, what on earth does that have to do with “homeschooling”? Such parents certainly do not care if the same children can read, write or do simple math! None of the Turpin children possess more than a scant academic knowledge and do not have worldly awareness or knowledge. Homeschoolers are not hermits – especially those who live in urban areas. We take our children into the real world regularly and they interact with others daily in stores, at dance classes, music classes, choir practices, gymnastics classes, martial arts classes, at Park Days, etc. Contrary to the urban legend, perpetrated by the mistaken media, homeschooling children are very well socialized.
Actual homeschooling parents are dedicated people who sacrifice much to guarantee that their children are safe from the unnecessary dangers and academic distractions that exist in public schools and that they receive proper academic and personal human attention. The average homeschooling parents spends 1800 more hours a year with their children than the average school parent, based on the number of hours the child is in school and away from home. As an example of academic excellence, according to the SAT, homeschoolers score 15% higher on the test than non-homeschoolers.
California politicians think that homeschoolers are a soft target, so instead of pursuing solutions to school violence, mayhem, and academic failings, which will cost them votes no matter which side they take, they try to make political hay by suggesting unconstitutional actions against us.
We know there are a great many dedicated teachers out there in the system who do want only the best for their students. We also know that there are many loving and dedicated parents who do send their children to school. However, we feel it is time to come right out and tell those parents THAT THE SYSTEM OF INSTITUTIONALIZING CHILDREN DOES NOT WORK! It is time to turn the tables on the institutionalization of children in public schools. Let’s talk about the proliferation of antisocial behavior that is created in schools.
- There has been a school shooting at least once a week for all of 2018 to date (Feb 18); the worst occurred as we began to write this editorial.
- No one ever cites the school administration or the parents as having culpability in these violent acts.
- There is obviously something wrong with the system if it produces such heinous behavior so regularly.
- The failure of the school systems and parents in their responsibility to society should be stopped cold. THIS is what politicians should be addressing.One of the few websites that has tracked school shooting statistics and the aftermath is EveryTownResearch, https://everytownresearch.org/school-shootings/, which states that
“From 2013-15 . . . 107 of the identified [school] shootings took place at K-12 schools. In 95 incidents, the perpetrators intentionally injured or killed at least one other person with a gun. School shooting-homicides cause a drop in standardized test scores, reduced enrollment at the subject school, particularly in 9th grade and create a general atmosphere of dis-ease for up to 3 years after the incident.” (See http://every.tw/1S4KInT to verify these statements.)
Rather than trying to threaten the freedom of homeschoolers, the school officials and parents could learn from us.
Calls for gun control and restriction are not the only issue here. There are an increasing number of violent school-site incidents involving knives, machetes and other non-gun weapons. The weapon of choice is a significant point, but even more of a major issue is: What about socialization? Why are so many public school students so extremely anti-social and violent? What is going on with our youth? Yes we need to protect students in schools — and the public in general — from massive violence, but let’s go deeper and get to the bottom of WHY this is happening! What is going on with the young people that is making them so violent?!
Is the structure of our current mainstream society designed to create violent, unhappy lives for many of our young people? Are we putting them on a linear train to personal and social disaster? Are the majority of young people putting up with violence, bullying, ridicule and intense peer pressure?
We feel unabashedly urgent in saying to all parents who send their kids to the institution, PULL YOUR KIDS OUT NOW! Take away the $3500 to $4500 Daily Attendance money that the system is getting from your children’s presence in any public institution. Our children are pawns in the scheme of big business and politics! Get them out now and change the structure of things. If you cannot homeschool, then please spend time with your kids! Homeschooling is 100% parental involvement. It is no mystery why homeschoolers are very often so different from many public school students. We were very saddened at the breaking news about the shootings in Florida. When Columbine happened, our first book about homeschooling had just been published and we hoped there would be a spike in public school parents and students becoming homeschoolers and spreading the values of full parenting to communities around the nation. This would have been a re-birth of humanity and positive child-rearing. But such a spike never occurred and now, 20 years later, the negative conditions in public schools are worse; these institutions are like festering boils waiting to explode.
It would be healthy if school parents could learn from homeschoolers how to raise their children in a healthier environment. Here is what they would learn if they observed average homeschooling behaviors:
- Get children off of drugs – ADHD, ADD, etc. are not issues for families, they are issues for classroom behavior control.
- Get children off of video games – especially violent games.
- Control T.V. and Internet access and use (yes, control, as a parent should do).
- Get off of your cellphone and pay attention to your child – the time with him/her will fly by and be gone.
- Nothing you can do is more important than properly raising another human being and citizen.
- Shut off all electronics and have old-fashioned sitting-around-talking become a regular thing that goes on in your home.
- Really know your child. Understand what s/he thinks about life, the world, herself/himself.
- A homeschool parent spends approximately 1800 hours per year more with his/her child than a public school parent, based on the number of hours per day that a child is in school and away from home. So begin by spending more time with your children.
Whether you believe in God or Nature, humans are mammals and are intended to raise their young until the young can successfully fend for themselves – probably about 18 to 22 years old. You are intended to govern your child’s activities and life, just as surely as a lion, bear or elephant does. If these mammals ignore their responsibility, the offspring usually dies at the hands of a predator.
Unlike other mammals, human children may not experience outright death, but they may experience a variety of deaths within, that turn an individual into a mass person, following the herd without active thought. Leadership and Life guidance should come from parents and other family members – not the school system, other children or the media/video games.
Children should be raised to live as adults in the real world – which does not involve daily unresolved bullying, intimidation, harassment, external pressures and constant comparisons with others in academic and/or sports venues. Public school is NOT the real world, but a synthetic realm where same-aged people are thrown together in an unnatural atmosphere of danger and discomfort.
We still have hope that public school parents will see that homeschooling is a better way to educate and raise children and their renewed dedication to their responsibilities will help heal this open wound of school violence and ineffectiveness. Far too many families have suffered anguish as a result of the system’s failures and politicians’ negligence and inactivity. Mary & Michael
Ed Note: I, Mary, invite any family who wants to homeschool and needs help to personally call me. Here is my phone number: 805-844-8917. I also invite any school official who wants to know more about the values and deep philosophical actions behind the idea of homeschooling to call me. I truly believe that homeschooling ideas could help calm the system.