The Risk of Homeschooling

Bailey Broniewicz , Maroon Editor and Chief

One of the most horrifying stories circling today’s and yesterday’s media circuit is the story of 13 children who were locked, chained, and tied to furniture and other items of a California house. Many who have read the story, or who have been around the area were utterly shocked when finding this horrid conclusion to what seemed to be a happy and average family. Other family members and neighbors had no idea of the abuse and gruesome conditions of the children, and never truly questioned the family.
This is not the first time and unfortunately will not be the last time a story like this circles the media and throws all for a loop. The question many are asking as more information is thrown into the already pages on top of pages on this family is, how could no one know any of this was going on? Unfortunately, the answers have been excuses from neighbors about not wanting to prod in their neighbor’s life, or not giving the tiny children who froze when spoken to or looked at a second thought.
The answer lies in the state of California’s Department of Education. They require no check on any of the homeschools, as long as all of the proper paperwork is filled out. The attendance had to be kept, and eventually sent in, but no one actually knew if the kids were doing schoolwork doing their homeschool hours. The next question after finding this information is a matter of whether or not we can rely on parents for the best homeschooling experience, especially in California. Not only that, but does anyone really check to make sure kids are getting the proper education they deserve and need?
The thirteen children who are being hospitalized have more important matters to worry about than that of education, but the idea that the California government does no real checks on homeschool or independent study students poses a problem. Children could potentially be kept from school due to their parents filling out simple paperwork every few days, and sending it in. A child could be deprived the right of public education due to their parents religious beliefs, or want for the child at home.
Some may argue that choosing what kind of education is right for a child is the responsibility and ultimate decision of the parent, and yes they are correct, but should there not be other guidelines besides an attendance check? Should there not be some sort of regulation to make sure every child is indeed being homeschooled when enrolled in a homeschool program?
Some initiatives to make this happen would be to simply require school work to be sent to a check system, or even surprise home inspections. Not only would this help ensure every child has a right to education, but that something like what happened in California could never happen again.
While the children recover hopes that they can be integrated back into society and eventually lead normal lives surround them.