Saturday, March 28, 2009

To defend Venessa Mills right to homeschool in light of this evidence is akin to defending abuse

A good synopsis of the Mill's case, Opinion: Did NC Judge Ned Mangum go too far in home-schooling case? at Digital Journal.

From the comments on another post
Crimson Wife said...
Sometimes defending freedom means defending people with whom one 100% disagrees. I support the right of Christian Dominionists to homeschool just as I support the right of neo-Nazis or the KKK to hold a non-violent march down city streets. We cannot pick & choose whom to grant freedoms to based on popularity.

I agree, but the Mills case isn't so cut and dried. Family members and close friends have expressed concerns about the Mother's homeschooling the children.

Her father and mother described, under oath that she had become controlling and domineering, instilling fear in her children.

A lifelong friend of the woman stated in a sworn affidavit that their friendship withered away since the woman joined the Sound Doctrine Church. She states that the woman has distanced herself from her parents and her sisters, that the woman has an extreme control over her children, that they are more withdrawn than is to be considered normal and that the behaviour of the children when she saw them in June 2008 was alarming. Other people make similar statements.

This is mental abuse and in light of this testimony and other testimony the judge was 100% right to order the children be sent to public school.

It's also interesting to see the DEMANDS Venessa Mills made, keep in mind the children are 10, 11 and 12 years old.

Although the husband has a good job, no criminal record, and no history of substance abuse or domestic violence, the woman has asked for several court orders:

  • -Limiting the husband from having any overnights visits with his children.
  • -Limiting the husband from seeing his children to a total of 9 hours a week.
  • -Removing all decision making authority away from the husband related to education and religion.
  • -To not allow the husband any regular visitation on Sundays.
  • -Limiting the husband's phone calls to the children to only those that are scheduled beforehand.
  • -To order that the husband to not allow the children to have contact with any ex-Sound Doctrine members or anyone hostile to the organization.
Based on all this, Judge Ned Mangum finds that the woman is alienating her children from their maternal grandparents, their aunt, and most importantly their father. He also finds that the affidavits of the woman's parents, sister, and lifelong friends are credible as they have known her for many years.

To defend Venessa Mills right to homeschool in light of this evidence is akin to defending abuse. Homeschoolers MUST NOT support Venessa Mills.

HT: HERP&ES post HS Justice

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not all homeschoolers are wingnuts with large families

Home school advocate
Sen. Gilbert Baker would never require a child to attend a public school. But he does propose to require public school districts to allow home schoolers to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities in the public school districts in which they live. He also doesn't want to let public school districts join organizations that might set rules against participation by private school or home schooled students.

Unfortunately most of the comments are hateful and prejudiced against homeschoolers. I am so tired of "the prejudiced fools" who assume all homeschoolers are wingnuts with large families.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A truely liberated mind would champion homeschooling

My response to Writings of a Liberated Mind's post Homeschooling is NOT the answer

She says

the children being homeschooled are limited to their parent's ability to relay information and the previous schooling of the parents. In a school setting, children are provided with perspectives and knowledge from a very wide pool of minds.

This is not true. Homeschoolers have a wide array of resources at their disposal. Not only can the parents relay information to their children but they can take advantage of distance learning courses, co-ops where parents share their knowledge of particular subjects, also many homeschoolers are enrolled in classes just for homeschoolers offered through local museums and often older homeschoolers are enrolled in college classes for dual credit. Homeschoolers are unlimited in their ability to seek knowledge in a wide variety of places. Also many homeschoolers are able to travel and experience different cultures with their families due to the flexibility homeschooling offers.

She says

Socially, homeschool does not expose children to peer pressure. Peer pressure can be a good thing and it can be a negative thing. Regardless, children need to learn how to handle peer pressure situations and how to interact with their peers (especially the ones that are different from themselves).

Not so, homeschoolers interact with the people in their community. We join civic associations, recreational sports leagues, community theater groups , Scouts, 4-H and many other groups. Many older homeschoolers often hold part time jobs in the community or work as volunteers. Not only do our children have many chances to interact with their peers they have the chance to learn from their elders.

She says

bias of the parents (whether for or against religion) will color the type and method of education. Even atheist children need to learn how to talk with and interact with religious people.

Public schools are full of bias, books contain the biases of their authors, bias is a part of life and not a reason to deny parents the right to homeschool their children. Also the face of homeschooling is changing, many of us belong to inclusive homeschool groups and associate with families vastly different then our own.

She says

Finally, I find the motive of parents who show a desire to homeschool their children to be selfish. They want to have 100% control of what is let into their child's brain.

This is a very cruel way to stereotype loving parents. The majority of parents choose to homeschool because they believe it is in the best interest of their children. Most families make sacrifices in order to homeschool. I don't know any parent who wants to have 100% control of what is let into their child's brain. This is akin to someone saying that parents who show a desire to send their children to public school are selfish because they want to educate their children at taxpayer expense and have no desire to stay home with them. We all know this is false and would be offended if someone said it. We should be equally offended when someone puts down homeschool parents and labels them as selfish.

Homeschooling is a valid educational choice and a truly liberated mind would embrace homeschooling and the freedom it offers.

Carnival of Homeschooling: Spring 2009 edition

Homeschool Buzz is hosting this weeks Carnival of Homeschooling, the pictures of spring alone are worth the visit.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why Homeschoolers should not support Venessa Mills

The News Observer states School case raises ire. But why is it raising ire amongst Venessa Mills and her supporters? HSLDA is usually among the first to scream our homeschooling freedoms are being encroached on, but they don't seem in the least concerned about the judges ruling.

The Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association has a policy against accepting home-school cases that are part of divorce or custody battles. Spokesman Ian Slatter said judges have ordered homeschooled students into public schools before, but the group does not track such cases.

"Unfortunately, divorces are fairly common," Slatter said. "These sorts of questions are put before judges on a regular basis."

Maybe because it isn't a HOMESHOOL ISSUE and will in no way impact other homeschoolers.

Then we have Homeschool Injustice bleating that it's not in the children's best interest to spend an equal amount of time with their father in her post Why 50/50 Is Not In The Best Interests of Children . The post completely ignores the realities of modern day life, where often both parents work and both the Mother and Father only spend evenings and weekends with their children. She also seems oblivious to the fact that as a single mother Venessa Mills will need to work outside the home to support herself. And if we want to talk about whats in the best interest of the children
Recent research reveals a negative impact of divorce on children's welfare as a consequence of the reduction in monetary and time contributions by the non-custodian parent. When the custody arrangement is sole custody, the variables that link the absent parent to the child are visitations and child support transfers.

Apparently contrary to what Ms. Williams believes joint custody has been proven to be in the best interest of the children.

Under the circumstances, only a heartless, ignorant, or prejudiced individual would fail to understand Venessa Mills' demands, or fail to see that they were solely motivated by her desire to protect her children.

Venessa Mills didn't put her children first when she choose to divorce her husband and destroy their family so why should we automatically assume that she is putting them first now. And if she truly believes that shared custody isn't in the children's best interest she could always let Thomas Mills have full custody.

(The judge's intent from the beginning was to force these parents back together and out of his courtroom, acting like a liberal-biased marriage counselor instead of being a judge.)

I seen to recall the Bible saying

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. -King James Bible Matthew 19:6

So I would have thought that a judge who tried to prevent a divorce would receive kudos from professed Christians instead of their ire for trying to do what was best for the children and keep the parents together if at all possible.

Ms. Williams' post Constitutional Injustice is even more ludicrous.

he prejudicially chooses to restrict the mother's financial support to a level intended to limit her ability to practice her religion

I am not even sure what Ms. Williams means by that. How much money does Venessa Mills need to practice her religion? Who is suppose to finance her religious beliefs?

I have no doubt that Mr. Mills infidelity hurt Venessa Mills a great deal and I feel sorry that she had to deal with that pain. But she had choices. She could have forgiven her husband and worked to save the marriage. Instead she chose to divorce him while naively believing that nothing in her life or her children's lives would change other then her marital status.

Why homeschoolers should not support Venessa Mills?

  1. No one should be forced to homeschool. The children's father has indicated that he wants the kids to be in public school and that he believes it will be in the best interest of the children.
  2. Venessa Mills' parents have concerns about the situation. Homeschoolers have insisted that we don't need further regulations as abuse can be spotted and reported by people other than teachers including friends, family, doctors and neighbors. Enough people have raised concerns about this ONE SITUATION that the judge is right to listen and take steps to prevent abuse.
  3. The chief complaint about Mr. Mills is that he committed adultery. While this certainly makes him a BAD HUSBAND it doesn't automatically disqualify him as a FATHER.
  4. Homeschoolers have worked hard to garner political clout, it shouldn't be squandered on a messy divorce case. Which is why HSLDA isn't involved.
  5. Championing Venessa Mills in light of all the allegations and concerns raised by family members smacks of fanaticism not a well reasoned logical decision.

Lets save the rallying for something that matters

Williams is rallying homeschoolers from across the nation to fight back to defend their rights as Americans to educate their children.

Great a small minority of homeschoolers are determined to defend homeschoolers from the bogeyman and are making all homeschoolers look like idiots.
Venessa Mills is fighting a legal battle for the heart and soul of homeschooling in North Carolina.

Wow, I thought she was just divorcing her husband and trying to take him to the cleaners in the process. I mean most normal people realize that in order to be a housewife and stay at home Mom you need to be married. If you choose to divorce your husband then you are going to need to get a job and support yourself and that probably means your kids will have to go to public school. I certainly would not choose cult member, Venessa Mills as the poster child for homeschooling.

Robyn Williams, friend and homeschool mother of four was present at the proceeding. "I have never seen such injustice and such a direct attack against homeschooling," said Williams.

Attack on homeschooling, surely she is kidding. The judge never attacked homeschoolers. Homeschoolers in North Carolina are still free to homeschool their children. This case has nothing to do with homeschoolers in general. This is a divorce case pure and simple. If Venessa Mills had not sued her husband for divorce the judge would not be deciding what the best educational choice for the Mills children would be, the parents would be working it out between themselves. The Father wanted the kids in public school, due to various facts the judge decided that the Father's desire to have his children educated in the public schools should be granted.

If homeschoolers want to be taken seriously we need to carefully consider what we are rallying for. As Principled Discovery asked What if the NC judge’s ruling against homeschooling is the best possible?

And second is something of real concern to me. In abuse case after abuse case, our defense of homeschooling is that abuse is a social issue, not an educational one. That increased regulation will only put an unnecessary burden on homeschooling families while doing nothing to help children in abusive situations. That we live in our communities and that abuse can be spotted and reported by people other than teachers including friends, family, doctors and neighbors.

Then a case comes to court in which the father has concerns about his children’s homeschooling. It goes a little beyond simply believing children are better off in public school, although that is really all the reason a parent needs to opt to place a child in public school. He backs this concern up with testimony from other people in the community about what his wife’s church is like. And we are going to not only jump on the judge for a bias against homeschooling but for a bias against religion as well?

I’m not sure that it is wise to so reflexively defend homeschooling that we are willing to disregard the testimonies of people close to the situation who may be raising valid concerns not with homeschooling in general but with a particular situation. Maybe the decision is the best possible in the situation. Most of us don’t really know.

It seems to me that the checks and balances that homeschoolers have insisted are in place to protect children worked in this instance. To blindly insist that Venessa Mills must be allowed to homeschool in light of her husbands opposition and the concerns of her own family is WRONG and will harm legitimate homeschoolers and their right to homeschool.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is homeschool advocacy at its worst

Patrice Lewis in her post Playing God with homeschoolers totally ignores the facts.

She maintains the children in the Mills case are being forced into public school against the parent's wishes. When in actual fact the FATHER, asked that his children be placed in public school.

Ms. Lewis is also ignoring the fact that Mrs. Mills' own parents think she belongs to a cult and is being brainwashed. They testified on their son in laws behalf.

And somehow it gets lost in the MEAN JUDGE will not make my soon to be ex-husband give me enough money to continue to be a Stay at Home Mom and homeschool my kids whining that Venessa Mills was the one that instigated the divorce that led to all this upheaval in her children's lives.

Do homeschoolers have anything to worry about from the judges decision? NO, this ruling will not effect you, HSLDA even agrees, this is NOT A HOMESHOOLING ISSUE.

Certified Public School Teachers Having Sex With Students

In the past 14 months, three Coast teachers have been arrested and charged with having sexual relationships with minors.

Read more in The Sun Herald.

Mississippi Gulf Coast: Our environment is still at risk from salt dome project

Mississippi Gulf Coast: Our environment is still at risk from salt dome project