The Coalition for Responsible Home Education was founded by homeschool graduates to work toward a world in which all homeschooled children have access to a good education in a safe home environment. We founded CRHE because we had seen not only how well homeschooling could go, but also how badly it could go. We knew that some children fall through the cracks because we had seen it—and in some cases, we had lived it. CRHE advocates for homeschooled children by conducting research and policy analysis from a children’s rights perspective. On this page, we explain why we believe more oversight for homeschooling is needed.
A 2014 study of child abuse so severe it could be termed torture found that 47% of school-age victims were removed from school to be homeschooled, while another 29% were never enrolled in school. The study’s authors found that homeschooling frequently began after the closure of a child abuse or neglect case, and that this homeschooling was designed to isolate the child and conceal abuse. Homeschooling allows parents to take their children out of the view of teachers and other mandatory reporters. Even in cases that are not severe or fatal, homeschooling can magnify abuse by effectively trapping the child with their abuser, denying them access to a safe space or supportive voices outside the home. The consequences can be substantial.
Homeschooling & Child Abuse
– Read our overview of child abuse in homeschool settings
Homeschooling’s Invisible Children
– Browse our database of severe and fatal child abuse cases
Studies of Abuse & Neglect
– Read our research center’s analysis of existing studies
A 2018 study of homeschooling in Kentucky found that nearly two-thirds of children removed from public schools to be homeschooled were chronically truant; attendance officers reported that these children often lived in families without the resources or intent to homeschool. CRHE has spoken with public officials in other states who have identified this same problem. And educational neglect in homeschool settings goes beyond cases where parents facing truancy prosecution make charges disappear by falsely claiming to homeschool: a growing number of formerly homeschooled young adults report that they were homeschooled, but not educated.
Homeschooling & Educational Neglect
– Read our overview of educational neglect in homeschool settings
Control of Transcripts & Diplomas
– Learn how parental control of transcripts & diplomas can harm children
Truancy & False Homeschooling
– Learn how homeschooling can make truant children disappear
You may wonder how things like this can happen. Why are parents with a history of child abuse permitted to homeschool, when homeschooling removes children from the view of mandatory reporters? How can parents fail to educate their children without being caught? The answer is that current homeschooling law does little to nothing to ensure that children who are homeschooled have access to a good education, or a safe home environment. In 11 states, parents who homeschool do not even need to report that they are homeschooling. Only two states bar parents with histories of child abuse or sexual assault from homeschooling, and even these rely on an honor system and do not require background checks. Homeschooled children are on their own.
Inside Homeschool Policy
– Read our state-by-state analysis of current homeschool policy
How Oversight Would Have Helped
– Read formerly homeschooled individuals’ pleas for oversight
– See our recommendations for better protecting homeschooled children
Current homeschooling policy enshrines a parents’ rights absolutism that runs roughshod over the very idea that children have any rights at all. Many states’ homeschooling law is so lax that it effectively voids compulsory attendance—and with it the idea that children have a right to an education. Current homeschool law gives children few rights, if any, over any aspect of their lives—from whether they receive an education to who they associate with. While not every change should be made via legislation, we have crafted an aspirational vision of what a homeschooling that empowers children and respects their rights might look like.
A Homeschooled Children’s Bill of Rights
– Read our vision of what it means to center children’s rights
– Hear the stories of dozens of formerly homeschooled individuals