The Underground Classroom: How Oppressive Laws are Forcing Families into Hiding

It’s been less than six months since we bought (and converted) our bus and barely three months since we hit the road full-time.

Yet in those six months (this academic year – so far) one or all of my kids have…

  1. watched and participated in the conversion of a retired public school bus into a full-time home ~complete with four bedrooms, full kitchen, bathroom, custom plumbing and electrical systems
  2. gave input to and participated in budgeting with regards to household management, work functions and bills ~ measured pros/cons regarding balancing familial and job related obligations vs. choices
  3. used navigational skills, GPS and traditional maps
  4. learned how to live without by necessity and by choice including without water and/or electricity ~ and still be joyful
  5. acquired skills for managing interpersonal relationships more peaceably
  6. read, listened to, discussed (in part or in whole) many, many books
  7. discussed film adaptation, watched movies in the theater and otherwise
  8. researched/discussed governmental funding for state, local and national projects
  9. discussed/observed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in action, discussed the historical context – including but not limited to the similarities/parallels/differences to other periods of Federal infrastructure investment (including railroad building and the civil war)
  10. discussed government bailouts including their significance, immediate/long term ramifications vs. benefits
  11. problem solved everything from calculating daily living costs/savings to how long to fire clay in a campfire
  12. calculated taxes: various states, differing percentages, alternate items…I.E. sin taxes (alcohol, tobacco, soda), general sales taxes, food taxes…city vs. country vs. state vs. federal taxes
  13. researched food ingredients and their origins, discussed at length and often the ethics of food choices including but not limited to animal ingredients like rennet
  14. read, reviewed and discussed parts the New Hampshire & United States Constitution(including the sadness of slavery and the positive significance of the Bill of Rights) ~ discussed process of rewriting a modern day constitution
  15. discussed/read/listened to other historical documents including but not limited to the Declaration of Independence (discussed positives/negatives including the irony all men created equal — men being narrowly defined) and the Magna Carta and it’s relevance to early US documents
  16. been exposed to and discussed a variety of religious beliefs/traditions/texts and people including but not limited to the Bible (Old & New Testament), Christianity (Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses), Muslims, Wiccan, Buddhist, Hindu, Agnostics & Atheists
  17. played a ukulele, experimented with rhythm, collaborated, sang and recorded a song
  18. watched countless Youtube how-to videos
  19. visited museums, saw countless murals, created art
  20. filmed, edited and published video/s
  21. painted, drew, sculpted or otherwise created everything from hats or jewelry to origami sumo wrestling rings and stuffed animals
  22. negotiated job terms/pay from painting to babysitting
  23. volunteered
  24. created and uploaded original digital music to the Internet
  25. collaborated with multiple musicians from around the world on an album of digital music
  26. stood at the Alamo, touched the walls Davy Crockett stood behind and discussed the modern day development that surrounds it
  27. visited the Florida Everglades in all its wondrous nature ~ 26 alligators in one day, vegetation, birds birds birds, peace, wide open space…and freedom to explore and navigate risks (for real and in the wild)
  28. experienced real-life benefits from reusing materials and appliances that would have otherwise gone to landfills
  29. discussed the green movement, global warming, the impact of our family vs. the impact of the US Government and other nations…local vs. national vs. worldwide
  30. were fed a traditional Southern New Years Day Dinner
  31. discussed astronomy, Carl Sagan, the big bang theory (the actual theory & the fact that there is also a TV show -which we’ve never seen- that BNL sings the theme song for and that features Blossom actress Mayim Bialik – who seems to really ‘get’ stuff I wish more folks did), aliens, Nova, spacecraft (commercial and NASA), dark matter and the question/theory/idea of The *God* Particle, Stephen Hawking
  32. explored the Bayous in Louisiana in a boat guided by an amazing artist/explorer/human
  33. learned about the old logging industry in Louisiana & Texas and how to find and recover sunken logs
  34. toured an auto body shop, met the owner and saw projects in various stages
  35. experienced racism, firsthand ~ and were heartbroken by it
  36. brainstormed building a houseboat incorporating the bus to ride the Mississippi river
  37. participated in not one but two television interviews
  38. experienced great disappointment (in friendship) and learned from it but were not jaded by it
  39. budgeted (including finding and negotiating income) for legos, Nintendo DSI, monthly phone bill
  40. customized/fabricated Lego mini-figures using epoxy-type-molding-plastic made for PVC/plumbing repair
  41. brainstormed shipping the bus to Africa
  42. made someone smile
  43. photographed people, landscapes, insects, rocks — developed compositional skill and lighting techniques
  44. witnessed/discussed alzheimer’s symptoms and caregiver concerns and brainstormed solutions
  45. discussed – at great length – reality TV vs. documentary shows
  46. watched movies outside on a TV hung between two trees
  47. visited the Tabasco factory on Avery Island in Louisiana
  48. explored the French Quarter in New Orleans
  49. observed some of the destruction still left from Katrina, discussed the sadness, the poor response, the Superdome, FEMA, waste, misdirected funds and brainstormed other ways to respond to a future crisis…and the differences between local, regional and national response teams
  50. dealt with inappropriate online friendship/s (and requests) in a mature and safe manner
  51. drove a bus in the everglades, visited the frog capital of world and went to the top of Vulcan tower in Birmingham
  52. were kissed by Key Deer, learned that each dog breed has a purpose and puggles are mutts
  53. viewed graveyards in Louisiana where they don’t bury their dead – instead they are placed in cement/stone/brick vaults and discussed why
  54. saw (in person) a Georgia O’Keefe painting (one of the less popular — not bones, not a flower) discussed merits of her other work/s, how she came to fame, oil vs. acrylic vs. gouche vs. watercolor and discussed future trips to New Mexico
  55. journaled, wrote stories and even a blog entry
  56. toured a studio where Paul Simon recorded music
  57. picked coconuts off palm trees, discovered the difference between a water, gel and a ripe coconut and ate/drank each kind and realized fresh off the tree coconuts are the best coconuts ever
  58. hung out for two days at a Wyland art gallery in Key West ~ discussed art processes, technique, medium and art purchasing
  59. met and talk to a man who robbed a store as a child and asked him why he would do such a thing and if/why he regretted it
  60. saw a gigantic cruise ship in person, discussed/questioned the economic and environmental impact of dredging to accommodate such immense cruise ships
  61. were introduced to boiled peanuts
  62. ate “real” tropical fruit (mangoes, papayas & the like) not the farmed stuff imported into New England supermarkets and learned why they are so very different
  63. discussed the politics of organic farming, government subsidies and environmental concerns with a lifelong family-owned-corner-stand-fruit-seller (who also showed them how to eat boiled peanuts)
  64. dug up, cleaned, molded (beads, pendants, cups etc) and fired real clay…in a campfire
  65. washed clothes by hand ~ tested laundry soap vs. homemade cleaners
  66. walked under/drove over more amazing bridges than I can remember and discussed the structural differences of all of them
  67. corresponded with friends through text, talk, email and chat
  68. gave food/money to homeless
  69. visited Daytona International Speedway (we are hoping we can go back someday and drive the bus around the track 😉 – let us know if you have connections!)
  70. saved for, bought and read a book on how to draw animals and now draws animals beautifully
  71. mapped (designed) complex buildings and worlds in video games like Halo
  72. contemplated the ethics behind federal grants for artists because of an iPod Touch application/game called SIMS
  73. discussed feminism, racism, affirmative action, slavery, gay/lesbian relationships, plural marriage and discrimination
  74. debated the purpose of dreaming, the interpretation of dreams and lucid dreaming (like the movie Inception)
  75. climbed trees, swam in the ocean, played in the swamps
  76. saw armadillos “in the wild” — laughed that they are the ground hogs of the south
  77. slept in…walmart parking lots, fancy neighborhoods, in campgrounds, on front lawns, at Whole Foods, in national parks and witnessed the beautiful diversity of our country
  78. visited Columbia, South Carolina and searched for and heard the story of the stars
  79. fell in love with Key West and held baby alligators
  80. saw the beauty of the Smokey Mountains and the weirdness of Austin, Texas
  81. used polymer clay and a plastic Halloween skeleton to experiment with forensic reconstruction
  82. read aloud to me, Jeff or each other
  83. played basic and advanced math games
  84. assisted on, watched or discussed various carpentry/plumbing/electrical/computer/design/marketing jobs
  85. used math tools like calculators, computers, tape measures, string, squares
  86. actually been in 17 of our 50 states
  87. calculated volume, area, width, mass, weight, energy consumption, percentages, fractions, velocity and did so often without using paper/pen and/or any kind of “traditional” methodology
  88. studied survival techniques — if there is ever an environmental catastrophe, an economic collapse or other near-Armageddon — you’ll want to come hang out with my kids and family because we’ve actually discussed and practiced ways to survive (for both fun and adventure)
  89. saw a livestock truck carrying over 700 goats, lambs and sheep — talked to the animals and cried at the cruelty of it
  90. visited a quadriplegic cousin – discussed different types of spinal injuries, observed his equipment (and how it is use) including a bicycle that uses his own muscles (via electric stimulation) to pedal and a computer/tv system that works on voice command
  91. stayed overnight with a family that provides elder/disabled care
  92. marveled at how wonderfully different many other homeschool families live
  93. learned the capitals of a bunch of states not because they were memorized but because they actually visited them
  94. interest/research in and study of geology, including practical applications in the natural environment like experimentation and comparison of rocks, sand, cliffs faces and dirt in various parts of the southeastern United States
  95. learned about waterways and water bodies ~ including brackish, salt and freshwater, rivers, streams, bay, bayou, oceans etc
  96. made a real grass skirt for a teddy bear, learned how to properly groom a pomeranian and performed card tricks
  97. welcomed a bus guest into their already small living space ~ sharing their food and attention
  98. discussed technology including, quantum computing, communications, 3D Televisions, real-time journalism, satellites, iPhones, data servers, Internet privacy, the possibility of  the existence of an Internet “kill switch”
  99. began planning for driving the bus through Mexico

It’s pretty long list. Eh?

And it is but a fraction of what we’ve been doing over the last six months. Just a fraction of what my kids have learned and/or been exposed to. The beauty being it’s just some of the stuff we’ve remembered, captured, recorded and retained.

You might say it’s a list long enough for me to start…

pointing fingers…

  • Why aren’t your children learning as much?
  • Why aren’t the public school kids doing all these things?
  • How can you possibly learn about the “real world” if you are not experiencing it?

…and questioning others…

  • What exactly is being “taught” in public school anyway?
  • What is learned?
  • What is retained?

What are the best methods of measuring the success/efficiency/effectiveness of an education, a course of study, a methodology of learning?

I think my way is pretty effective. Maybe teachers should spend more time documenting and less time directing. Maybe teachers could learn from their students. Maybe the students are truly the teachers…

Maybe my family has found the answer?

I COULD keep arguing we have but I won’t because I’m thinking…there really isn’t just one answer.

And I’m guessing you know what’s best for your own family and for your own children and I want to support your right to question, experiment and ultimately choose what exactly that is…whether it’s traveling around the United States in a converted school bus, studying Bible verses at a Catholic school, participating in a homeschooling Co-op or doing multiplication drills at the kitchen table with siblings.

I have no desire to evaluate/quantify your methods and/or your results. They are yours. They are not mine. I choose not to tread on others.

I choose not to tread on YOU.
Is it too much to ask for the same in return?

Unschooling requires (for most people) a paradigm shift. Add to it traveling, living on a converted school bus, vegetarianism and taking in and extra kid and you’ll find something few people are able to grasp. And even less compelled to mirror it in the own lives. Our way of life is something that needs to be observed, thought about, experienced, practiced and most importantly lived before it can be even remotely understood or appreciated.


How am I supposed to justify this to bureaucrats?

And more importantly why should I HAVE to?

This is our sixth year of homeschooling. We are from New Hampshire and while we now live on the road full-time we consider New Hampshire to be our home state. The problem we (and others like us) face there is an adversarial climate toward homeschooling. The current homeschooling law RSA 193:A is unconstitutional.

The New Hampshire Constitution states, Rights of Conscience are unalienable [Article 4] as well as other Natural Rights [Article 2]. RSA 193:A violates both. And, I believe, those are not the only constitutional issues with the current law. They are merely the most glaring ones. Ironic, really, considering New Hampshire’s motto is Live Free or Die.

Over the last three year alone homeschoolers in New Hampshire have been made to schlep themselves and their children back and forth to the statehouse repeatedly in an effort to preserve the sliver of freedom left under the oppressive RSA 193:A. Parents have been met with yearly assaults to our fundamental freedoms despite having no clear reason for proposed legislation.

In January of 2010, HB368 (another bill proposing increased regulation of homeschoolers) was voted down 324-34 by the full New Hampshire House. Certain members of the House Education committee were less than thrilled about the vote. A mere two and a half weeks later Representative Emma Rous (the minority leader of the House Education Committed) sent a letter to the New Hampshire State Board of Education on HEC letterhead requesting near identical changes to the NH BoE “rules” regarding homeschooling that had failed to pass through legislation. Thankfully, last November the face of the New Hampshire legislature changed.

And this year three homeschooling bills were introduced in an effort to increase freedom. Unfortunately efforts to merge the competing bills failed and further efforts were derailed with the cancellation of two HEC sub-committee meetings for HB595 and HB301 the bills, likely tabling all the bills until the fall forcing New Hampshire homeschoolers to spend yet another season fighting for their freedoms at the state capital when they could be at home educating their children.

This is a growing problem around the country, forcing more and more families underground. Here is video footage of television news show coverage of one set of New York homeschooling parents’ arrest for failing to REGISTER with the school district.


Both the superintendent and the police officer interviewed admit this wasn’t about a failure to educate (although the reporter RIGHTEOUSLY continues to present the story as if it was) but that it was a failure to file PAPERWORK. It begs the question…

People think this is a FREE COUNTRY? Really?

These people were arrested. The family (the parents, the children and likely the extended family) was forced to endure mistreatment and unjustified stress, even trauma for choosing to raise their children…outside the public school system. Yes, they did not register…nor in my opinion should they have.

New York’s homeschooling laws are even more strict than New Hampshire’s (admittedly not by much) and completely unconstitutional.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Definitions for religion

6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience

FROM: Merriam-Webster

4. : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

FROM: the Free Dictionary

4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

I could argue (I think quite effectively) that the US Department of Education’s very existence is in violation of:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

But I won’t, at least not in this entry.

I will, instead, focus on encroachments to homeschooling freedom. Encroachments like those requiring parents to register/notify, produce curriculum, demonstrate input methodology and/or output results. These are violations – violations of both our natural rights and our rights of conscience.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this has nothing to do with religion or free speech. So, it really has nothing to do with the 1st Amendment and rights of conscience. Schooling is about producing a competent adult citizenry. It’s about raising kids to grow up, get jobs and not become a burden on society. It’s about teaching children to read, write and do math. It’s about academics. It’s about arming kids with the tools adults think they will need to navigate the real world when they reach adulthood. Right?

And why does any of this matter? Why exactly is it we want kids to grow up to be good citizens ~ to be good people? What exactly defines a good person? WHO exactly defines who is a good person or a good citizen for that matter.

How do you define a good person?

And where do you derive your reasoning…

I’m thinking you do so through a set of values, a code of ethics, principles of conscience, a belief system…your religion? Maybe the values, the code of ethics or the principles of conscience come from the Bible or maybe the Koran. Alternately maybe the code of ethics that directs you is something inside you, some thing so deep and personal it’s difficult to define but you believe it with your entire being. Again, maybe your belief system is devoid of any deity of any kind and instead falls more in line with Eastern philosophical traditions like Daoism?

Whatever the root of your set of values, your code of ethics, your principles of conscience, your belief system…are all matters of conscience (your conscience) and therefore protected by the First Amendment — make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof — neither the state nor the federal government can compel you to violate your rights of conscience…UNLESS YOU ALLOW THEM.

Schooling may be on the surface about grades, achievement, tools, subjects, [supposed] real-world preparation while at the core it’s about raising good people, good citizens, good neighbors all things probably best left in the hands of the parents. We should all be supporting – instead of questioning/challenging those who care enough to see home education imperative to the conscientious upbringing of their children.

What’s happening in states with oppressive (and unconstitutional) laws like New York and New Hampshire is some families are refusing to register/notify or otherwise comply with state law altogether. As a result they are either forced into hiding or risk arrest, investigations, fines, their children taken by the state or forced into public schools. Other families choose to acquiesce to state demands but find it necessary to invalidate testing, list false curriculum or misrepresent to the state results and/or methods of their homeschooling program not because their children aren’t learning or their programs inadequate but because the states’ views of alternative learning and methodology is grossly limited while the powers of intimidation dangerously limitless.

Nobody wants to risk losing their children to the state…for anything.

It’s a terrifying thought and the threat is real. VERY REAL.

Especially in states where CPS (Child Protective Services) has jurisdiction in cases of “educational neglect” — I’ll touch on the concept of that a bit later in the entry. In New York legislators (and lobbyists) are pushing a bill (S1669-2011). And what is the supposed purpose of said bill? It’s to protect the children.

You know it’s for the children. You might think with all the laws we have for the children we ought to have a country where children are completely free of danger and emotional harm.

Yet we don’t do we? Every day children die from illness sometimes natural sometimes not. Every day children, even infants die in car accidents sometimes under the watchful eyes of the law and buckled safely in a government approved car seat.  Every day children are abused sexuallyphysically and emotionally. Our government (whether it be local, state or federal) is powerless to stop it. And well intended laws often promote and environment ripe for corruption.

Think about it…just for a minute…people who wish to do harm to and/or have power over others will integrate themselves into a system that allows them to do so.

What the New York bill proposes to do is force an immediate response from families involved in CPS cases. Forcing parents to allow CPS into their home within 24 hours of being contacted. We are NOT talking about when a child is in imminent danger here we are talking about an immediate response to any (even anonymous) complaint.

It could even go something like this…

Let’s say Joe Shmo and wife Anna live in Westchester, NY. and they homeschool their three sons. The neighbors Sue and Jim are retired school teachers and do not like the idea of homeschooling. Sue enjoys gardening and is often frustrated by the loud, rough play of her neighbors children which she is forced to endure day in and day out because the boys don’t attend school during the day like most children. One day Joe and Anna’s boys run carelessly through Sue’s garden. It’s the last straw. That night Jim picks up the phone and calls CPS and gives an anonymous tip.

“There is a family on our street who homeschool their three boys. I’m a retired schoolteacher and well – these boys seem to be doing an awful lot of playing. They are outside all day every day or playing video games inside. I have never seen any one of them reading.”

That is all it takes. They don’t even have to tell CPS who they are! A complaint is made, an investigation is opened and the homeschooling family is contacted and under the proposed bill S1669-2011 the family is forced to open their HOME and allow CPS workers in – within 24 hours or they face jail…or worse.

Allowing CPS jurisdiction over homeschooling families is frightening enough giving them power to invade someone’s home on the whim of a grumpy neighbor or extended family member with an ax to grind is well…I have no words… Remember this has NOTHING to do with kids being in any kind of physical danger (immanent or otherwise) it’s about someone maybe thinking a child isn’t learning the state capitals or the food pyramid on a timely schedule.

This is a violation of civil rights.

You see when state law extends to a level of inequitable treatment of home schools vs. public (& private) schools the violation is a civil one. This was the case in both the instance of the arrested parents as well as in my hypothetical snobby neighbor scenario. Have you ever heard of a public school teacher being arrested for failing to turn in a curriculum vitae? Or a teacher forced to provide access to their desk, all their personal effects, classroom and locker as a result of some anonymous tip that they are not teaching the alphabet song properly.

Also, in both cases (as well as in most circumstances) parents are not afforded due process yet another constitutional violation. [US Amendment 5]

While I’ve highlighted two of the stricter states (New Hampshire & New York) other states, including so-called green states (states with no regulation and/or requirements) are facing similar struggles. Earlier in the month hundreds of homeschoolers in Illinois were out to protest proposed anti-freedom legislation. And a few years ago a California a judge effectively outlawed homeschooling for many families (by requiring home educating parents to hold a teaching degree)as a result of an educational neglect [CPS/family law case]. The ruling was quickly reversed with the help of the Governor and the California Court of Appeals but only after an outpouring of disgust at the national level.

Along with these very specific to homeschooling attacks across the US there have also been numerous legislative efforts that more indirectly affect homeschooling. Focusing on stripping power/liberty/privacy from the parents and putting it in the hands of the government.

A few of these efforts include….

  • Extending compulsory attendance requirements from pre-school (mandating children be taught their colors by a certain age…seriously?) to 18 (not allowing kids to drop out and/or homeschoolers to take college classes before the age of 18 or even take a GED test)
  • Tracking students from cradle (PKU tests & DNA databases) right into the workplaceand beyond
  • Requiring post-secondary school admissions and the financial aid officers to verify the “credibility” of a secondary school making it more difficult for homeschooling students to get into college and/or receive financial aid


Kind of leaves you wondering why…doesn’t it? I mean if most things indicate homeschooled students are thriving why all the attacks? I’m thinking…lots of reasons… and they are all over the place … here are a few guesses…

  • MONEY ~ schools get federal DoE dollars based (in part) on attendance and enrollment
  • EGO ~ I need only think of my own situation for this one…How could two one-time high school dropouts (like Jeff & I) possibly education our children? A teacher, school administrator or superintendent with 6-10 years post-secondary schooling surely knows better!!! Right? I would imagine (for those teachers/admins/supers) seeing families like ours with an undying thirst for adventure, knowledge, wisdom, information, conversation and experience, living and learning together happily and devoid of power struggles regarding learning must feel like an assault to their usefulness.
  • LIVELIHOOD ~ homeschooling is a threat to the livelihood of educators, the more homeschoolers the less need for teachers
  • LOBBYISTS ~ more money teachers’ unions, text book manufacturers, teaching products and programs developers
  • GOVERNMENT ~ public schools promote/proselytize to children the value of their own (the schools – not the kids) existence as well as indoctrinate state worship and unquestioning patriotism.

Then there is HUBRIS.

It goes back to the beginning of this entry, you know, when I was talking about “education neglect” and what it takes to “produce” a competent adult citizenry. And bureaucrats thinking they know what exactly it takes to do that. Teachers convinced that children need to be taught a very specific set of tools if they are to ever be able to function in the “real world” and be successful.

I’m of the mindset it’s hubris to think we know what specific set of subjects and/or information any child today is going to need next year…much less when they reach adulthood. I believe what remains most important is to model kindness, compassion, truth, a thirst for information and connection with others, generosity, self-reliance and joy. All things that will take children farther in life and bring more success and fulfillment than any mandated reading program, art appreciation class or standardized test.

Many of these do-gooders (like New Hampshire’s own Emma Rous) were children back when black and white televisions and operator assisted calling was the norm. As a child do you think Emma Rous had any clue she would be able carry a little touch screen device in her pocket that would play games, calculate tips, track her every move, play movies, allow her to video chat with her grandchildren, store her entire music collection, get the energy to run it from the sun or have all of the information on the internet available instantaneously.

I’m guessing she didn’t. I’m only 37 years old and the most I held out for was a pocket TV that would play my favorite shows. And I was a pretty creative kid.

Today billionaires are made through businesses and technology which was not even invented just five years ago. Think about what that means.

How can anyone profess to have the answers of what kids are going to need to know in two years, five years, ten years or twenty. Isn’t it HUBRIS to think we could? Don’t get me wrong, like I said in the beginning of this piece. I support your right to question, experiment and ultimately choose what is right for your family. And I’m not backing away from that at all. What I’m saying is try not to get those things confused with believing you know what the future holds. Because short of a crystal ball not a single one of us can really know. And maybe that is the best and most important piece of knowledge we can impart to our children.

The reality of impermanence with both the necessity to be unshaken by it and the ability to be empowered through it.

It’s something I think legislators, school administrators and even teachers would benefit from understanding as well. Since they are year after year trying to plan for – and force others to follow – a future they don’t know anything concrete about.

Maybe there in lies the real “educational neglect” – not with homeschooling parents but with a misguided system.

From a technology perspective we have things like quantum computing and sixth sense (if you’ve not watch this you should). We have the technology to implant devices in people’s brains that can control their limbs. We can make body parts. Actually create body parts. We can track people as they travel around the world and pin point locations to inches using GPS.

From a foreign relations perspective we have the growing problems in the middle east, rising gas prices, environmental concerns and war. We’ve had not one but two world wars within the last 100 years. We are into our 10th year of war with Afghanistan. And that’s only one of the over 120 countries around the world the United States Military has a presence in. Did you catch that…over 120 countries we have a military presence in?

Where is that going to take us? I don’t profess to know.

What I do know is what I wish for my kids. And I do know they, more than anyone, know what’s best for them and my job is to support/guide them to their goals/dreams in a way that does not infringe on others.

I also know places we plan to go and people we hope to meet over the next year. I’m not sure when/if it will all come together but we are sure going to walk with intention in that direction. Along maybe we’ll get to finish off “academic year” list with this stuff…

  • drive to Tulum, Mexico
  • meet Sandra Dodd
  • climb a very big mountain, somewhere
  • snorkel in the Florida Keys
  • participate in an NPR interview
  • attend at least two unschooling conferences
  • go to California
  • talk to Ron Paul
  • drive bus around Daytona International Speedway (remember we still need an in on this one)
  • meet NeedToBreathe
  • visit the Badlands
  • Bonnaroo
  • Porcfest
  • go to the top of the Space Needle
  • visit the Mall of America

My hope for the coming years? A wish for people to remember what freedoms our country was founded on. For people to stop voting in legislators who oppress us when they write and vote for unconstitutional laws. The only way these freedoms, these personal and important matters of conscience, can be taken from us is if we allow them to be taken. Which all too often we already have. My hope is to heed this sad trend before we end uplike Germany (where homeschooling is illegal).

I am inspired by the words peaceful activists like Mahatma Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau and Rosa Parks…

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would also be free.

~Rosa Parks

While I need not (or even want) to necessarily be remembered, I do wish to be known today as someone who wishes to be free in hopes that others will also be freed. For this reason I wish to no longer hide and instead choose to openly refuse to comply with the unconstitutional state demands of New Hampshire’s current homeschooling law RSA 193:A.

I truly hope others will do the same around the country.

In Peace and Liberty,

Kelly Halldorson


This was originally posted to the blog. The following were comments made on the original post.

50 Responses to The Underground Classroom: How Oppressive Laws are Forcing Families into Hiding — THE ORIGINAL POST

  1. amber says:

    Just love this. Our kids are young and look even younger so we don’t get asked that often about why they aren’t in school. I will say the people most excited about our travels and us choosing this lifestyle and schooling or “un”schooling are teachers. Many are fed up with the lack of support from the system and see how it’s failing so many kids.

  2. Jill says:

    I have been anxiously awaiting this piece since you posted about it on facebook. You have made some wonderful points through this post. I wish you and your family the best. 🙂

  3. Christine says:

    Keep it up, you guys are participating in an amazing journey. Nothing the public schools can offer or force will be as close to life learning as real life like this. Kudo’s to you. I’m seriously impressed and sometimes wish we could do the same. Unfortunately we are debt slaves right now. GRrrr

    I wanted to let you know that if you ever make your way up to Washington State, maybe to visit the Olympic National Park, or visit the little town of Forks for the Twilight series reasons (you may or may not be into those books, but if you are…here we are LOL) I would like to invite you to park your bus at my house if you need to. We live in a little burg, with a nice creek, gravity fed water for the house from a spring. We raise goats for milk and meat, (currently have 8 new kids, 2 of which are living in my kitchen) have a pretty large rabbitry, chickens and reasonable sized garden. We have composting worms for the rabbit poo and goat poo. We also home school. Or rather, unschool. LOL

    We can’t really help you along your journey with monetary means, I really wish we could. But if you do ever come up this way you will be well fed and be able to take a bunch with you if needed. And learn some small scale farming/ranching too if you don’t already know.

    Thanks again for sharing your incredible journey. I love it!! I admire your courage!

  4. mws says:

    I cannot read all of this at once. Seriously, this stuff upsets me SO much. And I feel really torn b/c I WANT public education to be a good thing. I will comment more thoughtfully later on.

    But I wanted to say quickly:

    Emma Rous really is awesome. 🙂

    Also, you say “They are merely the most glaring ones. Ironic, really, considering New Hampshire’s motto is Live Free or Die.” There are so many issues where this motto is a PROFOUND joke like the new ideas re: abortion (I don’t think we see eye to eye on this) and gay marriage.

    Thank you for writing such great posts. And thank you for keeping everyone thinking and in conversation with one anther.

  5. Cool. Look forward to you coming back…as far as Emma Rous goes I’m thinking you’re being sarcastic? If not…I’m sure she is a wonderful lady…she is a horribly unethical lawmaker.

  6. mws says:

    i read incorrectly. i had mrs. rous @ or. i thought she was super liberal and, well, cool. i read and reread. so, it seems like she WANTS to control hs families. really?

  7. Kasia says:

    I met you (very briefly) at the Northeastern Un. Conference last year.

    It may be a common knowledge but how can you afford doing this unless both of you work on-line or have saved ton of money to take off from work. Did you sell the house? or have you always lived within your means and that’s why you can afford this.

    I love the adventure your are living! – it’s been a long-time dream of mine..

    I have also been following NH legislative developments. I guess it’s gonna come down to “…or DIE” or just keep on fighting for that lost freedom, ha?

    Best to your whole wonderful family.

    Methuen MA

  8. James Babb says:

    I love it! What fortunate kids! I hope to see you at PorcFest. Drop by Philadelphia.

  9. Kelly,

    This is a great article in so many ways! I hope our elected officials here in NH read it and stop to comprehend everything you have said. The system does not protect kids, in fact in my case, it allowed the abuse that was going on at home to be masked even further. They need to keep focused on doing what they are elected to do and be reminded that they are “public servants”. They DO NOT know what’s best for me and my family. My husband and I do!

    We have lived in several states up and down the east coast and I have to say that each and every homeschooler, unschooler, relaxed homeschooer, radical unschooler, and classical homeschooler I have met has shown nothing but an active involvement in how their children learn and what they learn. What they all have in common is that they put their children’s welfare first.

    I am also very happy to see a fellow homeschooler that believes in the freedom of choice as much as I do. I believe it is up to the parents to do what is best for their children. While we chose to homeschool, I have many friends that send their children to school and each of these parents is actively involved with their child’s education. I never once judge them for making the choice to put their kids into the system. We need to learn to respect each others’ decisions. As soon as we do, we can learn so much from each other.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this!

  10. sadly yes. jeff was good friends with her daughter when they were young. i’m sure she is cool to be friends with and/or a student of…maybe…i don’t know.

    she wants control over homeschoolers so much she is willing to make completely unethical maneuvers to try and make it happen. like ignoring the will of the people and going directly to the BoE when her law didn’t pass. i’ve also witnessed her stand on the house floor and testify (pleading almost) for a bill to pass (SB337) and promise there will be no more attacks if just this one passes…it passes and the next year she is back with more.

    she wants parents to have a teaching degree to home educate
    she wants the STATE to evaluate kids

    i’ve emailed her numerous times she has NEVER replied to me…never.

    she believes she, personally, knows best for all children


  11. Mike Hedge says:

    your adventure list is awesome! excited for your upcoming adventures !

  12. cc says:

    You are very lucky to have the time to educate your children one on one. Most people in NH do not have that luxury. It would be great if public schools could afford the same teacher to student ratio that you provide.

    That said, I know several home schoolers in my area, who also do great things with their kids. However, they don’t feel NH laws with regards to homeschooling are oppressive. They don’t feel restricted. I was told your proposals represent Libertarian views and not those of the most home schoolers.

  13. mws says:

    Kelly say:

    “You see when state law extends to a level of inequitable treatment of home schools vs. public (& private) schools the violation is a civil one. This was the case in both the instance of the arrested parents as well as in my hypothetical snobby neighbor scenario. Have you ever heard of a public school teacher being arrested for failing to turn in a curriculum vitae? Or a teacher forced to provide access to their desk, all their personal effects, classroom and locker as a result of some anonymous tip that they are not teaching the alphabet song properly.”


    Actually, I disagree with this. Teachers who go against the grain of ostensible accountability, such as: failing to provide lessons o plans for lessons that display excellent understanding and application of GLEs are often not offered tenure and their contracts are not renewed.

    The system, as you remark above, is misguided. You are, in my opinion, absolutely correct. I will say though that while your example about the retired dbag is right on in some cases, there are other cases where this is definitely NOT the case. there are many of working and retired teachers who are ENTIRELY excited and happy about what homeschoolers and unschoolers are doing in the families. There truly are teachers out there (my son had one last year) who SPEND hours preparing original lessons. They spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms. I hope that homeschoolers and those critical of the public school system (with its many, many faults and issues) realize that this is the part of the eff-ed up system that creates a chink in the evil, ridiculous soul of the foundation of our country.

    I know the points you are trying to make, but there is good in the system too, there really is. ANd those who are working for “good” in a misguided system, though they are in agreement with you, do not ALSO have the energy or ability to change it at the same time. FOr example, they cannot do what is not on the curriculum, or they will get fired. THEN, a heartless, obsessed with power teacher will take her place. I know I am off topic, but I felt compelled to say this anyway.

    Meanwhile, teachers who teach lessons with no heart but show great understanding and application of materials that follow standards/GLEs are rewarded in various way by administration.

  14. “I was told your proposals represent Libertarian views and not those of the most home schoolers.”

    I strongly disagree.

    The HSLDA is far from Libertarian and they opposed even NOTIFICATION in the case of Illinois…


  15. msw

    I think there are certainly good people in the system. I think the both the compulsory component and the taxing to pay for it create a flawed (at the foundation) system. Why can’t we invest in private schools as individuals? I’m not against free education I’m taking from one person to pay for another — against their will.

    Basically, I’m a pacifist. I don’t agree -at an ethical level- with force.

    I agree there are LOTS of good, sweet wonderful retired teachers. I just used teachers as an example because they would have more “cred” with the authorities that be.

  16. mws says:

    “people who wish to do harm to and/or have power over others will integrate themselves into a system that allows them to do so.”

    i know i must sound like i am making a million contradictions here, but YEP!!!! i believe that their are teachers who teach for power and then there are teachers who teach cu they are trying to be the change they want in the world. the latter sometimes moves to the former group… kind of like the sober wife gets crazier than her junky husband due to the nutty household..

    it’s so funny, the dynamic in public schools with the two types of teachers in the building, I think. And because the good teachers are using all of their energy to teach, while the other types are using their energy to feed their own ego, the good ones get tired, while the bad ones end up “winning.” the bad ones ARE NOT getting drained by the kids, as they are tuning the kids out.

  17. we all have our contradictions…


    I think it’s much more blurred than that. I don’t think it’s too kinds. I think there are good people who sometimes feed their ego and their are egocentrics who sometimes make a difference. I do see your point though.


  18. Scott Roth says:

    It is so heartwarming to see what you are doing with your family. It is sad to feel that we have to go to such lengths to keep control of our families, but that is what we must do in these times. I know that your children will get a much better education this way then through state controlled schooling. I commend you for your diligence and strength in keeping the family together. Lots of love to you all. May God truly bless your journies together.

  19. Kurt says:

    This was the most wonderful thing I’ve read in weeks.
    God Bless You All!
    See you at PorcFest!

  20. H says:

    The long awaited article!

  21. and that’s all you got to say about it? 😉

  22. Kristen Elliott says:

    Hi there!

    I was introduced to your blog by Kandace. This is an absolutely fantastic article. I am a midwife and have quite a few clients that homeschool their children (homeunschool?). I hope you don’t mind me sharing!

  23. Hey there Kristen…Kandace is awesome we love the Wrights! 🙂 Thank-you so much. Of course you totally can share it!


  24. This is a great post. We live in New York, and I constantly cringe about the amount of reporting that we have to do, and the very real risk of being arrested or charged. I am upset about this new bill, also. I applaud you for managing to unschool in a difficult state. I am much too worried about getting the work done so that I can report correctly, and I know it detracts from my childrens’ educations. Keep up the good work!

  25. Steph says:

    “You are very lucky to have the time to educate your children one on one. Most people in NH do not have that luxury. ”

    While I consider myself blessed to be with my children everyday and watch them grow, it is not by luck that I come to this lifestyle. It was planned out as a part of our lives because it was one of our highest priorities. Luxury doesn’t enter into it either. The majority of homeschoolers that I know have given up the “luxury” of a second income, so one parent could stay at home. I know very few wealthy homeschoolers. I know that there are some for whom giving up an income is impossible and I really feel for those people, but the numbers aren’t nearly as high as you would like to make them. The truth is, most people who want to homeschool in NH are homeschooling and those who aren’t most likely don’t want to.

    “However, they don’t feel NH laws with regards to homeschooling are oppressive. They don’t feel restricted”

    There will always be people willing to do what they are told without questioning the command. But just because these people exist doesn’t mean that the rest of us must stagnate. NH homeschooling law would be twice as oppressive today if the “libertarians” (your word not mine) hadn’t worked tirelessly, year after year, against bad legislation. Is a law with which it is easy to comply acceptable, even if it is inequitable and unconstitutional? My children understand that it isn’t acceptable, I am not sure why some adults don’t get it.

  26. Having just met the Unschool Bus crew and gotten the opportunity to see firsthand their intrinsic motivation and curiosity, it was wonderful to read the list of everything you all have explored this year. As a teacher and former director of learning centers, all the information you shared about homeschooling laws has given me a lot to think about. I truly understand why you wouldn’t register or comply with these laws. I wish you safe travels and unfettered unschooling.

  27. Lina says:

    One mistake in this story: A homeschooling program does not have to be “approved” by a superintendent. A superintendent is responsible only for verifying that the educational plan in is compliance with homeschooling regulations (100.00 Regulation of the Commissioner).

  28. JenQ says:

    Love the post Kel. I agree wholeheartedly of course… When my mom (a retired teacher) wrote a pro-unschooling article and published it in many newspapers in NH….I could help but find it SOOOO amusing that the head of Ed in NH (can’t remember her name) wrote a rebuttal talking up all the numerous opportunities that homeschooled children were unfortunately missing out on by not being in school…. Citing a field trip to a production at the Capitol Center followed by a “creative response” assignment afterwards. I’m sorry but it really IS ignorant to suggest that somehow an institution offering a limited set of opportunities chosen by a limited set of people can fulfill ALL the needs/ desires/ interests of children or “people” as I like to affectionately call them…….as diverse as they (we) are…

    In her defense, perhaps it’s just a deficiency in the education of Educators about just WHAT it is that HS kids are exposed to on a daily basis (of course I can’t speak for everyone). That they likely don’t just stay HOME and talk to each other all day. That maybe, just maybe they have MORE opportunities and perhaps more individualized opportunities than schooled kids. I will cite the above blog post as proof… And it’s not that we don’t TELL them year after year at the state house when we come out in DROVES for our state government lessons to YET AGAIN tell lawmakers and educators what we DO on a daily basis. They aren’t really listening. Isn’t that something they teach in school???

    The other REALLY arrogant assumption that indoctrinees of institutionalized education seem to uphold is that the ONLY or the BEST preparation for “real life” is to put kids into a situation MOST unlike real life for 12-15 years FIRST……and that this will somehow be not only adequate preparation for “Real Life” but SUPERIOR preparation…… than just living and functioning in…….drumroll for radical idea unfolding……….REAL LIFE!!!!! I understand that they are learning valuable life skills such as showing up on time, standing in lines, raising their hands, submitting to authority and memorizing facts (in the short term, I would argue). While these skills may ALL have their merits (notice I say may), I would contend that almost EVERY one of us is capable of learning these skills in FAR less than the requisite 15 years. I did write in a rebuttal to her rebuttal stating these observations. She had nothing to say back.

    Do I sound sarcastic…..sure. But these are things that people say to me (and others I know) FREQUENTLY. I’m tired of the assumption that I should defend myself. Many of us are. We would rather just be spending our time offering our children and ourselves unbounded opportunities for growth and inspiration. I would happily sit here and go about my business and let other’s go about theirs except that on an almost daily basis MY rights and freedoms are being encroached upon by others who feel it is both their right and their duty to rather rudely (at times) challenge or require explanation or justification for MY choices usually armed with little real information, preparation or comprehension. Hubris, I agree is a dangerously complacent destination.

    I guess, since I am on a rant dispelling myths and maybe preaching to the choir… (haha) I agree with Steph above about the myth of the “luxury of homeschooling.” Homeschooling is a choice that comes with MANY sacrifices and many benefits. It is an informed decision that most of us have made. Most of the HS families I know are scraping to make ends meet so that they can carry out what they believe to be the best choice for their families. Many choose to get by with ONE family car, or a smaller house, or less eating out and shopping at Sal’s for clothing in order to live off one income. While many of these families are indeed using their skills of frugality, some are also using their creative problem solving life skills to devise and design employment opportunities around their family life. Refusing to be boxed in by an “acceptable” set of job opportunities. Many times even involving their kids IN the family business… I believe that if you feel strongly about something and are willing to think outside the box….You can make just about anything happen.

    Stepping down off soapbox….. but leaving whoever cares with this thought:

    “All new ideas go through three phases. Firstly they are ridiculed. Next
    they are violently opposed. Lastly they are accepted as obvious” ALBERT

    On the brighter side….I see the violent opposition and ridicule as a good indicator that I am on the right track……Obviously.

  29. @Lina – Do you mean in the embedded news story? Or in this blog entry?

  30. @Jen,

    Love you…and your post 🙂


  31. Raquel says:

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring blog. I’m reading it from over here in the UK, where we have similar problems with authoritarian types trying to limit our freedoms. Wishing you the best of luck. Your bus is amazing! 🙂

  32. Dave H says:

    As with Raquel, I’m from the UK where we’ve been dealing with this sort of thing for a while now. Too many bureaucrats think they know what’s best for my family, despite the fact that standards in state schools continue to be poor, with many children being unable to read, write or do basic maths. Provided they can regurgitate the answers to exam questions, the rest doesn’t matter, because schools can claim good pass rates and governments can boast how their policies are improving education.

    We are teaching the important skill of how to learn. With that, a child is equipped for the future, whatever it may be. We are not under the control of bureaucrats and they don’t like that.

  33. Adele says:

    Your children are incredibly lucky!

    Imagine (purely hypothetically) a scenario where reincarnation existed and souls got to choose their next life – the LINE of people queuing up to come back as your children would be hundreds thousands of miles long! I cannot imagine a better life than theirs.

    I’m sorry about the obstructive bureaucratic nonsense families like yours are having to face. I’m sure your reasoning as to the motivations behind it is accurate. Don’t forget envy. You know the outraged, horrfied, “You can’t just x, y, z…!” expressions that are so easily answered with “Yes, we can, and we DID”? These are usually a sign that people resent their own slavery to routines and norms which THEY can’t even get far enough away from to IMAGINE breaking, and (unable to face the fact that this is something personal to them) they universalise it into the general “YOU can’t…” because they can’t shoulder “*I* can’t…” I think this is where the whole notion of deviancy springs from – so much better for the self-esteem to cast those who can as deviant than to accept that they might have more inner resources and imagination and thus more *options* than the crowd.

    I envy you your life and the way you’re bringing up your kids. It’s what I aspire to (and my girls are home edcuated) but lifelong severe depression pretty much rules it out for me. I’m paralysed by depression, trapped inside my own head, and have to watch life slip by me, unable to do anything to take hold of it and really LIVE it. If I could do anything, be anyone, my lifestyle would be very similar to yours. You’re amazing and your children are so so lucky. I hope you all keep your senses of wonder and capacities for joy your whole lives long, whatever life throws at you – if you can do that, you’re blessed indeed.


  34. Lori says:

    “The HSLDA is far from Libertarian” Bwahahahahahaha… so true. 😉

  35. Sunflower Sister says:

    I homeschooled my 2 daughters in the early 1980′s, before homeschooling became fashionable. When my then-husband would leave for months at a time, then come home for a few weeks, then leave again. The last 5 years of our marriage, he was home less than 1 year in total. When he came back demanded I take the girls and follow him to a place I didn’t want to live, I refused. He said, “I’ll teach you a lesson,” and filed for divorce and custody. And he got it. WHY?

    He had not been around the girls for nearly 5 years and had not contributed anything to their financial support during most of that time. The judge acknowledged that I had been the primary caretaker and support of the children, but BECAUSE THEY WERE BEING HOME SCHOOLED, it was in their best interest to be sent off with this man, away from the only caretaker and mother they had ever known.

    He turned out to be as abusive to them as he had been to me, so at a visitation, we went to Mexico. We were gone for 7 years. During that time, they completed grade school and were well into high school level in spite of having none of the things people now think are “essential” to a good education. We studied geography by making a globe out of a balloon and covering it with papier mache’ topography. Of course, they were bi-lingual within weeks, and both graduated from COLLEGE by the time they were 18.

    Kudos to this family for sticking by their convictions. You won’t be sorry. My daughters are now nearly 30 and 32–and they still talk about the great time they had homeschooling when they were growing up in Mexico.

  36. Sunflower Sister says:

    OH, PS: When we finally got caught, and the girls were put in school for 1 year before they were able to come back with me. They won numerous prizes and awards, and scored 95% or better on ALL achievement tests. Furthermore, my older daughter was the only student to pass an English exam on the first try. And get this: They were going to a private school. What was the response of the school? To either belittle them for being “weird” or ignore their achievements.

  37. Ellen says:

    You really do need to blog more frequently if you want to keep (and grow) your readers. I enjoy your blog, but it is frustrating when you go weeks without posting. It makes me want to delete it from my list of favourites. Maybe a more established blog can get away with that, when people feel more connected to the author, but not a new blog. Just my opinion….

  38. sorry to have frustrated you.


    oddly enough I just posted a new entry…

  39. Ellen,

    My first reaction was “sorry to have frustrated you” and while I am I felt a need to add a little more. I appreciated your visiting and reading. It thrills me that anyone finds my corner of the world interesting to read. I really do.

    But with all that said. I write this blog mainly for me, my family and people who are interested. If there is a point when you are no longer interested…you are welcome to not read. It has been a busy past two months with the added guest on our bus and I have been working on my book, Unschooling Liberty.

    As far a me being a “new blogger” that’s not really accurate. And by not responding initially I was selling myself short. I have blogged for years. Two years for a newspaper. This blog started out as a resurrection of that blog. I also don’t think I am “getting away with” anything by not writing entries. This blog is free for people to read, or not. I do not require you to pay a subscription fee. I provide it free, FREE. Often it costs me money if my sponsorship dollars do not cover my hosting fees or wireless access fees.

    You are welcome to delete from your list of favorites you have no obligation to me. I will be sad to see you go but I do this because I enjoy it and because I feel I provide a resource to others…on liberty…on homeschooling….on parenting…on marriage…on travel….if it becomes too much of a chore I’ll know it’s time to stop.


  40. Rebecca says:

    I just watched the youtube video that you posted and they had EVERY right to arrest you and your husband. You CLEARLY neglected your children’s education, I don’t care how smart you both are or what you think you know, by law you need to either enroll your children or purchase a curriculum to teach from. You are both lying and exaggerating the fact that “the law is forcing homeshoolers to go underground”, I was homeschooled my all the way up to the 11th grade (where I then graduated), but I had a curriculum to study from, you’re the crazy homeschooler type that everyone picks on, who give us a bad name. You are obviously clinically insane.

    Do I agree that public school is messed up and destroying our generations to come? Yes! But this is why LEGAL homeschooling is the best option.

  41. laura b says:

    you must have miss the list of 99 things the kids did/learned in the last few months. it’s up there though. promise 🙂

  42. Hilary says:

    It was nice to meet your husband this morning in Nashua, NH. We spent several years travelling the country with our six kids. We’ve been blessed to run a business and be all together for years.Much of that was in a converted school bus. It was a great encouragement to see you out there. I’ve looked around your sight and thought a lot about our great journey. Your husband made a great impression on us- his boldness- and willingness to speak out. That’s really cool. Just figured I’d leave a note.

  43. Naomi says:

    Amen! The U.S. Department of Education is junk and should be tossed out the window for good! Seriously! With all the stories in the news about parental rights being stripped away makes me very nervous. If I was every faced with a situation like these pour parents who were arrested I would stand up for freedom to the end, but to think we are brought to this point in our own country, that is supposedly all about freedom, is unthinkable! And it is because we have believed it is impossible we have ignored the fact that it is happening right in front of our eyes! We can’t allow ourselves to be trampled over any longer, enough is enough! My husband and I have considered leaving for a more friendly state over the unconstitutional healthcare bills being pushed through, and we may have to if it really does come to our state, but all we want is to be left alone to care for our family how we see fit. BTW, next week we’re moving into a 31′ bunkhouse camper to start homesteading on family property. It will be quite an adventure!

  44. Lyndz says:

    All too true. We will never register our children. I don’t believe that any State has the right to delegate what does and does not constitute a ‘legal’ education. I will not run hoops to “prove” that my child is learning exactly what everyone else is learning…through forced attendance at that!

    I know the risk. Our family practices radical unschooling…and yes, we only have one child…just a toddler still, but ALREADY we have had the threat of CPS involvement hanging over our heads. Anonymous tips by disgruntled friends or neighbors can be incredibly dangerous. All it takes is being slightly different.

    We moved away rather than face the drama, but it puts this issue very close to my heart. I can’t possibly imagine going through that ordeal again, and yet, I REFUSE to beg for state permission to educate my child in the most free and natural way imaginable. Why folks perceive this as a danger to society is the larger and more concerning question.

    What is it about freedom that terrifies people?

    I don’t know WHY people need to care about other people’s choices in education. My child will learn whatever the hell he wants to learn WHENEVER the hell he wants. Somebody PLEASE give me a rational argument as to why that is wrong enough to have my child and family threatened with state force and coercion! Just ONE rational argument please…I have yet to hear one.

  45. bogbeagle says:

    Marvellous project. May I suggest the following short essay as the theme for one of your kids’ lessons?

    It’s from my blog and it addresses the core issue of governance … Consent. I’d like to challenge your kids to find flaw with this simple argument.

  46. Pingback: Hop on ‘The Unschool Bus’ | Learning Beyond The Book
  47. Cassie says:

    I cannot wait until I can read this whole blog. Work prohibits that…but I will be getting back on first thing. Our kids are not being taught anything in our school systems. I first went to college to become a school teacher, and once I started my internship got in trouble for trying to teach the kids instead of doing the stupid worksheets as a class. So I changed my major, and cannot wait to educate my children at home. I just married the man of my dreams, and look forward to the day when I can stay home and raise my children the right way…you are amazing!