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Is it a Homeschooling Case?

By “it” I refer to the the case of Vanessa Mills v. Thomas Mills in Wake County, North Carolina. Timothy Sandefur has written on this, and we also have a short response from Doug on Stones Cry Out. Under a large number of conditions I might agree with Doug, but on reading this ruling, I think the judge did a pretty good job of balancing things out.

Let me note that I was homeschooled 8 out of 12 years before college, and I currently have a granddaughter who is being homeschooled. I do not in any way regret being homeschooled. In fact, I think I would have been something between bored and horrified to have attended public school. Never having actually attended, I’m not in a good position to be certain. I’m terribly proud of my daughter who is homeschooling my granddaughter, and doing very well. So please don’t think I’m against homeschooling.

But having read the judge’s decision, and his findings of fact, I think this is being read wrong by much of the blogosphere. I will comment only that when such an issue comes up in a divorce case, there is almost always much more involved than meets the eye, and that appears to be true in this case.

I would strongly suggest reading the actual ruling [PDF], and Timothy Sandefur’s comments. I think this has little to do with homeschooling, and much to do with the kind of issues that come up in divorce, especially when one party has very controversial religious beliefs.

I think the judge did well, for example, in #3 on page 8 of the ruling, in ordering that the two parents are not allowed to disparage one another in the presence of the children, and they each can practice their religion as they see fit during their portion of the joint custody time.

There are plenty of unreasonable actions taken against homeschoolers. Outrage should be reserved for those, in my view. This case is about a nasty divorce and competing religious beliefs in it, not about homeschooling.

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