28 July 2009

Homeschooling on Trial in Divorce

Below is a story for the record on a rally in support of homeschooling, in the context of a divorce case, of all things. I am a strong supporter of homeschooling, as anyone who reads this blog for a nanosecond knows. However, I am not sure this is really about homeschooling, or whether it is a typical divorced-parents-trying-to-hurt-each-other-and-not-caring-about-the-children-or-else-there-wouldn't-be-a-divorce-in-the-first-place issue.

P-D story below, P-D photo above:

Crowd gathers before divorce trial linked to home-schooling

By Shane Anthony

ST. CHARLES -- About 40 people gathered outside the St. Charles County Circuit Courthouse this morning for a rally and press conference before a divorce trial in which they say home-schooling is an issue.

The Jeff Naeger and Lisa Payne-Naeger divorce case has drawn attention from home-schoolers across the nation, said rally organizer Stephanie Rubach. Naeger wants the children to attend private schools. Payne-Naeger, a former Francis Howell School Board member, wants to continue home-schooling her children, who are 14 and 16.

Rubach said she was confident the judge in the case would be objective, but she said she and others wanted to make sure the law was followed.

"It's up to us to hold the courts accountable," Rubach said.

Rubach and other speakers said they supported parents' rights in general. They said they objected to a court order that prevented either parent from talking to the children about the divorce case. Another point of contention, they said, was the guardian ad litem's efforts to have Payne-Naeger's teaching abilities tested. The guardian ad litem is assigned to represent the children's best interests in court.

Neither of the divorcing parties attended the rally.

The case drew attention on the Internet through speaking engagements Payne-Naeger has held and blog postings in support of her.

But on the courthouse's fifth floor, where the trial started, attorneys said the case does not revolve solely around the education issue.
"This is not a referendum on home-schooling," said Joel Eisenstein, Payne-Naeger's attorney


Anonymous said...

Matt A. said...

having worked in a law firm, my gut instict tells me off the bat this is a case of the soon to be ex husband attempting to torment the soon to be ex wife.

However, there is the very slim possibility the father does have concerns regarding the education of the children. Homeschooling is not for everyone. Most of the trad Catholic homeschoolers I've come into contact with, usually through the SSPX, have been pretty normal. I've met plenty of others, however, whose parents were absolute freaks and private school would have been their only hope of functioning even semi-normally in society.

And for the record, I am biased. I'm a product of parochial school all the way up and I came out just fine. You don't have to homeschool your kids to teach them about Catholic ethics.

It's funny, the old (and only sometimes false) joke about homeschoolers having no social skills can be applied here; divorces, although despicable, are private matters as far as I can see it it's pretty gauche to show up at one so you can yell "I'M A HOMESCHOOLER". This is a private matter that should be left to the private parties involved. any legal issue that concerns anyone else should be addressed at the appellate level.


Methodist Jim said...

It is the latter. Clearly.

Himrschiiker said...


I have to strongly disagree with you that home schooled children have no social skills. II have never met a child, especially a teenager that was able to carry a lucid conversation with an adult until I met home schoolers.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, was has been homeschooling her children for nearly a decade, her husband has supported this for a decade. The bottom line is the childeren are both teens and the court should listen to what they want they have rights. Those rights should be protected. Why not let the mother finish what she started. Lisa deserves your support and so do the children. The fact that her husband is an ATTORNEY, should not sland the integrity of this case. Everyone KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE on what goes on in this case. Is it going to be justice only for the powerful and rich or is it going to be JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Brandy Pedersen

Anonymous said...

The court is NOT going to be ruling on the merits of homeschooling versus private schooling. That is NOT what this trial is about.

It clearly is a matter between two parents who both are passionate about what is the best education for their children in their divorce case.

There was a different divorce case in St. Louis where the mother wanted the child in the public school system, and the father wanted his children in a private school - Chaminade, Priory or MICDS. Even though the father said he would pay 100% of their children's education, the mother 'won' because she was the primary custodian of the child. Legally, the father would have had to prove, in court, that the public school was not providing education to the child, which probably would be difficult to do even in the St. Louis public school system, Kinloch, etc.

My guess is that in both trials, the issue was not just about the best education, but about some level of "control" over children. Sometimes that control is healthy, and at other times quite unhealthy. Ideally, both would drop their own need for control and really look at what is best for their children's future.

IMy prayer is that a compromise is worked out so that the children are not left scarred by fighting parents. E.g. Maybe home schooling, but with testing and some public education courses, especially in science, phsyics, computer science and upper math.

As an aside, it seems that, depending on gap between now versus when the mother went to high school, a ton has changed. For myself, I think there have been at least 20 elements added to the Periodic Table. Plus, we were taught that the electron was the smallest particle known to man! Heck, we even used to think that Pluto was a planet, and 'string theory' was where we learned how to tie knots in boy/girl scouts! I'm sure readers could add their own stories in here too!