David and Louise Turpin: the picture perfect homeschooling family

Let’s take a look at a large picture-perfect homeschooling family.

This is from 2010. So sweet.

Every year, it seemed, the parents re-enacted their wedding. This is from 2011. So sweet.

They had happy family outings. This one is from 2012. See how the children all dress the same?

Here’s their wedding reenactment from 2013. Notice how well behaved the children all are.

They went to the Circus Circus. So many cute children, all dressed the same.

Here’s their wedding reenactment from 2016. Awww.

And here are those children in that wedding reenactment.

We don’t have any more recent public information about that picture-perfect family.

Oh wait.

More information came out today. With this news report (link).

Thirteen victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, were kept shackled to their beds amid foul surroundings in a Perris home by their parents, sheriff’s officials said.

Early Sunday morning, a 17-year-old girl escaped from the residence, located in the 100 Block of Muir Woods Road and called 911 from a cellular device she managed to take from the home, investigators said.

That teen told the 911 operator that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive in their home by their parents.

When investigators from the Perris Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department met with the girl, they said she looked emaciated and only 10 years old, though she was 17.

After interviewing the girl, investigators contacted her parents, 57-year old David Allen Turpin and 49-year old Louise Anna Turpin at the home from which the teen escaped.

Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings. . . .

Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house – but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.

This is an extreme case, to be sure. But please, people of God. Don’t just defend homeschooling for the sake of homeschooling. (These words are coming from a 24-year veteran of homeschooling.) Don’t just think everything is fine just because the family looks picture perfect.

Seek Spirit discernment. Listen to the children. Talk to the children. Be willing to step in and rescue the children.

This has got to stop.

Note: This post went viral, so my blog shut down for about 15 hours. Thanks to my 100% homeschooled son, who dropped out of college and is now a successful coder in Manhattan, it’s back up on a new server.

For those who think this post is a “homeschool bashing” post, I want to make it clear that I loved my 24 years of homeschooling all my children through all the grades, and would do it again (albeit with the changes that any sensible parent would make in hindsight). I’m not anti-homeschooling; I’m still very pro-homeschooling.

This is in spite of the fact that I have heard many homeschool horror stories, not just online (there are scores of utterly sickening stories online), but face to face, sitting in my own living room, sitting in the coffee shop, sitting on the floor of someone else’s bedroom. I have listened to people talk about extreme sexual abuse in “Christian” homeschooling families, extreme physical abuse, and the extreme spiritual and psychological and emotional abuses that keep it all in place. 

Other people will talk about the abuses that go on in the Catholic church, or in Amish land, or in the Muslim world, and well they should, but that is not my sphere. My sphere is the fundamentalist and conservative evangelical world, many of which are homeschoolers. So this is the area where I’ll point out abuse. Please instead of thinking, “It’s not us; it’s them,” just consider that there’s a possibility that abuse is happening even in our midst, even in our churches, even in families who might look picture-perfect. 

Care for the children. That is all I wanted to say when my head was exploding while I was writing this post. Care for the children.

And if a young adult from a picture-perfect homeschooling family comes to you and says, “I’m having flashbacks about my childhood abuse,” be willing to listen and love, and don’t turn away. 

Follow-up post at Turpin tragedy: is homeschooling the problem?

*****

(Photo credits: David Louise Turpin Facebook page.)

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115 Comments on "David and Louise Turpin: the picture perfect homeschooling family"

I welcome your thoughts (and of course, please feel free to use a screen name)

Joy
Guest

I feel nauseated. Too close to home.

Helena
Guest
Helena

Words fail me. All I have are tears and anger.

Ken
Guest
Ken

I hope the little ones are all where they feel safe right now. By the way-of course they told no one for years. The “Don’t Talk/Don’t Feel” was engrained in them very early.

Joel Horst
Guest

I’m blown away. This story was busy playing over and over on the radio this morning. Seeing these pictures, I would never have guessed that the parents were chaining their kids to the bed. Or malnourishing them to the point that they failed to grow properly. I certainly didn’t expect to find the conclusion of the article as it was.

One wonders how the parents managed to keep a lid on things for so long. But then, I should know by now…

Brenda R
Guest
Brenda R

I read about this yesterday and was sick most of the day. These children have absolutely no sense of what love is. I can’t even imagine what their lives have been like. How is it that no one noticed?

Nellie
Guest

The young ones will not remember much later in their life. The older ones are damaged forever and will need therapy indefinitely.

Carol Schneider
Guest
Carol Schneider

I’m a homeschooling mom of nearly 20 years and the problem here is “picture perfect”. No family is perfect and the hairs on my neck go up when I see families like this. The kind that control everything about their children. How they dress, their hair, all their time etc. Kids grow up and naturally want to express themselves through many avenues that aren’t sinful, rebellious, or disobedient, and when I see families like this I know at the very least the parents desire control and complete obedience of them more than seeing their kids follow Jesus out of grace and love for Him. At the very least!

Rachel Nichols
Guest

Like The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. A truly creepy novel. Only in actual cases of “perfect” people who think alike, they usually are abused and brain washed rather than replaced by androids. (Plot spoiler.)

I have known cult members who gave me similar vibes.

Mugen808
Guest
Mugen808

So true. People around could still have suspected something was wrong from how quiet, obedient and under control the kids were. That was the tree hiding the forest!

Deni Tomkinson
Guest

I don’t think it’s as simple as saying they wanted to control the children, there are ways to control them that don’t amount to pure torture, which is what this is, torture, which automatically goes alongside control!!

Sam Powell
Guest

These were my thoughts exactly. Children act up. It’s what they do. When they are too terrified to act up, something is very wrong. Families that are too “picture perfect” almost always have something very, very wrong at the core.

Jay Jay
Guest
Jay Jay

This is heartbreaking! As a homeschooling mom it is wonderful thing when done for the right reasons and intentions! With that said, stuff like this does happens to public school kids, I know, I was one of them. No one noticed and even when it was , especially in high school, no one did anything. Abuse is a major issue whether homeschooled or not!!! I pray they find healing!

Kim Oglesby
Guest
Kim Oglesby

I homeschool and am an advocate of public and private schools because my three kids have different styles of learning. Hence, I am not bashing. I am heart broken with multiple questions.

How did this happen? Where are the neighbors, relatives, church members, grandparents? How can we prevent this from ever happening again? I know as I type this it is happening somewhere else in America.

Sweet Jesus save us from ourselves! Give us a plan and the courage and compassion to be our brother’s keeper. Amen

Kricketjoyb
Guest
Kricketjoyb

It’s really important to realize also, that at this point in history the narrative is to make homeschooling look bad in order to shut it down, or control the curriculum. We don’t know that this story is true. We just accept it because it was reported to be so. Yes, horrible things happen in the home. But if you compare homeschooling horror stories to the shear number, per-capita, of bullying/teacher harassment stories, homeschooling is still a far safer environment than the traditional school system. Look at the #metoo crowd. We all now know how to bring someone or something down. You claim abuse and harassment. You don’t need proof. You need a few horror stories, and the public are eating out of your hands. If this actually occurred in these peoples’ home, then we all agree it’s abhorrent. However, if we think that our children are safer in the school system we are fooling ourselves, and if we think it’s going to help our children to allow the state into it homes we are fools. This is coming from a homeschooler, who now homeschools her children. I was raped by a homeschool man, so I know how bad things can be. His father was raping his daughter. It was a terrible situation. However, I saw worse in the school system, and just talking to the kids I know that attend public school is heartbreaking. They are so confused, and broken. They molest each other, they have no real adult supervision, teachers molest the kids. The kids are told they are animals and can’t control themselves. Just like with homeschooling, sometimes the truth comes out, sometimes it doesn’t. But, I know I can protect three kids. My own. I can’t protect yours. I’ll never be able to be certain they are safe, but I CAN protect my own.

Jo Phillips
Guest
Jo Phillips

Ok, I’m truly sorry about your experiences but .. look at those children. Look at their arms. If you have seen the video of their wedding renewal, look at how uncoordinated the children are. They have clearly never danced. One boy’s legs are so thin. It’s not made up. It’s fact. Also, abuse is abuse. It happens everywhere. Oh and actually morally, we are all responsible for each others’ children. That includes reporting concerns to the police which nobody in this case did. Shamefully.

Lea
Guest
Lea

Whatever you think about homeschooling, don’t dismiss this as ‘maybe not true’ in order to make your case.

Bad stuff can happen all sorts of places, but in order to starve and chain children up they have to be kept separate. Homeschooling makes that easier. Let’s addres that issue, if you want to keep homeschooling as an option, and I think for some children it might be a good one.

But I went to public school. It’s not the devil.

Rachel Nichols
Guest

I was abused by my classmates daily in the public school. For two years. I finally dropped out. Couldn’t hold food down and lay curled up in a fetal position weeping every evening. I finished at a tiny parochial school. Not the greatest, but it got me into an accredited Christian university. Fought social phobia for years afterward. Sexual harassment can be Hell for a teenage girl.

Samantha Underwood
Guest
Samantha Underwood

I know that some people don’t think that homeschooling can have its benefits, but this isn’t a ficticious story to vilify people that believe in it. This is an actual case of extreme prolonged abuse. Abuse is not isolated to the school system. Public or private.
To say that abuse is rampant in public/private schools is ignorant.
I was also in the school system, and I do not disagree that bullying is an extremely major issue.
I disagree that kids in the school system are confused, or broken in some way.
That’s a very broad statement to make.
I don’t have an issue with people who choose to educate their own children. I believe that people have the right to educate their own children.
You have a right to your beliefs, but that does not mean that this abuse did not happen.

elligirl49
Guest
elligirl49

Are there people and entities out there who would like to see home schooling shut down so that the government can exercise more control over our youth? Absolutely. Are there horrible things that go on in the public school system? Absolutely. There are people who would do anything and make up any lie to make home schooling families look horrible. No doubt. But there are also other things that give home schooling families a bad name. . . One way to make home schooling families look bad is to do what so many home schoolers are doing about this situation: coming across like they care more about “protecting” the name of home schooling than they do about the poor children of David and Louise. Whether it’s your intent or not, kricketjoyb, when your first response to an horrific story like this one is that it could be someone trying to make home schooling families look bad or to deflect from this specific incident and say that there are worse things that happen in the public school system, it comes across like you don’t care, regardless of what else you may say. It comes across like you are not a safe person with whom to share my story of abuse in the homeschooling family I grew up in. I am sure that is not your intent, but that is how it comes across. It would behoove any of us to believe stories of abuse, whether ones that occur in an home schooling family or those from the #metoo crowd, until there is clear evidence that it is a lie. Innocent until proven guilty is for the court system.

Kricketjoyb
Guest
Kricketjoyb

Also, look at the children in the pictures. They aren’t small, sickly, nor do they have bruises. The baby is fat and obviously well fed. They don’t have long sleeves in warm weather. The eyes are smiling, not just the mouths. I don’t buy this story. I’ve seen real abuse. Either they weren’t being abused during the picture time, and later someone snapped, or this is bull. I think this is a false flag to tug on our heart strings in an effort to get us to give up liberties for security. Don’t be naive guys. If this is accurate, and they were abused obviously we all think that’s awful, and they should have the children taken. But, knowing the abuse in the school system, and the political environment attacking homeschool during its largest growth period in history, it just seems too convenient. Your children’s minds are gold to certain agendas. Certain groups in power MUST have the minds of the public in order to stay in power. That is the first REASON public education was created. Whether you realize it or not you ARE someone’s enemy. As a homeschool parent you are hated by certain groups with agendas because you raise free thinkers. Real free thinkers. Children will always rebel against parents. But if you train them right, they’ll begin to see the absurdities being fed to the public. They rarely rebel against peers, however. So if you allow peers to raise your kids, peer acceptance is what will matter to them. Notice I have no problem disagreeing with the masses here, that’s because I was raised to question everything, and reason first. Yes, fellow mommas; I was homeschooled.

Reswins
Guest
Reswins

While I think it would be hard to manufacture a story like this, I would not put it past some of the extreme anti-homeschoolers out there. That being said, this should not be a discussion about home schooling or religion. In every realm of belief system, there are always nut cases. People who are con artists and abbussers. Unfortunatley, some sit in the same churches as us. Some work at the desk near us or live right next door. I am a pastors wife, mother of six, teacher and counselor. I have had many occasions to sit with people and counsel them. By far the major majority of of sad and broken people I have worked with have come from broken homes, public school abuse such as drugs, alcohol, and sexual exploitation. Don’t be overwhelmed or distressed if you are a caring parent who is trying your best to guide your child, teach your child and yes, indeed shelter your child.

Jo Phillips
Guest
Jo Phillips

Those kids are thin. Look at their arms? The gauntness of some of their faces. You may not realize this but in the photos they look 12 or 13? Some of them are actually in their 20s. They were clearly abused. They stopped growing because they were malnourished and kept inside. I can’t believe some people think defending homeschooling is more important than safeguarding children.

Retha
Guest

They are not small, Kricketjoyb? That last picture was taken in 2016, which means from 1 yr 2 weeks to two years ago. There are 7 adult children (between 18 and 29) and a 17 year old among those allegedly rescued.

Which 8 of the 13 looks somewhere from 15 to 27 in that last photo?

“The eyes are smiling, not just the mouths.” Considering the eyes are blurred, how do you see that?

RumbleKitty
Guest
RumbleKitty

Wow. I hope a victim of abuse never comes to you for help.

rosiecar
Guest

Abuse doesn’t always have visible evidence, especially to outsiders.

Deb
Guest
Deb

I am a therapist and Christ follower who read and appreciated your article. I also am a legally homeschooling mom who works directly with parents who seek out a community that will offer accountability as they home educate. Unfortunately many parents who are Christ followers are not aware of the fact that they will need continuing education as a family. As an experienced therapist and educator I am aware that often when a family makes a decision to home educate, family dysfunction will often come to the forefront and will have an impact on the educational process. Christ followers who want to legally home educate would do well to place themselves in a community where they can be safely offered support and accountability.There are healthy support systems out there.I wish that this family who appear to value the traditional family unit , would have reached out to get help in order to have saved their family unit.

Bethany
Guest
Bethany

Thanks for sharing. I personally did not have a positive experience homeschooling (even though my parents are loving and there was no abuse except over-sheltering), but I’m very glad you wrote this. It needs to be said – maybe especially from a homeschool mom.

Kricketjoyb
Guest
Kricketjoyb

My suggestion, fellow moms, is to keep your eyes open, and take care never to vilify parental rights over a story like this. This is unrelated to homeschooling. School kids are abused behind closed doors too. As neighbors, be vigilant. As homeschool parents be vigilant. As church members keep aware. Always observe, and realize regulation is not the answer. Vigilance is.

NGl
Guest
NGl

When more and more stories like this come out, I am both grieved and relieved – if that makes sense. One more horrific situation has come to an end, one more intervention via the civil authorities, one more answered cry of the helpless.
When I was and growing up, there were the stories of drug abuse and gang violence (‘Run Baby Run’ by Nicky Cruz was a big hit), broken alcoholic homes and so on, but no one spoke about the horrors and abuses within conservative religious communities – and even later on, the standard reaction was, ‘Your parents meant well, be thankful they were no alcholics’.
People seem to assume that there can be no issues in the absence of alcoholism – and those of us whose parents didn’t drink were totally ignored. We were considered to be the fortunate ones! as if there cannot be any damage done to children without alcohol!

Now, thank God, there has been plenty of talk about religious and spiritual abuse, sexual and emotional abuses inside many church communities, and the lack of nurture (the worst kind of abuse, I have come to believe: traumatic events and abusive situations from outside are possible to handle, when there is emotional nurture and safety inside the family…) … But still there is this underlying belief that a perfect front somehow is an expression of wholeness… while it’s not.
Congrats for raising a ‘college drop-out’ who can understand coding… ! 🙂 I tried to access the website earlier but it was down. Your hard homeschooling efforts has not been wasted! 🙂

Emily Davis
Guest

Thank you for being brave enough to speak out. SO many cases of this kind of thing in Texas. People cry, “we have the right” to do with our children what we want. But I tell you – no one has the right to do this. It’s disgusting. We homeschool, and are Catholic. I’ve met some very questionable people. I feel like maybe I should have spoken up a few times.
Sigh.
This is BAD and you are right – we must make this stop. PERIOD!

Rosie
Guest
Rosie

Whatever else you want to say about this family, it seems just a little creepy to me, at least, that the parents reenact their wedding every year.

Rachel Nichols
Guest

Pretty eccentric!

Shakeemah
Guest
Shakeemah

I hope they get the help needed to move on to a beautiful future they deserve so much better than what was offered to them as children and adults a shame when people have the devil inside of them yo harm a defense person or people they will never forget times like this I wish we could erase our memory a certain things theses are one of them I homeschooling my child hope this doesn’t make it bad on the children that is being bully and the reason they homeschool to feel safe

yesenia
Guest
yesenia

I’m glad law enforcement intervened but am deeply concerned about them separating the 7 adults from the 6 children. Isn’t that introducing a new trauma to them at the onset of their liberation? Does anyone know why this, what appears to be a rather cold and calculated, decision to separate the kids was employed?

llamamama
Guest
llamamama

From a medical professional standpoint, they likely had to separate based on hospital specialty. Pediatric facilities can only care for children up to a certain age and other facilities wouldn’t have the pediatric expertise needed for the younger children. This was likely the main reason for separating them. I don’t know anything about the particulars of this case, but as a healthcare worker for 19 years, the separate facilities was perfectly logical in my reading of the situation. Hopefully mental health services will be proactive in keeping all of the siblings in contact with each other.

NGl
Guest
NGl

Why some families want so many children just to keep them chained (literally like in this case,or methaphorically, which is more common), is beyond me. Yes, control…
This news story is like something one reads in a trash novel… 🙁
The desire to control others is a powerful motivator, perhaps also they wanted to make sure their own lives were smoothly running. Although, I don’t see how they could be happy and enjoy each other knowing their children were not living well.

Tammy Noel Smith
Guest
Tammy Noel Smith

I am so grieved over this story of the Turpin family.I am grieved on two fronts.One grief is the fact that they did abuse their children.The children were found starving and some of the children were shackled to furniture. The other grief that I have,is that of the sensationalizing of this story.

Here are the FACTS…
.they were starving
.some of the children were shackled to furniture

Here is the sensationalizing of this story to further the agenda from the liberals…..

.They homeschooled.
.They dressed their children alike
.The boys wore the same haircut as their father
.They were made to memorize long portions of Scripture
.the parents look demon possessed
.they were “picture perfect”

I have been scouring the internet for every story on this,that I could find.Almost every comment section has most folks demanding more government in the homes of homeschooled children.The old argument that homeschooled children are being fed one opinion[I’m assuming a Christian worldview that is not being objected by public school teachers during the day].This is the agenda behind this story…to demonize homeschool.Even many Christians are jumping on board.Be careful,you are speaking of outright Socialism/Communism.We have encountered this anti homeschool attitude in churches and that’s why we have left these churches.As for memorizing Scripture….I suppose it’s okay to memorize multiplication tables and phonics rules,but Scripture? Oh,that must be brainwashing.

As for the way people dress their children and cut their hair,is nothing more than schoolyard bullying,but with grownups doing the deed.Are we working towards everyone dressing like they all shop at the Gap? Are we all working as a society to move towards everyone doing their hair like Katy Perry and Brad Pitt? We are told to be different within our families,but be like everyone else in the world.

Yes,I suppose the parents do look dazed,even “demon possessed” in their mug shots…..but wouldn’t everyone?

And a “picture perfect” family? I think that rests on anyone who chooses to view a picture.When I am on Facebook and see my friends post pictures of family and friends,I assume they are posting at their best.We all do.We all want everyone to see us at our best.We were recently in a church where our children were asked on several occasions,”Do you ever fight?” I thought it was a sad question.Does such a question edify? Does it encourage? It is a question to bring destruction and divide.Churches end up destroying themselves.Imploding,because they desire the sensational stories to feed their flesh.I place much blame on Christians for falling for this.It is sin.

Remember when we read stories,to pay attention to the FACTS,not the sensationalism of the story.And remember…this is exactly how Hitler got under the skin of Germany……

Eve Hofmann
Guest
Eve Hofmann

Rebecca I am from the same area as you and I am wondering about all these horror stories you speak of. I too am a homeschooling mom and was involved with a few different groups in our area and all that I knew were loving homeschooling parents that were doing it because they loved their children and wanted the best for them. That being said there are many children out there in bad situations and they are not homeschooled children. There are just bad people out there period! Please don’t make homeschoolers sound like bad people because as much as you claim you are not trying to say that, it does come off that way. Unfortunately there will always be evil in this world no matter where it comes from. The best we can do is be watchful and pray for children. If there is anyone abusing their children we should pray that God reveals them. And we should be praying for these children.

Karen
Guest
Karen

The ability for this family to isolate their children is truly criminal. Though many home school parents are wonderful…the fact that abusive parents who seek to isolate their children from authorities is reason enough to have the practice (at the very least) regulated and monitored. To think it is ok otherwise is irresponsible.

Michael F.
Guest
Michael F.

Oh boy! Where do I start….. I was happily reading, so sweet then BAM! I ran to the Washington Post to confirm and yep, there was the article in big bold headline. I will end by saying, I would LOVE, JUST love, a great desire to, to get my hands on the parents. There ought to be a test for couples who want to be parents. Hell has a place for these two. I HOPE the children get the help they need – mental and physical and became strong individuals.

Anita
Guest
Anita

I guess so many that home school are on the defensive because it threatens a way of teaching our children outside of the system. We homeschool my grandson but he is also well socialized. We also homeschooled our daughter for a while when she was in elementary school. Things like this give us a bad name. People don’t understanding why we honeschool and usually look at us as weird religious zealots or something. We don’t homeschool for religious reasons but many do. We had a case a few years ago. Zahra Baker. Look it up. It was horrific and the ending so very heartbreaking, as the girls mother, from Australia, had been searching for her. She found her and the father and within days learned Zahra had been brutally murdered and dismembered. They claimed to have been homeschooling her and when they reported her missing it was eventually revealed that no books, no records, nothing could be found indicating she was being taught at all. Cases like this are just beyond sick. I will never understand how anyone can harm a child.

elligirl49
Guest
elligirl49

I was home schooled and part of a “picture perfect” family growing up, but what went on behind closed doors was horrific. On the rare occasion that someone did suspect that abuse was happening, they either did nothing or next to nothing. News articles reporting that the family home schooled is not some liberal hit job trying to sensationalize things. It’s simply reporting facts. When we read news articles about things like this, our first thought shouldn’t be about how we think the government or some other nefarious organization is trying to smear the name of God or home schooling. Our hearts should be breaking for these poor children who were horrifically abused. As someone who was abused over and over again growing up, it hurts to see some of the comments being made on this blog. I am pro home schooling and would home school my kids if I ever have any, but I could also give numerous accounts of abuse that has happened in home schooling families. It happens so let’s not turn a blind eye to things just because we don’t want to make home schooling “look bad.” I hope that if a person who was being home schooled came to any of y’all making comments on this blog and said they were being abused, you would do the right thing and contact law enforcement and help in any way you could.

Jo Phillips
Guest
Jo Phillips

Well said.

OLGA VELEZ
Guest
OLGA VELEZ

Excellent article. I wish I had homeschooled my kids, but we could not afford to live on a $1,000 pastor’s monthly salary. Plus,my job provided the medical insurance and other benefits my husband’s church would not cover. However, I believe that people that homeschool should be accountable for whats happening within their homes.

Brenda Linn
Guest
Brenda Linn

People can be so weird about that ‘perfect family’ stuff. It’s like they want so badly to believe in perfect families, they are willing to ignore or crucify those who don’t live up to the illusion that they themselves have imposed.

When I filed for divorce, my sister called me ‘rebellious’. She refused to listen to any of the facts about the abuse my children and I suffered. She said that we had always seemed like ‘the perfect family’ and she was very upset that I had spoiled that illusion for her.

(Actually, I had been crying out for help, for years. But evidently, she didn’t notice that part)

Similarly, some people have the illusion that homeschooling is the ideal family situation. The problem with that concept is that it depends on sinful human beings to make it happen.

While I myself home schooled my children for over 20 years (I chose homeschooling for healthy reasons), my children and I still experienced abuse from the man I am divorcing. People (again) though that we were ‘the perfect family’. Many of them refused to believe me or my children when we told them what we were suffering at home. The truth is that I (the submissive, hardworking, attractive wife) was trying hard to hold everything and everyone together–Including the raging, abusive, neglectful drunk they expected me to submit to.

Oh, but my children and I were not the only ones suffering abuse in our small homeschooling community. While we met several strong, healthy, happy homeschooling families, I soon discovered that many other homeschooling families were disfunctional, struggling with addiction, horribly controlling or even abusive.

Some families choose homeschooling for healthy reasons. Some choose homeschooling because it gives them sick and harmful control over their families (especially wives and children).

I hated seeing ‘perfect families’. They were all fakes. All their ducks were in a row, but none of the ducks were smiling. They had a lot of strong words to say about the way families should be ruled and raised, but they seemed to have no concept of honoring wives and empowering children.

I have learned to watch the eyes of the wives and the children. They tell me everything.

You know what I look for? Children who are creative, happy, noisy, bouncy. Who ask lots of questions, and expect intelligent answers. Who misbehave a little, without fear reactions when their parents correct them. I look for wives who are strong, confident, opinionated thinkers, who speak their minds without fear. I want to see peace, joy, some sparkle, some fun, and sass. And lots of imperfections, without shame or fear.

You can throw stones all you want, but I soon dreaded hearing people talk enthusiastically about Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips, Nancy Campbell, and Mike and Debi Pearl. And that was way before any of the scandals were discovered. Why did I dread? Cuz the people who hung their hopes and families on these influences were the most fake.

I think for myself. I know the Bible for myself. Guess where that got me? Accused of being a ‘rebellious woman’ because I would not accept Debi Pearl’s book Created to be His Help Meet as ‘the mind of God’. Never mind that the fellowship group’s ‘leader’ s wife was my best friend there. He decreed that I was to be excommunicated. It hurt, but I laughed and went on with my life, because that’s what a Proverbs 31 woman does.

I love real people. I would rather be with an honest sinner than a fake Saint, anytime.

Homeschooling wasn’t the problem. Large families weren’t the problem.

HIDDEN SIN IS THE PROBLEM.

There is some twisted sickness when people choose façade over fact, and prefer manipulation over integrity. Those who walk in denial are so very easily deceived. They are some of the most dangerous ‘friends’ a victim of abuse can possibly have.

Lea
Guest
Lea

“control”

This is something that concerns me. You can see how a person who trends controlling might be drawn to homeschooling.

Personally, I think kids should do some sort of testing yearly if only to see if they are keeping up and allow parents or even the state if necessary to step in.

rosiecar
Guest

“Homeschooling wasn’t the problem. Large families weren’t the problem.

HIDDEN SIN IS THE PROBLEM.”

This nails it!!

Jo Phillips
Guest
Jo Phillips

Homeschooling with no regulation made it easier for them to abuse their children. They have never any of them seen a dentist. They did not attend their Doctors. Several have cognitive impairment which would have been picked up at school or been addressed by their fraud homeschooling being unapproved through regulation.

Re – sin. Well yes, it is I guess. If all you are suggesting to keep people safe is nobody sins … not going to happen.

Ruth
Guest
Ruth

Thank you for this post. You’re brave to say it, but it must be said. It’s important that those who homeschool both point out how this is not about homeschooling, it’s about abuse and torture, which can and do happen in every community and that they not defend homeschooling to the point of giving abusers a pass. Too often fear causes many to tell others to MYOB. Those who would turn away from something like this are at best immoral. At worst they’re accessories to the abuse.

Rachel Nichols
Guest

I remember how C.S.Lewis warns us in The Four Loves that any of our natural loves worshipped as a god will turn into a demon. Idolized Eros can lead not just to unchaste situations but marital abuse. No husband can fill the God shaped vacuum in every woman’s heart. Idolize Motherhood and you wind up smothering adult children–robbing them of independence and a life apart from you.

To God alone be the glory! Family is a gift from God.But our loving Heavenly Father is better than any presents He gives. Thank Him. Like the gift, but love the Giver.

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

This tragedy is going on right under our noses in the church community. As well as other institutions or communities where we think we “should” be safe. We are warned that there are wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing among us. The wolf is smart and cunning and knows we are so naive. I know this…I am in the process of divorcing one after many years of psychological and emotional abuse…intimate terrorism. And yet he continues to present himself as an angel of light, and is a master of impression management over the perceptions of the “church” and everyone else. He knows the language and the foolishness of God’s people. If we took all of God’s word seriously, we would put equal weight on His instructions on what it looks like and what to do about false Christians. I wasn’t taken seriously by “Christian” counselors, pastors, or anyone else for that matter. It continued to get worse. I was blamed for 50% of what was happening, because we are ALL sinners. (That would be like the saying to these abused children that they are also sinners like their parents and what was their part?) I looked crazy, because he looked so “Christian”…he looked like a good sheep. Scripture was being twisted, I was confused and didn’t understand what was happening. I have been isolated and wrongly judged by the church community. We should be mourning and repenting ourselves over these tragedies that we are so appalled by. Part of this falls on us as the body of Christ. If we are truly His, we would be trying to expose what is in the dark, helping the oppressed and vulnerable, seeking justice, not protecting the perpetrators by neutralizing sin. Exposing the perpetrator IS loving him…and allowing the opportunity for the truth to set him free. There are those who clean the outside of the cup, and serve those who think they’re getting a clean cup and drink from it. We are guilty for ignoring the uncomfortable parts of God’s word…we have n excuse and we will be accountable. This should grieve us.

MaggieMaya
Guest
MaggieMaya

This is the problem with homeschooling; children are in a position where they can much more easily fall through the cracks because they aren’t interacting with people on a daily basis. Evidence of abuse is far easier to notice if the children develop relationships outside the home, and are seen frequently. Our public schools may have their flaws, but they also ensure children are socialized, have access to a healthy meal they may not otherwise get, and access to people who will help them if they see the signs of abuse or neglect.

Stuff like this makes me realize we need much stronger laws surrounding homeschooling, such as ensuring a parent/teacher is competent to handle the task and stress, checks on the learning environment and health of the child, and require homeschooled children to come into a classroom for tutoring/check-ins at least one day a week, so someone qualified can assess these children. I know this sounds highly invasive to some, but if you have nothing to hide, this should not be an issue, especially if you care about children and get disgusted by stories like this. I know families who have pulled their kids out of traditional schools to homeschool because they thought the school was being too intrusive in their lives (ie, CPS was called for a child missing too much school or showing signs of mental health issues or neglect), or they didn’t want their child learning certain things or being exposed to ideas that may challenge beliefs. Those scenarios are red flags that parents may not have the best of intentions for choosing to homeschool, and might be more interested in evading public interest in their parenting, or isolating their children from a healthy childhood of learning, exploring, and making friends.

As a society, we need to do better for our children. Multiple communities let the Turpin children down because they rationalized the red flags away and chose to not get involved. It takes a village, it really does… Isolating children is not normal nor healthy parenting, and if we see it happening with homeschooling families, we have a moral duty to get nosy and report unusual or alarming things to the proper agencies. At least call for a welfare check! Trust our instincts, be good neighbors. Our children are counting on us to be the community they need.

Tammy Noel Smith
Guest
Tammy Noel Smith

For anyone who is interested in the WHOLE post from Israel Wayne,here it is…Rebecca Davis took it out of context…so,NOT Christlike.You are showing your true self now….You are even not allowing me to leave comments and I am being truthful in my responses.You want others to be monitored,but you can simply delete when you are held to accountability.That’s alright,the LORD sees all.His eyes are every where.
http://homeschoolfreedom.com/2018/01/17/homeschooling-and-abuse/

Catherine Sutton
Guest
Catherine Sutton

In no way do these people exemplify home schooling. I’m a 30 year veteran public schools teacher and I think homeschooling can be great. Hats off to homeschool moms and their kids.

Robert
Guest

I want to mention here in case people are not aware of it that Louise Turpin has only a 10th grade education and probably knows as much about teaching as the man in the moon! So what qualified her to homeschool her children?! Any thoughts?

Gina
Guest
Gina

What a brave post. Thank you for this. We have to listen to the children.

Jay
Guest
Jay

This abuse was going on when they went to public school, too.

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

We are homeschoolers and I completely agree with this! My husband came from a family of 17 children that was similar to the Turpin Family. Everything was ‘picture perfect’ with photos in matching outfits taken at Disney. To this day if one of the children mentions the abuse the parents laugh, ‘we have a hundred smiling pictures’. They were homeschooled, which gave the parents complete control. They used the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl. The children were constantly beaten, after sitting for hours upon hours lined up in the hallway waiting for dad to come home. They were beaten until they told the parents what they wanted to hear, then they were beaten for ‘lying’ when the parents found out the child was originally telling the truth. They were beaten, slapped, hair pulled… for just about everything and for simply suffering the effects of disorders they suffered from, such as dyslexia, becuase they were being ‘stubborn’.

The parents were arrested once for not taking a child back into their home but their church rallied around them and charges were dropped. Sexual abused also occurred in the home. The children were always coached on exactly what they could say and could not say to police when interviewed by police. My husband walked in on his adult sister being physically restrained against the wall/slapped and being threatened to lie to police about abuse in the home.

Some of the children are defending the parents still and they are mostly the younger ones who were treated better after the older children reported the abuse to DHS or they are the ones that abused their siblings. Florida DHS has a huge record about the family and always seemed to side with the parents. DHS also declared on record that one of the male children should never be allowed unsupervised around children. They then proceeded to give him custody of his 2 baby girls, even though he had no place to live and was on drugs. He is now in jail for murdering one of the babies.