Home Schoolers on SOC – Update Video

If you haven’t seen Steve’s post on the home schooling mom in North Carolina you can read it here. The mom in this post Venessa Mills and another home schooling mom Robyn Williams will be joining us on the show at 10:10 am. Here’s a quick recap of the story.

A judge in Wake County said three Raleigh children need to switch from home school to public school. Judge Ned Mangum is presiding over divorce proceeding of the children’s parents, Thomas and Venessa Mills.

Venessa Mills was in the fourth year of home schooling her children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old. They have tested two years above their grade levels, she said.

“We have math, reading; we have grammar, science, music,” Venessa Mills said.

Her lessons also have a religious slant, which the judge said was the root of the problem.

“My teaching is strictly out of the Bible, and it’s very clear. It is very evident so I just choose to follow the Bible,” Venessa Mills said.

In an affidavit filed Friday in the divorce case, Thomas Mills stated that he “objected to the children being removed from public school.” He said Venessa Mills decided to home school after getting involved with Sound Doctrine church “where all children are home schooled.”

Thomas Mills also said he was “concerned about the children’s religious-based science curriculum” and that he wants “the children to be exposed to mainstream science, even if they eventually choose to believe creationism over evolution.”

This is a complicated case. I am not happy a judge has decided that somehow public school is in the children’s interest instead of home schooling, in effect ruling on evolutionary science over creationism. On the other hand no matter what the husband did, I believe he should have a say in his children’s education. We will talk to the mom about this.

Click here to watch video of the story from WRAL in Raleigh


11 replies
  1. skepticalcynic
    skepticalcynic says:


    I know I go against the conservative norm, but home schooling  is a bunch of bull.  This lauding of homeschooling springs up from the rights opposition to teachers union, led by the fat one himself.

    Going to school is about learning………..and SOCIALIZATION.  Maybe I can be talked into home schooling for kids in real rough, nasty school systems, but homeschooling for kids in suburbs?  Please.  Kids have got to learn that the world has good aspects and bad ones. That there are good people and bad people.  That is part of education also.  Keeping them

    in a plastic bubble is more for the parents ego than the kids safety.  Enough with this junk.

    • Steve McGough
      Steve McGough says:

      @skepticalcynic: Wow, you really have taken all of the home schooling myths to heart. In reality, kids that are home schooled are – generally – very well rounded when it comes to socialization. Sure, there are some cases where kids are not well socialized, but I can think of many kids who were in private or public schools who certainly were not well socialized either.

      I personally know three kids that were home schooled. They were active in athletics, spent lots of time with other kids, were in plays, orchestras, and even had part-time jobs. All three moved on to college and did quite well. They are normal people now.

      Why the hostility towards letting parents choose? We can provide you with wide-spread studies that show kids who are home schooled do quite well. Why bring up teachers unions and "the fat one" when what matters is how well the kids do in school and in life?

    • Erik Blazynski
      Erik Blazynski says:

      There are plenty of places to learn social skills other than school. I know several home schooled families and all of the kids are properly socialized and they are all properly schooled. I am wondering if you have a study that you can cite that would support your argument about socialization.  If a parent wants to home school then what business is it of anyone else. Lets assume for a second that the kids are not properly socialized, so what. Let them handicap their kids. There are much greater social disorders that should be tackled before you outlaw home schooling.

    • Tritonesam
      Tritonesam says:

      Mr. Skepticalcynic:

      Sorry, but you know very little about the operation of schools.  As one who has been involved with education for more than 40 years (teacher, administrator, etc.), trust me, home schooling has proven consistently superior to public schools. As for socialization, if that is a critical element, then I am sure you are ignorant of just how much socialization students of home schooling actually get, and how well they thrive. In point of fact, there are many, many adults who could benefit from submitting themselves to some decent socialization. "Society" could benefit immensely from improving this "bunch." Should we send all adults back to the classroom (public, of course)?

      In this case, I believe the judge is wrong, out of his jurisdiction. Society only requires that people become educated, not the location where they are educated. The judge needs some serious soul searching to discover if he truly understands what is his proper role in jurisprudence.

      By the way, society does not need any more skeptics or cynics. They prevent decent socialization and progress. Bitterness of soul is never a winner.

  2. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Gee, Mr. Skepticalcynic!  You've convinced me, even though homeschooled kids are consistently shown to be better educated, more well rounded, and better prepared to go out into the world and be successful than the vast majority of public schooled children.  Add to that the fact that the homeschoolers are still getting taxed as though their children attend those government schools.

    Yep, better shut down these deviants!  (we are laughing at you and the teacher's unions, not with you)

  3. Mike F
    Mike F says:


    I'd like to see the measure by which people are determining the "level of socialization."  Or "level of education" for that matter.  While I am loathe to trust the State with anything, including my children's education, the crux of the issue is this:

    You cannot be all things.

    While I have a number of skills and abilities, I don't have them all.  The theoretical advantage to public education is that a series of teachers with specialized knowledge in different areas are able to provide students with a depth that one person cannot because one person cannot know everything about, well, everything.  I taught science and language arts for the longest frigging time.  Now, because of my new profession, I could do a killer job with Social Studies but  both my science and language arts skills have backslid terribly.  I tried making rock candy with my daughter because we were talking about crystal structure and I had to go to the internet for the formula! 

    There is a perceived arrogance of a parent who feels that they can cover an entire curriculum that takes multiple professionals with years of experience and study.

    On the other hand, our beloved school system's only obligation is that it offer the minimum and our top students are ignored quite often.  As a matter of fact, gifted and talented students make up a large percentage of children who drop out of high school every year.  So there is an advantage for highly motivated and intelligent kids to explore alternatives to public school.

    I was home schooled for two years. I dropped out of  high school at 15.   I am now a certified teacher and I have three degrees and I'm working on a fourth.  I am not a success because of home schooling, or public schooling, or any schooling, but because, on occasion, I put what little intelligence I have to some use. 

    I will say though, that based on my experiences, as a kid and currently, I wouldn't home school my children even if I had the free time to do it. 

    I currently work with children involved with the state in one way or another and there are home schooling horror stories that will never make it to the public because they involve minors and, unless the parents make it public, the stories cannot be told.  So while there are success stories, there are equally horrendous stories that are stranger than any fiction.

  4. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    Many parents I know home schooled their kids, most up until the last two years of High School.  Generally, the results were very successful and most tested above the norms.  Socialization is rarely a problem.  There is a national network of home schoolers, and most states have their own networks as well, where kids can interract.    There is loads of support for any issues that may come up.  There are also very sophisticated, well-rounded curriculum programs available for those who are home-schooled.  In fact, it's become quite an industry.

    The outcome of home schooling depends, of course, on how it is approached and implemented.  Some kids just don't like it, but most (surprisingly) prefer it.  It allows for more independent progress and thinking than in the public school system.  It also permits parents to have more oversight relating to moral and spiritual values. 

    My personal view is to home school up to a certain level then let them complete High School just to give them the contrast.  By that age, they should be mature enough spiritually and academically to make decisions for themselves, and/or make mistakes, because that's also part of the human/spiritual learning process.

  5. abcde
    abcde says:

    Seems like this is less about home schooling and more about the disagreement between the two parents.

    My son is home schooled.  I hope my husband would fight for our child's education if I suddenly joined some xian program and  "taught strictly out of the bible."

  6. racheltom
    racheltom says:

    Hey Mike F.

          I think most of us are not "ARROGANT" in homeschooling our kids. One of our responsibilities is to provide resources. NO ONE !! Not even a school full of great teachers can provide everything there is to learn about. There are great classes out there to take, the library, the internet etc….. If we can't provide the information ourselves we find someone or something who can. AND remember it is not for everyone. Just like public school is not for everyone. I hope your candy came out good!

  7. weregettinghosed
    weregettinghosed says:

    Wow, so many people jumping into a subject with more opinion than fact. I hear people talking of stories of good and bad equally, well there are horror stories of public schools as well as great stories, so equally homeschooled or publicly taught there are good and bad. With that said, this story is more about the mom teaching religion and the judge using his own opinion to judge from. These kids seem to have been taught a well rounded curriculum with the addition of bible teachings just like any other Christian private school. We don't close them down. I think the father is using the kids to get back at the Mom, in the long run he is hurting his kids and the judge is helping him to accomplish that.

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