The Great School Debate

Posted by Annie on Oct 20, 2006 in California, Education, Legal |

The Dr. Phil Show, “The Great School Debate” (Proposed Air Date: October 27, 2006, rescheduled to air Friday, November 24, 2006) begins with a couple that calls themselves “Radical Unschoolers.”

During a recent discussion on the California Homeschool Network E-mail list, Kirsten shared her first-hand experience as an invited guest on the Dr. Phil show for an upcoming episode about the controversial subject of Unschooling.

First of all, I was present during the taping of the program, which is scheduled to air later this month. Additionally, I’d like to provide a little background history into the Dr. Phil Show.

Breastfeeding Guest Sabotaged

About six years ago, when the Dr. Phil show was just starting out, a well known, highly educated and well-respected, breastfeeding activist and guru in the breastfeeding community appeared on the show. At that time, she was led by the Dr. Phil Show into believing she was going to be on the show, to promote extended breastfeeding as a positive, alternative, parenting choice. To have this breastfeeding activist on the show, is the breastfeeding equivalent of having Karen Taylor on the show to advocate for, and promote homeschooling.

Like the homeschooling community, the Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting community also has a very rich Internet culture. Many homeschoolers began our homeschooling journey, many years ago, as part of the Breastfeeding/Attachment Parenting communities with babies at the breast.

At the time, I was on an e-mail list with this woman when she found out that she was going to be on The Dr. Phil show. A camera crew came to her house and taped 8-days of footage. She posted often about the events happening leading up to the show date, and was very excited about being on the show. She was especially excited about this opportunity to present to the mainstream world the positive benefits of EBF’ing, or what we “Lactivists,” call Extended Breastfeeding.

On the day of the show, they used a grand total of 30 seconds of footage from eight days of coverage that they had shot at the woman’s home, and of that coverage, all of it was negative!

Nursing in Tandem

The clips that they selected to air showed her kids crying, yanking at her shirt, or tandeming (that’s a bit extreme for mainstreamers), and acting terrible. How many of us could get at least 30 second of our kids acting terrible in eight days of footage? My kids could easily fill up quite a bit of time!

In addition, his decision to show tandeming in the subtext of the kids yanking and whining at her shirt was so exploitive and negative. Tandeming can mean nursing multiples, but the word is most often is used in reference to the practice of breastfeeding siblings of different ages. It is a beautiful, natural and uniquely special breastfeeding practice common in breastfeeding communities.

However, in mainstream populations it is virtually unheard of, and to tandem EBF’ers, (Extended Breast feeders, generally kids over the age of two), is just beyond the scope of Mainstream America.

Since the most negative coverage possible of the family was to air on the show and represent her family life, it made breastfeeding, and especially EBF’ing and TND’ing appear to be poor choices, and certainly to blame for the mother’s so-called, “Problems,” with her children.

In other words, Dr. Phil’s portrayal of Homeschoolers was every bit as biased, controversial, manipulative and misleading as the breastfeeding episode. Homeschooling, like breastfeeding and co-sleeping, is yet one more alternative parenting philosophy that Dr. Phil chooses not to understand.

Radical Unschoolers

Presenting, “Radical Unschoolers,” as the norm of homeschooling to the mainstream world, implies that all homeschoolers are radical, controversial, Unschoolers. Unschooling is by far the least understood and radical concept of homeschooling, and the easiest target for critics to judge and condemn.

To use this family as representative of the homeschool population is sensationalism at best, and deceitfully manipulative, at worst. The film portrays the Unschoolers as spending all of their days basically playing and hanging out. To seasoned homeschoolers, that may not seem a bad thing, and, to some, would even seem a good thing. But, to every mainstream American, who does not understand homeschoolers and homeschooling, let alone Unschooling, the film and the footage shown of the family serves to reinforce every negative stereotype mainstream America has about homeschooling.

When the breastfeeding episode was taped, the woman believed that she was on the show to present breastfeeding knowledge to others. Imagine her complete shock as she came up on the stage, meeting Dr. Phil for the first time, and having just finished watching eight days of her family’s life distorted and manipulated on national Television.

Dr. Phil then worded for her that her, “Problem,” as “How can I get all these kids to stop breastfeeding all the time?” She *never* intended to go on the show on the pretext of having a breastfeeding “Problem.” To watch the episode unfold was totally appalling.

Those of us in the breastfeeding community dropped our jaws in disbelief. The mother was shocked and totally speechless. Dr. Phil never did give her a chance to say, “Hey wait a minute, I don’t have a problem, I am advocating this.” “This is my lifestyle by choice! I am proud of it, and I advocate it for others!”

He also slammed co-sleeping, though he has since backed down a little bit on this. The show was an outrage in the breastfeeding community. Some blamed the mother saying she had done a disservice to the promotion of breastfeeding, and that she should have known better than to believe that she would be anything other than exploited by a TV show.

Special Guest Audience

Others were appalled at Dr. Phil, that he would so blatantly twist this women’s words and who had given eight days of her family’s life to this show, and flown out there to be a guest for him. The show taught me a lot about how these things work. I now have a very healthy skepticism and distrust of the Dr. Phil show. And that, is the knowledge that I had, when I made the decision to attend the Dr. Phil show as a, “Special Guest Audience.”

Though there is nothing wrong with Unschooling, many of us took a little while to truly develop an educated understanding and appreciation of Unschooling. And we were those who *cared* passionately about homeschooling. We were those who read books about homeschooling, who talked to others and passionately studied this decision to make an educated choice.

We were those who had a genuine, non-biased interest in learning about all the richly diverse theories behind the different styles of homeschooling; all the way from Unschooling to School-At-Home. We wanted to learn everything about homeschooling so that we could make the choice that was best suited for our family, whether it was Unschooling, School-At-Home, somewhere in between, or maybe an eclectic mix of the best. What we were NOT doing, was learning about Unschooling in a thirty-second, clearly biased, skewed clip by Dr. Phil.

Where’s the Debate?

Dr. Phil opens the “Great Debate,” episode with news-media coverage of the recent school shootings, and in a grand flourish of the “Great Debate,” he states that more and more families are turning to homeschooling. This episode could very well be mainstream America’s first exposure to a “typical,” homeschooling family.

Perhaps, a very new “Newbie,” is thinking of homeschooling as they watch this show, interested in the wise Dr. Phil’s assessment of homeschooling. While it’s true that the Unschooling family did hold her own very well against, Dr. Phil who relentlessly kept quizzing her with questions such as, “Yes, but don’t you want your child to be prepared to compete in America’s competitive Market?” His choice to use a “Radical Homeschooling Family,” was exploitive, deliberately calculated and controversial.

If he truly wanted to have a “Great Debate,” why not begin the show by first having a knowledgeable, reputable homeschooling advocate explain the many different styles and ways to homeschool, and the theories and benefits of each style, so that the mainstream general audience could develop informed opinions and be appreciative of what they were debating in the first place?

He never, ever, once said, “Teach us about homeschooling.” Or, “Explain to me the different styles of homeschooling.” Instead, he right off, used this extreme, self-proclaimed, “Radical Unschooling Family,” and never explained the basic concepts of homeschooling and all the choices that homeschoolers can make in how they choose to teach their children.

The footage that they used, is nice and pretty to those of us who value happy, well-adjusted, homeschooling children playing, but to mainstream America those children will be perceived as children of permissive parents doing nothing but hanging out.

Stereotypes and Hype

I know that we value play, and why we value play. But mainstream America does not value play the way homeschoolers do, and has many ingrained negative stereotypes about homeschooling. To them, we are Religious Zealots, or Unschooling Hippies, or Over-Permissive, Overly Attached Parents, or Paranoid, Overly-Protective, Control-Freaks, or, perhaps, Just Plain Lazy.

Dr. Phil plays upon every one of these stereotypes in his “Great Debate,” episode. There were so many homeschooling families that Dr. Phil could have chosen to represent homeschoolers, and he deliberately chose the family with the least understood homeschool style to promote his own bias and agenda on homeschooling that day.

The second couple on the show comes on after the Dr. Phil show plays extensive news media coverage of all the recent school shootings. This is a couple that actually isn’t even homeschooling yet! Their kids are about ages three and five. The mom wants to keep her children home solely because of the school shootings, and, of course, Dad is not on board and totally opposed to homeschooling.

How many of us decided to homeschool our children solely because we believe that that our kids will be shot if they attend school? Not many, I bet. Our reasons amount to many, and are richly, deeply complex. But to those who believe that homeschoolers are paranoid, and that the decision to homeschool divides and splinters families; well, those beliefs will be strongly reinforced in this clip.

During this segment, I began to wonder just how much, or how little, Dr. Phil even knew about homeschooling. Dr. Phil never even spent time reconciling this couple; he just dismissed them during the next commercial break. Their purpose served, they were now disposed of.

After that family was ushered off the show, there follows a 30 second bit of a high achieving, high-functioning, homeschooling family whose children have been to visit almost all 50 states. This family does not get to be on stage, but is placed in the audience. They have brought their entire family, including all of their children, one of which is a young girl of about six. The mother does an excellent job of quickly trying to correct some of the misconceptions and myths about homeschooling that one might have after watching this episode thus far, and gives a brief description of different styles of homeschooling to Dr. Phil.

However, Dr. Phil cuts her off, asking her if she thinks that bringing her six year old to the show is, “An Appropriate Decision.” Dr. Phil does not seem nearly as interested in having accurate homeschooling information presented on his show, as he is interested in throwing his “Guest Audience,” off guard by creating confused defensiveness.

This mother actually does a very good job of defending her position, and quickly explains basic homeschooling concepts, but by then, Dr. Phil has moved on. I wonder if that family will actually be shown in the homeschooling episode. Perhaps.

This segment is followed up with an angry schoolteacher. She states that she never wants to see her country led and governed by homeschoolers and unschoolers, and that they could never be future decision makers for her and her country. Excuse me? Like, the present, highly traditional and formally educated administration is doing an outstanding job? But that’s another tangent.

Finally, the episode is concluded by an extremely biased segment from a formerly homeschooled, adult-child who, of course, is traumatized for life by her totally miserable childhood years as a homeschooler. Naturally.

Okay, let’s start with all the things that are wrong with how this episode was handled. Here’s what discourages me the most, and what was the most explosive. It was how the show was taped, how the homeschoolers were treated, and how we were all misled.

Originally, an e-mail made it’s way through the homeschooling communities that Dr. Phil was looking for homeschoolers for his show. Personally, I obviously don’t care for Dr. Phil and disdain him, but my Grandmother loves him. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to go to the Dr. Phil show and make Grandma’s day?” My kids thought this would be a wonderful thing for their Great-Grandma and cheered me on.

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The Bait and Switch

I filled out the on-line application for the Homeschool Episode, which implied that the show was interested in learning of the reasons why families chose to homeschool. After that, I forgot all about it.

A few weeks later, I received several voicemail messages about, “How excited,” they were about my homeschooling child and I, about what I had written to them, (leading one to think they care about what you think and write), and that they were, “Excited to have ‘us’ on the show as, “Special Guest Audience,” (leading one to think that they truly valued us, and that the ‘Special Guest Audience,’ was somehow a step up from the ‘Regular Audience.’)

When I finally returned their calls and reached the person at the Dr. Phil show, they sounded excited and happy that I called. However, their first request was that I not bring anyone, “Under the age of eighteen.”

I was totally confused and baffled that they acted so excited about hearing from homeschoolers for a homeschooling episode, yet that they did not want me to bring my homeschooler! After all, my child is the homeschooler, not I. What do I know about homeschooling? I have never been homeschooled. He is the homeschooler, I just teach him. It seemed to me that the logical thing to do would be to talk to the homeschooling child. But, I was told, “No one under eighteen is allowed.” This was my first clue.

My second clue was when I learned that many in my homeschool community had also applied to the Dr. Phil homeschooling episode, and had been turned down. The Dr. Phil show has a huge audience, surely not that many CA homeschoolers applied. Why were some selected, and not others? Why not everyone? Wouldn’t they want their audience that day to be filled to capacity with homeschoolers who could contribute to this intelligent conversation? One could only assume the audience was already full of homeschoolers.

My close, homeschooling friend, my family, and I arrived on the big day, dressed as the Dr. Phil show had instructed us to dress: “Professional; Preferably in dark colors. Nothing white or beige, and no prints.” We were to be, “Camera Ready.”

We were to arrive at 9:00 a.m., which for us, meant leaving home all dressed up at 7:00 a.m. Since I was allowed to bring two guests, “Over the age of eighteen,” I took my Grandma, and my close friend from our IEAH homeschooling group.

We were to find the Dr. Phil parking lot at Paramount Studios, and check in at Studio 29, as “Special Guest Audience” member. The constant reference of us as, “Special Guest Audience,” and our bright, red, “Special Audience Guest,” tickets led us, in our naivety, to believe that, somehow, as the homeschooling audience, we were special that day and that perhaps our feedback might be desired.

target=”_blank”>Home School Curriculum Planner and Record Keeping System

Homeschool Curriculum Planner and Record Keeping System


In our imaginations, perhaps Dr. Phil would want our opinions and knowledge regarding homeschooling, or maybe a lively, intellectual dialogue would develop in which our experiences were valued and appreciated. Indeed, in the initial phone interview, we were told that we would possibly very well be called upon to speak by Dr. Phil, and were we willing to speak on camera? To their credit, they never verbalized any assumptions to us, and only implications were made.

I did not sleep a wink that night before the Dr. Phil Show, fearing I would oversleep on the big day. We suspected that when we arrived we would see other homeschoolers that we knew. But, sadly, we also knew that other homeschoolers we knew had been turned away from the show.

When we arrived, we looked for our fellow homeschoolers and quickly found them, a small segregated group of guests who were also holding their bright red, “Special Guest Audience Tickets.” Among them were several outstanding, awesome members of the homeschooling community, including the well-respected founders of Excellence In Education, who have been speakers at many of our CHN conferences. We were very happy to see them!

If anyone could give a quick education to Dr. Phil about homeschooling, they surely could with their extensive knowledge. They were well qualified to be the voice of homeschooling for this so-called “Great Debate.” There were other homeschoolers there, as well. One homeschooler was an elderly woman who had driven all the way down from San Jose to appear in the, “Special Guest Audience,” representing homeschoolers. At some point, while waiting in the line, some of the homeschoolers decided to pray together. That’s how important and close to the heart this entire day was for many.

Audience Stuffing

In the meantime, a continuously growing gathering of regular ticket holders was amassing. Furthermore, a huge group of what appeared to be high school students began arriving in ever-increasingly large lots. One of the homeschoolers remarked, in puzzlement, “Those aren’t school children are they? Why in the world would they have school children at a show on homeschooling? This isn’t going to be a *Debate* is it?”

Remember, we don’t actually know what the show is called until we actually enter the studio. Nevertheless, the rapidly increasing, huge crowd of school students was the third sign that we were being misled.

The homeschoolers stood in line, as the hours passed when we were due to arrive, their “Special Guest Audience,” tickets in hand, as the ever growing mob of teenagers amassed. As we stood, literally hundreds more high school students continued to arrive.

Adults Only

I thought this was unusual, since, “No one under the age of eighteen was allowed.” But, I supposed that maybe, since this was L.A., maybe this was a popular field trip attraction. Upon entering the studio, the homeschoolers were spread throughout the audience seating. Prior to the show starting, an audience warmer came out and told jokes to get the audience warmed up and excited about Dr. Phil’s imminent appearance.

It was then that I realized that the huge groups of teenagers were from local high schools from the San Bernardino and Inland Empire Areas, and that these school children had been deliberately and purposefully bussed in specifically for their presence on the Homeschooling Episode.

Ontario Christian High School was represented; San Bernardino High School was there, as well as several other local Inland Empire High Schools.

After the lady who chewed homeschoolers out as the future of her government had spoken, Dr. Phil then did something that clearly indicated why the homeschoolers had been brought to be part of an audience of an episode in which hundreds of high school students had been bussed in: Dr. Phil then asked the audience, “How many of you support Homeschooling and how many of you support sending children to school?”

Well, of course the 10% to 15% of the sparsely spread audience that were passionate homeschoolers proudly raised their hands in support of homeschooling. And when Dr. Phil said, “How many people do not support homeschooling,” all those young high school students that had been unwittingly bussed in specifically for that question in this episode, raised their hands — A forest of “No’s,” against homeschooling.

Although, that was just one brief question in Dr. Phil’s episode, he took no chances. He deliberately rigged that audience to be a few sparsely spread homeschoolers, and an imposing majority of those who were currently in traditional schools.

The viewing audience will not be able to see the audience as being high school children. To the television viewer, they will just be arms in the air opposing homeschooling. This is when I realized why we had been brought in as, “Special Guest Audience.”

The Dr. Phil Show took no chances. They wanted to make sure that they had an audience of 10-15% that would passionately raise their hands in favor of homeschooling, and a guarantee that the entire rest of the audience would be strongly in favor of traditional schooling. They did not want an audience of people who did not care one way or the other, as they might have had with a random, mainstream audience. They needed to have a handpicked audience that would unilaterally, overwhelmingly opposed the homeschooling, *ON* a homeschooling show in which the homeschoolers had been invited, and had come to express their love of homeschooling!

In other words, Dr. Phil preyed upon the passion of homeschoolers, and the boisterous enthusiasm of Senior High School Students to achieve his biased audience representation.

Although those of us in the homeschooling audience were never heard from that day, other than raising our hands, we traveled miles to be on his show. We rose very early, and prayed to be good examples and good testaments to homeschooling. We thought about what we might say to intelligently represent homeschooling and the homeschooling community favorably. We dressed accordingly; perhaps we even bought a new dress or pants. We spent our money on gas, and dedicated our valuable time to Dr. Phil’s show for the day. Perhaps we sacrificed a day of homeschooling, and took time off work.

We certainly left our young ones behind. We did this, because of our passion for homeschooling, and Dr. Phil preyed upon this passion in having us as his audience, so that we could be the flimsy 15% that raised their hands in favor of homeschooling, so that he could have his biased TV show. He preyed upon our cause, our dreams, our passion and our hope. A true predator.

The show is actually only about a half hour long. In between sets, the guests are quickly hurried off stage, and swiftly replaced with new, equally bewildered guests. Between sets, Dr. Phil deliberately goes out of his way to avoid eye contact with the audience, thus avoiding engaging the audience.

Everything is done very fast, and there is so much activity with the cameras that there is no opportunity to ask questions, and no time to verbalize thoughts and ideas. It is most unnerving to witness Dr. Phil’s deliberate disengagement and clearly overt avoidance of the audience. For those who love Dr. Phil, this is not the Dr. Phil that they see on TV.

It is also painfully obvious that the guests are viewing the heavily-edited-out-of-context-video of their families for the first time on the TV show, and quite surprised by the selected footage aired. In addition, the first time that they actually meet and speak with Dr. Phil is right there on the TV show, immediately following the disturbing footage, which just aired of their family. This serves to completely unnerve the guests, and makes it hard for them to gather their thoughts.

When it was over, I left as fast as possible. I didn’t want to be there when the others realized that this was it. Based upon the Breastfeeding Episode, I had known all along that the show would be manipulative, but I still had dreams that homeschoolers would have an opportunity to present educational, enlightening and useful homeschooling information to mainstream America on the Dr. Phil Show.

Our hopes were dashed that day, and I wanted to be out of there. Even I was guilty of fanciful thoughts and hopes. When you leave, you are quickly and firmly ushered out a previously unknown back door, onto a busy, unfamiliar, disorienting side street, no longer on the Paramount Studio Lot, and you are far from your car.

Yes, the episode is scheduled to air on Oct. 27th. Originally, I had been proud to tell my son that we were going to be in Dr. Phil’s Guest Audience, now I have stopped mentioning it and I am hoping he will forget about it. It is not an episode that I can say proudly promotes, advocates and positively represents the homeschooling community, my homeschooling experience with my youngest child, and all that my vibrant, passionate, exciting homeschooling community embraces, dreams of and believes.

In Peace, Love, Kindness And Many Happy Blessings
Thrice-Blessed Mama To Three Amazing Sons

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  • Anonymous says:

    My cousin got kicked out of school for carrying a knife so my aunt homeschools him.Except she just lets him play grand theft auto all day.So I guess its not really homeschool.Mike Z

  • ECKMS says:

    Hi! I am a currently a public schooled student. My English Class is having a debate on homeschooling and I’m on the Pro side (homeschooling is better than public schooling). My group is researching and have had difficulty thinking of questions to “attack” the other group. We have found plenty of statistics that show that homeschoolers are excelling far more than public schoolers. This blog should be made public. The parents here should make a group like MADD (mothers against drunk driving)! If you have any information that might help my group, please email! Thanks!PS: Please email me before March. 13, 2008!!! PPS: Please call me ,ECKMS (these are the initials of my group) and I do not want an account.PPPS(?): Please do not email me after the date. Thank you!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, some of you Homeschoolers with a boat load of bratty kids sure do stick together! spend a little more time with your kids and a little less time online!!!

  • momtoanangel says:

    Wow, it is really sad that things like this happen still to this day. I am not a fan of his show, and I really do not care for biased opinions on things like this. Thanks for sharing! Perhaps others will get a better perspective of what us homeschooling families are really about.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would prefer to not have an account but my name is Brandy. I am from Missoula Montana. I am kind of wondering if anyone can send me in the right direction to good information on homeschooling. I have been considering this for awhile (even before I had children). I have finally decided that it would be best for my child, who is almost six and is in a K/1 class. She is very intellegent and is also very bored in the public school system. I am not trying to bash anyone for the choices they make for their children but I do feel that homeschooling would benefit my child. I taught her how to read and how to add before she ever even went to school (many other things along with that). I would like to see her advance at her intellectual pace instead of her emotional stand point. She has advanced proficiency in almost all areas yet they would like to keep her in kindergarten she truly is BORED!!!! I really don’t know where to begin. I don’t know different types of ways to teach at home and I have never heard of unschooling (still don’t understand what you guys mean by it either). So if someone can give me any information that can send me in the right direction it would truly be appreciated. Thank you Brandy

  • Anonymous says:

    “Azzy wrote… This is going to make my life difficult…I’m an unschooling teenager and my grandmother takes Dr. Phil as gospel.However, people on here, homeschooling isn’t just the way you do it. There are some very conservative Christians on here saying, “Yes, everyone should support our homeschooling methods!” And some liberal atheist/agnostic types saying, “Yes, everyone should support our homeschooling methods!” The whole thing is a personal decision you have to make for yourself.Also, could you stop bashing the public school system and the kids in it? Public education is a brilliant idea, just one being executed badly. My best friend goes to school; she doesn’t swear -no more than my homeschooled friends do- or steal or get drunk or high or have sex or get shot. You’re saying it’s a shame that people only look at the extreme screw-ups and judge homeschooling by it. The same can be said for school.With the media being as sensationalistic as it is, the human race’s desire to be fed an opinion and told what to do is more dangerous than ever. Melodrama sells. If you really want to do your bit to stop it, try not watching the TV you don’t support.”Proof right here that unschooling works…in my opinion, yours was one of the best comments posted, Azzy.Janine (not much of a tv fan either)

  • january29 says:

    Here is my post sent to Dr. Phil’s message board:january29 posted:I had wanted to read through the message board, but it got quite overwhelming. I wasn’t sure I was going to post, but decided to. The only thing that matters is what is in the BEST interest of the individual child. Whether in traditional school, homeschool or unschool, each can have it’s own extremes for the good and bad.My daughter started off in a labortory Kindergarten at an University. Then, she went to public school from first grade through third grade. I volunteered in the schools, was the Box Top Coordinator for the school for 3 years, joined the PTA, in our final year in public school, I was also the PTA president. In our first year in public school, I was invited to join and did join the “A” Team (Achievement Team) which consisted of school administration, teachers and up to 3 parents at the school level and at the district level, included superintendent, administration, teachers and whatever parents were part of the team. Unfortunately, out of an entire district, I was the ONLY parent that showed up all 3 years. There was the occassional parent, but it was extremely rare to see one more than once or twice. The school level group met weekly, then the district level met once a month. At these meetings we discussed concerns and tried to work for solutions to the educational problems at the schools. Also, addressed concerns in regards the State Testing Standards. I enjoyed being a part of the group for 3 years. But, being involved and present in the school and at key meetings, allowed me to see things that the average parent doesn’t get to see and that was disturbing. Teachers that were all giggles and smiles while parents were in the school, but who were screaming at children in their classrooms on a REGULAR basis, making children in grades 1-3, do class work at the lunch table, was unbearable to watch and listen to. Then, watching dedicated, impressive, loving teachers being crushed with red tape, State standards and unnecessary paper work, to the point that they were losing their joy of teaching was heartbreaking. They were losing valuable time that they used to inspire their students, due to having to teach to the test. Preparing children for the all consuming State test, since that is what their federal funds were based on. Watching students in a Kindergarten through Third Grade school, getting physically ill, headaches, trips to school nurse increase, fainting all due to the stress they were under, due to their teachers being stressed out and worried about their jobs. Putting a child between a teacher and her paycheck is not the place a child needs to be. Listening to teachers and administrators question and being confused about State Standards Test, when by law, our children could pass or fail determined only by that test, was very unnerving. I even raised my hand in the meeting and expressed that how could they be so confused at this point, when our children are being held accountable for test results that they themselves were totally in the dark about and that it was not building confidence in me that they had my child’s best interest at heart. The final blow, was our final year of public school, they changed the gifted and talented program, from children being pulled out and being worked with in a group, to just handing them a huge file folder of work to complete before the end of the week, which was in addition to their regular school work. My child who loved, loved, loved school, went to hating school in less than a month. She didn’t want to get up, she didn’t want to go to school and her love of learning started to sink fast. Even the teachers who originally had those gifted classes were in an uproar, by the next year two of them quit, due to the unjust way the district was dealing with the children in the gifted and talented program. So, by the xmas break I had decided to homeschool. If I hadn’t been the president of the PTA, I would have pulled my child out of public school then, but I had to keep my word in regards my post in the PTA and so I finished the year out. So, now we are in our fourth year of homeschooling, last year I was reviewing my decision, and I had run into a teacher from my daughters former school and she asked how we were doing. I said fine and that I was reviewing my decision for the upcoming year and to my surprise, she said, “You didn’t hear this from me, but you are doing the best thing for your daughter. If you can continue homeschooling your doing the best thing, since the gifted kids are not seeing their full potential in the classroom. The teacher’s don’t have the time to work with them.” That was the answer to my question. Today, I have the same attitude I had when I started, “What is in the BEST interest of MY child?” I will continue to homeschool until it is no longer beneficial for my child. About a month ago, we were visiting a friend and her daughter is in 10th grade and had her Chemistry Book. My daughter who is in 8th grade, sat down and started reading the book and was intrigued by it and identified what type of chemist my sister is and the type of work she does and was taking notes on 2 chapters of the book. On the way home, she shared this information with me and asked how we could get a Chemistry Book, because she wanted to continue to study about Chemistry. So even though this decision is not the easiest for me to live, it is the best for my daughter right now. Yes, I miss the private time I had when she was in school. Yes, it was easier to send her off and let someone else try to meet her needs with the challenge of also meeting 29 other students needs. But, was it in my child’s BEST interest? No. So as her parent, I have the responsibility to make sure where she is, is where she NEEDS to be. This cannot be taken lightly. And as for the Socialization argument. It is the responsibility of every parent, whether their children are in traditional school or homeschooled, that they get PROPER socialization. Your child can be unbalanced socially, in either traditional school or homeschool. It is a weak soap box to stand on to discredit homeschooling. The following was a very insightful look at Socialization:No Thank You, We Don’t Believe in Socialization!©2000 Lisa RussellUsed with PermissionI can’t believe I am writing an article about socialization, The word makes my skin crawl. As homeschoolers, we are often accosted by people who assume that since we’re homeschooling, our kids won’t be “socialized.” The word has become such a catch phrase that it has entirely lost any meaning. The first time I heard the word, I was attending a Catholic day school as a first grader. Having been a “reader” for almost 2 years, I found the phonics and reading lessons to be incredibly boring. Luckily the girl behind me felt the same way, and when we were done with our silly little worksheets, we would chat back and forth. I’ve never known two 6 yr. olds who could maintain a quiet conversation, so naturally a ruler-carrying nun interrupted us with a few strong raps on our desk. We were both asked to stay in at recess, and sit quietly in our desks for the entire 25 minutes, because “We are not here to socialize, young ladies.” Those words were repeated over and over throughout my education, by just about every teacher I’ve ever had. If we’re not there to socialize, then why were we there? I learned to read at home. If I finished my work early (which I always did,) could I have gone home? If I were already familiar with the subject matter, would I have been excused from class that day? If schools weren’t made for socializing, then why on earth would anyone assume that homeschoolers were missing out? As a society full of people whose childhood’s were spent waiting anxiously for recess time, and trying desperately to “socialize” with the kids in class; It is often difficult for people to have an image of a child whose social life is NOT based on school buddies. Do you ever remember sitting in class, and wanting desperately to speak to your friend? It’s kind of hard to concentrate on the lessons when you’re bouncing around trying not to talk. Have you ever had a teacher who rearranged the seats every now and then, to prevent talking, splitting up friends and “talking corners.” Were you ever caught passing notes in class? Now- flash forward to “real life.” Imagine the following scenes: Your Employer is auditing the Inter-Office Email system and comes across a personal note between you and a coworker. You are required to stand at the podium in the next sales meeting to read it aloud to your coworkers. The Police knock on your door, and announce that because you and your neighbor have gotten so close, they’re separating you. You must move your home and your belongings to the other side of town, and you may only meet at public places on weekends. You’re sitting at a booth waiting for a coworker to arrive for a scheduled lunch date. Suddenly a member of upper management sits down across from you and demands your credit cards. When your friend arrives, you just order water and claim you’re not hungry, since he stole your lunch money. You’re applying for a job and in an unconventional hiring practice, you are made to line up with other applicants, and wait patiently while representatives from two competing companies take their pick from the lineup. You’re taking your parents out for an anniversary dinner. After you find a table, a waiter tells you that seniors have a separate dining room, lest they “corrupt” the younger members of society. You go to the grocery store only to find that since you are 32 years old you must shop at the store for 32 year olds. It’s 8 miles away and they don’t sell meat because the manager is a vegetarian, but your birthday is coming up and soon you’ll be able to shop at the store for 33 yr. olds. You’d like to learn about Aviation History. You go to the library and check out a book on the subject only to be given a list of “other subjects” that you must read about before you are permitted to check out the aviation book. You’re having a hard time finding what you need in the local department store. The saleslady explains that each item is arranged alphabetically in the store, so instead of having a section for shoes, you will find the men’s shoes in between the maternity clothes and the mirrors. Your Cable Company announces that anyone wishing to watch the Superbowl this year must log on a certain number of hours watching the Discovery Channel before they can be permitted to watch the game. You apply for a job only to be told that this job is for 29 year olds. Since you’re 32, you’ll have to stay with your level. In a group project, your boss decides to pair you up with the person you don’t “click” with. His hope is that you’ll get learn to get along with each other, regardless of how the project turns out. These absurd examples were created to point out how absolutely ridiculous the idea of “socializing” in schools is. Many people had a friend who they stayed friends with all through grammar school- WHY? Because their names were alphabetically similar, and they always ended up in line with each other. As an adult, have you ever made friends with someone simply because your names were similar? How long would such a friendship last and how meaningful would it be, providing you had nothing else in common? People often use the bully as an example of why it’s so important to let kids “socialize” at school. If that’s so important, then the bully needs to go to JAIL after a few months, because self-respecting society simply doesn’t put up with that, nor should my 6 yr. old. Sure, there are crappy people in the world, but the world does a much better job of taking care of these things. A bullying brat in the first grade will still be a bullying brat in the 6th grade. He will still be picking on the same kids year after year after year, unless he moves to a new town. How long would the average adult put up with a bully? Personally, as an adult, I have only come across one grown up bully. I choose not to be around this miserable woman. So do many other people. THAT is real life. If she were a coworker, I would find a different job. If she worked at a business I patronized- not only would I refrain from doing business with that company, I would write a letter to the bully, her manager, the owner and the main office. A kid in a classroom has no way to emotionally protect themselves against such a person. I would never expect my kids to put up with bad treatment from a bully in the name of “toughening them up.” For what? So they can be submissive wimps when they grow up too? So they can “ignore” their miserable bosses and abusive spouses? In real life, if an employer discovered that an employee was harassing the other staff members, that employee could be fired (pending the 90 day evaluation) or relocated. In real life, if you are so dreadfully harassed by a coworker you can seek legal recourse independently. In a classroom, the teacher and other children are often powerless. The idea of learning acceptable social skills in a school is as absurd to me as learning nutrition from a grocery store. As Homeschoolers, the world is our classroom. We interact with people of all ages, sexes and backgrounds. We talk to and learn from everyone who strikes our interest. We use good manners in our home and I’m always pleased when others comment on the manners my children have picked up. I believe good manners to be an important social skill. Respecting common areas is also of value to us. We often carry a grocery bag with us on walks, in case we find trash that needs to be discarded. When we’re waiting at a bus stop, if there is trash on the ground, we make a point to carry it onto the bus and discard of it properly. Once, while waiting at a bus stop- we saw a grown man drop his popsicle wrapper on the ground. He was 2 feet from a trash can- My daughter looked up at me with eyes as big as saucers. I told her (out loud) “It must have blown out of his hand from that little wind, because no-one would throw trash on the ground on purpose. I’m sure when he’s done with his popsicle, he will pick it up and throw it away correctly- otherwise, we can take care of it so we don’t have an ugly world.” He did pick it up, rather sheepishly. I can’t imagine expecting my children to have a respect for the cleanliness of common areas in an environment where bathroom walls are covered in graffiti and trees are scratched with symbols of “love” of all things. Another social skill we strive to teach our children is that all people are created equal. I can’t imagine doing that in an environment where physically disadvantaged children are segregated into a “special” classroom. Or even children who speak a different language at home. They are segregated and forced to learn English, while never acknowledging the unique culture they were raised in, and not enabling the other students to learn FROM them. Learning, in school, comes from the books and teachers. We will learn Spanish from a BOOK, not from a Spanish-speaking student; and not until 7th grade. I have never felt it would be beneficial to stick my 6-yr. old in a room full of other 6-yr. olds. I believe God created a world full of people of all ages and sexes to insure that the younger ones and older ones learn from each other. A few years ago, we were living thousands of miles from any older family members, so I brought my kids (then 5 and 2) to an assisted living facility, so they could interact with the elderly. Staff members told us that many of the older people would wake up every day and ask if we would be visiting soon. We always went on Wednesdays. My daughters learned some old show tunes while one of the men played piano, and the others would sing along. If I didn’t have to chase my 2-yr. old around, I would have had plenty of women ready to share the art of crocheting with me (something I’ve always wanted to learn.) If a friend was too sick to come out of their room during our visit, we would often spend a few minutes in their room. I always let them give the kids whatever cookies they had baked for them, and I ended up cleaning a few of the apartments while we visited, simply because I would have done the same for my own Grandmother. Every room had pictures from my kids posted on their refrigerators. We called this “Visiting the Grandmas and Grandpas” and my daughters both (almost 2 years later) have fond memories of our visits. I’m sure that if we were still visiting there, my unborn child would have a thousand handmade blankets and booties to keep him warm all winter. I don’t remember any such experiences in my entire School life, although I do remember being a bit afraid of old people if they were too wrinkly or weak looking. I never really knew anyone over 60. I never sped down the hall on someone’s wheelchair lap, squealing as we popped wheelies and screeched around corners. I never got to hear stories about what life was like before indoor plumbing and electricity, from the point of view of a woman with Alzheimer’s, who might believe she was still 5 years old, talking with my daughter as if she were a friend. I never got to help a 90 yr. old woman keep her arm steady while she painted a picture. And I never watched a room full of “grandma’s” waiting for me by the window, because we were 15 minutes late. On a recent visit to an Art Gallery, we noticed a man walking back and forth, carrying framed artwork from his old pickup truck. I asked my 6 yr. old if she thought he might be the artist. We both agreed that was a possibility, and after a little pep-talk to overcome her stage fright, she approached him and asked. He was the artist, and he was bringing in his work to be evaluated by the curator. We all sat down and he explained some of his techniques and listened to her opinions about which piece she liked best. He told about how he enjoyed art when he was 6 and would “sell” pictures to family and friends. He recounted how he felt while creating a few of the pieces, and how each one has special meaning to him. He even let her know how nervous he was to show them to the curator and how he hoped she found them as interesting as we did. As he was called into the office, a group of thirty-four 3rd graders filed past, ever so quietly, while their teacher explained each piece on the walls. The children were so quiet and well behaved. They didn’t seem to mind moving on from one picture to the next (The problem with homeschoolers is they tend to linger on things they enjoy). They didn’t seem to have any questions or comments (Maybe they’ll discuss that later in class). And they never got a chance to meet the gentleman in the pickup truck. I hope my kids aren’t missing out on any “socialization.” Lisa Russell; A Gen X homeschooling mom, writer, wife, daydreamer, U.S. traveler, hiker, poet, artist, web designer, and whatever else suits the moment. (Heretofore, Lisa Russell could be contacted at: or: however, these addresses are no longer current and we’ve lost touch with Ms. Russell since she gave me permission to post this article. If you have current contact information for Ms. Russell, please let her know we’d like to update these links. Thanks–Kay Brooks, webmistress of )It is sad that people have to attack something they have little information about and that it is not necessarily accurate information at that. Hopefully, that can change.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you Russell for your comments. It makes sense when you look at it from the standpoint of the Bible. Ephesians 6:12 states, “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities,…against rulers of the darkness of this age…We need not focus our energies on the negative that happens all around us, but on the good. And there are lots of good that happens in our world amid the bad. The many stories you hear about hungry people being fed who would otherwise go hungry. Let’s spend our time on this earth doing good, by making our corner of the world a better place.

  • Lostcheerio says:

    Thanks for that great report on what happened during the taping. I actually thought that the show was saved utterly by the articulate thoughtfulness of that radical unschooling mom. To me it seemed like halfway through the show Dr. Phil gave up on trying to make her look stupid, and she did have adequate time to speak her mind. I think she did a fantastic job in a very difficult situation, and represented us with great poise. Who is she? I want to visit her blog. ;D

  • Suzanne says:

    Russell Hansberry, most excellent post.Suzanne, SC homeschooling mom of two daughters and two adult public-schooled sons.

  • Karen says:

    The show aired on November 24th – I hope some of you were able to catch it!

  • Jenny says:

    Wow. Thank you for your wonderful post. I had no idea Dr Phil’s show was set up that way. I am now an EBF’er, but was not when he covered it a few years back so I was completely unaware! I now have 2 children who, at their early ages, look like they are already ahead of the curve. My husband and I have NO intention of allowing them to go to public school. Why slow them down? We are still doing all of our research on the different methods, but also are aware that we need to be open to each child’s individual needs as far as learning is concerned. Thank you for at least attempting to educate the public on something so important, even if it did not turn out as you intended. Saddly, I missed the program today and only became aware of it after it aired. I will have to see it in reruns.Thank you again!

  • Russell Hansberry says:

    My message for the Christian homeschoolers, this. I know that many homeschoolers are Christian. I will try to address my remarks to both the Christian and secular audiences, sometimes together and sometimes separately.The general public tends to think of television as a place to go for information and entertainment. The problem with this self promoted view is that it implies that the information on television is true and unbiased and the entertainment on television is only harmless entertainment. Television shows cost a lot of money and it has to come from somewhere. It comes from advertisers or sponsors who want some of the air time to push their agenda which they hope will make for them more money for them than it costs them. Any show that cannot draw viewers will become an historical footnore. Television is not about having the most accurate information or about being the best entertainment. Rather it is about money paid for viewers.So if television is all about money, where does it get so much credibility? In a word, repetition. When we hear a message the first time, we may critically consider it. When we hear it over and over again we beging to think that maybe there is something to it. As the message continues to be repeated, we come to believe that many other people think that way and such thinking becomes generally acceptable to us. If we continue to hear the message over and over it eventually becomes the norm. Eventually, we see no problem accepting that norm for ourselves.Take a look at television advertising. Have you seen any advertisements that tell you that you deserve ______ (fill in the blank) and you can have it now. This is the thrust of the credit card industry advertising. I don’t know the exact figures but I think the average family credit card debt is on the high side of $25,000. The money a family should spend on themselves goes to credit card interest. Somewhere there was some smoke and mirrors between the advertising claim that you could have it now and the reality that you are working for the credit card company. But my point is simply this, a message such as “You deserve it now”, has a sequence of steps it takes that goes from disbelief to wholeharted embrace through repeated exposures to the same message. It has nothing to do with truth or even half truth, it has to do with repetition. As much as television portrays itself as all about your needs, it is rather all about exploiting you and, if you will let them, your children as well. The average school age child spends more hours in front of the television set during the year than in school, being programed to be exploited.My message for the Christian homeschoolers, this. There are many bad things television teaches us today through repetition. Sex outside of marriage is normal, violence is normal, families divided are normal, romantic love produces endless bliss, marriage is a temporary convenience, lying and cheating are expected and OK, you can make yourself bigger by putting others down, and much more. Especially bad is the lack of responsibility to discuss consequences for behaviors. Once the television is done establishing in our minds what is normal, society legislates accordingly. So we only have to look to public schools to see what happens when children have no serious consequences for their behavior. You are doing nobody any favors by teaching irresponsibility which is what is taught by words and example on television and in schools.The problem for Christians is two fold. Not only does television exploit but it’s messages conflict with the teachings of the Bible. You will not find many spiritual giants watching soap operas where lying, cheating and extra marital sex are the norm. You cannot take in polution and walk away unaffected. You cannot serve God and Satan. Here is my question. Does Doctor Phil make you upset or angry? The Bible says do not be anxious about anything… Does that tell you something? It should. We need to put our focus on God where it belongs. Doctor Phil is not God, he is a distraction for us. As long as Satan has your focus on Doctor Phil, he has you where he wants you. Your energies and focus are no longer working for God.So, Christian, what should you do about Doctor Phil? I suggest you ignore him and keep your focus solely on God. Do you think you can overcome sin? Maybe poverty next? Even Jesus did not cure all the sick, forgive all sinners, and take away all poverty. God has plans for each of us and He entrusts us with things such as our family, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, and his money. So I ask you, how are you doing? Are you the good and trustworthy servant that multiplies what God has entrusted with you or are you derailed and focused elsewhere? If you think you are called to do battle with Dr. Phil, I suggest first you refocus on God and spend some time in prayer and in your Bible. See if it is God or Satan calling you into battle. You can only win if it is God and you can only loose if it is Satan.My message for the secular homeschoolers, is this. You cannot expect to affect television in any way short of economic. If the good Doctor Phil is stepping on your toes and you think that is wrong, the only way to fight back is economically. He gets tons of mail from people and I am sure he uses it to guage what makes for good controversies that will draw in viewers. He has correctly guaged that there are more people with a vested interest in traditional schools than in home schooling. He would love to make the public schoolers part of his viewing audience when he airs this show. It will increase his ratings all the way to the bank. With enough controversy, people will tune in to see what all the hoopla is about. I personally think you are tilting windmills by writing to him. I think the best you can expect is an opportunity to set the record straight on his show and shame on you if you accept it because he has already shown you his colors. You would do better to address yourselves to the sponsors. However being older and hopefully wiser than most of the homeschool crowd, I recommend picking battles you think you can win.Now if this seems to take some of the air out of your sails and you are feeling even more angry and helpless than before, it is probably time for you to have a good chat with one of your Christian homeschooler friends that is coping better than you are and ask them how they do it. You will probably get to know them much better and you might pick up something helpful.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dr. Phil Confession-5 years ago, I took my then 10 year old son to a book-signing and talk with Dr. Phil. In his talk, Dr. Phil told two stories of being horribly let down by adults. Guess who? Both were his teachers! How ironic. He said those experiences taught him never to trust an adult, and that he had to look out for himself.Kanihomeschool mom, former teacher

  • Ariannah Armstrong says:

    My comment here is but a drop in the vast sea of very good ones, but I thank you for the opportunity to comment.We’re unschoolers. Two of our children were previous school students and two of ours have never been to school. We are thriving, functioning, and as a family growing together and providing the tools needed for every step of their future, whether the future is 5 minutes from now or 10 years from now or beyond.We don’t watch much tv, as we don’t have a lot of TV access, and our children were very interested to watch this show. They were not surprised that ignorant assumptions abound with regard to what unschooling is (it’s just LIFE), as they’ve encountered those opinions before.People seem to not understand that which is unfamiliar to them. School is a long-term unquestioned default. To stray from the default is seen as unthinkable.I applaud the way the radical unschooling family held her own, presented the truth and advocated respectful parenting, despite the clear opposition from other audience members and guests.

  • Serenity Now! says:

    I think I’m smart enough to know that a “radical unschooling” family is probably pretty different from your typical homeschooling family. The show was not on homeschooling. Doesn’t anyone get that the Dr. Phil show isn’t, and never will be unbiased? It’s the Dr. Phil Show. All about Dr. Phil’s point of view. When I get the Heather Show… it will be all about my biased point of view as well!I don’t think he’s ever said he’s unbiased. He even said on this show that he was very biased… several times he referenced his own experiences and stated that they defined his bias.

  • Dana says:

    Being marginalized by Dr. Phil is perhaps the best endorsement for home schooling yet!

  • Anonymous says:

    I watched a span of shows for Dr. Phil. The one’s in the beginning are those that it is said, “Close captioning provided by….”Head OnLending TreeSimply SalineGeicoLumineers by Cerinate (877-586-4633)Egglands BestMerry MaidsLil’Critters – Gummy BitesThese are companies that advertise frequently on the show:Raymour & Flanigan FurnitureMealeys Furniture (Oxford Valley, Pa and Moorestown, NJ)ThomasvilleSealyStanley SteemerValue CityForrest TheatreNiveaStaplesDoveDannon – ActiviaFriendly’s RestrauntPaRenFaire.comLunestaCymbalta – Lilly Pharmacutical1-800-4mychildCNS Research Inst. – Zyprexa Study 888-895-3821The Pier at Caesars.comFox Chase Cancer Center( MarketsFisher PriceFilenes Basement Thomas’ English MuffinsOreckEmpire TodayBreathe Right StripsPlaytex 18 Hr.Nutra NailFolgersBoscov’sTargetBenadryl and Benadryl DPhila. Museum of ArtColumbia PicturesTouchstone PicturesJerry Bruckheimer Prod.DreamWorksWalt DisneyImagineUniversal TriStarBuena Vista Prod.Warner Bros.Total RewardsBuy Owner.comRed LobsterWalt Disney ParksKeri LotionOlay RossHome GoodsBurlington Coat FactoryPetcoPeto BismolScott Honda West Chester, PAKelloggsOrbitzDo It Yourself NetworkLowerMyBills.comIAMS Dog foodPepcidLeap Frog – LMAXCheveroletCharmin Ultra”Everyone Loves Raymond” DVDThe Phila. Chamber Music Society at the Pearlman Theatre at the Kimmel CenterOasisGMSuzukiJersey Cash 5 LotterySelsun Blue SalonCampbellsSoft ScrubKleenexDownyCesar Dog FoodSaturnFiber ChoicePillsburyThe Jewelry ExchangeOskar Huber FurnitureCircuit CityJohnson’sCountry CrockThe DumpBuickWendy’sSkechersHormelDependsSingular – Merck LabReynoldsSudden Change.comWeight WatchersMarshallsKMart-CraftsmanGoodnitesUniv. of PA Health SystemPizza HutSunsweetLand O LakesTideMM Candy’sKimmel & Silverman Attny.LancomeLA Weight LossSara LeeNintendo DSCITI Credit CardPerdueAll State InsurancePearl VisionParker Bros. GamesQuit AssistFull Spectrum RemodelingNoble Smile Dentist http://www.noblesmile.tvHope this helps out those who wanted to know who sponsers the show.

  • Anonymous says:

    Regarding the comment given by Mrs. Janet Gernand, I applaud your choice in exercising your God-given right to home-educate your children! I’m one of those liberals contributing to the “fall of society”…and a homeschooling mother of three children. Thank Goddess for the wonderful freedom given by our country that you and I are able to openly discuss our mutualities on this forum! I especially appreciate the letter you forwarded to Dr. Phil and its benefit to all home-educators, regardless of their religious background. I pray that you did a spell check before sending it.Bright Blessings, Tanya Latulippe

  • Anonymous says:

    I had the same problem as the above poster trying to get even quotes from this site on their message boards. They really want to protect McGraw’s reputation. I guess they can’t stop folks sending out individual personal emails. I also sent out a general email to just about anyone in my address book informing them about the upcoming show with links to these blog posts. Since they haven’t been able to control the internet yet – let’s blitz America!

  • Kimberly says:

    “Dr. Phil only makes money if people believe that they are victims. And the breastfeeding and homeschooling communities tend not to be victims.”True, it’s the people who are offended by breastfeeding, and the people who are scared of “undereducated”, “religous fanatic” homeshooled children growing up to run our country who are perceived to be the ‘victims’. Kimberly

  • Anonymous says:

    When the Phil show came out I watched it to see what his first couple show were going to be like. I knew at first I didn’t like the guy at all. He’s no Dr. He is destroying lives all over America. I did a survey about his show and how I like him and his show. I told them I didn’t like him at all. I would rather watch nothing at all if I had to watch his show. He is a complete jerk. My mother in law likes any talk show she can watch. Because of him she has stopped going to church and thinks he is the smartest man on earth. What does she know she didn’t even finish high school. I think there should be a petition to get him off the air asap. Every show I have ever watched him do has been horrible. I don’t even watch talk shows any more. Something should be done to cancel his show. I think the president should have all talk shows taken off the air.

  • Lloyd Cross says:

    Phil Springer Mc Graw should be watching the Discovery Channel…They have had two great programs on peoples lives who home school…Even the AARP news letter tells of grandparents homeschooling thier grandchildren and how rewarding it is. Grandparent

  • Anonymous says:

    Ironically, Dr. Phil’s show is blocking any and all attempts to post a link or trackback to this site from their messageboard on the “Great School Debate”.Debate it is not. Ambush is more like it.

  • Ree says:

    I chose to homeschool after working in the public school system as a para and attendant care. My husband also worked as a teacher in the high school.Teachers have way too much responsibilty for children. How can one person possibly get 30 children, from different home lives and backgrounds, to learn at the same pace?? I worked in SpEd, where the percentage was about 30% of the whole elementary population!I witnessed 5th graders talking about sex in the bathroom, children with no empathy for those less fortunate than themselves…I saw so many sad children and so many children who thought that they were only as important as the labels they wore in their clothing!My oldest child had surpassed kindergarten by the time he was to enter it. My mom said to me, “Oh, I can’t wait for C to enter kindergarten. Just think of all the name brand clothes we can get him!” I did not want my child to be the child who could only think about money, name-brand clothing, and putting other children down because they weren’t from the upperclass families of our town.My family did not agree with my decision to homeschool. I decided on numerous factors, but it all boiled down to giving the best education and moral values. We only have one school option in our town and it was not up to my standards of education.We are blessed with a large homeschooling community and it is pretty common in Kansas, and quickly becoming more understood.When my third son was born, I suffered from post partum depression. We chose to send my oldest to public school for the year. They placed him by what he already knew. They tested him and advanced him a grade. He went into 2nd grade at 6 years old. This was a huge mistake on my part because I had agreed to it. He was not socially ready for 2nd grade public schoolers. He had plenty of 1st grade friends from preschool that he continued to visit with afterschool and on weekends and they were so much more connected. He asked to be removed from public school by Thanksgiving, but persevered until Christmas.It was not the teacher (whom he loved and still talks about, she cried when he left) it was the grinding environment. It was kids refusing to be his friend because he didn’t have Pokemon cards, then because he wouldn’t give them his Pokemon cards. It was the 3 hours of homework in the evenings, leaving him no time for ouside play. He would get up at 7 am, go to school, do more school (homework) when he got home, have an hour to get showered and into bed by 8 in order to do the whole thing over the next day!I went to public school, a wonderful public school, but schools have changed. I never got homework until 6th grade! And we were so excited to get it! 🙂 More importantly families and their values have changed. When I went to elementary school (I’m 30) it was devestating to be sent to the principals office! Our school did not use corporal punishment. Not many children were sent to the principals office, but it was never labeled as “cool” to be the “bad kid”.The one semester my child attended at the public school, turned my families opinions around. They saw a completely different kid. He was quickly picking up the smart-alec comments and sarcasm from his classmates. All of whom are perfectly fine children in a one-on-one setting! We’ve had plenty of them over and he’s gone to their houses without any problem. But children in numbers are brutal. The fact is, how can we expect 6 year olds to have a great foundation in which to ward off the bad influences? That cannot be expected until they are older and more aware of the differences between right and wrong, without a doubt. In fact, whomever thought it was a good idea to put a bunch of children, the same age, in a room to let them teach each other about socialization, must have been a real scholar! My child is 7 and in 3rd grade now, homeschooled. He knows everything his public school friends know educationally and then some! If he wants to learn more about the nomads, egyptian pyramids, or vikings than what the unit covers, we have the option of taking more time out to learn about them!He also knows things that his public school friends do not know: that it isn’t right to call a friend an “idiot” just because you’re mad, how to play physical activities outside, how to socialize with children his age, children younger than him, children older than him. He has empathy for someone crying. He knows how to shake someones hand. He knows to hold the door open for people coming in behind him, how to offer assistance to the elderly, how to offer assistance in cleaning up his messes when he is at someone elses house as well as his own. He knows so many “other” things that he wouldn’t learn at school but are so essential to socializing in the “real” world. He knows his schoolwork is important, not just something the teacher is giving him to make him miserable! ;)When I graduated high school, I felt very odd. I went to college and was in a class mixed with people much older than I. I went to work with people of all different ages. One day, I thought, “Never again will I be in one place with a bunch of people my age!” Frankly, it was scary to me and I missed school badly, there was no turning back. School is *not* the *real world*…life is.One of the things we’ve enjoyed doing is a lemonade stand, where my son learned to count back change! When I was in school we had a lemonade stand computer program which was super-fun! But what better way to learn than to actually DO it?? We also love to cook, doubling and even tripling recipes for our large, 7 member household. My son is learning how to add fractions with real life experience! How many times in public school do kids complain about “when are they ever going to use this in real life?!”. We don’t just talk about how a seed becomes a plant, we grow one and observe it each day! Homeschooling is wonderful and natural. Whoever said that parents are no longer qualified once their children reach the age of 5? Homeschooling can be very challenging, especially in my household of children aged 7, 4, 2, 1, and 8 months. My choice to homeschool gives me so much more time with my children. We only have them once, right?Whether we choose to homeschool or not, every good parent has their children’s best interests at heart, and the decision is not right for everyone. I know many parents who can only handle their children for the 3-4 hours in the evenings and can’t wait for the summer months to be over! I’m just not one of them. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    My name is Cynthia.I just looked at Dr. Phil’s website and the “Great School Debate” is scheduled for Friday, 11/24.I am a homeschooling mom and we use prepared curriculum. You can either be a slave to prepared curriculum or you can use it in a way that fits your family’s needs. (I’ve done both.) What using a “boxed” curriculum does for me is allows me to have more time and energy to develop relationships with my children and to focus on character development. Academics are important but there is so much more to homeschooling than that. I have no problem with unschooling if the choices they have are educational. I know for my children, if left to themselves completely they wouldn’t engage in anything education except perhaps reading.

  • Karen_Alabama says:

    The comments here against homeschooling are those of a socialist society. The government would like nothing more than to brainwash the parents of children in government schools and to socialize them they way they want them to believe and act. So, I guess we could say the government has suceeded to some extent and those that are not open to freedom of choices are now living and subcumbed to a socialist society. Be careful…socialism is very dangerous!Karen WhiteA Proud mom to 3 beautiful, articulate, athletic, home educated children!!!

  • Annette M. Hall says:

    Posted by Kay on Wednesday, October 25, 2006 10:49:52 AM – deleted to fix a link that wasn’t wrapping.I am still busy searching for who sponsors the show. I hope it doesn’t air. I do not think our planet needs divisivness as much as it needs peace and understanding. Educating others who are obviously ignorant of the reality of the need for reform in education in this country can help. I was a bit surprised to see this link to an event that Dr. Phil and his wife attended last night. It seems so contrary to me to know his lack of understanding involved in regard to homeschooling families. I believe all homeschooling moms and dads deserve an award for their commitment to putting their children’s needs often ahead of their own. All the homeschooling moms and dads I have known have made a life of living with passion and purpose and creating the opportunity for their children to do so as well. Kudos to all homeschoolers! Bravo and thank you for paving the road ahead for us.

  • Trish, Comic Mom says:

    A few years ago, I would have been shocked by this event. Dr. Phil’s show actually contacted me for the breastfeeding show, but when the producers found out that I’d had no “major press coverage,” for not being allowed to perform at a Hollywood comedy club when I was breastfeeding my then three-month-old, they dropped me like a piece of bacon dripping in hot grease.Since that time, I’ve provided myself with a real education in mainstream media. It’s not about homeschooling and it’s not about breastfeeding. Why? I don’t mean to sound tin-foil-hattish here, but I’ll be honest: The money is not in breastfeeding and homeschooling. I live in Los Angeles, where a private kindergarten can cost more than $20,000 per year. Government schools rake in the money merely for having students sit in seats. Breastfeeding my three sons has saved me lots of money in formula, but the only money I’ve spent has been on nursing bras and nursing attire. Mainstream media would villify me in a heartbeat.Why? Have you counted the number of pharmaceutical ads during Dr. Phil’s illustrious counseling session with America? Have you looked in your local “Parade” magazine to count the number of pharmaceutical ads? When I went for a Barbie Beauty Day at my hair salon the other day, I lost count of the number of pharmaceutical ads that I saw while perusing “Good Housekeeping.” And then I read an article that scared me about breast cancer, but mentioned nothing about how breastfeeding can lower your chance of breast cancer.Frankly, I’m quite sick of mainstream media. Tonight, I listented to National Propaganda Radio for a few minutes on the way home from an educational trip to Legoland; then my husband and I could stand it no longer and we listened to the classic rock of KLOS. Dr. Phil only makes money if people believe that they are victims. And the breastfeeding and homeschooling communities tend not to be victims.

  • Elise says:

    I am a mother of 3 children, 14, 11, and 4. I have decided to homeschool my 4 year old. I have started pre-k with him. I’m not a radical or religious. I am just a mom who wants to keep my child home and not expose him to the terrible stuff that happens in school every day. Do I know what happens there? You bet. I worked there. In the elementary and the high school. Kids having sex or smoking pot and cigarettes in the bathroom. Kids offering other kids drugs. It is sick. My 14 year old used to be happy and sweet. Now I don’t know him. He has changed so much. At home I have the choice who my child hangs out with and I have the choice of how much he needs to learn. If he knows the subject, we move on. If he doesn’t then we work on it more. I don’t have to worry about bullies or bad teachers. We can decide what is best here. Dr. Phil needs to educate himself about homeschooling for real. I bet my child won’t be out pushing heroine in his veins when he gets older. As for my 14 year old goes we are discussing what to do with him. He may be staying home too. We live in a small community and many parents are choosing to homeschool. Are we all wrong? Education is the most important thing you can offer a child and as a parent I learn a thing or two from them. Why not do it right and do it at their pace whether they have special needs or they excel. It’s your right.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have to say to Jennifer. I have children in, and out, of the system. I will admit bashing another person (in this case ps) is probably not the greatest thing to do, but after being lied to so much by the system I have become very leary of it. I know there are individual teachers that mean well and care about the children, but, unfortunately, too many (adminstrators, ect).claim to be in it for the children, but only care about the money. I should know my sister is being screwed over in her job by the system because she’s ‘too effective’ (uh???? It’s a sin to teach???) As far as the topic of Dr. Phil, never did trust the man and even the thought of a show by him on homeschooling is not appealing. I am opting to do to his show what I do with the rest that claim to ‘show’ homeschooling..skip it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was so appalled after reading this! Here is the email I sent:To whom it may concern,I am a frequent watcher of Dr. Phil, and a reader of his books. I was most disturbed, though, to learn of his upcoming show about homeschooling vs. public education which is scheduled to air the day after Thanksgiving. With all of the homeschooling choices available to a family, why was such an extreme and uncommon option chosen to represent us? Unschoolers are considered radical even in the homeschooling community. I don’t disagree with including them in a discussion, but certainly they should not be represented as mainstream. Where was the balance? Were the parents of the Spelling Bee winners not available? Or parents of successful college graduates? Homeschoolers regularly score better on standardized tests than public schooled children, despite having the averages of those who are homeschooled due to disabilities averaged in. Why did the show have to be set up to make us look like fools? My children can write their names in hyroglyphs and are grades ahead in math, AND THEY ARE NOT UNIQUE. We are not just letting them sleep in and play video games all day. What we provide is a viable (and in my opinion, superior) education when compared with the public school system. I have read that you would not allow any homeschooled children be a part of your audience, while you bused in public high school students. Perhaps you knew that this was not really as much a debate as it was a smack-down. I also read that you misled those homeschoolers who were invited to be a part of the audience as to what type of show they were participating in. I was shocked to read all of this about the show, and disappointed. I will watch for the show on Friday, and if it airs and it is as biased and misleading as I have heard it to be, it will be the last Dr. Phil show I ever watch. I am only one, I realize, but I intend to be taking notes of those who advertise and they will also hear about how unfair this show is to the mainstream homeschooling community. And I will become a loud and passionate denouncer of all things Dr. Phil on every message board, email, play group and dinner party that I participate in. It is my sincere hope that you will reconsider airing such a biased and unfair show. I hope that I can remain a Dr. Phil fan. — Ranae Jones

  • Tammy says:

    I am a new homeschooling mother with 5 children aged 19 y.o. to 20 months. Only one of those children is homeschooled-the oldest has graduated and is in the U.S. Navy and I have two public highschoolers. While homeschooling is not what I would have ever envisioned for myself or any of my children-I am excited and happy about the new adventure our family has embarked upon! Our local public school system has gone downhill for many years and moving or private school is not an option just yet. We spend hours each week just undoing all the “wrong” education our boys get from their public school. They paint a gloomy picture but they do have good points, too. Our entire family agreed that homeschooling the two youngest ones was the best way to go. I have a 7 year old and a 17 year old both taking astronomy right now-the 17 year old is actually learning from the 7 year old in most cases and I typically send the 17 year old back to school with questions or resources for his astronomy teacher who is then stunned at all this “new” and “exciting” information we provide him….I just chuckle. After a rough year last year with our middle-school son, we had a conference with his teachers and the admin where we mentioned homeschooling as a viable option. They came unglued! But the ONLY MAJOR reason they were upset was that our son was one of the most popular kids in school and a role model-they were very worried that he would lose all his friends (they didn’t bring up any reasons academically!). When I asked if any of them had even stepped one foot on the high school campus during school hours, none of them could give an affirmative reply. I then calmly asked them to either look into the highschool environment themselves or stop recommending it to students.Everyone has personal reasons for the type of education they provide their own children-whether it is public or private or homeschooled. What we are doing is raising adults to be good, moral, civil, concientious citizens in whatever society they eventually end up in. We all have to ask ourselves daily “am I doing the ablsolute BEST for my children” and we need to be willing to defend that decision whenever the need arises.

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