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Florida judge sends homeschooled kids to public school based on “gut feeling”

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Socialization is a hot topic among homeschoolers and those who oppose homeschooling. Unfortunately, individuals unfamiliar with homeschools think that the kids never talk or meet people outside the immediate family. Homeschoolers are constantly challenged with this myth by school officials, court personnel, and well meaning relatives. The Tampa Bay Times reported on Dec. 2, 2013, a story on this very topic. A mother is being forced to send her children to public school because a court appointed guardian ad litem has a “gut feeling” that the children would be better off with public school socialization.

Theresa Cano homeschools her children. At least she did until a court appointed guardian ad litem butted in. She is in a custody battle with her ex-husband, Alejandro Cano over the children. Homeschooling was not an issue in front of the court and it was not part of the custody battle. Both parents feel that homeschooling the children is acceptable. A child psychologist has confirmed that the children are well adjusted and a performing well academically. Nothing in front of the court suggests educational neglect or truancy by either parent.

Along comes a court appointed ad litem who is obviously anti-homeschool and does not understand that homeschoolers frequently participate in their community through church, scouts, 4H, parks and recreation, and homeschool parks days and outings. The Examiner article, Homeschool and Socialization, highlights studies that prove homeschooled children are actually better socialized than their traditionally schooled peers.

The ordering of the Cano children into public school by a Florida judge has caught the attention of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA). This organization is the same one that has defended the Romeike family. If the decision to send the Cano kids to public school is upheld, it will change Florida homeschooling law and it sets a dangerous precedence that all homeschoolers should be aware of. The right to homeschool should not be subject to whims of the uninformed. In this case, there is no law on the Florida books that gives the court the right to do this in absence of any detriment to the children. Theresa Cano should be allowed to homeschool her children, according to the experts, she is doing a good job. The HSLDA recently filed and Amicus brief with the Florida Third District Court if defense of the Cano family.

Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 15 years and has 2 children in homeschool. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s G-d given right. Lynda writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.

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