Local News

Death investigations prompt homeschooling recommendations

Posted June 16, 2008

— A state task force that reviewed the death of a 4-year-old boy at the hands of his adoptive mother recommended more oversight for children taught at home.

The Department of Social Services report on Sean Paddock's death was released last week, hours after the boy's adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock, was convicted of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in his February 2006 death.

The report called for more state monitoring of home schools, including having medical examiners track the school status of children who die under suspicious circumstances.

The six surviving Paddock children testified during the three-week trial that Lynn Paddock homeschooled them after the family moved to Smithfield in 2001, but that the instruction gradually devolved into reading the Bible and copying scripture passages. Several of the children, who have moved to new families, are now a grade or two behind their peers.

More than 68,700 students were homeschooled in 2006-07 in 36,068 schools registered with the state Division of Non-Public Education.

The state requires homeschooled students to take annual tests, but the results don't have to be turned in and aren't tracked by the state. The five-person staff of the Division of Non-Public Instruction doesn't have the resources to maintain those records, officials said.

The state has the right to inspect home schools, and records show that 362 inspections were conducted in the past year – about 1 percent of the home schools registered in the state.

Lynn Paddock did little more than register her home school with the state, according to testimony.

The same day the Paddock was convicted, 13-year-old Tyler McMillan died after being tied to a tree for 18 hours by his father. The family homeschooled the teen and his siblings, according to authorities.

Home-school parents said the two deaths are tragic but shouldn't result in more regulation.

"I really don't think that more government intervention in the world would've stopped (the deaths)," homeschooler Kristie Bloem said. "The vast majority of home schools have careful, loving parents who are dedicated to their children's future."


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  • jlriesbeck Jun 20, 2008

    I understand WRAL has right to report that a task force formed recommended more state monitoring of homeschools. As a previous homeschooler the way homeschooling is presented is not fair to those who are successfully homeschooled. The yearly tests pointed out, parents have to keep record. At any time the state can come to inspect the teaching of the children. Records include attendance record that had to proving that instruction took place on at least 120 days. The yearly tests the state require are national standardized tests, the keyword being national. The state EOC tests are not national standardized tests. This article insinuates that homeschoolers do not receive a fair and adequate education.

    Articles like this give homeschooling a negative connotation, it is no wonder that families who homeschool come under scrutiny. WRAL has only perpetuated the idea that children should be taught in public schools and that homeschooling is neither a wise idea or safe.

  • Jackieann Jun 19, 2008

    Is the rate of child abuse and/or unexplained death higher for homeschooled children or for children attending public schools?

    Unless this is proven the state should leave homeschoolers alone! Why not randomly inspect the homes of publicly schooled children? I'm sure some teachers would like to see some of their student's homes inspected.

    I do not homeschool my special needs children, but it is none of the state's business if I choose to do so in the future.

  • walker8988 Jun 18, 2008

    I hope everyone has taken the time to read the DSS review. The Department and Social Services and the adoption agency failed this little boy over and over again. What I can’t understand is Kelcey Carlson reading this report and then writing an article about home schooling recommendations. I think this reporter has failed the public miserably!

  • myz123 Jun 18, 2008

    I hate the fact that people do not understand homeschooling and seem to want to put it down because of their personal beliefs. My children are active in church (with lots of other children), we have dates so the children can play, they play baseball, go to gymnastics and go to the library ever week so to say they are sheltered by staying at home is NOT true. If more parents were able to "pick" the friends your child has would you pick the bullies, drug dealers, gangs, I would not. True one day they will be picking their own but at least I can say I headed them down the right path. To put it simple it is the choice of the parents to do what they feel is best for their children it is not the choice of anyone else. Think about it, keep giving the government power over everything we hold free we will end up no better then other countries that their gov't controls everything.
    There are bad people in the world. No matter if their kids are homeschooled, go to public school or private school

  • mulvay8888 Jun 17, 2008

    finings to the Feds before returning the scores to the school.

  • mulvay8888 Jun 17, 2008

    If so, the local government official will be by some time next week to evaluate your parenting skills. What you are saying is this, homeschool children should be evaluated by someone to make sure they are not being abused, why not go a step farther.

    Why don't we evaluate all children who attend public school to make sure there is no abuse. Everyday a government official can have a child come into their office and ask questions to the child without any supervision. If this official feels uneazy with the childs answers, an investigation will be conducted.

    If you or anyone else on this blog could agree to that, then I am in, but I suspect there would be major problems making something like this possible.

    As for the people who want more oversight with homeschools, I agree, but I would also like to see more oversight with public schools. Why not have an outside agency come in to administer the EOG, send them off to another state, grade them and then report the findings to the

  • mulvay8888 Jun 17, 2008

    tiblet - Do you have children??????

  • tiblet Jun 17, 2008

    I don't think homeschooling is to blame in the deaths of these two children but am surprised at the lack of accountability parents who homeschool have for their children's education today...if parents in loving homes are effectively homeschooling their children then they should not mind the scrutiny. And in cases, like the two recent ones, where parents are not effectively educating their children and are likely using homeschooling as a way to isolate them and control them...the additional accountabiliy could expose the abuse. So...What's the problem?

  • cgray2 Jun 17, 2008

    My family were liberal homeschoolers who had many shared activities with conservative homeschoolers.
    we left schools in Wake county 14 yrs ago when the school refused to deal with threats of bodily harm to our child.

    I found most homeschoolers all wanted a safe, social and educational environment for their children. Civilized adults can disagree on child rearing beliefs and religious beliefs/lack of.

    Loving families do not torture, abuse and murder their children.

    I would like to have The DSS of both Wake and Johnston, Edgecombe counties, and the Baptist Children's Home Society of Greensboro step up to the plate and explain their actions in these child abuse and murder cases.

    it appears to be popular to use Homeschooling as a scapegoat. As long as public schools continue to fail special needs children, fail to guarantee student safety, and ignore parent concerns, homeschooling in North Carolina will continue to grow.


  • ridgerunner Jun 17, 2008

    The woman abused her children and it was caused by home schooling. Typical political kneejerk reaction. If the public schools were beter there would be less homeschooling.