Last week, a trial court in New Jersey handed down an interesting decision involving divorcing parents who disagree about whether the children should continue to be home schooled. The seven children who live with the mother have been home schooled to date. The court says the father consented to the schooling but is now challenging its continuance. The court eventually says it will not rule on the father's request to end the home schooling, but only after a startling opinion.This is an example of a family court judge sticking his nose into a matter where judges would have no role in an intact marriage; assuming the discretion to rewrite the laws as he sees fit; and ultimately showing himself to be incapable of coping with the problem anyway.
The court first orders that the children be tested for the grades they would be in if they were in public school (this portion of the opinion is very confusing since it is not separated from a discussion of an earlier case). The court then opines at length about the perfidy of the school district allowing the children to be home schooled without state intervention. Noting that the school district had not sent officials to the home to check on the children’s progress, the judge said: "This is shocking to the court." The court characterized the children as being "left unsupervised" solely because of the lack of state intervention. (I suspect children who are at home with their mother would not describe themselves as "unsupervised.") The judge also found it shocking that the state Department of Education allows parents to home school without state intervention.
The decision doesn't say whether there was a custody dispute, or if the father is willing to do something himself about the kids education.
I say the court should have just ordered joint custody to the parents. If the mom wants to homeschool on her time, that's her business. The dad can send the kids to public school, he should be able to. The public school may not like kids switching in and out, but it should have to get used to it. The school's problem is the least one here.
At any rate, the judge has no business saying that the homeschooling laws are shocking.