But Can We Really Make Parents Tell Their Children?

[NB.  It is Thanksgiving Eve.  I will be off-line for a few days after this goes up.   I wish you all the joy and comfort of family (whatever it means to you) friends and good food.  If only we lived in a world where everyone has plenty to be thankful for.]

The last post was about mandating honesty as to use of third party gametes.   (Might be a good idea to read that first before going on here.)  I touched on reasons why parents conceal their use of third-party gametes and suggested a couple of things we might do to encourage different choices–in particular to educate prospective parents about the values of disclosure and the costs of concealment and to consider ways we can reduce the shame factor, which is (in my view) one reasons why parents choose concealment.

There’s more to say about that, but I need to pick up on the title to the last post–echoed here.   While I think there may be much we can do to encourage parents to be frank with their children, I’m not sure there’s that much beyond this we can do.   In particular, I don’t think we can really require parents to tell their children.   Could we pass a law that required parents to discuss the use of third-party gametes with their kids?  Even as I type that I think it almost absurd to consider.   The state cannot tell parents what to teach or not teach their children.  Surely it cannot require parents to tell their children how ordinary conception occurs, even though I might think it a good thing to do.  Actually, I cannot even imagine a legislature considering such a law.

That’s because one major purpose of parental rights is to ensure that parents get to raise their kids as they see fit with state interference reserved for extreme occasions.    Just in case you think that the exception for harm opens the door–it’s generally the case that the state intervenes when a parent causes their child serious physical, mental or emotional harm.   Courts are rightly reluctant to give expansive readings to the term “harm.”  I don’t think you could have any chance at all of convincing a judge that the failure to talk to your kid on any particular day inflicted that kind of harm.

Thinking practically, what would a law say?  “All parents of children conceived with third-party gametes must reveal this fact to their child no later than …….”   No later than when?  When the child is three?  Five?  Ten?    And if we had such a law, would the police just amble round shortly after the critical birthday to chat with the child to make sure that the child had been given the pertinent information?

I know many people would like to see the information recorded on a birth certificate.  Let me put all the other points about birth certificates aside here—how many kids look at their birth certificate?   No doubt some do but I’m fairly sure that many do not.  (As I think of it, I’m not sure my kids have seen their birth certificates.)    Thus, even if you put the information on the birth certificate, it hardly ensures that parents tell their children anything.

From the law’s point of view there is a major problem with children:  They aren’t generally thought to be competent to make a lot of decisions.  We tend to use substituted decision makers for them–and those substituted decision makers are their parents.    The parents act for the child and speak for the child.  The child cannot act independent of their parents.   (What I mean here is that a child cannot go on its own to request access to information.)

I don’t mean to present this was what I think would be a good idea vs. what I think would not be a good idea.  The point I’m trying to make is that practically speaking, I don’t see how we can require parents to tell their children much of anything unless the parents want to do that.   That’s true (I think) whether we like it or not.

17 responses to “But Can We Really Make Parents Tell Their Children?

  1. I think the idea about noting donor conception on birth certificates was that pretty much everyone will get to see their birth certificate at some point, even if they’re already in their twenties, so you might as well tell them when they’re children. I don’t see how anything like that could be enforced in practice though, unless you’re going to start DNA testing all babies and their parents. That might not actually be such a bad idea, especially since discrepancies are becoming easier and easier to detect anyway, but I can’t see it happening in my lifetime.

    What Victoria in Australia did makes it very hard for parents to permanently conceal donor conception, but I can’t see it catching on anywhere else, and frankly I’m surprised they did it there, especially so long ago. There are probably some Victorian parents who decided not to tell anyway, and if the donor never goes looking for the children, they’ll probably never find out.

  2. Right–you followed through where I lost my train of thought.

    Certainly if you know that your chlidren will learn at some point in the future, you are much more likely to tell them yourself at a time of your own choosing. So putting the information on the birth certificate might have a beneficial effect. That’s important and should be noted.

    The main thing i wanted to say is that you cannot make people tell their children anything, so it s really more effective to think about how to set things up so they want to tell their children.

    Finally, there’s a lurking question in all the stuff about people needing to know their heritage/identity–and that’s about timing. When do they need to know that (and relatedly, who decides whether each individual needs to know it.) These are all things that need to be examined a bit more closely. Good you raised them. I’m having a bit of a mind-like-a-sieve evening. (Sigh.)

  3. If we look at identity as being something that belongs to them by rights (or it should) then yes, when there are situations where the laws can mandate it this information should certainly be on a birth certificate. For example through commercial assisted reproduction. That could be one positive for assisted reproduction- if parents can not be allowed to decide if this is information the child should have. By using commercial services they would have no choice. If it was a requirement that this is on the birth certificate parents are definitely more likely to tell them as they know they cant hide it. And with that there will become much more need for support and education requested by parents who have to face this. Many people hide their heads in the sand hoping it wont come up or planning to tell them ‘at the right time’. Which rarely comes. Knowing the child will definitely find out should spur them on- and make them take the matter more seriously. Disclose earlier rather than later. And if if they choose later (sigh) at least the child does get what he is entitled to. Hopefully however we can then start to be much more proactive about providing support for parents so that they tell children as early as possible, and in an age appropriate manner. That is what I find parents find the hardest. From the child’s perspective if its something introduced naturally sensitively and positively then its just a piece of information. Children are very matter of fact about things like that when told early. Same as having a mother with one arm etc and asked by children in the nursery playground. ‘oh that; she lost it in an accident’. No drama- statement of fact. If you opt to bring a donor conceoved child into the world you should be prepared to offer them what they may need. That means info about themselves and to be told ‘well’. However I see very little of this anywhere. Parents leave with their little bundle and off they go – alone. We cant speak out and support children born in society through the more ‘normal’ ways, but we can ensure that those who use ART are forced to put their child’s need first- even if they dont understand what they night be. It like the argument for smacking. Is it a parents right to abuse a child under the guise of discipline if the parent doesnt know any better and thinks its ok? Even though they think that the ‘naughtier’ the child is the harder they should smack? Is it really their right? Or should people stel in and mandate laws to protect children- even from their parents. At the very least we should protect children as much as possible from the emotional abuse that can more definitely come from not knowing the truth about your origins.
    Unfortunately in the States I have seen that a child’s rights come very much at the bottom of the list of priorities in the world of ART. Allowing ART to be offered without the very basic of information about ‘self’ (at the veryleast as a record on their birth certificates) is unconstitutional. Men should not be agreeing to donate without their bio child having this information regardless of whaty any adults- including the parents raising them- may think.

    • I do think it is true that knowing that the child will learn will make it impossible (or at least more difficult) for parents to think they can keep the secret. And this should motivate them to find a good time/good way to discuss the subjection. That, I think, is desireable. I can understand a human tendancy to put off the unpleasant (like me and the dentist) and to hope against all reason that somehow it will all work out anyway. Certainty that the information will become available would work against that.

      As is so often the case, the devil here may be in the details. How exactly do you get this information on the birth certificate? Fertility clinics are long gone from the picture when you get to the birth of a child. Perhaps the OB/GYN or midwife knows that third-party gametes were used, but they may not. I know Marilyn would say genetically test all kids at birth, but I find that scary and intrusive. So I’m not sure how to manage this.

      Then there’s a whole added range of complication where people do third-party reproduction on their own–either via Craig’s list or a friend network or whatever. Least chance at education/regulation there I would think.

  4. “The state cannot tell parents what to teach or not teach their children. Surely it cannot require parents to tell their children how ordinary conception occurs, even though I might think it a good thing to do. Actually, I cannot even imagine a legislature considering such a law.”

    Not exactly true. The government does, in fact, mandate that children go to school and be taught certain things, by certain ages, and there is no arguing on that issue. You can home school your children so that you limit their exposure to certain subjects, but in the end, the child must be learning the state mandated curriculum or the child could be taken from the parent due to neglect.

    Parents have the option of not vaccinating their children only its not possible to enroll them in school without proof of vaccination and you can have your kids taken away for not vaccinating them.

    In my state sex education is part of the curriculum and now even in my daughter’s grammar school gay and lesbian and transgender families and whatnot are part of the curriculum kids have to make gay pride posters and stuff about tolerance. You know there are some real unhappy parents about that but they have no choice. I don’t have a dog in that fight I don’t care. In fact the reason I bring it up is to say Parents have authority over their children within the very strict limits defined by law. They cannot physically punish them anymore or make them work on the farm instead of going to school they can’t forbid them to read certain books or certain required activities.

    I think putting the facts on the birth record and then having a separate adoptive form for the social parents is best because one form would be accurate for health purposes and the other would be accurate for legal purposes. The one for health would be accurate for legal purposes unless it had one for legal purposes that trumped it.

    I think the federal form ought to be officially just to document the identity of genetic parents since its used for vital statistics purposes and medical research. Its the basis for the the state certificate. I think the federal certificate should say not for llegal parentage see state form and then the state form would say the opposite. The federal should have no restrictions on concealing anyones parents for medical purposes from them even if states seal their original certificates the feds should just plain not.

    • This is something where we disagree and we ought to figure out who is right. I think you can opt your kid out of sex ed. There’s no requirement that a child learn it and no one will take a child away because the parents neglect to teach this subject. Similarly, I’m not sure you have to teach your kids about evolution. I’m quite sure it isn’t child neglect and that the state cannot intervene to take a child from a parent.

      Now if a parent provides no education of any sort, that might be different. But in general what a child learns is something where the parents have a broad range of discretion.

      There’s really two questions, though. One is what does the law require. And here I feel fairly confident. A second is what COULD the law require. Could a state legislature mandate that all parents teach their children about how conception occurs? (Notice that this is different from DOES any state actually do this–where I’m quite confident the answer is no.) I’m pretty sure the answer to that one to is no.

      But even if I were wrong about this and a state could mandate that all parents teach children sex ed, say, that doesn’t really address the point. We’re talking about a requirement that parents tell children specific things about how they were conceived rather than general information. I just cannot imagine any state ever doing this, much less requiring it to be done at a particular time and a particular way.

      And even beyond that, I wouldn’t support it. There are a whole lot of things I think parents ought to teach children–like to be honest and respectful, say. But you just cannot mandate that. I suppose this means I have bought into some deep idea of family autonomy and family privacy. Such a doctrine has drawbacks, to be sure. But it also protects all of us from the over-reach of government.

      • How’s this they won’t let a child graduate from high school unless he or she has learned certain things. I almost did not graduate because I could not pass the swimming test. Sex ed and evolution are part of the standard curriculum, if you want to teach your child some alternative to that outside of school, you can but that is on your time.

        • Most states allow parents whose child is in public school to opt the child out of sex ed. Also, I was homeschooled for 4 years for medical reasons, and the only thing the state checked was that I was learning the required general subjects and I think they asked to see a couple of assignments/papers from each subject. They didn’t look closely at the textbooks, and they didn’t test me to see if I had learned specific things. My parents could have easily chosen to skip over a couple of chapters if they wanted to and it would have been perfectly legal. This is a matter of state law though so some states may be stricter than mine was. (I checked and it appears the law is still the same here as it was 10 years ago)

          • I’m helping a woman who is a devout Christian look for her father and she has 5 kids. She home-schools them to teach them what the State wants them to know from a biblical perspective, but the curriculum books are the same as what the state wants. She is in the deeeeeeeep south.

        • I just don’t think this is an accurate description of reality. I don’t think there is any state that requires knowledge of human reproduction in order to graduate from high school. Indeed, proposals that sex ed be medically accurate are routinely defeated in legislatures and school boards on the very ground that parents have the right to decide what to teach their kids about this.

          In Washington state you have to pass various tests to get a HS diploma (my son being in 11th grade I’m up on this), and they cover broad subjects (like US history or physical science) but not specific topics (like evolution).

          I think the rights of parents to choose what to teach (and what not to teach) their kids are at their strongest in areas around morality and sexuality. This is part of why allowing same-sex couples to marry is seen on an assault on the man/woman family. Recognizing marriage for same-sex couples implicitly teaches a message (that these are laudable relationships) that some parents insist they have a right not to teach. If the parents lose this fight, it isn’t because people question the right of parents to teach whatever they want, it’s because the mere existence of married same-sex couples isn’t seen as the state affirmatively teaching anything.

          • Well it is part of the cirriculum here in California. Maybe parents have the option of electing not to have their child attend a class on a given day when a particular subject is being taught but honestly, unless you blindfold the student its going to be all around them in posters on the wall etc.
            And what if parents want to teach their children the white power version of American History? Think they’ll pass that high school equivalency exam for home schooled kids? Not on your life. If you don’t enroll your kid in some kind of all day school that covers the basic things the state wants them to learn I’m sure they can take the kids from the parents.

            • To me the things in the required curriculum are terribly vague. No evolution. No sex ed or human reproduction. Yes, some science, some history, but not much specific content as to what science, say.

              It might be true that if parents teach their children to be white supremacists they will lose custody. I think that’s an interesting question. But they can surely teach their children that a woman’s place is in the home having kids while a man’s place is to work and no one will look twice. I suppose what I’d say is there are some things that are beyond the pale, but not many.

              All that said, we’ve wandered far enough afield here, perhaps. I call it quits (for myself at least).

      • 51210. The adopted course of study for grades 1 through 6 shall include instruction, beginning in grade 1 and continuing through grade 6, in the following areas of study:
        (a) English, including knowledge of, and appreciation for literature and the language, as well as the skills of speaking, reading, listening, spelling, handwriting, and composition.

        (b) Mathematics, including concepts, operational skills, and problem solving.

        (c) Social sciences, drawing upon the disciplines of anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology, designed to fit the maturity of the pupils. Instruction shall provide a foundation for understanding the history, resources, development, and government of California and the United States of America; the development of the American economic system including the role of the entrepreneur and labor; man’s relations to his human and natural environment; eastern and western cultures and civilizations; contemporary issues; and the wise use of natural resources.

        (d) Science, including the biological and physical aspects, with emphasis on the processes of experimental inquiry and on man’s place in ecological systems.

        (e) Fine arts, including instruction in the subjects of art and music, aimed at the development of aesthetic appreciation and the skills of creative expression.

        (f) Health, including instruction in the principles and practices of individual, family, and community health.

        (g) Physical education, with emphasis upon the physical activities for the pupils that may be conducive to health and vigor of body and mind, for a total period of time of not less than 200 minutes each 10 school days, exclusive of recesses and the lunch period.

        51220. The adopted course of study for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, shall offer courses in the following areas of study:
        (a) English, including knowledge of and appreciation for literature, language, and composition, and the skills of reading, listening, and speaking.

        (b) Social sciences, drawing upon the disciplines of anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology, designed to fit the maturity of the pupils. Instructions shall provide a foundation for understanding the history, resources, development, and government of California and the United States of America; instruction in our American legal system, the operation of the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, and the rights and duties of citizens under the criminal and civil law and the State and Federal Constitutions; the development of the American economic system, including the role of the entrepreneur and labor; the relations of persons to their human and natural environment; eastern and western cultures and civilizations; human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, and the Holocaust, and contemporary issues.

        (c) Foreign language or languages, beginning not later than grade 7, designed to develop a facility for understanding, speaking, reading, and writing the particular language.

        (d) Physical education, with emphasis given to physical activities that are conducive to health and to vigor of body and mind.

        (e) Science, including the physical and biological aspects, with emphasis on basic concepts, theories, and processes of scientific investigation and on the place of humans in ecological systems, and with appropriate applications of the interrelation and interdependence of the sciences.

        (f) Mathematics, including instruction designed to develop mathematical understandings, operational skills, and insight into problem-solving procedures.

        (g) Fine arts, including art, music, or drama, with emphasis upon development of aesthetic appreciation and the skills of creative expression.

        (h) Applied arts, including instruction in the areas of consumer and homemaking education, industrial arts, general business education, or general agriculture.

        (i) Vocational-technical education designed and conducted for the purpose of preparing youth for gainful employment in the occupations and in the numbers that are appropriate to the personnel needs of the state and the community served and relevant to the career desires and needs of the pupils.

        (j) Automobile driver education, designed to develop a knowledge of the provisions of the Vehicle Code and other laws of this state relating to the operation of motor vehicles, a proper acceptance of personal responsibility in traffic, a true appreciation of the causes, seriousness and consequences of traffic accidents, and to develop the knowledge and attitudes necessary for the safe operation of motor vehicles. A course in automobile driver education shall include education in the safe operation of motorcycles.

        (k) Other studies as may be prescribed by the governing board.

        (a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:

        (1) The family is our most fundamental social institution and the means by which we care for, prepare, and train our children to be productive members of society.

        (2) Social research shows increasingly that the disintegration of the family is a major cause of increased welfare enrollment, child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, and criminal activity.

        (3) The lack of knowledge of parenting skills and the lack of adequate preparation to assume parental responsibilities are not only major causes of family disintegration, but also contribute substantially to the disastrous consequences of teen pregnancy.

        (4) Because the state government bears much of the economic and social burden associated with the disintegration of the family in California, the state has a legitimate and vital interest in adequately preparing its residents for parenthood.

        (b) The Legislature recognizes that the public education system is the most efficient and effective means to educate the populace on a large-scale basis,, and intends, therefore, to use the public education system to ensure that each California resident has an opportunity to acquire knowledge of parenting skills prior to becoming a parent. That knowledge should include, at a bare minimum, all of the following:

        (1) Child development and growth.

        (2) Effective parenting.

        (3) Prevention of child abuse.

        (4) Nutrition.

        (5) Household finances and budgeting.

        (6) Personal and family interaction and relations.

        (7) Methods to promote self-esteem.

        (8) Effective decision making skills.

        (9) Family and individual health.

        (c) Commencing with the 1995-96 fiscal year, the adopted course of study for grade 7 or 8 shall include the equivalent content of a one-semester course in parenting skills and education. All pupils entering grade 7 on or after July 1, 1995, shall be offered that course or its equivalent content during grade 7 or 8, or both. On or before January 1, 1995, the State Department of Education shall supply, to each school district that includes a grade 7 or 8, a sample curriculum suitable either for implementation as a stand-alone one-semester course or for incorporation within identified existing required or optional courses, with content designed to develop a knowledge of topics including, but not limited to, all of the following:

        (1) Child growth and development.

        (2) Parental responsibilities.

        (3) Household budgeting.

        (4) Child abuse and neglect issues.

        (5) Personal hygiene.

        (6) Maintaining healthy relationships.

        (7) Teen parenting issues.

        (8) Self-esteem.

        A district that implements the curriculum set forth in this subdivision in a stand-alone required course may exempt a pupil from the course if the pupil requests the exemption and satisfactorily demonstrates mastery of the course content. The district shall determine the method by which a pupil may demonstrate this mastery.

        (d) Commencing with the 1993-94 fiscal year, community college districts may offer, to interested, individuals, noncredit fee-supported courses in parenting skills and education as described in subdivision (c).

        (e) This section is not intended to replace existing courses that accomplish the intent of this section. School districts may meet the requirements of this section with existing courses of study offered in any of grades 6 to 9, inclusive, that includes the course contents identified in subdivision (c). When the parenting skills and education curriculum is incorporated within courses other than consumer and home economics courses, these courses are not subject to the curricular standards specified in Section 2 of Chapter 775 of the Statutes of 1989 or in the consumer and home economics education model performance standards and framework. Teachers of courses other than consumer and home economics that incorporate parenting skills and education are not required to meet the qualifications specified for teachers of consumer and home economics.

        (f) This section shall become operative only if a funding source is identified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the purposes of this section on or before January 1, 1995.

        (g) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall identify the funding source for this section from existing resources or private resources, or both, that may be available for the purposes of this section. The superintendent shall notify school districts when sufficient funds have been identified and are allocated to cover all costs relating to the operation of this section.

        51221. Instruction required by subdivision (b) of Section 51220 in the area of study of social sciences shall also provide a foundation for understanding the wise use of natural resources.

        (a) Commencing with the 1988-89 school year, no pupil shall receive a diploma of graduation from high school who, while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, has not completed all of the following:

        (1) At least the following numbers of courses in the subjects specified, each course having a duration of one year, unless otherwise specified.

        (A) Three courses in English.
        (B) Two courses in mathematics.
        (C) Two courses in science, including biological and physical sciences.
        (D) Three courses in social studies, including United States history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; a one-semester course in American government and civics, and a one-semester course in economics.
        (E) One course in visual or performing arts or foreign language. For the purposes of satisfying the requirement specified in this subparagraph, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in foreign language.
        (F) Two courses in physical education, unless the pupil has been exempted pursuant to the provisions of this code.

        (2) Other coursework as the governing board of the school district may by rule specify.

        (b) The governing board, with the active involvement of parents, administrators, teachers, and pupils, shall adopt alternative means for pupils to complete the prescribed course of study which may include practical demonstration of skills and competencies, supervised work experience or other outside school experience, career technical education classes offered in high schools, courses offered by regional occupational centers or programs, interdisciplinary study, independent study, and credit earned at a postsecondary institution. Requirements for graduation and specified alternative modes for completing the prescribed course of study shall be made available to pupils, parents, and the public. [Italics mine.]

        (b) was pointed out by Wes Beach:

        In instances where schools refuse to accept credit from homeschools, it might be productive to ask, “What alternative ways do you allow for meeting requirements?” And even, “Might we become actively involved in expanding your policy?” This section does not require schools to allow anything specific, but it does require that they allow some alternate ways of meeting their requirements. It’s my best guess that some school administrators are unaware of this provision of the Ed. Code, and that some districts either do not have such a policy or keep it hidden.



        (a) Commencing with the 1990-91 school year, the governing board of a school district or a county office of education may offer independent study to meet the educational needs of pupils in accordance with the requirements of this article. Educational opportunities offered through independent study may include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

        (1) Special assignments extending the content of regular courses of instruction.

        (2) Individualized study in a particular area of interest or in a subject not currently available in the regular school curriculum.

        (3) Individualized alternative education designed to teach the knowledge and skills of the core curriculum. Independent study shall not be provided as an alternative curriculum.

        (4) Continuing and special study during travel.

        (5) Volunteer community service activities that support and strengthen pupil achievement.

        (b) Not more than 10 percent of the pupils participating in an opportunity school or program, or a continuation high school, calculated as specified by the State Department of Education, shall be eligible for apportionment credit for independent study pursuant to this article.

        (c) No individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, may participate in independent study, unless his or her individualized education program developed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 56340) of Chapter 4 of part 30 specifically provides for that participation.

        (d) No temporarily disabled pupil may receive individual instruction pursuant to Section 48206.3 through independent study.

        (e) No course included among the courses required for high school graduation under Section 51225.3 shall be offered exclusively through independent study.

        (a) No local education agency may claim state funding for the independent study of a pupil, whether characterized as home study or otherwise, if the agency has provided any funds or other thing of value to the pupil or his or her parent or guardian that the agency does not provide to students who attend regular classes or or other thing of value to the pupil or his or her parent or guardian that the agency does not provide to students who attend regular classes or to their parents or guardians.

        California R4 Private School Affidavit – A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling
        In California, families can legally homeschool their children by establishing a private school in their home and complying with the private school requirements of the California Education Code. Parents who have established a home-based private school cannot be prosecuted for truancy.
        Associations | Events | Field Trips | Publications | Resources
        Forming a Private School | Laws | Legal Information | Legislation Watch | R4 Affidavit | R4 Sample
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        For those using the Tutoring Option: How you meet the “service requirement” of teaching for 90 days every 5 years in order to renew your credential? Does homeschooling count?

        Yes, it does. Says so in the Professional Growth Manual, under Professional Service Requirements, 2c. You can find another credentialed homeschooling teacher to verify your hours by asking for help on the HSC Yahoo Group or other state-wide California message board. (Also ask at your local support group, as someone who knows you personally would be best.)

        Recommended books to help you Homeschool

        Top 10 and Recently Published
        Homeschooling Books

        100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum:
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        kindle edition

        Homeschooling : The Teen Years:
        Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- To 18-Year Old
        by Cafi Cohen
        This book reveals the adventure and rewards as well as the special challenges of working with this age group.

        First Year of Homeschooling Your Child:
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        Many of today’s families are opting to teach their children at home. The first hurdle these families face is getting started.
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        500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12
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        Kid-tested and parent-approved techniques for learning math, science, writing, history, manners, and more for your homeschooling needs.
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        The Unschooling Handbook:
        How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom
        by Mary Griffith
        Unschooling is a homeschooling method based on the belief that kids learn best when allowed to pursue their natural curiosities and interests.
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        Home Learning Year by Year:
        How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School
        by Rebecca Rupp
        A structured plan to ensure that your children will learn what they need to know when they need to know it, from preschool through high school.
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        The Unschooling Handbook:
        How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom
        by Mary Griffith
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        The Complete Home Learning Source Book:
        The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents, and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology
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        This ambitious reference guide lives up to its name. It is packed with titles, ordering information, and Web site addresses.

        Home Schooling Children with Special Needs
        (3rd Edition)
        by Sharon Hensley
        Do you need help locating the best resources for home schooling your child with special needs?

        Homeschooling The Early Years:
        Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8-Year-Old Child
        by Linda Dobson
        The formative years are the most critical to a child’s education. They lay the foundation for developing learning skills that last

        The Homeschooling Handbook:
        From Preschool to High School, a Parent’s Guide
        2nd Edition
        by Mary Griffith
        kindle edition

        Making the Grade:
        Everything Your Kindergartener Needs to Know
        by Daniel A. Van Beek
        These titles for Gr. K-6 will help parents give their children a smart start and keep them up to speed.

        Homeschooling for Dummies
        by Jennifer Kaufeld
        This friendly, well-informed guide is a valuable resource for parents considering homeschooling.

        Learning All The Time
        by John Holt
        Holt is widely considered the father of the modern-day homeschooling movement.


  5. We may as well face the fact that time is running out for concealing the truth about peoples family history. We should not ask if to tell the truth but when. With the new autosomal DNA genealogy test and expanding databases most people will soon be able to find third cousins. From this starting point it will not be too difficult to find their family tree by means of conventional genealogical methods. An observer of this developing field says: “What this means is that every deep, dark family secret that people thought was long buried is going to come out in around 5 years or so”. A teenager who is willing to spend around $100 can find the truth (in a few years from now).

    In a Swedish study of donor conceived children who were told the truth when they were teenagers, it didn’t come as a surprise to half of them. They had already figured out that something was wrong. The way their father acted, their parents getting embarrassed at family parties when physical likeness was disc used etc. They knew all the time that their parents were not telling them the truth. For the other half it came as a shock.

    Julie, you say “with state interference reserved for extreme occasions”. I think that for many donor children to find out that they were donor conceived can be labeled an “extreme occasion” (I have witnessed such an example). The mental health of donor children should be taken seriously.

    • Nelly – “ask not if to tell the truth but when”. How cool are you? You came up with that. Half of why I engage in these discussions is to read the awesome Jeffersonian stuff people come up with. Although that was kind of Kennedyesque.

    • I agree that it is increasingly likely that people will find out and all those who use third-party gametes ought to know that. And they ought to know the harm that they do or they risk when they decide to conceal information unreasonably. I’d like people to think about when and how to tell rather than whether to tell. But I do believe that the when and how has to be left up to the people there–the parents. And that realistically the most we can do is to set up situations where the parents know that the child will learn and understand that there are important reasons why they should be the ones to deliver the information.

      To my mind, this is not overlooking the interests of those conceived with third-party gametes. It may be the best I can do in terms of proposing a solution. What more can you want? A date by which any parent must have told a child or some government official comes and tells them? I don’t really think that’s a good idea.

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