Let’s take a look at a large picture-perfect homeschooling family.

This is from 2010. So sweet.

Every year, it seemed, the parents re-enacted their wedding. This is from 2011. So sweet.

They had happy family outings. This one is from 2012. See how the children all dress the same?

Here’s their wedding reenactment from 2013. Notice how well behaved the children all are.

They went to the Circus Circus. So many cute children, all dressed the same.

Here’s their wedding reenactment from 2016. Awww.

And here are those children in that wedding reenactment.

We don’t have any more recent public information about that picture-perfect family.

Oh wait.

More information came out today. With this news report (link).

Thirteen victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, were kept shackled to their beds amid foul surroundings in a Perris home by their parents, sheriff’s officials said.

Early Sunday morning, a 17-year-old girl escaped from the residence, located in the 100 Block of Muir Woods Road and called 911 from a cellular device she managed to take from the home, investigators said.

That teen told the 911 operator that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive in their home by their parents.

When investigators from the Perris Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department met with the girl, they said she looked emaciated and only 10 years old, though she was 17.

After interviewing the girl, investigators contacted her parents, 57-year old David Allen Turpin and 49-year old Louise Anna Turpin at the home from which the teen escaped.

Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings. . . .

Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house – but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.

This is an extreme case, to be sure. But please, people of God. Don’t just defend homeschooling for the sake of homeschooling. (These words are coming from a 24-year veteran of homeschooling.) Don’t just think everything is fine just because the family looks picture perfect.

Seek Spirit discernment. Listen to the children. Talk to the children. Be willing to step in and rescue the children.

This has got to stop.



Note: This post went viral, so my blog shut down for about 15 hours. Thanks to my 100% homeschooled son, who dropped out of college and is now a successful coder in Manhattan, it’s back up on a new server.

For those who think this post is a “homeschool bashing” post, I want to make it clear that I loved my 24 years of homeschooling all my children through all the grades, and would do it again (albeit with the changes that any sensible parent would make in hindsight). I’m not anti-homeschooling; I’m still very pro-homeschooling.

This is in spite of the fact that I have heard many homeschool horror stories, not just online (there are scores of utterly sickening stories online), but face to face, sitting in my own living room, sitting in the coffee shop, sitting on the floor of someone else’s bedroom. I have listened to people talk about extreme sexual abuse in “Christian” homeschooling families, extreme physical abuse, and the extreme spiritual and psychological and emotional abuses that keep it all in place. 

Other people will talk about the abuses that go on in the Catholic church, or in Amish land, or in the Muslim world, and well they should, but that is not my sphere. My sphere is the fundamentalist and conservative evangelical world, many of which are homeschoolers. So this is the area where I’ll point out abuse. Please instead of thinking, “It’s not us; it’s them,” just consider that there’s a possibility that abuse is happening even in our midst, even in our churches, even in families who might look picture-perfect. 

Care for the children. That is all I wanted to say when my head was exploding while I was writing this post. Care for the children.

And if a young adult from a picture-perfect homeschooling family comes to you and says, “I’m having flashbacks about my childhood abuse,” be willing to listen and love, and don’t turn away. 

Follow-up post at Turpin tragedy: is homeschooling the problem?


(Photo credits: David Louise Turpin Facebook page.)






Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.



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