Home-schooling advocates say they are bracing for calls for stricter oversight of the practice following reports that 13 malnourished siblings who were allegedly held captive by their parents in California were being home-schooled.
The advocates say they were horrified by the case and some support mandatory medical visits or regular academic assessments to ensure home-schooled children are seen by someone outside the home.
But others contend moves to step up home-schooling controls in the name of exposing child abuse earlier could lead to overregulation and intrusion that punishes parents.
In the absence of federal guidelines, levels of oversight vary widely by state. Alaska and Idaho have virtually no regulations, while New York and Pennsylvania require annual instruction plans and standardized tests. California requires home schools be registered but doesn't regulate them.