RaeAnne's family lives in Loveland, Colorado, approximately 45 miles from Columbine, and 90 miles from a recent school shooting in Bailey. "The death of Emily Keys hit home because I pictured my girls being 16 and in that situation," she says tearfully. "Not being able to protect them and never seeing them get married or graduate college. It was very, very personal for me."
RaeAnne now wants to educate the girls at home, but Steve is putting his foot down. "If they're home schooled, the kids will not get socially adjusted," he says. "My kids will miss out on prom, flirting, having their first crush on a teacher " the little stuff that helps you grow into a well-adjusted adult."
"I really don't see a lot of drawbacks for me being a teacher for the girls. I'm familiar with the planning the preparation of classes and grading. In my mind, I have made my decision," RaeAnne shares. "I'm very adamant about my stance on home schooling."
"I do believe in a structured education, but I don't believe it has to be done in a public school system, "RaeAnne replies. "With the tools that are out there for home schooling, I believe my girls are going to get a better education than they possibly could in the public school."
Dr. Phil wants RaeAnne to consider the social needs of her daughters. "What happens when they get to that age when peers kick in, and all of the sudden they want to belong to a group of friends, they want to be around boys and girls all day, they want to be involved in the social process that is the community of life when you're at that age?" he asks. "What do you feel about that?"
"It makes it sound like home schooling, we lock our kids in a dungeon in the basement, and we throw books at them, and we'll feed them food and water every three of four hours, and that is not what home schooling is about. We have churches, we have Four-H that my girls will participate in, there's gymnastics, there's still sports that they participate in with the public school systems. There are so many things out there that my girls would be a part of that the concept of them not being socialized is just laughable," she says.
Turning to Steve, Dr. Phil says, "She's describing something here that sounds peachy keen. What's your problem with it?"
RaeAnne tells Dr. Phil that she's motivated by fear for her daughter's safety. "I would rather be overprotective and have my girls be alive to resent me," she says through tears.
"But it's not just that they are alive to resent you. It's just are they able to navigate and negotiate the demands of life when you're not around, because you're not going to always be there," Dr. Phil points out.
Deanne, an unschooler, speaks up from the audience. Pointing to her three children, she says, "If you ask them, I think they're very happy with their lives. They actually have been in school, and we took them out."
"Are you concerned about any of the things you've heard here today about unschooling?" Dr. Phil asks.
"They didn't have to take SATs. If the guys have to take SATs to get into a university, how will they do?" Dr. Phil probes.
Deanne replies, "I have no doubt that they will do awesome. There have been many unschooled kids who have never taken a test before, and gone and taken the SATs and done quite well."