How I Became California's Most Wanted
by Sean Carter
I have a confession to make. For years now, my wife and I have been living an "alternative lifestyle," which we have kept secret from all but our closest friends. However, we have come to realize that sooner or later, the truth is bound to surface. Therefore, we've decided to come out of the closet on our own terms. We know that this decision will cause shock and horror among our friends, family and business associates. Moreover, it could even subject us to criminal prosecution in our home state of California. However, we can't go on living a lie.
The truth of the matter is that we . . . we . . . (this is harder than I thought) . . . we homeschool our son. There, I've said it! In our defense, we never intended for this to happen. We originally sought to homeschool our son just to give him some extra attention. He was having trouble in a classroom setting and we figured he could benefit from "one-on-one" instruction.The original plan was to homeschool him for a semester (two at the most) and then place him right back in public school. Unfortunately, he began to thrive in a homeschool environment. Before we knew it, our 6-year-old son could read, perform arithmetic and go for days without shooting one of his peers. We knew then that we were hooked.
Of course, we knew it was wrong. We knew that we were depriving our son of the opportunity to be herded into an over-crowded classroom. We knew that our son should be in the care of a trained professional -- a teacher who had earned his/her teaching credential in just six tries. Even worse, we were depriving him of the all- important opportunity for "socialization". Without school, how could he possibly learn how to form exclusive cliques? How would he know whom to ostracize, ridicule or beat up? Without the opportunity to be voted "Homecoming King" or "Best Looking," how could he ever hope to be a decent citizen?The truth is that we knew we were wrong but we just couldn't help ourselves. And like all sick people, we were in denial. We kept telling ourselves, "OK, just one more semester, then we'll send him back to public school . . . we promise!"
In hindsight, we probably should have sought some professional help. Perhaps, if we had done so, we wouldn't have become "criminals" in the eyes of the law. Like many states, California law mandates school attendance. All school-age children must be enrolled in public or private "school." Therefore, we set up our own private school. We even went so far as to file an affidavit (which, as you know, is Latin for "after David") with the State. However, the local school board saw through our "scheme." In a tersely-worded letter, it demanded to see our teaching credentials, letting us know that it wasn't going to fall for any legal chicanery.NOTE: For those of you educated in the public school system, a "chicanery" is not a factory that employs mostly illegal aliens.
Unfortunately, we didn't take this letter seriously because it appeared to be written by a six-year-old (a six-year-old suffering from dyslexia and a touch of "stupid"). Therefore, we simply discarded the letter along with our other "junk" mail. However, before long, we started receiving reports from other parents involved in the "lifestyle." Many had received the same letter. Others were being visited personally by truant officers, school officials and policemen.In some cases, they were threatened that their kids would be taken away if they didn't surrender them into state custody to be "properly" educated. Strangely enough, we have yet to hear from the six-year-old who wrote to us. With any luck, he's being homeschooled himself. However, we know that the local school district isn't going to just give up without a fight. We have committed a grave offense. We have deprived the school district of tens of thousands of dollars of state funds they would have received had our son attended public school over the last three years. These school officials will not rest until either we are behind bars or it is three o'clock, whichever comes first.
Of course, as a lawyer, I have already formulated my defense. I will plead "insanity," which will be easy to prove once the jury reads excerpts from my column. My wife's insanity defense will be more difficult but we are optimistic considering that she married me without being first drunk, stoned or pregnant. However, regardless of how this works out, it feels good to have come clean. My name is Sean Carter and I'm a homeschooler!Sean Carter is a Southern California lawyer, comedian, public speaker and the author of "If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit? -- Your Humorous Guide to the Law". He can be reached at www.lawpsided.com.