Education, Revisited


I have already written a whole page about education, so I’ll pause here while you go read it if you haven’t already.

What Nicole is doing here is called a “straw man fallacy.”

She sets up a supposed conversation/argument and puts words in the “critics'” mouths, totally misrepresenting our position.  She then comes to totally false conclusions and sits back claiming victory.

You are saying that my children are uneducated?

I am saying that Nicole and Joe are not educating their children, at all.  If the Naugler children learn anything, they do so on their own, without help of any sort. It shows in their writing.  I won’t post it now, because these are minor children, but I have samples of the oldest child’s writing and I am saying that these are uneducated kids.

That they aren’t smart?

Notice how she conflates “education” and “intelligence”?  And then has the “critic” clarify?  She does that so she can lead up to her super-califragilistic retort.

So, you’ve interacted with them long enough to come to the conclusion that they are uninformed and unskilled?

Victory!  The critics come back with the lame answer that it’s impossible for children to learn if you don’t “school them” (whatever that means).

And that, of course, is not what the critics say at all.

My position, as a critic, is that the Naugler children are not being exposed to much of anything beyond a filthy environment and some scrubby woods with some scrawny animals that come and go and survive on their own, along with one Kindle Fire shared between all of them, and a few books that fit on one bookshelf.  In addition, they get to go to a dog grooming salon periodically and help wash dogs, or file papers, and mostly babysit their younger siblings.

Are they learning a good bit about survival in harsh living conditions?  Probably.  It’s for certain at least one of them has learned to cook some very basic food on a campfire.

But they are not being prepared to earn a living in the world as they will find it off that weed, trash, and shit-strewn “homestead.”

Nicole brags constantly about “unschooling.”  She uses that as a hashtag for nearly every activity the kids engage in.  Little kid finds a bug:  unschooling. No, it’s not, Nicole. It’s a little kid finding a bug.  Bigger kid cuts up goat heart: unschooling.  Nope.  It’s simply a kid sawing up a heart without knowing anything about what he is doing and without any guidance whatsoever.

But here’s a larger point.

When I was in school, I had to take classes that I had no interest in taking.  Some of them were classes that I not only wasn’t interested in—I actively hated the subject matter. I had to take them anyway.


Why make people learn stuff they don’t want to learn?

Hell, why make somebody study that damned drivers manual and take a test to get a drivers license?  Who actually wants to learn all that?

The answer is obvious. We do it because we want to make sure that somebody behind the wheel of a car is competent to drive it.  We want to be sure he’s literate enough to read the signs, so there is a written test in addition to the practical test.  We have a right to do that as a society because he’s going to be putting the rest of us in danger if he’s allowed to just drive any way he likes.

That’s why we make children learn stuff they aren’t necessarily interested in learning. A high school diploma is supposed to illustrate that the person who has it has mastered a minimum level of skill doing basic things.  He can read, he can write, and he can do basic math. He also has rudimentary knowledge of  history and science, etc.

That, by the way, is how students find out that they like math and hate history, or vice versa.  They often discover that they love history, which they thought they hated, once they are exposed to it by “force” and “coercion,” and they’d never have known that if they’d just been allowed to do whatever they wanted, when they wanted.

The fact that you can whip out videos and statistics showing that American schools often fail to a greater or lesser extent is actually proof of my point, rather than a refutation.  We know when our schools fail because the kids are tested and they fail.

From there, we try to improve the schools.

What do we know about the Naugler children?  Not much. I know that the oldest Naugler child writes terribly, doesn’t understand basic punctuation and has no idea what a run-on sentence is.  He also swears. (So do I. It’s not a criticism, just a fact.)

I know that one of the other children has no idea what the difference is between an artery and a vein, nor any clue how the heart functions.  And he was instructing his siblings.

I also know that the role models they are exposed to consist of a mother who grooms dogs (which is a perfect legitimate way to make money, but nothing very lofty), and a father who is a complete dead-beat.

This is tantamount to appearing at the DMV and saying, “Oh, I already taught myself to drive and I don’t need to take your tests. It’s my right to drive any way I like so fuck you.”

I personally have no problem whatever with people homeschooling, or unschooling, or doing anything they like, provided there is some accountability in the form of annual testing, possibly combined with an in-person evaluation of the child by a professional.

I also believe strongly that once these children (not just the Naugler kids, but any homeschooled children) grow up, they should have the right to sue the hell out of their parents if they realize they are educationally deficient.

But when people begin using force and coercion to spread their ignorance and fear, and it then encroaches on others, it becomes an issue.

See how she concludes that it’s “ignorance and fear” on the part of the critics that motivates us.  And we’re using “force and coercion” (which are the same thing—look up “synonym”).  Bad, bad us.

Yes, we’re ignorant. We’re ignorant (meaning we do not know fully) about how the Naugler children are being educated. The stuff Nicole posts would indicate they are not being educated at all, in any meaningful way, and that what little they pick up is done entirely on their own.

I’m not “afraid” of this.  I just don’t like it because I am a Kentucky taxpayer and I am going to have to help foot the bill if these kids get out on their own and become dependent on welfare. I have a right as a citizen to expect that they meet minimum educational standards.  And the children have rights too, as American citizens, to an education.

That’s not “fear” or “ignorance.” That’s the bare minimum that a civilized society demands.

If those children ever decided that they wanted to go to school (something Nicole has already declared she will not permit), they would find themselves seriously handicapped if they cannot test at an appropriate grade level for their age.

So if they are in fact educated, Nicole, show us. Have them tested.  Show us the scores. Brag.   Prove “unschooling” is so marvelous.  Show us what dumbasses we are.  Just think: you could be the poster family for the glories of unschooling. I bet you could make money out of it if you thought hard enough.  We want to know more than “they know how to make bows.”

We’re waiting.

NOTE:  Please be careful with your comments.  No children’s names.  No dire predictions of doom and gloom and jail and all that.


23 thoughts on “Education, Revisited”

  1. A brief history of the fight for a child’s human rights.

    In 1924, the League of Nations adopted the Geneva Declaration, a historic document that recognized and affirmed – for the first time – the existence of rights specific to children and the responsibility of adults towards children.

    1959, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted.

    “The child is recognized, universally, as a human being who must be able to develop physically, mentally, socially, morally, and spiritually, with freedom and dignity.”

    The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in ten principles:*

    1. The right to equality, without distinction on account of race, religion or national origin.
    2. The right to special protection for the child’s physical, mental and social development.
    3. The right to a name and a nationality.
    4. The right to adequate nutrition, housing and medical services.
    5. The right to special education and treatment when a child is physically or mentally handicapped.
    6. The right to understanding and love by parents and society.
    7. The right to recreational activities and free education.
    8. The right to be among the first to receive relief in all circumstances.
    9. The right to protection against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation.
    10. The right to be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, and universal brotherhood.

    And further, the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child is a treaty that recognizes specific rights for children. Human rights are basic standards to which every person is entitled. Children have even more, special unique rights, because being children, they need to be advocated for.
    Generally, it calls for;

    Freedom from violence, abuse, hazardous employment, exploitation, abduction or sale
    Adequate nutrition
    Free compulsory primary education
    Adequate health care
    Equal treatment regardless of gender, race, or cultural background
    The right to express opinions and freedom of though in matters affecting them
    Safe exposure/access to leisure, play, culture, and art.

    More than 190 countries have ratified it. Why?!

    Because “mankind owes to the Child the best that it has to give”, goddamnit!



  2. Yes because last time the scores were below grade level.. so they should be higher now because?????


  3. Unschooling is a convenient way for Nicole to shift blame for lack of education to the children themselves since they choose what to study. Allegedly the children chose homesteading over traveling country by bus financed by Nicole working as a “relief groomer.” Voila, if or when the children ever confront her and Joe about their utter failure to provide basic sanitary home and education, their retort will be the lame, “You chose _____ .”

    Nicole desperately attempts to portray their family dynamics as the epitome of Alfie-Kohn-type-unconditional-parenting. However, two parents who are unable to effectively manage their own anger are NOT peaceful parents. The children appear awkward and nervous in the staged videos as if they are precariously performing for a manic director.


  4. She just labeled an infant crawling as “unschooling.” How long until the kids managing to breathe in and out is an example of unschooling?


  5. If they were actually unschooling, that would be one thing, but they are unschooling to exactly the same degree that they are homesteading.

    Basically what we’ve got here is a family in which the kids have to constantly work around the parents, who are being giant obstacles, in order to accomplish the basic goal of growing up: the ability to live as independently as possible. Education is a big part of that.


  6. The only thing the Naugler kids have learned is that they are not worth much to their parents, that anyone in authority (including their parents) is frightening and dangerous, and that squalor is normal. Their academics cannot be well-rounded or have any depth.

    It saddens me greatly. The kids have so many past, current, and future limitations imposed on them by their utter failures of parents.


  7. Pooping in a diaper = unschooling
    Pooping in a bucket = unschooling
    Carrying the poop bucket to slosh it on the ground = unschooling
    Eating = unschooling
    Taking a shower = unschooling
    Wiping your nose = unschooling
    Going to bed = unschooling
    Parenting by Joe and Nicole = cluster fuck

    I am surprised she did not label the baby laughing and farting as unschooling.


  8. Unschooling has accountability too, Nicole. Your bright children deserve an education. It’s their right. It’s your responsibility.

    Besides, love your children enough, to want better for them. Bunches of folks think you can do better. One day, the kids likely will think you could have, should have, done better.

    Well spoken, andatje. “…… However, two parents who are unable to effectively manage their own anger are NOT peaceful parents. The children appear awkward and nervous in the staged videos as if they are precariously performing for a manic director.”


  9. Instead of selling bows at a dollar fifty a pop why dont you just go ahead and open up the blessed little bed and breakfast? Remember that pipe dream? Let me be the first in line to book a 2 night stay…if I choose “all inclusive” do I still have to carry my own shit bucket to the “humanure” pile? I hear the pancakes are to die for. Please tell me in your list of activities there is fence building, because I sure would love a little of that Naug style handiwork incorporated into my yard. Maybe in the evening a little neighbor taunting before we turn in? Anyway…think about it. PS. I noticed you grooming shop FULL of dogs was very quiet while you were filming facebook updates. How did you do it? Where do you find the time? You really are a legend in your own mind.


  10. I believe the # unschooling is all about..tags. Anyone who hits Google for unschooling will bring up her name….annnnd just like that she has attention and ” free advertisement” for her family, bows, grooming and just plain attention. More hash tags…more chances are she will pop up on search engines.


  11. I’m pretty sure there’s no #unschooling going on at the shedhome.

    I read the pretend conversation as being about the current legal issues rather than education.

    – ignorance and fear of unknown ideas = Nobody knows about composting poop better than me. I’m sayin’ da troof!
    – if you are making your own decisions = People that don’t agree are brainwashed by evil government. Believe ME, people!
    – using force and coercion to spread ignorance and fear = Haters lied. Sheriffs, Health Dept, and EPA are all discriminating and harrassing.
    – it then encroaches on others = my rights, my rights, mine! Your codes, laws, inspections, claims of criminal nuisances or contamination are all infringments on me. Free citizens do not acknowledge authority.
    (using the word encroachment reminds me of the filth that is running off the property to the neighbor’s land. Where is it going after that? )
    – and that’s where I speak up = We will not comply/submit/back down in the face of bullying. We know the 2nd amendment to the Constitution and you will all look foolish in the end.

    Maybe so.

    The Nauglers do not show a thoughtful, rigorous, joyful academic and experiential education for their children, individually or as a family.

    I didn’t think she was talking about education, but I could be wrong.


  12. I find it depressing and sad that the kids aren’t being exposed to more than what interests them because they’re going to gravitate towards whatever they find easiest. Most of us do but many of us also took classes that we didn’t care for but that pushed us to learn something outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes they were a complete bust but hopefully even the most lackadaisical student learned something new and interesting in a class they hated.

    I don’t even see these children volunteering in their community, or participating as a homeschooled kid in any activities with other kids their ages. A community theater, band, nature center, rec league sport, 4H, book club, photography club, Lions Club, etc. Apparently their opportunities to intern or apprentice with someone who can teach them a trade is limited to their mother’s shop. It may be what one or more of the children want to do, but that’s difficult to say as it’s the only trade they’ve been able to consistently witness.

    I fail to see how any of her children taking the SAT’s or ACT’s would hurt them in any manner whatsoever. If their education has been as terrific as Nicole states it has been, they’ll do fine. The kids will even see how they stack up against their peers nationwide.

    I wish all the kids the very best.


  13. So I’ve posted some ways around the obstacle of having worse than useless parents here before because I know the Naugler kids are sometimes allowed online. Here are a few of them again:

    I understand that you older ones have been helping some of the younger ones with workbooks from Wal-Mart. I use some of those too; they provide good basic education up through about third grade. If you are able to go to thrift stores or garage sales, look around for the Core Knowledge Series by E.D. Hirsch Jr. These books lay out the basic stuff that kids around the country are generally expected to learn from preschool through sixth grade, in large type. The titles start with What Your Preschooler Needs to Know. (Also look for Cultural Literacy by the same author; it’s not up to date on current events, but distils the other basic stuff that people all over the country just assume that other adults know. It could help you fake it til you make it.)

    So much for preschool through sixth grade. Middle school will be trickier. Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool ( offers free daily lessons in core subjects from preschool through high school and assumes little parental involvement. I’m not sure how well it works on mobile devices, however. An Old-Fashioned Education ( uses a lot less bandwidth, but requires separate purchase of some textbooks. Ambleside Online ( also requires purchase of some books and a lot of one-on-one teaching, but is in my opinion the best. Please note that all of these require printing some pages.

    High school is trickier still. The end goal of high school is to get your GED or diploma because without it you are locked out of almost every job and avenue of higher education–even military service. You can study independently using the above links and take your GED at the nearest testing center, or you can ask Julie Melton of Breckinridge County Adult Education for help. Her office phone is (270) 756-1730. For teenagers aged 16 and up, there’s Job Corps, 1-800-733-JOBS. Job Corps provides food, shelter, hot water and soap, help getting a GED/diploma, and job training. Don’t give up on your GED whatever you do! The best thing you can do for your younger siblings right now is get out and make a safe place away from those two. That will take money, and the best source of money is a steady paycheck.


  14. Such an excellent resource Jenny Islander! If only we could send this to the kids personally.


  15. Tekla said, “I find it depressing and sad that the kids aren’t being exposed to more than what interests them because they’re going to gravitate towards whatever they find easiest.”

    No, they’ll gravitate to whatever they have available to them. And that means that there’s so much they have no idea they don’t know about. Do those kids even know black holes exist? If not, how can they have a desire to learn about them? There are a lot of things you learn exist by learning about other things. I don’t see much that those kids have access to. They can’t even google things without first knowing they exist.


  16. Kaylee wrote, “No, they’ll gravitate to whatever they have available to them.”

    I was trying very hard to give Joe and Nicole the benefit of the doubt, at least for the younger children. Mind you, I don’t really believe they’re capable of doing much for their kids but I do like to play pretend sometimes.


  17. Unschooling is a hell of a lot of work, and expensive! You have to provide tons of field trips and kits to each child, take careful note of which ones grab their attention, and follow up on those topics. Even if the Nauglers were actually trying to do this, I don’t see how it could be feasible with 2 adults and 11 kids.


  18. Jenny your information is wonderful. I just want you to know how much it’s appreciated. A while back you shared a link I clicked on and started working with my son who is in 4 th grade but both math and reading scores were 2nd and third grade. We did it for a month and something just clicked and after three months he is reading at a 6th grade level and math is 8th grade. His teacher was so surprised. Thank you so much for the links and please keep posting them!


  19. Btw the kindle/amazon fire is on sale right now at toys r us and amazon for 39.99. I got one for my middle one and we went to mcdonalds for Ice cream and downloaded a beans load of free books.


  20. Btw the kindle/amazon fire is on sale right now at toys r us and amazon for 39.99

    OMG. I love, love my Fire. I am tempted to buy another one and put it in the kitchen just for recipes.


  21. Hey Crystal, thanks for the info about the sale. Great price!

    And Jenny too, for the free books list link.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.