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Controversial topics:  November 2004 Akron Beacon Journal homeschooling series word frequency

'Last' Sunday (as of this writing) I sat at the computer and, with the ABJ articles pasted into a Microsoft Word document, I read through the series.  When I came to a word that was 'interesting'  (a subjective category), I used the Ctrl-F function to search for other instances of the same word.  On a pad of paper I made tick marks each time I found one.  When I finished I searched for words, or names, that I thought either should be in a series of articles on homeschooling, or that were the opposite in meaning of words I found.  Sometimes these words were not found by the Word search function, and those searches are noted below by a zero.  The reason I did this was to see if I was having a knee-jerk reaction to articles I didn't like, or if there was 'media bias.'  In all fairness, I think there is.

  • Selection and omission:
    -- the articles often choose quotations that reflect a Christian underpinning so that it seems that all homeschoolers follow biblical precepts.  The few caveats provided by the writers are overwhelmed by direct quotations.

  • Placement: 
    -- I've seen photographs of the newspaper series.  It was presented with seven days of 'above-the-fold' front page stories that are continued on the inside pages.  In all there were 20 inside pages accompanying the seven front pages; only one inside page had any advertising -- right before the Christmas shopping season.  That's more coverage than the complete main section of my Sunday newspaper.  The only stories I can remember that got that much coverage, other than wars, were Watergate, the Pentagon papers and the World Trade Center tragedy.  Of course, depending on the locality, some regional stories may have captured their audiences for a full week.

  • Headlines: 
    -- seven consecutive front page stories with headlines such as Day #2's "Lack of Proof" in letters larger than the newspaper's masthead.  Roosevelt declaring war after Pearl Harbor is covered on December 8th, 9th, and 12th of the New York Times in the book of facsimile pages, Page One, and the World Trade Center attacks had us horribly spellbound.  This series is not of that caliber.

  • Photos, captions and camera angles: 
    -- Missy, a miniature schnauzer in Aurora, Colo., was judged by a home-schooling assessor to be making adequate academic progress. Nick Campbell, shown with son Zack, filled out the required form for ``Missy Campbell,'' age 6.
    a photo of a tombstone taken from ground level.

  • Names and titles, and statistics and crowd counts: 
    -- "I guess you are relying on them to be responsible parents... but what percentage are responsible parents?'' she asked, and which ones are trying to complete the mandatory hours of instruction by, ``oh, doing 950 hours of grocery shopping?''  [950 hours could translate to 158 six-hour school-days, which comes to 31 five-day weeks; no one shops six hours a day, five days a week for 31 weeks.  It isn't only that the source was exaggerating but that the reporters chose to use the exaggeration in the article.]

  • Source control:
    -- ``We really want our kids to rule and reign for Christ. We couldn't do that on a haphazard basis,'' said Steve Beck. ``The whole idea is we're training battle-hardened soldiers for Christ. The private Christian school wasn't going to do that.'' 
    [again, it isn't that the source isn't sincere, but that the reporters chose this particular quotation to characterize what follows] 
    In his book,
    A Father's Stew, Beck writes that Christians must reject the notions that women need work to be fulfilled, parents should pursue careers by dumping their children in day-care centers (disparagingly referred to as ``concentration camps'') and education can be provided only by so-called experts. [will mainstream Americans feel this person is someone with whom they identify?]

  • Word choice and tone: 
    -- which brings me to my exercise of playing with the Ctrl-F function in Word.  This is a long task and, as of this update, is not complete.  When the names are all entered I'll probably call it quits.


aberration   3
abduct   37
abortion  10
abuse  54
accountability  29
adventure  2
    homeschool  7
    third-party  1
African-American  7
American Educational Research Association   2
anecdotes   4
apartment  0
Apple, Michael   23
Archer, Derek  8
    critics of homeschooling argue   1
    homeschoolers (in defense of their point of view) argue  10
    lawyers (in court cases) argue  2
artist  0
Aryan Nations 2
atheist   2
    as part of a title  2
    parental  4
    school/state  8
Aylward, Deborah  5



Baha'i  0
Baker, Dorie, spokeswoman for a Yale dean  1
Baptist  1
Beck homeschooling family
    Ashley  3
    Gentry  2
    Hunter  2
    Stephen and Kerry  5
Belfield, Clive, education professor,  7
Benedict Arnold  1
Bennett, William, US Sec of Ed   1
Bible   4
biblical  6
biology  0
Bluedorn, Nathaniel & Hans, authors   1
Bob Jones University  3
Boehner, John, US Rep.  6
Bonicelli, Paul  8
books  22
Bowers, Bob  asst. state supt.  5
boys 15
Boy Scouts  0
brick house  0
brother(s) 10  (6 instances involved death or brutality)
Buchanan, Pat, US politician  1
Buchy, Jim Rep  1
Buddhist  1
burdens  1
Burges, Joyce  5



Calvert  0
Calvinist  2
    Missy, schnauzer with homeschool assessment  8
    Nick, Missy's owner  2
    Zack  1
Cape Cod (style house)  0
Cardew, Mike, Beacon Journal staff photographer  6
Carey, John, state Sen  7
caring  2
Carpenter, Doug   2
Catholic (Roman)  4
Caumartin, Hugh, sup't  2
cemetery  1
chemistry   1
child-protection   1
choir  2  (“preaching to the” was 1)
Christ  7
Christian   98
Christian Home Educators of Ohio   8
Christian Home Educators of Stark County, statement of faith group   1 
Christian Identity, white supremacist movement  2
church  24
classics  1
cloak  (as in 'to hide')  2
Clonlara School  0
Coffman, Rachel  14
    David and Micki, homeschool authors  0
    Drew, homeschooled Harvard graduate  0
    Grant, homeschooled Harvard graduate  0
    Reed, homeschooled Harvard graduate  0
    Garth, homeschooled  0
    adjective   24
    by name   6
    generic   40
    Patrick Henry College   28
competence  0
competent  0
compulsory attendance  4
    Christian  12
    political  12
conversation  1
cooperatives  4
Court Report  3
Cox, Jerry, pres.  homeschool advocacy group in Arkansas  5
Crail, Marc supt.  2
crazies  1
creationism  4
creative  1
Creative Learning in My Backyard group  1
crimes 4
criminals  3
critics  12
cultlike  2
curriculum  30



dance  2
dangerous 4
    parents  4
    Sandy  7
Democrat  5
dependable  0
    and Jane, books said to be liked by parents because of all-white cast of characters   1
    Teresa, Molly Holt's mother  6
Dillard, James Rep.  6
disproportionate  3
distrust  3
Dobson, Linda, homeschool author   1
Dobson, James, Focus on the Family    1
drop out  2
Dubroff, Jessica, homeschooled, died in crash of plane she piloted  2
Duffy, Cathy, homeschool author   0
duplex  0

Eastin, Delaine, state sup't.  3
Eaton, John, supt.  1
educational neglect  6
emotional abuse  1
endearing 1
English   1
enjoy  0
    favored treatment  1
Episcopalian  1
ethically servile   1
evangelical/evangelism  11
evolution  1
extremist  4
exuberance  0
exuberant  0


4H  1
fabricating  1
failing  6
    homeschool  8
    school  1
    to comply with a requirement  4
fake home schoolers  2
Family Christian Academy, National High School Mock Trial 2002, 2003  1
Farenga, Pat  publisher Growing Without Schooling    0
Farmer, homeschooling family
    Anna  1
    Bridget  1
    family  1
Farris, Michael, HSLDA lawyer  54
FDR  1
Frammartino, Vincent supt.  1
Friddle, Anna,  homeschooled  1
friends  3
fringe element  1
fun (made fun of)  1
fundamentalist  11
Furrow, Buford Oneal Jr. ,  visited a homeschooling family  1



Gatto, John Taylor, New York State teacher of the year, author   0
Generation Joshua  16
gifted  3
Gill, homeschooling family
    Andrew  3
    Bree  2
    parents  3
    Stephen  2
girl(s)  26
god   15
godless  1
Gomez, Jorge, pres. North Texas Home Educators Network    4
Gotch, homeschooling family
    Albert  7
    family  8
    Karla  5
    Lucy & Sally 3
    parents  1
    story  1
grammar  0
Griffith, Mary, homeschool author   0
Growing Without Schooling 0
guilty (found guilty)  2
Guterson, David, homeschool author  0


Haas, Tim  6
happy  1
Harrold, Lou Ann, former sup't.  1
hate  4
hatred  1
healthy   0
Hegener, Helen and Mark, homeschool publishers  0
helpful  0
HEM  0
hicks from the sticks  1
hide  4
    murders  1
hiding  10
hippie  1
Holt, John, education author  3
Holt, Molly, child who died in fire 11
Holy Spirit  1
Home Education Information Resource (HEIR) 1
Home Education Magazine  5
homeless   0
homosexuality  6
Home School Heartbeat  8
Home School Legal Defense Association  (words written out)  42
Homeschooling Today  (magazine) 0
Hood, Mary, homeschool author  0
     1 upscale
     2 burned; fire
     1 limited to the (socialization)
     3 religious: As for Me and My House, House of Prayer; God placed man as head of the        
     1 generic
    17 governmental (House of Representatives, White House, House of Delegates, etc.)
     1 halfway
HSLDA  (acronym for Home School Legal Defense Association)  108
hug  2
humor  1
Hypes, Amanda Gutweiler  1



illiterate  1
impressed  1
    education  4
    progress  1
incest  2
inclusives  9
    by homeschoolers  2
    by others  2
intellectual  0
intellectually  1
intolerance  1
intolerant  2
Islam  0
Islamic  1
isolating  1
it’s not known   2


Jesus  5
Jewish  2
Johnson, Kevin, homeschooled, college football  1
Jordan, Jim, Rep.  2
Jordan, Tammi  16
joy  1



Kaseman, Larry and Susan, authors Taking Charge Through Home Schooling   0
Keepers of the Home  1
Kehoe brothers Chevie and Cheyne, white separatists   3
kidnapping 4
killing   7
Klicka, Christopher, HSLDA lawyer   13
Knabel, Kevin, homeschooled  1
knowledge (to someone's knowledge)  1
Kremling, Helmut, foreign language professor  2
Koran  0



Lavinder, Tom  supt.  2
lazy  1
leviathan 1
liberty  7
library  4 (“only resource” characterizes 1 of the 4)
Lines, Patricia, education researcher  5
literate   0
literature   0
Llewellyn, Grace, homeschool author   0
    love seat 1
    loved to work 1
    loves archery 1
    loves being involved 1
loving  2
    Timothy  2
    Valerie Charlene  1



Madison Project  2
mainstream (as being part of ) 0
mainstream (out of the) 3
major enclave  1
mandatory  10
math   13
McCahill, Burke  2
McCarter, Calvin, homeschooled, National Geography Bee,  1
Messianic Jews  1
Methodist  0
    Amanda  1
    Anthony  4
    Arzella  1
    both  3
    Corinne  1
    Jeremi  1
    Josef  1
    Patricia  1
Mintz, Jerry, alt. ed. activist   0 
misrepresented  5
misuse  3
mobile home  8
Monroe, Marilyn  1
Moore, Raymond and Dorothy, homeschool authors   2
Mormon  3
Moses  3
Muchmore, James  2
music  4
musician  1
multicultural  1
murder  19 
Muslim  2



n------  1
National Home Education Network  8
National Home Education Research Institute (spelled out)  16
National Merit Scholar  3
NEA  1
neglect  16  (educational neglect = 7)
NHERI (acronym)  7
No Child Left Behind  7
“no one knows”  6



Oak Meadow  0
officials  48
Old Testament  4
Olguin, Estella  4
opportunity  4
oversight  33



pagan  2
Paglialunga, Keyan  homeschooled   2
Paolini, Christopher, homeschooled author, 1 
    state  2
    trailer  1
Patrick Henry College  15
peace  0
Penn-Nabrit, Paula, homeschool author  14
Perry, Scott, an Oregon official  1
Petriella, Patricia,  homeschooled temporarily  4
pets   0
Phi Delta Kappa  9
    child’s  2
    decrease (play down)  1
    frivolity  1
    noun  1
    political  2
    religious  1
    sports  9
    state participation  (plays a part) 2
    violence  1
playground   0
pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag  1
police  22
polygamy/polygamous  3
pornography  3
Practical Homeschooling  (magazine) 0
Presbyterian  1
Pride, Mary   0 
principal  1
proportionate  1
Pulitzer Prize, won by authors of articles,  1 
Purcellville  4
purists  3


Quaker  1


Ray, Brian   40
racism  4
racist  9
rape 6
reclusive  1
Reed, Donn and Jean   0
Reich, Rob  Stanford University professor   19
registration  50
religious  30
Republican  17
    college entrance  2
    by state  10
robberies 1
Rose, Dennis, sup't.  4
Rossman, David, sup't.  2
Rowles, Mary  1
Rudner, Lawrence  53
    Drew  1
    Jim  1
    Ned  1


same-sex marriage   3
Sanders, Tom, Homeschool Christian Youth Association  5
Satan  1
Saviour 1; Savior 1  (both spellings within 7 words of each other)
Schlafly, Phyllis  2
science   12
Scouts/scouting  2
Sealfon, Rebecca, homeschooled, National Spelling Bee  1
   Jennifer  2
    parents  1 
separatists  1
    Christopher, elder,  2
    Christopher, younger, homeschooled, National Merit Scholar 9
    Davee  6
    David  1
Seventh Day Adventist  0
sex (variants)   35
sexual predator  4
Sheffer, Susannah  0
shine  1
shootout 2
shroud  2
sister(s)  7  (5 instances involved sexual brutality or death)
Smith, Ben  1
Smith, J. Michael   6
    adjective  1
    family   1
    Wesley  1   
socialization   19
social worker  6
sodomy 1
soldiers for Christ  1
Somerville, Scott   13
Sorooshian, Pam   14
sports  15
starving  4
Stevens, Mitchell   4
Stevenson, Deborah   3
Stewart, Bruce  2
Stormfront, white supremacist organization   1
suicide  3
superintendent  69
supportive  1
survivalists  1
suspicion   6
Swann, Alexandra   0
Swarbrick, David,  math tutor  1
synagogue  (set fire to)  1 



Taoist  1
Taylor, Jason, homeschooled Miami Dolphin, 1
    grandparent 1
    non-parent  32 
    parent as  3
Teaching Home  (magazine)  0
Thampy, George, homeschooled, National Spelling Bee  1
theater  1
    critical  1
    reflection  1
    wishful  1
thrill  1
tombstone  1
torture  1
tragedies  4
tragedy  4
tragic  2
troubling  13
truancy  13
truant  11
Twelve Tribes, separatist church  1



underground  3
underrepresented  2
under the radar  1
undetected  3
    adjective   1
    by name   34
    generic   2
unreconstructed Confederates  1
unregulated  7
unschool  15
unscrutinized  1


Vare, Ned   1
violence   7 
Vollmer, Dana, homeschooled during Olympic training,  1
    giving information  2
    helping in community  2
    self-selected for test results  4 



Waldbauer, Walter, attendance administrator  4
Wallace, Nancy  0
warmth  0
Warner, Mark, Gov.  1
Welch, Sue  0
well-grounded  0
well-rounded  0
Welner, Kariane Marie, researcher  1
    adjective  1
    Marcus  5
white  (as in race)  23
    supremacist  5  (included in 23)
Williams, James, homeschooled, National Geography Bee  1
Wilson, Douglas, author affiliated with Neo-confederacy and Christian Reconstructionism   4
Winrod, Gordon,  anti-Semitic preacher  4
witch 1
Wolber, Thomas, associate professor of German  2
World Church of the Creator 
World War II  1



    adjective  1
    Andrea  6
    children  2
Yost, Kevin James  5


Zelman, Susan  2


Make Your Own Graph
To make a visual comparison chart, enter the values of whatever grouping of words you'd like to compare.  The easy way to get a visual representation of the information is to minimize this screen and the Graph site screen so that each one takes up ½ of the screen (vertically seems to work best), and enter the values as you scroll down. Some religions are included in the list that are not in the articles because people mentioned in the articles are of those faiths.

Some comparisons might be:

  • Homeschooling 'names' you know compared to names in articles.   

  • 'Positive' words compared to 'negative' words.

  • Religious classifications compared to nonreligious (secular) classifications.

  • Religious classifications compared to other religious classifications.

  • Sensationalist words compared to neutral words.

Although this article series is meant to be 'about' ordinary people (who have, in some way, made themselves newsworthy), writing over 27 newspaper-pages of text (well over 40,000 words), quoting superintendents, principals, and anonymous teachers, but neglecting homeschooling parent-writers who deserve Lifetime Achievement awards for their work in the field, indicates bias.  The reporters might have included a quotation from one of their subjects, Prof. Michael Apple.  "The danger in human beings is arrogance, that you think you have a lock on reality. This is especially a danger for people who call themselves critical."


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