Homeschooling / Podcast Episodes

Episode 20 – Homeschooling Gone Wrong: The Hart Family Murders

In Memoriam of the Hart Children: Devonte, Jeremiah, Cierra, Markis, Hannah, and Abigail


This week, Kelley and Julia tell the tragic story of the Hart family murders. They discuss how moms, Jennifer, and Sarah Hart carefully constructed an image of a progressive and loving family, all while starving, beating, and abusing all six of their adopted children. Jennifer eventually kills the entire family by intentionally driving them off of a cliff, but that is just one of the many twists and turns this story takes, so tune in to hear a detailed timeline of events that lead to the ultimate breakdown and tragedy. Once again, a common thread that ties all of these homeschooling tragedies together is the role that Child Protective Services continues to play and how they continue to drop the ball and fail children across the United States. 

Episode Sources

In this episode their research, quotes, timeline and facts come from the following sources:

Withering Under the White Gaze by Deep Green Philly for Medium

Hart Family Deaths Show — Again — How Much Home School Children Need Case Workers’ Vigilance by Betsy Hammond for The Oregonian/Oregonian Live

Devonte Hart Family Crash: Friend Who Reported Moms Pushes for Child Abuse Registry by Shane Dixon Kavanaugh for The Oregonian/Oregonian Live

6 Children of Sarah and Jennifer Hart by clmccracken for Homeschooling’s Invisible Children

Hart Family Deadly Crash: a Timeline by The Oregonian/Oregonian Live

About Author

Kelley grew up as the fourth of six children in small town Hodgenville, Kentucky where she and her siblings were all homeschooled until graduation when she escaped off to college. Ever since she has been on a quest for learning and enlightenment. She is deeply passionate about politics, animals (particularly dogs and horses), art, film, fashion, and global issues.

1 Comment

  • Japanese Pumpkin
    October 18, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Hi. I was super excited (the phrase I’ve learned from you) to hear you reading my comment.
    Besides, I was encouraged by your comments on my English. Thank you very much.

    I found the stories that you have shared so far heartbreaking.

    In Japan, I think most of the homeschooling result from children’s truancy. It is usually the children that refuse to go to school.
    However, your stories, especially religious ones, remind me of one case that received a lot of publicity in the media.

    That is the children of Aum Shinrikyo, which is a Japanese doomsday cult and carried out Tokyo subway sarin attack (killing 12 people, severely injuring 50, and causing temporary vision problems for nearly 1,000 others).

    The believers and their children used to live in a religious community village, and they didn’t go to school.
    The 53 children aged 3 to 14 were later saved and sent to the children’s consultation office, but they wanted to go back to the religious facility.
    Because they were brainwashed to believe that people outside the facility would attack them by poisonous gas.

    The pity is that children of Asahara, the founder of the cult, could not go to school even after Asahara was arrested.
    Because they were discriminated and wherever they went, they were refused to enter the local schools.

    I don’t think that the children are to be blamed, because they are not responsible for the cult.

    Anyway, in Japan there is no law related to homeschooling. So parents don’t need to get permission from the board of education. No certification is required for the parents and they don’t have to submit homeschooling plan. I think law should be developed so that the board of education can check the progress of the children and check whether or not the children are abused.

    When I looked up at Japanese websites on homeschooling, most of them are favorable to homeschooling.
    However, I know from your podcast that there certainly are negative aspects or risks in homeschooling.
    I hope law in your country will also be developed and there are no more children who fall through the cracks.

    I respect you for your activities to raise awareness.
    I’m learning from your episode and looking forward to your new episode.


Leave a Reply