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  • Rachel Ulatowski

Yawi Family/The Tannerites & the Christian Homeschooling Debacle

A daughter who dropped out of high school at age 16, a daughter who is 20 and whose ultimate life goal is to be a Disney princess, and a son who refused to complete his associates degree with two classes left to go - these are what make up the three oldest children in the Tanner family. The family, who often refers to themselves as either The Tannerites or the Yawi Family (acronym for You Are Worth It) have been on YouTube for 6-years. Through posting vlogs on their Yawi Family channel and kid-oriented content on The Tannerites channel, they have accumulated a combined subscriber count of over 6 million.


Despite their popularity, the Yawi Family is concerning for many reasons. On the surface, they seem pretty normal. Parents Johnny and Sarah were high school sweethearts who later eloped and had seven kids - Branson, Allie, Daniell, Savannah, Lizzie, Az, and Canyon. However, those who watch their vlogs will find they are one of the most problematic families on YouTube. They constantly exploit their children's injuries, sicknesses, and hospital visits. Additionally, they often refuse their children medical attention despite symptoms of concussions and head trauma. They're neglectful exploitative parents and also take very terrible care of their pets. However, perhaps, the biggest disservice they are doing to their kids is failing to give them an education.


Daniell Tanner's Homeschooling

Initially, the Tanners didn't start out too badly. They sent their two oldest children, Branson and Allie, to public school. Both of them, at least, graduated high school. The trouble started with their third oldest child, Daniell. As a teenager, Daniell struggled with school and simply disliked being in the school environment. Hence, Johnny and Sarah tried homeschooling her. She ended up doing a mixture of homeschool and public school, as she needed to fulfill electives at the school, such as Ballroom Dancing, that Johnny and Sarah couldn't provide.


Though she had a bad attitude and complained about having to do the homeschool/public school mixture, things started out well. Then, she began struggling and fell extremely behind in school. However, it wasn't entirely her fault as many of the vlogs where she was suppose to be homeschooling, she was instead put in charge of watching her younger brother Canyon and doing chores around the house. Things deteriorated further when Johnny and Sarah announced that all of their children, except Allie, would be homeschooling during Danielle's freshman year of high school. Johnny and Sarah were not at all equipped to suddenly begin homeschooling 5 children and ALL of the children struggled.


Meanwhile, at the very beginning of this huge, new undertaking, Johnny and Sarah decided to take a trip with their oldest son, leaving all of the younger children in Daniell and Allie's care. Since Allie was still attending school, though, it was mainly Daniell watching the children, taking them out for groceries, feeding them, putting them to bed, etc. Later in the video she expressed her frustration that she already had bad grades at the very beginning of the semester. While she called herself "dumb" it is clear to see that she was given too heavy a burden by being forced to babysit her younger siblings while also doing homeschooling. Not only that, but her parents failed to help her navigate homeschooling and understand her requirements. She reiterated not knowing about taking daily quizzes or being required to attend live sessions - something her parents should have went over with her.

As a result, Daniell was frequently in trouble with her parents. They would check her grades and then take her phone away for being behind or having poor grades. However, they failed to work with her and find out why she was struggling in school. They continued to utilize Daniell as a babysitter while they went on frequent couple getaways and cared nothing for the heavy load Daniell carried from doing homeschool, taking electives at the public school, doing chores, and babysitting her younger siblings.


Illegitimate Homeschool and High School Dropout


Daniell eventually decided to return to high school, as well as partake in beauty school. She quickly got enrolled in cosmetics school and was extremely passionate and excited about her opportunities. She was suppose to attend a public high school which would give her credit for the beauty program and allow her to dually graduate beauty school and high school. However, just months after enrolling in beauty school she announced she had dropped out of high school completely. Her reasoning was that she had difficulty in transferring her homeschool transcripts and credits. This issue definitely seems like something her parents should have been working out. As a parent, if you choose to homeschool your child, you need to work out every single aspect of that arrangement. You need to ensure they are getting actual credits, enrolled in a legitimate program, and able to easily transfer over to public school if need be. Johnny and Sarah apparently did not do this. The details of what happened are unclear, but it seems that Daniell's years of homeschooling basically didn't count, since they could not be transferred or accepted by the public school.


As a result, Daniell decided to drop out of school at age 16 and, shockingly, Johnny and Sarah fully supported her. While she is continuing with beauty school, she truly didn't have much reasoning for dropping out of high school. While the transcripts problem was serious, the main reasons she gave for dropping out was that she simply didn't like school and wanted to just take the "fast-track" by getting her GED. Two years later, Daniell has since graduated beauty school, but still has no GED. If she had dually graduated beauty school and high school, her chances of finding work and her resume would've significantly improved. However, because Johnny and Sarah couldn't be bothered to work out transferring credits for their daughter, Daniell chose to become a high school dropout for no real good reason.


Also, if Danielle's homeschooling years couldn't even be transferred or accounted for in public school - just what kind of homeschooling are Johnny and Sarah doing? Will any of their children have the option to return to public school if they wish to do so? Will any of them even get legitimate diplomas?


Savannah, Lizzie, Az, & Canyon = homeschooling disaster


Daniell isn't the only child being failed by her parents' homeschooling. The homeschooling of the four young children, Savannah, Lizzie, Az, and Canyon, is nothing short of a disaster. Videos have frequently been posted showing the kids severely behind in school, in emotional distress over their homeschool, or straight-up failing their homeschooling. Johnny has simply refused to be a part of the homeschooling, leaving Sarah to manage the homeschooling of four kids in different grades. Aged 14, 12, 9, and 7, these four kids are simply too young to understand, on their own, how to participate, attend live sessions, take tests, and stay on pace. Johnny and Sarah, meanwhile, provide no guidance.


Numerous disturbing videos have arisen of the kids being terribly behind on the very last day of the semester, missing dozens of assignments, failing all of their classes, sobbing historically over numerous failed attempts, or admitting that they simply "guessed" on numerous assignments. These kids' young age means that they can't be held accountable for failing, falling behind, not understanding assignments, cheating, etc. It is the parents duty, as their children's literal teachers, to ensure that their children are submitting assignments on time and that they understand the assignments. Instead of helping their children, they simply wait until they are badly failing and then punish the children for doing so. They don't provide any guidance, aid, or encouragement, instead banishing their kids to sit in front of the computer all day and figure out the work themselves. In one video, Sarah punished Lizzie and called her a liar for guessing on her math quiz because she couldn't figure out how to do it. They then sent her back to her computer by herself to continue working it out, even though she clearly needed help.


On the very first day of homeschooling, Johnny revealed that Az had sat at his desk frustrated and crying for 20 minutes alone because a pop-up blocker was preventing him from taking his test. In another video, Sarah discovered Az sobbing uncontrollably because he thought he failed a test. He was too young to realize what he took was a diagnostic test and didn't count for his grade. Both of these are instances of unnecessary stress that the kids are going through because they are doing their homeschool completely alone with no parental guidance.


Sarah's at her wits end homeschooling four kids


Viewers are increasingly becoming concerned about Sarah as she is completely overwhelmed with homeschooling. However, it is partially her own fault as the family purposefully makes the situation harder for themselves. They do this by frequently going on weeks-long trips and vacation during the school year. Once they get back, the kids have literal mountains of catching-up to do which puts extreme and unnecessary stress on them and causes them to act out. The youngest son, Canyon, already has behavioral issues and is particularly difficult for Sarah to homeschool. He frequently shows signs of violence and aggression, and refuses to listen to Sarah or his sisters when it comes to homeschooling, even driving Allie to tears on multiple occasions. When the family got back from a vacation in Costa Rica, Sarah was near tears trying to get Canyon to do his homework. She was so overwhelmed that she couldn't even look at him at the end of the day and told Johnny to deal with him.

Sarah and Johnny are raising high school dropouts


The kids, quite clearly, are not reacting well to homeschooling. In fact, they all appear to hate it so much that they are all expressing their desire to be high school dropouts when they grow up. After all, Sarah and Johnny have taught them not to value education. It is something they are urged to do as fast as they possibly can so the family can go on vacation and film videos without it being in the way. They've openly supported and even expressed pride at their 16-year-old dropping out. So, its no wonder the little kids are fascinated by the idea. During Daniell's birthday vlog, she was making a wish for Lizzie and wished that Lizzie could drop out of school soon, to which Lizzie expressed excitement. Savannah piped up that she, too, is going to drop out in high school. Lizzie is 12-years-old and Savannah is 14.

With how things are looking, it doesn't appear to be a joke. Sarah and Johnny have failed their kids horrendously and have fostered a terrible attitude in all of them that completely downplays the importance of education. At this rate, in a few years, Sarah and Johnny will have raised a whole army of high school dropouts.

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