Saddled with chores like cooking, laundry and dishes? I totally know I was not abused, and often had to do all three when my mom was working. Thats called being part of the family. Being home schooled means they are probably attending class less than 3 hours a day in reality. What is wrong with doing chores? Remember-kids used to do chores, and they didn't have time to do drugs, join cults, sit in front of the tv all day and get fat. Many kids in smaller families do chores too-live on a farm and there is a lot more work than someone living in the suburbs with a maid service, nannies, and take out. It isn't child abuse to require kids to do chores. If all I had to do each day as my chore was 7 loads of laundry, the actual time it would take actively would be less than 2 hours (they have multiple washing machines, right? And closets right in the laundry area?) With 2-3 hours of school, she has plenty of time to be a kid. Cooking for a big family is minimally more complicated than for a small family (I saw their recipes, trust me, this stuff isn't gourmet!) I think floor duty would be a actual chore. There is the theory that many hands make light work, and I think it is true.
Parents aren't just there to give kids life, dinner and a roof with regular trips to the zoo. We are supposed to teach them values, and a work ethic and the satisfaction of a job well done. That requires more than pretty words and inspirational articles and and cute picture books. It is real life. Its not like they are working in a field for 12 hours a day picking potatoes. Which teenagers in Idaho are let out of school to do every fall. . .I thought that was weird, as I come from a non agricultural background. But to rural kids, it was the most normal thing in the world to do.
How do they learn if we don't teach them? Folding the towels once a week is great, but doesn't do much to teach them a work ethic. Cooking chocolate chip cookies once a month with gramma isn't educating them much. And building a birdhouse is nice, but real skills are learned by doing real work. Helping is nice, but self respect comes from real work.
My dad was trained as a carpenter by his dad and working regularly at 15 in the summers as a carpenter. He lived on a farm and milked cows (always got the whole milk with the cream on top at the store-he loved that!), did haying and worked in the fields. He adored his dad. Everyone did. And he learned a lot from him and if his dad just gave him a play set of tools and never expected anything of him, then he would never have learned to build that house for my mom, or furniture or decks or skyscrapers. His dad taught him and expected him to actually do it.
I think if you don't expect things from your kids, you ruin them. I don't want 30 year old "children", and I see a LOT of them. I want to raise my children to be men and women. Raising indicates growth. No one raises peas just for the pleasure of watching the first shoots come out of the ground.