I was home-schooled in a fundamentalist home from K-12. After being out on my own as an adult and going to secular university, I’ve learned to think for myself. It’s been a long and difficult personal journey but I’ve become an atheist.
There are quite a few people who have come from fundamentalist settings and become atheists but I have never heard of a home schooler from a fundamentalist home turn atheist like myself. I feel alone like no one really knows what it’s like to go through the exact kind of circumstances I’ve been going through, especially with family.
I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this.
–Homeschooler Turned Atheist
First of all, you have my admiration and congratulations for your very unlikely emancipation. I’m sure it was very difficult in many ways.
Homeschooled people are a small fraction of the general population. Fundamentalist homeschooled people are a fraction of that fraction, and of course atheists who come from fundamentalist homeschooled backgrounds such as yourself are a very small fraction of that fraction. Pretty rare, I’d say.
I searched the Friendly Atheist site using the Google Custom Search feature at the top right corner of this page. There have been many, many posts and discussions here about the merits and drawbacks of homeschooling, or about how not all homeschooling is being practiced by fundamentalists. Several comments were by atheists who are homeschooling their kids.
But after two hours of searching Friendly Atheist posts, I had found only three comments by atheists who mentioned that they themselves had been homeschooled in fundamentalist or very religious homes. They are:
So I realized I needed to broaden my criteria. I used the all-the-web Google, looking for “deconversion stories homeschool” (without the quotes) and variations of that. I found two more, interestingly also on Friendly Atheist:
AJ, August 27th 2010 at 11:50 pm
Other sites mentioned homeschooling, but they didn’t seem to be about atheists from that background. A great deal of reading would be necessary to glean other appropriate stories from the 20,100 results.
So my main advice would be to broaden your criteria too. Look for similar emotions, similar inner conflicts, and similar relationship conflicts rather than looking for similar circumstances that caused those emotions and conflicts. The essence of empathy is to recognize in other people the same feelings that you have had, without being distracted by the details of how you or they got those feelings.
However, I still understand your desire to find people with more exact similarities, so let’s see if we can find you some. We can use this post to call out to the readers who have been homeschooled in fundamentalist or heavily religious homes, or who by some other means have had experiences that might be of help, encouragement and guidance for you.
LET’S HEAR FROM THOSE OF YOU WHO RECOGNIZE SOMETHING IN “HOMESCHOOLER’S” STORY. Thank you for your help.