When I first started blogging there were essentially no homeschool graduates speaking out about the downsides of homeschooling. When I put up my first post critical of homeschooling, I felt like I had killed a sacred cow. I grew up in a world where homeschooling was viewed as a perfect panacea, all positives and benefits and sunshine and rainbows. Coming from that world, what I did in talking about the downsides of homeschooling was taboo.
Fast forward almost two years today and so much has changed. Bloggers Heather and Lana, Latebloomer and Sierra joined me in voicing criticisms, and then came Homeschoolers Anonymous, which seeks to give voice to and share the stories of homeschool graduates raised in oppressive homeschooling situations. We’re here now, and we’re not going away.
And the media has started taking interest. Today, the Daily Beast published an article about Homeschoolers Anonymous.
In 2006 the evangelical magazine World featured 15-year-old Kierstyn King—then Kierstyn Paulino—in a piece about homeschooled kids who blog “to rebel against rebellion.” She was quoted describing her heroes: “‘First, Christ. After that: soldiers, my parents, and Ronald Reagan.’” On her blog, she wrote posts with titles like “The Case for Christians in Government,” arguing, “Our founding fathers built this land on Judeo-Christianity, and we have strayed too far from Christ.”
These days King, 22, has a hard time stepping into a church without having a panic attack. She escaped—her word—from her family in Georgia on her 18th birthday and lives in Maine with her husband, also a former homeschooler. Very little is left of the ideology her parents worked so furiously to instill in her. She’s ashamed of the work she did as a leader in various homeschooling youth organizations, which, she writes, “contributed to the amount of hurt I and many others who grew up in this radical/evangelical/conservative/christian subculture endured and continue to endure.”
She is, however, still blogging, both on her own and as part of Homeschoolers Anonymous, a new site that publishes children of Christian homeschooling families speaking out about upbringings that, they say, have left them traumatized and unprepared for adult life. “Our primary concern is for people to be exposed to our experiences growing up in the conservative Christian homeschooling world and to see how those ideologies can create abusive situations,” says Ryan Lee Stollar, one of the site’s founders.
And now, future homeschool graduates walking the same path will not have to kill the sacred cow. We’ve done that for them.
(For more on my thoughts on homeschooling, see this link.)