Daily Beast Article on Homeschoolers Anonymous

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.

[read the rest]

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.)

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://john-lindsey.net John Lindsey

    I imagine most of us are just trying to forget it ever happened, especially us GenX-ers. Was strange to be there to actually observe your hippy parents transform into yuppies, then continue to devolve into fundie/homeschooling/religious right/quiverfulls.

    My mom was actually huge in the Christian homeschooling movement. Probably should write about it someday. Probably won’t, though. The Millennials seem to have a handle on it. ^^


  • “Rebecca”

    Argh, some of the commenters there are doing the exact thing you complained about awhile back. They’re getting super defensive as if the article was a blanket condemnation of homeschooling. Which it isn’t. People who take homeschooling as part of their ideological makeup can be so frustrating to deal with, because they can’t see a nuanced view of the situation at all. They whine and complain about the bad apples ruining it for everyone, but they won’t criticize the bad apples themselves. Then they get angry when others bring it up! Frankly, this ugly side of homeschooling needs national scrutiny and the “good” homeschoolers ought to be the first ones doing it.

    • Jen B.

      Exactly. A lot of people are claiming that the article paints all homeschoolers with the same brush, but I think they’re being defensive. I don’t think people can deny that a significant number of Christian homeschoolers homeschool in a very strict, restricting, and indoctrinating way. Thankfully, not all homeschoolers are like that, but the fact remains that some are, and that shouldn’t be ignored because people feel it makes homeschooling look bad. I say that as a non-believer who would consider homeschooling my hypothetical future kids, too.

  • kisarita

    Interesting. I grew up in which I rarely encountered anyone that homeschooled, and people who did homeschool were looked at as odd. I sort of ended up romanticizing homeschooling because I hated school so much. My former boyfriend and I talked about how we’d homeschool if we had kids together (which we didn’t, thankfully). Now I see there is another side to it. To be true, it seems that much of the negative comes out of the repressive religious ideology, but not all of it.

  • emjb

    We are talking about homeschooling in a year or two because that’s when the insane testing merry-go-round starts in the public schools here for our kid. But we don’t want to stunt our kid and since we’re not religious, aren’t doing it to promote moral purity of some kind. I believe in sunlight as a disinfectant; let’s have all the stories out there, and learn from them. Seeing what some parents did wrong helps the rest of us to know what to look out for if we can.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      If the public schools are pretty good in your area, and your kids aren’t being bullied or anything, I’d keep them in and just supplement. You can do a ton with just a basic knowledge of algebra, biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as grammar, spelling, literary criticism, political science, government, philosophy, sociology, and psychology.

      I guess that’s a pretty long list, actually. But if you homeschool, you have to have all that plus child psychology, music (or pay lots for it), art (or pay lots for it), and curriculum building skills (or really good BS detectors, since a lot of pre-made curricula are really bad). If you’ve got all that, then homeschooling could make sense for you and your kids. If you don’t … now’s a good time to start acquiring that knowledge and those skills!

      • Emily

        To be fair, most public schools are not teaching those things either. I did not learn psychology, sociology, literary criticism, political science, philosophy, chemistry, or physics until college despite being in an AP program at a high school that is highly ranked. We had some minimal music and art, but not as much as I currently purchase for my children. Ultimately, parents and the government share the responsibility for turning out well-educated children. What schools do not teach, I teach or pay someone else to teach.

        I am against bad homeschooling, but it is unrealistic and unfair to hold the bar higher for homeschoolers than for public schools.

      • Anat

        Emily, I don’t know when you attended high school or college, but these days a post-algebra class of physics or chemistry (not necessarily AP level) is a common requirement for college application, even for very modestly ranked colleges. In my state 3 years of science and 3 years of social studies are a graduation requirement. But M isn’t saying those are classes high schools are teaching, but that those are areas of knowledge a teacher should have before teaching the regular high school curriculum in related fields (ie to teach high school history and civics properly you need to know political science and sociology etc).

  • Eve

    Have you seen this forum, http://hsahs.proboards.com/? Many different perspectives represented.

  • ThinkingMomma

    I have a minor in women’s studies that I obtained before most universities or colleges had much in women’s studies, so came to parenting from a strong feminist background, but when the public school system was failing my daughter despite endless meetings & arrangements, took her out of it for 7 years (not the only reason). She ended up choosing to graduate from public school, but I know some adults who loved being homeschooled so much that they now do the same (many of them after college, etc).

    Homeschooling, like every other educational method out there has its positive and negative sides. I have kids who have done/are doing both public school & homeschool, and more than once I have been amazed at the homeschooling posts of how some parents (and there is no perfect parent out there) restrict the choices of their teens so severely. I have always wondered now those teens felt, and I’m glad to finally find out that not everyone is happy with that. However, my parents also made poor choices for me, including not letting me go to an alternative high school when I was clearly bullied & bored at our public school. However, I have a child in college now, so this was some time ago before most of us had heard of homeschooling. I have been happy that our local school district makes it easy for teens to transfer into & out of public school, including high school, compared with many places, and even allows part time public school registration.

    However, I have to say that the articles at The Daily Beast do just as much of a disservice & damage as do the “homeschooling is so perfect and everyone should be doing it” articles do. I suffered greatly in public school and see a just as much limiting thought there as in some homeschooling situations, and for once in my life would like to see someone write something with a more intelligent, balanced discussion of education than I usually see,

    And, yes, I’ve seen the gamut in homeschooling families, who come from all walks of life, political bents, beliefs, etc.