“So, do you support homeschooling?”
I get this question a lot. Especially from parents who are currently homeschooling their children. I’m sure they’d like me to enthusiastically say that yes, I do. That’s unfortunate, because my answer is the opposite. Thankfully, I’ve never been afraid to rock the boat.
For the most part, I do not support homeschooling. My experiences are a cautionary tale of how unregulated homeschooling can lead to educational neglect.
You can say that my experience is rare, but it’s not.
You can say that I wasn’t a “true homeschooler”, but yes, I most definitely was.
You can say that I’m just angry and bitter.
You bet your ass I’m angry, and I have every right to be.
I’m angry that at 23 I opened a high school math book and found sections upon sections of math that I had never been taught. Apparently it wasn’t important to make sure I had a full grasp of basic math. I was just supposed to be a mom, after all.
I’m angry that I was barely taught any science (seven day creationism, anyone?), and that my knowledge of the world around me was limited to “because god did it.”
I’m angry that my knowledge of history was severely limited by insular Christian curriculum that celebrated cultural erasure and colonialism.
I’m angry that my foundation is shaky, and that I’m learning everyday to make up for years of educational neglect.
Anything I ever needed to know I had to teach myself. What should have been taught in school ( the difference between you’re and your, for example) was something I had to learn as an older teenager.
I’m angry that I still have siblings at home who are being taught the same way I was. I’m angry that people think it’s ok to excuse such horrendous, life altering neglect to keep the peace.
Lets talk about socialization, shall we? A once a week co-op group is not socialization. Having pen-pals is not socialization. Being around your siblings and parents 24/7/365 is not socialization. It’s literally the opposite of socialization.
I was very isolated growing up. I had less than five friends for my entire teenage years. I knew so little people my age that my one best friend (another very isolated homeschooler) and I wrote 10-18 page letters to each other, because we were that lonely. Our life was so consumed with raising our mother’s children that there was no time for outside activities.
Lack of friends was something even my siblings complained about. Siblings can be friends, sure. It is healthy to only have siblings have friends? No, no it is not. Interacting with the outside world is so important. If you want your children to be well rounded adults, they need to be exposed to other people besides family. They need to know how to interact with people properly. That way you don’t do what my siblings do – huddle in groups in public. That way you don’t develop extreme social anxiety as a teenager that prevents you from paying for things or interacting with strangers.
Homeschooling is the perfect environment for neglect and abuse to grow. As an adult, I’m shocked at the educational neglect that went on in our home. How was any of this acceptable?
Unregulated homeschooling is the real problem here, for the most part. I remember my parents getting upset that PA had strict homeschooling laws, and that our attendance and progress had to be documented. You’d think if you wanted your kids to have a good, well rounded education (the one you claim public schools cannot give), that you’d be more than happy to prove how well educated your kids are. That wasn’t the case. Our attendance and progress was fudged. I remember that the woman who evaluated my work was less than pleased. Downright unimpressed.
My education focused heavily on growing up to be a submissive wife and mother of many. We read books about how to be a submissive wife, and how to practice submission with our fathers. Ew. Purity culture was celebrated. I even had a purity ring.
I cooked meals and cleaned the house. I’d be an amazing maid, that’s for sure. But anything else was pretty much ignored. You don’t need to know how to simplify polynomials to be a submissive wife! Who needs geometry when your main goal in life is to have as many kids as possible?
My boyfriend has a high school diploma I envy. When my ex destroyed my diploma in an effort to get back at me for leaving, I reached out to my mother, hoping she’d sign a new one for me. My boyfriend laughed at the idea. “She’s not going to help you in any way whatsoever.”
I wanted to believe though, and hoped. She said no. I even offered to pay for the diploma. Still no.
It was never about education. It was about control, and when I refused to bow down to that authority, something as basic as a HS diploma was denied. It was another effort to further punish me for leaving and exposing neglect.
Like I said, I’ve never been afraid to rock the boat. I don’t sit down and shut up. I was constantly chided for not being “submissive to authority”, and told that my “big mouth” would get me in trouble someday.
Homeschooling, to work properly, needs to be regulated. Homeschoolers have to be held up to the same standard as everyone else. We are not special, and we are not smarter than anyone else. I know dozens of homeschoolers who received a scant education, light on very important information. Crippled and abandoned because we’re not “true homeschoolers”, we’re trying our best to become something in today’s world. Something beyond just a farmer or just a mother. We’re striving a bit higher than that.
I wish I had gone to a public school, and I envy those who were given that opportunity. Even the crappiest public school would have given me more opportunities than the home education I received.
If you do not support regulated homeschooling, I doubt that your intentions are honest. Prove to the world that you’re better than them, like you boast you are. Otherwise, what are you trying to hide?