The one thing you should never ask a homeschool kid

The local paper does stories on all of the high school graduations, and where the stories for the other school graduations follow the same formula–mention something from the speaker, go with a few quotes from graduates about going out into the world, the homeschool support group graduation story includes quotes from kids talking up homeschooling as a concept. Don’t ask that question of kids. Seriously, just don’t. No kid should be put in the position of defending and explaining their education to adults. Aside from the fact that in 2013 it’s not like homeschooling is something nobody’s heard of, that’s just not something you should put on a kid. It’s too much pressure and it makes the kid feel even more like an outsider, an “other,” and not part of mainstream culture. Even if a kid had an absolutely wonderful experience, homeschool apologetic isn’t something a kid should be expected[…]

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Pawns in the culture war

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes – Morpheus, The Matrix In the few days since I wrote my post about what I strongly suspect is HSLDA’s litigation strategy to make homeschooling a fundamental right with no restrictions, not even for abusers, people have been doing some digging and have found information that quite frankly, is incredibly disturbing. In a nutshell, in 2009 an all male group of homeschool leaders met for a summit at one of Bill Gothard’s ATI training centers to discuss the future of homeschooling. Included among the big names present were Doug Phillips of Vision Forum (and former HSLDA attorney),[…]

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Of fundamental rights, HSLDA, and homeschooling

I wasn’t planning on writing more about HSLDA but I was talking to my mom today about HSLDA’s refusal to do anything about child abuse and how it made absolutely zero sense to defend abusers. As I moved on to talking about how I feel that they’re using the Romeike family as pawns in their effort to establish homeschooling as a fundamental right, something dawned on me. Notice that phrase “fundamental right”? It’s a phrase they’ve been throwing around an awful lot when talking about the Romeike case. In law, “fundamental right” has a very specific meaning. It refers to those rights that are basic, foundational rights–things like life, liberty, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, the right to marry, and the right to due process. Under US constitutional law, fundamental rights automatically trigger strict scrutiny. That is, for any law restricting a fundamental right to pass constitutional muster, it must[…]

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HSLDA and child abuse

I’ve made no secret that I don’t exactly have the most positive opinion about the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s brand of religious fundamentalism but I never thought that HSLDA was covering for and protecting child abuse. For all of their scare tactics, and for as much as I think that a legal defense organization is unnecessary in a post-Tim Tebow world, I always assumed that the training-up-the-next-generation-of-culture-warriors aside, it really was just about keeping homeschooling legal. That if they were representing a family, it was because the family was wrongly accused. I found out recently that I was completely wrong. HSLDA is pursuing a course of action that is helping to protect child abusers while doing nothing to protect kids. Blogger Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism, herself a K-12 homeschool graduate, has a series of posts exploring HSLDA and child abuse. It’s a long read but I encourage you[…]

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Heads up

Sometime in the next week or so some of what I’ve written here, as well as some new material, will be posted on the Homeschoolers Anonymous blog. You may be asking why, when I’ve already gone on record that my homeschooling experience was largely positive, I’m contributing to a site that chronicles some of the problems that people have had with the homeschool subculture. The reason is simple. Those of us who were homeschooled have all seen the problems and the abuses. If we’re honest, we know that those problems exist, even if they didn’t exist in our own families. Implicit in the insistence that we weren’t one of those homeschoolers is the acknowledgment that those homeschoolers exist. Those who are telling their stories of how that the subculture hurt them deserve to have those of us who know the truth acknowledge that their stories are real. That we heard the messages from national homeschool leaders[…]

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Irony

The Daily Beast has a story about homeschooled kids who have grown up and are blogging about their negative experiences. I didn’t have the kind of negative experiences that those kids had, although I’ve definitely seen the kinds of problems that the article discusses. I think most of us who have grown up in homeschool circles have seen the problems and have stories we could tell–stories like the time I overheard moms at homeschool skate talking about how they weren’t going to teach their daughters algebra because they didn’t need math to be a stay at home wife and mother. What jumped out at me though, was this quote from the article: Now the first wave of kids raised in these homes has reached adulthood. Many were trained to be activists, to argue, to question the verities of the dominant culture. Debating skill is hugely important in many homeschool circles,[…]

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Musings from a parallel universe

Earlier today I posted a link on facebook about how Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College threatened to sue the the people behind the Queer at Patrick Henry College blog for copyright infringement for using the name “Patrick Henry College”. [Here’s where we pause for a moment while I say, COPYRIGHT LAW DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT!!!!!!!111ONE!!!!!!!eleventy!!!!! phew, deep breath, now that’s out of my system we can go on]. Apparently somebody pointed out to Michael Farris that copyright law does not work like that, because he promptly withdrew the threat. Anyway, Mike Farris landing in the news got me thinking about something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Before he went and started a college that would let fundy homeschool parents feel safe about sending their kids off to a school that would keep the kids sheltered from the outside world, his claim to fame was starting the[…]

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You can never get home again

I went to a homeschool graduation tonight; someone I babysat for many years from the time she was a baby was graduating, which makes me feel incredibly old, though that is somewhat beside the point. Perhaps it was because it was the graduation put on by the homeschool support group that I never much cared to be involved with back when I was in high school, but despite having gone to a dozen or more of those events over the years, it felt odd. It’s a world where I no longer belong. That’s not to say anything about homeschooling itself, just that it’s like visiting a place that you once knew like the back of your hand and finding that while it may have stayed the same, you’re not the same person you used to be and it doesn’t fit anymore.

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