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I, myself, am not saying that because abuse goes undetected in schools that means we shouldn't care about abuse in homeschooling.  I am saying that there is no perfect solution.  It just seemed like some of the posters at the HA site (and I don't blame them for having this point of view at all) think if they had gone to school things would have been hunky dory when there is no guarantee of that.  Just like people, perhaps like the HA parents, who thought if they homeschooled their kids a certain way they'd raise the perfect Christian child.  And the thing is if your group, even by the very title of it, maligns a whole group of people, that's unjust too.  Their tag line is homeschool alumni reaching out.  That isn't specific enough.  It is including all homeschoolers even though their particular project is to support a particular type of homeschooler that experienced abuse.  I am sorry they experienced this, but my homeschooling has absolutely nothing to do with their experience.  So I don't like them trying to co-opt the name.  However, I do agree that that wacky extremists are dangerous and we should somehow try to protect children from them.  I just wish I knew how to do it without maligning everyone else.  

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The US has the advantage of larger numbers via your much larger population.

 

I've got an online friend in Texas, and I'm househunting right now....you never know!

My house goes on the market in April. Just sayin'. *wink*

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A method of education doesn't cause or even disguise abuse in a vacuum.

 

There's a common thread in most of the HA stories, and it isn't homeschooling.

 

At the risk of being too personal, I would like to agree with this.

 

Please do not quote my post. You may refer to it, if you wish, but please do not quote it.

 

I grew up being what (at least today) would have to be called abused -- getting regularly spanked, belted, threatened, slapped, hit, punched, choked, smothered, knocked on the head, struck with hard things, and thrown against walls... not to mention the emotional impact of it all. I never could figure out how to avoid any of it.

 

I was public schooled from K through 12th.

 

We all went to church, every Sunday. As far as I know, there was not any teaching at the church either for or against the type of parenting I experienced. It was simply what happened in our home.

 

In my thinking, there was no direct connection between these separate aspects of my life.

 

Have I started a website about it? No. Did any of my school teachers know what my home life was like? No, I doubt it. I did have one teacher in high school who may have had a clue. He seemed to sense my vulnerability, and if I'd let him, he probably would have seduced me. Did any of my church teachers know? Well, my mother did, and she was one of my church teachers. Did any of my church elders know? Well, my father did, and he could put bruises on me on Sunday afternoon as easily as he could prophecy or serve communion on Sunday morning.

 

In my opinion, homeschooling has nothing to do with abuse. Church doesn't always, either (though there are wacko churches that advocate practices that are abusive, just as there are healthy churches that actively teach good parenting). Abusive parents may choose to homeschool, but that decision isn't what makes them abusive. There are plenty of abusive parents, believe me, who put their children in public or private school, while the abuse at home goes on for years. In fact, it may never be detected by anyone at school (or church).

 

Even the publicly-schooled child learns to hide what really happens. When my father hit my face with the handle of a knife (not sure why) and one of my braces brackets fell off, I lied to my orthodontist and told him I'd been chewing on a Now-or-Later (remember those?) and the bracket got stuck. We had to wait three days for the welt to go down, before we could make an appointment with him. I'm not sure he believed my story, but nothing happened to change anything.

 

Nothing ever happened to change anything. Story of my life, actually, until I grew up and had the power as an adult to confront it and call it what it was.

 

I'm not against these offspring speaking out against abuse -- but they should acknowledge that the abuse came from their parents. I do not think they have any solid ground to stand on, if they say the abuse was because of homeschooling, if they equate their educational neglect with being homeschooled, or if they think their abuse was hidden or prolonged because they were not in school.

 

Parents who abuse continually do so because they choose to abuse, because they learned to relate to people primarily through anger, power, violence, and dominance. Homeschoolers, you can abuse your children all day long, right? Who will know? Poor public schoolers, you can only abuse your children when they get in from school, on weekends, holidays, and summer break -- in your spare time, let's say. Again, who will know? Either way, it's abuse. I don't think my life would have been meaningfully different, better, or worse if I'd been homeschooled. It would have hurt, either way.

 

IME, the public school system is not the Great Deliverer of the Abused, and it has its own abuses. Ultimately, parents are responsible for what they do to their children. Perhaps some of the HA writers blame homeschooling as a way to displace some of the rage that should be directed towards their parents?

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One problem we run into with news stories about abusive homeschoolers is that they get labeled as homeschoolers when they're not even legally registered as homeschoolers.  So a family abuses a child to death and because the child wasn't enrolled in ps or private school, the press calls them homeschoolers.  I have to point out in discussions about those news stories that no, homeschooling in my state mean being legally registered as a homeschooler.

 

If the argument is "Removing a child from daily, face-to-face interactions with mandated reporters led to this child's death", then talking about how that particular family wasn't really homeschooling is beside the point. I see this argument sometimes about people who are enrolled in online school or distance education. "Oh, that's not homeschooling!" Maybe? But what the heck does that have to do with the issue at hand?

 

When there are educational neglect stories about legally registered homeschoolers who are doing nothing (not to be confused with unschooling) I point out in those discussions that homeschooling means providing developmentally appropriate academic instruction to a child on a regular basis.  If someone is legally registered as a homeschooler and fails to provide actual academic learning in some form, it's the equivalent enrolling your kid in ps and not sending them to school, which is no schooling.  In other words, the homeschool registration is a cover for not schooling a kid.  If you're not doing the work of homeschooling, you're not homeschooling and you're not a homeschooler, you're a fraud. So far, people seem to get that in those discussions.

 

If the situation is such that you can register as a homeschooler and provide no education to your child without anybody caring for 12+ years, then this is a problem. The problem is not that these people are frauds. The problem is that in many states, there is no oversight whatsoever.

 

If you enroll your child in school, and they don't show up for two weeks straight, or are chronically absent (but with periodic appearances at the school), somebody will notice. They'll call you, and if they can't get a hold of you, they'll send a truant officer to your house.

So yes, I think the issue of supposed homeschoolers not actually educating their children is really germane to this conversation. Otherwise, you're playing No True Scotsman with people's lives. That's not nice, and it's not helpful, and it's not honest either.

 

Now, I'm not saying we should all have to exactly follow the state curriculum and have daily check-ins with social workers, etc. I am saying that it is not entirely unwarranted for the state to ask for yearly confirmation that your child has learned something over the past 365 days and is in reasonably good health.

 

So, what's my suggestion to the issues raised by HA? Well, first, that we don't all get defensive and go "I'm not abusive, and neither is anybody I know!" Even if it's true - and I'm sure it is! - it's not helpful. I also don't think it's helpful to go "Kids in public schools get abused too!" This is certainly true, and there is LOTS of room for improvement here (which isn't going to happen so long as the government keeps shortchanging public education and social services, but that's another topic for another day), but it's entirely beside the point. It's like the dudes who respond to complaints about the wage gap or catcalling with "Well, women in Afghanistan have to wear burkas!" I'm not in Afghanistan. Shut up!

 

The issue of abuse by homeschooling families is something that has to be addressed both by homeschoolers and by the wider community. To start, again, I don't think a minimum level of oversight is unreasonable. Nor do I think it's unreasonable for people who started homeschooling under suspicious circumstances - like right after the principal reported them to child services - or who have open child services cases against them to be subject to greater scrutiny. (Now, you may jump in right here and say that there are whackjobs who live in the woods and eat rabbits and never get their kids birth certificates so nobody knows they exist. Or, if you're in the country, you may say there are whackjobs who lock their kids in the apartment and eat McDonald's and never get their kids birth certificates so nobody knows they exist. Granted, we can't stop these people with better laws. However, we can catch a lot of the less extreme abusers without putting too much of an inconvenience on anybody else.)

 

The second thing that our greater society should be doing is offering more opportunities for children in the community. More classes and programs and sports offered through the parks department and libraries or similar, for free or a low-cost on a sliding scale. Dual admission at the middle and high school levels - if kids are switching classes, then it has to be possible to schedule that. Vouchers to all families (or on a sliding scale) to afford day camps during summer and school breaks. Online education where you can choose the number of classes you participate in. If there are a large number of homeschoolers (using a very broad definition here!) in the community, municipally funded co-ops with licensed teachers that meet one or two days a week. If our concern is that some children don't get into contact with mandated reporters very often, well, this is an appealing way to make sure it happens, and it would benefit all kids in the community.

 

(Yes, this would cost money. On the sliding scale of capitalism v. socialism, would it surprise you to hear that I'm at the point marked "TAX THE RICH!"?)

 

So now we've covered the government carrot and stick. What role do homeschoolers have?

 

Well, this is a common story, both at HA and in similar blogs... and also in tales of people who escaped cults. There's even some similarity with people who have left abusive relationships. Stop me if you've heard it before. A family starts homeschooling, and they have few resources. Their local homeschool group is all very religious, statement of faith dealio. They sign up for the benefits of joining, and resolve not to change their lives too much. They make new friends who don't seem too extreme. Those friends introduce them to a new world of Christian literature. (Will anybody here deny that Christians make an awfully large percentage of American homeschoolers?) Everybody around them now is a little more religious and a little more right-wing than they are, and, being human, they gradually start to align a little more with their new friends. Some of these reading materials make good points, after all. As time goes by, they accept more and more of the community values, and spend less and less time with their old, pre-homeschool friends - after all, they have less in common with those people now. Five years down the line, they laugh at old pictures of themselves. They were so different back then!

 

Seem familiar? This can happen in more innocent venues as well. Harry Potter fandom, you start off reading gen kidfic, and then one day you realize you're reading mpreg dub/con twincest. You join a food co-op for low prices on organic kale, and then three years later you have a huge thing of nutritional yeast in your pantry and you're still breastfeeding your preschooler. This is how people become radicalized. (Except that fanfic and nutritional yeast are awesome, and Debi and Michael Pearl are not.)

 

So that's pretty much the role of every homeschooler who's not an abusive reactionary. You have to be visible and take a role in making sure that people have options and choices other than the path that leads to the dark side. They do NOT have cookies there.

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I'm not against these offspring speaking out against abuse -- but they should acknowledge that the abuse came from their parents. I do not think they have any solid ground to stand on, if they say the abuse was because of homeschooling, if they equate their educational neglect with being homeschooled, or if they think their abuse was hidden or prolonged because they were not in school.

 

 

 

No.

 

I am glad I came across HA. It taught me that my mother's abusive behavior was not her being inherently evil. Her abusive behavior was taught to her. It was only after she started homeschooling, and then went to Gothard seminars, and started reading parenting books by quiverfull homeschooling families that the spankings started. Then the big leather belt. Then she encouraged our dad to spank us, then complained he didn't do it hard enough. Then there was the mounting destructive emotional cycle, largely based on her failure to be strict enough to make us the quiet, immediately obedient, sickly sweet children that the books promised. I can vividly remember how my mother would scream "You must OBEY! OBEY!!" Then sob on the couch when we weren't compliant enough.

 

Homeschooling was the starting point, the First Cause even, so to speak, of the abuse. It was. Homeschooling was also a self`-defeating trap. There was a point when it was clear that homeschooling was not in the best interests of at least my older brother and I (the emotional downward spiral, for one, my dad losing his job and there being no money to buy middle school curriculum that my mother simply couldn't teach another). But to my mother this was just another failure. To not homeschool was, in her mind, to sin against God. I'm sure that during this time people counselled my mother that it would be better for my brother and I to move into the public school, but I am sure that my mother rejected that suggestion as the devil's temptation. So we were literally stuck in the physically, emotionally, and intellectually unhealthy situation. Abuse requires control, and homeschooling is, in essence, a controlling environment. (Which doesn't always lead to bad things, but yes, it is controlling. Isn't that why most of us homeschool, so we can control our child's education?)

 

So yes, in my case homeschooling caused the abuse. And homeschooling was integral to prolonging the abusive dynamic. My father eventually put his foot down about the "quiverful" type stuff (he never was the perfect Gothard husband and father anyways) and after a few years away from getting those types of literature in the house, my brother and I were first enrolled in some classes at a Christian school, and then, amazingly, the public high school and we were able to salvage our educations.

 

Now, that my mother hasn't touched Gothard-type things in years, she's said that "maybe she was too hard on us." It's a bit little too late, but okay. I know she was terribly led astray, doesn't make the hurt less, but at least I can understand it.

 

 

What can be done to stop this from happening? Simple: When we see people using the homeschooling umbrella to teach parents how to abuse their children, we kick them to the curb. Violently if need be. It amazes (and sickens) me to hear that these types of people are allowed to speak and set up booths at homeschool conferences. Really? Any devil can write a parenting book with a few out-of-context Bible verses in it, and then get it passively enabled at huge venues full of wide-eyed newbies. It's frightening. Absolutely frightening.

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I was abused all the way through high school by a parent. The school had SO much contact with me and with my parents, that it wasn't funny. Did they twig to the abuse ? Nope. Neither did the school counsellor or the psychiatrist. Did school help it stop ? Nope. Did going to the doctor's on a regular basis, or seeing other children or going to dance or youth theater or the frickin' library make it stop ? Nope.

 

So I may be somewhat cynical about the idea that if you just have people who aren't your family seeing you everyday, things are OK. 

 

Yes, same here.

 

 

:grouphug:

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Yes. This is what I was trying to say.

Since I can't quote your other post, I'm quoting this one.

 

{{Sahamamama}}  I'm sorry.  Thank you for sharing. & I agree with your point.

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The second thing that our greater society should be doing is offering more opportunities for children in the community. More classes and programs and sports offered through the parks department and libraries or similar, for free or a low-cost on a sliding scale. Dual admission at the middle and high school levels - if kids are switching classes, then it has to be possible to schedule that. Vouchers to all families (or on a sliding scale) to afford day camps during summer and school breaks. Online education where you can choose the number of classes you participate in. If there are a large number of homeschoolers (using a very broad definition here!) in the community, municipally funded co-ops with licensed teachers that meet one or two days a week. If our concern is that some children don't get into contact with mandated reporters very often, well, this is an appealing way to make sure it happens, and it would benefit all kids in the community.

 

 

A lot of this is available in my state, and I have actually thought in the past that the folks involved in HA (as well as the rest of the homeschool community) could possibly do a lot of good by advocating for similar programs throughout the country.

 

Partial enrollment is an option at all levels of public school, I actually know a family who have their child enrolled just for library period every week at the elementary school so that they can also access speech services at that school. My twelve year old is considering taking art and choir next year at the local junior high, and maybe joining the track team. These remain an option whether we are homeschooling independently or enrolled in one of the various virtual schools, some of which allow parents to choose whatever (secular) curriculum they want and will even pay for extracurriculars such as dance classes, or for tutors,  etc., and some of which also allow partial enrollment. A family who run a STEM focused camp every summer have been in contact with a government office that is encouraging kids who want to participate to apply for individual grant money through a program they offer.

 

These kinds of programs may have very little appeal for hardcore "don't want the government involved in my family" folks, but they sure provide some appealing opportunities for most of the "we're homeschooling to try to do right by our kids" people, and provide support that won't drag them in an isolationist direction.

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I think it is vitally important not to pass judgement on someone else's trauma and their reaction to it.

 

True, when ppl cite ha to impose undue restrictions on all law-abiding homeschoolers, cooler heads and better stories need to hopefully prevail.

 

But that does not negate the hurt ha ppl nave had thrust on them by abusive people and abusive systems. If someone tells me something about their life (like homeschooling contributed to MY abuse), I have to defer to them. Because, by dint of having lived that life, they are in a better position than me to make judgement calls about it. That is true even if my own childhood was not great.

 

We can delineate between the lived experiences of individuals, and public policy. We do it all the time. There's a whole lotta women for whom marriage has been, in and of itself, an abusive paradigm. We (hopefully) don't tell these individual women that they are illogical and short-sighted to fear marriage in particular and men in general....nor though, do we legislate marriage out of existence.

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... criticism of a bunch of people who were legitimately abused as part of their homeschooling...

 

Yes. People inside the US probably don't get it.

 

I'm in the US, and I think I get it. ;)

 

Farrar, what I take issue with is that HA and the like represent their abuse (by their parents) as stemming from homeschooling, even though homeschooling, in and of itself, can never be the true source of abuse. Homeschooling is one (quite varied) method of being educated, and that is all. It can be done well or poorly or somewhere in between, but it is about education.

 

The rest of the story is... parenting (and to some extent, the involvement or disengagement of the child's larger community). If an abused, homeschooled adult can say, "Homeschooling did this to me" in relation to being abused by their parents, then all of us abused, publicly-school adults can also say, "Being publicly-schooled did this to me" in relation to being abused by our parents. We might, likewise, say that our high schools left us unprepared for adult life. My high school certainly did. How common could that complaint be?

 

This would be ludicrous! Can we really make this correlation? I suppose one of these specific types of homeschoolers could argue, "My parents homeschooled me as part of an abusive system of parenting, so they could isolate and control me." I could argue back, "And my parents put me in school as part of an abusive system of parenting, so they could look perfectly respectable and normal."

 

It depends on how you look at it. Some parents want to control their children, others want to control their image. Regardless of motivations or educational choices, abuse happens. I think it has to do with parenting, and should be separated out from accusations against "homeschooling," whatever monolithic structure that may be. I was in constant contact with the outside world, and -- as far as stopping the abuse was concerned -- this accomplished nothing.

 

I will also say here that my parents weren't sinister people. Abusive (at least my father was, and my mother let him be), but not sinister. I don't even think they were (for the most part) intentionally hiding things, they just thought you had to yell (loudly), threaten, and knock a kid around to get results. The school system I was a part of had nothing whatsoever to do with the abuse I dealt with at home. The source of abuse is the abuser, plain and simple, and to represent a form of education -- any form of education -- as the source of abuse is misguided, IMO.

 

Again, I ask all of you to please not quote me. I know the Internet is forever, but I feel better asking.  :tongue_smilie:  Thanks.

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"And I could argue back..."

 

Why? Why argue. Comparing abuse stories is only helpful if it helps ppl not feel alone (and in that way, sharing is invaluable). You have clearly come to conclusions about YOUR abuse. Others have come to different conclusions about theirs.

 

None of it is ludicrous imo.

 

As I said above I think its possible, and good, to attack public policy problems while honouring the Truths of the ppl attacking them from opposing angles.

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If you enroll your child in school, and they don't show up for two weeks straight, or are chronically absent (but with periodic appearances at the school), somebody will notice. They'll call you, and if they can't get a hold of you, they'll send a truant officer to your house.

 

Yes, if a child is enrolled in school, somebody will notice if the body is in the seat or not, but perhaps not much of anything else.

 

Mere attendance at school doesn't mean education is happening. Plenty of kids show up, sleep in class, put in little to no effort, and... eventually graduate. Aren't their parents neglectful, to not ensure they're getting an education?

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They'll also notice if that student chronically fails the state tests at the end of the year. That's the point of required tests.

I'm not claiming the system here is perfect, but there is at least some attempt at oversight of children in public schools. There is less oversight in private schools and, in many states, no oversight at all of children being homeschooled.

 

With regards to the issue of parental educational neglect of students in school* - No, not really. Their parents might not have the knowledge or ability to either a. successfully fight the school or b. educate their child themselves. Their parents are only neglectful if they fail to educate their child after signing up to be their child's sole or primary teacher.

 

* Gotta find a quick shorthand for "kids not being homeschooled" or "being educated in a school". I heard one once and forgot it.

Edited by Tanaqui
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Homeschooling was the starting point, the First Cause even, so to speak, of the abuse.

 

Was she abusive when she was "just"homeschooling? Because, if not, then the First Cause was Gothardism, not homeschooling.

 

:grouphug:

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The first cause is not Gothardism if she would never have been exposed to Gothardism without homeschooling, especially if Gothardism and similar attitudes (especially with regards to discipline) were normalized to her precisely because of the homeschoolers in her community.

 

Also, forgot and quoted you. Will edit and delete those in a sec, sorry.

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What can be done to stop this from happening? Simple: When we see people using the homeschooling umbrella to teach parents how to abuse their children, we kick them to the curb. Violently if need be. It amazes (and sickens) me to hear that these types of people are allowed to speak and set up booths at homeschool conferences. Really? Any devil can write a parenting book with a few out-of-context Bible verses in it, and then get it passively enabled at huge venues full of wide-eyed newbies. It's frightening. Absolutely frightening.

 

:iagree: 100%. I can't agree with this enough! I think this is what some others are saying, too, that it's unconscionable that there should be any tolerance (or support!) for abusive parenting within the larger context of homeschooling. Yes, it is sickening and awful that "whack 'em with a plastic tube" types get booths (or any audience) at homeschool conventions. And, Sarah, I am truly sorry that your mom was led astray by that horrible teaching. Even though in my case, it had nothing to do with Gothardism, the Big Belt hurts, no matter why a person uses it on you. :grouphug:

 

I actually dislike the overemphasis on parenting at most homeschool conventions, and wish they were exclusively about... well, education. You know, that work we're supposed to be doing? :leaving:

 

Math and French and stuff?

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Tons of children fail the end of the year tests and nothing is done.  In our state, only 26.3 % of 11th graders are at grade level in reading.  Only 13.7% of 11th graders are at grade level in math.  Percentages for younger grades are much better but still half are not at grade level.  Our state is in the middle of the rankings in the United States. 

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In my state, you have to pass a certain number of state-mandated tests to graduate, and they do retain students based on statewide exams starting in elementary school.

 

Of course, if we want to talk about improving public school education, the answer to that is probably simple as well - smaller class sizes, better paid teachers, better teacher education programs (both prior to licensing and for continuing education), slightly shorter summer vacations, better free lunches and breakfasts, provide free books to students so even the poorest can have a small home library, stop funding schools based on property taxes, put more education dollars into education and less into test prep or administration - why should you need test prep to take a test if your teacher is competent? It might also be a good idea to provide free play-based preschool starting at age 2 or 3, at least to the lowest incomes.

 

Smaller class sizes would also increase the ability of teachers to catch children who are actually being abused.

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Public school doesn't stop abuse, but of course thirty hours a week out of the house thirty-six weeks a year would sound awfully nice to a kid who's home with the abuser 24/7.

 

On the other hand, if the misery in your life comes from school (bullying, etc.), while your family home is your sanctuary, then homeschooling would sound like a dream come true.

 

Kids getting mistreated in both places are SOL, though.

 

I'd like to see adults set a high standard for children's physical and emotional safety in all environments and find a way to uphold it without being unduly intrusive, but it's hard to figure out how that would work.

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Regardless of whether homeschooling opened up her mother to becoming abusive or not, it still is not all homeschoolers but a specific subset.  To call your group Homeschoolers Anonymous is overreaching.  I am Catholic.  We had horrific abuse going on that everybody knows about.  There is an advocacy group called SNAP which stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.  So everyone knows exactly what that group stands for.  They didn't call themselves Catholics Anonymous, right?  They had the honesty to call themselves what they actually were.  Homeschoolers Anonymous seems to be addressing one type of homeschooling and tends to conflate all types of homeschooling into what this group experienced.  To me they are taking their cue from HSLDA which purports to represent all homeschoolers and does not in fact, represent all homeschoolers. This is ironic because HA seems to very much want to expose HSLDA as being in cahoots with Gothard to some degree.   At least that is what it looks like.  So I strongly object to their name.  I have been homeschooling for 20 years.  I have never read a book by Pearl or Gothard, never attended a Christian homeschool convention (and only rarely attended Catholic or secular ones either.  I dislike crowds!).  I am completely on the outside of all this.  It is some dim thing that went on completely out of my universe.  I don't want to be painted with the same brush!

 

I am very sorry for all the abuse that homeschoolers and public/private schoolers endured.  That is so terrible.  I honestly wish I knew how to change that.  I don't want to discount or judge them (and only to make the aside that sadly attending school is no guarantee that life will be better).

 

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I'd really like someone who is pro-oversight to address the fact that when you have oversight, people just drop out of the system! 

 

My perspective isn't from a low or no oversight system. 

 

I'm in a system designed to prevent abuse by having children, their parents, their environment and their work sighted by a trained professional on a yearly basis -and I'm telling you, it pushes people to NOT take part and so there are thousands of kids who don't receive this oversight.

 

I truly don't understand how people keep suggesting it without at least considering the idea that where it's tried, it doesn't work! Do you really think an abusive family invested in continuing to abuse are going to be models of co-operative oversight ? So how to you enforce/force them ? Pour money into a some kind of homeschooling regulation enforcement squad ? 

 

Suggesting that the answer is part time school boggles my mind. Not only is it a suggestion highly dismissive of the fact that people can have genuine issues with school, there's some kind of collective delusion that school catches abuse. Maybe if you're dead, and you don't come to school for a few days. Or if you have a really dumb abuser who punches you in the eye  and then when the bruise comes up, doesn't call you in sick. 

 

School may have a better chance of catching gross physical abuse. But where's the data on that ?

 

And gee, there's some real dismissive attitudes in this thread towards posters with a lived experience of abuse, all the while lecturing about our need to be more respectful of other people with a lived experience of abuse.

 

It's frankly ridiculous telling people who - trust me - get what abuse is! - things like 'we should call out abusive practices when we come across them in homeschooling.' Ya think ? 

 

Tell you what, if I ever come across an extreme fundamentalist religious family that needs me to use my superpowers, and call out their practices whilst simultaneously offering support and lobbying for extra programs to entice them into the mainstream, while being reviled by said family for being a gay-loving unmarried atheist who is homeschooling her own kid, working and studying, I'll be so there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I kind of think that HA addresses a problem in the homeschool community that is already half way out the door.  Since the homeschoolers of today are from a new generation with different reasons for homeschooling, there will be new challenges that could be either helped or hindered by exclusively focusing on what would have helped kids who were homeschooled in the 90s.  I also think that a lot of the solutions proposed by HA would not have prevented much of anything in the 90s.  I think it's easy to underestimate the exclusivity and networking/evangelism of conservative groups in the 80s and 90s.  No amount of state-funded classes or doctor's visits or other government intervention would have prevented the spread of the teachings that went around in the 90s.  

 

I believe that today, far more pastors are on the lookout for dangerous para-church teaching than they were back then.  Every single one of the families I knew who did ATI or followed Vision Forum have rejected abusive teachings for their youngest children.  I would really like to see a concerted effort to get more education into homeschool groups and get away from para-church religious teaching.  I have been focusing on that with my state "leadership."  I have let them know that I rely on my personal pastor for teachings about family discipleship, and would like to see homeschool groups provide more teaching and resources about things my church does NOT cover -- like teaching math and Spanish and science.  So I definitely hit these issues, but I hit it from an angle that I think would make sense to actual current homeschoolers.  Groups like HA will have very limited truly constructive influence as long as they are mostly made up of people who aren't actually homeschooling their kids right now.  

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In my state, you have to pass a certain number of state-mandated tests to graduate, and they do retain students based on statewide exams starting in elementary school.

 

Of course, if we want to talk about improving public school education, the answer to that is probably simple as well - smaller class sizes, better paid teachers, better teacher education programs (both prior to licensing and for continuing education), slightly shorter summer vacations, better free lunches and breakfasts, provide free books to students so even the poorest can have a small home library, stop funding schools based on property taxes, put more education dollars into education and less into test prep or administration - why should you need test prep to take a test if your teacher is competent? It might also be a good idea to provide free play-based preschool starting at age 2 or 3, at least to the lowest incomes.

 

Smaller class sizes would also increase the ability of teachers to catch children who are actually being abused.

 

And in the real world, this isn't going to happen.

 

And jeez, data on the bolded please. 

Edited by StellaM

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If the argument is "Removing a child from daily, face-to-face interactions with mandated reporters led to this child's death", then talking about how that particular family wasn't really homeschooling is beside the point. I see this argument sometimes about people who are enrolled in online school or distance education. "Oh, that's not homeschooling!" Maybe? But what the heck does that have to do with the issue at hand?

 

 

If the situation is such that you can register as a homeschooler and provide no education to your child without anybody caring for 12+ years, then this is a problem. The problem is not that these people are frauds. The problem is that in many states, there is no oversight whatsoever.

 

If you enroll your child in school, and they don't show up for two weeks straight, or are chronically absent (but with periodic appearances at the school), somebody will notice. They'll call you, and if they can't get a hold of you, they'll send a truant officer to your house.

So yes, I think the issue of supposed homeschoolers not actually educating their children is really germane to this conversation. Otherwise, you're playing No True Scotsman with people's lives. That's not nice, and it's not helpful, and it's not honest either.

 

Now, I'm not saying we should all have to exactly follow the state curriculum and have daily check-ins with social workers, etc. I am saying that it is not entirely unwarranted for the state to ask for yearly confirmation that your child has learned something over the past 365 days and is in reasonably good health.

 

So, what's my suggestion to the issues raised by HA? Well, first, that we don't all get defensive and go "I'm not abusive, and neither is anybody I know!" Even if it's true - and I'm sure it is! - it's not helpful. I also don't think it's helpful to go "Kids in public schools get abused too!" This is certainly true, and there is LOTS of room for improvement here (which isn't going to happen so long as the government keeps shortchanging public education and social services, but that's another topic for another day), but it's entirely beside the point. It's like the dudes who respond to complaints about the wage gap or catcalling with "Well, women in Afghanistan have to wear burkas!" I'm not in Afghanistan. Shut up!

 

The issue of abuse by homeschooling families is something that has to be addressed both by homeschoolers and by the wider community. To start, again, I don't think a minimum level of oversight is unreasonable. Nor do I think it's unreasonable for people who started homeschooling under suspicious circumstances - like right after the principal reported them to child services - or who have open child services cases against them to be subject to greater scrutiny. (Now, you may jump in right here and say that there are whackjobs who live in the woods and eat rabbits and never get their kids birth certificates so nobody knows they exist. Or, if you're in the country, you may say there are whackjobs who lock their kids in the apartment and eat McDonald's and never get their kids birth certificates so nobody knows they exist. Granted, we can't stop these people with better laws. However, we can catch a lot of the less extreme abusers without putting too much of an inconvenience on anybody else.)

 

The second thing that our greater society should be doing is offering more opportunities for children in the community. More classes and programs and sports offered through the parks department and libraries or similar, for free or a low-cost on a sliding scale. Dual admission at the middle and high school levels - if kids are switching classes, then it has to be possible to schedule that. Vouchers to all families (or on a sliding scale) to afford day camps during summer and school breaks. Online education where you can choose the number of classes you participate in. If there are a large number of homeschoolers (using a very broad definition here!) in the community, municipally funded co-ops with licensed teachers that meet one or two days a week. If our concern is that some children don't get into contact with mandated reporters very often, well, this is an appealing way to make sure it happens, and it would benefit all kids in the community.

 

(Yes, this would cost money. On the sliding scale of capitalism v. socialism, would it surprise you to hear that I'm at the point marked "TAX THE RICH!"?)

 

So now we've covered the government carrot and stick. What role do homeschoolers have?

 

Well, this is a common story, both at HA and in similar blogs... and also in tales of people who escaped cults. There's even some similarity with people who have left abusive relationships. Stop me if you've heard it before. A family starts homeschooling, and they have few resources. Their local homeschool group is all very religious, statement of faith dealio. They sign up for the benefits of joining, and resolve not to change their lives too much. They make new friends who don't seem too extreme. Those friends introduce them to a new world of Christian literature. (Will anybody here deny that Christians make an awfully large percentage of American homeschoolers?) Everybody around them now is a little more religious and a little more right-wing than they are, and, being human, they gradually start to align a little more with their new friends. Some of these reading materials make good points, after all. As time goes by, they accept more and more of the community values, and spend less and less time with their old, pre-homeschool friends - after all, they have less in common with those people now. Five years down the line, they laugh at old pictures of themselves. They were so different back then!

 

Seem familiar? This can happen in more innocent venues as well. Harry Potter fandom, you start off reading gen kidfic, and then one day you realize you're reading mpreg dub/con twincest. You join a food co-op for low prices on organic kale, and then three years later you have a huge thing of nutritional yeast in your pantry and you're still breastfeeding your preschooler. This is how people become radicalized. (Except that fanfic and nutritional yeast are awesome, and Debi and Michael Pearl are not.)

 

So that's pretty much the role of every homeschooler who's not an abusive reactionary. You have to be visible and take a role in making sure that people have options and choices other than the path that leads to the dark side. They do NOT have cookies there.

It would be wonderful if a little regulation could easily solve all the world's problems. If it did, I imagine most people would be willing to make the sacrifice. It seems so good and generous to be willing to accept regulation "for the greater good"-- even if it is completely ineffective. And so many times, when people are pushing for them, they already exist. Because don't most states already have these in place? What level of regulation is going to ensure that children are never abused?

 

I can't agree this is a home education problem any more than I can agree that children being abused who are in ps is a public school education problem.

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What level of regulation is going to ensure that children are never abused?

 

Are you really suggesting that if we can't have a perfect solution that helps 100% of all children, we should not seek a solution that would help some smaller percentage of children?

 

Well, gosh. I guess I'll stop telling my kids to buckle their seatbelts as well, because after all, no seatbelt ensures that every single child will survive their next car crash.

 

If it did, I imagine most people would be willing to make the sacrifice.

 

Here in NYS, a so-called "high regulation" state, we're expected to: Send a letter of intent every year, send a home instruction plan (mine reads something like "We intend to educate our child in all required subjects, including but not limited to blah blah blah"), send a quarterly report, and have our kid evaluated at the end of the year by... well, there's two choices in elementary school, but whatever, we just went with a standardized test. This is not really a "sacrifice". Neither is, as has been proposed in a few states, dropping by the doctor once a year for a well-child visit. That's the sort of thing we do anyway. I don't mind doing it because I like to think I'm halfway competent at this childrearing gig, and anyway, it's just not that hard.

 

And in the real world, this isn't going to happen.

 

Not with that attitude it won't.

 

And jeez, data on the bolded please.

 

Yeah, I'm gonna chalk this one up to common sense. As in "It's a lot harder for students to slip through the cracks when their teachers see 80 kids a day than when their teachers see 180 kids a day, because, um, monkeysphere." I don't think it's really necessary to provide a citation for the fairly obvious notion that it's easier to note details about others when you aren't expected to keep tabs on a bajillion people in a day.

 

I'd really like someone who is pro-oversight to address the fact that when you have oversight, people just drop out of the system!

 

And in some states, like Texas, you drop out of the system in kindergarten because nobody needs to even know you're homeschooling!

 

I'm going to really refer you back up to the first quote - if you're looking for a perfect answer that will solve every single problem of society, I can't help you there. I think that's a completely unreasonable expectation.

 

When we were kids, my sister had a quote on her wall - "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good". I never thought they were words to live by until I grew up.

Edited by Tanaqui
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Are you really suggesting that if we can't have a perfect solution that helps 100% of all children, we should not seek a solution that would help some smaller percentage of children?

 

Well, gosh. I guess I'll stop telling my kids to buckle their seatbelts as well, because after all, no seatbelt ensures that every single child will survive their next car crash.

 

 

Here in NYS, a so-called "high regulation" state, we're expected to: Send a letter of intent every year, send a home instruction plan (mine reads something like "We intend to educate our child in all required subjects, including but not limited to blah blah blah"), send a quarterly report, and have our kid evaluated at the end of the year by... well, there's two choices in elementary school, but whatever, we just went with a standardized test. This is not really a "sacrifice". Neither is, as has been proposed in a few states, dropping by the doctor once a year for a well-child visit. That's the sort of thing we do anyway. I don't mind doing it because I like to think I'm halfway competent at this childrearing gig, and anyway, it's just not that hard.

 

 

Not with that attitude it won't.

 

 

Yeah, I'm gonna chalk this one up to common sense. As in "It's a lot harder for students to slip through the cracks when their teachers see 80 kids a day than when their teachers see 180 kids a day, because, um, monkeysphere." I don't think it's really necessary to provide a citation for the fairly obvious notion that it's easier to note details about others when you aren't expected to keep tabs on a bajillion people in a day.

 

 

And in some states, like Texas, you drop out of the system in kindergarten because nobody needs to even know you're homeschooling!

 

I'm going to really refer you back up to the first quote - if you're looking for a perfect answer that will solve every single problem of society, I can't help you there. I think that's a completely unreasonable expectation.

 

When we were kids, my sister had a quote on her wall - "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good". I never thought they were words to live by until I grew up.

 

We have a moderate ( ie not perfect but good enough IN THEORY) system. It doesn't work to "catch" abusive homeschool families. Because the families who are invested in hiding their abuse don't register. 

 

So explain to me again how moderate, good enough systems of oversight manage to prevent or uncover cases of abuse in homeschooling families.

 

How, in your vision, is mandatory oversight going to be enforced so those who least need it are not disadvantaged and those who do need it are prevented from slipping through the net ?

 

You can continue to insist that teachers are finely honed instruments for abuse detection if you want. That's not my experience.

 

Ignoring the snark about attitude, given you wouldn't have a clue about the effort from which that cynicism (realism ?) arises.

Edited by StellaM
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Ms. Ivy, that is good to know this type of reactionary Christian culture is passing away.  I wonder if there wasn't something really weird going on in the 80s and 90s for people who weren't with the current zeitgeist/post sex revolution mores, etc. Suddenly, time honored values were being turned upside down and they didn't know where to turn.  I think the confusion made people vulnerable to cults.  I know it happened in the Catholic world in a different but similar way.  For example, the Legionaries of Christ grew rapidly and were very cultlsh. There was a lot of bad stuff like that going on.  Actually all cults were really growing.  My own sister got involved in Scientology and even though now they have some semblance of being in the mainstream via Hollywood, back in the late 70s and 80's they were some bad news.  I could tell you stories (like my dad having to get a restraining order because they kept harassing my sister after she left them.)   Actually that experience really blessed me because it made me wary of any thing that smacked of being cult-like.  The pull to belong and have everything be in simple black and white can be very strong.

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We have a moderate ( ie not perfect but good enough IN THEORY) system. It doesn't work to "catch" abusive homeschool families. Because the families who are invested in hiding their abuse don't register.

 

Are you sure it doesn't catch ANY abusers?

 

You can continue to insist that teachers are finely honed instruments for abuse detection if you want. That's not my experience.

 

I didn't say that, and you can't quote me saying that either. My argument hinges on the fact that teachers do catch a non-zero number of abusers, and not on a belief that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 

If this conversation is mostly going to be you putting words in my mouth, I'll leave you to it. Make up something more interesting next time, though - perhaps "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" or something along those lines.

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Are you sure it doesn't catch ANY abusers?

 

 

I didn't say that, and you can't quote me saying that either. My argument hinges on the fact that teachers do catch a non-zero number of abusers, and not on a belief that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 

If this conversation is mostly going to be you putting words in my mouth, I'll leave you to it. Make up something more interesting next time, though - perhaps "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" or something along those lines.

 

 

In my city, the people doing extreme religious fundamentalist homeschooling - like the people HA purports to represent - don't. register.

 

Of those non-registering people, the majority would not be abusing their kids. The ones who might be enacting religiously motivated abuse are. not. registered. Therefore, the system of mandatory but non-enforced registration is not catching religiously motivated abuse.

 

Forcing people to register would alert authorities to the kid locked in the bathroom for years scenario. We had one of those. Of course, the family wasn't registered. Nor were they homeschooling. Because they were abusing their kid, not schooling her. 

 

How do you propose forcing homeschooling families - or abusive non- homeschooling truanting families - to have regular contact with a teacher or other mandated reporter ? You're not answering that. If you can't ensure that they system takes in the majority of homeschooling families as it is supposed to, it doesn't work. 

 

Yes, I am sure that the system does not uncover cases of HA- style religiously motivated abuse in registered homeschooling families in my city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by StellaM

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You can continue to insist that teachers are finely honed instruments for abuse detection if you want. That's not my experience.

 

 

And even if they were, what could they do about it?

 

Call CPS? We have enough threads on here about why people don't want to call CPS to know that isn't much of a solution.

 

 

 

Most forms of abuse are legal so there is nothing law enforcement (whether police or CPS) can do about it. Family courts don't look favourably on strategies put in place to prevent or limit abuse by the other parent so they are put in a position of having to enable it. They might even have court orders forcing them to enable it. Too often in abuse cases there are no ways to make it better but a few quoted "solutions" that will make it worse. 

Edited by Rosie_0801
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*hugs* Sadie and others. I'm so sorry for what you had to live through.

 

Sadie, here's what I do, my small contribution to normie homeschooling:

 

I mix with a range of homeschoolers, I don't only play in a white, Christian bubble.

I call out garbage when I encounter it- especially amongst the Christians. I had many fierce discussions when the duggar stories first came up.

I come alongside newbies and encourage them to follow their own instincts and do their own research.

I encourage aiming for a high level of achievement, I told someone that yes, they definitely do need to teach algebra and followed it with helpful ideas and encouragement. I have freely given books from my own library to people struggling.

I also try to do a good job of homeschooling, my kids are educated, happy, normal-ish. I try not to be a bad ambassador, even though I may fit some of the stereotype.

 

But this is all just in the context of daily life, I don't go protesting or starting groups. I will though, if the NSW laws are introduced in vic.

I'm sure you have a grass roots effect, unintentionally perhaps, in your community. Heck, you impact me from across the interwebs!

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I support the basic homeschooling laws that are already in place in my state - registering and yearly testing.  But . . . I agree with Sadie, that those intent on not being regulated in any way just don't register.  The only way they are caught is if someone were to report them or if they were caught in abuse that brings it all to light.  And honestly, being reported for not registering would probably just result in them promising to do it and then fading off of the radar.  Or moving. 

 

PS - When I was a public school teacher we had one  child in particular that we knew was being abused.  We did report it to CPS.  But there wasn't enough proof and so nothing was done.  Our hearts broke but we were left trying to document whatever we could (the abusers were savvy to what kinds of things we would document and tried not to leave evidence for us).  The child was mostly non-verbal so we could not rely on her reporting her parents and honestly many abused children will not report even though teachers and CPS will act if they do.  (I understand the reasons why they don't - just putting out the general facts.)

 

 

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I think it is this: theory and practice are two different things.

I've seen a lot of cases in the US recently in which medical doctors reported parents to the state for medical abuse, in a preemptive attempt to avoid these parents reporting malpractice to the state medical board (or to prevent the parents from transferring to a different hospital). CPS always goes along with whatever a doctor says, even if other doctors disagree with the reporter. I'm sure when we made doctors mandated abuse reporters, no one would have dreamed it could be used like this.

 

Also, most of the child murders I've personally read about, done by fake homeschoolers or not, seem to have occurred after CPS was already alerted to problems.

 

Another thought I've had.... Child abuse prevention is an area where we have to guess who might hurt or kill a kid before it happens. It's crime prediction. It's a messy business. So I think it's not unreasonable for people to be concerned about what might be used as criteria for predicting that someone will commit a crime.

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*hugs* Sadie and others. I'm so sorry for what you had to live through.

 

Sadie, here's what I do, my small contribution to normie homeschooling:

 

I mix with a range of homeschoolers, I don't only play in a white, Christian bubble.

I call out garbage when I encounter it- especially amongst the Christians. I had many fierce discussions when the duggar stories first came up.

I come alongside newbies and encourage them to follow their own instincts and do their own research.

I encourage aiming for a high level of achievement, I told someone that yes, they definitely do need to teach algebra and followed it with helpful ideas and encouragement. I have freely given books from my own library to people struggling.

I also try to do a good job of homeschooling, my kids are educated, happy, normal-ish. I try not to be a bad ambassador, even though I may fit some of the stereotype.

 

But this is all just in the context of daily life, I don't go protesting or starting groups. I will though, if the NSW laws are introduced in vic.

I'm sure you have a grass roots effect, unintentionally perhaps, in your community. Heck, you impact me from across the interwebs!

 

Thanks, LMD.

 

I do all those things to in day to day life ( other than being involved in contexts where garbage ideas re extreme parenting might rear its ugly head. That's not my scene, kwim ? )

 

But I guess I do those things out of helpfulness and not a concern that homeschool is a tool for abuse. I consider my responsibility as a peer to be about helpfulness and not about abuse prevention. That's out of my skill set.

Edited by StellaM
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I think their point of view is valid and their information on abusive charismatic figure heads and ways homeschooling communities can keep an eye out for and help kids and young people in need can be valuable to many. We may not be a homogeneous community, but we're all still part of communities and - to me - watching out for and caring for the more vulnerable in the community is everyone's task and a difficult one that requires to listening to a lot of voices as even my on history of abuse may prevent me from seeing it in other contexts. I'm always going to be pro talking about these things as not talking about them is never going to make anything better. 

 

To these people, their homeschooling communities supported their abusers and I don't think their choice to focus on trying to help others within their communities to heal and/or improve the situation is mis-aimed - particularly when many of them are also working on abuse in patriarchal and/or Christian communities. For some, their homeschooling community was the main and/or first support for abuse. Any community can have a problem with abuse. Openly discussing these abuses and how to prevent them is one way of helping individuals within those community see and deal with it. 

 

Personally, as someone whose local communities and school communities and the church we were mostly either passively or actively supported my abusive parents, I get really upset when I see locally a lot of home educated parents who act like any discussion of abuse within any home schooling community or any mention of trying to change child protection laws or include child protection awareness or rules within home education groups is somehow a personal insult against them and an affront to general homeschooling. Yes, they may mostly be talking about a tiny sub-culture but it still includes a lot of people and many of the things mentioned could happen to any group -- and a lot of the smaller signs could show overwhelmed parents who could use support that communities can help with to stop before it gets to the stage of harm and before wider systems are needed. 

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I have no problem with people advocating for change or for healing and support.  None whatsoever.  It is a good thing!  But you know Alcoholics Anonymous didn't name themselves Beverages Anonymous, even though beverages are what caused their addiction.   It was a subset of beverages that caused the problem and actually, it was a subset of that subset, the ones who drank those particular beverages and became alcoholics, that the group is for.

 

If Alcoholics Anonymous had chosen Beverages Anonymous, but then only talked about a specific type of beverage when they were advocating, that might be confusing.  Maybe other people would say, hey, my beverage isn't dangerous or a problem.  Quit talking about it as if it is!  But that doesn't mean they don't think AA is important or a good group, it is just objecting to the misrepresenting title, that is all.  Have you read the FAQ about their name?  It is miles long because apparently a lot of people don't like what they call themselves and they have to spend a lot of time justifying it.  And a lot of their justification is rather meandering and fatuous.  So. . . 

 

They could have called themselves something different.  How about ACHE (Abused Children of Homeschooling Evangelicals). Something like that.  That would have been a great acronym and it would have pinpointed exactly what they are!

 

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I have no problem with people advocating for change or for healing and support.  None whatsoever.  It is a good thing!  But you know Alcoholics Anonymous didn't name themselves Beverages Anonymous, even though beverages are what caused their addiction.   It was a subset of beverages that caused the problem and actually, it was a subset of that subset, the ones who drank those particular beverages and became alcoholics, that the group is for.

 

If Alcoholics Anonymous had chosen Beverages Anonymous, but then only talked about a specific type of beverage when they were advocating, that might be confusing.  Maybe other people would say, hey, my beverage isn't dangerous or a problem.  Quit talking about it as if it is!  But that doesn't mean they don't think AA is important or a good group, it is just objecting to the misrepresenting title, that is all.  Have you read the FAQ about their name?  It is miles long because apparently a lot of people don't like what they call themselves and they have to spend a lot of time justifying it.  And a lot of their justification is rather meandering and fatuous.  So. . . 

 

They could have called themselves something different.  How about ACHE (Abused Children of Homeschooling Evangelicals). Something like that.  That would have been a great acronym and it would have pinpointed exactly what they are!

 

That one's taken.  My husband used to be a member of ACHE - American College of Healthcare Executives.  (LOL)

 

But I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment.

Edited by Kinsa
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LOL!  Why in the world did they pick that acronym!  

 

I don't know!  When DH first told me about it, I thought he was joking!  (LOL)

Edited by Kinsa
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I have no problem with people advocating for change or for healing and support.  None whatsoever.  It is a good thing!  But you know Alcoholics Anonymous didn't name themselves Beverages Anonymous, even though beverages are what caused their addiction.   It was a subset of beverages that caused the problem and actually, it was a subset of that subset, the ones who drank those particular beverages and became alcoholics, that the group is for.

 

If Alcoholics Anonymous had chosen Beverages Anonymous, but then only talked about a specific type of beverage when they were advocating, that might be confusing.  Maybe other people would say, hey, my beverage isn't dangerous or a problem.  Quit talking about it as if it is!  But that doesn't mean they don't think AA is important or a good group, it is just objecting to the misrepresenting title, that is all.  Have you read the FAQ about their name?  It is miles long because apparently a lot of people don't like what they call themselves and they have to spend a lot of time justifying it.  And a lot of their justification is rather meandering and fatuous.  So. . . 

 

They could have called themselves something different.  How about ACHE (Abused Children of Homeschooling Evangelicals). Something like that.  That would have been a great acronym and it would have pinpointed exactly what they are!

 

Yes. I think having a more accurately descriptive name would go a long way. Obviously, they have the right to identify in whatever manner they wish. But yeah, a name change would be good. 

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I think their point of view is valid and their information on abusive charismatic figure heads and ways homeschooling communities can keep an eye out for and help kids and young people in need can be valuable to many. We may not be a homogeneous community, but we're all still part of communities and - to me - watching out for and caring for the more vulnerable in the community is everyone's task and a difficult one that requires to listening to a lot of voices as even my on history of abuse may prevent me from seeing it in other contexts. I'm always going to be pro talking about these things as not talking about them is never going to make anything better. 

 

To these people, their homeschooling communities supported their abusers and I don't think their choice to focus on trying to help others within their communities to heal and/or improve the situation is mis-aimed - particularly when many of them are also working on abuse in patriarchal and/or Christian communities. For some, their homeschooling community was the main and/or first support for abuse. Any community can have a problem with abuse. Openly discussing these abuses and how to prevent them is one way of helping individuals within those community see and deal with it. 

 

Personally, as someone whose local communities and school communities and the church we were mostly either passively or actively supported my abusive parents, I get really upset when I see locally a lot of home educated parents who act like any discussion of abuse within any home schooling community or any mention of trying to change child protection laws or include child protection awareness or rules within home education groups is somehow a personal insult against them and an affront to general homeschooling. Yes, they may mostly be talking about a tiny sub-culture but it still includes a lot of people and many of the things mentioned could happen to any group -- and a lot of the smaller signs could show overwhelmed parents who could use support that communities can help with to stop before it gets to the stage of harm and before wider systems are needed. 

 

I'm not upset by talk of regulation. I've been a willing participant in a regulated system for many years, and have talked it up IRL and online. 

 

I'm upset when I find out that regulation doesn't work.

 

When I felt I was jumping through hoops in the service of providing oversight to the majority of homeschooled children, I was happy enough with the exchange.

 

Knowing that 50% or more homeschooled children in my state are not in the system - and many of the sub-groups HA might be concerned about are over-represented in this sector of the homeschooling community - reduces motivation to continue hoop jumping.

 

Especially when those who continue to hoop jump are fairly self selecting to NOT be the families of most concern. 

 

More and more restrictions for less and less benefit.

 

Your bolded argument may apply to communities with commonalities with families at risk. So, a mainstream Christian homeschooler may have the opportunity to support people she finds to be at risk of extreme Christian teachings.

 

In secular, progressive communities where children's rights are valued, it's highly unlikely that a person will be at risk of extreme Christian teachings. Or even if they were, that we would have any influence.

 

Frankly, I think it's the churches place to correct and support those at risk of religious extremism. 

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Something else that bothers me is the gendered nature of the expectations that we will watch out and care for. 

 

Most primary homeschooling parents are female. We already do a lot of unpaid caring labor. And here comes some more our way. 

 

I'm not entirely sure I accept that as a moral obligation.

 

 

Edited by StellaM
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I KNOW there are other homeschooling families on the territory of my country, but I don't know them in person. There is no such thing as a community of homeschoolers in which people could watch out for one another, including for parental abuse, because the impression that homeschooling leads to abuse and the subsequent illegality of homeschooling has driven these families underground to the point they won't admit to homeschooling. In order for there to be a community of homeschoolers, homeschooling first has to be a socially acceptable mode of education. 

 

In order for it to be socially acceptable, it has to be generally accepted that homeschooling - mom or dad at home and in the world, providing an education for their child - does not pose any greater risk of abuse than any other form of schooling.

 

And we're back to the beginning of the conversation...where some of us would prefer not to be lumped under HA's somewhat misleading title because real world consequences. And some of us have scoffed at the idea there are any consequences. Maybe because we haven't experienced them, don't rank those consequences highly, or consider them to be exaggerated.

Edited by StellaM
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Interesting.Yes, language matters.

 

Just checked it for myself, and I agree. Parts of the FAQ have been deleted. I wonder why ?

 

 

 

Edited by StellaM
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Oh well, HA if you are listening in, I am so sorry for your terrible experiences and I applaud your efforts to expose the crazy cruelty and give support and comfort to the wounded.  

 

But please do not besmirch the educational choice of homeschooling.  

 

It is an unjust thing to do.

 

Clarity is really important here.  My point is there are unintended consequences that hurt others or could hurt others if you are unclear in your communication.   Your organization is about healing from hurt, right?  So boldly say who you are and what you are fighting for!  But be accurate about it.  It is the decent thing to do.

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The issues HA highlights are no more or no less the fault of “homeschooling†than they are the fault of “Christian homeschooling†(or “fundamentalist Christian homeschoolingâ€). This is seen in our coverage of moderate Christian homeschooling, non-religious homeschooling, and homeschooling within religions other than Christianity. There is no perfect title to represent the project that HA encompasses.

 

That's still in the FAQ for the associated HARO - Homeschooled Alumni Reaching Out,

 

So it would seem they are content to paint us all with a pretty broad brush. Despite the majority of stories on their front page being about - yep - fundamentalist Christian homeschooling. The quote marks seem to suggest they don't see any differences between different homeschooling communities.

 

Plus if it's not the fault of homeschooling, why the group named to reflect recovery from homeschooling ? Confusing. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by StellaM
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