Recovering homeschoolers have a support group now

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.” from The Daily Beast

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James K's picture

Yet probably less traumatized than those who are told about graphic sex in kindergarten, seeing a friend with a bullet in his head, being pregnant at 12, etc.

Thanks SI for another fantastic filing.

Here is a gem from that site:

"My parents never told me about sex, never had “the talk” with me, nothing."

They go on to mention that those in public school get a sex education.

So let me get this straight, bad information is better than no information?  I disagree with both.  One doesn't have to be in a homeschool environment to have cowardly parents.  My wife and I do believe in a sex ed, but it is biblically based.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Pastork's picture

It was bound to happen. Those who have experienced the worst of what homeschooling can be like, and some who have experienced the best but who have rebelled against it anyway, were bound to get together as a new group of victims that the liberals will have a field day using for their own ends.

Susan R's picture


The way I see it that instead of recognizing the good and coping with the bad, people revel in the idea that they are victims, and that their problems are someone else's fault.

The other aspect of this is that the focus is on extreme groups- Gothard, Quiverfull, etc. . . There is bound to be dysfunction in any group that goes too far in any direction, be they Fundies or vegetarians. 

Hmmmm. . . I should Google for Children of Adult Vegetarians. I know if I grew up on tofu, I'd need therapy!

Sean Fericks's picture

The problem is that homeschooling includes everything from awesome to abusive.  Kind of like spanking, sports, church, work, nutrition, and everything else that has to do with child rearing.  It makes me very thankful for my awesome parents.

Susan R's picture


What is often presented as a homeschooling issue is really a parenting issue. Extremism and dysfunction on homes are not reserved for those who employ certain educational methods. 

And lest someone say that a child's presence in a traditional classroom offers some kind of safety net- get a grip on reality. A traditional classroom has never, ever prevented abuse, and is not any kind of inoculation against it. 

Many of us have seen dysfunction and suspected abuse over the years, and simply didn't know what to do about it. IMO, some figure the devil they know (the wacked out parents) is better than the devil they don't (CPS and the foster care system). 

Then we have to ask- What exactly is abuse? Many of these people say they have been traumatized. Trauma? Because they weren't allowed to go to college? They were taught creationism?

I would say that those kids who were beaten and experienced other cruel and unusual punishments were, in fact, abused. It is more than tragic that kids are brutalized in what is supposed to be a Christian home. But are homeschoolers really  more likely to be abused? Or is abuse and neglect a likely result of being part of a church or movement that adhered to unBiblical beliefs about women, family, and education? Would going to school really have changed any of that?

I think it all comes back to people reading and studying Scripture for themselves, instead of finding a guru to follow so they can put their brain on ice and abdicate their responsibilities to God and family.

And if your parents were less-than-stellar, learn from it and move on. Don't marinate in it like an artichoke. 

CindyZ's picture

Obviously not every homeschooling family is abusive. To say that would be ludicrous. I know of many wonderful  homeschooling families. BUT, I am posting because I do believe that homeschooling within a certain "culture" can and does lend itself to abuse.

I am speaking of the culture where the parents remove the child from outside influences in order to have extreme control over their lives. The child in this situation literally has NO recourse, no one to trust, no one to tell, should the family be abusive.  The child could be abused, beaten, starved, and who would know? They are never outside the walls of their own home.  The girls are denied proper education in many of these cases, and it really is quite hopeless for the children. I do not even think it is right (take the Duggars as an example) for the older children to be rearing the younger ones. (Before you say I am anti-chores, that is just not true. . however, being primarily responsible for a very young child from sun-up to sun-down should not be another child's responsibility).

So, do we ban homeschooling for this reason? No. But, we should not turn a blind eye to the fact that homeschooling can isolate. . .and encourage/foster a culture of abuse and secrecy. Reading the stories on that blog is heart-breaking, and we should not be dismissive of the fact that problems exist in the homeschooling culture.

And, knowing some people whose parents were "less than stellar" (which is a gross understatement for a home where physical, sexual, and mental/spiritual abuse were constantly occurring), it's not so easy to "learn from it and move on".  

And yes, abuse occurs in families of all types--regardless of where their children go to school. But, no one who is knowledgeable can deny the potential for abuse within a certain realm of the homeschooling community. Where do those kids go for help? Is there anywhere for them to get help or even any chance they could (when they are within mom and dad's constant presence)?

Susan R's picture


. . .knowing some people whose parents were "less than stellar" (which is a gross understatement for a home where physical, sexual, and mental/spiritual abuse were constantly occurring), it's not so easy to "learn from it and move on".

"Less than stellar" was not a description of parents who abuse their children. 

I've read many blog posts and FB stories of 'homeschool survivors' who complain about things like being taught creationism, not being allowed to go to movies and watch tv, and feeling like they don't fit in because they didn't have a 'high school experience'. These are not descriptions of real trauma. These are people who need to "learn from it and move on". We diminish the real brutality and tragedy of physical and sexual abuse when people try to jump on the victim bandwagon with "My parents wouldn't let me listen to rock music and made me wear skirts."

The fact is that abuse occurs as much 'in public' as it does in isolation. Abuse is not more likely to occur in a conservative homeschooling family than it is a wealthy public school family or a poverty stricken urban family. Abuse isn't more likely to be dealt with if kids are in a traditional school either. We have the idea in our heads that if kids are out in public where they can be seen that this will somehow either prevent abuse or ensure that abuse will be reported, and statistics show that this isn't true. We need to stop reacting to things we think might be true, and deal with what is true.

Most occurrences of child abuse, especially abuse that results in the death of a child, happen before a child is school-aged. Is anyone trying to protect them? To be consistent, if the public wants to prevent abuse, they should be talking about regulating families with toddlers. 

To clarify- I'm not saying that there aren't abusive Christian parents, or abusive homeschooling parents, or abusive Christian homeschooling parents. I'm simply pointing out that homeschooling doesn't increase a child's chances of being abused simply because it offers the opportunity for isolation. 

That said- What should we do about the abuse that happens in schools? Coaches and teachers and even students are often perpetrators of violence, as well as being victims of violence, both physical and sexual. Why doesn't being IN A SCHOOL prevent this from occurring? 

Because predators go where the prey and the opportunity is, and the prey congregates every day in schools all over the country, with a child/adult ratio of about 1/30. 

If we want to make a real difference, we have to get our heads on straight about when and where and why abuse occurs.

CindyZ's picture

I would agree that abuse happens everywhere in every setting. However, I guess my one point is (which may not have been clear), that if/when abuse happens in a school setting, the child may (and should) be able to tell parents. If it's their parents who are committing this abuse, and they are isolated, who do they have to go to for help?


(FYI: I would say the abuse that occurs in homeschooling families is often among the more fringe homeschooling elements, those more likely to isolate, if that makes sense at all.)

Susan R's picture


I guess my one point is (which may not have been clear), that if/when abuse happens in a school setting, the child may (and should) be able to tell parents. If it's their parents who are committing this abuse, and they are isolated, who do they have to go to for help?

I understand that this seems to make sense. The problem with this premise is the nature of abuse.  When children are raised in an abusive home, they are highly unlikely to report their own abuse. They can't trust their own parents, and they often transfer this mistrust to other adults. They are also usually told that the abuse is their own fault for not complying, or that if they tell someone, they won't be believed.

As for children being victimized at school- predators are usually someone that the child knows, and they are skilled at convincing children to be complicit in their own victimhood. They seduce, intimidate, and completely dominate their victims. There is also the problem of schools failing to report abusive teachers. Instead, teacher's unions encourage principals to 'pass the trash' on to other schools. Schools are not safer for children simply because they are 'public' schools. 

As much as people want to believe that some who homeschool in isolation are more likely to be abusers, this is not backed up by any research that I have read. We can't begin to reduce incidents of abuse by starting with faulty assumptions. 

However, if adult children of abusers are blogging about their abuse, I certainly hope their first step was to report their parents or church leadership to the police. If they don't, those people could continue to abuse children under their care.