Saturday, April 13, 2013

Still Looking for Disadvantages of Homeschool?

I've been wondering, do I write PRO Homeschool stuff because I am simply reinforcing my insecurities about homeschooling?

I write it so that others can find pro-homeschooling stuff easily.

But today I am motivated to explore the truth behind negative homeschool experiences. I have been reading websites of homeschool alum who are very unhappy with their homeschool experiences and blogs of suspect homeschoolers. I've been reading stories by homeschool alum, adults who feel "weird" and "odd" and in pain and who have serious difficulties relating to the world at large, who report abuse, neglect, serious emotional damage, and hugely poor parenting. I am overwhelmed, today, with the negative homeschooling experiences for some children and adults out there.

While we can not reparent any of these wounded people who are trying so hard to heal themselves, we can offer them our love and seek to understand their claims. We, as homeschooling parents, should NEVER attempt to discredit someone's story (as I have seen on some of these sights). No, instead, we must learn from these experiences and offer these people our love and compassion. AND offer them our thanks for being willing to share their stories. It takes courage in this world to stand up and disprove the majority. And, besides, they are people who are courageously, fearfully offering their life stories, hoping for healing...

If you go there, write nothing, or write only messages of love and support. It is homeschooling parents who are insecure and fearful themselves who do not allow these voices to be heard without confrontation. I understand that fear, but these boards are not the place to put one's own issues out there...


As one woman at Homeschoolers Anonymous website said today, homeschooling is often portrayed in the media as some great and noble cause or as a quaint, folksy version of the Great American Dream. I'm grateful for the "improvement", as homeschool has had a fairly dreadful rep for a long time. Sadly, some of that rep is well-deserved. I must also add that most of the stories (all the I have read today, in fact) share a fundamental Christian motivation or Evangelical basis for their isolationist and authoritarian approaches to their homeschooling and parenting. Some parents are described as having narcissistic personality disorder. This is not the point of my post, but it is an essential piece of the puzzle.

I think of homeschooling as an extension of, 
as a part of, parenting.
In my mind there is no way to separate the two.

I think we should all have the right to freely educate our children without state involvement. But this presupposes that all adults are capable of making healthy and wise choices for their families and we know that this is not the case. But whose job is it to decide who should and who should not homeschool? No one is sitting in an office making lists of people who can and should become parents. Anyone can become a parent regardless of maturity, ability, mental issues, all other issues, etc. Parents of all ability levels have always existed in the world.

Maybe we can all agree that not all people who are parents SHOULD have been parents. Similarly, not all people who homeschool SHOULD homeschool.

To homeschool, to parent, to the best advantage of one's children, a parent needs to be mature enough to put the needs of themselves Last on the List and the needs of their children First on the List when necessary. 

Suited to Homeschool?

A person suited to homeschooling and to parenting children must have no philosophy, culture, creed that puts anything, anything ahead of the good of the children. A person well-suited to parenting and homeschooling children is a person who is willing and able and apt to reflect upon new information and evidence and use that evidence and make changes, improvements, adjustments when necessary. The person adequately-suited to parenting and homeschooling is a person who takes the time to learn about a variety of educational and parenting options and looks at those options carefully, making decisions based on what makes a better human being of each child.

And more, I believe that the best approach to parenting, in my opinion, is a person who manages to believe in their children, who even believes in the human race! I believe the more successful parent and homeschooling parent is one who finds humor in life and looks for fun. I believe it essential to think well of people. I think it necessary to put Love at the center of family life. I think it necessary to be a self-aware adult. And I think it necessary that I spend time locating my own issues, growth areas, and limitations.  And seek to improve myself.

Yes, I can be a bit serious about this. I believe that adults owe it to themselves and to their progeny to become the best people they can be. Because when they don't, it's the kids who suffer.


Did I miss anything?  
Are there qualities of parenting that you think are essential?
What qualities in yourself are you working to improve?

I am ALWAYS working to be a better parent to The Doctor.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: 
With Flaws and All
My Thirteen Tips for Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child 
Top Ten Habits of a Happy Homeschool Mom
A Query From a Confused Parent


  1. I want to say thanks for being so gracious towards us. I also want to assure people, as one partnering with them, that no one there is against homeschooling in general or wants to make homeschooling illegal. (Julie Anne is currently a homeschool mom, and she has posts on there.) Homeschooling does not need to be a negative experience. Yet it is for some people. I think that's the point.

    And yes, your right. Every story so far is religious fundamental homeschooling. Its not that other problems can't arise for secular folks, but right now, most of the articles are about religious spiritual abuse. I have never thought people like you fall into that category.

    1.'re welcome.
      I hope some of the other people who post there will visit and comment...I want them to know that their words have strongly effected me and I want to pass their stories along to other people who I know will care and who will also take their messages to heart.

  2. I linked to this on my twitter because I like it.

    1. Thank you!
      Actually, I was wondering if I should post this on some of the websites that I link to... What do you think, Lana?

    2. Up to you. It depends on your audience. As you said above, some people are fearful, mostly because they think their right to homeschool will be taken away. But that's not going to happen.

    3. In the end, Ryan of Homeschoolers Anonymous emailed me privately and asked to reprint this piece on their site. So it got there anyway!

      Actually, I didn't feel like my voice was necessary in that venue, but he thought it would provide a nice secular and healing part of the puzzle.

      So I WELCOME all of the HA readers! Please add your voice to this discussion.

    4. Its also important for our readers to understand that everyone there is not against homeschooling, and that's why its good to have moms contribute too. We know all homeschoolers are not the fundy type, but there is enough of us who did grow up in that kind of environment that other homeschoolers need to know they aren't alone.

  3. What strikes me most about this post is how you acknowledge people's differing homeschooling experiences with such respect. It's so common in our society for people to automatically discount others' experiences (on any subject) when they differ from their own. Most of us have been guilty of this form of intolerance at some point in our lives. We each have our own path, our own experiences, and our own journey. And when these paths diverge, hopefully we have the open-mindedness to listen to and learn from each other.

    And I continue to love your blog, Karen. Thank you so much for it!

    1. B-you are too kind. (hugs!)
      I would be so happy if more people could be loving and compassionate instead of knee-jerk reject the experience of others!
      I know YOU are one of the good ones. *wink*

      I'm glad you are here; I feel we have become real friends.

  4. You addressed this very well. I really feel for those people who have had a bad homeschool experience. Me and my kids experience has been very positive, if you ask us right now. With the last graduating soon, I only pray that they feel the same way in a few years when they look back on it.

    1. A, I know that your kids will always feel the success of their homeschooling with you. For the most part these people have genuinely and severely been abused.

      Your kids got a Great Mom!

  5. I'm coming from the link on facebook from Homeschoolers Anonymous. From my own journey, I think that home schooling can work, but it didn't work for me. I believe there are parents out there who are truly empathetic and what is best for their children.

    What is really sad, is that home schooling can simply be another vehicle for someone's narcissistic personality disorder to dominate, control and subjugate.

    I was subject to the latter type of home schooling by my mother. It has taken 12 years just to get to this point of being able to face the problem in all its sad reality.

    My children are now in public school. I haven't ruled out the possibility of home schooling them in the future, but I need therapy first. Until then, I think public school is a haven for them and for myself as a means to healing.

    I would love for my kids to have the 'dream home education' experience that I wanted but didn't get. A place where discussion was open, listening was empathetic, and we didn't have to agree, but were still loved.

    Home schooling is not the problem, in the end, the problem comes back to the individual: the person.

    There are some individuals who should not be home schooling, period. Whether or not those individuals will ever be able to acknowledge that fact, given their psychiatric problems, is a different question.

    I feel sad knowing that there will be other kids out there like myself. I feel sad for myself too, but I must trust that they will find their path just as I have.

    If I could help them, I would.

    1. Sarah, I hope you get really good therapy so that you can break that abuse cycle. Knowing your issues is a huge step toward not passing those damaged parts of yourself on down to your children.
      I applaud your self awareness. That is KEY!

      Any Day you want to visit again, here, discussion is open, listening is epathic, and we don't have to agree.

      I am glad you came by and I appreciate your comment adding to the depth of this discussion.


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