If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit…

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Darcy’s blog Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings. It was originally published on May 28, 2014.

So here’s the deal, and I’m just gonna lay it out for you.

When I and my friends discuss “the homeschool culture” or the “homeschool movement”, when we tell stories about growing up in that culture and its effects, we are not talking about all people who educate at home.

We are talking about a very specific religious sub-culture, with specific teachings, whose purpose was to create an entire culture based on certain principles that were purposefully counter-cultural. 

It doesn’t matter than many of us experienced differences within this culture, some on very extreme ends of a spectrum. When we say “courtship”, or “umbrella of authority”, or “modesty”, everyone who grew up in the culture knows what we’re talking about.  

So can we please just stop with the comments about how not all homeschoolers are “like that”? We get it. We’re not saying all home educators are the same. We’re not dissing homeschooling. We’re not saying “if you homeschool, you fit the shoe we’re throwing”. Just stop alreadyIf the shoe doesn’t fit, quit complaining to us about how the shoe we’re describing doesn’t fit you and maybe realize we’re not talking about your foot. If you can’t relate, it’s probably because you didn’t grow up in the homeschooling culture and you’re not part of it now. That’s perfectly OK. Matter of fact, it’s wonderful!

What gets tiring are the comments that decry how unfair we are to all homeschoolers. Those are major facepalm moments for me and my friends. We wonder if you even read what we wrote or care to understand it. Why you feel the need to defend yourself when*we’re not even talking about you*. (The people who just have to comment about how they’re not even religious but they’re homeschoolers and nothing like what we describe really make me want to bang my head on my computer.) This seems like it should be self-explanatory but apparently not.

When I write about my experiences, when Libby Anne writes about a specific sub-culture and how unsafe it is for women, when anyone on Homeschoolers Anonymous writes just about anything, someone (or several someones) just have to cry foul about how unfair we’re being even though we’re not talking about them or about home educators everywhere. I would completely understand the outcry if we were going around writing about how horrible homeschooling is and how terrible are the people that home educate and how all homeschooling should be banned because homeschooling = BAD. But, we’re not.

So, for the record, we know that “not all homeschoolers” are “like that”. The culture we grew up in that is still alive and well IS “like that”. If you’re not “like that”, we’re not talking about you. OK? OK. Good talk.

3 comments

  • Distrust anyone who says “not all x are like that.” It’s called derailing, and I can guarantee you that instead of using their critical thinking skills to understand the context of the subject, they are going on the defensive, and they probably are actually like that.

  • Well said!

  • To put the shoe on the other foot, here’s what I’ve been doing: When homeschool parents get together and talk about how wonderful homeschooling is OR how terrible any other form of schooling is, I jump in with, “But not all homeschoolers are like that. Some kids have a bad experience in their homeschools…” OR, “But not all public school experiences are bad. Some kids do very well in public school…” I feel like I’m putting my foot in my mouth (to take the pun a bit too far?! haha), but I care about dispelling myths about homeschool.

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