We Are Not The Threat

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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 August 28, 2014.

There’s a new threat to homeschooling, folks! That’s right, and it isn’t the evil government or liberal feminists or Satan. The homeschooling apocalypse will be ushered in because of….*drum roll*…..

The Homeschool Alumni.

Yup. Those pesky people who just won’t keep silent about their upbringing. Who dare to tell their not-so-happy stories, the good, bad, and ugly. Who dare to paint big, bold, dark colors on the beautiful Thomas-Kincaid-like portraits of homeschooling. Who dare to stop pretending that everything in their world was beauty and light and are exposing the ugly darkness.

Their stories of abuse and neglect and confusion are apparently a threat to a way of life that is upheld as God’s Ideal Plan for all mankind. (Looks like “God’s Plan” had a few unexpected loose ends.)

What I’d like to know is this: what, exactly, are we a “threat” to?

If people telling their stories is a “threat” to your way of life, you should really re-evaluate your way of life. It says a lot about who you are and what exactly you’re trying to protect and preserve when the very people that lived as you do are merely telling their own stories and you’re quaking in your boots because of it.

If our stories of real-life experiences as homeschooled children, and the real-life effects of those experiences on us as adults, are a threat to you, then perhaps instead of trying to silence us, and instead of trying to discredit us, there should be some extreme makeover-type remodeling being considered within the homeschooling community.

Do you know who the real threat is here?

Because it isn’t me or my friends. It isn’t those of us brave enough to speak out and fight for the rights of people who have no voice. It isn’t my friends who were beaten, raped, neglected, deprived, and put down; it isn’t the victims. To point fingers at us and call us the “threat” is either extremely ignorant or extremely cruel.

The real threat is the abusers.

The self-proclaimed leaders who steal, kill, anddestroy the lives of the vulnerable. The men and women who cry “Parental rights!!” then turn around and trample on the rights of their children. Who fight tooth and nail to keep their victims powerless.

And the second greatest threat are the people that defend them, support them, and fail to call them out on their abuses. 

The folks who stick their heads in the sand and deny, deny, deny. They seem to no longer care about the very real faces behind those stories, but only that the image of Almightly Homeschooling is preserved intact. Their institution has become more important than the people that comprise it. THEY are their own worse threat. THEY are doing more to cause the implosion of the homeschooling movement than anything my friends or I could say.

If you point at victims and call them “threats”, you are telling them that protecting their abusers and the environment that facilitated their abuse is more important to you than truth and healing. 

Victims are only threats to the prospering and perpetuating of abuse.

Homeschooling parents, we are not your enemy. How could we be? We were once your children. We are the products of your movement. We are just no longer voiceless and if that is a threat to you, then maybe you should rethink what and who it is you’re protecting. 

“An entire generation of homeschoolers have grow up and they are telling their stories, the good, bad, and ugly. Most of us have lived our whole lives under crushing standards, expectations, and facades, and we are done. So done pretending. There a lot of successes and a shitload of failures that came from the conservative homeschooling movement and we will talk about all of them. Because information is power, empowering the next generation to help avoid the awful parts of ours. They NEED to know what went wrong, from the perspective of the guinea pigs. We alone can tell that part of the story, paint that part of the picture, speak from the very darkest places in our hearts about the parts that went so desperately, terribly wrong. What do people think? That we share the worst parts of our stories to billions of strangers on the internet for the heck of it? We share because WE FREAKIN’ CARE. We care that others not go through what we did. We care and desperately want to save others from needless pain. This isn’t some joyride we all decided to take part of. This shit hurts, and the derision we experience from family and friends is daunting, but staying silent while others suffer is a far worse pain than honestly exposing our own wounds. “

~On Homeschooling, Stories, and Dismissal 

9 comments

  • I agree that it is not a victims that are a threat to homeschoolers. It is the ‘cult type’ leaders to tout these formulas to create the perfect children through their training methods.

    I was not home schooled. I grew up in a non-Christian and abusive, broken home. I came to Christ at age 14. At age 29 when I had kids, I realized I had no idea of how to be a Christian mom. Enter in the experts.

    I read all the books:-)

    I decided to homeschool because my job at the time I worked evenings and I decided if I wanted to see my kids I would have to homeschool them. Enter more experts. More radical experts. I also researched a ton of homeschooling methods and decided to do Sonlight – which is outside the radical homeschool culture. Four years after we started Sonlight was banned from some conventions. At the time I figured that was a good sign.

    I truly think many parents homeschooling their children want the best for them. But instead of following Christ they follow egotistical modern day pharisees. And those, mostly men, are the problem. Not you brave young adults you are speaking out.

    I read almost all the articles written here as sort of a reality check. OF course homeschool is not a ponies and rainbows. But it can be good. And it can be horrible abusive.

    I am so sorry that you are all hurting so much and have so much healing to do. Keep sharing and keep healing. Your voices need to be heard. I appreciate that you really try to separate abusive homeschooling from not abusive homeschooling. There are many stupid people that hope you will go quietly away. That is OK – there are always people that hate the shaking up of the norm. You are all very brave and strong.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      But since the Cult Leaders Can Do No Wrong, it is the Vast Conspiracy of Traitors and Thought-Criminals who are to blame.

      Where have we heard this one before?

  • heidi0523, what a SWEET post, thank you.

  • My only thing to add: “To point fingers at us and call us the ‘threat’ is either extremely ignorant or extremely cruel,” is not an either/or. One of the many lessons we’ve learned in this whole thing is that many, many cruelties were done in ignorance. Well said, especially the final quote.

  • Sharing your stories is important. Thank you for opening yourself up to this criticism. I am thankful that you are willing to speak up about your experiences and try to do what you can to protect others from going through the things that you did. It disturbs me that every homeschool parent who reads this is not furious that children have been mistreated, neglected, abused and left uneducated in the name of homeschooling.

  • There are those of us out here…homeschooling our kids NOT for religious reasons. We have children who have LOVED it. Probably because they traveled all over and saw the real world. Good and bad. Sadly ours will be moving onto to traditional high school next year. Why?
    Because the only high school homeschoolers in our area are the religious “don’t muck up our children” sort of homeschoolers and on continuing our desire for our kids to not be sheltered from the world we need to get them where we can find non-cult like friends for them. While I have zero issue with true Christians….the non judgmental, don’t twist the Bible, normal sort….homeschooling in high school is a totally different beast than the younger years when we could find tons of less fanatical sorts. Why does this matter to me?
    Back before homeschooling or even “evangelical” Christianity evolved I grew up just like those writing this blog. See you don’t have to homeschool. You can be sent to a private Christian school that had the same oppressive ways. I was kicked out of my house by the age of 16/17 because I had “secular” friends. My mother simply turned my bedroom into a sewing room within days and told our church I was a backsliding Satan worshipper. This is the Christianity that is simply child abuse under the cover of Christ. I survived this childhood and have thrived in the world, but only because I escaped and moved a 1,000 miles away, by myself in my teens. 23 years later I can say that leaving it all behind WAS God’s greatest gift to me. I still have my God but I will never again find him in a church again. These parents have no idea how abusive cult like religion can be or the life long scars their children will carry for the rest of their life. I always joke that I totally missed the 80’s. Everything was “from Satan” and the real world was so darn tough to transition too! In college I took EVERY religions class I could because I was finally getting to learn about EVERY religion not just the King James Version.
    I get it…the purpose of this blog. I wish there had been a support network (even just the Internet) when I was going through this. There were many lonely years and I was the freak show girl who “missed the 80’s”. Heck I had never even ate at fast food restaurants or knew anything about sex (at all). It’s amazing I survived once kicked out. Yes, you guys need each other! Hugs to all just starting on the journey of breaking out of an abusive religious experience. Life can be better than you ever imagined! Just try to not let this experience define your entire life. At some point I had to forgive them and move on. That was soooo hard and took years. Truly the only way to move forward in life is to leave the past in the past but it takes years to get to that realization and point in life. I think it took me about 5-10 years out of it all to move past it.
    All I ask….don’t paint every homeschool family in this light. Many of us do it for quite “normal” reasons. Like bad school districts, lame special needs learning supports, or even just to allow kiddos more freedom to actually learn. It really can be a magical childhood when done in the right way with zero agenda other than happy, well educated kiddos 🙂

    • “These parents have no idea how abusive cult like religion can be or the life long scars their children will carry for the rest of their life. ”

      And they don’t care.

      I am sorry your mother did that to you, it must have been very painful.

      “Many of us do it for quite “normal” reasons. Like bad school districts, lame special needs learning supports, or even just to allow kiddos more freedom to actually learn. It really can be a magical childhood when done in the right way with zero agenda other than happy, well educated kiddos.”

      You sound like a wonderful mother:)

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