We Were Homeschooled Because We Were Poor: Alex’s Story
CC image courtesy of Flickr, Mark Strozier.
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Alex” is a pseudonym.
My whole life, my parents told me it was great that we didn’t go to the doctor, that everything in school was pointless, and that the alternative lifestyle was the best. I always thought so too and totally agreed with them, until I got older and started noticing things.
My family was poor because my parents made bad decisions.
They got thousands and thousands into debt because they spent their money irresponsibly and on things they didn’t need. They had to declare bankruptcy multiple times. My parents have always been very irresponsible. My grandparents on both sides would always say how terrible my parents were, but I never believed them. My parents told me that their parents just hated them for various reasons, but now that I’ve gotten older I can see for myself exactly why my grandparents said the things they did.
So, lots of kids have poor parents, but they go to school right? This is the biggest secret I found out about my homeschooling: My parents needed to maintain their image. On both sides of my family, money is important. All of my grandparents had professional jobs or even inheritances. But my parents were outcasts because of how they acted. So, they could have just sent us to school and used free programs and gone to goodwill, but they felt like they couldn’t. I realize now that I had to give up my childhood, just so that they could keep people from finding out how poor we really were.
So for some examples….
1. We couldn’t go to church because my parents couldn’t afford to tithe, but they both are the kind of people who like to brag about everything, even though a lot of it wasn’t real.
They liked to fake it. So, my mom always told me growing up that church was terrible, because it was organized religion and we should worship and respect god by ourselves. And that as homeschoolers we were already being exposed to nature more every day, so we didn’t need the church. I know this probably sounds strange, but we were raised this way so it made sense to us, especially since we were so young. I thought the church was a terrible place for a long time. But the real reason why we didn’t go to church was because of money.
2. Public school was evil because of all the influences, and because they don’t teach you anything.
I won’t even say how my tests to officially graduate high school went in my state, but I did pass it’s true. But when my parents mentioned all the negative things about school they never talked about the positives. Like seeing people my age every single day, celebrating holidays, being a part of the community, and just being more free myself and learning how to handle myself. And PROM. Millions of kids can relate to prom except for me. I know that sounds like a stupid example, but every time I think about it, it’s like someone stuck a knife in my chest. It all feels so isolating. So maybe it does sound childish, but I feel so…I just feel less than. Like how could I have missed all these basic things?
But those things are why I couldn’t go. All of those bonuses cost money. And you can’t be bragging about how you have this and that, and not even afford school things for your own child. I think this is the biggest reason for homeschooling. When my parents talked about how evil school was, they never mentioned any of the good sides.
3. And then medical insurance.
Dental insurance. All big costs, and my parents were always like “The doctor is EVIL”. Which is a very convenient thing to say, right?
4. And we had a majorly vegan diet.
It is cruel to hurt animals, but it’s always way cheaper to not have to buy meat too.
5. I don’t think my mom could afford to work.
I’ve read articles about this, and they sum up the different situations pretty well. She had no job skills and could only have worked part time. On top of that, she was selfish anyway. I know homeschooling moms who run their own businesses, but like my dad, my mom doesn’t like to put effort in if she doesn’t have to. I feel like I gave up my childhood and happiness to support her.
6. Their marriage.
Both my parents had either worked in law or had parents that worked in law. They knew how severe the consequences could be if they got divorced. I always thought it was good my dad didn’t leave. Now I’ve found out it’s mostly women who initiate divorce, and get the most benefits while the guy is left broke. Of course, divorcing would’ve meant my mom had to actually put effort in, so I guess sticking with my dad was easiest for her. And it was definitely the easiest decision for him.
I wish so much that I HAD gone to school. I would’ve been exposed. Like to new ideas, which were actually interesting. Now that I’ve met more people there are just so many different personalities, and I hate so much I didn’t get to see them growing up. Going to organized activities isn’t the real world, and it’s hard to have any real, face to face time with anyone. And I feel so weird. Millions and millions of kids went to prom, but I missed out. I got my drivers license late, and I graduated late, since I had no idea about how any of the school systems worked or what was required in real life. But one day I randomly mentioned to my mom about getting a real diploma, and she enrolled me into an online school. But because of lots of issues I didn’t graduate until age 19. But I feel like my parents’ irresponsibility affected me for life, because they couldn’t do for me what millions of other parents did for their kids. Those terrible irresponsible parents that actually put their kids in school and gave them standards in life, are way better than mine. I didn’t know how much potential freedom there was there.
I don’t think I’m totally naive. I do wish I had met before, kids with divorced parents who are stable and happier than me, or kids who went to parties in their teens and not only didn’t get raped but enjoyed them. But, lots of people my age don’t know about the financial sides of things, so I am happy I found that out. It makes me feel better, even though I was lied to my whole life. At least I know the truth now. I can’t ever trust them again. Even if I wanted to, and if I’m being honest I still do want to. I still want them to be my parents. But they lied to me about so much, and with each lie I’ve discovered it’s just ripped my heart to pieces.
Especially since I know why now they lied.
It wasn’t just to save face or desperation. It was because I would never have agreed with the homeschooling otherwise. They had to make me believe it was the better option. I was forced to grow up in a fantasy world. But what about the consequences? I hadn’t asked people and done research, what would’ve happened to me in real life? But like everything else I guess my parents didn’t think of that. They just used me like how they used money. And it hurts so much, because my life was sacrificed, and that was the whole reason why they told me they kept me out of school and church. So I wouldn’t be used by the system.