Homeschoolers Anonymous is expanding to become a non-profit organization called HARO — Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out.
We aim to to pursue our mission through three complementary yet distinct strategies: (1) launching awareness and education campaigns within homeschooling communities for recognizing and addressing child abuse, mental illness, self-injury, and LGBT* students’ needs; (2) building peer-support networks between homeschool students and homeschool graduates; and (3) developing resources for therapy, life coaching, education assistance, and financial support.
Why We Exist
The U.S. Department of Education estimates there are 1.5 million children being homeschooled. Due to a lack of safeguards for homeschool students, many experience abuse, isolation, and neglect. This results in lack of access to higher education, stunted personal growth, mental illness, and substance abuse.
The status quo of homeschool advocacy is advocacy on behalf on parental rights, against child protective services, and in favor of fundamentalist Christian agendas. Thus far no coordinated advocacy has been done on behalf of homeschooled children’s needs and rights and in favor of a healthy relationship between homeschooling communities and child protective services. There are no organizations offering education to homeschoolers on pressing issues like identifying child abuse and addressing mental illness, self-injury, and LGBT* students’ needs.
Current and Future Projects
Our primary and current project is Homeschoolers Anonymous, a narrative-sharing platform and website that publishes personal stories and testimonies about homeschooling experiences, historical and sociological studies of the modern homeschooling movement, and analyses of the ideologies and leaders that have shaped homeschooling in the U.S. We are developing a public online forum for connecting homeschool graduates. We are also currently planning our first annual convention, where homeschool graduates and parents can interact and hear from expert speakers in the areas of child abuse awareness, homeschool statistics and research, and both regulatory and self-policing approaches to addressing problems within homeschooling communities. Our long-term goals include but are not limited to: launching public awareness campaigns on child abuse and mental illness in homeschooling as well as peer-support networks, a college scholarship fund, and a safe house for survivors of abusive homeschool environments.
Our Position on Homeschooling
The board members of HARO believe that homeschooling can be a wonderful educational option. At its best it represents democracy, flexibility, and tailoring a child’s education to his or her individual needs. It can represent an educational style that respects and values each child’s process. But we know from both personal experiences and testimonies that homeschooling can also mean parents controlling and hurting their children — and those children having no recourse for a better life. Suggesting that homeschooling is not perfect is wildly unpopular in homeschooling circles. But we are dedicated to responsible homeschooling advocacy specifically because we care about homeschooling want every child’s education to be a freeing and safe experience.
For more information, or if you have questions about HARO, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.