**All photos and posts are my original work. Please do not reprint photos or articles without permission.**

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If the Shoe Doesn't Fit....

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 already. If 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.


  1. Can we call this the NAHALT fallacy?

    = "The erroneous view that abuse must be experienced universally before it can be taken seriously"

    Reading this over, I realize that even if everyone WAS abused, that would also be used as justification:

    "Oh honey, this is just what parents are like."

  2. My parents were both teachers for 40 years before they retired. As a family we attended a "moderate/middle of the road" sort of church, and though their education was sufficient to home school my brother and I, they felt that sending us to schools where we would meet and interact with others would be in our best interests. The only concern I have in regards to home schooling is whether the parents who do so without any support or involvement of education professionals, are truly acting in the best interests of their child(ren). It's easy to say that by shielding them from the worldly outside influences, they are...but it seems to me that the kids will one day have to 'pass through' and will be around all the worldly people that their parents so carefully kept them away from and didn't teach them how to live or deal with while still keeping their faith and walking with Christ. If the education being provided at home isn't one of quality, is it going to prepare children for attending college? It can be - my hair stylist's daughter was home schooled, and she finished high school 2 years early and has now completed her bachelors in nursing, so she's working in her field while her employer is paying for her to complete her masters program in the same subject. But her parents found her a very rigorous academic home school program, kept her active with team sports so she socialized with other kids, and she is doing quite well as a young adult woman. I just have doubts that the same kind of high standards are present in the majority of home schooling environments.

  3. Do you think that perhaps they're rushing to defend homeschooling because the terms used are much broader than the subset they represent? "The homeschool culture" and the "homeschool movement" are very open terms. Perhaps adding a word to narrow the focus would mitigate some of the misunderstandings, i.e. "the fundamentalist homeschool culture" or "the extreme homeschool movement."

    Other than that, I enjoy your blog! I'm former ATI, all grown up and homeschooling my own kids. My parents provided a good academic base but a tangled faith (ATI was treated as the Bible course of our education and I had a full load of conventional classes). I appreciate the flexibility and 1:1 engagement of homeschooling for our kids but we are doing things quite a bit differently on the religion/spirituality front.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences; I hope it will lead to less fundamentalist homeschooling and more engaged learning together.