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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Was Not Supposed to Happen

My most popular post ever, the one on courtship and emotional purity, is making the rounds again, as it does every few months. And with it come the loads of ridiculous assumptions, explaining, excuses, and outright dismissal of everything from my character to my experience to my beliefs. This isn't anything new. It's been happening since I started telling my story. It happens to all of my friends from Homeschool Land who also tell their stories. It's woefully predictable.

"She wasn't really raised Biblically."

"He isn't a good example of proper homeschooling."

"She's bitter. " (Because obviously being bitter means you're making stuff up. Or something.)

"His parents obviously didn't do it right."

"She's not indicative of all homeschoolers."

"He obviously courted in a legalistic way, but that's not the right way, the way we will do it."

"The experience she writes about is extremism and not the Godly way of raising kids/homeschooling/courtship/whatever."

And after every dismissal, an explanation of why they're different, they're doing it right, they know better. Their kids will turn out as promised. They have it all planned.

But what these people that comment on our blogs fail to understand is that my parents had it all planned too. They did everything "right". They read the right books and followed the right teachings that explained how to raise their kids in such a way as to ensure they will grow up to be Godly offspring. People who are the exemptions. People who are whole and full of light and unstained by the world. The next generation of movers and shakers. People who are super Christians.

Had these people who so easily dismiss us met my family 15 years ago, they would've wanted to BE us. We were the perfect family. We dressed right, acted right, said all the right things. People used to ask my parents to help their family look like ours; to help them make their kids as good as we were. They called us "godly", "a refreshment", "a good example", and so much more. These people who now turn up their noses in disbelief at me now would've been our best friends back in the day.

I think that these people, who are overwhelmingly current homeschooling parents, have to have some way of making sense of the phenomenon of the so-called Homeschooled Apostates. They have to find some reason why what they follow and believe to be "God's Plan" didn't work. They encounter people like me and have no idea what to do with us.

Because I was not supposed to happen.

We were not supposed to happen. Every last one of us who was raised in a culture that promised abundant life and Godly children and have now since rejected all or part of our upbringings were not supposed to happen. Sites like Homeschooler's Anonymous, with it's stories of horrific abuse, neglect, and everyday pain were not supposed to happen. We shouldn't exist and our stories weren't supposed to sound the way they do. Not according to all the promises made to our parents, made by our leaders and the authors of the books and the speakers at the homeschool conventions. Yet, here we are.

We who have grown up, evaluated, rejected, and chosen a different path for us and our children....we are threats. Our very existence is a threat to the happy little paradigm that is the conservative homeschool movement. We are realities that threaten to unravel the idealistic fabric of their worldview. They have no idea what to do with us.

So they dismiss us. They make excuses. They say "well your parents did it wrong, but we're doing it right!" as we watch them practice the exact same things that damaged and hurt and broke us. We're desperately waving red warning flags only to be completely disregarded, blamed, and even attacked. Our lives and real stories are no match for the rosy promises of the perfect life, couched in beautiful scripture and Christian idealism. Instead of critically thinking through anything we have to say, evaluating and considering the experiences of countless numbers of people, instead of re-evaluating their own choices and philosophies, against all reason and logic they dismiss us. Pretend we aren't how we say we are. Convince themselves and others that we and our parents aren't like them; we did it all wrong and the formula isn't broken, we're the ones who are broken.  Even after the formula keeps producing the same result, they cannot let go of it.

But we aren't going away. We happened, we exist, we aren't abnormalities.....we're just people. People who all lived similar lives in a movement our parents all followed for very similar reasons. Every day there are voices added to ours. When I first started blogging, there were very few people telling the story of the homeschool alumni. We had only begun to grow up and process our lives and many of us thought we were alone in this. In the last 5 years, that number has grown exponentially and I predict will continue to do so.

Homeschooling parents today have two choices: ignore the now thousands of warning voices of experience, or carefully listen, reconsider and change direction. I often wonder how many children of the people who dismiss us will end up on our blogs or with blogs of their own that are just like mine. Parents, don't fool yourselves. You aren't "doing it right" any more than our parents were "doing it right" when you're doing the exact same things they did and following the exact same teachings. Your children are not more special than we were. They're people with free will who will grow up to make their own choices, either because of you or in spite of you.


  1. Hope you don't mind me asking this. Do you still believe in God and do you want to teach your children about him?

    1. The answer to that is complicated. :) The simple answer is that I have chosen to hang onto my faith in God and to follow Jesus' example. I struggle with a massive war in my head daily over my personal beliefs and probably always will. I tend to relate to the historic Christian Humanists and the current progressives the best when it comes to my worldview, philosophies, and practices. As for what I teach my children, they are learning that people have all kinds of beliefs, that some are good and some are not. They are young and it's quite simple to teach "love one another" and the Golden Rule and "be kind to one another". When they are older, I'm sure we'll get deeper into philosophy, religion, and spirituality. But if you're asking me if I'm teaching them the Evangelical Christianity package the answer would be absolutely not. I find very little worth in it and much of what passes as christianity today goes against everything I believe in regarding how to treat people and how to relate to God. I teach my children love, kindness, empathy, compassion, reason, logic, equality, and justice. I answer their questions about God as honestly as I can. I anticipate that our conversations will get much deeper and more interesting as they get older.

  2. Perhaps you and those like you will indeed be the next generation of movers and shakers. Best wishes to you.

  3. Thanks for answering so honestly Darcy!

  4. I was like you but I was sexually abused and hurt by patriarchy. However, I didn't dwell there. I would suggest getting a counselor. While it's healthy to recap and recount what's happened, don't dwell on the reactions and thoughts of others. Move on with a support system and combat groupthink. Please consider carefully how you might best move forward from the hurt. No, you will never be the same, but counselling works wonders, and helps you find balance between the past and present and future. It seems you like to dwell a lot on what people say, how people have hurt you, and what you feel about it in relation to that. That's good, but how are you using that to grow? Are you growing? Eventually, I lost my religion and I also decided to heal and move on, it wasn't happening by staying in groups and blogging about the past, but in looking to a brighter a future and rebuilding my life and getting out of dysfunction. The last two years have been spent getting a masters in counseling and that has helped me get out of bitterness. As much as I know you hate to be told what to do and I too hate the misapplied bitter label, but I can definitely sense the bitterness in your posts. let it go, darcy. build a new house for your life and soul, brick by brick.

    1. Not only have I been (and will be) in counselling, I'm also in school to become a counselor. So, trust me, I'm good there.

      You realize that a lot of what I write is not just for me, but also for others? I share my journey for other people who might be on the same journey. Many times I write what I understand but have already worked out and been through, not for myself, but for others who have not yet gone through or are in the middle of it. There are many reasons I write what I do, how I do. Many reasons I go back and process what happened in the past and what it means for our future. Not all of them are about me.

      Also, while I realize that you mean well, it's rather presumptuous to assume that you know best how each person should travel and heal, what they should "let go of", what they should hold onto, and when to do either of these, all judged by written articles on the internet and how you personally found healing. By all means share your story but realize it's *yours*, not a formula that everyone should follow to be whole.

      As a counseling student, you of all people should know that all feelings are legit. Even "bitterness" (although that's not one of my feelings right now, contrary to your random internet analysis). That people have to work through their emotions at their own pace and for their own reasons. Bitterness is not a "bad" emotion, as there are no "bad" emotions. Emotions just *are*. They come, they go, they surprise you, they scare you, and you process them.
      Be very careful to not project your own issues onto other people.

  5. I am a 33 year old conservative Christian homeschooled alumni. Raised in all the doctrines and lifestyle choices of the 1990's homeschooling movement. Through the course of many difficult situations, I have since rejected most of my upbringing. Up until tonight, through random internet links following the "Duggar incident," I had NO. IDEA. my life story is shared by so so many. I thought I was completely alone, my family merely the result of a narcissistic mother, and my leaving it all behind was something few, if any, did. I keep reading post after post, and it's earily like I'm reading my own thoughts penned by someone else. I'm completely floored that there are other people out there just like me, and my life's story is actually the r.e.s.u.l.t. of an entire movement; whereas I had shamefully thought it was the result of my own "bad decisions" because I am a "bad person." Wow. I'm going to have a ton of blog reading, and rereevaluating to do in the next foreseeable future!