For the media: Former homeschoolers rally against abuse
For the media:
Former homeschoolers rally against abuse
March 16, 2013
A group of former homeschoolers are joining together to bring awareness to, and healing from, different forms of abuse in extreme homeschooling subcultures. The organization, Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA), is being coordinated by former homeschoolers across the United States, including California, Louisiana, Oregon, and Washington.
According to recent surveys, approximately 2 million children are taught at home in the United States. The total number of home-educated kids doubled between 1999 and 2007. While some are being homeschooled in non-Christian families, the National Home Education Research Institute claims almost three-quarters of those 2 million children have conservative Christian parents who aim to pass on their moral and religious values to their kids through home education. This makes religion the primary motivating factor behind this form of education.
HA’s creator is R.L. Stollar, who was homeschooled from K-12 and currently resides in Eugene, Oregon. He has a Master of Arts in Eastern philosophy and religion and is a freelance writer. Stollar says he came up with the idea for HA after realizing that many of his homeschooled peers suffered from some of the same emotional, mental, and physical problems that he does. Stollar says,
“I started talking last August to someone I knew in junior high and high school about some of the issues we both struggle with today. And it was interesting to see these similarities and that we both attributed them to the same things from our backgrounds.”
Stollar realized that many of his peers had stories like this. He decided to created Homeschoolers Anonymous to bring awareness to these stories and to inspire others to speak out. He intends for HA to give others courage:
“I think, for a lot of us, we are afraid to say what we feel, to say we have changed. A lot of us perceived the message of our world as ‘shut up, get in line, and prepare to take back the culture.’ That makes us, even as adults, timid and maybe even scared of community backlash if we were to say, ‘You know, I’m a different person now. I grew up, I’m an adult, and I have my own life.'”
Stollar connected with old friends on Facebook and made new ones. He found a community of people who shared the same vision. One of those people is Nicholas Ducote, who grew up in a family immersed in Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (ATI). He has his Master of Arts in History from Louisiana Tech University and is currently working on a book about lumber development in North Louisiana.
Ducote considers his upbringing to be a form of fanaticism. To him, fanaticism is any manifestation of an ideology that knows no compromise and uses children as vehicles of ideological advancement. Ducote says,
“The quaint, happy, innocent life of a child can quickly be replaced by the stark absolutes of fanaticism. Muslim, Christian, and Jew are one in the same monster. Their fanatics take different names, they act in different ways, but they are all the same.”
Stollar, Ducote, and team of others are eager to see the launch of their vision. Homeschoolers Anonymous has partnered with a number of well-known bloggers to help bring greater visibility to their stories of abuse and healing. These blog partners include Libby Anne’s Love Joy Feminism, Heather Doney’s Becoming Worldly, Vyckie Garrison’s No Longer Quivering, and Julie Anne Smith’s Spiritual Sounding Board.
About the blog partners, Stollar says,
“I’m really excited to be partnering with these individuals and groups who write about, among other things, their homeschooling experiences. Honestly, they’ve directly inspired [HA] because of what they do. They’ve really paved the way to speaking out about abuse within certain cultures.”
One of the blog partners, Julie Anne Smith, is a homeschooling parent herself. Smith has over 20 years of experience homeschooling her children. She believes HA will help both current and former homeschool kids, even other parents:
“Homeschool students and their parents have become part of a unique culture yielding a mixed bag of results. The first crop of homeschooled students are now adults, establishing their own lives and families. It’s important to take an honest look at homeschool history by reading personal stories — describing the joys and even disappointments of those who paved the homeschool trail.”
While HA hopes to talk candidly about abuse within homeschooling and provide methods of healing from that abuse, the group is careful to point out they do not oppose homeschooling itself. Stollar notes that,
“This isn’t anti-homeschool in any way. At the end of the day, this isn’t even about conservative politics or Christianity. It is more about anywhere and everywhere that communities and adults use religious or political ideology to deny children their humanity and freedom to be for the sake of advancing that ideology. That’s a cult mentality. And wherever that mentality exists, you create emotional, mental, physical, and even sexual abuse and trauma for children. We want to be a strong voice in opposition to that mentality through our life stories, through education and information.”
Homeschoolers Anonymous will be launching their website tomorrow, Sunday, March 17.
This news release may be reprinted without permission in part or in entirety for promotional purposes.
Media Information / Contacts
Official website: https://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com
Media contact: R.L. Stollar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reblogged this on Spiritual Sounding Board and commented:
While, in general, I think homeschooling can be a wonderful alternative to traditional schooling, I am concerned about some problems that are now coming to surface expressed by homeschool graduates. As a veteran homeschooling mom of 20+ years, I unfortunately bought into some dangerous teachings and cult-like philosophies of the “homeschool movement.” I am saddened by some of my choices and am happy to partner with others in exposing this culture in an effort to raise awareness. Perhaps with this awareness, we can weed out more of the dangerous leanings of those self-appointed leaders in the “homeschool movement” and focus on actually homeschooling. ~Julie Anne
Reblogged this on christianagnostic and commented:
I was wondering how long it would be before former homeschoolers started speaking out about the restrictive and sometimes abusive control that many have experienced. I guess it has started….
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Blessings to everyone in this effort. .
I’m a Christian Homeschooling mom, and I respect these opinions and find them very interesting and definitely something to think on. My oldest is “out in the world” now and struggling somewht. I’ll point him to you. I’m going to follow also. betty jo
This is wonderful. RS, thanks for moving this forward and giving us a voice to speak out.
Fun, love this idea. And if you studied Eastern philosophy, we are already kindred spirits. 😛
Sign me up! This is exactly how I feel.
I’m a homeschooling mom of about ten years now. I have often heard criticisms of homeschooling similar to the stories people on this site are posting, but I didn’t know anyone that had experienced such things.
THANK YOU to all who are working on this site, to all who have the courage to tell their stories, and to this site for offering a venue for those who need/want it.
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It actually was news to me that homeschooling had such a bad wrap as I grew up in Alaska where many families homeschool. Sometimes out of logistical necessity more than choice. When I think about the national statistics, that one in every four children have a parent who drinks too much or uses drugs, I can’t help but think it is not just homeschool kids who go through abuse/neglect. Does being in a traditional school setting provide protection from abuse and neglect? From a personal and professional stand point, I completely doubt it. Disclosure, I was “homeschooled” by extremely well meaning parents who turned into extremely depressed parents when tragedy struck our family. They didn’t put us in school, I believe because they were hoping our old normal life to be waiting just around the corner. That was not to be so we basically became a “no schooled” family, US kids were certainly riddled with guilt and shame because but like other dysfunctional families did not air our dirty laundry. I can say we survived in spite of it all, but not without ramifications. I simply hope people will not think homeschoolers are any worse off than any other family. Whether it is the child who doesn’t get enough to eat, listens to alcoholic parents raging and struggles in school because of home life trauma, or the isolated child who keeps her lack of school to herself, doubting her self worth, suffering knows no bounds. No child should have to have these unvoiced family secrets.