I Am a Homeschool Alumna. I Care.
You know what I’m growing really tired of? Comments like this:
There are vastly more kids in public school than are homeschooled, and abuse and educational failure are widespread in those institutions. More kids are affected by the incompetence of the public schools, yet you have devoted quite a bit of time and space here to homeschooling failures. Your interest in homeschoolers seems disproportionate to the problem.
I’m sorry, what? It reminds me of Heidi St. John’s comment:
The relevant excerpt being:
Kids are being beheaded in Iraq and Syria right now because their parents profess Christ. That might be something you could “move on” to . . . . frankly, we’ve got bigger problems in this world right now.
What I’m hearing in these comments from homeschool parents is that the only possible reason homeschool alumni could possibly want to protect homeschooled children from abuse and neglect is to “get back at” their parents.
That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Of course, these homeschool parents claim—with absolutely zero evidence—that homeschool alumni like myself are not interested in protecting homeschooled children but rather in taking down homeschooling. I’m having troubles finding words for how angry this complete unwillingness to actually listen makes me.
What I also see, though, is a lack of interest in the needs of current homeschooled children, which is odd given that most of this is coming from homeschool parents. Those who say that it is illegitimate to worry about homeschooled children until the problems in public schools are fixed are suggesting that the interests and safety of homeschooled children are secondary to those of public schooled children. As a homeschool alumna, this is really insulting. Yes, public school children matter. And so do homeschooled children. All children (and all people) matter. All children have an interest in a safe upbringing and a basic education—including homeschooled children.
I am asked why I should care so much about the wellbeing if homeschooled children, as opposed to some other cause. The answer to that is very simple. I was homeschooled. Aren’t alumni expected to care about their alma mater? For me, that’s what homeschooling is. I have sympathy for homeschooled children because I was one. I am a homeschool alumna.
Homeschool alumni have created a variety of organizations in the past year and a half. There is Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA), where homeschooled alumni who had negative experiences share their stories. There is Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO), which focuses on awareness raising and support for alumni. There is Homeschooling’s Invisible Children (HIC), a database of documented cases of child abuse or fatality in homeschooling settings. There is the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), which focuses on research, resources, and policy.
Homeschool parents can say what they want, but they can’t make us go away.