Homeschooling, The Tool My Parents Used Well: Shaney Lee


Homeschooling, The Tool My Parents Used Well

By Shaney Lee, HARO Board Member

I see homeschooling as a tool.

Like a gardening hoe, when used correctly it can help bring life and vitality to living things. Homeschooling is not an end in and of itself; rather, the end is for parents to raise healthy, well-rounded human beings. But used incorrectly, a tool can harm the very things or people it’s meant to help thrive.

My parents were two individuals that I believe used the tool of homeschooling well.

Thanks to their efforts, I was given a solid education that enabled me to get into a well-known university on a full-tuition scholarship and graduate from that same university four years later with honors. I had a wide variety of experiences while homeschooled that I believe contributed to the well-rounded person I am today. And I grew up learning to be comfortable with being the “odd one out” when there were no other homeschoolers around, which I think at least partially contributes to my willingness to risk how others may view me in order to do the right thing.

I also have many memories of things I may not have been able to do had I not been homeschooled: volunteer projects I did during school hours, exploring subjects not typically offered in school, getting to set my own pace.

Would I have received these same benefits had I gone to public or private school, instead of being homeschooled? I’m not sure. I think I probably would have, because I believe that my parents would have taught me many of the exact same things regardless of where I went to school. Even those things I wouldn’t have been able to pursue in school probably would have been pursued in a different way outside of school.

But that’s not really the point I’m trying to make. I don’t feel any need to prove that it was “homeschooling” specifically that contributed to the many positives in my childhood that made me who I am today. The point is that, in the hands of my parents, homeschooling was a tool that they used well (even if they did occasionally make a mistake here or there). Homeschooling wasn’t the only positive experience I could have had. But, it is the positive experience I did have.

And my positive experience with homeschooling is exactly why I chose to become a founding member of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO).

I know that many people see my decision as a sort of betrayal against homeschooling. They assume I must think homeschooling is deeply flawed and dangerous.

But that’s not it at all. It’s precisely because of my positive experience with homeschooling that I believe every child has a right to an equally positive experience. And just like any educational method, homeschooling is a tool that can be used for good or for bad. In the hands of abusive parents, homeschooling can be downright torture. In the hands of good-hearted, well-equipped, healthy parents, homeschooling can provide a child with an excellent education, and potentially open doors that wouldn’t be opened otherwise.

So I am excited for this week of positives.

I think it will show that neither Homeschoolers Anonymous nor HARO are anti-homeschooling. Rather, we are a group of individuals who have a wide range of experiences with homeschooling, but strongly believe that all children have the right to a positive educational experience.

7 thoughts on “Homeschooling, The Tool My Parents Used Well: Shaney Lee

  1. Jon Winslow August 26, 2013 / 11:45 am

    This post, sharing the positive among all the tragic stories on this site, multiplies my hope for HA/HARO, thank you for sharing Shaney.


  2. Teryn O'Brien August 27, 2013 / 8:57 am

    Yes, thank you for sharing positive things, too. Sometimes, this site is so depressing because all we hear are the negatives. I was homeschooled, and I had a wonderful experience. I know there were bad things in other homeschool groups or other families, I’m sure. And I do think parents who want to home school should be aware of those things before they get into it. I also think many children should be aware of the negatives, too.

    But it didn’t reflect my experience, and I so I’m glad you are also acknowledging that homeschooling can be a great thing. Everything the author of this post said about her homeschooling is what I experienced. It made me who I am today. It made me strong, capable, a critical thinker, someone who isn’t afraid to stick out of the crowd and do right, someone who has embraced talents and dreams I never could’ve explored if I hadn’t homeschooled, etc.

    Will I homeschool? Well, I’m not married and have no children, so we’ll see what I decide when the time comes. 🙂


  3. Lisa February 9, 2014 / 12:45 pm

    Awesome. As a former homeschooler, I find this site deeply interesting but also deeply skewed towards those who had very negative experiences. I recognize that the movement coddled many negatives, but am struggling to reconcile that with my upbringing – which, while inevitably lacking in some areas, was far from abusive.


    • sonichowling August 25, 2014 / 12:41 am

      I think that the reason the site seems “deeply skewed” to the negatives is because it’s one of the first (if not the first) coordinated forums where all homeschoolers are speaking out. I believe that up to this point, the voices of the homeschool movement were very skewed towards the positive. The narrative was overwhelmingly one of big happy well educated families-those off us who didn’t have good experiences were a sort of shameful family secret. It should also be taken into account that those students who were homeschooled during the 80s n 90s are just now reaching an age where we are in a position (in terms of distance from experience, stability, and independence) to say how it was to grow up under the methods that were so popular in the community during that time. The “success stories” already have a few kids, right? Lots of thier figurative (and sometimes literal) siblings are in our late 20s/early 30s and still trying to catch up. So yeah. It’s nice to have something that says “hey-other people went through this too…” and that’s just not something that I’ve seen before.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s