If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit…

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Darcy’s blog Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings. It was originally published on May 28, 2014.

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 alreadyIf 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.

The Official Homeschoolers Anonymous “13:24” Giveaway!

Homeschoolers Anonymous is pleased to announce that we are teaming up with M Dolon Hickmon to give away free copies of his powerful new novel, 13:24.

10248919_240082649530314_175848700_nCalled “a strange and effective debut novel about the powerful dynamics of father-son relationships and the casual violence of amoral subcultures” by Kirkus Reviews, 13:24 is of particular relevance to those interested in how abuse can arise within and hide behind the Christian Homeschool Movement. You can read our review of the novel here and our interview with Hickmon here. (We also featured a post from Hickmon during our “To Break Down a Child” series, which you can view here.)

We are giving away a total of 10 books, 4 via Facebook, 3 via Twitter, and 3 via Pinterest. We are also giving away one “grand prize” package, consisting of a special print edition (with a unique cover and limited edition artwork) and a “Rehoboam” t-shirt.

You can enter the giveaway 3 ways (and you are welcome to enter in all 3 ways):

1. Facebook

To enter the Facebook giveaway, you must do two things:

a. “Like” our Facebook giveaway post here.

b. After liking our Facebook giveaway post here, leave a comment on the same post about why you’d like to read 13:24.

2. Twitter

To enter the Twitter giveaway, you must do one thing: Retweet our giveaway tweet here.

3. Pinterest

To enter the Pinterest giveaway, you must do one thing: Re-pin any one of our 13:24 pins: this one or this one.

If you enter all three of our giveaways, you will be eligible for the “grand prize” drawing as well.

*****

 Official rules are as follows:

1) You must be at least 18 years old to enter.

2) You must be a resident of the United States.

3) You are welcome to enter all 3 of the giveaways (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest), HOWEVER…

4) You can win only one giveaway prize total.

5) Winners will be randomly selected from all entries.

6) To be eligible to win the “grand prize” package, you must enter all 3 of the giveaways.

The giveaway opens immediately and will close this Friday, April 18, at 12 pm PST. Winners will be announced via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest shortly thereafter.

Legal disclaimer: This giveaway is coordinated by Homeschoolers Anonymous and M Dolon Hickmon. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest neither endorse nor are sponsoring the promotion. No purchase is necessary to participate in this giveaway. All promotional material and images from 13:24 are shared with permission by Rehoboam Press. Homeschoolers Anonymous is receiving no compensation for promoting 13:24. If you lack access to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and would like to nonetheless participate in the giveaway, please email us at homeschoolersanonymous@gmail.com for entry.

Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Five: Fundamentalism as a Factor in Educational Quality, Abuse, and Other Areas

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Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Five: Fundamentalism as a Factor in Educational Quality, Abuse, and Other Areas

Whether or not respondents were homeschooled in a fundamentalist Christian environment made the most dramatic differences in both educational quality and abuse. The results are fascinating. There are also interesting differences between fundamentalist environments and non-fundamentalist environments concerning HSLDA membership, parental education, and the current level of respondent education.

Before continuing, it is important to note once again that this survey is self-selected and should not be construed as representative of anything other than the 242 respondents that took this survey.

Fundamentalism and HSLDA Membership

While the Home School Legal Defense Association claims to defend any and all homeschoolers, it has a reputation as a conservative fundamentalist organization. There is a plethora of documentation concerning HSLDA’s projects that fall outside mere advocacy for the legality of homeschooling. Those projects are traditional, conservative fundamentalist projects, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and UN treaties as well as support for candidates like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

Considering that context, it is interesting to note that — for respondents — membership in HSLDA did not rise or fall according to whether a family was fundamentalist or non-fundamentalist.

For respondents who grew up in fundamentalist Christian families, the following was true:

  1. 56.22% said their families were directly members of HSLDA.
  2. 14.05% said their families were indirectly members of HSLDA through dues paid to a homeschool organization.
  3. 29.75% said their families were not members of HSLDA.

For respondents who grew up in non-fundamentalist Christian families, the following was true:

  1. 70.97% said their families were directly members of HSLDA.
  2. 9.68% said their families were indirectly members of HSLDA through dues paid to a homeschool organization.
  3. 19.35% said their families were not members of HSLDA.

In our pool of respondents, therefore, there was not that much of a difference in HSLDA membership (approximately only 5%) between fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist families. Furthermore, the percentage of HSLDA members among non-fundamentalist families was slightly higher. 

Fundamentalism and Parental Education

The level of education achieved by the primary teachers of respondents was slightly higher among non-fundamentalist Christian families compared to fundamentalist ones.

For respondents who grew up in fundamentalist Christian families, the following was true concerning the highest level of education of their primary teacher:

  1. 4.32% had no high school diploma or GED.
  2. 15.14% had a high school diploma or GED.
  3. 23.78% had some college but no degree.
  4. 41.62% had an associates or undergraduate degree.
  5. 15.14% had a graduate degree or higher.

For respondents who grew up in non-fundamentalist Christian families, the following was true concerning the highest level of education of their primary teacher:

  1. 12.12% had a high school diploma or GED.
  2. 21.21% had some college but no degree.
  3. 45.45% had an associates or undergraduate degree.
  4. 21.21% had a graduate degree or higher.

Whether respondents grew up in fundamentalist or non-fundamentalist families, that did not seem to significantly increase the highest level of parental education of the primary teachers.

There are a few differences — for example, all respondents that grew up in non-fundamentalist families had a teacher that at least had a high school diploma or GED (compared to 4.32% without them in fundamentalist families). Also, the level of education did increase slightly: there were more teachers with college or graduate degrees in non-fundamentalist families, but only by a few percentage points.

Fundamentalism and Respondent Education

Whereas the level of parental education did not change much between non-fundamentalist and fundamentalist Christian families, the highest level of education that respondents personally achieved did change in noticeable ways.

For respondents who grew up in fundamentalist Christian families, the following was true concerning the highest level of education they personally achieved:

  1. 4.84% have no high school diploma or GED.
  2. 3.23% have a GED but no high school diploma.
  3. 8.06% have a high school diploma.
  4. 23.66% have some college but no degree (this includes the 2.69%, or “Other,” which fit the “some college” category).
  5. 38.17% have an associates or undergraduate degree.
  6. 18.28% have a masters-level degree.
  7. 3.76% have a PhD-level degree.

For respondents who grew up in non-fundamentalist Christian families, the following was true concerning the highest level of education they personally achieved:

  1. 18.18% have some college but no degree (this includes the 3.03%, or “Other,” which fit the “some college” category).
  2. 54.55% have an associates or undergraduate degree.
  3. 12.12% have a masters-level degree.
  4. 15.15% have a PhD-level degree.

This means that 100% of respondents from non-fundamentalist families have some level of college education, compared to 83.87% of respondents from fundamentalist ones.

Indeed, among respondents from non-fundamentalist families, the first three categories — (1) no high school diploma or GED, (2) GED but no high school diploma, and (3) high school diploma — disappeared. All numbers began with at least “some college.”

This also means that 81.82% of respondents from non-fundamentalist families have a college degree or higher, compared to only 60.21% of respondents from fundamentalist ones.

Fundamentalism and Educational Quality

How respondents rated the quality of their educational experiences  dramatically changed when results were filtered by fundamentalist versus non-fundamentalist environments. Indeed, the changes are striking.

Respondents from fundamentalist Christian families gave their homeschool experiences — in totality — an average score of 2.81, less than the median score of “So-so”:

Filtered by fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
Filtered by fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

Respondents from non-fundamentalist Christian families their homeschool experiences — in totality — an average score of 4.2, higher than the base score for “Adequate.” The visual difference here is striking:

Filtered by non-fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
Filtered by non-fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

This is an increase of almost one and half points between fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist respondent groups. This is one of the most significant increases seen in this survey yet.

Fundamentalism and Abuse

While the difference in educational quality between respondents from fundamentalist families and non-fundamentalist families was striking, the difference in experiences of abuse is even more so. Indeed, the difference in experiences of abuse is the most glaring of all of the results from this survey.

The majority of respondents from fundamentalist Christian families (71.2%) experienced one or more forms of abuse.

The most common forms were emotional abuse (61.41% experienced this), verbal abuse (52.72%), religious abuse (46.74%), and physical abuse (33.70%). This means that the majority of respondents from fundamentalist Christian families experienced emotional and verbal abuse.

Filtered by fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
Filtered by fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

The overwhelming majority of respondents from non-fundamentalist Christian families (93.55%) did not experience abuse. 

Whereas 61.41% of respondents from fundamentalist Christian families experienced emotional abuse, only 6.45% of respondents from non-fundamentalist families did. Whereas 46.74% of respondents from fundamentalist Christian families experienced religious abuse, only 3.23% of respondents from non-fundamentalist families did. Whereas 33.7% of respondents from fundamentalist Christian families experienced physical abuse, only 3.23% of respondents from non-fundamentalist families did.

Filtered by non-fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
Filtered by non-fundamentalist. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

As this is — once again — a self-selected survey, these results do not accurately represent the frequency of educational quality and abuse in fundamentalist or non-fundamentalist Christian homeschool families. The results do suggest, however, that fundamentalism is a highly significant factor in the quality of education and the experiences of abuse for the adult graduates of the Christian homeschool movement that took this survey.

In fact, fundamentalism is the most significant factor thus far.

*****

< Part Four: Parental Education as a Factor | Part Six: HSLDA Membership as a Factor >

2013 HA Basic Survey: Main Page

Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Four: Parental Education as a Factor in Educational Quality, Abuse, and Current Religious Beliefs

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Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Four: Parental Education as a Factor in Educational Quality, Abuse, and Current Religious Beliefs

In every one of the following categories — educational quality, abuse, and current religious beliefs — parental education seemed to correlate to a decrease or increase. As parental education increased, the following consistently occurred: the quality of education improved, abuse decreased, and homeschool experiences were less likely to have influenced respondents’ current religious beliefs. Also, as parental education increased, those who experienced a fundamentalist Christian environment decreased.

Parental Education and Educational Quality

Averaging the scores for all aspects, respondents gave their educational experience a score of 3.06, slightly above the median score category of “So-so.”

When the primary teacher had no high school diploma or GED, respondents’ scores for their educational experience averaged at 2.21.

When the primary teacher had a high school diploma or GED, respondents’ scores for their educational experience averaged at 2.74.

When the primary teacher had some college education but no degree, respondents’ scores for their educational experience averaged at 2.76.

When the primary teacher had an associates or undergraduate degree, respondents’ scores for their educational experience averaged at 3.23.

When the primary teacher had a graduate degree or higher, respondents’ scores for their educational experience averaged at 3.47.

There is a significant decrease in expressed educational quality from respondents whose primary teachers had a graduate degree to those who primary teachers had no degree or diploma whatsoever — a decrease of 1.26 points. Not only that, but perceived educational quality consistently decreased as parental education decreased.

Notable areas in which educational quality dropped significantly are: (1) socialization, dropping from 3.63 (graduate degree or higher) to 2.62 (high school diploma or GED) and ending at 1.78 (no high school diploma or GED); (2) college prep, dropping from 3.51 (graduate degree or higher) to 3.0 (high school diploma or GED) and ending at 2.11 (no high school diploma or GED); and (3) intangibles in general, dropping from 3.66 (graduate degree or higher) to 2.63 (high school diploma or GED) and ending at 1.67 (no high school diploma or GED)

Parental Education and Abuse

The majority of respondents (60.92%) experienced one or more forms of abuse in their homes or homeschooling environments. 

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

When the primary teacher had no high school diploma or GED, the percentage of respondents who experienced abuse was 88.89%.

When the primary teacher had a high school diploma or GED, the percentage of respondents who experienced abuse was 75.53%.

When the primary teacher had some college education but no degree, the percentage of respondents who experienced abuse was 70.37%.

When the primary teacher had an associates or undergraduate degree, the percentage of respondents who experienced abuse was 56.12%.

When the primary teacher had a graduate degree or higher, the percentage of respondents who experienced abuse was 41.46%.

This is a remarkable drop in experiences of abuse from respondents whose primary teachers had graduate degrees or higher to respondents whose primary teachers had no degree or diploma. This is a decrease of 47.43% in experiences of abuse.

Notable areas in which abuse increased significantly as parental education decreased are: (1) physical abuse, increasing from 17.07% (graduate degree or higher) to 35.29% (high school diploma or GED) and ending at 77.78% (no high school diploma or GED); (2) verbal abuse, increasing from 21.95% (graduate degree or higher) to 61.76% (high school diploma or GED) and ending at 88.89% (no high school diploma or GED); and (3) emotional abuse, increasing from 34.15% (graduate degree or higher) to 58.82% (high school diploma or GED) and ending at 88.89% (no high school diploma or GED)

Parental Education and Current Religious Beliefs

The majority of respondents (78.84%) said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian. 

The overwhelming majority of respondents (92.53%) believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion.

When the primary teacher had no high school diploma or GED, the percentage of respondents who said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian was 100%. Also, the percentage of respondents who believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion was 100%.

When the primary teacher had a high school diploma or GED, the percentage of respondents who said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian was 85.29%. Also, the percentage of respondents who believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion was 97.06%.

When the primary teacher had some college education but no degree, the percentage of respondents who said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian was 81.48%. Also, the percentage of respondents who believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion was 94.44%.

When the primary teacher had an associates or undergraduate degree, the percentage of respondents who said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian was 77.44%. Also, the percentage of respondents who believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion was 92.16%.

When the primary teacher had a graduate degree or higher, the percentage of respondents who said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian was 68.3%. Also, the percentage of respondents who believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion was 85.37%.

The strongest sense of correlation between parental education and current religious beliefs concerned those respondents that have turned their backs on Christianity in favor of agnosticism, atheism, or another religion.

Keep in mind here that the primary teachers of the overwhelming majority of respondents were their mothers. Mothers were the primary teachers of 80.91% (195) of the graduates. 

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

When the primary teacher had no high school diploma or GED, the percentage of respondents who turned their backs on Christianity was 88.88%.

When the primary teacher had a high school diploma or GED, the percentage of respondents who turned their backs on Christianity was 44.13%.

When the primary teacher had some college education but no degree, the percentage of respondents who turned their backs on Christianity was 42.59%.

When the primary teacher had an associates or undergraduate degree, the percentage of respondents who turned their backs on Christianity was 33.33%.

When the primary teacher had a graduate degree or higher, the percentage of respondents who turned their backs on Christianity was 14.64%.

(The category descriptions in the pictures above get cut off, so see Part Two for a reminder of what each category is.)

A correlation seems to exist, therefore, between how educated primary teachers — interestingly, mothers for 80.91% of respondents — are and whether respondents retained their Christian beliefs.

*****

< Part Three: Economics as a Factor | Part Five: Fundamentalism as a Factor >

2013 HA Basic Survey: Main Page

Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Three: Economics as a Factor in Educational Quality, Abuse, and Current Religious Beliefs

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Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Three: Economics as a Factor in Educational Quality, Abuse, and Current Religious Beliefs

Economics and Educational Quality

Averaging the scores for all aspects, respondents gave their educational experience a score of 3.06, barely above the median score category of “So-so.”

For the lower class, the average score was 2.71, below “So-so.”

For the middle class, the average score was 3.10, above “So-so” and slightly above the average for all class scores.

For the upper class, the average score was 3.37, well above “So-so.”

Certain aspects of homeschool experiences were significantly different between economic classes. For example, Math was ranked by those in the lower class at 2.83; this significantly increased in the middle class to 3.39, and to 3.89 in the upper class. Similarly, Science was ranked by those in the lower class at 2.48; this significantly increased in the middle class to 2.81, and to 3.39 in the upper class.

Certain aspects of homeschool experiences did not change much regardless of economics. Sex education, for example, stayed within a narrow range between “Inadequate” and “So-so.” The lower class ranked it at 2.02, the middle class at 2.23, and the upper class at 2.5. The same occurred with political diversity: lower class ranked it at 2.05, middle class at 2.36, and upper class at 2.61.

In general, every single aspect of respondents’ experiences seemed to improved as wealth increased.

The only exception to this, interestingly, is socialization.

The lower class ranked socialization at 2.76; this increased to 3.14 in the middle class. But then it decreased to 3.11 in the upper class.

The most telling way in which economics related to educational quality is in the scores for the category Academic Experiences (As A Whole). The lower class rated their homeschool experiences in totality at 2.98, the middle class at 3.44, and the upper class at 3.96. That is an increase in nearly an entire point between the lower class and the upper class, raising the quality of the academic experience from “So-So” to “Adequate.”

Economics and Abuse

In contrast to educational quality, abuse did not seem to necessarily correlate to a decrease or increase in wealth for respondents.

The average for all economic classes for those that experienced abuse in their home or homeschooling environment was 60.92%.

The average for the lower class for those that experienced abuse in their home or homeschooling environment was 73.81%. The average for the middle class for those that experienced abuse in their home or homeschooling environment was 57.49%.The average for the upper class for those that experienced abuse in their home or homeschooling environment was 60.71%.

There was a substantial decrease in abuse (of 16.32%) moving from the lower class to the middle class. That decrease did not continue, however, moving from the middle class to the upper class. Rather, abuse increased (by 3.22%) from the middle class to the upper class. Thus there did not seem to be a direct correlation between wealth and the frequency of abuse in general.

Some specific forms of abuse, however, did seem to correlate with wealth. For example, economic abuse decreased as wealth increased: from the lower class (40.48%) to the middle class (23.95%) to the upper class (17.86%).

Medical abuse also decreased as wealth increased, and in fact was non-existent in the upper class: from the lower class (30.95%) to the middle class (10.78%) to the upper class (0%).

Educational abuse also decreased as wealth increased: from the lower class (40.48%) to the middle class (20.96%) to the upper class (14.29%).

Emotional and verbal abuse were the main categories in which abuse did not consistently decrease as wealth increased. Each decreased from the lower class to the middle class, but then increased from the middle class to the upper class: Emotional abuse went from 66.67% (lower) down to 48.5% (middle) and then up to 53.57%. Verbal abuse went from 59.52% (lower) down to 41.92% (middle) and then up to 42.86% (upper).

Thus while specific forms of abuse did correlate to a decrease or increase in wealth, this fact was not consistent enough to generalize a direct correlation. In fact, several forms of abuse increased in frequency from the middle class to the upper class.

That said, what can be generalized is that abuse was consistently the highest in families in the lower class or below the poverty line.

Filtered by lower class. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
Filtered by lower class. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

Economics and Current Religious Beliefs

78.84% of respondents said their homeschool experience involved fundamentalist Christianity.

This number was highest in the lower class, at 88.1%, dropping to 77.77% in the middle class.

This number was then lowest in the upper class, at 71.42%. So while the overwhelming majority of respondents grew up in fundamentalist Christian environments regardless of economic class, those environments were slightly less fundamentalist as wealth increased.

The most interesting trends, as far as a correlation between economics and current religious beliefs are concerned, is the percentage of respondents who grew up in fundamentalist Christian environments and then left Christianity for agnosticism, atheism, or another religion (cited were Paganism and Satanism).

In the upper class, only 24.99% believed their fundamentalist Christian homeschool experience influenced them towards agnosticism, atheism, or another religion. This increased to 35.08% in the middle class.

In the lower class, 45.24% believed their fundamentalist Christian homeschool experience influenced them towards agnosticism, atheism, or another religion. 

Filtered by lower class. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
Filtered by lower class. 2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

That is approximately 20% more than those in the upper class (and 10% more than those in the middle class) influenced towards agnosticism, atheism, or another religion.

These findings seem to suggest that, as wealth decreases, fundamentalist Christianity in homeschooling experiences increases — but only slightly so. However, as wealth decreases, the number of respondents — with fundamentalist Christian environments — turning their backs on Christianity significantly increases.

*****

< Part Two: Summary of Findings | Part Four: Parental Education as a Factor >

2013 HA Basic Survey: Main Page

Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Two: Summary of Findings

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Results of HA Basic Survey, Part Two: Summary of Findings

Summary of Educational Findings

Survey respondents were asked to rate the following aspects of their homeschool experience: Math, Science, History, Language Arts, Studying Religions Other Than Your Family’s, Studying Political Beliefs Other Than Your Family’s, Sex Education, Socialization, Life Skills Relevant To All Genders, Job Training/Preparation For The Work Place, College Preparation, Academic Experience (As A Whole), and Intangible Experience (Everything Other Than Academics). Respondents were asked to rate these aspects on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being “Horrible” and 5 being “Excellent.”

Averaging the scores for all aspects, respondents gave their experience a score of 3.06, barely above the median score category of “So-so.”

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

Respondents consistently and overwhelmingly consider language arts their strong suit. The average score for language arts was 4.22, which makes it the only average score above 4, or “Adequate.”  No score’s average reached past 4.5, putting it in the “Excellent” category.

Respondents consistently and overwhelmingly consider the quality of all other aspects of their home school experience (other than language arts) to be less than “excellent” and also less than “adequate,” averaging around “so-so.” Sex education, world religions, and comparative political science are the weakest points.

There was a tie for the aspect that received the most amount of “Horrible” votes between “Studying Political Beliefs Other Than Your Family’s” and “Sex Education.” 106 of the 242 respondents gave each of these categories a 1.

The aspect that received the most amount of “Excellent” votes was “Language Arts,” with 136 respondents (56.43%) giving it a 5. Coming in second to “Language Arts” was “History,” with 80 respondents (33.47%) giving it a 5.

Among core subjects (math, science, history, and language arts), math had the lowest score, with 2.82. Only 28.22% (68) of respondents considered their math education to be “Adequate,” and only 8.3% (20) considered it “Excellent.”

Summary of Abuse Findings

The majority of respondents (60.92%) experienced one or more forms of abuse in their homes or homeschooling environments. 

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

Emotional abuse was the most common (52.10%), followed by verbal abuse (44.96%); sexual abuse was the least common (5.46%).

Identification abuse was not common (8.82%, or 21 individuals out of 242), though that number ought to be concerning regardless. It means approximately 1 out of every 10 respondents experienced an environment in which their parent(s) did not provide or withheld/destroyed their identification documents (driver’s license, Social Security card, etc.). Similarly, more than 1 out of every 10 respondents (13.03%) were prevented while growing up from seeking medical care or denied medical care by their parent(s).

Approximately 1 out of every 4 respondents experienced the following forms of abuse in their home or homeschooling environment: economic abuse, educational abuse, and physical abuse.

Summary of Findings on the Relationship Between Christian Homeschooling and Current Religious Beliefs

The overwhelming majority of respondents believe that their homeschool experience influenced what they believe today about religion.

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

*****

(Since the above categories are difficult to read, here is a text version:)

Answer Choices
Responses
My homeschooling experience had no influence on what I believe today about religion.
7.47%
18
My homeschooling experience was fundamentalist Christian, and strengthened my religious beliefs in fundamentalist Christianity.
5.81%
14
My homeschooling experience was fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me towards non-fundamentalist Christianity.
37.34%
90
My homeschooling experience was *not* fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me towards fundamentalist Christianity.
0.41%
1
My homeschooling experience was *not* fundamentalist Christian, and strengthened my religious beliefs in non-fundamentalist Christianity.
12.86%
31
My homeschooling experience was *not* fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me to leave Christianity for another religion.
0%
0
My homeschooling experience was *not* fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me to leave religion altogether.
0.41%
1
My homeschooling experience was fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me towards agnosticism.
19.09%
46
My homeschooling experience was fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me towards atheism.
14.94%
36
My homeschooling experience was fundamentalist Christian, and influenced me towards a religion other than Christianity:
1.66%
4

*****

Only 7.47% (18) said their homeschool experience did not influence their current religious beliefs. This means homeschool experiences influenced the current religious beliefs of 92.53% (224) of respondents.

78.84% of respondents had fundamentalist Christian homeschool experiences; 13.68% had non-fundamentalist Christian homeschool experiences.

The plurality (37.34%) of respondents had fundamentalist Christian homeschool experiences, and these experiences influenced them away from fundamentalism towards non-fundamentalist Christianity.

The second most common category (19.09%) was graduates whose fundamentalist Christian homeschool experiences influenced them towards agnosticism.

The highest retention value was within the non-fundamentalist Christian category: 33 respondents had non-fundamentalist Christian homeschool experiences, and among these 33 respondents 31 of them felt that experience strengthened their religious beliefs in non-fundamentalist Christianity.

Only 5.81% (14) of the respondents said they had a fundamentalist Christian homeschool experience that strengthened their own beliefs in fundamentalism.

*****

< Part One: Demographic Considerations | Part Three: Economics as a Factor >

2013 HA Basic Survey: Main Page

Results of HA Basic Survey, Part One: Demographic Considerations

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Results of HA Basic Survey, Part One: Demographic Considerations

Disclaimer About Survey Results

The Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA) Basic Survey was conducted for adult graduates of the Christian homeschool movement. Throughout this survey, “respondents” will signify the 242 individuals from 42 U.S. states and 8 foreign countries that participated in the survey.

These respondents do not necessarily reflect all adult homeschool graduates, nor is it claimed that these 242 individuals are a representative sample. Three important considerations are to be considered:

  1. This survey was conducted for graduates of the Christian homeschool movement specifically.
  2. This survey was open for anyone who desired to participate, thus it is self-selected.
  3. Effort was made to solicit diverse responses from this specific subculture of adult homeschool graduates, whether their experiences were positive or negative. At the same time, the primary methods for promoting the survey came from the social media channels and blog partners of HA.

The survey was designed by HA with the explicit purpose of helping to identify experiential and qualitative patterns as well as learning what the HA community’s needs are.

Geographical Considerations

242 adult graduates of the Christian homeschool movement took the HA Basic Survey.

Those 242 individuals represented 42 U.S. states and 8 foreign countries.

U.S. states represented in this survey include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The average response per state was 5.45 survey responses.

States with one survey respondent only included: Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.

States with high numbers of survey respondents included: Florida (13 survey respondents), Georgia (13), Oregon (13), Texas (21), Virginia (10), and Washington (14).

California had the highest number of survey respondents for a U.S. state with 42.

Foreign countries represented in this survey included: Canada, Australia, Philippines, Eastern Europe, South Korea, Mexico, England, and Iceland. Canada had the highest number of survey respondents for a foreign country with 4.

HSLDA Considerations

The majority of respondents are from families which were members of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). 

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

57.98% (138) of the graduates’ families were directly members of HSLDA.

13.87% (33) of the graduates’ families were indirectly members of HSLDA, through dues paid to a local or state homeschool organization.

28.15% (67) of the graduates’ families were not members of HSLDA.

Economic Considerations

The majority of respondents are from middle class families.

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

70.95% (171) of the graduates’ families were in the middle class (with incomes between $32,500 and $100,000 a year).

17.43% (42) of the graduates’ families were in the lower class or below the poverty line (with incomes lower than $32,500 a year).

11.62% (28) of the graduates’ families were in the upper class (with incomes above $100,000 a year).

Educational Considerations

235 individuals stated the length of their homeschool experience, with a cumulative total of 2641 years. Thus the average length of each individual’s homeschool experience was 11 years.

This means that this survey represents individuals whose primary educational experience from K-12 was almost entirely through homeschooling.

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

The primary teachers of the overwhelming majority of respondents were their mothers. Mothers were the primary teachers of 80.91% (195) of the graduates.

The second most common primary teacher of the graduates (at 13.28%, or 32) was “other” than mother, father, other relative, co-op teacher, or tutor. When asked to specify, the majority of these graduates specified “myself’ or “no one,” with personalized answers such as:

  • “From first grade on, I did everything by myself but my parents would help sometimes if I got stuck.”
  • “I attended classes once a week, but ‘taught myself’ at home otherwise.”
  • “Basics were taught by oldest sister. 6-9 (I took from 13-18 to get through these grades) were done on my own…”
  • “Myself. I also was responsible for teaching my brothers.”
  • “No one. We read our text books alone.”
  • “No real effort was made in my homeschooling. I was run around to activities but other than that largely self taught and given the answer keys to check my own answers after I completed the booklet.”

3.73% (9) of respondents said their primary teacher was both their mother and their father evenly.

1.24% (3) of respondents said their primary teacher was a non-family member such as a teacher at a co-op or a tutor.

0.83% (2) of respondents said their primary teacher was their father.

The highest level of education of the primary teacher of each respondent is most commonly an associates or undergraduate degree.

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

42.50% (102) of the primary teachers had associates or undergraduate degrees. 22.50% (54) had some college education but no degree. 14.17% (34) had a high school diploma or GED. 3.75% (9) had neither a high school diploma nor GED. 17.08% (41) had a graduate degree or higher.

This means 59.58% of the primary teachers had an associates degree or higher.

The highest level of completed education for the plurality of respondents is an associates or undergraduate degree.

2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.
2013 Homeschoolers Anonymous Basic Survey.

The highest level of completed education for 41.08% (99) of adult homeschool graduates is an associates or undergraduate degree; for 17.43% (42), a masters-level degree; for 5.39% (13), a PhD-level degree; for 20.33% (49), some college education, but no college degree; for 6.64% (16), a high school diploma; for 2.90% (7), GED but no high school diploma; and  for 3.73% (9), no GED and no high school diploma.

This means 63.9% of respondents have an associates degree or higher. This is an improvement of exactly 4.32% over the percentage of the graduates’ primary teachers with associates degrees or higher. 

Religious Considerations

The majority of respondents said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian. 

190 individuals, or 78.84%, said their homeschool experience was fundamentalist Christian.

33 individuals, or 13.68%, said their homeschool experience was non-fundamentalist Christian.

18 individuals, or 7.47%, declined to provide information relevant to this question.

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< 2013 HA Basic Survey: Main Page | Part Two: Summary of Findings >

When Other Daughters And Sons of Patriarchy Are Trapped

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on August 25, 2013.

With all the ex-conservative homeschooler blogs out there nowdays, people may be under the impression that homeschool fundamentalism has viritually disappeared among homeschool alumni. To be sure, this Christian movement among homeschool graduates is dying a very slow and painful death. But it is so far from over.

I have so many friends still trapped in the ideology that I constantly feel the tension with old friends and old hangouts. 

Here’s just a few  very recent encounters I had with a few graduates.

*****

Story 1

The first story comes from a young girl Charis who writes of the “single homeschool girl dilemma.” After a gap year a few years too long, she had planned to finally attend college this year and “finally get away” and finally “not be responsible for anyone” (read: not be responsible for siblings, family, etc). But instead earlier this year she met Mr. Right and is now engaged.

She says she is mourning, not because she does not love her fiance (she does), but because she will never know what it’s like not to be responsible for anyone. She will never know what it’s like to be on her own. Now, she says, instead of being under her father’s authority, he will “transfer” that authority to her new husband.

I know a lot of people get married young, but keep in mind this girl will never get to live on her own, ever, not even for a year. And also, marriage in a quiverfull ideology has no “you” (as Vckyie Garrison over at No Longer Quivering says, “there is no you in quivering”). It’s only responsiblity and submission. There is no space to become your own individual thinker.

Charis is right. If she does not leave the house first, she will never get out.

Story 2

In a parenting discussion, Elizabeth writes that her parents let her color during church even when she was nine years old. She says this has damaged her relationship with God up until this day because she learned to tune out God, rather than listen to his prompting. So she says that even a one year old should be made to sit still during church, listen to the commands of their parents, and follow the instructions.

And I think of her children in the future, picking up the broken pieces.

Story 3

Andrew says that if his children come out gay, he will kick them out on the streets.  He will do this because a heart of rebellion is a bad influence to other siblings.

*****

Because I was once one of these people (except the putting gay kids out on the street part — I never went that far), I identify with their pain. I struggle with words to help, waiting patiently for them to break free. Breaking free is not easy because then they will likely face their families and communities looking down upon them. I have always said that in a way, I wish I could turn back the tables and just be content in my submissive role; it would be easier and less shameful.

But then I look at the great big world, and remember why I left.

Then Why Didn’t You Tell Us That, Mom?

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on September 1, 2013.

"My mother subscribed to Above Rubies and read each issue thoroughly."
“My mother subscribed to Above Rubies and read each issue thoroughly.”

“I want you to know that I never actually believed everything in those Above Rubies magazines,” my mom told me when I was visiting home a while back.

“Then why didn’t you tell us that, mom?” I asked. “I read every issue of that magazine cover to cover, and I always thought it was completely approved material.”

I don’t know why my mother made that admission to me when she did.

It was before the Mother Jones article about Kathryn Joyce’s new book on evangelical adoption, which sheds light on the Above Rubies/Liberian adoption scandal. My mother knows I identify as a feminist and that I’m critical of at least some aspects of the culture of the Christian homeschool movement, but that’s about it. Beyond that, we have a strict Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Except, I suppose, for the Pearls child training methods—that we’ve discussed on more than one occasion. But the Pearls don’t run Above Rubies magazine. Nancy Campbell does.

Regardless of what prompted my mother’s admission, I think there is something incredibly important to be learned here.

Kate and I were talking a few months ago, and she told me she doesn’t think her parents realized quite how many extreme patriarchal/purity ideas she picked up and took to heart through Christian homeschooling culture. Her parents, she said, were always quick to condemn reading material, organizations, and leaders they believed promoted ungodly ideas or false doctrine. Because of this, she always assumed that materials that entered the house under the banner of Christianity and without condemnation were things they approved and endorsed.

My experience was very much the same.

My mother subscribed to Above Rubies and read each issue thoroughly. The ideas contained within the magazine aligned at least generally with beliefs I heard my mother espouse. When my parents disagreed with a religious leader, they were quick to say so. In fact, I grew up hearing James Dobson described as too wishy-washy and soft. Yet, I never heard my mother call Nancy Campbell or her magazine into question, so I assumed that the messages contained therein were approved, and that it was something I should read, take to heart, and learn from. And read, take to heart, and learn I did.

I’ve talked to many homeschool graduates—some I knew growing up, some I’ve met in person since, and others I’ve connected with over the internet or through facebook. This thing I’m talking about? This thing is important. Once homeschool parents enter the Christian homeschool subculture, if they don’t vocally and openly condemn, question, or contradict what that subculture teaches, their children will assume that the ideas and ideals of that subculture are approved—something they should listen to, take seriously, and imbibe.

I’ve talked to more than my fair share of homeschool graduates who grew up in this culture and took to heart things they later found out their parents never even realized they were learning.

Christian parents who choose to homeschool their children but do not ascribe to the ideals of the Christian homeschool subculture, especially things like Christian Patriarchy or Quiverfull, need to be on guard against this. It’s not uncommon for homeschool parents who happen to be Christian to find themselves in the same homeschool circles with Christian parents who homeschool out of religious conviction. And it’s also not uncommon for their children to find themselves in those circles whether their parents actively frequent them or not. In this kind of situation, parents may not realize the toxic ideologies their children taking in through osmosis from the Christian homeschooling culture around them.

In my mother’s case, it’s not that she disagreed entirely with the Above Rubies magazine. My mother was more mainstream than many, but she definitely ascribed to the outer circles of Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull ideology. To be honest, I don’t actually know what parts of what Above Rubies she takes issue with—I was too surprised by her admission to think to ask.

There is one thing I was not too shocked to make sure to tell her, though:

“You need to tell the girls, mom,” I said. “They read Above Rubies just as I did at their age. You need to tell them you don’t agree with all of it, because if you don’t, they’ll think you do.”

I Am A Testament To Homeschooling’s Power: R.L. Stollar

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I Am A Testament To Homeschooling’s Power: R.L. Stollar

Do you want proof that homeschooling can be awesome?

Then look at Homeschoolers Anonymous.

Seriously.

Along with Nicholas Ducote, I have organized an online community that — in less than five months — has received national media coverage, garnered over half a million views, received both the praise and the wrath of educational activists, and engages in dynamic social media activism.

I don’t attribute that to myself. I attribute that to homeschooling.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “Well, Ryan, of course you attribute that to homeschooling! You hate homeschooling. If you didn’t hate homeschooling, you wouldn’t have organized this community. How is that a positive?”

First, I don’t hate homeschooling.

Second, sure — if I did not experience negative experiences and observe other people have similar experiences, I would not have made Homeschoolers Anonymous. I’d be on the other side of this whole debate, scratching my head and wondering, “What is everyone upset about?”

But that’s not what I am saying.

What I am saying is that the skills necessary to pull this off – the skills of community organization, advocacy, communication, debate, and social media — I directly credit to my homeschooling experience. All things considered, my parents gave me an excellent education. For example, my mother is an amazing writer and editor. She put an extraordinary amount of effort — and skilled effort, not just energetic effort — into my writing abilities. We read awesome books as kids. We were encouraged to write our own stories.

I was even encouraged to write my own plays.

I wrote a full musical when I was twelve — “The Fun Factory” — and my mom cheered me along. Which is very gracious of her, in retrospect, because the musical is highly embarrassing to me now. My dad constructed an entire theater stage — a real one, with curtains and everything! (my dad worked for a furniture construction company at the time) — for me in the backyard. Along with other kids from our homeschooling group, my siblings and I put on a full-blown production.

That’s awesome homeschooling right there, folks.

I wrote a musical, my dad built a stage, a bunch of kids were creative and self-driven, and we put on a legitimate production for our parents. We even charged an admission fee that covered the costs of the production materials and the food provided during intermission. 

That’s Writing, Drama, Wood Shop, Leadership Dynamics, Music, and Economics right there.

I was encouraged to be creative. I was encouraged to think differently. I learned to write and express myself. I did speech and debate. I was taught to pour my heart and soul into research and advocacy. When I wanted to learn html so I could create websites, my parents bought me a book. When I wanted to make research books as a summer job, my parents underwrote my business. When I wrote controversial things for my research books, my parents stood by my side.

And here I am, years later, using these very things — using creativity, technology, communication, and inner drive — to do what I believe in. This drive and these skills I owe to my parents and the homeschooling environment they created.

When I critique the Christian homeschool movement with well-phrased sentences and well-placed screenshots that go viral, I am a testament to homeschooling’s power.

When I am not afraid to stand up and denounce the leaders of the movement who value ideas over children, I am a testament to homeschooling’s power.

That power is not mine to claim.

I had a severe speech impediment for years as a child. No one understood me except my older brother until I was an adolescent. I went through intensive speech therapy. And to make life even more complicated, I was abused by one of my speech therapists. And if that was not enough, I am also an introvert. I am extraordinarily sensitive. I was even a kleptomaniac as a kid. I started shoplifting when I was 6 or 7. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just a broken, confused, and scared little kid.

And yet through the love and selflessness and dedication of my parents, through personalized experiences that supported me and my unique temperament, I became a national award-winning debater who taught thousands of other kids speech and debate when I was but a teenager.

Me, the kid who couldn’t speak basic syllables correctly.

I am a testament to homeschooling’s power.