Announcing HARO’s 2016 Scholarships for Homeschool Alumni

Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) is excited to announce our 2016 scholarship opportunities for homeschool alumni!

In 2015, HARO gave out the first scholarship of its kind–a scholarship funded by homeschool alumni, for homeschool alumni. Thanks to two members of our community, we awarded a $500 scholarship to a homeschool alumna pursuing a degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field. Our 2015 scholarship winner was Mary Menges, and you can read her winning essays here.

Thanks to multiple donations from our community, in 2016 we are offering two $500 scholarships to homeschool alumni. We will be awarding another $500 scholarship to a homeschool alumna pursuing a STEM degree. We will also be awarding a $500 scholarship to an LGBT+ homeschool alum.

Click here to learn more about the scholarships and apply!

Statement by HARO’s Executive Director on ProPublica/Slate’s “Homeschooling Regulation” Article

August 27, 2015 Statement by R.L. Stollar, Executive Director of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out:

I am extraordinarily grateful to Jessica Huseman for the opportunity to be interviewed for her impressively researched ProPublica article, “Small Group Goes to Great Lengths to Block Homeschooling Regulation” (also republished by Slate as “The Frightening Power of the Home-Schooling Lobby”). As someone who was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school graduation and has spent the last two and a half years working to bring abuse and neglect within homeschooling to light, I appreciate Jessica, ProPublica, and Slate’s willingness to highlight these important matters.

I do, however, grieve the statements made by HSLDA and its founder, Michael Farris, in the article. Jessica writes, “When I spoke to Farris, he dismissed both organizations [HARO and the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, (CRHE)] outright, calling them ‘a group of bitter young people’ who are ‘fighting against homeschooling … to work out their own issues with their parents.'” It saddens me that Farris has not only resorted to personal insults, but insults he knows well are entirely false, simply to dismiss and ignore the growing numbers of voices from the movement he helped build. Several board members of HARO had personal relationships with Farris due to the homeschool speech and debate league he created through HSLDA. My father was even president of the league while Farris was on the league’s board.

My experience with homeschooling was positive and my relationship with my parents is better than it’s ever been. My parents (as well as many other homeschooling parents) support the work HARO does. And it is because of my positive homeschooling experience that I do the work I do — because I hope that every single future homeschooled child will have a positive experience like I did. Farris should be ashamed to knowingly spread falsehoods, and HSLDA and its other attorneys should demand more honesty from him.

Furthermore, HARO has attempted on several occasions to reach out to HSLDA only have doors slammed in our faces. It is HSLDA, not HARO, that refuses to help move the homeschooling movement forward in more healing, productive ways. It is HSLDA attorneys, not HARO board members, who engage in mockery. Thus when Farris says that HARO “will ‘say the opposite, no matter what we say,'” he is willfully misleading. He knows full well that HARO has offered to set aside our differences and partner with HSLDA; it is HSLDA that opposes HARO, no matter what we say.

A final important point of clarification regarding Jessica’s article: HARO advocates neither for nor against increased legislative oversight of homeschooling. On several occasions, Jessica’s article makes it sound as if part of HARO’s work involves promoting more homeschool regulations. This is untrue. That is the work of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), not the work of HARO. While both organizations were created by homeschool alumni, CRHE and HARO are distinct and separate. They share only one board member in common (me). CRHE advocates greater legislative oversight; HARO advocates for the wellbeing of homeschool students and improves homeschooling communities through awareness, peer support, and resource development.

HARO’s advocacy involves three strategies:

  1. Launching awareness and education campaigns within homeschooling communities on recognizing and addressing child abuse, mental illness, self-injury, and LGBT* students’ needs
  2. Building peer-support networks between homeschool students and homeschool graduates
  3. By developing resources for therapy, life coaching, education assistance, and financial support.

True to our organization’s vision of “Renewing and transforming homeschooling from within,” we promote changes from within homeschooling rather than changes from without (such as regulation). You can read more about HARO’s vision and mission here. HARO’s FAQs page also makes this clear: “HARO does not advocate for or against public policy. HARO advocates for awareness and education, peer support, and resource development from within homeschooling.”

CHEA Rejects HARO Exhibitor Application Over “Philosophical Difference”


By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA), California’s statewide Christian homeschool organization, rejected Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out‘s (HARO) application to exhibit at their July 2015 convention in Pasadena, CA, keynoted by Israel Wayne and Norm Wakefield. HARO had applied to exhibit its free child abuse awareness curriculum as well as provide physical copies of that curriculum free of charge to convention attendees. Gerald McKoy, President of CHEA, cited “duplicative” efforts in the area of child abuse awareness and prevention as well as “a significant philosophical difference between” HARO and CHEA.

The text of CHEA’s rejection letter from McKoy follows:

Thank you for your request to exhibit at our convention. Like you, CHEA is very concerned about all forms of child abuse, and we appreciate your concern in this area.

However, we will not be able to accommodate your request to exhibit your curriculum at our convention. This is for two main reasons: 1) we feel this is duplicative of our current efforts in this area, and 2) we feel there is a significant philosophical difference between your organization and ours.

CHEA is concerned for all victims of child abuse of any kind, whether in a homeschooling family or not. Unfortunately, this is a problem in our culture as a whole, which we believe is a direct result of sin in our world—”all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”—not specific to the homeschooling community. Many studies have been conducted regarding the presence of abuse in our society, and we are grieved that this is a problem that is present in the homeschooling community as well.

CHEA maintains a webpage within the Leadership portion of its website to assist member leaders in this area. We are working to improve and update that area, and we are also in the process of publishing materials for all of our members regarding the problem of child abuse and the signs to be aware of in recognizing it.

We also recognize a significant philosophical difference between CHEA and Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out and its affiliated website Homeschoolers Anonymous.

Again, CHEA remains adamantly opposed to any form of child abuse in families that homeschool and those who do not. CHEA will continue its efforts to educate its members and member organizations in recognizing signs of abuse and the proper response to such signs. We wish you the best in your efforts to protect children.

For the Board of Directors,

Gerald McKoy



While I encouraged to hear the organization aims to make better efforts to educate members about child abuse, I am saddened that McKoy and the other Board Directors of CHEA chose to provide a nebulous “philosophical difference” as reason to reject HARO’s application. No member of CHEA’s board made an effort to contact HARO to discuss what this difference is; thus, HARO is unaware of the content of that objection. Furthermore, my father personally served CHEA for several years as their convention organizer, so I am not unfamiliar with the organization. I fondly remember spending summer weekends at CHEA conventions, helping my father set up and tear down the events. I would have been happy to discuss any potential disagreements.

Finally, it is important to point out that “duplicative efforts” in the area of child abuse awareness and prevention should be more than welcomed in the homeschooling world. This topic has been sorely neglected for decades and we need as many efforts to rectify this silence as possible. It is not a topic that should be relegated to Leadership-only sections on websites. It should be broadcast loudly for all homeschool parents and communities to hear. We must do this work together, as leaders, parents, and — most often neglected — as alumni who understand a different side to homeschooling.

This is the second convention that has rejected HARO’s request to exhibit, following the Great Homeschool Conventions’ retraction last year.

I hope and pray that others will be more receptive in the future.

Full image of CHEA’s letter follows:


Identity as Means of Control: Results from the 2015 Survey of Identification Abuse Within Homeschooling


By the HARO Team

The 2015 Survey of Identification Abuse Within Homeschooling is an informal survey conducted by Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) of homeschool alumni who experienced identification abuse. HARO’s purpose is to advocate for the wellbeing of homeschool students and improve homeschooling communities through awareness, peer support, and resource development.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 12.55.04 PMWhile this was not a formal survey, our goal is to get a better picture of identification abuse within homeschooling and collect stories about such abuse. Identification abuse, also known as identity or ID abuse, was previously defined by HARO’s 2014 Survey of Adult Alumni of the Modern Christian Homeschool Movement as one’s parent, guardian or primary caretaker “not providing you with, withholding, or destroying any of your identification documents: driver’s license, social security card, etc.” The 2014 survey found that, out of 3703 homeschool alumni, 3.65% (or 135 respondents) experienced some form of identification abuse. There are also a plethora of stores onlinefrom alumni who have experienced this, including high profile cases like Cynthia Jeub and Alecia Pennington. Thus we desired to get better information about this phenomenon.

To take the 2015 survey, respondents had to be at least 18 years of age and have been homeschooled for at least a year. The survey opened on SurveyMonkey on February 12, 2015 and closed on February 17, 2015. 68 individuals took the survey. U.S. states represented by respondents include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, Other places of residence represented include Nova Scotia and Ontario. Several individuals were also from military families that frequently moved.

To download the results from HARO’s survey, click the link below:

Identity as Means of Control: Results from the 2015 Survey of Identification Abuse Within Homeschooling

Announcing the 2015 HARO Alumni Scholarship for Women in STEM Fields


Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) is thrilled to announce our very first scholarship opportunity! Two generous members of our community have pledged the funding for a homeschool alumni scholarship for women pursuing a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in post-secondary education.


• One-time, $500 scholarship to be dispensed on March 31, 2015.


• At least 18 years old.

• Homeschooled for 4 or more years (including at least 2 years in high school) in a conservative Christian environment,

• Identifies as female.

• Enrolled for the Spring 2015 term in a post-secondary institution in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, math). Enrollment can be in a university, community college, or technical program.

Read more, and get application information, at HARO’s website.

Announcing the Results from HARO’s 2014 Survey of Homeschool Alumni

surveycoverHomeschool Alumni Reaching Out is happy to announce the 1st installment of results from our 2014 Survey of Adult Alumni of the Modern Christian Homeschool Movement. Data analysis was generously provided by the amazing team over at the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE).

About the survey

In 2014, HARO, the parent organization of Homeschoolers Anonymous, conducted a survey of adult alumni of the modern Christian homeschool movement in consultation with CRHE. The purpose of this survey was to investigate the life experiences of Christian homeschool alumni by collecting information that past surveys of homeschool alumni had not. The data collected will be used to advocate for the interests of current and future homeschooled children.

The survey, written by HARO Executive Director R.L. Stollar, was developed over a span of 9 months. Work on the survey began on November 24, 2013 and it was opened to the public on August 18, 2014. A set of approximately 90 initial questions were first created. These questions were then tested, modified, and re‐tested repeatedly over a span of 6 months to create the survey questions that were on the final version. The questions were specifically run by a diverse group of people, including Christians and non‐Christians, conservatives, moderates, and liberals, homeschoolers and unschoolers, and so forth. The final version of the survey featured questions on demographics, academic school experiences, non‐academic school experiences, food and health, religion, present and future personal life plans, sexuality, mental health, and abuse.

The survey, conducted online through SurveyMonkey, was estimated to take respondents 30 minutes to complete. It was first promoted through the homeschool abuse survivor community, from which it spread across the country through online social networks (primarily Facebook). Survey respondents were required to affirm that they were 18 years old or older, had been homeschooled for at least 7 years, were homeschooled in an environment which was classifiable as Christian (including Christian‐influenced new religious movements), and were taking the survey through completion for the first time. A total of 6,249 people started the survey; 3,702 respondents completed the survey before it closed on September 15, 2014. Only the completed responses were recorded and analyzed.

To download the first installment of results from HARO’s survey, click the link below:

A Complex Picture: Results of the 2014 Survey of Adult Alumni of the Modern Christian Homeschool Movement

HARO is extraordinarily grateful to CRHE for donating an immense amount of their time and energy to analyzing the survey data. If you would like to support CRHE’s work, they are currently holding a fundraising drive.

Check Out HARO’s Free Curriculum, “Child Abuse Awareness 101 for Homeschoolers”

The goal of HARO’s Child Abuse Awareness 101 for Homeschoolers curriculum is simple:

cover1To empower and equip you and your homeschool community with the information necessary to recognizing and fighting child abuse.

We developed this curriculum — which includes both an instructor guide and attendee packets — to teach your homeschooling community how to do the following:

1) Define the major types of child abuse and neglect

2) Recognize the main warning signs of each major type of child abuse

3) Identify the characteristics of the average child abuser

4) Report child abuse to the proper authorities

5) Start making families and homeschooling communities safer

6) Engage in continuing education about child abuse prevention issues

This curriculum is a free service provided by HARO.

Read more at HARO’s website.

Facing Our Fears: How the Voices of Homeschool Alumni Can Help Homeschooling

facing our fears coverFacing Our Fears: How the Voices of Homeschool Alumni Can Help Homeschooling was originally prepared by R.L. Stollar, Executive Director of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) for the 2014 Great Homeschool Convention in Ontario, California. HARO’s mission is to advocate for the well-being of homeschool students and improve homeschooling communities through awareness, peer support, and resource development.

You are free to share or distribute this presentation with proper citation of its source.

To view and/or download a PDF of Facing Our Fears, click here.


GHC Retracts Invitation to HARO

Official Statement by the Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out Board

May 9, 2014

We regret to inform the HARO/HA community that the Great Homeschool Conventions (GHC) board has — without any explanation — reneged on the offer for R.L. Stollar, Executive Director of HARO, to speak at the June 2014 GHC convention in Ontario, California. The HARO board has made repeated efforts to communicate with the GHC board and ask them to reconsider this reversal of their original invitation. However, the GHC board has not reconsidered. When they did respond after several days, they failed to give any reasoning for the decision beyond simply stating that they did not approve the application.

We know many of you were excited about this opportunity for HARO. The board members were beside ourselves with joy. Speaking at homeschool conventions is one of our most pressing goals for this organization, and we were grateful and humbled that GHC originally offered us a session. We are also overwhelmed with the love and support our community showed us by donating not only what we needed to make HARO’s presentation happen, but also donating above and beyond that need. We raised the full $1,250 necessary in 48 hours, and as of yesterday donations have continued to pour in, reaching $1,500 — 120% of our stated goal!

To everyone who shared and/or donated to our fundraiser: Thank you for the support. It is greatly appreciated. It is a blessing to know that so many people stand behind our vision and mission as much as we do.

It is with a heavy heart, therefore, we’ve had to face GHC’s reversal. We have to figure out how to handle the funds we already raised and what to do with Stollar’s almost completed 10,000-word speech. While we are not interested in speaking negatively of GHC at this time, we do owe it to you — our community and backers — to give you a basic timeline and details of the communications that occurred between HARO and GHC. That timeline and those details are as follows:

Timeline of HARO/GHC Interactions

On April 19, 2014, Kim McMillan — GHC’s Exhibitor Coordinator — received HARO’s application to speak at the Ontario convention. She responded by email that, “We will review your application the week of April 28th immediately following our Midwest Homeschool Convention – April 24 – 26th.”

On May 2, 2014, during the “week of April 28th” she previously mentioned, Kim McMillan told HARO that, due to another speaker’s cancellation, she could in fact “add a session for [HARO] on our schedule.” A screenshot of Kim’s offer follows below:

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 1.58.45 PM

Later on the same day of May 2, HARO gratefully accepted Kim’s adding of a session for us, began filling out the paperwork she sent, and informed her that we are “going to need to raise money” because we are a “brand-new non-profit.” We asked Kim for financial deadlines.

On Sunday, May 4, HARO finished the paperwork Kim sent on Friday, May 2. We reiterated the need for information about payment, stating our fundraiser started the following day: “We are launching a fundraiser first thing in the morning (Monday). So please let me know what deadline we’d need to get you the money or deposit to you by. [We are] grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Ontario GHC!”

On Tuesday, May 6, HARO had yet to hear anything from Kim. We emailed her yet again, informing her of the fundraiser’s success: “We now have money through our fundraiser to pay for the exhibitor booth. So let [us] know if we should just get you a deposit for the time being or the full $500.”

Several hours after our final email on Tuesday, Kim McMillan left a phone message with HARO that the GHC board was denying HARO both a speaking and exhibiting spot at the convention. No additional information was given, and she never responded to our emails.

On Wednesday, May 7, the HARO board sent an official statement to the GHC board, asking them to reconsider this reversal of their promise. You can read HARO’s statement to GHC here.

24 hours after sending our official statement, we had not heard back from either Kim or the GHC board. We sent a follow-up email asking for a response within another 24-hour cycle. We emphasized the importance of being transparent with our backers and needing to inform them of any new developments as soon as possible.

Finally, today — Friday, May 9, 2014 — we received a response from Kim (but no response from the GHC board). Kim’s email contained no mention of the GHC board reconsidering their retraction, no reason for that retraction, and no willingness to dialogue. The extent of her email is as follows:

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 12

This “extra step” of approval was: (1) never mentioned in any correspondence between Kim and HARO, (2) never stated as an extra step in the email Kim sent when she said she could add a session for HARO, (3) never explicitly stated in the GHC speaker application itself, and (4) never explicitly stated on the GHC website.

Where We Go From Here

As much as we are reeling with disappointment from this decision, HARO’s number one priority at the moment is being transparent in our next few steps as we figure out what to do with the money we have raised. If it were up to us, we’d click a button and have our fundraising server — Indiegogo — cancel our campaign and refund everyone immediately. Unfortunately, Indiegogo will let us neither cancel our campaign nor refund anyone any amount.

HARO believes the best course of action is as follows:

1) Either explicitly earmark what we have raised for a future convention opportunity, or

2) Figure out how to refund our donors (which cannot happen until after our campaign ends, and may involve less than 100% refunds due to Indiegogo fees)

HARO would like to honor and respect each and every one of our donors’ individual wishes. So if you donated to our GHC campaign, we will be sending you an e-mail through Indiegogo. Please respond to that e-mail letting us know how you would prefer us to handle your donation. We also will update our Indiegogo campaign with this information, in light of the fact that we cannot manually cancel the campaign. Please note that we will need to figure out how to make each refund happen (PayPal donations will be the easiest to refund).

The Speech

HARO Executive Director R.L. Stollar had nearly completed writing his hour-long speech for the Ontario convention. About 8,000 of the necessary 10,000 words were written before we received word that GHC was reneging on its offer. Regardless of whether each donor would like us to refund or save each donation, HARO as an organization values following through on its commitments. So every single one of our donors will still receive a digital download of Stollar’s presentation, “Facing Our Fears.” This presentation will be completed, formatted into an e-book, and possibly even recorded as an audio file as well — and then the presentation will be sent ASAP to our donors.

We will also make a copy of the presentation available to the general public within a month from now.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we figure out how to proceed with everything in the next few weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask. We look forward to continuing our vision of “Renewing and transforming homeschooling from within.” While we are disappointed with this development, it does not faze us in the long-term.

On to the next one!


The HARO board

Andrew Roblyer
Lauren Dueck
Nicholas Ducote
R.L. Stollar
Shaney Lee

Help HARO Present at the 2014 Great Homeschool Convention in Ontario, CA


This is HARO’s first convention opportunity!

Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) has a vision: “Renewing and transforming homeschooling from within.” We are a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the wellbeing of homeschool students and improving homeschooling communities through awareness, peer support, and resource development.

Our hope is to develop partnerships with homeschooling communities and groups to bring awareness to, and empower homeschoolers to address, pressing matters such as child abuse and mental illness. HARO has recently received its first opportunity to present at a homeschool convention — the 2014 Great Homeschool Convention in Ontario, California.

This is an amazing opportunity for us. R.L. Stollar, Executive Director of HARO, will be speaking on “Facing Our Fears: How the Voices of Homeschool Alumni Can Help Homeschooling.” He will also be in the convention exhibitor hall at HARO’s booth for the three days of the convention. Before we can do this, however, we need to raise funds.

What We Need & What You Get

We need to raise $1250 to present at the GHC convention. While GHC does not charge speakers, they do require that speakers are also exhibitors. Their exhibitor fee is $500. We also need to cover lodging, transportation, and printing costs for the 3 days of the event. Every dollar raised from this fundraiser will go towards HARO’s presentation at the convention.

  • Everyone that contributes at least $10 to this fundraiser will receive a free digital download of HARO’s convention presentation, “Facing Our Fears: How the Voices of Homeschool Alumni Can Help Homeschooling.” The presentation will be available to download no later than one week after the convention.
  • If we don’t reach our entire goal, we will use what we have and seek other sources of funding as well.

To learn more, or to donate to our fundraiser, visit our Indiegogo page here!