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Nov 30, 2009

I Proudly Call Myself a Homeschool Dropout

Hi All,

The Botkins have recently released a video preview and series of articles on the phenomenon of homeschool dropouts. (Articles, Video). Now as a former homeschooler, I was very interested in seeing the other perspective on this phenomenon: even though I could have guessed at their perspective.

According to them, 80% of homeschooled children will not home school and many of them lose the faith. Not once, in any of the articles etc do they consider that there may some very good, legitimate reasons, for not continuing in that path. In fact, they prefer to take the moral high road and downright blame this generation for their failings in not continuing the homeschooling/descipleship model. They write:

It’s been exciting to watch the homeschool “movement” grow up. The firstfruits of this effort are adults now, and we have a sizable army of exemplary and remarkable young leaders. The greatest, most successful young men and women coming out of this movement have this in common: Like the good stewards in the parable of the talents, they made good use of the advantages their parents gave them, and gave a tenfold return on their parents’ investment. They stood on their parents’ shoulders to go even further, learning from their mistakes, and being grateful for their sacrifice.

But not all of us have been good stewards of the home education experience. Our family has had the privilege of knowing homeschoolers from all over the world, and have noticed three common weaknesses of homeschooled youth:

  • We sometimes use the advantages our parents gave us as an excuse to become spoiled and complacent
  • We dwell on the disadvantages we may have had in our particular families
  • And then, worst of all, when we arrive at adulthood still acting like children, we blame our parents

Thanks to these three tendencies, there is a new stereotype of the homeschooled adult: Passive, undisciplined, frumpy, fearful, and directionless, content to merely exist in the comfort of his childhood bubble world, never looking beyond self or comfort to disciple and serve others.

That is a guilt trip and a half: not only for the parents but for the children. And they continue to state that regardless of your personal issues with how you were brought up that you ought to continue in the faith and stay true to the principles (ie, homeschooling). What blatant disregard for the 2nd (and 1st) generation stories that are flooding out in huge numbers, discrediting the movement, and many instances telling of abuses that are horrific. The homeschooled children that are leaving are being good stewards of their education: they are learning what not to do from it.

I believe (in my circles, at least) that the 80% figure may even be on the low side...I would split it up like so (and this is being generous with the retention rate):

  • 40% retain some form of moderate Christian faith
  • 95% do not home school
  • 5% retain fundamentalism/homeschooling

And one further point: I know no 2nd generation children that are 'lazy': in fact I believe the ones that fought to leave are more incredible, strong, and powerful people than the Botkin sisters can ever imagine being, hiding as they do behind their judgements and moral sensibilities.I proudly call myself a homeschooling dropout, and am proud to be one of a generation whom is putting the policies of homeschooling and fundamentalism behind them.


1 comment:

shadowspring said...

Delurking to comment of the Botkins statistics- they just pull these out of thin air! At best they base their ridiculous claims on the religious extremist home schoolers that they lead.

And for anyone home schooled as a means of control, rather than as an opportunity for freedom, they SHOULD "drop out"! Good for you!

It is ironic that for many of us home schooling was a call to freedom and nurture (John Holt, Gatto, the Moores) of our children, and yet these religious nutjobs have made home schooling more regimented and controlling than the state in a democracy would even dream of attempting.

Enjoy your freedom, princess. We will enjoy ours by home schooling, you enjoy yours by fleeing home schooling. Freedom rocks!


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