Tending Our Garden of Home Education
I address the topic of what I call “The Invisible Education” in my book, The Brave Learner. I felt that it was important to squarely face the lived experiences of homeschooled children (many now adults) who grew up in toxic family environments that were hidden within the homeschool context.
Early adopters in particular had a stake in proving the superiority of home education and sometimes parents and their communities covered up their failures to protect the movement rather than children. It’s important to face that unique dynamic honestly and to put ourselves into healthy accountability (which is why I talk about abuse so frequently).
I have received messages from moms letting me know that they came to awareness of the abusive atmosphere in their families reading posts I’ve shared. That’s good. We need to do that—to tell the truth, to support women in particular as they stand up to control or mistreatment. It’s on us to name it for what it is.
Even with that awareness, I am still unhappy with the framing of the issue that somehow homeschooling creates a more dangerous context than traditionally schooled kids. Not true!
What we all want to face is the danger of:
- authoritarian control,
- bullying; and
- adults exploiting children when children are meant to trust them.
This kind of “power over” happens in loads of adult-child contexts.
Teachers, coaches, daycare workers, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, employers, directors, referees, and instructors—all carry responsibility to be fair and kind to children. It starts with all of us calling out abuse—learning what it is, then bravely naming it, then standing up to it for the sake of children. Period.
Let’s tend our garden of home education. Let’s not tolerate cruelty, toxic control, or violence against children in our space. That’s my plea. We work on this stuff with parents in our online classes, and in the Homeschool Alliance. Because it matters—and creates the best conditions for a thriving education—for learning.
xo Julie (recovering from abuse in my own life)
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!