Standing Up For Children

Last month I wrote about Homeschooler’s Anonymous and I’ve been thinking and learning more about the group and the brave people who started it. They have decided to speak out about the physical, mental, and emotional abuse they endured as homeschooled children being raised in extremely rigid, authoritarian families, but they do not seek to destroy homeschooling. They note in their press release announcing the group’s launch on March 16, 2013:

This isn’t anti-homeschool in any way. At the end of the day, this isn’t even about conservative politics or Christianity. It is more about anywhere and everywhere that communities and adults use religious or political ideology to deny children their humanity and freedom to be for the sake of advancing that ideology. That’s a cult mentality. And wherever that mentality exists, you create emotional, mental, physical, and even sexual abuse and trauma for children. We want to be a strong voice in opposition to that mentality through our life stories, through education and information.

These children, now adults, see a larger picture than their own plights and a need to go beyond conventional remedies to help children escape bad situations, in and out of homeschooling. The fact that 19 states allow corporal punishment in public schools is just one indication of how violence is deeply entwined with education and child-rearing practices among the general population, so there is clearly a lot of work to be done. Homeschooler’s Anonymous is trying to make a difference for children who have no voice at home or in public. One initiative they started is a petition to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has defended abusive practices in the home in the name of religious freedom. To learn more and to sign the petition visit:

HSLDA: Address the problem of child abuse and neglect in homeschooling families

Kathryn Brightbill, a member of Homeschooler’s Anonymous, explains why they started this petition:

Defending homeschooling should not mean defending abusers. That should be obvious, but apparently it’s not. I would argue that if you really want to protect the ability to homeschool, making it clear that the homeschool community has a zero tolerance stance towards child abuse is the best way to do it. If HSLDA’s behavior in abuse cases ends up becoming synonymous in people’s minds with homeschooling, then any parent who decides to homeschool is going to be considered suspect. The best way to protect homeschooling is to stop covering for abuse and to make it clear that it will not be tolerated. Covering it up, denying, and stonewalling protects no one but abusers.