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Ex Homeschoolers


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I was raised a fundamentalist christian homeschooler in a controling and disfunctional environment. I now have a few quirks and issues that most other normal grown folks don't have due to this. Are there any other homeschool survivors out here that might relate to a few of these?


1. have trouble making friends. Partially because most of my social experiences were formalized in one way or another. "Freehanding" the start of a real friendship is very awkward for me. I had music instructors who were paid to spend time with me, and church leaders who that was their job, and other church kids whose parents forced them to go there (they dissappeared as soon as they grew up) and I had jobs and co-workers and bosses, but I was never able to choose my own friends, and now I am not sure if I know how to, even though I am an outgoing person. I just can't seem to let them into my "real self" enough to consider them someone I would trust, and I am always looking (or assuming) for ulterior motives.


2. I am goal and achievement oriented to an almost disabling level. I MUST have my checklists, and agendas, and show myself outstanding progress or I panic. A "C" isn't cutting it, an "A" means you've done it right. That was the rule at our house, and I seem to have carried that with me in spite of my attempts to choose more realistic expectations for myself since my departure from that brand of insanity.


3. I absolutely CANNOT accept rules and authority without a damn good reason and proof that these rules are not only beneficial, but are more efficient than any other way that I might concieve. Since it is immpossible to proove this, I have quite a bit of trouble following the crowd. Bosses, teachers, supervisors, acquaintances who happen to be older than me and female, anyone at all who is in a position to deny me anything at all is hard for me to interact with without having to consciously check my attitude and make an effort to be reasonable and fair with them. I do not seek control over others, I just rabidly avoid their having it over me in any way.


4. Extreme anger and jealousy when other people talk nostalgically about their teenage or college years. If they try to tell me that we all had the same chances, and that we are grown now, and none of it matters anyway at this point, or that my life was much better for having missed all of that, I am likely to spend the next 2 days fighting an almost suicidal depression. A constant feeling that I could have stood up for myself somehow, or should have known what was happening to me, and should have made my own choices sooner plagues me. Grief over the life I could have had seems to always be ready to come back out again at each new phase of life.


5. Trouble relating to my kids in a healthy way. I love them dearly, but I don't know what a normal mother should do in so many circumstances. My poor oldest daughter has definitely had the misfortune of experiencing my trial and error in attempting to figure out what is right and wrong, acceptable and not. I am very grateful that she and I have a pretty good relationship in spite of all my shortcomings.



My life has had other complications besides simply homeschooling, but the religion/homeschool/young marriage/abusive relationship smoothie has been hard for me to swallow.

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Hello sarahw,


Welcome to ExC! Great to have you here.


I was not homeschooled, so I guess I shouldn't pretend to know any answers. I just wanted to ask if you know about "Homeschoolers Anonymous" and "Patheos" -- but I guess you would. It seems like they have quite some resources on homeschooling/people who were homeschooled/the related abuse/problems that could be of help. I've read some of their stuff in the past and thought it was helpful and well done, and I'd think it might also be a great place to meet people who've been through similar experiences.


In case you already know about those websites, I hope mentioning them helps someone else.


All the best to you



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Well that's eerily topical... Went to sleep this morning after a bit of depression due to having no idea how to progress in my life, thanks to being (unsuccessfully) homeschooled. It really didn't work out... Everyone involved pretty much agrees, doesn't really help though.


I have nothing helpful to add, just thought I'd chime in. And welcome. Also, I can completely relate to number 4.

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I was homeschooled solely until 9th grade, and while there were Christian related things in our home studies, my mum didn't act like a typical strict fundamentalist or anything, and I think I turned out alright except for being a bit socially awkward, but I'm also an introvert and have anxiety, though I am able to make friends and talk to people when I need to do so. 


Though honestly, I only lasted in the college prep school I went to for 2 and a half years before I dropped out and decided to finish highschool through homeschooling because of my attention/focus problems, depression, and anxiety my school had caused me.


I'd say I was successfully homeschooled, to be honest. My mother never forced me to be anything I wasn't and let us read and watch Harry Potter(as long as we didn't go around trying to curse people haha), but I TOTALLY agree with #3 on your post. I have some authourity problems unless I specifically am asking for instruction or guidance or something....


But really, I'm not sure what advice you might be looking for, but I'm sad to hear that homeschooling, or rather the enviornment/way you were homeschooled in effed you up as much as it did =/

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Hi SarahW,


Welcome! I'm a new member too. I was a homeschooling MOM! I was never a fundamentalist but the curriculum was definitiely based on christian values and that was very important to me. In some ways I'm really glad I did it and my kids (now all adults and most with their own tiny kids) have some pretty good feelings about it and talk about homeschooling their own kids. I'm sure they won't do it like me, since none of us are christians anymore. Probably the best thing they liked about it is I was not strict, but let them learn at their own pace and passed along a love of reading and learning and  the love of nature. My oldest pretty much taught herself and reminds me of that from time to time WendyDoh.gif When they did go to public school for some junior and senior high clases, they were at the top of most of their classes.


That being said, I found it stangely ironic that even though I was the homeschooling mom, I have the same issues you described above. ALL of them! That is really weird. Maybe it was my upbringing. I did go to a very tiny strict christian school and had definite ideas about how I wanted to teach my own kids.


I hope we can each work out our issues for a peaceful and fulfilling life!  and if you ever want to talk just send me a message :)

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I went to a public high school (I was valedictorian of 222 students in my class, with about 900 in the whole school), but I can totally relate to every issue you have described. Yes, even number 4, although to a different and maybe lesser extent than you. No nostalgia here, only angst. Therefore, I would surmise that the common denominator here is overbearing Christian parents (especially mine who turned me into a raving lunatic perfectionist). I think high school age kinda sucks no matter where you are, but especially if you are trapped with demanding Christian parents.


My first husband was a year older than I, and also his class valedictorian. He was a true over-achiever, perfectionist, adult-pleaser. I was married to him in grad school and then into the real world, as he suffered through what you describe in number 2. I struggled there too (and still do, at times), but I think watching how it ravaged him gave me a chance to step back and recognize it, and then work to avoid that trap in myself. I had self-esteem issues too (thanks, mom and dad), and it took me a long time to realize that even my not-quite-best is still better than most people's all-out-best. I'm good enough, darn it! Ha ha!


I've gone through periods of making lists and then being anti-list-go-with-the-flow, and have settled somewhere in between. When I get overwhelmed with lots of little tasks to accomplish, putting my thoughts on paper gets them from swirling around in my head until I'm in a panic. Otherwise, I am just learning to stop sweating it (easier said than done, I know).


Making friends... ugh. This is universal, not just you. I have high expectations of friends -- love me when I'm up but still support me when I'm down. Humans are lazy with that second part. People disappoint. We're all lucky to have one or two friends. I get jealous of other people who seem to have lots of friends, but in most cases when you know them long enough, something will come up and you'll realize that their friends were really just drinking buddies or whatever -- and they come to us (my current hubby and me) as the only real friends who will support them when it's not as easy. Please stop beating yourself up over friends. You are normal, and probably quite lovable. Screw others if they don't see it, the lazy jerks that they are.


You'd think being in class of 222, I would have been able to have friends. Ha! No. My parents kept us isolated outside of school. I had some chums in the band, which includes my first husband (I got to see them everyday at school and at performances), and maybe two that I worked on tricky calculus problems with before school, and a bunch of kids I took most of my classes with (since the 25 or so advanced kids were pretty much kept together for AP courses and such). Not friends. All through high school I had bigger dreams and interests, and most of the other advanced kids didn't like me because of my top grades and admiration from teachers (not bragging, just telling you). I tried to be humble, helpful, and discreet about my grades, but the numbers don't lie and could not be hidden, and other kids get jealous. Just because you're thrown together with a couple hundred kids your age doesn't mean you will have anything in common with any of them. In fact, the opposite can be true -- bullies, cliques, economic snobs, gossip, jealousy -- you're trapped in a fishbowl. And -- with parents like mine -- it's hard to get together with a few I might like, and do friend things anyway; the ones I might have been friends with had moved on to other kids who were easier to get together with on the side. My 25th reunion was last year and I did not have even the slightest desire to go -- I can't think of one person I want to see, and I have not kept in contact with any of them.


Did you miss out? Maybe. I won't deny or diminish your angst there. But you seem like a bit of a perfectionist and over-achiever type like me, and I assure you, you would have been miserable in a different way. For me school was the lesser of two evils (versus home), because at least I was away from my abusive and controlling mother, and at least I knew clearly what was expected of me and how to get the A. But believe me, no nostalgia. I'm just glad I survived without an ulcer or suicide or something. School might have offered you a similar reprieve from your parents, but would have come with its own drama.


Everything you described is real, and it all sucks, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying your parents (in my opinion) were the type to screw you over, homeschool or not. I'm sure they meant well, loved you in their way, and thought they were doing the right thing. Whoever gave them their ideas is really to blame. Probably their own christian upbringing and community. SIGH.


You have the freedom now to right some of those wrongs with your own kids, and maybe that will be the salve for your aching parent-child relationship issues that you missed as a child yourself. Are you going to make mistakes? Heck yeah. As a parent I'm sure I'm making mistakes daily! You're breaking new ground, away from what you knew growing up. You didn't have "healthy" as a kid and you're trying to find it now for your own kids. The fact that you are aware and trying to consciously work it out tells me that you are going to be fine, and your kids are going to be fine. You're so far ahead of so many other parents! Relax! If it helps, please let me give you an A on this. You're doing great!


I hope this helps in some small way. Please just know that you're not the only one, and you're not alone in this. I hear ya, lady!


Peace to you.




(Edit for a typo. Damn perfectionism.)

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