How I (barely) survived home schooling

I don’t know if you’ve seen Homeschoolers Anonymous, but you should. The first generation of the American home school movement has grown up, and a lot of them now say they were abused. They are now speaking out, and it’s causing quite a stir.

I decided to stick my oar in, and my guest post for HA is now online:

What followed was probably the worst type of home education imaginable. ACE is “teacherless”, at least in theory. The student just completes the workbooks individually. So my parents left me to get on with my work and went out. I couldn’t face it. The second they went out, I was on the internet. This was in the days before high-speed connections, and even before unlimited internet access. I ran up an bill of £500 ($750) in one month, desperately looking for anything to do except PACEs. My Dad made me pay the bill, but it didn’t change the fact that I would do anything to avoid those PACEs.

Having avoided work all day, I couldn’t socialise in the evenings. I spent a summer in solitary confinement, avoiding PACEs during the day and completing PACEs in the evening. Then when I should have been asleep, I wrote diary entries about how I wished I was dead but didn’t know how to kill myself.

Continue the cheeriness at Homeschoolers Anonymous.

About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on June 7, 2013, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Education, Faith Schools and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think you make the distinction between the ACE/Christian homeschool movement and other forms of homeschooling. I know many secular homeschoolers who are fine. They have other issues but thankfully, aren’t left alone to complete workbook pages. Christian homeschooling, esp. the Bob Gothard methods, are their own specific brand of Hell.

    • I think you *need* to make the distinction…ugh. Grammar, I haz it. 🙂

      • I think I do make that distinction, although perhaps I could emphasise it more strongly. But really, I’m not a fan of any kind of home schooling. I’m sure there are parents who do overcome the inherent challenges, but I most underestimate them. That’s really a separate conversation for a separate blog though, so I take your point.

      • Oh blondeness. I see there is a link to your full post. I missed that.

        Having now taught a bunch of homeschooled kids in my highland dance school as well as my Quaker meeting, I’m warming up to homeschooling a bit. These kids are mainly “unschooled”, which I’m not too keen on either but most of them take classes at the local community college and are involved in structured homeschool groups. These homeschool groups go on field trips, have classes together, and socialize. The kids are also very active in their community.

        I think the dividing line with any homeschool method is the isolation factor. If kids are isolated, it doesn’t matter how good their homeschooling is; that isn’t good for them. If they are involved in outside activities and have an active social group then they seem to eventually turn out okay.

  2. Deb, you speak the truth….

  3. There is a difference between ACE school and homeschooling, but there is a lot of sameness too. I’ve read the PACES, and they basically say the same thing is all the other homeschool fundy textbooks. The difference is you just aren’t stuck at home all day like we were.

  4. I was subjected to this ACE garbage from 5th grade to graduation. My father was offered a job at our church’s ACE school to be the principal and I was pulled halfway through 5th grade and placed into a box aka office. I was given the aptitude test and test fairly high especially in Math and had all 6th grade PACEs. I found them to be a breeze. This lasted until about halfway through my 6th grade year when I lost all motivation. The repetitiveness and rote memorization just baffled me. Instead of working on my PACEs I spent most of my time in my box drawing or writing stories. Usually I’d just star at the back of my box and day dream. I began to never finish my work and got one demerit for each uncompleted PACE assignment. I also never got my Homework slip signed and to top it all off i never got my Corrective Action Notice signed from the day before. This got me a 1hour detention after school automatically everyday before school even started.

    It’s a terrible system. As you can tell by reading what I’ve written I have no concept of grammar or sentence structure and what little I do is from what I’ve had to learn in some college classes I’ve taken. I’m so so so bitter I was subjected to this trash experimental system. I couldn’t get into any colleges, my father told me if I wanted financial support I’d have to attend Word of Life Bible something or another in New York but at that point I was fed up with all of this and just joined the Air Force. It kind of sucks my only options with my ACE diploma were the military or some half assed Christian college.

    There’s only a few positives I can think of about having gone to this school. For one,it made me a lot more creative. This wasn’t the desired result of the school but since I had lots of downtime during school everyday I spent most of my days drawing and creating stories instead of doing my school work. The second one would be that I met my wife there and I’m very great full for that. Third would have to be the International and Regional Conventions. Those were always a blast. Besides the 4 hour fundie brainwashing rallies I always had a great time at those.

    Anyway, I just found you’re blog and love it. Keep up the awesome work!

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