“Many of my friends and I do not have high school diplomas or transcripts. … In addition to the rampant educational neglect that occurred in homeschool circles, the lack of proper documents made it difficult for many of us to access higher education.”
I think that homeschool regulation is important because my life and the lives of my homeschooled contemporaries would have been improved by some degree of regulation. During my time being homeschooled, I suffered from various types of abuse along with educational neglect. I believe that if I had been in school I would have had less time to be exposed to the family members who abused me. Also, I would have had the opportunities to make the most of my education and to take classes that I missed out on in a homeschooling environment.
Many of my friends and I do not have high school diplomas or transcripts. In the states in which we were homeschooled, there was little oversight and no requirement that parents provide such documents to graduating home school students. In addition to the rampant educational neglect that occurred in homeschool circles, the lack of proper documents made it difficult for many of us to access higher education. Sadly, many of my friends are chronically underemployed and trapped in bad marriages because they have no way to support themselves.
Although I have achieved a great deal of educational success, it took me 15 years after high school to achieve my goal of a master’s degree. I wasn’t in school the whole time by any means, but I had to start and stop my higher education career several times.
The most difficult part of my higher education experience was the lack of choice. While most people would assume that an adult could make his or her own choices, a homeschooled student is continually hampered by the lack of documentation. I was not allowed access to my own transcripts, and so I could not apply to college where I wanted to go. My parents preferred that I not go to college at all, but that I go to an apprenticeship program. Because I resisted this option, they eventually allowed me to go to college. My grandfather had given me money to pay for college, which no one told me until I was eighteen. However, my mother said she would not make up a transcript for any school that she did not choose. I did agree to go to a very conservative college of my parents’ choosing, but it was a bad situation for me.
If there had only been some protection in place that would have allowed me to have access to a transcript, I would have at least left homeschooling as a free adult. Although I still suffered abuse and educational neglect, it was additional abuse that bound me to my parents as an adult “child” to force me to do their will through college. This is one of the reasons I support reasonable regulation of homeschooling. My concern is not that parents be denied rights to raise their children, but that children are given protections. I also think that all children should finish a high school education with the ability to earn a diploma and access to transcripts.
Holly S. was homeschooled 4th-12th, from 1988 to 1997, in South Carolina and North Carolina. For additional thoughts and experiences from other homeschool alumni, see our Testimonials page.