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Homeschool Abuse Survivor

My name is Jenny, I am a home school survivor, and this is my story.

My Mother was always the authority figure in our family, so when she decided to pull me out of the private school I went to after the second grade, so that she could "home school" me, no one questioned her decision, least of all my weak and submissive Father.

I should mention that I have two older half Brothers, one who is now 43 and one who is 34, and they both went to public school, which my Mother "hated the whole time they went", but she pulled my oldest brother out of school, (she claims he wanted to drop out) when he was 15, and she constantly harassed my other brother while he was in school, telling him that if not for the fact that she wrote his reports for him, he would be failing miserably at every subject.

So, my Mother began "home schooling" me when I was 8, and you could pretty much say that was not only the end of my education, but my childhood really, because as soon as she started home schooling me, she shut the both of us up in our house for good. My brother and father both had jobs, so they came and went, but not me and my Mother...she kind of went crazy I guess. She was supposed to be a housewife, but she stopped cooking or cleaning, going to the grocery store or anything like that...I mean we did not go outside at all...I literally went for months at a time without going outside,...I was not allowed to go out without her, EVER. I never got to see or speak to anyone my age.

She was convinced that she was sick with some awful illness, and because of that the only place we ever went was to doctor`s offices, and since they could never find anything wrong, she kept changing doctors. The worst thing of all, is that she made my father and brother tell their friends and our neighbors that I was away at boarding school!!! She did not want anyone to know in our neighborhood that she was home schooling me, she was horribly paranoid that someone would find out that she was home schooling me without registering me with the state like she was supposed too.
And when I say paranoid, I mean I was not allowed to walk in front of the windows of our house because she was afraid someone would see me and "turn her in".

And of course, she WAS NOT TEACHING ME, she had me enrolled in a catholic home school program, and for whatever reason, she herself completed all of the assignments and turned them in, she would not let me do anything except the math, which she did not know how to do, but she said that I was too stupid to do the rest of the subjects. And I guess I believed her. Also, she got tired of even doing the schoolwork herself by 8th grade, and discontinued the program. She told me I did not need a diploma, after all, she never got one.

She was controlling to an unbelievable degree, this is going to sound strange, but I was not even allowed to wash myself, she said that it was too dangerous, that I might slip and fall in the shower, and she had to be the one to wash me. Our house was in awful condition because of her made up illnesses, and she got to a point where she was sleeping on the couch so that she could just lay there all the time and watch TV and she did not even want to have to get up to use the bathroom, so she made my father get her a bucket to put in front of the couch so she could use that as a toilet. She kept it covered with a pillow and I still remember the stench of urine coming from it...my father had to empty it every few days, (yes, she did EVERYTHING in that bucket) and every now and then he would complain but she always made him submit to what she wanted.

Things got worse and worse, she started hating sunlight, and covered up the windows with trash bags, (don`t ask me why she didn`t just get my dad to bring her some curtains I`ll never figure that one out) And even though she was no longer washing her own clothes or mine, (dad and brother washed their own) I was not allowed to use the washer, (too stupid, too dangerous) so I had like two sets of clothes which I would wear for months at a time and rotate, and one set of sheets on my bed for so long that they wore through until they had huge holes that my legs would get caught in.

I hated my life and every day was the same. I had to watch her stupid soap operas with her, and she would get pissed if I talked during the shows, I was supposed to wait until commercial. I was about 14 when I started thinking that it might be easier to just run away or kill myself, but I had no faith in my ability to run away, I thought, "I don`t even know how to wash my own hair or take care of anything for myself, how could I survive somewhere else?" I guess that is what she wanted.

I was 16 when I started cutting myself. I don`t know exactly how I started doing that, now that I look back on it, but, I remember that it made me feel like I had control over something. I know that is screwed up.

I was also 16 when we moved from my home state of Maryland to South Carolina, my Mother decided that too of course. She had said that everything would be better in SC, that she would let me start going outside, and have a new life.

After we moved and I asked her if I could go out, she told me no, that she was sure as hell not going to go to jail because of me. I don`t know why she thought she would get in trouble at that point, to this day I still can`t figure that out, but for me, that was the last straw. I got really bad with the cutting, I knew I wanted to die more than anything, but I was not sure how to do it, and I was afraid.
I called some suicide hotline just to talk to someone about how I was feeling and my Mother picked up the extension. She then decided in her great wisdom that I would be allowed to go out with my father and brother when they went to the grocery stores or her other errands.

I was terrified and overwhelmed by the world. I had no idea how to interact with people, what to do or say, ...I felt so exposed and strange, but a miracle happened for me in that I was able to adapt and learn about the world. By the time I was 18 I had met the man I am now married to, and left home. The police had to help me get my things out of my house since my Mother would not allow me to leave, she almost attacked one of them, and almost got locked up...

I lived on my own for awhile, dated my now husband for 4 years before marrying him, we have now been married for 2 years.

My Mother told me that when I got married that she would not only count me as being dead to her, she "wished that my husband and I both would literally die, everyday". ...I love you too Mom.

We live in a very small town, so I see my Father out places sometimes, but he is not allowed to see me. He even tells me that; "You know i`m not supposed to see you..." He claims he misses me, but he is spineless.

I was able to get my GED at 19, in spite of my Mommy dearest.

I love my life with my husband, and I am a Christian now and I cannot imagine ever feeling again the way I used to feel about suicide, and to be honest, it makes me sick that I was like that back then, and the memories still tear me up inside.

so that is pretty much it in a nutshell.

Don`t get me wrong, I know that my Mother is the type of person who likely would have done all that to me somehow even if it were not for "home school" but home schooling GAVE an INSANE woman the TOOLS to do this to me. And I lose sleep at night sometimes thinking that there are other kids out there going through something like this. I truly think home schooling should be illegal, or at the very least, MUCH more closely monitored....

So, there it is. Thanks for reading, comments welcome.
~Jenny
MrsMack1985 MrsMack1985 22-25, F 12 Responses May 2, 2010

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So sad for you to experience this. Your mother had mental illness, and it wouldn't have mattered if you were homeschooled or not, this would have manifested in one way or another

I am so sorry that you had to experience the effects of severe mental illness - in both of your parents. Your father's avoident /dependency and your mother's agoraphobia and who knows what else almost destroyed you, but you survived against all odds, and that is wonderful! You are quite a remarkable, strong, intellegent person! Please consider getting a college degree in a helping field - your experiences and your ability to survive are inspirational and your insights can be so instructive. Or maybe even volunteer to work with teens in trouble. You have so much to offer!

In my experience as a survivor of this type of abuse, it goes on and on. This world is filled with morons who think that having been homeschooled somehow reflects negatively on the survivor. Like we are all illiterate, retarded, or had behavioural problems. And that being physically beaten magically reflects negatively on us. The other angle is simply calling us liars, and claiming that none of it happened.

It's nice to know others out there who have similar backgrounds as mine. I was withdrawn from Catholic school entering the 3rd grade. I was homeschooled until I was 13, but I only went to a Christian-ba<x>sed homeschool tutoring center (which didn't do much for me). I ended up getting kicked out because of my behavioural problems. I begged my dad (the controlling one) to send me to public school because I wanted to make friends, but he refused and said he didn't want me hanging out with public school kids. I never went out, and I never had friends. I ended up spending 4 years in prison when I turned 19. I was very illiterate and had to get my GED while in prison. I'm 27 now and it's difficult for me to make friends in college because I am somewhat "socially awkward." Homeschooling is not all peaches-and-cream as some make it out to be.

This same thing happened to my girlfriend. She had a family with 14 siblings with a week minded father and crazy mother. Right now she is trying to get her little sister out of that awful place. Yes, people, abuse is happening.

I am soo very sorry that your mom did that to you. I truly feel for you. I have been a homeschooling mother for 10 years and I can't imagine ever doing something like that to my daughters. I have 3 girls and I love them very much. I am not religious so I don't homeschool for that reason, rather I homeschool because when my oldest was in private school, she had problems with her letters and the teacher didn't have time to help her one on one so she asked me to help her everyday and help her improve, which I gladly did. I then figured that I enjoyed helping my daughter and the next year, I thought we would give it a try and we did. My daughters are involved in extracurricular activities with other kids and we homeschool during the day. We also spend much time with them and give them time to have fun as kids should outside. Recently though, my oldest daughter who is now 16 decided she wanted to try public school. So this year, we let her go. Well things have spiraled since then. She has now ran away from home twice and has a boyfriend at school. We had to put her in a treatment facility for a week because she was depressed and was talking about suicide. Things have been really difficult and her attitude has completely changed about things she used to hold dear and things she said she would never do. She now wants to get tattoos and go out whenever she wants. For us, the problem has been the opposite. Seems that public school changed my daughter and she wants to act and be like other kids at school so she is very defiant now. When she was homeschooled, she was able to do fun things and be with other kids but all the kids she hung out with were well behaved for the most part. I think she is hanging with a bad crowd in public school now. We are thinking of bringing her back to homeschooling and she is very angry about it.

im so sorry ..but your safe now ...God Bless

Thank you for sharing. I tried to write a story about how home schooling can be a tool for child abuse for the Untrained Housewife site, but it was rejected because many of the site's readers home school.<br />
<br />
My reply was that good home school parents would love it and understand.

*hugs tight* I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that abuse! I'm proud that you ran away though, that you had the courage to stand up and start to live your own life. You're strength is overpowering. Have a beautiful life and if you need anything at all, please let me know.<br />
With Love,<br />
Aydasha

I thank the Good Lord you made it and will keep you in my prayers, but please remember your Mother was sick it was not the fault of homeschooling. Everything has checks and balances, some good some bad. I hope that in the future you will be able to forgive others the harm they have done to you. its the only way to move on in your life and not let them have any control over you, your emotions and you self worth. its not easy it took me years to doit but it makes a night and day difference. Homeschooling is not an evil thing, I homeschooled my oldest from mid 9th grade on because the "public school" could not keep him from getting beaten up (gangs)(it was always in places w/o cameras - locker rm ect.)

Thank you so much...there is a lot in my life I am grateful for now.

Congratulations on your survival!