Homeschooled to Prevent Education

“Totally unprepared am I, to face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared am I, of things beyond my ken
I need someone older and wiser, telling me what to do…” -The Sound of Music

I was homeschooled from preschool to grade 12. My parents were my only teachers. They taught me that the main goal in life is to spread the message of Christianity. I memorized countless selections from the Bible which was upheld as the primary source of truth. We attended churches where the pastors vehemently preached about the duty of parents to raise strong Christians. All my friends were also homeschooled Christians. The main goal in life was to save souls.

At every turn, I was told that my education was superior to what I’d receive in a standardized setting. School taught lies, they said. Instead of teaching about a supreme creator who formed everything, they taught evolution. Instead of acknowledging that a great flood had formed mountains and canyons, they taught that the Earth was millions of years old. In other subjects, homeschooled kids outdid their peers anyway. My siblings and I were getting a thorough education about what really mattered.

In 1994, when I was two years old and my older siblings had been pulled out of public school to be homeschooled, my dad wrote an article in which he said, “Religion is a major part of the American culture, but public schools fail to take religion seriously…the educational establishment has attempted to strangle religion’s influence. Instead of recognizing religion as part of our culture, many have fought hard in the courts to make religion illegal in the classroom.”

They wanted me to be well-educated. They just disagreed with an evil world about what it meant to have a good education. At homeschool conventions and speech and debate tournaments, we were told that we would change the world. We’d become the next generation of influencers: journalists, politicians, and lawyers. I had countless professional career opportunities among my connections to become a spokesperson for conservatism. I once wanted to become an investigative journalist who revealed the apparent evils of abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood. For a time, I even wore a hidden camera to try and catch liberal organizations in corrupt actions.

The plan was that I would fight for the cause of conservative Christianity. There was no backup plan or safety net if I saw through it all.

When I was 19, I started attending a local university while living with my parents. I had no idea what I was doing, but that didn’t occur to me. I wasn’t there to fall into the trap of valuing academia anyway. I was there to spread the message of Jesus to a campus full of non-believers. I fumbled and stumbled along, confused at why my grades were so terrible. Teaching myself at home, I thought I was pretty good at every subject I studied, and I gave myself nearly perfect grades.

My general knowledge and comprehension of the world is still limited. I can’t define basic scientific categories or medical fields. I’ve learned to phrase my questions carefully to avoid drawing attention to my ignorance. I say “what do you mean by that?” instead of “what does that mean?” because people look at me like I’ve got an extra nose.

I often wonder where I would be at my age if I’d been educated properly. I avoid talking about the specifics of history with people who don’t know my background. This is because there was no distinction between historical fact and fiction in our homeschool. Both our parents read us many books out loud, but I don’t remember a single textbook among those. They were all fictional stories, meant to be palatable for Christian children.

I have extensive knowledge of something that doesn’t matter in the real world. To this day, certain phrases bring to mind the chapter, verse, and content of biblical selections I memorized over a decade ago. I know so many bible facts, the bible itself broke apart for me. I also know lots of conservative talking points and strategies for defending conservative policy. I know little, if anything, about real science and ethics.

It’s profoundly disappointing to realize that my education prepared me for a world that doesn’t exist. I’m going back and learning basic history and science. This past week, I learned about how the constitution was formed through much open discussion through The Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers. I learned how to define the difference between a scientific Law, Theory, and hypothesis. I learned that the Germ Theory of Disease is as well-established by evidence as the Theory of Evolution. I’m still not sure when to use commas or capitalization, but I’ll get there.

I am laying the foundation of education that I should have had 25 years ago. I will be 30 in a couple of months, and I just learned that germs and diseases are a tried and established scientific theory. I just learned that evidence is not merely a statement from a single expert, like I learned in speech and debate. I know now, as of this past week, that hypotheses must undergo rigorous testing. Scientists don’t just verify their hypotheses with experiments. Those experiments must be independently reaffirmed by a sufficiently large number of empirical observations. A theory must also have stood up to repeated attempts at falsification.

Nothing I was taught in the first 19 years of my life holds up to these standards. It’s no wonder I was kept from knowing them. I might have used logic to see through it all more quickly and easily.