redeeming family sins

I never wanted to homeschool. It was never a consideration. I thought it ought to be illegal, because I was abused by it and so were many others I know and our stories went unacknowledged with the rah rah homeschooling is amazing and the people who were hurt by it are few and far between and they lie just to slander their parents crowd.

It seems people will defend homeschooling at all costs despite the abuses many of us suffered. They literally act like we just do not exist, and that if we do exist, we are just a few bitter people. No, we are a crowd and our education was stolen from us by parents seeking to indoctrinate us into fundamentalism and to have a free license to abuse us without anyone reporting it to CPS.

As I begin the journey I never wanted to take, I’m hoping this can be redemptive. That maybe I can learn along with the kids all the things I was never allowed to know. To acknowledge what was stolen from me, what was done to me, and how wrong it was. To give my children the best that I can possibly give them and turn this narrative around.

The deep relief I feel about not having to deal with that middle school ever again is indicative that I have made the right decision. I will not allow my children to be in an environment where the staff bullied my transgender child to the point where she wanted to die. I will not force my youngest daughter to sit in a classroom and be forced to “respect” a teacher who harmed her sister so deeply.

I refuse to continue to contribute to the systematic abuse of children by leaving mine in an environment where they are constantly mistreated. My children are not longer forced to conform to ridiculous rules made solely to control them for no reason, like strict dress codes that ironically don’t apply to athletes. Rules are important, but measuring a teenage girl’s sleeveless dress to make sure it’s exactly a minimum of two inches serves no purpose but to control. I was tightly controlled in the cult I grew up in, and I’ve worked hard to give my children more than I have had.

I refuse to send my children to a building with 1,000 other children and then also the staff who are mostly unvaccinated and unmasked, in the middle of a raging pandemic. I’m not willing to sacrifice my children on the altar of other people’s selfishness.

In my renunciation of ancestral sins and their effect on my family, I must seek out better ways. I must make sure my children are free to grow and learn and become wonderful human beings, to reflect God’s image in the world in who they are. In my renunciation of everything cultish, I turn to homeschooling despite the damage it did to me, because it’s best for my children and Jesus can change the narrative here. Jesus redeems things, that’s what he does. I need to trust that he will do so here.

In an effort to change the story, and let Jesus change it, in an effort to live in the promise I made to renounce the affect of the sins of my family on me, to treat my children with dignity and respect as I have promised to do in my baptismal vows, I turn to a thing I swore I’d never do, and I rest in the peace that I have about it. I invite Jesus to take my trauma and to use it as a thing of beauty for my children.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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