Friday, September 17, 2010


Question from blog comments - How well were you prepared (by your homeschool education) for entry into college? Did you require any additional preparation/remediation before you enrolled in college/university?

I think I may have answered this in another post but now seems like as good a time as any to give it another shot.

I was most decidedly unprepared in several subjects. In Math, I was actually pretty well situated for entry into an Algebra 2 class because my mom had been a math teacher. She made sure we studied math beyond our designated home school curriculum. I like to think it was her way of preparing us for a better chance at life.

In reading, I scored very well but didn't have the depth that most children have. I *could* read, I just wasn't allowed much variety. I was also never asked to dissect anything literary. That was a skill I had to learn - I think most children learn that pretty early on. When I "graduated" homeschool, my book reports were about a page long and they were really just summaries of a story with no personal insight and no explanation of cultural signifigance.

My grammar was pretty horrendous and I'm still working on that.

History was very difficult for me because of the sanitized and re-written version I'd been raised on. I had to take several survey courses at an adult school/commuinity college to catch up to an acceptable EIGHTH grade level.

Science was largely ignored, except for what passed as a science education in our Wisdom Books. That meant starting from the basics when I left. I had to learn the proper scientific methodology and language.

It took me, literally, years of "adult" education to be able to apply to a university.


  1. I'm really curious about the history portion of your education. So much of history deals with cultures that I'm sure fundamentalist groups would find evil. When I was young I loved learning about Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, China, the Aztecs, Inca, etc, and a large part of that education was learning about their gods and mythology. And mixed into all of that are the wars, sex, etc., that fundamentalists say they want to shield their children from. This includes US history.

    So, what sort of history were you taught? Anything about other cultures?

    Lauren H. (my DH's name is Michael, I have to sign into his account - there are two of that do this!)

  2. I love your blog, Ruth... just found it today. You say that you're still working on grammar, but I think you're very articulate.
    Denying a person a good education is unconscionable, and I'm so glad you caught up and are finally able to pursue a university degree.

  3. That's sad since there are fabulous resources out there for homeschoolers not trapped in Gothardland. I'm glad you were mature enough to face this and do all the remedial education you needed. It seems Gothardites only do enough to keep the authorities at bay--maybe an 8th grade level, when other homeschoolers often start college young and do such creative things! Sad that the Gothardites think so little of education and have that weird fixation on "wisdom" ..........

  4. Ruth, I've always been curious as to what you are studying at University. I've also wondered how you supported yourself during those years of remedial work. What a shame your parents did that to you. Did they also limit your access to books at the library?

  5. i'm wondering about your extended family... did you get to visit relatives over the holidays? are your dad's family all quiverful or, if not, how did your family deal with them? and did you have any contact with your mom's family or were they too "worldly?"

    and also, when you left the house where would you go? as part of our homeschool curriculum we went to museums and libraries and historical sites. i'm assuming you didn't go do that stuff, but what did you do? or did an "outing" just consist of grocery shopping? did you live most of your childhood inside the house?

  6. One gland at a Character Sketches book and it was plain that children following this study plain were being indoctrinated, not educated! I am sure that's why you can only purchase these books if you buy into his system, and I think users promise not to let non-ATI people see them. A rebel gave us the copy I saw.

    I know home schoolers who have graduated high school with Associate's Degrees from community colleges. My own daughter did Calculus at home, though my son is stopping at Pre-Calc. I agree with Kay, denying a young person an education is unconscionable!

    That's why ATI even has its own home school "support groups" (though only the dads go!). When you are that bizarre and wrong in your beliefs you can't afford to be around normal people. People might see reality and break free.

    Mr. Gothard is running the most successful cult enterprise around. Sociologists will be studying him for centuries. He seems to have just the right amount of isolation, condemnation, and positive feedback to reel people in and keep milking them financially for years. Now he's set his sights on milking the cult cash cow for generations. And sadly, it looks like he may succeed.

  7. Those Wisdom Booklets were a joke. I mean really... that linguistics section only studying languages Greek and Hebrew. The History was pathetic. That ended up being my major and English my minor. I was also behind in Science and it ended up being some of my favorite classes in college once I learned the lingo and also learned how to study properly. Unlike you I greatly struggled with Math, but finally made it through. To be honest... not a big fan of homeschooling.
    Ruth you do a wonderful job with you grammar and your writing style is phenomenal . Keep it up. Can't wait to hear more about your escape...

  8. Stephanie, there is a big difference between home schooling per se, and Gothard type home schooling. The home schoolers I know are actually quite advanced.

  9. Rebekah, I do agree with you. I'm sorry I made the blanket statement concerning not being thrilled with homeschooling. I was thinking of Ruth's situation as well as a portion of my schooling years. I like to refer to the different groups as those that are homeschooled (meaning they received an appropriate education) and then there are homeschoolers what Ruth came from... close to unschooled. My next door neighbor homeschools her children and is doing an excellent job teaching as well as integrating her children into society.

  10. Unschooling has a different meaning, though-in the homeschool community, it tends to refer to child-led instruction, where a parent chooses what will be studied next by where the child's interests lie, and where the parent provides a lot of opportunities and resources for said child to find those interests. It's not MY philosophy of education, but I've known very successful unschoolers.

    What Ruth had would be more like outright truancy, or non-schooling, except maybe for math.

    FWIW, there are a few people on one of the academic homeschool boards I know that are QF and subscribe to the MOTH stuff, and while I don't know if they use ATI or not, one thing they seem to have in common is that they believe in educating boys much more than girls. For example, there are mothers who pretty much stop their girls' education at grade 8 with the feeling that their girls are going to be homemakers and therefore don't need Algebra, Latin, history, and all those other high school level subjects, but that their boys need to have the skills through high school and possibly even into college level so they can support their families, start businesses, and so on. Except that, of course, they also expect their daughters to get married and homeschool their own children-including the boy children.

  11. The topic of ATI "education" has interested me for some time. I actually saw an IBLP book in a Goodwill store a few weeks ago. I thumbed through it and decided that it was unworthy of my five dollars, even to satisfy some morbid curiosity. Was the history in the ATI curriculum openly racist or were racial minorities simply not discussed? Also what did ATI families with disabled children do? I ask this, because there is a real possibility that Josie Duggar might have learning disabilities because of her extreme prematurity and would require a different type of education than even the shoddy type her siblings get. If this is the case, would the Duggars take the risk of putting Josie in an organized special education school or get her some other sort of tutoring from a non-ATI person? What would the average ATI rank of file family do in such a situation?

  12. It's very sad to hear this. Christian Homeschooling doesn't have to be like this. In most Christian homes it isn't like this at all.

    In terms of indoctrination, all education has a certain level of indoctrination. Especially at the elementary level. The indoctrination can be as simple as from what perspective the education comes from, religious or secular. But by high school, a student ought to be able to think and it's clear that ATI isn't interested in thinking students. This seems to be true even if we're talking about thinking students who reach ATI's conclusions.


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