Here's the profile of the (primarily) religious homeschooling parent, as I see it. Note that the profile is not a checklist, with one needing to meet all of the below criteria. A homeschooling parent might match up with only one of the following points, a few, or many of them. Although I believe that more than one item will apply:The problem I have with this "profile" is that I can't think of a family member, friend, or acquaintance of mine who does not fit this profile according to Char's parameter--e.g., that the hypothetical religious homeschooler she's envisioning may only meet one of these criteria.
-As a child/teen, teased or bullied at school and/or in their own neighborhood, and/or within their own family
-As a child/teen, maligned and/or ignored at school, in early employment situations, or within their own family
-Quiet, non-disruptive type that sits on the sidelines watching and/or hoping to not have to participate
-Extremely intelligent in the "absent-minded professor" sort of way, perhaps related to some sort of autistic spectrum disorder
-As a child/teen, could have been placed on the autistic spectrum, but for whatever reason, never was
-Socially awkward (i.e. geeky)
-Socially awkward (i.e. excessive shyness)
-Socially awkward (i.e. class-clown/troublemaker type to compensate for inability to "fit it")
-Abusive background (emotional, physical, sexual, or religious)
-Family of origin is dysfunctional (alcoholism, drug addiction, parent is in prison, etc.)
-Family of origin is broken (i.e. divorce, one-parent family, lived with extended family, adopted, military)
-Struggles with depression and/or anxiety
-Struggles with scrupulosity
-"Type A" personality
-As a child/teen, routinely failed academically in school
-As a child/teen, routinely excelled academically, but was never challenged and felt bored
-As a child/teen, had direct and/or overbearing relationship with parent, sibling, or close friend that was overly-successful in academic, extracurricular, career, or social endeavors
And this is true regardless of how this person educates his or her children, or, indeed, even if this person doesn't have children!
In other words--it's far too broad of a list of possible traits that might identify a group, because I would guess that the overwhelming majority of Americans can say "yes" to at least one of these criteria.
I spelled that out in the comments at Char's blog (agreeing with another commenter who beat me to it) and added, in part, "I think I get what you are trying to say here: that homeschooling parents are primarily broken people who blame school for a large part of their brokenness and are trying to keep their kids from being broken in the same way...."
To which Char replied, "Bingo!"
So I think that her list was mainly an attempt to noodle out something she's thinking about but can't quite nail down (and I get that, and have done that in blogging). But I think what she really means is: religious homeschooling is sort of what happens when the legions of picked-on, beat-down, broken kids decide to take their marbles and go home, so that at least their own kids won't have to deal with the reality that most regular school environments are openly hostile to kids who are at all different from the type who can become what the school wants to produce.
Let me repeat a part of that, because it is something I truly believe as someone who was homeschooled myself for two years in high school long before deciding to teach my own kids at home: Most regular school environments are openly hostile to kids who are at all different from the type who can become what the school wants to produce.
Now, there's nothing wrong with institutional schools wanting to produce a certain type of student; John Dewey's educational philosophies were all about that concept, and the type of student schools wished to produce back then was the type of the good citizen. The good citizen fit well into society, knew how to complete his post-secondary education (if applicable) or how to get a good productive job straight out of high school if not, could perform the basic duties of citizenship such as voting and civic activity and also fit in well to his community, becoming a good neighbor in due time, and in many other ways was a model of what an American citizen was supposed to be. Even in Dewey's day there were probably plenty of students who didn't succeed, but the outcome of public education was fairly clear, and even in the religious schools the parameters were only increased, not greatly changed: that is, a Catholic school would produce a good Catholic American, a religious Protestant school would produce a good Christian American (though the public schools, back then, overlapped that particular goal), and so on.
Has that changed? In fact, it has not. The goal of most public schools and the private schools who still accept the public schools' goals overall is to produce a good citizen. What has changed is our notion of society, and of who and what a good citizen is supposed to be, such that the rising tension between what institutional schools wish to produce and how sincerely religious Americans wish to raise their children is already great, and will become, in the future, unbearable and unworkable for the sincerely religious person.
For example, in the public schools, the good citizen is presumed to be sexually active somewhere between ages 13 and 16, and thus the good citizen must know all about the various sex acts and sexual identities they might be discovering and how to obtain the proper prophylactics and/or birth control depending on what type of sex they want to have, and with whom. This is because the good citizen does not believe in the myth of chastity, but does believe that he or she has a duty to mitigate the public health consequences of his or her teenage (and, indeed, presumed lifelong) promiscuity by accepting the conventional wisdom that the only two negative consequences of unmarried sexual activity are STDs and unwanted small humans. Thus, it becomes the proper job of the school to instruct children about sex, public health STD prevention goals, birth control, abortion, and prophylactics, and to provide any form of birth control or facilitate access to abortion which parents may not be already providing or facilitating out of some religiously-motivated lack of good citizenship.
Again, in the public schools, the good citizen is presumed to be on the right side of history regarding the "inevitable" acceptance of gay "marriage," and the mechanisms are already being put in place to further shame the religious student as being a bad citizen for his or her rejection of the notion that two men or two women make up a "marriage."
You would think that Catholic schools would be a clear sign of contradiction to this stuff, but I've shared here before about my Catholic high school's "health" teacher who mocked the Church's teachings against contraception and told us all about birth control--and my parents were paying a small fortune they didn't have for that education under the belief that the school would be teaching us according to the faith. I've asked before for proof that this situation has improved from people whose kids have gone to Catholic high schools, and I've gotten crickets. And it's a sad-but-true reality that one of the biggest things ex-Catholics share is 8 to 12 years of Catholic schooling.
So where Char sees religious homeschoolers as broken people who blame their brokenness on schools, I see some of us as having managed to survive our Catholic school education with our faith mostly intact (or, for some of my friends, finding their way back to the faith after a few years in various sorts of wildernesses) and realizing that it doesn't make sense to pay a Catholic school to make "good citizens" of our children given what our culture and society thinks of as "good citizens" these days. Would there have been times when I might have liked a good non-diocesan Catholic small school or co-op as a "best of both worlds" option? Sure. Did that option exist where we live? No.
Does any of that make homeschooling a "revenge of the nerds" scenario? Not really, unless it's a hallmark of nerds to be first in line to abandon failing methodologies and models and think up new, exciting, more efficient ways to do things. Hey, wait...