Cynthia Jeub and her 15 siblings were featured for a season on the TLC show Kids By the Dozen back in 2007. She’s written extensively — and very honestly — about growing up in a “quiverfull” household and the problems that arose when she questioned or challenged her family’s fundamentalist Christianity.
But here’s a different aspect of her upbringing that I’ve never thought about before.
Her parents decided to homeschool their kids. That in itself isn’t unusual in those kinds of Christian homes — and homeschooling isn’t necessarily bad as long as kids are actually getting a decent education.
Jeub didn’t get a decent education. She says it was focused on religion and politics, not about preparing her for “independence in adulthood.” Besides that, though, she had to write up her own report card… and grade herself. Somehow, she was expected to know how well she was mastering subjects in which, by definition, she wasn’t an expert.
Here’s a glimpse at her high school transcript — which, again, she just made up.
Below is the actual high school transcript that I designed and wrote myself based on a template I found on Google, and asked my parents to sign. The first thing to note is that I had never been graded on anything, and knew only that I needed to be realistic while getting as close to a 4.0 score as possible. When I presented it to my dad, he asked why I hadn’t put down 4.0 in everything, and I said it didn’t seem realistic to me. I knew I hadn’t taught myself math very well, though I’d tried to work my way to the answers on my own. Every grade is not even a guess, but a blatant lie, because I never had grades. I just needed to write something that looked like I had.
She “aced” U.S. History, Bible, “Immigration policy,” Basic Sewing, and “Survival/Hunter’s Safety.” By her junior and senior years, she got straight As in everything, including Apologetics.
It’s just a giant worthless piece of paper that she was told to produce. And it’s not her fault! She did what she was told to do by parents who cared more about indoctrinating their kids than producing well-rounded individuals.
Jeub eventually went to a community college, where she (obviously) struggled at first. It took years for her to find out what holes existed in her education. It’s honestly incredible that she was able to eventually fill those gaps to the point where she can write about it all so eloquently now.
Still, claiming to homeschool your kids when you’re actually depriving them of a basic education — and making them grade themselves — is a form of child abuse. Without having at least some oversight, this is what homeschooling can lead to and why it must be regulated.
(Featured image via Shutterstock)