That Kind of Girl: Effects of Homeschooling on the Sexual Health of Women and Girls
27 Pages Posted: 7 May 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2017
Most students in the United States learn a good deal about sex before they reach adulthood. For public school children, all states in the union are somehow involved in sex education. For public and private school students alike, school curricula can cover a wide variety of topics related to human sexuality (health, biology, anatomy). Additionally, these children develop their ideas about sexual health through sexual socialization — the process through which they acquire understanding based on influences from their parents and family, community, media, and cultural and religious activities.
That’s most U.S. students. Now consider a subset of students who never receive such an education or socialization about sexual health. What happens if the only sexual education or socialization a child receives comes from their parents? What if those parents are religiously motivated to keep their children away from competing ideas about sex and relationships? What if they are committed to censoring all but approved (and sometimes inaccurate) information about sexual and reproductive health? Or to a sexual ethic that negatively focuses on shame and guilt? Or to inculcating patriarchal views of gender roles? What if the totality of a child’s knowledge of sex and reproduction is solely derived from all of the above?
This hypothetical comes to life in the world of conservative Christian homeschooling. Here you find millions of families in the U.S. alone who intentionally shield themselves and their children from modern, liberal, secular, or feminist philosophies — who seek to train up their children in what they view as God’s way. This Note aims to expose the consequences of these ideologies on the sexual health of homeschoolers, particularly women and girls, and to offer a starting point for developing policy recommendations to address these consequences.
Keywords: Sexual Health, Homeschooling, Sexual Education, Religious Education
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