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How growing up in an isolated religious community primed me for abuse and exploitation

I grew up in an Amish/Mennonite hybrid religious community part of Charity Christian Fellowship in Pennsylvania. My parents left when I was 10 years old and proceeded to home church with other families from the church for a few years until becoming Baptists.  Yet, my parents still retained heavy control over all of us children remaining at home and enforced sexist double standards. For example, I was not allowed to attend public high school. However, my older brother was allowed although he didn’t want to attend and chose to continue working full-time for a local carpenter.  The only friends I was allowed to have attended our small church in a rural little town with a population of 207 people. 5 other teenagers attended the church and only one was within two years of my age. Further complicating matters was the fact I had nothing in common with these other teenagers and no social skills. I grew up never hearing recorded music or television and isolated from mainstream society. I couldn

What do Amish kids learn in school?

 Children in Amish and plain religious communities like the Mennonites or Charity receive a very different education compared to children growing up in mainstream society. It is common for children in Amish and Mennonite communities to either be homeschooled or attend a 1st - 8th-grade religious school run within the local church community. 

In my case, we didn’t have enough congregants to have a school and we were homeschooled. Students in these communities are only taught a few subjects: reading/English and math. There is no history, science, geography, music, or art education. 

Children are taught to read and do basic math i.e enough to do the basic measuring for building or cooking. No writing beyond the 1st-grade level while learning your letters. No critical thinking or analysis. No creativity or divergence, only replication. 

Growing up "school” was at most only two or three hours a day between the morning and afternoon chores. Once I got to the 4th/5th grade, I was no longer checked in about doing my “school”. It was my responsibility. If I wanted to (as I was supposed to), the books were available and my mother would ask about them yet never verify or review. 

Everything within this isolated plain religious community was separated from mainstream society. The curriculum taught came from an old-order Amish publishing house called Pathway Publishers. Everything depicted people in similar isolated religious communities with women wearing veils and no discussion of further academic learning. Instead, these “textbooks” promoted learning to silence your voice and marry the man of your father’s choosing upon adulthood. 

What are your questions on what school was like growing up in a plain religious community? 


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