homeschooling leadership summit manifesto "draft outline"


From the advertisement for the Homeschooling Leadership Summit:

“Another objective for the leadership summit will be the development of a Christian Education Manifesto statement. After 1000 years of a secular, Greek education model first taking the university, then later capturing K-12 childhood education, home educators are recovering the biblical discipleship paradigm. The 2009 Summit will include discussion on this Manifesto.”

Manifesto: “ A manifesto is a public declaration of the purpose, principles, or plan of action of a group or individual.”

Summit: “the highest point, part, or elevation; top or apex, the highest degree or state; acme; the highest level of officials; specif., in connection with diplomatic negotiations, the level restricted to heads of government a meeting at the summit; a conference at the summit.” (The advertisement for the Homeschooling Leadership Summit had the tall peak of a mountain as its logo.)

This document was passed on to me by John Holzmann and as I understand him, was handed out by Kevin Swanson at the end of the homeschooling leadership summit weekend with his apologies for not having done more work on it. He also referred to it as a “draft outline.” There was no organized discussion of it during the “summit” and Kevin asked for feedback to be sent to him.

The Basic Elements

First Proposition
The beginning of wisdom and knowledge in the education of our children is the fear of God.

The Worldview
All education assumes and presents a basic worldview, and Christian education is based on a biblical, God-centered worldview.

The Purpose
The primary purpose of education is to equip our children to live to the glory of God.

The Sphere
It is the family – not the state or the church – whom God has assigned the responsibility and attendant rights to educate their children.

The Teachers
Parents are the principal and primary instructors for their children.

The Content
The training in humility -and fear, faith and character is preeminent and inseparably integrated in the intellectual development of a child.

The Core Curriculum
The Word of God is the primary textbook for our children’s education.

The Summary
Therefore, we affirm that education is discipleship, and Christian Education is Deuteronomy 6:7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7

So, I am left confused and somewhat in awe of this. Any thoughts? My first one is that I think they NEEDED the moms!

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  1. mary says

    Hmmm, I guess if I traveled all the way to Indianapolis to confer on this I might be a tad dissapointed.

  2. says

    I like it – it encompasses much of why we chose to homeschool. BUT I know many families who don’t homeschool who have ordered their lives and discipleship of their children around these principles. I also know of many homeschool families who have other motivators for home educating their children that have nothing to do with fear of God.
    Let each family speak for themselves. Parents lead their own children, husbands lead their own families (with his wife’s help), churches provide the accountability to its own members and all are accountable before the Lord.
    While I like the manifesto, the author(s) are taking leadership over something they have no authority over and are suggesting that homeschooling is the only way to faithfully live out the implications of Deut 6 or conversely that all homeschoolers are living out Deut 6. Neither is true.

  3. mary says

    I do have to comment on the irony of it all.
    On one hand:
    “- The Sphere
    It is the family – not the state or the church – whom God has assigned the responsibility and attendant rights to educate their children.

    The Teachers
    Parents are the principal and primary instructors for their children. ”

    And on the other hand:
    “The Content
    The training in humility -and fear, faith and character is preeminent and inseparably integrated in the intellectual development of a child.

    The Core Curriculum
    The Word of God is the primary textbook for our children’s education. ”

    So….Parents and no one else should dictate their children’s education….yet listen to us when we tell you now how to educate your children. ???? What does this say about the gullability of the homeschooling community? What does this say about the attitudes of these men?

  4. says

    Actually, Mary,

    This is stuff that has been pulled from the :Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy,” if I recall correctly.

    So more specifically, it is actually
    “Listen to Doug Phillips, Phil Lancaster, and RC Sproul, Jr”
    and their inspiration:
    the writings of RL Dabney.

    But to be honest, Doug Phillips claims that these quotes are from Robert Lewis Dabney, and his Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy echo the works of Dabney according to what Phillips tells us that Dabney has written.

    I recognize this stuff from Doug’s booklet of Dabney’s quotes, all complete with 20th century subtitles like “Dabney on No Fault Divorce” and the like. I don’t think Robert L. Dabney made any statements specifically on “no fault divorce,” just like John Knox did not discuss the blogosphere, as Vision Forum tends to boast with Gothardesque sounding soundbyte titles. But people read it on Vision Forum’s website, so it must be true. (Like the Rushdoony quotes he passes off as his own, or at least he quotes Rushdoony’s old statements and lets on as though they are his own without referencing them and giving credit where credit it due. People then reference this as Doug’s original thoughts, and he has taken them from Rushdoony. How convenient.)

    But I digress. I wanted to point out that I might actually be able to direct you to the specific writings of Dabney, chapter and verse or chapter, page and line, so to speak, but Phillips does not yield this information in his booklet, only a broad list of many Dabney sources at the very end.

    In other words, Doug will quote a paragraph from something that Dabney presumably wrote. Where that quote appears, there is no reference, no footnote, no information specifying the source of the quote. It is only referenced as a quote belonging to Dabney.

    Generally when specific quotes are taken from someone or a writings are referenced, the writer indicates as closely as possible where these quotes were obtained. An example might be something like this following a quote: From page 200 of his Systematic Theology or from Chapter 2 of Defense of Virginia, page 23 in the 1999 Sprinkle Press edition. But all you find in Phillips’ book of lists of quotes on Dabney, following his extensive introduction and Dabneyophile gratitude to his fellow Dabneyophile Lloyd Sprinkle is a catalogued lists of quotes, based on their subject. There is no reference attached to each quote. There is only a general list of several Dabney sources at the very end of the booklet.

    In other words, it is like I decide to write what Jesus said on the subject of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then I proceed to take all of the references to the Kingdom of Heaven and list them, but I do not put the chapters or verses or footnotes or reference numbers. So you read several pages of quotes of Jesus saying “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man…” and the “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a field…” There is no specific reference for each quote beside each verse and line. But then at the very end of the booklet, after all of the many references have been reproduced, in the Bibliography or List of Works Cited, you find New Testament Sources: “Book of Matthew,” “Book of Mark,” “Book of Luke,” “Book of John.”

    That’s an example of the scholarship of an attorney at law? So really , unless I read the complete list of sources cited by Dabney, a number of several books in their entirety and am able to recognize them all, I cannot really or easily verify if Dabney even really said those things or where he said them or in what context.

    So, having not read ever work cited by Phillips in this glorious booklet about the prophetic Reverend Dabney, I cannot really verify that the quotes and the ideas in the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy truly originated with Dabney as Phillips claims.

    Why would Mr. Phillips do this? He references Scripture verses, so why not pages and chapters and specific sources in this list of Dabney quotes?

    Scientia est potentia, perhaps? (Knowledge is power.) HIdden knowledge is even better, lending more power?

    Or does he want to obscure the idea that he took these ideas from Dabney, and that he and Mr. Lancaster and Mr. Sproul, Jr. just arranged them as such in their document? Are they afraid to openly and obviously declare that their patriarchy is rehashed Southern Confederacy material? That’s fine, if you are honest about the source, but it takes some time for you to permeate and digest the layers of patriarchy. First, you see the lovely family and photoshopped rosy cheeks. Then you hear “Biblical” 500 times. Then you might check out the doctrinal statement (what has been written, without the unwritten and understood rules). It takes awhile to unearth the core sources of some of these things.

    It is another layer of patriarchy that is not so obvious perhaps. It would not be politically advantageous to call the “Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy” the Tenets of Dabney or the Tenets of Southern Confederate Patriarchy. But say that you read them, develop a fondness for them, but you do not realize their source. Then, a year later, you see a “Hail Dabney” post on the Vision Forum website, and you buy a copy of Doug’s booklet. You read the material there, poorly referenced, and maybe you do and maybe you don’t recognize that it bears a striking similarity to the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy. By then you are hooked in and it doesn’t matter.

    So if you ask me, this manifesto for Christian Homeschooling from the Summit is just a veneer on the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy which is, so far as Doug Phillips claims per the quotes, condensed from Robert Lewis Dabney, a man who said People of Color of African origin and Native Americans were incapable of learning and it was a sin to teach them. They were born to slavery due to the judgement of God on their hearts before they were born, deserving of their station for God esteemed them to be lower than the elite and the chosen and the noble.

    Then if you study with VF for awhile, you will learn that Doug Phillips also embraces Dabney’s agrarian economics, maintaining that slavery is the answer to our economic woes as a nation. I wonder how you get to be a free man and who decides who qualifies as a slave according to Mr. Phillips? Dabney said it fell to non-Christians and the miserable unqodly, less-than-human slaves and negros. Maybe it will fall to women since they are men’s helpmeets and ontologically subordinate to men? Maybe they will then make slaves of all the feminists? Or Dispensationalists? Or athiests?

    Who knows? Not much of this makes sense to me. It looks like they have merely sprayed a new veneer on an ideology and have not been open and forthcoming about all of the implications. They layer the truth, covering it over with sugar and soundbytes and photoshopped smiles and “Biblical” this and that in a postmodern amalgam that takes advantage of marketing to sell you Confederate Ideology to keep you fighting a war that was lost 140 years ago. But slavery and racism and intolerance doesn’t make for good marketing, so they don’t sell you the whole package all at once. They trust that you will follow Cialdini’s weapon of influence, your consistency, the rest of the way down the “primrose path” (Spoken of Ophelia, scene 3, act 1, Shakespeare’s “Hamet”).


    ” We are oft to blame in this, —
    ‘Tis too much prov’d, —
    that with devotion’s visage,
    And pious action,
    we do sugar o’er the devil himself.

    As spoken by the character Polonius
    in scene 1, Act 3
    “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

    So hard to reference a good quote?

  5. says

    I failed to properly reference Robert B Cialdini, author of “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion” (Collins Business Press, revised ed 2006)

    “Consistency” is what Cialdini describes as one of the human tendencies and aspects of human behavior common to all people that predisposes them to emotional appeal to bypass rational thoughts and through use of mental shortcuts and context clues to help sift through large amounts of information. He describes these predispositions as “Weapons of Influence” and names six very powerful human tendencies, generally used by salesmen to influence us to buy their products or their belief systems.

    “Consistency” is one of these “weapons.” It is discussed in further detail in the chapter in his book entitled:
    Comittment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind (pages 57-112)

    A very good synopsis of all of these tendencies to which we often succumb when under pressure or influence can be found on my blog.

    Here is part of Philip Zimbardo’s synopsis of consistency (as defined by Cialdini) found on his website “The Lucifer Effect”:

    * Affords a valuable shortcut through complex decision-making; being consistent with earlier decisions reduces need to process relevant information in future decisions

    How It’s Exploited

    * Profiteers exploit the principle by inducing people to make an initial commitment, take a stand or position that is consistent with requests that they will later ask of them

    * Commitments are most effective when they are active, public, effortful, and are seen as not coerced and internally motivated – influence professionals will try to make it difficult to renege on your previous position

    * If they are successful, abiding by this rule may lead to stubborn commitment to an initial position and to actions contrary to one’s best interests

    * The rule may become self-perpetuating – people will seek to add new reasons and justifications for their behavior even after conditions have changed

  6. says

    Actually the spheres material might actually be found in the Biblical whatever it is document for biblically Uniting biblical Church and biblical Home, also found on Vision Forum’s biblical website. It is the document of agreement and statement of record for the NCFIC.

  7. anthea says

    Hello Karen
    After being off the internet for a while, I am now able to enjoy your blog and the radio shows. I am enjoying the chance to catch up on a few of the old shows on your podcast site. May I recommend them to anyone who has not yet listened?

    May I also make a comment on an old programme? I was listening to the series on militant fecundity. It’s excellent. There is one error in your presentation, which is understandable. There is so little medical info for christians who are pro-life. But in the UK we are privileged to have the Christian Medical Fellowship, a coalition of bible-believing doctors, surgeons and so on. I read an article by one of their members (in Woman Alive magazine) on the topic of birth control, but I cannot find it on their website. So I did a search on the CMF website and found an excellent piece on which methods of birth control avoid the abortion of a child.

    You will note the mini pill Cerazette – excuse me, but I don’t know what it’s called in the US. It is designed to be taken every day and does not cause abortion. Since it’s a fairly new version of the mini pill, you could not really be expected to have known about it when recording your programme. However, if you’re going to tell people that no pills are acceptable for christians (it is so unlike you to tell people that this or that is never acceptable that my ears pricked up wneh I heard it – ‘cos you are such a judicious commentator), then you need to keep up to date with the latest medical advances, so that your advice is accurate. I know that this is a tall order for a busy home educating mother.

    I think that the CMF is a good source of information, and they are v active over here, defending life against all sorts of attack e.g. the latest attempt to legalise euthanasia in the House of Commons.

    Sorry this long comment is attached to a post on a different topic, but I am not clever enough to work out where it should have gone.

    BTW, this whole VF thing is fascinating, if initially confusing to me. I tried looking on the Under Much Grace blog, but ,well, it’s a bit too overexcited in tone, and there is so much on there that I could not really find a simple explanation of the issues. So the posts you have recently written have been very helpful.


  8. says

    Mary, they have reported that 475 were in attendance at that conference. I wonder how many felt they had not been given the opportunity to actually participate in the discussion.

  9. says

    Melanie, you have zeroed in on the key point that needs to be made….these self-appointed leaders are trying to speak for parents rather than encouraging moms and dads to prayerfully write their own philosophies of education. I stressed the importance of doing this along with some suggestions for how to go about writing a philosophy of education in this series of podcasts:

    I would never presume to write one for other parents. Doesn’t that fly in the very face of their own words that parents are the ones who are responsible for educating their children?

  10. says

    And, Melanie, another thought. If parents don’t take steps to form their own convictions and formulate their own reasons for homeschooling along with a philosophy of education, they will fall prey to the patriocentrists, allowing their views to set the agendas for their families. Sadly, I personally know those who, when asked why they homeschool, can only give a canned, VF response.

  11. says

    Cindy, you are correct that there is much “sugar” shellacking the teachings in this group! As with all their teachings, on the surface things can look great but learning to speak their language and peeling back their layers for what is at the core are skills you must hone in order to get what they may be saying.

  12. says

    Anthea, I am so glad to see you back around these parts! I had wondered where you were. And thank you for your kind words.

    As far as I can tell, the mini pill Cerazette itself is not available in the US. I did some research this morning on the key ingredient it contains which is Desogestrel. The online sources state that it has three functions: #1 to suppress ovulation, #2 to thicken the cervical mucous in order to slow down or prevent passage of sperm and #4 to alter the lining of the uterus to make it hostile to a fertilized egg. That third one makes desogestrel an abortifacient.

    I also found this commentary online:

    Cerazette: How does it work?

    Cerazette tablets are a type of hormonal contraceptive commonly known as the ‘mini pill’ or progestogen-only pill (POP). They contain the active ingredient desogestrel, which is a synthetic progestogen, similar to the natural progestogens produced by the body.

    Desogestrel works as a contraceptive primarily by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It also acts by increasing the thickness of the natural mucus at the neck of the womb, making it more difficult for sperm to cross from the vagina into the womb. By preventing sperm entering the womb, successful fertilisation of any eggs that are released is less likely.

    Desogestrel also acts to change the quality of the womb lining (endometrium). This prevents the successful implantation of any fertilized eggs onto the wall of the womb, thereby preventing pregnancy.

    And also this one:

    About Cerazette
    Cerazette is a progestogen only contraceptive pill. It is unique among progestogen only pills as if you take your pill late you have a 12 hour window as opposed to 3. When used correctly it can be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. This means that if 100 sexually active women take cerazette for a year then one will become pregnant compared to 80-90 if no contraception is used. However cerazette doesn’t protect against STIs so you might need use condoms as well.
    How does Cerazette work?
    In each packet there are 28 white pills that each contains synthetic progesterone Desogestrel (75 micrograms). This hormone is similar to one your body uses to regulate your natural menstrual cycle. When you take the pill this hormone causes three things happen that stop you from becoming pregnant-
    1. Your ovaries don’t release an egg (ovum) each month. If there is no egg for the sperm to fertilise then you can’t get pregnant. This may not happen in all women taking cerazette.
    2. The mucus at your cervix (between your uterus and vagina) becomes thicker making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus.
    3. The lining of your uterus becomes thinner making it less likely that a fertilised egg will be able to implant into the lining.

    For more information on birth control pills, I would highly recommend Randy Alcorn’s research and well-thought out reasoning:

  13. says

    I could make so many comments but this really stood out to me:

    “The Content
    The training in humility -and fear, faith and character is preeminent and inseparably integrated in the intellectual development of a child.”

    These things sound very good and religious, but without accountability and a strong grasp of truth, this could be setting children up for severe spiritual problems in the future! These things were integrated into my intellectual development as a child, and I STILL am trying to overcome the effects of some of them–

    Humility: false, in the aspect we are taught that it is godly to “consider all others better than yourself” which therefore means to consider that you are not as good as all others–which for a developing mind becomes translated into worthlessness, low self-esteem, and many other self-degenerating core beliefs which affect EVERYTHING.

    Fear: This is a very critical aspect. I can give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they mean the fear of God, (which stems from reverence and awe, not ‘fright’ as many of us instantly imagine) however, I think that most of your readers will understand what I mean when I refer to the devastating results of fear-based performance which is sadly, a huge factor within many families and communities who practice a return to “godly” living. To include it in this manifesto with such elevated focus and intent truly alarms me.

    Faith: faith in what? (Ironically, the opposite of faith is fear.) The god that I placed faith in as a child is not the gracious, loving Father of Jesus who I know today. This has taken years of struggle and heartache to overcome. Faith in ancient paths? Faith in lifestyle? Faith that we are doing the right thing? Faith in works? This seems to be such a broad, open-ended statement which I do expect they will discuss with more detail–however, it strikes me as very alarming.

    Once a child is set on a path that is not directly headed to Jesus Christ (Christ-centric), it is inevitable that the fruits of destruction will become more and more apparent. Because this is couched in a very religious setting and with “righteous” sounding principles, I am even more dubious.

  14. mary says

    I am curious as to what end this ‘manifest’ will be used. Will parents need to agree to it or sign it to be part of something such as a group like CHEC? It seems that would be extremely devisive within the hs community and according to what John Holtzman is saying about Swanson’s talk on this, he does not want to cause division. So why a ‘mainifesto’? I think the Christian homeschool manifesto should be that there should be no manifesto. God has given each of us individual children, unique in every way, to disciple and eduate as we are led by Him.No further instructions neccessary.

  15. anthea says

    dear Karen

    I have posted a reply to your reply – but I put it on your latest blog entry.



  16. Amie says

    When I read that I feel like I do when I read many churches “statement of faith” – I am asking myself “What does it REALLY mean?”. Sure it sounds good at first glance but their is is this undertone.

  17. says

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the men being the ones who know everything about homeschooling, when in most cases they don’t do any of the actual teaching…. So to create a homeschooling manifesto just seems so… odd. What ego! And the mothers… it makes me ill to think women willingly go along with this.

  18. says

    Momma, it really does boggle the mind, doesn’t it?

    What I have discovered is that listening to others who are sorting through these issues always reveals more pieces to the puzzle and helps me wrap my arms around it. I am about 20 pages away from finishing the Quiverfull book and have found some interesting things that explain more of what we are seeing. I am hoping to get a review of that book up in the days to come, as well as several other book reviews I have been wanting to write. I hope others who have also read these books will share their thoughts, too.

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