details of the homeschooling leadership summit agenda

John Holzmann from Sonlight Curriculum has written an evaluation of yet another of Doug Phillips’ presentations at the recent Homeschool Leadership Summit held a couple months ago in Indianapolis.

In this article, John shares highlights that basically outline the impending “manifesto” of this group and I would like to list some of those things here along with a few of my own insights and comments on each one.  Phillips believes that homeschooling is “in a state of potential disaster” and then goes on to list the following ways homeschooling families must head off said disaster:

1.     Goals of the homeschool movement need to include the destruction of the entire government-run school system and the abolition of Child Protective Services. If we don’t agree we are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

During the past 24 years I have homeschooled my own children, neither of these two “goals” have ever hit my radar.  While I am a staunch and active, sometimes aggressive, promoter of home education, I think the fruit of our efforts can stand alone without me feeling the need to destroy the public system or even to see them as the enemy.  In fact, there are many Christian teachers I personally know who are “missionaries” to children who desperately need their love and influence within the system.  Some of these teachers are even homeschooling parents themselves!

Even Argentine revolutionary, Che Guevera, said, and with much truth, “Do not try to kill your enemy rather, attempt to educate him.  For he is worth more alive to you than dead”.  Homeschoolers have much to share and teach those who have chosen a different path.  Why seek to tear down relationships by seeking to destroy a system we cannot destroy anyway?  This sort of rhetoric may inspire and incite those who heard his presentation and make Phillips sound like the “manly man” he keeps pontificating about, but in practical terms it will only divide the body of Christ and will bring scrutiny and consternation upon all homeschoolers.

I also strongly disagree with the notion that the CPS has no role to play within our culture.  Calling for the destruction of it tells me two things. The first is that Phillips appears to have no real empathy toward those families and children who do not yet know the Lord and who live as we would expect pagans to live.  The children who are trapped in these living situations need an advocate for them and, sadly, the very people who should be willing to reach out to them will not because they have cloistered themselves away in homeschooling FIC communities.

Secondly, it also shoots up huge warning flags to me, especially in light of the propensity for harsh and abusive discipline that some within the patriocentric movement practice. Richard Fugate and Michael Pearl both teach methods of child discipline that ought to be examined and rejected by Christian parents.  I believe some of the motivation for this sort of anti-CPS talk is the desire to protect parents who embrace these same teachings.

I also wonder about the cases of child sexual abuse within Christian and homeschooling homes that need to be addressed. We cannot pretend that these situations haven’t occurred because they have.  I find it appalling that Phillips wants to make it our mission to use our energy to destroy public education and social programs designed to protect children from those who practice bad parenting. Not only it is fruitless and unwise but it may give rise to needless concerns about all homeschooling families on the part of officials.  What was he thinking?

2.     Another goal is to reject and bring an end to church-based or church-run schools.

Again, what a battle to choose for homeschoolers!  Where is the sin in giving a child a Christian education in a classroom setting?  Many Christian homeschoolers enroll their children in classes they find difficult to teach in their homes, such as science labs, language classes, band, and chorus.  I don’t understand why their destruction should be our goal?  How are they a grave risk to homeschoolers?

3.     Another goal is to reject college or any training for daughters that might lead to them being outside of the home. If we do this, we are wrong, are in sin, are threatening the future of home education, AND we have gotten involved in rebellious, feminist thinking.  In fact, Phillips seems to be saying that for all times and for all cultures, this is God’s standard. (oops, Jesus must have forgotten this when he took all those ladies along to FINANCIALLY SUPPORT them as they presented the Gospel.)

Long time readers of this blog know that the topic of “visionary daughters” has been examined from many angles and continues to be a hot topic.  But what is becoming increasingly clear to me is that, no matter how much kinder, gentler spin these people attempt, the truth is that this movement absolutely teaches that there are two views of godly womanhood: patriocentric views and everyone else’s and it is clear that if we are not on their page, we are part of the radical secular feminist agenda. Those who deny this are either, as Peter warned us, unknowledgeable or unstable and both are headed for destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)  Phillips most recent presentation confirms this.

4.     ” We must be involved in godly family integrated, orthodox, sound churches. Without accountability, without the love of brethren, without the nurturing and the teaching of the Bible, we will fall apart, and the homeschool movement can no longer tolerate, it can no longer handle, unassociated Christian members that are simply not willing to be part of formal biblical associations.”

Again, Doug is painting with a broad brush, assuming that traditional churches and home churches cannot provide the proper accountability structure for homeschooling families. Not only is this statement without merit, it also is a picture of the wedding of ecclesiocentricity and patriocentricity, a deadly combination for certain.  This admonition proves that the patriocentrists will continue to use homeschooling forums to promote their FIC agenda.  I can’t help but wonder how many godly Bible believing pastors know this when these folks come to town.

5.     Mothers are not leaders in their homes and must be protected by their husbands from women internet bloggers who see godly womanhood in a different light and who speak out against patriocentricity.  In fact, those who critique Phillips’ views were referred to as “internet gossips” with possible website names like and are considered to be more dangerous to homeschooling moms than internet porn is to homeschooling dads!

Well, I hardly know what to say on that!  I guess when you run out of ideas and cannot present the merits of an argument or listen to the real concerns people have, name calling is always an option.

In closing his review, John notes that Phillips is making the bar too high for most people to consider homeschooling.  I think that is part of the agenda.  A while back, someone who attended the Botkin conference shared that he told the audience his daughters didn’t play with Barbie dolls as they grew up but rather he gave them toys that would train them to be the leaders over the servants in their households.  I thought that was interesting in light of John’s thoughts.  It is certainly a different twist than the genuine Biblical truth that Jesus came “not to be served but to serve and to give His live as a ransom for many.”

Earlier today I had a long conversation with a stalwart of the homeschooling movement and someone who has done amazing things to preserve the rights of homeschoolers in this country.  This person was dumbfounded to hear this list and so saddened at what the ramifications might be if the secular powers that be were to read and actually believe this agenda.  I concurred.

Dear readers, I have come to believe that the concerns are far greater than I ever realized before.  Let’s pray that the Lord will open eyes and hearts and will preserve and protect those of us who are willing to speak out against such teachings.

 photo Blog__Sidebar_Hello_zps79b9481b.png


  1. says

    Vision Forum needs to be classified as an aberrant cult-type group, similar to Harold Camping and his destructive claims that the Church Age was over and all good Christians should abandon churches.

  2. Emmy says

    Such sense, such wisdom.

    YOU should be holding conferences and writing books for “the Christian homesechooling community” (I know, there is by no means one monolithic “community”!).

    Parents and children alike would really benefit from your caution, circumspection, and measured and nuanced view of both homeschooling and society. Part of being a Christian is knowing how to navigate the society into which you were born, and how to deal with members of the social majority.

    Now, you personally may not want such an expanded leadership role (keynoting conferences, and such), thatmom–perfectly understandable.

    But what a crying shame that these patrios would disqualify you if you wanted to do so… because you were born with a uterus.

  3. Cally Tyrol says

    Do we have to be a part of a movement or can we just teach our children out home? Why is it always a battle with these people? Don’t they EVER get tired of complaining, er, fighting?

  4. Emmy says

    Cally, that’s the only way these “movements” can advance their agendas–first, by construing themselves as a movement, and second, by setting up a war in which they are the embattled patriots and ragtag minutemen fighting the big, bad MAN/World/Culture.

    War, war, war. Battle, Battle, Battle. Swords and swashbuckling (even in bedroom, as per the Dougs–yikes!) I often think that many such people are attracted to Christianity *because* of the martial language used in some parts of the Bible. They completely overlook the pacifist and spirit-based chunks of the Word, of course. Those don’t “get the blood up” like playing cowboys and indians.

  5. says

    Wow, Karen! Thank you so much for this article!

    You have reminded me of something I wanted to write about but forgot as I was writing my article (and follow-through).

    As I grew up, my parents’ home was absolutely not a haven of rest. It was a place from which I attempted to escape as much and as often as possible. The anger, the verbal abuse, the (occasional) physical violence my parents expressed one toward the other (which, of course, impacted all six of us children): I needed to escape.

    And guess what? My effective “family,” for almost all practical purposes, was our church–i.e., of course, not the church building, but the loving, caring, nurturing people, the youth group leaders, the pastors, the Youth for Christ/Campus Life leader, and others who were willing to take me in and provide aid and comfort if and as I needed it.

    My parents loved me. They cared for me. But there were so many dysfunctionalities in our family, they couldn’t provide–they were incapable of providing–a goodly portion of the help I needed in order to grow in the grace of Christ.

    . . . Moving on from my time at home–during the time I was in college–again I found my “family” in the church and in the Navigators, Campus Crusade, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

    I was so thankful for all these ministries. I was so thankful for their larger world view. –Again, things that were far beyond my parents’ ability to provide.

    . . . Yet Phillips, Swanson, and friends seem so antagonistic to such ministries and opportunities.

    How sad for kids like I was if their vision were to come to pass!

  6. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    Your podcast this month looks very interesting. My usb sticks, mp3 etc are all full, but as soon as I’ve got space on them I shall download the talks on grace.

    Regarding the topic of the home education community in the US, I have been mulling it over at the sink and in the bathroom – where I bathe! 1% of 300 million is still a lot of people, so it’s a large vibrant community. Here in the UK, 1% of 60 million leaves you isolated, even in the big cities. Christians who home ed are a minority of a minority. Some face hostility from their churches. We don’t have the luxury of falling out with people, so it would take a lot to make me declare someone persona non grata. Some people have had horrid experiences with some churches/ministries, and you (Karen) have made carefully-reasoned observations about the evident failures of those groups. But I have seen some comments sent in by readers of your blog that concern me. A few weeks back some were attacking some ministries because they had appeared on the same bill as this or that person. This sounds like guilt by association. Of course, all true believers are associated with each other, whether we choose to be or not. So would we like to be rejected because of our links with weak new christians, or “wine-bibbers and publicans”?

    I have seen some intemperate language (calling people “idiots”), too. Think about it: *you* carefully explained the difference between patriocentricity and patriarchy, but I see some other people using slangy derivatives, such as “patrios”. This reminds me of the way atheist bloggers call christians “fundies”, as well as other nasty names I’ve been called (back in the 1970s, mostly). I made a *big* mistake and followed the link to True Womanhood, which has morphed into … Well, I saw a *few* temperate, thoughtful posts- mostly from you, Karen. Be angry and sin not!

    While washing the dishes, I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ I do think more of the genuine Titus 2 women need to speak up – but words of healing; not telling us what’s wrong with ‘so-and-so’s advice’, but speaking wise words of hope. I love Cindy Rushton’s ‘Mom to Mom radio show’ on Blog Talk Radio. She has a big heart, and a smile in her voice.

    We also need more Titus 2 MEN to advise and encourage the young dads! It’s no good attacking Voddie Baucham for being young and inexperienced. You’re right that the fruit of his child rearing isn’t yet visible — but the worthier candidates are rather quiet. So, it’s allowed him to have a bit of a monopoly. Perhaps some men in your church …?

    I’m not sure that *Mr Holzmann* is ready for the role of critiquing the radicals of homeschooling: he was hurt when CHEC stopped stocking his materials. When someone has hurt or offended us, it’s hard to be objective. His posts on the CHEC conference are good, but just occasionally I think the offense is talking. Even if CHEC leaders were wrong, they are free to be wrong. After all, some families will flick through the Sonlight catalogue and decide it’s not for them — a group should be able to do the same thing. ( I can’t believe that I’m arguing for free-market capitalism — I’m from ‘socialist’ Europe, after all ..)

    Do you know what cheered me up? Your post on rhubarb. You have a 360-degree view of home education – it’s life, and there is so much more to life than even patriocentricity. Wait! “So much more!” That’d make a good book title…


  7. says

    Karen, thanks for pointing out this direction being taken by some leaders in home education. I am appalled with where they’re going with it but I hope that the more openly they operate, the easier it will be for normal people to evaluate them accurately and sidestep.

    Of course there needs to be some ground for them to sidestep TO….I pray homeschooling’s other pathmakers will show wisdom.

  8. says

    Anthea, I have responded to you in a much too long post after this one! Please feel free to drop me a note if you wish.

  9. says

    Emmy, thanks for your sweet words of encouragement. All I want to do is to encourage moms in whatever way that I can, especially as it relates to helping them build great relationships with their children. I have done some homschooling related speaking and especially love being able to develop a series of messages for moms in a retreat setting. I really don’t want any “leadership” role in anything, just the opportunity to share with moms from my own hall of shame and to help them make it through one more day! 🙂

  10. says

    Jack, I always love your input into these matters! You are a man of few words but the ones you say are always profound. Thanks.

  11. says

    John, you really spoke my heart on this issue. Some of those nearest and dearest to me have experienced the same sort of childhood that you shared and it was loving youth leaders and Sunday school teachers who reached out to them and gave them hope. Thank you for being so transparent and genuine in addressing a sensitive area. May the Lord bless you today in His service, my dear brother.

  12. says

    Thank you so much for bringing this topic to light. I’ve heard of Doug Phillips and some of his ideas, but this concise list will definitely be of help in future conversations as they arise. Thank you for sharing it as well as your well thought responses.

    We are a homeschooling family of seven. My husband is a Christian high school teacher and I work as a nurse outside the home a few hours a week. We have high hopes of all of our children going to college. Clearly we wouldn’t have been welcome in a community such as Phillips prescribes.

    I am so encouraged by the homeschoolers in our community. We are Christians from all backgrounds, family sizes, professions, demoninations….striving to educate and nurture our children according to God’s Word. The Body of Christ is beautiful and beyond anything that man might feebly attempt to make it.

    Love your blog. I’ll be back for more!

  13. says

    Monica, welcome and thanks for your kind words.

    My son’s fiancee is finishing her nursing degree and intends to works a few hours each week while homeschooling one day! I will share with her that it can be done!

    I appreciate your insights into the diversity of homeschooling families. I, too, am so thankful for this.

  14. says

    I just don’t believe in eating our own.

    Why does anyone care what Doug Phillips says about anything anyway? He’s a lawyer by training and trade, not an educator. He’s not an ordained theologian, and he’s not accountable to any higher body of oversight. Theologically speaking, he seems to be R.C. Sproul Jr’s sock puppet.

    For all the hyper-vigilance we see amongst certain conservative home schoolers against humanistic liberalism, there seems to be utter ignorance of the fact that ‘heresy’ can come at you from several directions. There are heretics, false prophets, and Diotrophes on the right, not just the left. To foist off your own ideas as directly Biblical when they’re not, and to try to set the dogs on other home schoolers solely because they don’t obey your self-created opinions, ought to get Doug Phillips excommunicated, if circumstances were normal.

  15. says

    Ryan, I will post this and then also reply via email to be sure you see my response.
    I have downloaded the Mp3’s from most of the speakers at the 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit from Resounding Voice, which is run by the Erber family in the Chicago area. It has been available for many years but this morning when I went back to find a link to the conference for you, discovered that they have removed these workshop recordings from their catalog! You can find my review based on having gone through those recordings myself on this podcast series:

    And you can also read when John Holzmann from Sonlight had to say on his blog after listening to them. If you need a copy of those Mp3’s I might be able to copy them for you since they are “out of print.” My guess is that they have become increasingly problematic for HSLDA and other groups who sponsored and/or spoke at that event but just because they are no longer available means the agenda has changed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.