dropping out of the paradigm not out of homeschooling

great grandma and vienna

Having been around homeschoolers for nearly 3 decades, I am sometimes intrigued with the changes we have seen as homeschooling has come of age.  From what was, typically, a handful of families scattered over several counties, hundreds of miles apart, meeting a couple times a year to encourage each other, to mega conferences in our own backyards, the old adage applies: “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

This week someone shared with me a new documentary published by the Botkin family entitled Homeschool Dropouts.* As I watched the trailer, featuring the ever-hyperbolic Kevin Swanson, the only face I recognized, accompanied by foreboding, emotion-manipulating music reminiscent of the movie Jaws, I was reminded of R. C. Sproul Jr.’s musings a year and a half ago about “movement” homeschoolers vs the rest of us.

Describing the differences in terms of “secondary issues,” Sproul lamented the direction homeschooling has taken, wringing his hands over the losses he was seeing on his side of the homeschooling aisle. And now, the Botkins and Swanson have jumped on the same bandwagon, this time shamelessly interpreting the Barna and Smith research in order to fit their own agenda, equating young people who leave the faith with those young adults who choose to not be part of their paradigm.   The truth is that “movement” homeschoolers are losing their battle for the 2nd generation of homeschoolers and patriocentricity is responsible.

Earlier this year, as the preachers of patriocentricity met to outline their agenda for “Christian homeschooling,” it became apparent that they had a multigenerational vision for both America and homeschooling that is unnecessary for if not repugnant to the majority of those who desire to raise Christian children and to homeschool them.  Prioritizing the banishing of child and family services, closing all government schools, and ending traditional church attendance for all homeschooling families in lieu of family integrated churches is unrealistic, unreasonable, and downright foolish.

Intelligent and thoughtful young adults who are making choices about raising and educating their children aren’t interested in this broader agenda that seems to have taken over even some of the sounder minds in homeschooling today.  In fact, they are sickened by all the navel gazing and lack of interest in true cultural reformation that comes with hearts for evangelism and ministry and seeing the genuine and legitimate priority of grace that changes hearts and turns people to Jesus.  They are offended at the re-writing of Scripture that has been employed to promote a man-centered agenda.  They are running away, indeed, not from homeschooling but from the cult mentality, paradigm pedaling, and homeschool celebrity worship that permeates the “movement.” And many of them are still recovering from open wounds they received at the hands of this movement, wounds that have never healed because parents have refused to repent for worshiping at the altar of the patriocentric paradigm.

Last weekend I spoke at our homeschooling mom’s retreat about the need for wisdom and kindness in our families. I talked about true wisdom and how it is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, free from man’s teachings and man’s agendas.  And I talked about what kindness, mercy, gentleness, and grace look like as we practice one anothering in our homes.  At the end of the day, I had 5 different women speak to me about “movement homeschooling” and the effects it is having on young adult homeschoolers they personally know, how they are seeing tremendous damage in homes and churches, how they are taking their families and running as far away as possible from these destructive teachings.

Interestingly enough and contrary to the Botkin/Swanson (hopefully) swan song, many of these young adults ARE choosing homeschooling for their children.  They get it about relationship building.  They are ignoring the perpetual cult mantra of daddy worship and mama role-playing and are recognizing the spin as it is spun.  Here is what one young mom wrote on her evaluation form about our retreat program:  “Thank you for being real and sharing the struggles of homeschooling.  As a second generation home educator, I am so ready for a new focus of honesty among homeschool leaders and speakers.  Presently the homeschool world is filled with hypocrisy and your openness is a breath of fresh air.”   Sounds like success to me!

*As with most patriocentric propaganda, I am never certain who the intended audience is supposed to be.  Current homeschooling parents?  Young adults who fled the patriocentric movement? Their own choir?

 photo Blog__Sidebar_Hello_zps79b9481b.png


  1. Susan T says

    Agreeing with you completely. Loved your talks and the testimonies at the Treasures Retreat.

    On the other hand, I am amazed at the “johnny come lately”s who keep producing “scary” videos, over the top books, and blogs which basically take everything anyone has ever known or done with homeschooling and ignore it– there are no “hat-tips” to previous books or blogs or homeschool methods or theories– and then set up their classical/historical looking blog pages to appear as expert-like as possible. I clicked on “At Last: The Missing Link in Home Education Is Here!” and saw that it is J. Chancey idolizing the Botkins. Mrs. Botkin, in particular is idolized as a homeschool “expert”. Anyone who has researched homeschooling for a few months or been to a single conference or talked to a handful of regular homeschool families at church or in the neighborhood can easily tell you they have read or heard the same information which this fancy new website has sidebarred as “The Missing Link…!” There is truly nothing new under the sun and there are truly some people taking advantage of any & every opportunity to separate unsuspecting parents from their money.

  2. Susan T says

    Another humorous comment… my daughter was reading the other sidebars at the Botkin’s Western Conservatory site and saw this one… “But What If . . . ?
    How can young women make themselves ready to face economic hard times and the vicissitudes of “the real world”? ”

    and she imediately quipped, “The last thing they’re qualified to do is to teach about reality…”

  3. says

    Susan, you have noted something that bothers me as well. Whenever the history of homeschooling is reported by the patriocentrists, they conveniently forget about the Moores and others who went ahead of us. It really hit home to me when I realized that the Moores were homeschooling their kids when Doug Philips’ dad was in diapers! It is so insulting to those who pioneered this movement to give all these kudos to the “johnny-come-latlies!” I am so weary of them acting like they invented these old truths! “I brought something simple to eat, too. It’s called a pancake!” 🙂

  4. says

    “The last thing they’re qualified to do is to teach about reality…”

    Oh, my, it is good thing I had no hot tea in my mouth at the moment I read that. It would have been all over the computer screen. So, so true which makes it hilarious!

  5. says

    Bravo standing ovation on this post Karen. I am floored by this recent release from the Botkin family! It is completely unbiblical. I am hoping the trailer does not reflect the true message of this DVD. It amazes me how far these people have come away from the Truth of Scripture. It truly seems that they feel they can follow a certain group of rules and produce generations of Christians. It truly seems as if they are saying only those who follow their lifestyle are saved. WHAT ABOUT CHRIST!!

  6. says

    Oh my! It sounds like it’s time for a new generation of “pilgrims” to find a new land to settle before they lose all their godly seed ;D.
    It may very well be an accurate observation that the second generation is failing to home-school their children and to “take up the mantle” by “carrying on the vision”. But from what I gather from the short preview…this failure is a greater indictment of themselves than of the culture that has seduced their children as they assert. The model they offer clearly does not produce fruit and now they’ve made a documentary to let us know!

  7. says

    i relish in the comments, and the post… i love you ladies… (heart swelling in gratitude to God, to know, for sure, for certain… that I am NOT alone)

  8. says

    Here, Here!!! How refreshing your post is! I just love homeschooling Moms who recognize their true worth and their true equality. You accept it, embrace it, and love it…Thanks for standing up and saying patriocentricity, I don’t think so. Woo hoo!

  9. says

    I was confused and slightly offended at that movie trailer. They kept saying how my generation has “lost the vision” and that no one is carrying the torch that our parents fought for. I wonder which “vision” they think has been lost? Which “torch” has been dropped? Even when we were caught up in ATI and all that jazz, my parents only ever “fought for” us, their children, and how they could give us the best jump-start to life. Now we’re doing the same for our own kids. How is that “losing the vision”? Maybe they are too caught up in their “vision” to notice that the hearts of the people around them aren’t as “apostate” as they think.

    I am surrounded now by young parents my age who are more capable of making informed choices about the direction and quality of their childrens’ education than our parents ever were (thank you to our parents for that!). For so many of us we are still recovering from getting sucked into “The Vision” and are standing up to say “No, we want better for our kids, we want grace and Jesus.” We are the second generation of homeschoolers who want the homeschooling without all the crap that went with it in our own childhood. If that is “losing the vision” then praise God…it needs to be lost.

  10. says

    I echo Darcy’s thoughts and want to add: wouldn’t it be a GOOD thing to “drop the torch” or to “lose vision” if the vision isn’t godly? If it isn’t healthy? If it doesn’t edify, exhort, and draw one’s self and others towards a transforming relationship with Jesus? Shouldn’t that be a parent’s ultimate goal?

    And if the Holy Spirit convicts these “dropouts” of a more excellent way, then shouldn’t parents be grateful that their children are doing what God requires? I would think this would be the mark of successful parenting. Much like the mark of a master teacher ~ if his or her students go on to excel and become better, greater, stronger, more knowledgeable than the teachers themselves, it is apparent that they did something right and set a solid foundation.

    For children to seek to obey the voice of God even if it seems to contradict human family “vision”, then parents should lift hearts of thankfulness.

  11. says

    Excellent thoughts. I am not sure what they mean by “homeschool dropouts.” We are seeing a lot of second generation homeschoolers. Perhaps the makers of this movie need to get out more. :p

    If we are indeed seeing homeschoolers move forward, then perhaps they hit burn out, perhaps we are the ones failing to reach out to a hurting hand, perhaps we are a people who expect others to do it all and be it all spiritually.

  12. says

    “Maybe they are too caught up in their “vision” to notice that the hearts of the people around them aren’t as “apostate” as they think.”

    “I am not sure what they mean by “homeschool dropouts.” We are seeing a lot of second generation homeschoolers. Perhaps the makers of this movie need to get out more.”

    These two quotes made me really think about the Botkin agenda this morning. The website says that this film was done by the Botkin children and that they interviewed homeschooled graduates around the country. Let’s think about this for a minute. Where would they meet these “homeschooled graduates?” Those who attend their conferences would obviously be “movement” homeschoolers. These “dropouts” would also be “movement” homeschoolers if they were at family integrated churches. Perhaps they interviewed other homeschoolers at a homeschooling conference but I don’t recall seeing their names on the list at a lot of conferences. So where did they find these people? And were they selected randomly? I think that they haven’t a clue as to what the average homeschooled young adult thinks. And didn’t I recently read an article by Israel Wayne, himself a patriocentrist, commenting on the great number of 2nd generation homeschoolers? Something isn’t right here….. I believe the first thing to question is their research and how it was interpreted.

    Secondly, most of what is coming out of this camp is propaganda geared to incite fear in the hearts of the listeners, propelling them to join the patriocentric movement. Fear is a very effective motivator and easily done, especially in our current culture and among those who want their own culture rather than to be ministering within the one given to us. In order to win converts, they have to see everyone to the “left” of them on the continuum as the enemy. One of the best examples of this tactic was the chapter on white-washed feminists in Stacy McDonald’s book Passionate Housewives. She claims that basically anyone who doesn’t agree with her definition of “godly womanhood” is headed for worse destruction than the secular feminists. The line has been drawn and anyone outside of patriocentricity is the enemy, ie unsaved and apostate.

    I think it would be helpful for these filmmakers and promoters to take a long look at Scripture that discusses what true apostasy is:”Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9) and “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

  13. says

    “It truly seems as if they are saying only those who follow their lifestyle are saved.”

    Taunya, this is EXACTLY what that trailer is saying.

  14. Susan says

    Maybe you all should actually watch the documentary before making your suggestive comments. Perhaps you should do as the Bible says and seek out the truth and wisdom first. I know of 8 drop out families in your small part of the world alone. Do you ever publish comments that go against you? I believe you have set yourself up as a “god”. You obviously “love the praises of men”, as the Word of God says about those who hate Him. You do not ever attempt to reconcile or bring into the truth, you simply love attempting to destroy all you do not understand. Have you ever for even one moment, questioned what you are doing? You think you have it all together, but you are one of those the Lord will destroy without notice. His bow is bent.

  15. says

    Susan, only those who are first time commenters on this blog are moderated and I hope my willingness to post your thoughts shows you that, indeed, I am open to criticism.

    Since I see from your IP address that you live in my “small part of the world” and we probably know many of the same people, I would love to get together with you some time to talk about the patriocentric movement, my concerns with it, and to hear your differing perspective. I would also welcome your own thoughts on these issues posted here. I am not really certain what you believe but am certainly open to having you post your thoughts and opinions about patriocentric teachings here.

  16. Susan T says

    I’ve got a few minutes, so I’ll respond to the other Susan, who said “Maybe you all should actually watch the documentary before making your suggestive comments.”

    Me- Maybe Susan, you should “watch us” and get to know us before making your suggestive comments. Those are pretty heavy assumptions and personal accusations you are making against individuals you most likely do not know- at least not all of us… I don’t know if I know you IRL.

    other Susan “Perhaps you should do as the Bible says and seek out the truth and wisdom first.”

    Me- Always an excellent idea to be a Berean and test everything against Scripture and God’s wisdom. How do you know whether or not, we as individuals, have done this? Are you assuming?

    other Susan “I know of 8 drop out families in your small part of the world alone.”

    Me- What do you mean by that? Dropped out of the paradigm or homeschooling? Have they discussed their beliefs, reasons, etc… with you personally? What do you mean by “your small part of the world”? Where do you get your information?

    other Susan “Do you ever publish comments that go against you?

    Me- Karen does and just did.

    other Susan “I believe you have set yourself up as a “god”.

    Me- Serious accusation. So, is anyone who performs movie or product reviews setting themselves up as a “god” when they disagree with a premise or presentation or product?

    other Susan “You obviously “love the praises of men”, as the Word of God says about those who hate Him.”

    Me- hefty accusation… Again, what do you mean by that? and assumption “those who hate Him” Again where do you get your information? How do you know if your info is true?

    other Susan “You do not ever attempt to reconcile or bring into the truth, you simply love attempting to destroy all you do not understand.”

    Me- another hefty accusation… this time with exaggeration “not ever” combined with assumption “do not understand”

    other Susan “Have you ever for even one moment, questioned what you are doing?”

    Me- of course, I examine myself as per Scripture daily. In regard to this kind of exaggerated, accusatory comment I think… should I respond? do I have the time?

    other Susan “You think you have it all together, but you are one of those the Lord will destroy without notice. His bow is bent.”

    Me- Wow. Reminds me of things the Prophets said in regard to OT idolatry and general disobedience & hard-heartedness to God or something in the Psalms. “His bow is bent.”… sounds like a threat… is that What you mean to say/imply?

    Finally, What happens if you are wrong?

  17. says

    Susan: Why should anyone take you seriously, when you end your first post with a claim (dressed up in Old Testament language) that God is aiming a weapon at Susan and plans to kill her? Merely for disagreeing with, and disliking the ministries of Kevin Swanson, Vision Forum, and &. God isn’t filled with hatred and a wish-for-death for Susan, you are. This is the sort of evil mentality that the patriocentric extremists promote.

  18. says

    Jack, I think the first Susan was aiming her bow at me and Susan T came in to challenge her. Interestingly (and predictably) the first Susan has not responded either here or via e-mail, though she lives less than an hour away from me and I invited her to sit down and discuss her concerns with me.

    You are correct, btw. This does sound like the typical extremist mentality.

  19. says

    You have a Surfeit of Susans!

    Stopping home-schooling isn’t a sin, depending on one’s motives and reasons. Abandoning the Vision Forum orbit isn’t equivalent to abandoning home-schooling. Kevin Swanson doesn’t = home-schooling, to state it in mathematical jargon. To say so is like a politician who wraps himself in the American flag, or who accuses all critics of being “for the terrorists” (one of the stupider things that the Bush people used to say). The current version is that anyone who opposes Obama’s version of socialist medicine is the moral equivalent of a Nazi. Maybe they’re not abandoning home-schooling; I gather who they’re abandoning is Kevin Swanson, Doug Phillips, etc.

  20. shadowspring says

    Thank you for your boldness in speaking the truth, Karen. I wish we lived closer so I could take you out for a Starbucks. =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *