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?