the sins of partiality and triviality and the curriculum that promotes them

This article comes from podcast notes from the 2nd series on patriarchy/patriocentricity. I came across them a while back as I was working on a project for publication and thought they might be helpful.

A couple years ago I happened across an interesting blog article written by an older woman, I will call Leanne, who lives in the Midwest. With refreshing honesty and engaging style, she shared about the two worlds she lives in. In real life, Leanne, explained, she has a husband and grown children, one who was starting to come around after living a life of total rebellion to her Christian upbringing. She lamented the fact that she had not homeschooled her children and that she longed to become a Titus Two woman for younger women but that no one was interested in what she had to say. On her blog she talked about her life in a small town, she shared delicious recipes, and wrote articles about her ministry to the elderly people in her church. In one quick glance through her pages, it was obvious that she spent time in Bible study and teaching Sunday school, in sewing and crafting and in doing all those things that she said she believes a Godly woman ought to be doing with her time. Even then, it was never quite as wonderful as her other world, her imaginary place on the internet, the “women of patriarchy blogs” world.

In Leanne’s idyllic world, women were more godly and wore only dresses and sometimes hats and had tea parties with chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches, being taught proper etiquette from Miss Janice, the certified tea educator. Their daughters were godly, too, so they would never go to college or even entertain a single romantic thought until their fathers had betrothed them to young men whose own mothers also blogged in Victorian whispers and while wearing lace. In this world, everyone homeschooled their large and happy families. All were perfectly behaved and if any of the mothers talked about these children, it was only to share glorious reports of their latest internship opportunities with some homeschooling leader who had everything well planned out for everyone for the next few centuries. In spite of the fact that Leanne was absolutely overwhelmed with guilt and discouragement each time she browsed through her magical blog roll, she found herself returning there day after day because it aroused something in her she couldn’t explain.

I sent a note to Leanne and we began an interesting correspondence. Because she came from outside the world of homeschooling, she asked me a lot of questions and shared her struggles with me. She told me that every day, as she read, she felt waves of depression wash over her soul and a sense of purposeless in her life made it really hard to function in her real world. So, I asked her why she kept reading the women of patriarchy blogs and she told me that, even though she knew she would never have what those women have, she could live vicariously through them and that gave her some satisfaction. In her own way, she thought she could have just a little of the perfect world these women have if she could wear dresses herself every day, occasionally have chicken salad, and step into their world through the wonders of the internet. Leanne admitted these blogs depressed her and yet she wanted what they had, believing that if she did enough of the everyday things they did, she might find happiness.

I did not fully understand Leanne’s response until I read another article, this time written by a patriarch wife who is also an older woman, a proponent of the return of womanly southern etiquette so, as she says “the south can rise again,” and a regular contributor to the Ladies Against Feminism website. In writing about the victims of Hurricane Katrina victims who were shown on the news, escaping their homes, this woman wrote:

“What does the phrase “die with dignity” mean to us? We have let the modernists liberal define this for us, making it completely contrary to real dignity. I’ve heard people say “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that outfit.” As a people, we used to be concerned with the impression and the influence we left others at our passing. I’m not suggesting we get all dressed up for a hurricane, but if those clothes which provide dignity and coverings are the only thing in our closets and the only thing available to us, we won’t be caught in a storm with the big shorts, saggy tee shirts and flip-flops. Tragedies always bring scenes of ripped and dirty clothing, but I think it is very telling about our morals and values when we allow our women to traipse about in nothing but garments that would have been underwear a hundred years ago. What a sight we are presenting to the overseas television viewers. I’m so embarrassed that these scenes are perceived by Europeans who look up to our country and admire us, as representative of us!”

The absurdity of this discussion suddenly brought it all together for me. Compassion toward those who had be forced from their homes and the grief they were experiencing during a life and death situation, these had escaped this woman who has been so widely promoted as a Titus Two mentor. All that mattered to her was the fact that the Hurricane Katrina victims were not properly attired according to her personal standards. It was the perfect example of glorifying the trivial to promote an agenda, of evaluating a person’s worth, values, and morals, by something as insignificant as her clothing.

Poor Leanne had succumbed to patriocentricity and was becoming a willing participant in its sins of triviality. Leanne did not realize that she was being encouraged to role play by thinking she could become a godly woman by “doing” all sorts of things that, in the big picture of life, are not that important, though they have been made to look as though everything in life, perhaps even her very salvation, hangs upon them. Leanne was being exhorted to “tithe mint and rue and every herb,” and yet to “neglect justice and the love of God,” as Luke said of the Pharisees of Jesus day.

In James 3 we are told that true wisdom that is from God is not only free from partiality but free from hypocrisy. And hypocrisy is rampant within the patriocentric movement. Many of those who pronounce the harshest words on anyone who disagrees with them, do not hold everyone to the same standards and, in fact, they do not even hold themselves to those same standards. For example, their rules that say “women are never to teach men” don’t apply to women like Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Elisabeth Elliot, who are not necessarily patriocentrists but whose writings and ministries are used to support patriocentric ideals. Even Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin talk about their opportunities to counsel both mothers and fathers. Conservative activist, Phyllis Schlafly, was awarded the Mother of the Year award by Vision Forum, whose articles call working outside the home a sin, and yet she has worked outside her home as an attorney for most of her life. Author and promoter of patriocentric ideals, Jennie Chancey, authored a piece for Vision Forum on her opposition to women’s suffrage, yet campaigned for presidential candidate Ron Paul and worked hard on her own husband’s political campaign, admitting in a 2008 news piece that she does, indeed, vote. And sometimes the hypocrisy simply comes through the manipulation of husbands behind the scenes. One patriarchal writer publicly defended a patriocentric book his wife was promoting though he privately admitted never having read it himself!

Hypocrisy can also be described as role playing. In fact, the Greek word for hypocrisy in James 3 is the same word used to describe what actors do in plays. The world of wives in the patriocentric culture is completely based on role playing, where a script, a costume closet, props, and even a certain character to step into has been defined for “godly womanhood” and living outside the prescribed standards places someone “outside the camp.” It is a type of bearing false witness, really, telling the world that we are godly women by following an earthly paradigm rather than by what the Word of God commands, attempting to make all women use gifts and talents that they may feel they don’t even possess and to ignore gifts they do have because someone has determined some gifts are girly and some are not. It is creating a role or a part that all women are supposed to perform and on a stage prescribed by some person who claims to know the will of God for each and every woman. It also sets both men and women up for failure because it is idolatrous and turns their hearts toward the superficiality of life that is lived within a paradigm rather than organically. It is a 1950’s or 1860’s or 1790’s interpretation of what someone has decided godly womanhood looks and acts like.

As I pointed out in the first podcast, the sin of partiality as demonstrated by an unbiblical view of hierarchy is the foundation of this movement and idealizing those times in history where it was blatantly practiced, is obvious. A pre-occupation with post World War Two suburbia in the United States or with the pre-Civil War south, for example, is rampant in the matriarchs of patriarchy world. Both of these were eras where women played roles that neither represented true Biblical womanhood nor nurtured positive relationships in families and yet they are two of the most favored settings for role playing in patriocentric neighborhoods.

Let’s take a look at patriocentricity’s “core curriculum” for women, if you will, written and recorded materials that are used to advance this role playing and let’s see how how they erroneously teach that only one particular “role” has been prescribed for all women from the earliest of ages through their golden years. Though there are several other books I could have mentioned, such as Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet, the Botkins’ So Much More, and Stacy McDonald’s Raising Maidens of Virtue, along with other books, CD’s, and DV’s Like Return of the Daughters and The Monstrous Regiment of Women, I have chosen just three books in the patriocentric arsenal, to examine this time. For more information other than what I have presented today, please visit my website and type one of these titles into the search.

The first book I want to examine that I believe has attempted to clarify the roles of women in their patriarchal world is Passionate Housewives Desperate for God written by Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancey and published in 2007 by Vision Forum. Laying out what they call a “fresh vision for the hopeful homemaker,” the role they declare is “the glorious picture painted for us in Scripture” they use phrases like “rightful place in God’s created order,” “God-ordained womanhood” “biblical directives to women to be wives, mothers, and keepers of the home”, “our respective roles given to us by God” “God has created women to fulfill the unique role of homemaker. That’s all we need to know to rest in our callings.” “God has given women a sphere that is naturally and wonderfully their own to manage and wisely govern.” “Why is God’s role for women so important? Because God says when we reject it, we blaspheme His Word.” “We can walk confidently in the role God ordained for us since the beginning of time.” And homemaking is a woman’s “glorious duty.” All of these phrases make it clear that being a wife and mother in the home is God’s undisputed calling for all women without any qualifications or exceptions. If there is still any question about the role of women in God’s eyes, Jennie Chancey explains why not being a homemaker is a sin in an article she wrote for Vision Forum in response to Pastor Andrew Sandlin who has critiqued these teachings on several occasions. She said: ““What truly amazes me is that Rev. Sandlin can state so confidently that the Bible does not call a woman leaving her God-given, home-based occupation for work outside the home “sin”..…. blasphemy is sin, whether it is spoken verbally or lived before a watching world.” Please do not miss what is being taught…The role for women is being a housewife and not being one is blasphemous and therefore a sin.” There is no exception. All women have to be homemakers like Jennie and Stacy to be godly women.

And what do these authors say about Christians who disagree with their teaching on this subject?

In a section of Passionate Housewives called “The Evangelical Feminist: The White-washed Kind, they say: “There is a more clandestine form of feminism which has crept into many modern churches. Observers have dubbed its adherents ‘evangelical feminists.’ These feminists claim to hold Scripture in high regard, yet they do not accept the biblically defined role distinctions between men and women, and they reject male authority to varying degrees. While some ‘evangelical feminists’ admit to their belief in the limited authority of the Scriptures regarding their role, others simply try to twist the Bible’s meaning to fit their lifestyle. This more subtle version of feminism is particularly dangerous due to its beguiling cloak of Christianity, because, at its core, it is no different that its ‘secular’ counterpart. While its face may be more polished and its manifestation less extreme, in essence, it is nothing more than white-washed feminism……Consequently, the biblical directives given to women to be wives, mothers, and keepers of the home are minimized or set aside as quaint or unnecessary options.”

Then, in a later section they predict where the rest of the evangelical church is headed if it does not fall in line with patriocentricity: “The Church today is jumping on a train whose engine has already gone over the cliff! Instead of getting out and turning around, we’ve decided the train car will be just fine if we paint it a prettier color or call it by a different name. But feminism is still feminism; and the results of feminism will be just the same for the Church as they have been for the world—possibly worse, because we should know better. Quite simply, there is no such thing as ‘Christian feminism.’ We either embrace the biblical model and call it ‘very good’ (just as God did after He created it), or we reject it and plummet over the cliff with the rest of the passengers on the runaway rail car.” To these authors, it appears that there are two choices, patriocentricity or damnation.

Tragically, these Passionate Housewives chose to draw a line where none should be drawn if we study the whole counsel of God. They have purposely taken a word like “feminism” which conjures up pictures of bra burning baby killers, one that is certain to get the desired response from impressionable homeschooling moms and the insecure men who lead them, and have slapped that label on everyone who doesn’t agree with their patriocentric ideals. And even worse, they have divided the body of Christ by needlessly making martyrs and victims of homemakers, causing some to even question for the first time if they are valued by others by imposing a “them against us” mentality between moms. From my own experience as a passionate homemaker for the past 35 years, I have had overwhelming support for having raised and taught 6 children. Being a wife and mother is valuable, is honorable, is a sacred calling, but it certainly doesn’t need to exalt itself above other callings God has placed on other women in order to make me feel validated or to see God’s kingdom flourish.

The women leaders in the patriocentric movement establish a one size fits all model for women. They have given them one role, that of homemaker and pronounced it “God’s role.” They have assigned a sphere, their homes, some of the leaders making Proverbs 7:11 which describes a harlot as a woman whose feet do not stay at home’ apply to any women who work outside the home. But consider this for a moment: by establishing the housewife and mother role as the only one acceptable to God, they have brushed aside most of the women mentioned in the New Testament who followed Jesus as well as those who worked alongside Paul. In fact, I can assume that some of them WERE wives and mothers, though Scripture didn’t think it was important enough to mention so we don’t know. We do know, however, that their involvement in Christ’s ministry was important enough to make it into the holy script. The patriocentrists have dismissed missionaries like Gladys Aylward, Amy Carmichael, and Elisabeth Elliot. Through this model, they have marginalized single women not to mention single mothers. They have pierced the hearts of women who are barren either from birth, because of illness, because of a husband’s infertility, or because they have gone through menopause. In reality, given the fact that a woman is able to bear children for only about 40 years of her life, what are we to make of the fact that God, in His sovereignty, planned for women to be barren for half of her time on earth? How do these women whom the patriarchs often call “non-normative” fit into God’s plan? Who are they to presume to tell us what is normative for everyone and what is not?

And then let’s consider the cultures outside of the westernized or Americanized world we live in today. How can the harsh realities of living in a third world country where women are just trying to survive every single day fit into the patriocentric model? There are over two billion people in the world who have incomes of roughly $425 dollars or less each year, many of them with all family members working just to provide the few moldy potatoes, rice, or dried beans they have in their huts. They have no running water, or available medical treatment, or books to read. Transportation might be an old bicycle. This point was brought home to me when I read the thoughts of that same patriocentric woman blogger who was upset about the clothing styles of the hurricane victims. In describing the life of a slave woman in the antebellum south, that happy time she so longs for, this woman painted an idyllic picture of carefree slave children playing at their mama’s feet while she went about her business of caring for her little slave cabin waiting for her husband to finish his shift in the cotton fields. Talk about superimposing your own paradigm on top of reality and somehow thinking you are getting it right!

Another dose of this can be found in McDonald’s first book, Raising Maidens of Virtue. Recommending that moms train their daughters to have both a morning shower and an evening bath with essential oils and sweet-smelling powders in order to present themselves as godly young women with the proper testimony, McDonald says that physical cleanliness can be an outward sign of inward purity. So what about the 3 to 4 million women in Africa who suffer from obstetric fistula, a chronic vaginal hemorrhaging and total loss of bowel and bladder control as a result of complications from childbirth? How can these women practice “godly womanhood” when they have been made social pariahs by a system that has also told them there is only one role for women, that of being wives and mothers? Can these women who are doomed to a life of uncleanness have any hope for spiritual purity? Is all hope for them to have a radiant testimony as women lost forever? This is what happens when a paradigm becomes the standard, when the more trivial aspects of life are spiritualized and certain tastes and styles are taught as “Christian decorum” and godly womanhood.

Perhaps showing some cultural naivete, the authors of Passionate Housewives don’t seem to recognize that there has been a trend toward stay at home motherhood in evangelical and even secular 20 somethings for more a couple decades now. The love and delight of being a homemaker and all the skills that go along are the topic of dozens of cable television programs, tone websites, and across blogs from one theological end of the spectrum to the other. Given these facts and seeing that there is no real Biblical foundation under girding their premise that God’s role for women is to be homemakers, I believe this book, rather than being an apologetic for genuine biblical womanhood is better seen as part of the larger agenda of the dominionist, reconstructionist agenda that must have women in their home full time having many children in order to be pulled off. In fact, in commenting on the use of the phrase “white-washed feminism”, Doug Phillips has stated: “we must present an alternative vision, a vision that sums up the burden of male headship under the cosmic rubric of the gospel of Christ and the restoration of all things in Him.” In other words, he is saying that patriocentricity is the standard taught in the Gospel and defining being a wife and mother as the role of women is crucial in world dominion. I believe Passionate Housewives is a strategic part of this patriocentric vision.

Another book that, perhaps more than any other publication, has set the agenda for the role playing of patriarchal husbands and wives, is one of the most unbiblical, bizarre, and offensive, to both men and women, books that I have ever read. On the pages of Fascinating Womanhood, which was written in 1963 by Helen Andelin, you can find nearly every single catch phrase of modern day patriocentricity. Defining the role of men as sad sops who need to be better than women at everything, desire their wives to be childlike in both manner and dress, and are easily manipulated for their own good, Andelin instructs wives in patriocentric Stepford Wifism better than just about anyone else. Andelin began by teaching classes to women around tables in church basements, and quickly her message of what she calls “true femininity” spread to adult education classes in YWCA’s across the country. She soon became the champion of homeschooling moms who loved her emphasis on the godliness of becoming domestic goddesses, and devoted wives and mothers.

Andelin proudly guarantees that every woman will see positive results if she only follows the fascinating womanhood principles, reminding readers that the burden of a happy marriage and home life is on the wife. In what I call a treatise on feeding a man’s fleshly desires, Andelin’s book is 380 pages of feminine manipulation and role playing at its finest and she even admits that women must become accomplished actresses in order to please their husbands. Andelin admonishes women to never be more intelligent than their husbands, to dummy themselves down if they must and to never offer an opinion on manly subjects like politics, current events, math or science. She reminds women that fathers own their children and that mothers, in spite of what the law says, do not. Therefore she might have to acquiesce to a husband’s methods of teaching and disciplining, while using feminine wiles rather than logic to persuade him to her way of thinking. She says that young women ought to prepare for marriage and housekeeping rather than college and that they are to see themselves as under the authority of even their brothers. She believes that women are somehow more flawed by the fall than men, leaving a woman with impaired judgment, she says women are more emotional than rational, should never speak out in front of men, that employment outside the home is an abomination, and that a man’s ego is sacrosanct and must be maintained at all costs. And the silliest notion of all, women are exhorted to become childlike to please their husbands because we all know husbands find little girl behavior much more attractive than being married to an actual adult woman. Andelin suggests that women visit the little girl’s section of a department store to find clothing styles to copy, like ruffles, lace, and ribbons. She says that even unattractive women, like those whose faces are marred by freckles, can be attractive to their husbands if they are careful not to blur the lines between maleness and femininity by never dressing in man’s clothes, that is, jeans, or doing man’s work around the house, like mowing the grass or using a screw driver. Even more important is to never ever allow your husband to do any of your chores, like laundry or dishes or running a vacuum cleaner, especially since your sons might see this and become homosexuals. And if you aren’t already amazed enough, here is perhaps my favorite quote in the book from her chapter on how women are to practice and perfect using childlike anger which she says husbands love. “Learn childlike mannerisms by studying the antics of little girls. Stomp your foot, lift your chin high, square your shoulder, pout, put both hands on your hips, open your eyes wide, mumble under your breath, or turn and walk away briskly, then pause and look back over your shoulder. Or beat your fists on your husband’s chest…describe him as a big brute, or a hairy beast. Say to him, “How can a great big man like you pick on a poor little helpless girl like me?”

As alarming as these quotes and sentiments from this book are, I shared them for several reasons. First, Fascinating Womanhood is another great example of how a lifestyle or paradigm from a certain period, where the sin of partiality in men and women relationships was so prevalent, is made to appear to be the epitome of godly womanhood, in Andelin’s case, 1950’s America. I am guessing she wrote it in part as a reaction to the 2nd wave of feminism that hit US shores without even critically examining the reasons women were speaking out in the first place and obviously not to offer any real Biblical counsel to women who might have been struggling. Instead, she drew conclusions based on her preferences and combined them with teachings of her church to build a paradigm and then a theology.

Secondly, it helps us see where some of the key teachings within patriocentricity were first introduced to the homeschooling community. As a result of Andelin’s popularity and the desire to re examine everything else alongside education, homeschoolers opened themselves up to extra biblical thought in her book. Now we see teachers who frantically try to find Scripture taken out of context to attach to these teachings to claim that they are Biblical.

Thirdly, there are some leaders in the patriocentric movement who have promoted and even sold Andelin’s book, have endorsed her on their websites, and have even plagiarized her in their own writings. You should beware that when you read patriocentric thought, you may be reading Andelin. And this is especially important to know: Helen Andelin was a Mormon and central to her worldview are the teachings of the Mormon Church which is a cult that denies the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.

Finally, I would like to share one more book in today’s trilogy of patriocentric dogma for women. The first introduction little girls often have to patriocentric womanhood is found in a collection of books called the Elsie Dinsmore series, written between 1867 and 1905 by a woman named Martha Finley. Though Findley was raised in the north and lived much of her life in Ohio, scholars categorize the Elsie series as part of the body of literature that promotes the Lost Cause Myth. Wanting future generations to look back on the Civil War and see it as anything but a lost cause, writers during this era glamorized the antebellum age and rewrote history, portraying the war as being fought over states rights rather than slavery. It is important to note that the idea central to maintaining the way of life they loved was a hierarchical system of slavery and patriocentricity and the Lost Cause literature was the key ingredient to reclaiming that social order. Historian Victoria Ott noted that “the promotion of a domestic ideal that touted men as the patriarchal head of the family legitimated the reassertion of the pre-war status quo.” Putting the Dinsmore books into the context of the Lost Cause agenda helps us understand why Elsie is an important figure in modern patriocentric literature.

Promoted and sold by Vision Forum and recommended on dozens of homeschooling websites, Elsie Dinsmore is certainly the chosen role model for young girls in the patriocentric paradigm. There are 28 volumes of the Elsie Dinsmore books and you can also get Elsie dolls and a complete wardrobe with accessories to accompany her. Elsie is a young girl whose mother has died and who is raised by her black slaves while living on her father’s plantation in the deep south. Though Elsie is touted as the perfect role model for girls to emulate, there are dangerous lessons for girls woven throughout these books and even some that could send many inappropriate messages. Elsie’s father is a mean and unregenerate man and Elsie’s virtue rests in her complete obedience to him, even in one situation where her father is about to beat her with a horse whip for something she did not do. She is the object of affection, even at age 8, for an older man whom she eventually marries. When she marries, she grieves and weeps because she has to leave her father. In fact, the father-daughter relationship is central to the story in each book and the perpetual childlike adult Elsie never appears to become a true grown-up. Detailed descriptions of her sitting on her father’s lap and kissing him long and hard on the lips may not shock some parents but I found it creepy and distasteful.

Aside from these concerns, the stories are sprinkled throughout with racist thought and hierarchical propaganda which should be reason enough to avoid them. Elsie is the perfect picture of what some men in the 1870’s thought a woman ought to be but to see her as a role model of godly womanhood is a stretch. She acquiesces, she cries, she is physically and spiritually perfect and through that perfection she is able to have significance, including bringing about the salvation of her father. The message is clearly given to little girls that if they are perfect enough, they can be loved and accepted by both God and man. In no way does she represent a real woman addressing the real issues of life. Instead, Elsie is a characateur of the perfect patriocentric woman, a model for wimpy womanhood, in many ways the embodiment of Andelin’s perfect woman and the beginning of such indoctrination at a much younger age. How much better it would be for young girls to be introduced to the biographies of missionaries and to the great women in the Bible.

In contrast to the books I have discussed today, true and genuine biblical womanhood is found when a woman trusts in Jesus Christ alone for her salvation and not by any perceived righteousness that came from her own hands. It blossoms under sound doctrinal teaching that encourages her to trust the Word of God alone as a source of truth and has no agenda other than glorying God. Real woman are sure and strong and capable helpmeets for their husbands. The Hebrew word for “help” to describe a wife is “ezer,” which is rich and full of the imagery of God who describes himself as our “ezer” the one who comes alongside us in battle, who rides across the heavens to come to our aid.

As Christians we are engaged in a terrible spiritual battle in a world that is hostile to the Gospel of Christ. In Ephesians 6, we are called, all men and women, to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might, to take up the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Our husbands and our sons, who are also our brothers in Christ, need us, as women to be prepared to come alongside them in spiritual battle. They need for us to put aside the trivial, to grow up into the fullness of our salvation, no longer role play at being little girls and to stop manipulating and feeding their egos. Let’s repent of the sins of partiality and triviality and become real women, by God’s grace.

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  1. Pressing On says

    Solid summary of the major players and issues! I remember feeling like a postscript when I was a single woman among peers who had patriocentric leanings. It was as if God had forgotten me in the passing of years, and yet, of course He had not. God has different plans for different women at different phases of life. Certainly there are parameters that He sets, but I’m thankful that God loves and cares for ALL of his female disciples!

  2. says

    An excellent post! I have never read these books but they seem crazy to say the least. The bathing part was very strange. If I were to both shower and bathe every day my skin would be destroyed. Am I then a bad Christian?

    My view on this could easily be summorized into the phrase: Why would god make us different if we were to live and act the same way all of us? I am an unique individual and god made me that why would there only be one choice for me that is biblical? I don’t buy it. I believe in college education too, if you want to of course, I went to college myself. I was the only child in my family to do so and it was not expected of me, that is how much I wanted it and I would not want any person giving up college because of others when I myself chose it for my own sake.

    And men liking women who act like babies? Get real, no real man would want that. Just like you said, he wants a helper who is his companion and who he could share his life with. A person who has ideas and views and who will tell him his mind but still also listen to him and his ideas and views. The men who wants women without a mind of her own are perhaps not really ‘normal’ although I hesitate to use that word about people. If you see women as slaves, as lesser than men and as someone who can only cook and clean, how can you then love her the way the bible asks us to love people? I cannot see how.

  3. Laura says

    Karen, reading this article was such an encouragement to me. Other than my immediate family, it is so hard to find kindred spirits among people in my homeschooling circle. I grieve that some who have come to see the disgusting nature of some of these teachings have left their faith behind.

    Jesus never compartmentalized women into any particular role. Though I would never downplay the great gift of being a mom or how important that parenting is in God’s heart- and mine-, I also see that Jesus always related to women as people- individual, adult, responsible people in their own circumstance, with their own worth and accountability.

    I have stumbled as a parent, and continue to do so from time to time, as we all do, but I thank God that my sons respect women as the intellectual and spiritual equal of men.Many years ago , my oldest son remarked that he couldn’t imagine why a man would want a wife whose intellect and sense of adventure had been shut down from an early age. I am happy to say that he is getting married this fall to his best friend and true partner and a smart, capable and Godly young lady.

    I guess my sons might be called “Christian feminists” by some ! Our little boys think their big sisters are nothing short of magical. I have even seen some of these Patriarchal families wher the daughters are made to cater to spoiled brothers who are elevated to the status of little princes by virtue of gender.The real world may be a shock to these young guys when they finally get out into it.

    Anyway, the main point- this movement is disturbing, strange and emotionally destructive.Those Elsie Dinsmore books are RACIST nonsense, if you ask me. I remember Elsie feeling somehow that if she were just a better girl, her (horrible) father would be happier.She also seemed undisturbed by the slaves being whipped and treated like household pets at best.

    How is it that a people who are saved by the grace of God turn around and try to save their children themselves by the heavy yoke of legalism and repression?

    This stuff is nothing short of sick ! It is fantasy role playing at it’s worst by frightened people who idealize the past.The strong thread of racism that runs through it should be a big red flag to the rest of us. Remember, this country was split by a civil war (which, by the way, was primarily due to slavery). Will the home school community face a similar, symbolic split?

    One last observation- the Katrina story- reminds me of a story I heard about some little fundamentalist Moslem girls who burned to death in a school fire because they could not come out without their covering on. What incredible arrogance from anyone, let alone a professing Christian to judge hurricane victims for looking sloppy. Makes a girl want to stomp her foot and lift her chin high….(sorry, couldn’t resist) God bless you and keep up this good work!

  4. shadowspring says

    Laura asks:

    Will the home school community face a similar, symbolic split?

    In my Southern city, the splits are more like the thousand denominations that followed the Reformation. There is no large support group here, there are dozens and dozens of highly exclusive groups, where being a home school family is NOT sufficient reason for being allowed/invited to a group!

    I couldn’t stomach any of the Christian groups I investigated, because of the rampant posturing and arcane rules. They disgusted me. I’d rather have my children hang out with public schooled kids from youth group and the neighborhood than be subjected to the peer pressure of the self-righteous and often blatantly hypocritical “home school support groups” I have encountered.

    Alas, the infections of exclusion has affected even the secular home school groups here. Finally, after a few years home schooling with no support group, a secular invitation-only group invited us to join. I hate that new members are watched and scrutinized before being asked to join ANY home school group, but that’s the way this snobbery has worked out here in my city.

    One thing I will applaud my secular home school group for, even though they are also exclusive: we are willing to allow almost any government regulation/inspection, including home visits, in order to protect the children being home schooled in these extremist environments. No Christian group I have ever been a part of would favor ANY regulation/inspection, and probably because they do have something to hide.

    Which is the opposite of “Biblical living”. The Bible teaches that we should live our lives in such a way that we have nothing to fear from the governing authorities. If you are a Biblical inerrantist who believes in hierarchical authority, how can you be against home inspection/annual physicals/portfolio reviews/etc.?

    The Apostle Peter wrote:

    1 Peter 2:13-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    13Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

    14Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

    15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

    I thought for these people “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.” Why so much fear of regulations and insistence that government stay out of home schooling then? I smell a rat (HSLDA and the dominionsists?).

  5. Rebecca says

    Reading these books, one must eat the meat and spit out the bones. Common sense. No one has all the answers but we expect them to if they are going to publish a book. Better not send that to the presses if there is any error in that book… The only inerrant book on the face of this planet is that of God’s Word. We can only put our trust in that and not the doctrine of man. That is basically what these books are. Written by well meaning people with what they take away from the scriptures. Therefore, a common sense approach to reading ANYTHING that anyone has written must be done so and brought up next to the Word for discerning the truth. We ALL have that ability. If someone falls for something hook , line and sinker, they lack judgement and wisdom and should therefore ask for it from God. I find wonderful principles in these books that are general outlines for godly living in family life. There are wrong things too which the discerning person spits out and goes on. It is the human condition to make mistakes. I don’t think we can throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think there are good things to glean from the writings you point out in this post. I say this all in love and with a spirit of gentleness since you can’t hear my voice. 🙂

    I just think it’s wise to present another take on things in a good, well rounded discussion. It’s food for thought. God bless you today.

  6. says

    shawdowspring, the basic answer to your question is this: because I love freedom.
    This past winter, our state legislature took some bold steps toward seriously curtailing our freedoms as homeschoolers. During a Senate hearing, which I had the opportunity to attend, there was a discussion of requiring homeschoolers to register with the state. A truant officer who was asking for more authority to actively pursue homeschoolers was asked what he believed he should be able to do to determine whether or not homeschoolers are actually doing their job. To many of us who have many years of experience with a variety of ages and leaning styles, his answers were chilling. He stated that he would be able to make that determination by looking around the house and seeing the books that were available! He added that he wanted to require homeschooling mothers to have state certification and to require standardized tests.
    Being someone who loves freedom and the constitution that protects those freedoms, this was appalling. Being able to walk into someone’s home without reasonable belief that there is a crime being committed is a clear violation of those freedoms. If these requirements were made law, many children would end up not being allowed to be homeschooled by their parents. Few homeschoolers have government approved teaching credentials and there is absolutely no proof that having them makes anyone a better teacher. Standardized tests are really of little value when it comes to a real education. They do not measure what a child knows, only what he or she might know in comparison to someone else. Standardized tests are a product of a formal school system, not any sort of real measurement of true education. And they most certainly wouldn’t prove anything at all in regards to a special needs child.

    I would highly recommend reading John Taylor Gatto’s book Underground History of Public Education as well as Unschooling Rules by Clark Aldrich. What an eye-opener for anyone who seriously thinks the public education system has anything whatsoever to teach or evaluate homeschooling families! And by the way, neither Gatto or Aldrich are fundamentalist Christian proponents. Those you have struggled with in the past aren’t really supportive of ALL children being homeschooled and some have suggested that homescooling be allowed only for Christians! I would fight to the end for freedom for all homeschooling families.

    Here are links a couple articles I wrote in response to the events that took place in Illinois in February 2011:

  7. says

    Rebecca, I would suggest that what you are saying is true, in general, in that whenever we read anything at all we need to be discerning. As my kids were growing up, the boys delivered newspapers. That inspired each of them to read the paper every day, thus sparking an interest in current events. They figured out fairly quickly what biased reporting looks and sounds like. Even short local articles could sometimes report events that looked nothing at all like something we had attended!

    A discerning reader has to learn to peel back the layers of what is being read and to determine the overall philosophy and message of a book or article. For that reason, I find the books I listed as being ones that I believe teach a basic message that cannot be proven to be true according to Scripture. It isn’t that there aren’t some good things in each one, it is that the whole purpose or “mission statement” of the book is harmful. It is much like how we might approach choosing an appropriate movie for children to watch. What if the overall message is one that premarital sex is fun and appropriate even if the characters are good students and are kind to old ladies. Sure, there would be some good examples but in general the message or worldview of the movie is not acceptable. Does that make sense? I know that the messages in the books I listed have already caused considerable damage to so many women, some who don’t even realize it until it is too late.

  8. Laura says

    Shadowspring- your point is well taken as regards the many clique-y type homeschool groups. We prefer our children associate with people from a variety of backgrounds as well. For years we had no formal membership in any homeschool group because we felt many of them to be exclusive and legalistic.(This based on our experience during the first few years of homeschooling ) Now ,I would also add that we would avoid any of them with ties to the patriarchal point of view like the plague. I am particularly concerned with what I see as racist philosophy floating around those parts! We have been active with a co-op this past year for the first time. We are quite diverse and some have even used the public school system at times. There is no emphasis on any type of dress, forbidden music, etc. I have noted some promotion of pro-Confederate revisionist history on the part of ONE family, which I am attempting to make a point of open discussion and debate. ( I find that many people are unaware that this type of thinking is shared by a scary, though small , minority of extremist homeschoolers.) If this became a cause that was supported in any way by the co-op itself, we would leave it.

    I don’t see any need to encourage governmental oversight of homeschooling though.I certainly don’t think that homeschoolers in states with more regulation do any better than those states with more freedom. Why would you think that many homeschoolers have “something to hide”? I haven’t seen that. I do think that there is a proper role for government and/or police to intervene should there be signs of neglect, abuse, etc. I don’t agree with extremists in the Patriarchal crowd who don’t think that social workers or law enforcement have any right to ever intervene on behalf of children and families.I haven’t read anything on this site that would agree with that either. I have seen enough over the years with the foster/adoptive system to know that there are many good, caring people in these agencies and they do provide needed services to at risk kids. I just don’t think there is a big need among homeschool families for particular scrutiny.

    I will say, though, that we need to continue to shed light on some of the nuttiness that is going on these days among the homeschooling community. The people who deprive their daughters of their civil rights and even a basic education are the types who will give us all a black eye if we don’t speak up.

  9. says

    Thank you for this article. I have been increasingly aware of the patriocentricity movement and I’m so thankful for a voice of reason to help blow the cover on books that are toted as wonderful helps to a Christian woman.

  10. Michelle G. says

    Hi Karen!
    I changed my email but still the same “Michelle G.” 🙂 I am so thankful to you for continuing to battle this sad and destructive legalism. Thank you!!!

    To the person above who talked about eating the meat and spitting out the bones:

    I don’t believe that when you spend hours a week on blogs and read dozens of books promoting the very same false paradigm it is possible to keep spitting out those bones. You are unwittingly participating in your own brainwashing. Then you start to only hang around those who are “likeminded” and pretty soon your presuppositions are so set in stone that you have lost your ability to be discerning in your reading.

    Rather, people ought to read one pro-and then one anti- patriocentristic book or article (if at all on the pro side!) just to keep a balance. This patriocentric formula that is being promoted looks so appealing and as sinful humans we love formulas! Just as the Israelites begged Samuel for a king of their own, we too want the right list of ingredients to produce just the right kind of life – a “king” of our own too. But there is only one King and He commanded us to tell the world about Him. If we spend our whole lives being obsessed (yes, I think that word applies) with our “roles” how our children look and perform, etc. we will have completely missed God’s true calling for us as the salt and light of the world. Where is there room for God to be glorified in that??

    I also don’t think these people always have good intentions. Don’t forget the warning that false teachers will abound. There are literally millions of people in the Church who make it their life’s work to steal our Christ-given freedom. Be gracious but also leery of those wo seem to relentlessly promote a certain way of life and make lots of $$$ doing it.

    Not trying to pick on anyone here – just sayin’.


  11. shadowspring says

    Karen, I have lived in two states that require registering your existence with the government. There is nothing scary about it. In Florida, you send your notice of intent to the local school board, and at the end of the school year, you send in one of five possible choices for an annual evaluation. In North Carolina, you send in your notice of intent to the Department of Non-Public Education, and file an annual evaluation consisting of a nationally-normed, standardized test. There is actually a BETTER environment for home schooling in the stricter state. Florida allows for dual-eonrollment, and also for home school teams to compete in state-sanctioned leagues. Tim Tebow’s high school football career isn’t even possible in many states.

    I don’t need schooled on Gatto. I’ve been home schooling for 14 years and have heard all the arguments. I used to give them myself. But the truth is, our early critics have been proved right. There ARE homes substituting religious dogma for a sound academic education. Children ARE being isolated and abused in too many home schooling families. People STILL home school illegally based on misguided principles that exalt “freedom” (for the parents, not the children!) above the Word of God which plainly states that we should submit to the governing authorities, as they are ordained by God to punish evil and reward good.

    So why are you afraid of our God-instituted government? You’re not an evil doer, right?

  12. shadowspring says

    Are you saying the people of Florida and North Carolina are oppressed somehow? Because they’re not. It’s perfectly reasonable for the state to know who is legally home schooling, so they won’t be counted truant. And it is in the best interests of the child to ensure they actually do have access to education, medical care, and the basics of life- food, shelter, clothing. It is also an obligation of the state to protect children from criminal violence and neglect.

    Adult home schooled children are the ones bringing the existence of problems to light. Some of them are more adamantly against home schooling than the teacher’s unions! They have real stories of being denied these things, and being subjected to violence and illegal activity like attempts to force them into sexual slavery- i.e. arranged marriages against the girl’s will. You are not ignorant of these blogs. I am sure you know that this is a real problem.

    You are fighting it your way, by exposing the false doctrines that lead to such abuses. Good for you. I just don’t think that is enough to protect the Lydia Schatz and the Razing Ruths and the Dispelled Daughters who are right now suffering at the hands of home schooling ideologues. These children deserve the community at large to protect them. The home school community isn’t protecting them.

    God instituted government for the reward of those who do good and the punishment of wrong-doers. Paul wrote that if you are doing good, what do you have to fear? The unspoken answer is “nothing”. True home schooling can come under scrutiny and shine with good results, like a candle set up high giving light for all to see.

    The reason home schooling is so much more accepted and encouraged in Florida is because of the accountability of annual portfolio reviews. It’s open for all to see that we are doing a good job raising and teaching our kids. No need to hide; we want the whole world to meet our kids and see what they can do! 🙂

    Not only are home schooled kids allowed to dual-enroll at community colleges, they can do so when they are able. They can start as young as they can pass the entrance exam. I know of one student who graduated with her AA and went on to ORU planning to be a nurse practitioner in the time most would just be finishing their bachelors. They can not only dual-enroll at community colleges, but also in public schools where it’s offered- marching band and sports teams are open to home schooled students. Florida Virtual School online has been open to them for many years.

    Finally, if one can’t make the public schooled sports teams, you can join a home schooled team and compete in state-sanctioned leagues. This means scouts from Christian private schools can see your student play in competitive leagues and offer scholarships. All this because instead of hiding and avoiding the light of state oversight, home schoolers in Florida welcome it and our excellence is apparent to everyone.

    Isn’t that how your good works are supposed to shine? For everyone (including the government) to see? Proving that you are doing a good job is NOT giving away your freedom, anymore than having a driver’s license and passing state medical boards is taking away freedom. It’s proving you’ve got the right stuff for the important task you want to undertake, a task which by its very nature affects other people. Regulation is only reasonable.

    I am quite sure I love freedom every bit as much as you, if not more. Scripture also says “don’t let your freedom be a cover-up for evil”.

  13. says

    Karen I have often thought you should put your patriocentricity podcasts in written form. As a fast reader, I’m much more likely to read an article than listen to a 20 or 30 min. podcast. (tho’ I made an exception wtih your patriocentricity podcasts!) And the information is more accessible in written form where one can quickly scan through to find particular information. This is much more difficult when the info is in audio form only. So thank you!

  14. says

    Shadow spring,

    First of all, I do not see the government school system as the standard for educational excellence. In fact, I do not believe that formal schooling is the same thing as education. I love it that more and more Christians are gravitating toward the unschooling approach. You didn’t comment on Aldrich’s book but it really is an awesome read. One thing he points out is that what was considered a great education 50 years ago and how and what we teach today are not necessarily what our kids will need 30 years down the road. Great food for thought.

    Dual college enrollment is allowed and even welcomed in Illinois with our lesser government oversight but I would not recommend sending a 16 year old off to a college campus situation. Most situations I have seen have resulted in lots of bad peer influences. In fact, I recommend young people take there time when they get out of high school and not pursue college until they are certain they have a career path in mind. There is a lot of maturity that occurs during late teen years. And, besides, why the rush? What is the purpose for graduating from college at 20 or so?

    Secondly, where would you personally draw your line in the sand with government oversight of your life?

  15. shadowspring says

    So, you are saying that you think it is a bad thing for students to dual-enroll? Because I am not really sure what you mean by the government school system being any “standard for education”. It is really puzzling to me why you would throw that statement into the mix. What makes you say that?

    Unschooling families in Florida have no problem complying with end-of-year evaluations and/or portfolio reviews (very rare occurrences). It’s simple to find an evaluator who understands unschooling and show her your schedule of activities (aka family calendar) and a reading list for each student. Not sure what gave you the idea that there is a public school standard to be met. Have you read the actual law in FL? is a great resource.

    You are too funny about the “sending a 18 yr old off to a college campus situation”. Students as young as 12 have dual-enrolled at our local state college with no problem. Mom walks them to class, and either hangs out till class is out or returns in an hour to get her student. No one has ever had any trouble, moral or otherwise. The college even has a liason to the home school community. Contact SHARE at for more details. The director of SHARE has been homeschooling for over twenty years, and still has students at home.

    As far as government oversight of my life, I am quite content with current FL law, and have served as school board liason for SHARE in the past. The school board is not scary at all, and has no intention of trying to make any honest home school families life difficult. End of year evaluations are no problem. I got a lot of great teaching tips from the licensed school psychologist (a title, not a public school employee) who did our evaluations. She was wonderful!

    How far would I go? Farther than is required currently. I am not afraid of the same kind of home inspections foster families are given. Are there beds for everyone? Any obvious safety hazards? I am not afraid of annual physicals, especially after reading Disspelled Daughters experience. A family could take a form to their own doctor to certify that the children have had an annual physical. This would give children like DD the chance to at least talk to an adult outside of their parents hearing as teenagers.

    I am not afraid. HSLDA made me afraid for many years, but then I compared families investigated for false accusations who had no attorney to families investigated for false accusation who had HSLDA on their side. The only difference was that the HSLDA family spend more money clearing the issue.

    Most people are reasonable people, including social workers, police officers, doctors and teachers. Home schooling is widely accepted these days. They only people who have anything to fear are people who are actually abusing/neglecting their children. I am not one of them, so I am good with whatever anyone wants to evaluate, examine, observe or record. No worries here.

  16. shadowspring says

    Oops, you asked what is the purpose of early graduation? So one can start grad school early, in the case of the girl who wanted to be a nurse practioner, and start your career two years ahead of schedule. Less cost (dual enrollment was picked up by the state) better earnings when she starts working. It was wonderful for her!

  17. HoppyTheToad says


    I seem to remember you mentioning on your blog that when you lived in North Carolina, you thought a lot of the people there were crazy. Would you mind talking about this a bit more? We’re trying to figure out what state we’d like to live in.

  18. says

    “So why are you afraid of our God-instituted government? You’re not an evil doer, right?”
    Shadowspring, it would be easy to negate much of what you say with that showstopper tossed out without regard. Graciousness was afforded you.
    Citizens in this republic should not sit on our hands and accept what our representatives propose as bills or even laws no matter what. Our representatives swear to uphold the state or federal constitutions. It would be difficult to turn a blind eye to the current corruption in our federal government and in my home state of Illinois. Corruption is evil. We have two former governors in prison or facing prison time. The idea our current government management is “God instituted” strikes me as wrongly defined, at best.
    Homeschoolers in states like Illinois or Texas or Indiana, etc are not negligent or not up to par because we don’t report to the government. We report to, and are accountable to our families. Being accountable to our families is a big deal in our minds and reporting to the government is not a useful tool in that matter. The many abuses occurring within the public school system without accountability are the warning signal. States requiring registration or notification doesn’t mean they are more easily able to provide the best educations for their children. As a matter of fact, many homeschoolers in states such as Pennsylvania crave less bureaucratic paperwork and more useful time with their children.
    Homeschoolers shine in our communities, but it seems counter-productive to crave government pats on the head along with agency approval to show we are doing a good job. I review my children’s work and approve it or revise it as needed. The government would get in my way of efficient use of time with my family. Thousands and thousands of Illinois homeschoolers showed up in our Capitol this spring to show we have nothing to hide, while inviting our Representatives to visit with us and see our accomplishments in the community. Most on that Education Committee weren’t interested in doing that, but were interested in an agency overseeing us. After attending many Committee meetings such as that one, I have learned their interests are not in the best interest of our children. I feel guided in that path by God’s love. It doesn’t make sense to me that wondrous love revolves around an annual portfolio review or home inspection by a stranger with a great deal of power over my beloved family.
    Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple.

  19. shadowspring says

    Hoppy, please email me at and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. I am in school myself these days, so it may take a few days to get back to you depending on what day of the week you e-mail, but I will respond. =)

    Susan, you are misinformed about the “great deal of power” the local office of student attendance has over home school families in Florida. You’re afraid for no reason. Ditto the Office of Non-Public Education in North Carolina. Your fears are not grounded in reality.

    Legislators and politicians would never review anyone’s portfolio nor investigate charges of neglect or abuse. Those would be state employees on some level- good people who went to college to train for their profession, and who work hard everyday to do the best they can. They are not fleecing voters for cushy jobs like governor or legislator. They are your neighbors and fellow citizens.

    There is no reason for your animosity. Do you have such strong negative feelings about the mechanics who do you the annual inspection on your car? The pest control guy? The carpet cleaning guy? No, they are just people doing their job, hopefully to the best of their ability to make the world a better place.

    I don’t know where this great fear of public employees came from in all its hideous strength, but HSLDA has MUCH to do with it. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear is the real enemy here, not the good people in America who happen to work for the public school system, social services, of the state department of education.

    Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple because believers were getting rich off of selling sacrificial animals and changing travelers money to pay the temple tax. Jesus also said that people who offend little children would be better off drowned. That describes the QF/patriocentric business enterprise perfectly.

    It has nothing to do with complying with government regulations designed to protect the interests of the nation’s children, ensuring they are cared for and have access to an education. I quite think Jesus would be on the government’s side on this one. That bit about those offending little ones being better off drowned implies that Jesus loves children over freedom.

  20. shadowspring says

    “Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple because believers were getting rich off of selling sacrificial animals and changing travelers money to pay the temple tax. Jesus also said that people who offend little children would be better off drowned. That describes the QF/patriocentric business enterprise perfectly.”

    To clarify, yes I am saying that the people getting rich selling their QF/patriocentric ideology to home schoolers are guilty on both counts: fleecing the flock of God financially and harming children.

  21. says

    I assume there is follow-through if there is no compliance with the laws in NC and Florida. I would assume that follow-up would affect the integrity of the family. Illinois homeschoolers do not have the same restrictions and reporting that NC and Florida homeschoolers have. We like that freedom and we do much to protect it. But what we do here for our families would be non-compliance in those state(s), even as those same Illinois homeschooling families receive the same education quality with more diversity because our private schools don’t have to appeal to the public school standardization.
    I can take my car to any mechanic I choose, or not at all. There is no compulsory law dictating who, what and where regarding my vehicle’s maintenance. There is regarding my children’s education and homeschoolers with minimal private school or homeschooling regs comply (and more) with great accountability to their family.
    A HSLDA lawyer once reported to me his estimation that around 5 percent of Illinois homeschoolers are HSLDA members. We can be (rightfully) concerned about the patriocentric movement in the homeschooling community, but not while selling out the vast majority of homeschoolers who are not involved with that movement. I’d like to point out the crusade against that movement as many mentor in the homeschooling community. Karen is a good example.
    I’ll share this link regarding Illinois public school abuses of children and the fact that many ‘good hard working professionals doing the best they can’ are still employed with our tax monies and no accountability for the abuses. There’s even a term for this process: “Passing the trash”.
    My children have been in the public school at some point except my youngest two who have always been homeschooled. My husband served on the school board while we homeschooled 2 and while 2 others were in the public school. We learned more about the public school machinations against children and their education and for the system’s status quo than we could have ever imagined. Any good teacher can attest to that.
    I can’t understand why homeschoolers would wish more bureaucracy and worse for our families when we are openly upstanding citizens generally engaged in our communities. We don’t need a government stamp of approval and that’s a proven fact.

  22. Laura says

    I think that the point here is NOT that we need necessarily fear government oversight of homeschooling, but rather, why would we need it?

    I agree that there are many good and concerned people working in agencies such as education and social services. We learned through our adoptions that a) many social workers are very positive toward homeschooling families, and 2) many social workers are very dedicated to working hard to help children. That does not imply, however, that after our adoptions, we desired to continue with paperwork, routine home visits, and the like. Those things were just not necessary any longer.

    Similarly, though I believe that legitimate concerns about educational neglect should be checked out, I see no reason why the state should have an eye on the typical homeschooling family. It reminds me of searching without a warrant! Are there any results out of the homeschooling community that suggest we are behind our other-schooled peers?

    I will repeat the mantra, though, that if we are not clear about distancing ourselves from the philosophies and life style of the nutty fringe element out there (QF extremists, Patriarchal zealots) we may end up with all sorts of interference. I also think of the soft-core Confederate wing of homeschoolers that are out there. I, for one, don’t want to be grouped in with any of them!

  23. says

    Susan and Laura, you are absolutely correct. And, again, what do government authorized standards in a failed system have to do with education?

  24. HoppyTheToad says

    We know a family that moved from a state that required annual notice of homeschooling and an annual standardized test to a state that didn’t require notice at all. When back on a visit, the mom told me that in the new state, the homeschooling families were generally scared to let their kids play outside or go to the store during the day. The parents were afraid of the neighbors calling the police to report their kids truant. I guess she thought that having the very minimum standards in her previous state made it easier for others to differentiate between truancy and homeschooling. (And as far as I can tell, their new city probably had a lot of homeschoolers, so I don’t think it was just a case of people in general being unfamiliar with the idea.)

  25. shadowspring says

    Laura and Sara,

    There are several formerly home schooled students calling for more oversight of home schooling BECAUSE of their experience.

    How do you propose to distance yourself from such abuses and concerns? I propose through living openly and honestly, no fear, no desire to hide what we are doing, no need to isolate ourselves from the world Jesus loves. I propose that documentation from outside sources is the BEST way to differentiate a healthy home school from an abusive environment.

    Hoppy has it right. Compliance with even minimum oversight (which is all any state is doing- it is easy to comply with FL home school regs) shows people that we are NOT anti-government flakes or high-pressure super nerds like the home schoolers shown in the first few minutes of the movie Mean Girls. When you are in compliance with state regs, there is no need to fear false accusations from anyone. Being in compliance with state regs is all you need to disprove educational neglect, and the freedom to interact with other children/families in the community without fear is well worth the minimal paperwork involved.

    Compliance with regulations gives home schoolers street cred, makes parents better record keepers AND helps parents be better educators! I have found that home schooling is much more accepted in Florida, even honored, than in North Carolina. NC requires little beyond keeping attendance and the filing of an annual, nationally-normed standardized test.

    There is no lower limit for test scores. It is a requirement that you test, not that your students achieve a certain level. I think it’s a still a great requirement, as a helping tool for the parent. You can see where your program is strong and where it might need fine-tuning. You can literally see your students’ progress from year to year.

    In FL, the requirement I appreciated the most was “a daily log of educational activities”- which I jotted down in a daily planner. At the end of each year, when I wrote up a synopsis of all we had experienced that year, I was always pleasantly surprised that we had accomplished so much. Also the option of a portfolio review instead of a standardized test was very useful in the younger grades, and for those who don’t test well. Many of the FL-certified teachers available for portfolio review are home school parents themselves! I never feared having a trained professional look over my work and give me tips. I even got kudos!

    Government authorized standards for public education and home school regulation are completely different topics that have nothing to do with one another. It’s not an argument for or against home school regulation to say that public schools stink. I don’t think Florida’s home school regulations are failing in any aspect, and I wish North Carolina’s were written to allow for dual-enrollment for extracurricular classes like Florida’s allow. This would be a real blessing to musically and athletically gifted home schooled students.

  26. says

    “Compliance with regulations gives home schoolers street cred, makes parents better record keepers AND helps parents be better educators! ”

    How do you know this is true? Please substantiate.

    “There is no lower limit for test scores. It is a requirement that you test, not that your students achieve a certain level. I think it’s a still a great requirement, as a helping tool for the parent. You can see where your program is strong and where it might need fine-tuning. You can literally see your students’ progress from year to year. ”

    Again, why should government based formal schooling standards also be the standard for all education?

    “Government authorized standards for public education and home school regulation are completely different topics that have nothing to do with one another. ”

    What does this mean? I am clueless. How are home schools to be regulated apart from using government authorized standards? Who does that now in regulated states? Is there a separate bureaucracy for this in your state?

  27. says

    shadowspring, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from implying we are all fearmongers because we are opposed to government regulation of homeschooling. We have repeatedly stated that we are not motivated by fear.

  28. says

    Becky, I am working toward the goal of posting podcast transcripts. Sometimes my notes have only made sense to me and I will have to transcribe the ones with guests. I am trying to get the others organized, though, as I can. It is interesting but the podcast listeners and the blog readers really are two groups!

  29. Laura says

    Dear Shadowspring: I suspect that my family knows a bit about transparemcy, given the fact that over the past 11 years we have adopted 3 children and fostered 1. Our entire lives have been scrutinized, whole family interviewed, countless references- for good reason, of course. Further, we have 2 disabled children, thus considerable involvement with many therapists, physicians, counselors, and Disability Services case managers. Our adopted children have required mental health services off and on due to issues in their past, and this brought another whole tier of professionals into our immediate circle as well. Our experiences with all these people have been very positive, and we appreciate and applaud the help and support they have shown our family.

    So, I guess I would not qualify as the type of homeschooler you characterize as hiding out from society. Quite the contrary ! We believe that Christians should be fully engaged in the culture around us. However, you seem to think that there are only two extremes- complete lack of individual privacy and liberty, or hiding out in the backwoods with illiterate children.

    I think that a better way is to tend toward the unregulated homeschooling we enjoy in our state, with active participation in community and extracurricular events by homeschoolers. That is what we see in our community. We have a cordial relationship with many public school teachers in our town- even more so, now that our daughter in college interned this summer at our local public school.(she is getting her teaching degree)

    Are there bad home schooling parents? No doubt. I also bet that there are a lot of problems going on in some public school families. This is not to deny the existence of a nutty fringe that is, I believe, horribly abusing our freedom by denying children- particularly daughters-a well rounded education and well rounded life. I can’t say enough about the need to distance ourselves from these people and expose the injustice of their philosophy. If there is abuse, it must be reported and exposed. I am just saying that I believe most parents really want the best for their children, and that the overall results speak for themselves. Though you are a homeschooler, there seems to be a lot of anger in your words about homeschooling. I can understand that, because there are things that really set me off as well in the movement. But, I disagree that additional state control would be helpful or justified.

  30. says

    Hoppy, the concerns you shared are exactly the reason I was so adamant about the wording in the Canton truancy ordinance this past summer being carefully drafted. I hadn’t realized that there even was a truancy ordinance until the local school district wanted to have it changed and made more restrictive.

    In essence, the way it was originally worded and the new proposed changes basically made the document a defacto day time curfew ordinance. After input from and being questioned and petitioned by local homeschoolers and input from Illinois Homeschool PAC’s legal counsel, wording was added to the final truancy ordinance so that only those students who have been registered within the public system and who fail to attend class will be targeted for fines and disciplinary action. This way, police officers cannot just randomly stop anyone on the street during local public school hours; they will pursue only those whose names show they are were enrolled in the local schools. Homeschoolers can feel safe playing in their yards, students who are able to drive can run to the store for milk or to the library. Prior to this wording, even young looking adults could be stopped and questioned.

    Interestingly, I spoke with a representative from HSLDA and he saw no need to add the wording I wanted to see in place. He said that we needed to have faith in human nature that homeschoolers wouldn’t be harassed. This was the same man who has been working behind closed doors with Senator Maloney to “guarantee homeschooling freedoms” and who should know better.

    It appears that shadowspring and anyone else who wants more regulations are working hand in hand with HSLDA on these matters. And they are willing to sell, right down the river, their fellow homeschoolers who believe true education is so much more diverse and child-friendly . They have all forgotten that the heart of the education of children is NOT test scores and teaching standards and college scholarships and looking successful in the eyes of the world but rather is a kind and gentle parent loving learning herself and passing on that love by creatively designing learning experiences for all different types of children.

    You know, almost no homeschooler today knows the names of Raymond and Dorothy Moore. Their books and philosophies, based upon years and years of solid research, flies in the face of how “schooling” is done today. Now, several decades later, their research has been substantiated through medical technology. Yet, the entire formal education system has rejected it and homeschoolers who want to take the same approach as the Moores suggest would be in big trouble if forced into the government paradigm.

  31. says

    Rebecca said: “Reading these books, one must eat the meat and spit out the bones.”

    As I’ve said before and it bears repeating here, sometimes what little meat is even on the bones is so tough that it isn’t worth trying to eat. Sometimes the bathwater is so toxic that it kills the baby.

    Sometimes what small amount of good there is is so clouded and hidden in the bad that you can’t even find it to hang onto. And the bad is too big to just throw out.

    A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

    A spoonful of dog poop in a batch of brownies infects the entire batch. But if you feel like trying to eat the good parts of the brownies and spitting out the dog crap, be my guest. But don’t get mad at me for not joining you. I’m going to find a new recipe for my brownies.

  32. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    After a long absence from the web — naughty netbook! — I’m back.

    Shadowspring, get on a plane and come to our green and pleasant land, “this sceptr’d isle…This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England” to the freest home educating country in the world! No registration, no compulsory testing — and guess what? When my children go out during school hours, we aren’t scared. Everybody knows us in our town, they say,”Hello,” they give us free paper, books, pencils and encyclopoedias because they have seen the our dedication and the fruit of our work. I am open with pretty much everyone, so they know my schedule.

    Shadowspring has a generous, but in some ways naive faith in the power of the clipboard-wielding bureaucrat to protect our little ones. Some children who go to school are mistreated, neglected, killed — even after ‘The Authorities’ know about it.

    When people wonder about the legality of home educating, I remind them that the 1944 Education Act (which continued the tradition of welcoming home edding and formally identified the parents as the providers of education) was signed by George VI. His daughters, Princess Margaret and our Queen Elizabeth, were educated outside of school. Can you imagine the King allowing a law that made him a criminal? And, since most people think the Queen is worth ten of our politicians, that’s the end of that.

  33. Anthea says


    It’s a dangerous assumptiion that home educated=unsafe, schooled=safe.

    “Thirty years ago I was involved in the Maria Colwell inquiry. I was Maria’s teacher and I spent the few weeks that I knew her trying to get help for her without success. Each time another report into child abuse is published I feel total despair that apparently no lessons have been learnt from the many children who have died since 1972. When are the professionals going to learn to trust each other and exchange information which might save a child’s life?
    Ann Turner, UK”

  34. shadowspring says


    Okay, I will come out and say what no one else wants to say: some home schooled parents to a substandard job academically. I saw far more lax educational standards in the state with little accountability. But honestly, even in the states like Florida with sound regulations, the fundamentalists who are doing a poor job just go underground. They don’t register; they would never dual-enroll.

    I know all about Raymond and Dorothy Moore. I read their books long ago. In fact, the Moores are often quoted to parents who are justifiably concerned that their children have not yet caught on to reading. Instead of seeking testing to rule out learning disabilities, parents are told everything will be fine, don’t worry. The Moores were also quite concerned about the takeover of home schooling by the Christian business machine, as per Home Education magazine.

    Anthea, that is quite the straw man you built. I certainly never wrote home educated=unsafe and schooled=safe. You were the only person who wrote those words. My contention is just the opposite: safe home schools have nothing to fear by complying with state regulations. Safe public schools also stand up under scrutiny with no problem. Places hidden from public view can be both safe and unsafe, but places up on the candlestick where all can see cannot remain unsafe for long.

    I have been home schooling for fourteen years; I am no novice. I have seen children totally screwed over by their parents and I have seen children who loved home schooling and excel in life by anyone’s standards. I have even met online home schooled adults who have excelled in life and yet are now against home schooling because of their social/religious experiences as a child. I submit that the home school support community does a terrible job of examining its own members, and that in the effort to be supportive we encourage a lot of people that they are doing just fine when they are NOT doing just fine.

    Finally, to the UK mom who tries to imply that since she is not afraid to let her kids play outside in unregulated England, then the people I have met here in the US who keep their kids hidden inside all day don’t exist: huh?

    I am deeply saddened reading here all the “arguments” I used to make myself, but coming from veteran home school parents. Don’t you know any of the teens/young adults who have been hurt by their home school family situation? Or are they just one-offs, waywards, or some other label by which they can be marginalized and dismissed as irrelevant?

    You ladies are so afraid for no reason, and seem far more concerned with your rights than the welfare of children. It’s very sad, and exactly why the home school community can NOT apparently be trusted to ever say to a struggling mom that maybe home schooling is not for her, she should have her student evaluated professionally, and no Lifepacs are NOT an adequate education for today’s society.

    But that’s their problem. My school is in compliance, so I will have no problem enrolling my children anywhere or applying to any program anywhere.

    I think of the ten year old boy visiting in my home who couldn’t read enough to be able to choose one or two player game play of the Super Mario Brothers. I think of the honest moms who have confessed that they know their middle children are not getting the same education the oldest received. And in each of these situations, at every home school convention these moms will find platitudes assuring them that a) academics aren’t that important, it’s character that counts b) their children are picking up more than they realize and c) every child learns at their own pace, so don’t worry when you’re ten year old is functionally illiterate for his age.

    To your second question, public schools have completely different regulations that home schools in every state. There are pages and pages of regulations about public schools concerning everything one can imagine: bathrooms, safety regulations, attendance policies, health policies, discipline policies, employee policies and on and on. Home school regulations are generally one statute of one paragraph. Also, in no state that I am aware is any home school accountable to a public school principle. In Florida it is a school system employee (attendance officer) and he has no authority to judge the content on anyone’s home school program. His job is merely to establish that home education is happening vs. truancy (which also happens). In North Carolina it is the Department of Non-Public Education which oversees the home school regulations, not the public school system.


  35. shadowspring says

    Hmm, not sure how that cut and pasted so poorly. The last three paragraphs should have been the second, third and fourth paragraph. The lone A should be the first letter in the paragraph addressed to Anthea.

    Oopsies. SS

  36. says

    “he has no authority to judge the content on anyone’s home school program. His job is merely to establish that home education is happening vs. truancy (which also happens).”

    What does this even mean?

  37. says

    “Okay, I will come out and say what no one else wants to say: some home schooled parents to a substandard job academically. I saw far more lax educational standards in the state with little accountability.”

    shadowspring, I asked you before to document this assertion. Please do.

    Ar you purposefully missing the key question? I will ask again, why should all children be held to the standards of the government schools and why should the measurement of success for formal schooling be the standard for education? Far greater minds than yours or mine and with much more experience AND the academic credentials you are so fond of disagree with you! You are choosing to ignore documentation provided and dismiss any real discussion by labeling us and your only response has been to assert that “you just know” something. You are choosing to live inside a very narrow box and are insisting that the rest of us who love freedom climb inside with you. It’s not going to happen. I am so sorry you have been so greatly influenced by a failing and corrupt system.

  38. says

    Hello all! I was homeschooled K-12, and I am today in favor of greater homeschool regulation – in fact, this is something I am quite passionate about. Let me explain.

    At one point, there was no such thing as public education. Back then, kids sometimes went to “dame schools” and sometimes just learned their letters from their parents and sometimes didn’t get any “book learning” at all. But the world is a lot different today than it was back then. Today we live in a “knowledge economy” and in order to have a decent life people really need to have an education. That is why, a hundred years ago or so, states enacted mandatory school attendance laws. This ensured that all children received at least a minimum of education.

    Homeschoolers have cut through those mandatory attendance laws. Whereas every child was before required to receive an education, this is no longer the case. Children can now fall through the cracks and be denied an education in a way that they could not have in the past. The existence of homeschooling as a legal alternative allows this to happen. You can smile about how well educated your homeschooled kids are all you want, but that does not negate the fact that allowing homeschooling to exist legally without regulations gives parents the ability to deny their children an education.

    And I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen kids not educated, not taught, not given the skills they need, all in the name of homeschooling.

    I happen to believe that every child has a right to an education, and that children are not merely the property of their parents. Not every parent will educate their child if left to themselves, and that is where the state steps in. The state acts as a check on parents’ authority to ensure that their children do indeed receive an education.

    That is why I firmly believe that there DOES need to be better regulation of homeschooling. Now I think that this regulation needs to be formulated carefully, because homeschooling allows for flexibility, innovation, and learning that proceeds at the child’s individual level, and this should not be stifled. However, there needs to be SOMETHING. Parents should not be allowed to deprive their children of an education, as they are today.

    Homeschooling provides a perfect loophole for abusers and those who would deprive their children of a good education. So you can talk all you want about your rights as parents and the horribleness of the encroachments of the state, but remember as you do so that by resisting regulation you are creating a loophole through which thousands of children will continue to fall. And if it weren’t for homeschooling, this loophole would not exist, and those children would be receiving an education.

  39. says

    “Far greater minds than yours or mine and with much more experience AND the academic credentials you are so fond of disagree with you! You are choosing to ignore documentation provided and dismiss any real discussion by labeling us and your only response has been to assert that “you just know” something. You are choosing to live inside a very narrow box and are insisting that the rest of us who love freedom climb inside with you.”

    This made me laugh. You shouldn’t go appealing to authority and experts like that when you have only read scholars on one side of the issue. The reality is that plenty of “experts” disagree with you, and argue, from evidence no less, that homeschooled children do not do better academically than their public schooled peers and that in fact in some areas they do worse. These experts call for more regulation. In case you’d like to hear what scholars outside of your homeschool advocate bubble are saying, here are some links:

  40. shadowspring says

    Quote:“he has no authority to judge the content on anyone’s home school program. His job is merely to establish that home education is happening vs. truancy (which also happens).”

    What does this even mean?:unquote

    It’s plainly stated in the home school statutes that you could find at the link (Florida Home Education Foundation). The superintendent’s office has the right, after giving two weeks written notice, to inspect the daily log of educational activities and books used, plus to see samples of the student’s work. If you contacted the director of SHARE (another one of the links I posted) she could tell you her personal experience. She just threw all her books and the most recent paper/projects generated in a huge box and took it in with her calendar. The school official flipped through the calendar, barely glanced at the box of stuff, and thanked her for coming in.

    As the school board liason for SHARE for several years, I know exactly why this is necessary. There ARE truant families who file a notice of intent so they won’t be prosecuted for lack of attendance. Truant families do not contact SHARE or any of the other home school resources our county mails to people who send in a notice of intent (They don’t have to do that; it is out of concern that home schools succeed that they send it.)Truant families panic when they get the request to bring in their materials, and there is usually one of two outcomes according to what I have been told: They come in with nothing and ask for help, in which case they are referred to SHARE and other resources and told that by law they have a full year to come into compliance, OR they admit they aren’t doing anything with their children and re-enroll them in public school.

    It’s all in the home school statutes linked to at Florida Home Education Foundation’s website. 🙂

  41. shadowspring says

    Quote:“Okay, I will come out and say what no one else wants to say: some home schooled parents to a substandard job academically. I saw far more lax educational standards in the state with little accountability.”

    shadowspring, I asked you before to document this assertion. Please do.

    Ar you purposefully missing the key question? I will ask again, why should all children be held to the standards of the government schools and why should the measurement of success for formal schooling be the standard for education? Far greater minds than yours or mine and with much more experience AND the academic credentials you are so fond of disagree with you! You are choosing to ignore documentation provided and dismiss any real discussion by labeling us and your only response has been to assert that “you just know” something. You are choosing to live inside a very narrow box and are insisting that the rest of us who love freedom climb inside with you. It’s not going to happen. I am so sorry you have been so greatly influenced by a failing and corrupt system.:unquote

    Are you asking me to name names?! That would be really rude without their consent. I imagine it’s embarrassing enough not to be able to read without an acquaintance of your family’s posting it on the internet.

    Here is one person who has publicly come out and said her education was substandard and she was hurt by her Christian families home school:

    By your question about who decides what is an acceptable education, in FL it is up to the certified teacher evaluator, who must be willing to stake her reputation that each student “is progressing commensurate with his/her ability”. Many of these trained professionals you disdain ARE home schooling parents.

    Grade level is determined by the parents in every home school with which I am familiar. A parent makes that call, and in NC, chooses the level of the nationally-normed standardized test they want to utilize for their end of year evaluation.

  42. says

    The Gaither, etc opinions are from people who make a living promoting their educational research. They need numbers and people to research, so their quest to have registered homeschoolers seems to have ulterior motives not related to educational quality.
    Laws can be broken, children can be uneducated and abused. There’s no doubt about that. So let’s enforce the laws. If, for example in Illinois, private school parents do not educate their children in the branches of education commensurate with the public school grade level, they are considered negligent and their lack of action can be pursued in court. If some here like our lawmakers’ busy-ness, then for goodness sake, hold the law enforcers accountable and stop the desire to throw good, engaged, law-abiding homeschooling families out to the wolves.The notion that we all need govt nannies is shocking and disturbing to me. Libby Anne and Shadowspring, you did check out the hidden violations site?
    In my experience,homeschoolers mentor and nurture each other in a positive, encouraging way, along with the community resources such as the library, museums, etc. The vast majority are right out there and well known in their community. Estimate the percentages of public school children non-educated and unable to read or do math, let alone not have a high school diploma compared to homeschooling numbers. Then maybe the wrath against free and successful homeschooling will dwindle and consideration could be given to holding the public schools’ lack of success accountable. We can only hope and pray.
    In response to the reference to Indiana’s Education Professor Kunzman, I wrote a review of his book that some might find interesting:

  43. says

    “The Gaither, etc opinions are from people who make a living promoting their educational research. They need numbers and people to research, so their quest to have registered homeschoolers seems to have ulterior motives not related to educational quality.”

    I’m sorry, is that REALLY your answer? That’s not how academia works. It’s just not.

    Now, speaking of “ulterior motives,” have you ever thought that maybe the fact that Brian Ray homeschools means that he has “ulterior motives” to prove that homeschoolers are best? Or how about HSLDA? Don’t you think with their little legal insurance business they maybe have an “ulterior motive” to scaring homeschoolers with stories of governmental intrusion? Sure makes for good business. Those kinds of things are “ulterior motives.”

    And if you’d actually read Gaither, you’d find that he’s fairly pro-homeschooling. He’s even religious and teaches at a religious university (Messiah). He simply calls for greater regulation of homeschooling.

  44. says

    That REALLY is my answer, Libby Anne.
    I’m sure Mr. Gaither is a nice enough man (religious or not) and I’ve read quite a bit of what he writes.
    Definitely can’t speak for Mr. Ray or the folks at HSLDA. lol I can respond that homeschooling has fit my family’s life like a glove. My children thrived and we appreciated the freedom to focus on their interests and educational pursuits. My adult children have appreciated that gift they were given of time and freedom to learn. When you have that freedom, it’s hard to give it up. Especially, and pointing this out again, when so many public school children are failed in their education. I think that’s a huge shame that our society is facing right now and common sense dictates a lack of desire being involved with a bureaucratic and failed system that does not focus on children’s education.
    Replacing parents with government bureaucrats doesn’t make sense to me in the big scheme of things.

  45. shadowspring says

    Every home school in Florida has the same freedom to focus on student interests and allow them time and freedom to learn. It’s false to imply that sort of freedom only exists when there is a complete lack of accountability to local/state government.

    Government bureaucrats are your neighbors, the ones Jesus commanded you to love as you love yourself. They are human beings who are doing a job for society they have been hired to do, whatever position that may be for each individual government employee. None of them are trying to replace parents.

    How did you come to think in such sweeping generalities, equating any accountability to the community at large for the education of the next generation being equivalent to government employees replacing parents? You don’t really believe that, do you? Keeping a log to record your daily activities is not on par with having the government dictate what those activities could/should/would be.

    If your state government authorizes annual inspections, it does so because it is in the best interests of your fellow citizens to make sure your car isn’t polluting the air or causing unsafe driving conditions for others. The government isn’t telling you where you can drive or how far you can drive or when you can drive. It is decreeing that if you are going to drive, you must prove you are doing so in a way that doesn’t cause harm to other citizens.

    When a state regulates home schools, it does so in the best interests of society, to ensure all citizens have access to adequate education and health care, as neglected children affect all of society. They are not dictating what parents teach, or how they teach, or when they teach- merely ensuring children have equal access to an education. It is decreeing that if you intend to keep a child out of public school, you need to show that you are doing so in a way that ensure at the very least access to an education.

    It is not so hard to understand. The paranoia that government is bad, THAT is hard to understand, especially in light of scripture telling us to submit to every ordinance of man because God ordained government to reward good and punish evil.It should be enough that Jesus said to go the extra mile in complying with government demands (soldiers=government)and to let your good works shine for the world to see. Jesus also said the one who does good comes out into the light, so that it may be visible that what he is doing was approved by God. I don’t understand how Christians of all people are against public accountability.

    But at this point it is obvious that your minds are made up. I do hope you will look up the passages I mentioned above from the gospel of John ch. 3, Matt. ch. 5, and I Peter ch. 2. I will live openly, with a clean conscience, transparently in front of all my neighbors and fellow citizens and complying with all government regulations because I know they were passed with the interests of children in mind. I will support them, and lobby for more as it becomes necessary to protect home schooling AND home schooled students. I will do this because I care about all home schooled students, not just mine. I will do this because I care about all home schooled students, not just the freshly scrubbed one paraded on stage at conventions. I hope eventually you will join the side of righteousness, light, obedience, and service in which I believe scripture calls us to live.

    Peace and good will, SS

  46. Adam says

    Hey Everyone!

    Well, I am not in the homeschooling movement [I actually got involved in this issue through the back door of dealing with delay of marriage and quiverfull], but I must say that I don’t think the state is the solution to this problem.

    The real problem here is the determinism upon which both the Christian Patriarchy and the state position is based. If the schools must be controlled by the state, then who will control the controller? It is the same thing with this patriarchy movement. The fathers have all of this authority. However, who will control the fathers? If you say “the church,” you simply push it back one more step: Who then will control the church?

    The problem is that people have to be controlled in the first place. I think the main problem here is the fact that the Christian consensus is gone. The consensus that the Bible should define how we live and how we act is gone. Yes, I would even say this is the case in the Christian Patriarchy movement. I have simply been amazed as I read how horrible exegesis of the text of scripture is accepted as the norm. It seems like, in this movement, certain interpretations are accepted because they are sociologically beneficial, and not because they are correct.

    However, if we lived in a society where we have a Christian consensus, and people know what good hermeneutics look like because they were taught the principles of hermeneutics, and saw them modeled in the church on a weekly basis, we would not have this problem. It is not that everyone would agree, but there would be a comfort in recognizing that everyone in society is constantly seeking to learn more about scripture, and to more and more bring their lives into conformity with scripture. There is a real comfort when you know that those in authority over you also see themselves on a journey just like you.

    All of this is why, I believe, abuse can happen in these kinds of movements. In a lot of these movements, what is the correct interpretation becomes a matter of politics. I saw that when I was dialoguing on Tim Challies’ blog last week. It felt as though I was dialoguing with Scott Brown himself! When this happens, those who do not accept these interpretations will be isolated from the group, or worse, until they agree. However, if everyone in the society is seeking to bring their beliefs more and more into conformity with the scriptures, we will not have this problem.

    God Bless,

  47. Laura says

    Shadowspring- do you believe that individuals should have to be licensed to be parents? That would compare more closely with your drivers license analogy. One is licensed to drive, and from that point on, he or she is generally left alone unless he violates the law.

    Given that we don’t require parental license (though perhaps you think we should), lets say that when we start out homeschooling, the law assumes we are fit to parent, much like the law assumes a licensed driver is fit to drive. Now, if there are definite offenses, there is reason for the authorities to get involved. Occasionally, there might be a check point for all drivers, under unusual circumstances. But only in a repressive society would there be routine, frequent review of an individual’s driving abilities, background, destinations, etc.This would imply a suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of the state.

    I think poor parenting is very much a concern today, but I don’t think that statistically, the homeschool community would be any more or even as much at risk as other groups. If negligent or abusive parenting is the concern, shouldn’t public school parents be subject to review and scrutiny as well?You will say that these children are under the watchful eye of the teachers and school authorities-thus, somehow “safer”- but there are many cases of abuse that go unnoticed among these children, I think.

    I guess I am playing the “devils advocate” here, because I would clearly not support parental licensing. I just would like you to consider if that is the next step in your position on homeschool accountability. No system is perfect, but I question if you are just more into trashing those who disagree with you rather than exposing areas of concern?

    Again, I can empathise with your dissapointment with some in the homeschool community. There are some mighty mean Christians out there, I’m afraid. But, they are not all of us!Please expand your thoughts on this- I would like to see what you have to say.

  48. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    I’m sorry that your excellent post — thanks for the response for my request for more info on Helen Andelin’s book — has been hijacked by the “regulation guarantees quality and safety” cliches.

    “You ladies are so afraid for no reason, and seem far more concerned with your rights than the welfare of children.” Karen, I’ve read your blog for a few years now, and it’s just not true of you, and it’s not true of our household. If we question the efficacy of a certain type of state micromanagemant, it should not be assumed that our grounds are irrational or selfish. It should not be assumed that there is only one way to improve the welfare of children.

    “Places hidden from public view can be both safe and unsafe, but places up on the candlestick where all can see cannot remain unsafe for long.” Why did I quote the words of Maria Colwell’s teacher? Because she was a byword in my youth for the sort of thing that should not happen. Yet, here in the UK, every time a child dies of violence in the home, that child was *already *known to Social Services et al. And it’s been going on for a long time.

    I am sorry that Libby Anne did not get a favourable impression of home education as a child. I went to school and loved it, but that was in the 1970s, when Punk was young and dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was because my own schooling experience was beneficial that I warmly agreed when dh suggested keeping them out of 21st-century school — because I knew what should be provided. Our National Curriculum created consistency, but also mediocrity. Gradually, by degrees, our schools became sausage factories where “raising standards” became synonymous with raising exam scores — the teachers worked hard to provide a rich and varied academic diet, but despite all their efforts I saw lots of problems in the 1990s and knew that things would not change before our children were grown.

    Libby Anne stated: “And if it weren’t for homeschooling, this loophole would not exist, and those children would be receiving an education.” Perhaps, but my son, who turns out to be a history-lover, would find a 200-YEAR BLACKHOLE in the school curriculum. Apart from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, there is nothing from the accession of James I in 1603 to Victorian in 1837. The schools teach the Victorians ad nauseam. Of course, nothing much happened during this time — apart from the American and French Revolutions, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the expansion of the British Empire, the Act of Union (UK), the big religious revivals, the birth of Romanticism, the rise of the novel, the Enlightenment — so why bother teaching it, eh?

    Libby Anne confidently asserts: “The state acts as a check on parents’ authority to ensure that their children do indeed receive an education.” I am afraid that our state cannot be sure that children will be educated well. The first articles are from a left-leaning paper, read by teachers and so not inclined to bash schools:

    I do not believe that schools are useles, just that if I were required to replicate their methodology and content it would necessitate a narrowing of scope, a reduction of content and a lowering of standards.

  49. Anthea says

    As Columbo said, “Just one more thing…”

    Libby Anne doesn’t think you’ve read that widely. She told you that: “You shouldn’t go appealing to authority and experts like that when you have only read scholars on one side of the issue.”

    Now, Karen, you should just “fess up”!! I’ve seen those photos on the blog of you, in the 1980s, with a very dodgy bubble perm that we call a Mullet. There are incriminating photos of me from the 1980s, too — but I noticed that you were holding a baby, and had clearly reached the age of majority. Before me. I’m just sayin’.

    “Your Honour, I hope to prove that the defendant, Karen Campbell, is plenty old enough to have not only read the works Ejumacated Experts, but to have attained the status of Honorary Expert. I draw to your attention Exhibit A, a vintage ‘Mullet and Rara Skirt Combo’ of dubious provenance, which nevertheless shows that the defendant is in possession of a

    ‘silver-haired head … a crown of glory,
    If it is found in the way of righteousness.'”

    “Objection, Your Honour! Proverbs 16:31 is not admissible as evidence.”


  50. says

    Part of the problem is in the definitions being used. I have an attorney friend who has lots of experience in child abuse cases and I asked him what constitutes “abuse” that would bring authorities down on the heads of parents. He told me any sort of physical action that would leave a visible mark.

    So in Illinois, parents have the freedom to teach their children from a Christian or any other religious point of view free from the scrutiny of government officials and without it being called abuse. Can you imagine the violation of religious freedom were some sort of abuse label attached to parents teaching matters of faith to their children?

    shadowspring, do you believe parents ought to be able to teach what they believe to their children as absolute truth?

  51. says

    “So in Illinois, parents have the freedom to teach their children from a Christian or any other religious point of view free from the scrutiny of government officials and without it being called abuse. Can you imagine the violation of religious freedom were some sort of abuse label attached to parents teaching matters of faith to their children?”

    Just to clarify, I didn’t say that teaching children religious beliefs was “abuse,” I said that giving children a bad education was violating children’s right to an education.

  52. says

    There are many on the more left leaning side who believe teaching children at home, particularly those of the Christian leaning side, are causing harm to children. I’ve found their research flawed and their agendas obvious. Rob Reich has backed off a bit publicly, once he figured out homeschoolers are extremely diverse, but this 2007 interview in PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly says a lot: “Prof. REICH: If parents can control every aspect of a kid’s education, shield them from exposure to the things that the parents deem sinful or objectionable, screen in only the things which accord to their convictions, and not allow them exposure to the world of a democracy, will the children group up then basically in the own image of their parents, servile to their own parents’ beliefs? ”
    It seems that does not bear out as truth.
    Kim Yuracko, NW law professor, wrote a research paper on Illiberal Education (homeschooling) Her premise argues “that states should “regulate homeschooling to ensure that parents provide their children with a basic minimum education and check rampant forms of sexism.” When I look around at my local homeschool community, her blind eye and lack of research is stunning. Girls are black belts, engaged in local politics, boys are sewing and knitting…I could go on and on.
    I don’t find the concerns of the Yurackos and Reichs much different than what I’m seeing here in comments. Pre-conceived notions of all homeschoolers followed by the government must be the answer to solve problems. I like what Adam wrote regarding determinism. The government doesn’t have any sort of decent track record to solve such problems in this day and age. Again, I am concerned what abused children learn socially and emotionally in schools when there has been no accountability from authorities sweeping these terrible matters under the rug. Proportions are important, and law breaking exemptions abound in public school. Private schools don’t tend to have the same sort of abuse protections
    Most homeschoolers don’t like to point out the massive public school problems as much as has been done here. We respect our public school neighbors and friends who made a different decision than we have. But government oversight is on the agenda of some here as if that was a solution. Homeschoolers’ protective defense has been similar to speaking with worst case representatives whose goal is job building to keep the teachers unions happy.
    I’ve also found Shadowspring’s response to me and others interesting, to say the least: “I hope eventually you will join the side of righteousness, light, obedience, and service in which I believe scripture calls us to live.” I’d refused to join statement of faith groups as their formulated statement was not my personal statement of Christian faith, for one. But I find SS’s response so similar to those who feel some Christians are “not Christian enough”. Ironic.
    Different perspectives with the same goals, it appears.

  53. says

    Keeping a daily log would be a nuisance to me in trying to figure out what was an educational moment during our day and trying to keep a log handy to record it. ugh We live and learn and I would resent being mandated to keep a log. Some IL homeschoolers do log every day because that works for them. Public schools have a certain amount of days where there is classroom seat time. Many homeschoolers educate all year. Summer is our busiest time with 4-H and various learning camps. No need to log it. Our kids did it and it was useful in their education. They are living proof.
    Some IL homeschoolers test their kids to use as one more tool. That is not used as the public school end all-be all thanks to federal laws such as NCLB or the new name-same game Obama regs. We don’t have to test. Some of us choose to because that seems to be a good fit for our children. That is what freedom means to me.

  54. Laura says

    Good point about respecting others ! I am sorry if anything I said would imply that I believe that it is acceptable or common for public school teachers to ignore abuse. Quite the contrary!I am NOT into trashing those who see things a different way on schooling. My point was that unfortunately, there is no system where bad things don’t sometimes happen, and I don’t think the public school system is any exception…It is good to keep in mind that we should respect others choices as we want them to respect ours!

  55. shadowspring says

    Susan, your comment about people who are concerned about the children in the home school community all being left-wing is patently untrue. You may want to believe what you consider evil about those who disagree with you, but that is merely your sin nature.

    I am a conservative, long-time home schooling mom. I started my subscription to National Review before I even had kids. Ronald Reagan was my hero, and I was part of the landslide electorate that put him into office. I have never registered or voted Democrat, not that it is a sin, but fyi. If the concerns people have about isolated children being taught rigid beliefs and gender roles is NOT a concern, why is Karen speaking out about it then? Oh, it is happening. You KNOW it is happening.

    I would also add that if keeping a daily log is too much of a nuisance for you, then why are you commenting on people’s internet posts? That takes a lot more time than writing down (math- lesson 42, English- wkbk pg 50, read library books, history BF Hakim book 9 pp70-75 discuss, science Anat&PHys vocab for ch 7, Bible- personal devos, Home Ec- helped plan dinner, PE- kickball w?younger sibs).

    The moms of many in FL that I knew of printed off a week’s/month’s planned activities and then just dated when they were completed, or made changes as they occurred in a comment section left blank for that purpose(Puppies born! No book work today!). Older children were expected to check things off for themselves. For unschooling families, the family calendar along with the list of library books (that the library prints off when you check out) was enough.

    Florida is not a police state.

    Neglecting to test may seem like freedom to you, but it may also seem like being denied an education to your children when they are adults.

    Your first responsibility is to your children. Yes, we have freedom, but it is not given to us so that we might avoid accountability. Do not use your freedom to serve yourself, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

  56. says

    “Neglecting to test may seem like freedom to you, but it may also seem like being denied an education to your children when they are adults.”

    Do you have something other an anecdotal evidence for this statement? We tested our kids once….at the end of the first year they were homeschooled and never did so again until they did pretests for college placement tests. Didn’t hurt them a bit. Again, education does not equal what you learn in formal schooling. I am truly sorry you are not able to grasp this.

  57. says

    “I’ve also found Shadowspring’s response to me and others interesting, to say the least: “I hope eventually you will join the side of righteousness, light, obedience, and service in which I believe scripture calls us to live.” I’d refused to join statement of faith groups as their formulated statement was not my personal statement of Christian faith, for one. But I find SS’s response so similar to those who feel some Christians are “not Christian enough”. Ironic.”

    This is very puzzling to me as well.

  58. Joyce says

    This is an excellent article. Thank you for writing it. I believe I was led here to read it as I am doing spiritual battle with the enemy and needed the inspiration and “ammunition” your article provides.

  59. says

    We’ve tested here and there through the years. It can be a useful tool, but only with our understanding from our various right or left brained kids that sometimes it just shows good test taking skills. Many good public school teachers hate standardized tests and their usage against kids’ education.
    I want to clarify one important issue. I pointed out Reich’s rambling fears about homeschoolers in general. Until I met Karen and read her blog, I did not clearly understand the subjugation that some children endure in patriocentric families. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand it, but I’m trying. My response seemed to dismiss those who have grown up in that life and not been offered skills they should have as adults. Every child is important and it’s sad that a homeschooling life could stifle the joys and freedoms to find your niche in life. I hope (and suspect) there are few families of that nature in the big picture of our homeschooling community.
    What I find reckless is replacing one tyrant with another. As I understand it, SS has no history with a free (non-reporting) state and negates the benefits. Even as young adults are successfully educated in those states without issue (except by oppressive legislators). This isn’t a competition and Florida homeschoolers can do what they want. (Thankfully, I know there are some Florida homeschoolers who are not supportive of SS’s calls for more regs and home visits) Just don’t try to tell us in states like Illinois that our reality is of a “sinful nature” and we’re too lazy to log because we’re noodling around on the ‘net, for goodness sake. Unschoolers need protections from oppressive regs and the constant mantra from school authorities is to “provide the name of the curriculum used”. Our science has always been unschooled and my kids generally love the sciences and seem to do well in them. I have no name of curriculum to insert in their little box. Worked well for us, but might be considered educational neglect or dare I say, “sinful nature” to the bureaucrats.
    In response to Libby Anne’s dismissal of my concern about researchers’ goals, I’d like to reiterate again that researchers need to find their subjects to research and homeschoolers are “under the radar”, in the opinion of a Reich. That term sounds so subversive and sneaky, when we’re actually just taking on the responsibility of our children’s education and moving about our community looking for various resources. Here’s one of Reich’s concerns about homeschoolers and the fact that we don’t cooperate with his numbers game: Reich- “A great deal of home schooling occurs “under the radar”, so to speak, so that even if local officials wished to test or monitor the progress of home schooled students, they wouldn’t even know how to locate them. Researchers and public officials have, quite literally, no sense of the total population of home schooled students. This is the primary obstacle to studying home schooling.”
    Job maintenance requires removing obstacles.

  60. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    Re testing and this comment:

    “Neglecting to test may seem like freedom to you, but it may also seem like being denied an education to your children when they are adults.”

    Shadowspring has conflated testing and education. Testing, whether it occurs during a course to check on progress or at the end to provide a paper qualification, is not not not the means of providing education, but one way of establishing that learning has taken already place. We can check on children in all sorts of ways, including testing. A state which constructs and elaborate system of assessment can actually deflect attention and energy away from learning — this is precisely what I saw from the 1990s and is why the alternative culture of learning in our home is, to me, an effective way forward. UK teachers have a saying: ‘You don’t make a pig any fatter by weighing it.’

    A more serious point is that Shadowspring has used the same arguments that were used over here about a year ago — For example that any good parent would agree with what she is proposing, and that those who question certain ideas and methods are doing so because they are neglectful parents, or excusing the neglectful.

    Underpinning this is the notion that an innocent person has nothing to fear from interventions by the state. However, if the schemes are poorly conceived or ineptly executed, then there is a legitimate cause for concern. My concern for example, is about excellence and quality. You, Karen, might have different ones.

    I can understand that the concerns about spiritual abuse in some homeschooling homes has appalled her, and that she wants to fight against that. If she knew children who were falling behind, what did she do about that? If she approached the parents to help/advise, or in extremis contacted the social services, then fine. These avenues are there to protect children. What is not appropriate is to expect home educators to ape the flawed methods, content and ideology of the schools, and assume that only by agreeing with those can we demonstrate that we are good and godly people. Isn’t this exactly what some spiritually abusive leaders do — suggest that if you are “biblical” or “godly” you will do things their way?

    For example, I don’t keep some dull list/log. (They do that in schools, and they are seldom read thoroughly, because keeping them is only mostly covering the teacher’s behind.) Since ds was 2 yrs old I’ve kept photo/memory albums — more meaningful to me and something to treasure for them. In the UK education legally begins at 5 yrs old. So by the time the lady from Essex contacted me, I already had 3 yrs of these. When she described them as “records” in her report, I asked her to call them “memory albums”, because “I didn’t make them for you, and I absolutely did not want to replicate the sort of assessment done in schools.” She loves coming to see them each year, and says that they actually tell her more about what we are doing than some – yawn – daily log. Of course Shadowspring says that a good mother would just comply, and what’s the problem? My problem is that a) we are all being tarred with the same brush, and b) this sort of pettifogging claptrap has already infested our schools and robbed so many children of breadth and depth in the curriculum, so why would I want it infesting my home?

    In sum, if being a thoughtful, truly thorough parent makes me some sort of abusive nutjob, well I’m in good company. Jochabed didn’t comply with the government anti-boy measures — And as for those two midwives — shouldn’t they have complied with Pharoah’s idea of good gynaecological practice?

  61. Anthea says

    Argh! The noun and verb don’t agree:

    “I can understand that the concerns about spiritual abuse in some homeschooling homes has appalled her.”

    And they “let” me teach my children!

  62. says

    This was emailed to me:

    I followed to Libby’s website and see yet another result of the wacky patrios. So sad what Libby and Chandra have been thru, but going too far the opposite direction is not the answer either. Their anger is understandable, but it is unfortunately not a very good master and it is leading them to make foolish choices for themselves and to push those choices onto others- which is ironically what they are fighting. Very sad. Another thought… the more they outwardly broadcast government control, the more likely the very ones they are trying to help(those in patrio-cult situations) are going to go more underground and be more abused, while their parents hide from the gov’t, which through Libby & Chandra’s stories, they may become even more fearful of. I believe a “Wise as serpants and gentle as doves approach is needed.” Makes me more & more appreciative of Hillary’s gracious approach in her story!

  63. Anthea says

    Hello Karen

    Now, you know I’m a cheeky Cockney chapette, so when I stated:”Jochabed didn’t comply with the government anti-boy measures — And as for those two midwives — shouldn’t they have complied with Pharoah’s idea of good gynaecological practice?” my words do not imply that it is always wrong to comply with the laws set down by our earthly leaders. Just that it isn’t always wrong to disobey the government.

    I’m off — the sun is shining, it’s ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT HOT. See, there is a God, two miracles in one day!!

  64. Laura says

    Karen- I SO agree with yoour point that these moms are trading one big brother for another.

    Another great point is by Anthea. If you see abuse or neglect, do something about it!

    Meantime, we need more disclosure of what is going on in the Patriarchal movement, and compassion for those who have been victimized by it.

  65. Sandy says

    Being a true Christian is definitely a constant tight-rope exercise. Finding the balance between what our Lord truly wants of us and the expectations that others and ourselves put upon us. Those that have made a life-style become rules from God have truly created an easier way to live. Easier, you may ask yourself? yes, easier in the fact that it gives them (and those they strive to influence) a list of rules to follow, if we follow them we’ll have success and a happy life. Sounds good? it does to them, but if you think of it in detail, it is really legalism: follow the rules, you’ll be fine: cause/effect laws: you dress well and use lavender oil=your children will call you blessed and other countries will have a better view of the US. Our family has had to leave a church because of this. The loveliness of many in there is attractive, definitely, but then you have me. I can’t sew, I look awful in Jane Austen clothing, I do not like tea and crumpets (just coffee & bread, please); I’m not an artist, play piano nor draw. I am not able to teach these to my daughter, and if I did, her business in these area when become a teen will not have customers; the other ones in our area are definitely more lovely.
    So .. we cast aside the weight that encumbered us and walked ahead, seeking our Lord’s face and his mercy and grace instead.

  66. says

    LOL I remember reading Helen Andelin’s books while I was in college. I think that “fascinating” should be replaced with “manipulative”!

    It’s rather amusing how Christian homeschoolers (generally Protestant, evangelical, etc.) will be dogmatic and vicious about minute theological differences amongst each other, but so freely praise the Amish (who refuse to fellowship with them) and Mormons, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims (who all deny Christ) as if modest dressing, submission, and family size were doctrines central to the faith We really should ask ourselves who are our allies and enemies here!

  67. says

    Sandy, reading your comment reminded me of the scene in Pride add Prejudice where Lady Catherine de Bourg is grilling Elizabeth Bennet about her “accomplishments” or rather lack therof. She didn’t play the piano well, didn’t draw, etc. But Elizabeth is truly the hero in the story, her knowledge and awareness of human nature, her lively wit and grace, and her gift of encouragement draw us to her! “Accomplishents” of the patriocentric kind are overrated! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  68. says

    Jenny, this is really one of the key observations I have regarding the FIC movement, as we are discussing in the other thread. There is not unity around the great doctrines of the faith, rather it is unity around preferences. Somehow I had escaped the reading of this book back in the 80’s when it was first all the rage among homeschooling moms. I was blown away the first time I read it and learned Andelin was Mormon. I couldn’t believe my eyes that who I thought were solid Bible-believing Christians were promoting this nonsense and declaring it “biblical.” It was good for a read aloud laugh for my husband and me, though. He and I don’t want to know men who want little girls for wives.

  69. Laura says

    Jenny: This IS weird. Conservative Christians alsost put the Amish on a higher level than other Christians. Of course they have a right to their beliefs but I don’t see much to emulate there as far as life style goes.

    Why do people always seem drawn to reclusive, rigidly ordered sub cultures? Because life safer and easier that way?

    We tear each other up over things like the role of women in the church, and then wax poetic over the archaic lifestyles of people who are not even allowed the privilege of debate.

    These people would never read a book on marriage by a “whitewashed feminist Christian”(not my term), but they will eat up Facinating Womanhood like candy.

    Who can figure?

  70. shilohmm says

    Sandy said;
    Easier, you may ask yourself? yes, easier in the fact that it gives them (and those they strive to influence) a list of rules to follow, if we follow them we’ll have success and a happy life.

    It’s also easier for the same reason that it was easier for the Pharisees to “tithe of mint and anise and cumin” — because you can ignore “the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faith.” (Matthew 23:23) It is always easier to follow a set of rules than to wrestle with “what is the loving thing to do in this situation?” when you are coping with people who are just as important as you are, but may have different temperaments, situations, and needs.

    Figure out enough rules, and you never have to worry about uncertainty, because you always “know what to do” — and never have to worry about whether you’re doing the most loving thing, because “following the rules” is now your definition of “loving response.” And, of course, if these people who are just as important as you are in a spiritual sense happen to gravely lack power in a fleshly sense, a system of unbiblical rules is an even greater temptation. Somehow, these rule systems always manage to empower the powerful.

    What I find most ironic is that the people who set these rules that are much easier than what God calls us to, still manage to convince themselves and others that they are achieving a “higher level” of obedience to God. God’s church is deceived, again and again, by the same old program that’s just been papered over with a slightly different set of rules. If you peel off that top layer, there’s just about always a discredited system underneath.

  71. Jennifer says

    Absolutely brilliant! 🙂 Andelin’s unbelievable work continues to repulse me and give me a strong urge to deliver a large slap to this day.

  72. Jennifer says

    Karen, I do have to defend Stacy Mcdonald a little bit here; she gave some great advice about personal upkeep, but of course she wouldn’t expect children and women with no soap to be able to do this. I can’t imagine that even slightly being her implication; she was just saying to take advantage of what we have. I thought her two books had a lot more truth than Andelin’s, the Botkins’, and the Pearl’s book for marriage.

  73. says

    Aqain, Jennifer, it is important to be able to recognize the teachings within the patriocentric camp that find their roots in Andelin’s teachings. It was so interesting to me to see so many of her ideals promoted by those who have the same cultic tendencies. Here is a testimony of one of the main contributors to Jennie Chancey’s Ladies Against Femnism website, Lydia Sherman, who is a self-described “Fascinating Womanhood teacher.”

  74. says

    Jennifer, if you look at the study questions at the end of the chapter on bathing in Raising Maidens of Virtue, you see lots of references to spiritual cleansings and this assignment: “Discuss ways that physical cleanliness can be an outward sign of inward purity.” You say: “she gave some great advice about personal upkeep, but of course she wouldn’t expect children and women with no soap to be able to do this. I can’t imagine that even slightly being her implication; she was just saying to take advantage of what we have” Could you please substantiate this with quotes from that book? As with her other writings, her personal preferences are superimposed on all of us and are used to create a standard. Even more interesting to me is her encouragement to use essential oils (implying godliness for doing so) and now she is a selling agent for them! Reminds me of why the Reformation was so greatly needed!

  75. Jennifer says

    Hi Karen. I reread the chapter on cleanliness recently, and once again see no prerequisite for unrealistic expectations. She said it’s almost always possible to stay basically clean, and it is; she also mentions how it does not represent spirituality, but is like modesty in the sense that it’s important to God and can send a very strong impression to others. Btw, you mentioned some time ago that you had a CD with several of your lectures against patriocentricity that you wouldn’t mind sending me; is it still available? I’d be happy to purchase it.

  76. says

    Jennifer! I thought we had sent you copies of the patriarchy series! Are you still unable to listen either here or on i-tunes? Drop me an email with your info if not!

    Are you talking about the original Raising book or the revised version that came out a few months ago?

  77. says

    Jennifer said ” I reread the chapter on cleanliness recently, and once again see no prerequisite for unrealistic expectations. She said it’s almost always possible to stay basically clean, and it is; she also mentions how it does not represent spirituality, but is like modesty in the sense that it’s important to God and can send a very strong impression to others.”

    What do you make of this statement in light of what I wrote about women in third world countries, specifically those who have health issues? And could you share the Scripture that supports this concept? I didn’t find it in that book.

  78. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    And the silliest notion of all, women are exhorted to become childlike to please their husbands because we all know husbands find little girl behavior much more attractive than being married to an actual adult woman. Andelin suggests that women visit the little girl’s section of a department store to find clothing styles to copy, like ruffles, lace, and ribbons.

    That’s not silly, that’s CREEPY.
    Is hubby’s secret passion to role-play a pedophile?
    Or daddy-little daughter incest?

    Adult actors in little-kid roles (as in Thirties farce comedy shorts) have creeped me out as far back as I can remember. This is creepier, as husband-and-wife implies sex as part of the package. Put the two together, and there’s not enough brain-bleach in the world to get the image out of my head.

  79. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    To the person above who talked about eating the meat and spitting out the bones:

    What if it’s all bones and no meat?


  1. […] I thought of his words again this week as I pondered both the resignation letter and the billboard. What message are the patriocentrists sending to young women? That it is ok to be used to fulfill the sinful “needs” of men? That daughters are given to meet the needs of fathers? Yesterday I read the testimony of a woman who heard Phillips giving a conference message instructing fathers to train their daughters to stand in place behind their chairs at the ready to fetch anything a dad might want. The Botkins So Much More, published and promoted by VF, named daughters as “helpmeets” for their dads, their film The Return of the Daughters depicting the subservience of women wrapped in beautiful cinematography and stunningly beautiful daughters. How can this not set up any young woman for moral failure at the hands of any man who believes this is the purpose and role of women? […]

  2. […] “…Andelin proudly guarantees that every woman will see positive results if she only follows the fascinating womanhood principles, reminding readers that the burden of a happy marriage and home life is on the wife. In what I call a treatise on feeding a man’s fleshly desires, Andelin’s book is 380 pages of feminine manipulation and role playing at its finest and she even admits that women must become accomplished actresses in order to please their husbands. Andelin admonishes women to never be more intelligent than their husbands, to dummy themselves down if they must and to never offer an opinion on manly subjects like politics, current events, math or science. […]

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