Patriarchy on Trial, part four

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Late night television host, Johnny Carson, used to do a spoof called Carnac the Magnificent where he donned a crazy costume and pretended to foresee the future. Perhaps his insights might be every bit as helpful as the variety of things I am reading these days about the future of the patriarchy moment in homeschooling. I have no sure answers as to where the patriarchs are all headed as, one by one, ministries embracing the basic teachings of patriarchy are tumbling down. But I do see some things that concern me greatly as well as some things I believe speak to the good health of the homeschooling spirit. Here are some of my rambling ideas and, as always, I welcome your thoughts and insights.

As the Common Core agenda continues to be advanced, homeschooling will continue to grow and with this growth comes even more diversity. This means that the profile of the average homeschooler will look even less like the 1980s variety of homeschooler than it does today. Denim jumpers, for the most part, have left the building and along with them the rigid lifestyles many still associate with homeschooling families. Articles like Home Educating Family’s Why I Let My Teens Date open the door to genuine, honest conversations about subjects that have formerly been taboo in Christian homeschooling circles.

The 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit with its nonsensical manifesto was one of the last ditch efforts to attempt to control homeschooling on the part of the legalistic patriocentrist crowd. Those who embrace the fringe teachings within the homeschool culture will continue in their own distilling process, producing even more potent of an end product that is sure to leave an even more bitter taste in the mouth. There are still a few of those efforts today but, as my husband has often said, trying to organize all homeschoolers to do anything, because we are so naturally independent and stubborn, is like trying to herd cats. It will be even more difficult as homeschooling grows and new voices are heard above the patriocentric mantra. And, may I say, the real manly men are found in this new group!

Watch for this continuing diversity as even more Great Homeschool Conventions are coming to a town near you and local support groups of all flavors continue popping up. A number of years ago R.C. Sproul Jr. lamented the changes in homeschooling; I am excited about them. I see homeschooling coming full-circle and eventually returning to the ideals of the early days when a child’s education was actually about enabling children to pursue and excel at their dreams rather than attempting to upload them with personal preferences in order to fulfill the dreams of a parent’s guru.

Those who have promoted patriarchy, either outright, or by default and have kept silent out of fear, are starting to step up and speak out. They have not all been warmly received and, frankly, the jury is still out on the sincerity of some. Nonetheless, many are now willing to say what they have thought for many years, “Something is not right. This is not what homeschooling is all about!” Applause for the brave ones!

I believe this will naturally make way for more homeschooling moms to share what they have learned and to have genuine ministry to younger moms who want real encouragement rather than obligatory platitudes. Though those men-only folks who put on that 2009 summit and wrote their own manifesto chose to disenfranchise moms, everyone knows that without homeschooling moms, there will be no homeschooling. Gradually, those who plan conventions and organize homeschooling events will realize that moms who have been in the trenches are their greatest secret weapon against burnout and discouragement and will act accordingly.

And moms who are older, don’t think for a single minute that you are not needed and wanted. These younger moms tell me otherwise. Younger moms want to benefit from our years of living life, making mistakes, and finding grace. This was confirmed to me a while back when I was asked by my church to mentor a young woman who told me she asked for “an older woman who had been married for a really long time to the same man.” And how often have I heard the lament of young homeschooling moms who tell me that those of us who are “retired” from actual homeschooling and have moved on to new interests and don’t have time for them are a huge disappointment. This needs to change.

Even though patriarchy is not dead (but is wounded and even limping along in some places) there are those who are jockeying for the reigns of the patriocentric crowd, by one means or another. Scott Brown, current leader and spokesman for the National Center for the Family Integrated Church is currently advertising his internship program for young men, which appears to be amazingly similar to Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum model. If anything, this FIC leader is digging in his heels to further his patriocentric agenda. Stacy McDonald, continuing to promote her own particular paradigm of godly womanhood, is calling for the possible sidelining of the actual word “patriarchy,” but is in favor of holding tightly to the principles. Israel Wayne, whose recent attempts to sound like a kinder, gentler homeschooling leader, have been welcomed, even by some who have spoken out against patriarchy, but I believe he should be held up to greater scrutiny. Wayne’s long personal and family history in the homeschooling movement as well as his gracious and charming demeanor seem to have clouded the judgment of many who are just now saying they should have spoken up earlier against the Vision Forum agenda. But I have to ask, when it comes down to the core teachings of patriarchy, how are Wayne’s views any different that those taught by Phillips? Claiming that even courtship is not biblical, Wayne’s teachings on betrothal should not be overlooked as they place him squarely in the middle of patriocentricity. Are any of these teachings what we want to see promoted as mainstream?

A new, organized, and clearly focused group of former homeschool students, motivated, in part, by the bad fruits of patriocentric homeschooling, have taken up the banner for homeschooling reform, putting the very good ideals at the heart of homeschooling at risk. Their legitimate concerns over some instances of sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse of children have resulted in their misguided call for state-operated control over all homeschooling and have even extended to their advancement of “homosexual rights” for homeschooled children. Though I have had similar concerns about treatment of all children, homeschooled and otherwise, at the hands of adversarial methods, I do not share the solutions being advanced by this group! Let me encourage you to read through their websites to become aware of their agenda. I believe this group poses possibly the greatest threat to homeschooling freedoms we enjoy today and has largely been inspired by the patriarchy movement.

About 15 months ago, before any of this latest patriarchy nonsense came to light, I wrote a piece entitled Kitty Genovese Christians, encouraging us to be ever vigilant and pro-active when we see wrongs being committed against others and teachings that are counter to the Word of God. Let me encourage you to read it again and then ponder what may be coming our direction in the future. Let’s continue to put patriarchy on trial now and be prepared to do so down the road!

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. jewels says

    I’m sorry? You think advocating for the voiceless is placing homeschooling at risk?! As an Australian homeschooler, where registration etc is a legal requirement, I can assure you that it is not impeding a growing homeschool movement. HA, in my opinion, is doing a stellar job (yes, I was homeschooled also), and some oversight can only be a good thing when it protects those most vulnerable, ie, children.

  2. says

    I share a lot of these sentiments…thank you for putting your thoughts to words, Karen.

    The call for state oversight is a sticky one for me. HA’s work is bringing an inherent problem with homeschooling to the surface, and I haven’t been satisfied with anyone’s solutions. It seems there is zero tolerance on both sides: HSLDA’s refusal of any government oversight and HA’s insistence of state oversight. I’m not comfortable with either, and I’m not sure what the silver bullet idea or policy is.

  3. says

    jewels, as I said in the article, while I recognize the problems and share your concerns, I disagree with the proposed solutions i.e. state oversight.

  4. says

    Chris, I live in Illinois where home schools are considered to be private schools and the only requirement is that we teach a variety of subjects in the English language.

    Two years ago an Illinois senator from the Chicago area decided he wanted to see mandatory registration for all homeschoolers. Sounds innocent enough. Just register to let us know you are out there we were told. On the day of the public committee meeting for that proposed legislation, I sat in the hearing room in absolute awe of what these senators were considering and at the arrogance of a tax funded (my tax dollars) system that was so out of touch with how real children learn and at what a true education should be. One retired school official who was then working as a truancy offer (double dipping?) told us that he could tell if a child was adequately educated or not simply by walking in the front door of a home and looking around at the number of books he saw. He then suggested that homeschooling parents ought to be required to have the same teaching credentials as the government school teachers must have. Add to this the senator who told us “I don’t know why any of you would want to be with your kids” and the sponsor of the bill whose Senate district boosts a high school with grads with less than a 30% literacy rate upon graduation. Oh, and at one point, one of my public speaking students I had with me said, “Mrs. Campbell, why aren’t state senators required to have a basic public speaking class before hiding office?” These are just a few of the highlights of watching the government system manage homeschooling.

    Another aspect of all this, which will be an even bigger problem as the common core is pushed into districts and on to willing homeschoolers, is the curriculum driven, market driven nature of homeschooling. There is such a skewed view of what it means to be educated and what it will mean 30 and 40 years down the road. We have forgotten the Moore research (sorry Israel Wayne, but it DOES matter) we have forgotten John Holt, we are ignoring all the amazing brain research of the past 30 years that tells us the truth about how children actually earn, we have embraced the world’s views of what education is, we have allowed no room for the gifted, those with special needs, the artists among us, and those who are simply outliers. Homeschoolers are succumbing to the instant education in a box ideals that sent the early homeschooling pioneers running out of the state system. Giving that same system the keys to the future of homeschoolers is unconscionable!

  5. Jeanette Cole says

    I once heard Mike Farris say that freedoms only exist while the people are responsible to self-govern, but when people fail to self-govern, they can kiss their freedoms goodbye (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point). While I can see your point that the issues raised by Homeschoolers Anonymous may be a threat to homeschooling freedoms as we know them, I think we have to admit that this, sadly, is one of the consequences of a movement that has not always been willing to self-govern. Yes, this means that responsible families may wind up paying the price for the irresponsible ones, but that happens in many spheres. I’m not necessarily in favor of more governmental controls on homeschoolers, but if some families can continue to claim homeschooling while neglecting the education of their children, not to mention abusing them, I kind of think our government would be remiss to not be concerned about these issues. Increased regulation may indeed be yet another consequence of patriarchy that went unchecked and in many cases promoted by the most powerful people in the movement.

  6. says

    Again, Jeanette, its not the issues raised, its the proposed solutions. On what basis can we say the government system has earned the right to be the keepers of education? Who has decided what it means for an individual child to be educated? The ramifications are enormous and go far beyond the simplistic standards being offered.

  7. Lora says

    Could you provide a link or full name/topics related to the Moore research? I don’t believe that I am familiar with that work, and I was unsuccessful when I tried to Google the last name.
    Thank you.

  8. Raven says

    The best way to make state regulation unnecessary? Cultivating a culture in homeschooling that doesn’t tolerate educational neglect or abuse. Homeschooling is a big-tent movement and it has always been, but being accepting doesn’t mean that all educational ideas have the same academic merit and it doesn’t mean all disciplinary ideas are equally okay. (I.e., “I’m not going to teach my older daughter anything beyond reading and basic computation because she’s going to be a SAHM when she grows up and algebra is a waste” is not the same as unschooling.) We need to be free enough to point at something that is an expensive scam (or dangerous) and go, “Hey, friends, compatriots, conference organizers–that stuff there is an expensive scam. Plus it’s dangerous.” These are cultural changes that will have to be pushed for, vigorously, and that will be difficult in a culture that has always valued “you leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone”.

    The crazy thing is, we’re not reluctant to exercise social pressure among homeschoolers over stupid stuff. You let your kids date instead of court? Hmmmmm. Your girls wear shorts and flip-flops? Hmmmmm. You require your high schoolers to read Betty Friedan as part of their history course? HMMMMMMMM.

    But–you spank with a switch? Well, people are different.
    Wife not allowed to have any control of the money? Some people do submission that way.
    Older kids never allowed to leave home? You want to guide your kids and keep them from making dumb mistakes, don’t you?
    I could go on.

    Why not have workshops at conferences on how to recognize child and spousal abuse, and how to get help for yourself or others? Why not workshops on deflecting predators? Why not teach homeschoolers to consider themselves mandatory reporters, like nurses and teachers are? Why not workshops on how to cultivate GOOD relationships with public school districts? (There are some doozies out there, but most administrators are just trying to do their best. Be nice to them.)

    And finally, we need to cultivate a culture in homeschooling that does not regard alternate schooling options as failures or permanent. If a parent gets cancer and spends five hours a day throwing up, that could be a valid reason for a child to return to public or private school. That is not a failure, and that is not backing down from a call from God–it’s as logical as hiring someone else to scrub your toilets during that time. But if choosing alternate schooling options means that a homeschooling family loses all its friends and its church as a consequence, it will be really tempting to let the child’s education slide instead. We need to cultivate a culture where we don’t shun our public schooling friends.

    Those are my recommendations for making excess regulation unnecessary. I am still researching to figure out what I think is the ideal level of regulation.

  9. Jeanette Cole says

    I’m not saying that government regulation is necessarily the best option. I’m saying that it may be a consequence of the last 20 years. Does government have the right to control it? Well, that’s another discussion. But given the failures and abuses of the last many years, I think they have the right to be concerned and unless homeschoolers are prepared to speak out and govern themselves, I don’t see how it’s avoidable.

  10. Kathy says

    Retired homeschooler here, also a mom of formerly public schooled and Christian schooled kids (both of mine, depending on the season and what we felt was best for them), as well as wife of a middle school teacher who regularly sees previously homeschooled students in class, for various reasons and with various levels of success, both academically and social. I also still enjoy friendships with most all flavors of hs moms, though probably they are all conservative Christian. I have been a loyal thatmom subscriber, and have also regularly been reading the HA blog for several months.

    All that to say I may not have the investment in homeschooling as many of you do, but I definitely see its importance and value. I also do not think it is the be-all, end-all of a child’s education, and parents can and should still take advantage of whatever time they have with their kids to teach, discuss, and impart the knowledge and values they feel are important (for us, those are Gospel-centered…sorry for the overused term). If parents see the need for children to be taught outside the home for academic, health, financial or ? reasons, they should have the freedom in the Lord to do as He leads them and not be shamed by the hs community.

    Also, without looking into all the desires and goals of Homeschoolers Anonymous, some of the stories are shocking and sad, but truthful, I believe. Parents do have rights as far as how they are able to educate their children, but homeschooled children should have the right to a “quality” education. There may be disagreements on what that entails, but sadly, what passes for it with some parents seems to give their kids huge handicaps academically, emotionally and socially, from which it can be almost impossible to recover.

    So I wrote to agree with Raven and some of the other commenters here. I don’t know what the best solution is, either (I am familiar with the public school system and do not think it is great, by any means), but I think some regulation is needed.

  11. Keri says

    Patriarchy is just sick and wrong and anyone who promotes it needs to be exposed for the absolute evil that it is! There seem to be many still. It saddens and sickens me.

    I have read many of the stories on the HA site. They are heart wrenching and eye opening. I would pretty much say that the number one theme is Abuse! No wonder these former homeschooled kids are so scarred and wounded. They came from homes that were supposed to be Christian Homes but were filled with hypocrisy and abuse. They are grown now and speaking out.

    When you are registered as a homeschooler in my county, you must provide test scores at the end of the year or have an evaluation of your students work done by a teacher. I really feel that is enough accountability and I will tell you why. I went to a meeting just a few years ago with a friend who’s children were in public school here locally. Our county was to be the first in the state to provide free aids testing to students in high school. I was pretty stunned by the entire attitude of the students and the school board over the entire thing. I honestly heard one lady on the school board say that (I swear I’m not making this up) That by the time kids get into school that they are already messed up because of what there parents have already taught them. I watched as high schoolers and administrators argued back and forth. My friend was sobbing. She told me she was glad her kids were almost finished. They were in public high school.

    There was so much more to it and they basically at the end of the meeting won the right to have the aids testing done without the parents knowing about it. It was pretty eye opening for me.

    I do believe that there should be accountability in homeschooling. What I don’t want is someone telling me what curriculum I should use. Personally, we do go by the typical guidelines for Science and history and such for the appropriate grade levels.

    I don’t believe ANYONE should be abusing their children! As you read the stories of these adults now you can see that no good fruit has come out of it and it really saddens me because That is what Christianity is not about!!

    I do also very much believe that moms who have homeschooled can and should be an encouragement to younger moms coming along. I’m thankful Karen is still doing this and I try to do this with younger moms. I’m still homeschooling two teens.

  12. Jerzy says

    Standing O for Raven’s comment! Excellent suggestions for solutions. I would attend workshops like that.

    As I look back on all the workshops given at our state’s convention, I see how they cultivated an environment of fear, not encouragement.

    That’s the main reason we left HSLDA. They cultivated fear. We chose a different organization that was half the price (tells you something about HSLDA’s motivation, eh?) and went with one that empowered the parents.

  13. Melissa P. says

    My thoughts are: as a former homeschooler, now working in special education in public schools, HA is doing a fantastic job of opening up space within the previously narrow, ideologically controlled forum of homeschooling for new ideas, better ideas, more freedom, and common sense protections for children.

    I had a good homeschool experience. Even so, I recognize the “bad fruits” that you mention, and after working my whole adult life in education, I see all too clearly how many homeschool advocates have their heads deep in the sand about the problems that need to be addressed. Abuse, neglect, and educational poverty are real issues. “Parent rights” groups are f*cking scary. And the narrative of “freedom” rings hollow when I see children in bondage.

    Scare tactics about “homosexual rights” are wildly out of place in this conversation. Sorry to see you jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon. Hope you’ll reconsider, and engage in conversation with the actual, living “fruits” of the movement you claim to protect – the homeschool graduates themselves.

  14. Anna says

    Can you clarify what you mean by the sentence “even extended to their advancement of “homosexual rights” for homeschooled children”? What exactly are homosexual rights? Just being gay isn’t a right, it’s an orientation you’re born with. The right to marry another person of the same gender has little to do with children. Once gays kids grow up and want to get married they’re no longer homeschooled children, they’re adults. How can a gay homeschooled child have any rights different than a straight child? Obviously they shouldn’t be degraded or rejected by their parents for being gay, but that’s not a right, that’s just human decency.

  15. says

    Jerzy, I too, think there workshop idea is a good one! However, since less than 10% of homeschoolers are estimated to even attend workshops, I think this information needs to be in social media first and foremost.

  16. says

    Melissa, I am not jumping on any conspiracy bandwagon. Homosexuality is THE hot button issue in evangelicalism and of course it will become so in homeschooling circles as well. I would also point out that HA is the one who brought this up. I was only responding to their statements.

    I am quite open to engage in conversation with the “actual,living fruits of the movement” and believe that, yes, there are abuses BUT for every abuse story I believe I could produce “good fruit” stories many times over. Much of this reminds me of the same fear tactics being used at the other extreme. Real conversation and real solutions won’t be found when the extremes are considered to be the standard.

  17. says

    “Can you clarify what you mean by the sentence “even extended to their advancement of “homosexual rights” for homeschooled children”? What exactly are homosexual rights? Just being gay isn’t a right, it’s an orientation you’re born with.”

    As a Bible believing Christian, I believe practicing homosexual behavior is a choice and is a sin. I do not believe there has been enough evidence to show what causes people to have same-sex attractions but I do believe many young people who have been taught rigid gender roles and behaviors that are not based on true biblical standards can easily be convinced to experiment with homosexuality.

    “Once gays kids grow up and want to get married they’re no longer homeschooled children, they’re adults. How can a gay homeschooled child have any rights different than a straight child? Obviously they shouldn’t be degraded or rejected by their parents for being gay, but that’s not a right, that’s just human decency.”

    One concern I have is that homeschooled parents who share my beliefs would be considered to be abusers if this is what is taught in their homes. Is that part of the HA agenda? It seems to be implied in their material. Can you see homeschooling families being accused of abuse for teaching this belief? I can.

    Of course, I would never advocate hateful, abusive treatment of children or young adults, no matter what sinful choices they made. This is an issue, to me, that is very clear in Scripture and is not a matter of preference or interpretation. To me, not telling our children that homosexual behavior is a sin IS degrading and a violation of human dignity.

  18. Anna says

    HA isn’t a set of goals or an “agenda”. It’s a place where homeschoolers of all kinds are coming together and telling their stories. Truthfully, many of them are negative, the kids who grew up in abusive households perhaps feel the need to tell their stories more than people who had a great homeschooling experience. I grew up in an abusive homeschooling family. I have written one article that was published on HA. I am also gay. But I’m not part of any robot HA army that wants to take over the internet with its agenda. I know I’m a minority, I know plenty of people that had great homeschooling experiences. But just because my story isn’t the average story doesn’t mean I should be dismissed. The splash that HA is making and the number of people speaking up prove that our stories aren’t all that uncommon, and of course we want to keep any child from experiencing the pain that we did.
    I don’t mean to turn this into a debate about homosexuality, but I must say that telling a child from infancy that an integral part of themselves is sinful and evil does hurt. It hurt me more deeply than I can express.

  19. says

    Karen, you are correct that homosexuality is the THE current hot-button. I’m sure you’re aware University Reformed Church (East Lansing, MI) just voted overwhelmingly to leave the Reformed Church of America over this very topic – the RCA taking an increasingly liberal approach to same-sex marriage.

    One need only look at what is happening in parts of Australia regarding preaching/teaching that homosexual behavior is a sin. In some instances it is being prosecuted as ‘hate speech’. Could this happen in the U.S.? Probably not on a national level but I could see it happen on a local level which would eventually be overturned, but not after causing significant upset and costing lots of money. If anyone doubts that there is an agenda being put forth by those in favor of same-sex marriage they need only ask the recently ousted CEO of Mozilla what he thinks.

    Parents, homeschool or otherwise, have a clear biblical mandate to teach their children what sin is be it lying, cheating, or homosexuality.

  20. Matt says

    As a formerly-homeschooled adult and father of a kindergartner and 4th grader, I wholeheartedly support state oversight in homeschooling. Growing up homeschooled in the 80’s was an all-around awful experience. Isolation, beatings, guilt manipulation… pretty much all of the homeschooled kids I grew up with had serious issues that took years to overcome. Drug and alcohol abuse are the norm for young SGAs. It took me the better part of a decade to find my bearings and catch up socially — and my experience was positive compared to many of those with whom I was raised.

    Online communities like HA (or related survivor sites) were bound to happen (you can only kick a dog for so long before it bites back). And don’t insult our intelligence by saying that these stories were outliers — these accounts were the norm! I’m so sick and tired of first-generation homeschooling parents making comments like this:

    “Yes, there are abuses BUT for every abuse story I believe I could produce “good fruit” stories many times over.”

    Do tell, thatmom, can you elaborate on these good fruit stories? I certainly don’t see online communities cropping up with Second Generation Adults (SGAs) regaling us with tales of their wonderful childhoods and how well-adjusted they turned out. I know for a fact that HA has repeatedly requested accounts of positive homeschooled stories. What do they hear?

    (crickets)

    I, however, can share a plethora of stories about SGAs who have gone on to struggle with all manner of issues related to addiction, legal trouble, and mental illness. These aren’t HA stories either — these are just SGAs within my own circle of acquainances.

    Shall I continue?

  21. says

    I’m curious about something.

    I realize regulation is scary to some, but I haven’t seen any other suggestions on HOW to protect the children in question that its brought up to protect.

    I honestly can’t think of anything else, and if it will save the lifes – and shattered faiths of even a few children? I think something should be able to be worked out. The homeschooling families I know have nothing to hide, and do an excellent job at education. Could it be a pain in the neck at times? What regulation isn’t?! Yet, if the intent is to save lifes it seems like an honorable Christian sacrifice.

  22. says

    Matt,

    I am truly sorry your own homeschooling experience was so bad. I have never ever said there aren’t stories of abuse. I have featured some of them on this website.

    I know of no organized second generation homeschoolers group but know lots and lots of them personally url and online. I know many homeschooling grads who are thrilled with the education they were given. Do you really want to go toe to tows on this one?

    Now,let me ask you this….can you prove to me why the government is the best option for homeschooling oversight? Is it based on the great record they have?

    Crickets.

  23. says

    Matt, one more thing. I might not have made this clear. I was saying that there are children who have special needs and who are outliers and who are gifted and who are just plain wired in ways that the methods used for teaching in the government system are ineffective. Teachers today who are having to abide by the Common Core standards are concerned, its not just me or a bunch of crazy homeschoolers. Government education, by its very nature, cannot be individualized. So how can they begin to oversee or make standards for all these variables with any proficiency at all?

  24. says

    Granddad, thanks for offering your thoughts. They are a friendly respite in an afternoon of watching myself be skewered and misrepresented and declared a homophobe! Bless you.

  25. Scottie Moser says

    A new, organized, and clearly focused group of former homeschool students, motivated, in part, by the bad fruits of patriocentric homeschooling, have taken up the banner for homeschooling reform, putting the very good ideals at the heart of homeschooling at risk. Their legitimate concerns over some instances of sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse of children have resulted in their misguided call for state-operated control over all homeschooling….

    The two links you place here as citations direct to two completely different and unrelated websites. One is Homeschoolers Anonymous, a branch of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO), which states in their position on homeschooling,

    The board members of HARO believe that homeschooling can be a wonderful educational option. At its best it represents democracy, flexibility, and tailoring a child’s education to his or her individual needs. It can represent an educational style that respects and values each child’s process. But we know from both personal experiences and testimonies that homeschooling can also mean parents controlling and hurting their children — and those children having no recourse for a better life. Suggesting that homeschooling is not perfect is wildly unpopular in homeschooling circles. But we are dedicated to responsible homeschooling advocacy specifically because we care about homeschooling want every child’s education to be a freeing and safe experience.

    The second, Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), is not only a completely separate organization from HARO, but also does not call for “state-operated control over all homeschooling” as you claim in your post — this is a flagrant misrepresentation of what is clearly stated on their website: State or local oversight is one of multiple suggestions made to eliminate educational neglect, and what is recommended here has nothing to do with “state-operated control” of the family’s education, but simply strengthening the oversight and accountability for home educating families. (Other recommendations include allowing homeschools to function as individual private schools or to allow parents to teach their children at home as distance-learning members of a private or public school.)

    …[their concerns] have even extended to their advancement of “homosexual rights” for homeschooled children.
    I can find nothing on either site to support your vague assertion that the groups are lobbying for the “homosexual rights” of homeschoolers (whatever that means), unless you oppose people advocating against abuse based on sexual orientation/preferences? Not only is that claim baseless, it’s a complete red herring designed to sidetrack your readers and throw these organizations under the bus, as your further comments make clear.

    I believe this group[sic] poses possibly the greatest threat to homeschooling freedoms we enjoy today…. Frankly, Karen, I am appalled at your deliberate misrepresentation of the ONLY two organizations on this list that actually agree with what you claim, throughout your entire post, to stand for. You are shooting yourself, and all those who follow your blog, in both feet.

    …and [I believe these groups have] largely been inspired by the patriarchy movement. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Not only are you slandering an organization (HARO) that exists to share the stories of those who have been wounded by the very patriarchy movement you claim to oppose; not only are you condemning, with blatant misrepresentation, an organization (CRHE) that is actually trying to do something to ensure that the stories told on Homeschoolers Anonymous stop being repeated … you then turn around and blame both of these organizations on the very ideologies both they and you oppose?

    Badly done, Karen. Very badly done. You undermine your own message. You have failed your supporters. You are not the person I believed you to be.

  26. Anna says

    No one called you a homophobe.
    You appear to have strict opinions that could come across as hurtful to gay people.
    But no one called you a homophobe.

    Seems to me that you’re doing your own share of misrepresenting.

  27. says

    Anna, I did not mean to say I was called a “homophobe” here. Sorry if that is what it sounded like. What you mean about my “misrepresenting”. Please tell me.

  28. jewels says

    Amen, Scottie!

    Karen, I’d like to know what proposal you have for protecting children? Parental responsibility obviously isn’t enough, and it’s offensive to suggest that the positive stories negate the negative.

  29. Taunya Henderson says

    Karen we have not spoken to each other in over a year and I will understand if you want to delete my comment in light of the differences we have had in the past.

    The time has come to stop worrying about protecting the right to homeschool. The right of children to live abuse free and to receive a quality education trumps the right to homeschool. The abuse has been widespread and is heart breaking. It is time we parents admit how horrible the conservative Christian homeschooling movement is and how much damage has been done. Let’s concentrate on preventing this, let’s make amends for the mistakes we parents have made by closing our mouths and listening to the second generation. It is time for us to take a step back and learn from them, time for the excuses to stop. Homeschooling has not been the answer we hoped it would be, in fact in many cases it has been worse than the public schools we were supposedly protecting our children from.

    Do we really need to further victimize the second generation in order to protect something so flawed? It would seem that your viewpoints are more closely aligned with the leaders of the patriarchy movement than you realize or admit, homosexuality a sin, really? That was my frustration in dealing with you in the past. You seem to be an advocate for what I call “patriarchy light” just a slightly more tame version of the full-fledge patriarchy practiced by the leaders of this movement. Your assessment of the true nature of the Christian homeschooling movement is WAY off in my estimation. This is a very flawed movement, every single bit of it and it needs an immediate overhaul so that the abuse of children can stop. We parents need to stop the cover up and admit what we’ve seen and what we know. I know I am ready to do that, no matter the cost. Sure, I would like to see homeschooling continue to be an option for American families but I would rather see homeschooling completely outlawed than one more child go through the abuse and neglect I have personally witnessed in this movement. It’s a sick cult, end of story! It should not be protected in the state it is in!

  30. Susan T says

    Very interesting comments Taunya. One could simply replace the words – homeschool, conservative christian, etc…- in your argument, with the words public school or private school or liberal or _______ and we could then discuss *those* problems. The discussion of course would be completely flavored by the world view of the presenter. Karen presents from a biblical world view. Karen also uses straightforward language, something I highly appreciate.

    The world is fallen. Each Christian must follow the Lord’s lead in his/her corner of the world AND “as much as it is possible with you, live at peace with all people.” To be credible, one must thoroughly research a topic and a wise Christian will exhort with grace AND gentleness. Karen has always been very careful to research her topics before presenting to us. There’s is also something to be said for years of experience and consistent character; Karen certainly is a model of this constancy in traveling the same direction for years now.

    Bad education whether public or private hurts students. (In my mind and in my state of residence homeschool is private school) Thankfully, if we set our personal preferences aside, and really look around us, there are still many quality schools both public & private. Karen has been investigating this relatively small but highly problematic sect. Striving to educate & enlighten and change hearts & thoughts while preserving personal freedom is a great start.

  31. Scottie Moser says

    Way to deflect, Susan. The issue raised in Karen’s original post is of abuse in homeschooling circles. The answer to reducing abuse and neglect is not to say “well it happens in other situations too, so (shrug). If we were talking about persecuted Christians in China, the answer would not be to say “well, they persecute Christians in Iraq, too, so the issue’s not with China, it’s with something else”. No. There are fundamental flaws in the way homeschooling is carried out that allows chronic, years- or decades-long issues of abuse and neglect to go undetected and unreported. To an extent, there are flaws in the public and private school sectors that also allow cases of abuse and neglect to go undetected and unreported for long periods of time (though I have yet to see a SINGLE case of a child whose entire life up to and beyond high school graduation consists of chronic educational abuse or neglect in ANY public or private school setting), but this doesn’t mean we should roll our eyes or shrug and say therefore we just have to deal with the fact that this happens in the homeschool sector as well.

    We need answers, not excuses. We need solutions, not deflections. And nothing that we’ve tried for the past couple of decades has worked. Giving abusive homeschool families greater freedom is not the answer, despite HSLDA’s twisted insistence to the contrary. The hands-off approach that we’ve tried for years is giving us precisely zero results. Hoping that maybe somewhere along the way somebody who knows the abusive families will maybe say something to them or their pastor will have a talk with them and convert them from the error of their ways amounts to little more than crossing our fingers. The system we’ve trusted and relied on is broken, and the children it was supposed to protect are broken, and something drastic needs to change, and it needs to happen now.

    So stop making excuses for abuse and present a real, viable solution. If state control isn’t your cup of tea, you’d darn well better have an equally promising alternative to offer; otherwise hold your peace — your way has been tried and found perilously wanting.

  32. says

    I do not agree with you, thatmom, but I am not upset at you either. I understand that you are fearful of the state or local districts providing some kind of oversight or accountability, is that right? I can understand. As one who could potentially homeschool her children some day, yes, I would find testing or a portfolio sort of annoying. However,as a homeschool student, I had friends who did not get a high school education, and some did not even learn much in grade school. So whatever kind of inconvience oversight could bring me as a parent or supervisor, I am willing to put up with the inconvience for the good of the children who would not get an education otherwise. I also do not think a little accountability is all bad. My younger sibling had a much better education than I did because my parents had looked more into high school requirements by the time she was in high school. At worse regulations would have been an inconvience for my family. At best it may have helped me learn more and been more prepared for college.

    I understand that the homeschool community could be the police, but it’s not realistic. My mother can list families who did little to no school. She did not want to upset them by turning them in. One advantage of portfolio work or testing or something similar is that those overseeing the families would not likely be personally involved in the homeschool community. Also, putting one’s friends as the police produces resentment. No one hates it more than when a friend tries to be one’s conscience. Similiarly, I am glad the police patrols speeding and not my neighbor. My neighbor and I need to get along on a daily basis. The police who potentially pulls me over will likely never see again.

    In conclusion, I fail to see what great freedoms homeschool families lose through basic oversight. Whereas I see a lot to lose without it. You need to be specific on what would be lost with oversight and what you think we could do better to keep kids from slipping through the cracks. I always have to remind people of this. But not every family joins a homeschool group or gets involved in homeschool groups. Whether all these families are “real” or not, they deserve some kind of answer from us.

  33. says

    Karen,
    This post is disappointing to me. Setting HA up as the problem and the “greatest threat” homeschoolers face just falls back into the same us vs. them script that Swanson and Farris and others are using. I’m grateful that the 2nd generation homeschoolers are telling their stories, as painful as they are to read. They have changed me as a homeschooler, and they’ve even changed my perspective on state oversight. The folks at HA are not our enemies.

  34. says

    Scottie,

    It does not take much reading on those two websites to see the connection and the working together for common goals. Reporting that I am being dishonest in my assessment of what I read (or believing I have “reading comprehension issues”) does not change what is there. I stand by what I wrote and any reasonable person will be able to come to the same or similar conclusions.

    As far as my comments about homosexual rights for homeschooled children, the Homeschoolers Anonymous blog has given considerable space to former homeschooled students who have chosen this lifestyle and there is an implication that parents who teach their children that homosexual behavior is sinful is, itself, a form of abuse. So my question is, again, would it be grounds for stating that a homeschooling family is abusive if they teach this?

  35. says

    Taunya, so are you saying that if someone holds to the belief that homosexual behavior is a sin, that necessarily makes them an advocate of patriarchy?

    Could you also define what you mean when you use the word “abuse?”

  36. says

    Lana, I wrote this above but will repeat it here. It is just an introduction to the conversation of what it means to be truly educated and what defines abuse and I truly wish people would consider these thoughts and discuss them.

    “Another aspect of all this, which will be an even bigger problem as the common core is pushed into districts and on to willing homeschoolers, is the curriculum driven, market driven nature of homeschooling. There is such a skewed view of what it means to be educated and what it will mean 30 and 40 years down the road. We have forgotten the Moore research (sorry Israel Wayne, but it DOES matter) we have forgotten John Holt, we are ignoring all the amazing brain research of the past 30 years that tells us the truth about how children actually learn, we have embraced the world’s views of what education is, we have allowed no room for the gifted, those with special needs, the artists among us, and those who are simply outliers. Homeschoolers are succumbing to the instant education in a box ideals that sent the early homeschooling pioneers running out of the state system. Giving that same system the keys to the future of homeschoolers is unconscionable!”

  37. says

    So, I am going to ask these two questions again and would love to hear input:

    What does “being educated” mean? Who gets to decide this and what is it based on?

    And

    What does it mean to be abused and who gets to decide this and what is it based on?

    I would love to see a real conversation about this! The floor is open, the mic is live………….

  38. says

    Sharon and Matt, I don’t think the term “second generation homeschooler” refers to adults who were homeschooled. It means adults who were homeschooled and who are now homeschooling their own children. That, in itself, speaks volumes about what their experiences were being homeschooled. And there are LOTS of them. They may choose different methods than their parents did (which is awesome) but they see the value in their own education.

    Let’s not confuse the terms.

  39. says

    Pick a different term, my comment will still be substantially the same.

    I know a number of happy, well adjusted, not-extremist homeschoolers who were homeschooled themselves. I know they exist. But their experiences don’t invalidate the stories that appear on HA or the stories I’ve heard privately. Or, for that matter, what I’ve observed over 14 years of homeschooling. What those young adults are sharing resonates with what I’ve observed, and I feel accountable to not only listen and learn, but to work for change in the ways that are available to me. I’m grateful for those who’ve had the courage to drag homeschooling’s dirty laundry out where we are being forced to deal with it. Again, they are not the enemy and I refuse to see them as a threat.

  40. Taunya Henderson says

    Susan T you said, “biblical world view” code word for spiritually mature superior right thinking right wing evangelical Christian. I got it and you can go ahead and put me in the box of those who don’t hold a “biblical world view and discriminate as you feel necessary.

  41. Taunya Henderson says

    Hi Karen,

    You asked me two questions here are my answers.

    “Taunya, so are you saying that if someone holds to the belief that homosexual behavior is a sin, that necessarily makes them an advocate of patriarchy?”

    Not necessarily Karen but I do believe it makes them a fundamentalist and a bigot.

    “Could you also define what you mean when you use the word “abuse?””

    .
    to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one’s authority.

    2.
    to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way: to abuse a horse; to abuse one’s eyesight.

    3.
    to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.

    4.
    to commit sexual assault upon.

    5.
    Obsolete . to deceive or mislead

    All of the above. The Christian homeschool movement today is a cesspool of abuse of varying degrees. Are all parents engaged in this, no, but way too many are, much more than is reported and much more than most people realize.

  42. Taunya Henderson says

    I don’t know about the abuse Karen. I have not spoken to your children I don’t even know who any of them are outside of the pics you would put up on your facebook page. 🙂

    As for the bigotry I don’t feel that you mean to be a bigot Karen. I think you are a fundamentalist and that leads you to follow the rules of a religion that is bigoted. You believe that a certain segment of our population should not have the same rights as other segments. The basis for this belief is your religion and you want to see laws passed to make every American live by the rules of your faith.

  43. Keri says

    Taunya,

    Just because someone if a fundamentalist doesn’t make them a bigot. A fundamentalist is someone who believes the Bible is truly the word of God.

    I’m a homeschool mom also and a Christian. I have four adult children now out in the working world. We raised them in a Christian home. Let me tell you a little about them. They are responsible hard working adults who support themselves. They love people and are compassionate. They are Christians themselves. We have never taught them to be prejudice against anyone.

    One works in education and has a college degree. You should here some of the stories she could tell about neglect and abuse. It happens all around and while it doesn’t negate the fact that obviously there are enough stories by homeschoolers to make your skin crawl, it is all around everywhere.

    Christianity isn’t about rules. It’s about a relationship with the true and living God and when people know him and love him like they should, they live the life that they are called to and really do make this world a better place. My kids aren’t bigots. They are honestly some of the most compassionate and caring people I have ever known. They make this world a better place by living there lives with Christ in them and because they are Christians.

    Karen doesn’t really need anybody to defend her here and that’s not really what I’m trying to do but you need to know that this forum is probably filled with people who believe like her and are living their lives for Christ and raising kids to make a difference in this world.

    Homosexuality is a sin. So is lying, stealing, murder, and the list can go on. I have never taught my children to bash someone or treat them different if they are gay. They wouldn’t even think of it. Just wanted to let you know that.

  44. Taunya Henderson says

    Hi Keri,

    You said:

    “One works in education and has a college degree. You should here some of the stories she could tell about neglect and abuse. It happens all around and while it doesn’t negate the fact that obviously there are enough stories by homeschoolers to make your skin crawl, it is all around everywhere.”

    I am very familiar with abuse as parent who has adopted a child from an abusive background/situation and also as a former foster parent who has cared for severely abused children in my home including an infant who have not even learned to walk and have already had their femur broken by a parent. So I know first hand what abuse is and what the effects of abuse are. I am also aware that emotional and spiritual abuse does just as much, if not more damage than physical and often goes unseen.

    You said:
    “Christianity isn’t about rules. It’s about a relationship with the true and living God and when people know him and love him like they should, they live the life that they are called to and really do make this world a better place. My kids aren’t bigots. They are honestly some of the most compassionate and caring people I have ever known. They make this world a better place by living there lives with Christ in them and because they are Christians.”

    Oh I know all about the not about rules vs. relationship spiel. I too am a Christian homeschool parent. I have been in a leadership role in a very large conservative Christian mega church and I have also been the wife of the leader of an NCFIC. I am very familiar with Christianity and I still consider myself a follower of Christ. Within the Christian world I have found some very loving accepting grace filled Christians but on the conservative right-wing side I have seen much condemnation and bigotry all disguised as love. I have not seen much compassion but I have seen many who believe they are compassion and loving all while practicing discrimination and in some cases even hatred.

    Finally homosexuality is not a sin. Individuals are born that way and they are entitled to the same love, respect and rights as you and I. God loves them and accepts them the way they are, the way he created them.

  45. says

    Keri, thanks for sharing about your family. What you have shared is overwhelmingly the standard in homeschooling.

  46. says

    “As for the bigotry I don’t feel that you mean to be a bigot Karen. I think you are a fundamentalist and that leads you to follow the rules of a religion that is bigoted. You believe that a certain segment of our population should not have the same rights as other segments. The basis for this belief is your religion and you want to see laws passed to make every American live by the rules of your faith.”

    Dumbfounded.

    The truth is, I am a very solid died in the wool evangelical who is so sad to see so many homeschooling graduates and some parents take the massive leap into the cultural mire that surrounds us. So, so disappointing.

  47. Lewis says

    Keri, you said…

    “Christianity isn’t about rules.”

    Then you immediately followed it with…

    “It’s about a relationship with the true and living God and when people know him and love him like they should, they live the life that they are called to and really do make this world a better place.”

    I placed those three words in bold to show you that despite declaring a belief that Christianity isn’t about rules, you immediately drop a rule on it, and a pretty big one at that.

  48. Keri says

    Taunya,

    Rules -vs-Relationship spiel? I do believe I understand what you are talking about when you say that. I have seen the rules thing in action without a relationship and it doesn’t work well. After I wrote the first time, I was thinking about something you said back in an earlier post.

    I was thinking about what you said on May 30th ..something along the lines of you would like to see homeschooling outlawed if it would stop the abuse of one more child. Let me say Abuse is wrong and wicked.

    What I failed to mention, was that my husband and I both came from very abusive homes and we were not even homeschooled. Good grief, I honestly think we just need to admit that abuse in all areas are wrong when it comes to children!

    You also say you are a Christian. Not for me to say you are not by any means but I think we honestly may be reading our Bibles differently. Do you believe in sin?

    A Christian believing in sin does not make them a bigot. I honestly don’t know why you would be all over Karen like this.

  49. Keri says

    Lewis,

    When I said “Love him like they should”..I simply meant..Loving him with our hearts and loving people with our hearts. Treating them with the love that the Lord would love them with. I have pretty much been camping out in 1 Cor. 13 lately. I just wanted to clarify that for you.

  50. Lewis says

    “You also say you are a Christian. Not for me to say you are not by any means but I think we honestly may be reading our Bibles differently. Do you believe in sin?”

    Does belief in sin or belief in Christ determine Christianity?

  51. Keri says

    Belief in Christ definitely will determine if a person is a Christian. Most Christian’s believe in sin. I’m honestly just trying to figure out why she says she is a Christian and is getting so defensive with Karen. Most Christians do believe that the Bible is the word of God. Don’t they?

  52. Taunya Henderson says

    Keri,

    I don’t mind conversing with you as long as you can keep the judgment at bay. I really don’t care how you read your bible and I don’t know why you care how I read mine. What you need to know about me is that I am a follower of Christ. I love Him and serve Him, that’s it! I said nothing about sin or my belief in it. What I did say was supporting laws that force others to live by the rules of your faith is wrong, it’s bigotry plain and simple.

    Christians have used the bible to discriminate and pass bigoted laws for decades. These attacks on homosexuality are no different than the attacks on interracial marriage pre civil rights. Right wing conservative Christians were convinced that the bible stated clearly that the races should not mix. Now those same right wing conservative Christians claim it no longer says that. I wonder what changed? Certainly not the words in the bible. I predict 50 years from now, if the world still exists, conservative Christians will have thrown out the gay marriage is sin mantra and be on to something else.

    Love God and leave the judgment to Him. This is utterly ridiculous!

    Great point Lewis!!!

  53. says

    Since most of the people engaged in this series of comments know nothing of my background I’m going to preface my remarks with a very short biography.

    I’m 67, married with two grown children and 7 grandchildren. I was educated in public school and graduated from a public university. Both of my kids attended public schools, one graduated from a state university and the other from a private girls college. I have been a believer in Jesus Christ for just over 40 years. I attend a Presbyterian Church of America church and subscribe to the Westminster Standards, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Belgic Confession.

    A few of you writing on this blog seem to have forgotten your manners and the importance of civil discourse. Some banter around phrases such as ‘bigot’ or ‘fundamentalist’, but don’t seem to really understand what they mean. Some of you repeatedly make errors in logic, usually equivocation or non sequitars. Others, for whatever reason, express a deep resentment towards the Christian religion. And others seem to want to have your cake and eat it to by saying something akin to, “I’m a Christian but don’t think behavior X is a sin.”

    So. let’s get down to basics and address what I’ve just said in more detail. But I’m going to start from the bottom and work back.

    Taunya, you wrote this: “Finally homosexuality is not a sin. Individuals are born that way and they are entitled to the same love, respect and rights as you and I. God loves them and accepts them the way they are, the way he created them.”

    If God calls an activity sin, be it homosexuality or gluttony, it makes no difference what I think of it. He is the only arbiter of what constitutes sin. In one way you are quite correct that “individuals are born that way.” Because of the Fall each and every one of us is “born that way”. I struggle nearly every day with some of my “born that ways”. My temper is every bit as much a sin as someone elses homosexual behavior.

    Because all human beings are made in the image of God they are deserving the same respect and kindness. I treat my homosexual neighbors (there are several within a few blocks of where I live) the same as I do my heterosexual neighbors. I consider at least one, whom I’ve know for 20 years, more than just a neighbor, I consider him a friend. (Yes, he knows full well I am a conservative Christian.)

    God cannot overlook sin. No more than he can look at Charles Manson and say, “Well, that’s just they way he is.”, can he look at a practicing homosexual and say that he accepts that behavior. He has declared it to be be sin, can now say something different?

    I believe homosexual behavior is wrong and do not consider that behavior acceptable: I am intolerant of it. Tolerance is about the acceptance of ideas or opinions, it’s not about people as human beings. There are some ideas, opinions, or attitudes I will not accept.

    I have no qualms about visiting my friend at his house or engaging in conversation at social events with my other neighbors. Archie Bunker was a bigot. It wasn’t ideas or opinions he was intolerant of it was the color of George Jefferson’s skin. If I reject Islam’s treatment of women or denounce their supposed “right” to kill someone who has converted to Christianity am I an “Islamaphobe”?

    It is a non sequitar to say, “Granddad is opposed to homosexual behavior, therefore he is a bigot.” (I’m also against pedeophilia, does that make me a bigot as well?)

    As regards the word “fundamentalist”, make sure you really know what the fundamentals are before you use the word so prejoratively.

    Finally, Taunya if you think that gay marriage will be thrown out in 50 years by conservative Christians what else do you suppose might fall by the wayside? How about the real need for a savior? Maybe we can just save ourselves. Or, what about eternal punishment? Or, maybe Nietzsche was right and God is dead.

  54. says

    Hi Karen,

    I respectfully disagree with your definition of Second Generation Adults. It refers to the children born of parents who were in high-controlled environments. It doesn’t necessarily mean they continue that way of life/practice (continue to homeschool, continue the ideology taught them).

    I have this saved from a cult site:

    “Researchers estimate that at least 2,500,000 Americans have joined cultic groups during the past 30-40 years. Some who joined groups during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s had children who were raised in highly controlling cultic environments. Today thousands of these “SGAs” (Second Generation Adults) leave cultic groups every year. These adults struggle with a variety of problems stemming from the childhood abuse and neglect that they suffered, ranging from the aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse to gross educational neglect that impacts their mental health, self-esteem, and ability to earn a living. Because the common support networks of family and friends are often still in their cultic groups, SGAs have limited means and ability to obtain the professional help they need. We expect SGAs to need this kind of help for the foreseeable future. International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) developed a weekend workshop in order to provide SGAs with an efficient and affordable way to begin the recovery process.

  55. shadowspring says

    Charles Manson = homosexuality?

    Can a more bigoted statement possibly be made?

    Goats, goats everywhere. I feel sorry for you.

  56. Taunya Henderson says

    Granddad I find your comments to be condescending which I am not surprised by, rather used to it when dealing with conservative Christians. That said I don’t care to engage with people who take that tone with me. You say you are 67 years old, great I am 47 and I am comfortable in what I believe and don’t much care to get into a doctrine discussion with you or any other conservative Christian. You are entitled to your beliefs and I am entitled to mine and I have a million in one things that I could be doing that are preferable to discussing your world view. I find the beliefs of most conservative Christians to be a disgusting perversion of true Christianity and I would rather not be sickened by having to hear how you use the bible to legitimize your desire to discriminate against any group you disagree with.

  57. Lewis says

    “As regards the word “fundamentalist”, make sure you really know what the fundamentals are before you use the word so prejoratively.”

    It would seem an enormous disconnect would have to be occurring for you to believe the people using that word (in this conversation, at least) wouldn’t know what the fundamentals are.

    “And others seem to want to have your cake and eat it to by saying something akin to, “I’m a Christian but don’t think behavior X is a sin.””

    And there it is. This whole thing is about religion and cultural slant. It has nothing to do with education.

  58. says

    Come on shadowspring, you know I did not say CM = homosexuality. Why would you make such an outlandish accusation? I simply said God will not say “Oh, that’s okay” to ANY sin. There is NO sin he will tolerate or accept, no matter how large or small.

    Taunya, why are you on this blog? What purpose do you have?
    Give me an example or two of “disgusting perversions of true Christianity”. . .and please cite chapter and verse that you would use to counter them.

  59. Taunya Henderson says

    Granddad I am on this blog as a homeschooling parent who is concerned by the contents of Karen’s post, why are you on? I will not cite chapter and verse because I don’t need a chapter and verse to form an opinion, I am not a fundamentalist.

  60. says

    Lewis,
    You are correct that this discussion is primarily about religion, but that is just the point. For many homeschooling familys the education of their children includes a religious component. I am not suggesting that there is a “Christian way to do algebra”, but there is a Christian worldview that impacts history, biology, ethics, and philosophy, for example. Think of how differently a high school level biology class might treat human reproduction if one is based upon a Biblical view of the sanctity of life and the other a totally secular one that, if not endorsing at least teaches that abortion is a “woman’s right”.

  61. says

    Julie Anne,

    I did not use the phrase “second generation adults” but rather I am responding to Sharon’s use of the phrase “second generation homeschoolers.”

  62. says

    I am on the blog because I am troubled and angered by the damage Vision Forum, et. al. has done to countless families (that’s why I wrote two critcal essays on VF).

    If you have no facts or supporting statements from other qualified individuals your opinion has no value. I know absolutely nothing about how to knit. Can I really have an opinion about the best way to make a scarf?
    On the otherhand, I know a great deal about nuclear power plants and can legitimately give an informed and educated opinion about the safety or non-safety of a reactor. I can cite the basis for my opinion.

  63. says

    Lewis, I know that you believe education to be neutral but I do not and neither do many others, homeschoolers and otherwise.

  64. says

    I can have an opinion about the best brand of butter pecan ice cream, or the best route from my house to the beach because at their essence, opinions are subjective. Scripture, on the otherhand is objective. It transcends me. Therefore, if I am to posit an opinion about a biblical subject I must be able to explain how I arrived at that opinion. It may involve defining my hermeneutical method or presuppositions, but it at least requires that I give supporting scripture. And it means I must be willing to change my opinion if the facts contradict it.

    I once heard someone say, “Being a skeptic is easy, it doesn’t require any work.”

  65. Taunya Henderson says

    Granddad you said:

    “If you have no facts or supporting statements from other qualified individuals your opinion has no value.”

    Very good Granddad!! You see, we were able to get to the inevitable end of our conversation without me having to spend all night arguing with you. I have spent enough time in conservative Christianity to know that no matter what I said to you my opinion would have no value unless I spouted your right-wing conservative Christian world-view right back at you.

    I could have listed a host of qualifications and bible verses, written sermon after sermon outlining what I believe and why and you would have stated that my opinion was valueless.

    On the other hand had I said I only had an eighth grade education, never read the bible but had been to one church service but shared your world view you would have said my opinion was full of value and welcomed me with open arms.

    I could have written your argument for you and said spouted it off in my sleep. I used to believe the same way you do, praise God I saw the light.

    Goodnight Granddad and Godspeed!

  66. says

    Taunya,
    You are very, very mistaken.
    I only said that if you are unable (or unwilling) to defend your opinion with sound argument and good logic you opinion has no value. It has no supporting structure.

    Someone who has never read the Bible and attended only a single church service could not possibly have the same worldview I have. We might agree upon individual elements, “shouldn’t steal”, “shouldn’t lie”, but that does not mean we share a biblical worldview. For heaven’s sake, a Hindu would agree with me on those points and we most certainly do not share the same worldview.

  67. says

    Karen,

    The first use of second generation was SGA by Matt here: http://thatmom.com/2014/05/28/patriarchy-on-trial-part-four/comment-page-1/#comment-133495

    You then addressed Matt and changed it from SGA to SG Homeschoolers. I’m not sure why you changed his terminology. He was pretty clear.

    Sharon then referred to SG homeschoolers, but I’m pretty sure she is also referring to Second Generation in the same context as Matt. They were both expressing similar ideas.

    And then you corrected them both here:

    Sharon and Matt, I don’t think the term “second generation homeschooler” refers to adults who were homeschooled. It means adults who were homeschooled and who are now homeschooling their own children. That, in itself, speaks volumes about what their experiences were being homeschooled. And there are LOTS of them. They may choose different methods than their parents did (which is awesome) but they see the value in their own education.
    Let’s not confuse the terms.

    I think you are confused. Second Generation Adults is a commonly known term in social psychology. It is what Matt was originally talking about.

    I’m really stumped as to why you want to tell them they are wrong.

    Karen, you had the opportunity to reach out to Matt, an SGA, and attempt to build a bridge from our generation to his. I think you missed a great opportunity. No wonder so many SGAs don’t want to have anything to do with us when they are dismissed and told they have it wrong. We can do better than that.

  68. says

    Education is not neutral, and I am not okay with the government telling parents what kind of textbooks to use as long as the parents can demonstrate that their children are learning. I truly believe oversight is compatable with unschooling and more free forms of education. The main point of regulations is to help insure that some education takes place – that children are not just staying home and cleaning house or watching TV while time is never set aside for math, writing, and critical thinking and learning.

  69. says

    When I responded I did not go back and reread Matt’s comment after I read Sharon’s so I was responding to her response to him. I should have reread what he wrote.

    I do disagree with Matt’s assumption that you cannot find stories from happy adult homeschoolers. That is absurd. The many I know are so busy leading healthy productive lives and are too gracious to flaunt their successes.

    I am also uncomfortable with all this talk I’ve read today that is trying to lay trips on my generation of homeschoolers because we just “don’t get it” and it is time for us to step aside and watch our children’s generation take charge etc. (Not saying you are saying this exactly but I read several thoughts to that end today.) Why do we need to build barriers where there should be none? If we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be concentrating on obeying the one anothers rather than trying to control something or somebody. No one should be trying to be in charge. There should be sensitivity to one another but also respect. I have seen little to no respect for older homeschoolers today. There has basically been a lot of telling homeschooling moms they have “abused” their children and that their life’s work should be seriously scrutinized or even outlawed. Those of us who believe in homeschooling freedoms have been threatened. (I read Ryan Stoller’s FB page…all 384 or so comments before I was either blocked or it was taken down. It was outrageous and full of slanderous personal attacks without his asking people to stop.) If his friends believe they will gain the support of your average homeschooling family with this sort of rhetoric, foul language,threats, and,yes, political correctness, they will be very surprised!

  70. says

    I do disagree with Matt’s assumption that you cannot find stories from happy adult homeschoolers. That is absurd.

    I didn”t read it that way. He was referring to his circle of friends: “pretty much all of the homeschooled kids I grew up with had serious issues that took years to overcome. ”

    and it is time for us to step aside and watch our children’s generation take charge etc.

    Well, it is their generation. Isn’t it time for them to make choices for their own families? Didn’t we do the same thing? We sure went against what our parents did when we made the choice to homeschool. So we can go against our parents, but they can’t?

    There should be sensitivity to one another but also respect. I have seen little to no respect for older homeschoolers today.

    As a 1st generation, shouldn’t the respect begin with us? Was matt shown Matt respect with what he said about his homeschool experience? If we can’t respectfully listen to their experiences, how can we expect any relationship?

    Karen, I have a lot of friends who are still homeschooling. Whenever I post anything about the abuses among homeschoolers on my Facebook page, I either get crickets or people getting upset that I’d post such a thing. They are irate at me for calling out the truth that I have seen with my own eyes. I see them blaming the SGAs for being apostates, rebellious, etc, but very few parents willing to own up to their own abuse, legalism, oppressive homes.

    We had the opportunity to raise our children the way we thought best. Now it’s their turn. If we did a poor job, they will consider that as they pave the way for their families. If they feel like we aren’t listening to them or respecting them, they sure aren’t going to want to ask for our help in anything.

    Frankly, I’m embarrassed about what our generation did and all of the whacked out patriarchy/legalism. What they do has got to be an improvement. More power to them. My hope is that they don’t react and swing the pendulum so widely that they create more problems, but they get the help and support to get over the issues we unknowingly created for them and can make balanced and healthy decisions for their families.

  71. says

    Hey Karen, I just saw that Ryan was online and asked about the post to see if he changed the privacy settings. He said he intentionally set that particular post to public and hasn’t changed a thing. Maybe check again, it might be a FB glitch.

  72. Zed says

    Karen, if you read all 348 comments on Ryan’s page as you claim, you would know that Ryan was busy moving the last two days and did not have the chance to read any of the comments until the discussion had blown up. It’s this kind of disingenuous misrepresentation of the facts that is what people objected to in your post.

    You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to invent your own reality.

  73. says

    Matt said:
    ““Yes, there are abuses BUT for every abuse story I believe I could produce “good fruit” stories many times over.”

    Do tell, thatmom, can you elaborate on these good fruit stories? I certainly don’t see online communities cropping up with Second Generation Adults (SGAs) regaling us with tales of their wonderful childhoods and how well-adjusted they turned out. I know for a fact that HA has repeatedly requested accounts of positive homeschooled stories. What do they hear?

    (crickets)”

    And this is where the phrase Second Generation Homeschoolers is so important. There are HUGE numbers of families where one or both of the parents had been homeschooled themselves and are now homeschooling their one children. That speaks volumes to me.

  74. says

    Julie Anne, that post worked for me this morning. I went back to Ryan’s page several times before it finally showed up.

    Responding to some of your thoughts:

    “Well, it is their generation. Isn’t it time for them to make choices for their own families? Didn’t we do the same thing? We sure went against what our parents did when we made the choice to homeschool. So we can go against our parents, but they can’t?”

    Who suggested anything like this? I am only pointing out that pitting one generation against another is foolish and I see no Biblical precedent for doing so. On the contrary, there are admonitions throughout the New Testament that clearly encourage building each other up in the faith and part of that is addressing practical things like education and relationship building. It isn’t one-upmanship, it is coming alongside each other, exhorting, spurring one another on to love and good works. It is serving one another with humble hearts and kindness. I love the description of Jesus that is what our lives are to reflect:

    Philippians 2:1-11: “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, 7 but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    “Frankly, I’m embarrassed about what our generation did and all of the whacked out patriarchy/legalism.”

    I agree there has been much of this BUT I also see much repentance and restoration in homes where that happened. Whenever I am asked to speak to homeschoolers, I stress the need for parental repentance. Whenever I get an email from someone who is struggling with a child, I stress parental repentance. I gave an entire chapter in my book to developing this idea. I believe it is the key to restoring family life in many homes. That being said, I also believe there ARE genuine examples of rebellion toward parents and the Lord that are grievous to the hearts of parents. No one generation has taken the high ground over another.

    Again, I am sad that so many wonderful homeschooling moms who have given their lives to homeschooling and mentoring their children are being thrown under the bus. My respect has certainly waned for many of the HA and their brash arrogance and threatening tone closes doors and ears to many they might like to have in their camp.

  75. Lewis says

    The problem with all of this is the misplaced focus on Patriarchy. Patriarchy is but a symptom of the greater problem. A nasty symptom, no doubt, but a symptom nonetheless. Fear, and the culture war it’s generated, is the true disease. In the long run, treating the symptoms leaves the disease free to fester and manifest in other ways – which it does.

  76. says

    Zed, no inventing reality here. Show me where Ryan admonished anyone in their statements or attitudes toward their dissenters? Where did he ask of proof of claims that were made? Didn’t happen.

  77. says

    Lewis, I agree that patriarchy is not the only problem…never ever claimed it was and to state that I have done so is not honest. Context is everything thus the title of this series of posts. I was merely pointing out that the abuses in the patriarchy movement have fueled groups like HA. That is the truth. BUT it certainly is not the only issue that has been troubling in evangelicalism.

  78. says

    Lewis:

    One of the biggest problems I am seeing right now, both in homeschooling and in the broader evangelical culture, is the celebrity aspect of it all. No, I am not wanting to be categorized with this label, contrary to what you so boldly and dishonestly proclaimed (even if they would have me, as you said) as I have long said that the phrase “homeschool leadership” is unfortunate as they are all self-appointed. There is no need for a top down structure but rather parents need to be encouraged to take responsibility themselves for interacting with authorities and to also take leadership of what they are doing in their own homes. Right now homeschooling is very market driven and few are writing their own philosophy of education or even thinking through what they believe or what is important to teach their children etc. They just purchase a package where all the thinking is done for them. This is something I would like to see change. Along these same lines, here is an article I really appreciate:

    http://simplehomeschool.net/homeschoolsuccess/

  79. Lewis says

    “I was merely pointing out that the abuses in the patriarchy movement have fueled groups like HA.”

    That’s not really specific enough, though. Religion-based homeschooling is at the core of most of the stories on HA. Patriarchy is but a symptom of that, just like Quiverfull, Courtship, all of that nonsense. The fear-based culture war is what drives most of these parents into religion-based homeschooling. As glad as I was to see the Phillips and Gothard reigns of terror come to an end (possibly, anyway…they’re kinda like cockroaches), I didn’t see it as a great cause for celebration. Most of the people who were/are drawn to what they were selling will probably be very willing buyers on the market when the next Christian homeschooling guru offers some brand new, shiny, formulaic widget, advertising it with all of the easily recognized buzzwords and promises of familial success. These people (the buyers) are still sick from the disease.

  80. Lewis says

    “contrary to what you so boldly and dishonestly”

    It wasn’t dishonest. I wasn’t lying. If it’s wrong, it’s inaccurate. Big difference.

  81. says

    Lewis:

    “contrary to what you so boldly and dishonestly”
    It wasn’t dishonest. I wasn’t lying. If it’s wrong, it’s inaccurate. Big difference.

    So, are you gong to publicly correct that? And why aren’t you saying that to your friends on Ryan’s thread who insist I am lying about all sorts of things?

    For the record, I have email from four years ago when one of those commenters was disturbed at my removing her comments from my blog. She was way out of line and in her personal attacks toward another commenter on that current thread. She was trying to get me to come down hard on this pro-patriarchy person and I was not going to be unkind. After several exchanges she finally told me how my blog had been instrumental in helping her and her husband come out of the patriarchy movement. She is rewriting history. I have the entire email exchange. Pretty sad.

  82. Lewis says

    In the beginning we were to a certain degree, Karen, although I might have seen things as being more than one or two pet doctrines gone awry. The more I learned, however, the more people reached out to me, the larger the disease I observed, and I think our core messages became significantly different 2 or 3 years ago.

    I’m 100% with you on Patriarchy being a very bad thing. Beat the hell out of it, I say. Just don’t stop there, from my perspective, because it only scratches the surface.

  83. says

    Lewis, what I meant about the same message was that you are warning people to not follow gurus and that is the same message I have always presented, whether we are talking patriarchy or otherwise.

  84. Lewis says

    That’s a good message. I just don’t think it can be communicated effectively until people take their attention off the culture war. Culture warriors need generals. They always will.

  85. says

    I am not sure how you are defining “culture war” but I see tremendous battles over philosophy and worldview within the culture both inside and outside the body of Christ. I see the solution to be a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the desire to grow in His grace as the solution, one person at a time. People need to get off their high horses and one another, starting in their homes.

  86. says

    Karen, it struck me that you spent time reading Ryan’s post with 384 comments, but have you addressed his primary issue? This feels like a big elephant in the room. He told me he intentionally made his post public so that people could read his article and respond. I’ve never known Ryan to shut down comments anywhere. Remember, he taught debate to kids of high profile homeschool leaders. I highly doubt it is in his nature to shy away from debates. He did not remove the article.

    I think it would be helpful if you would address his specific concerns. Thank you.

    Here, I’ll help you so you don’t have to search for it:

    Several months ago, on a mutual friend’s Facebook page, I explicitly told Karen Campbell (thatmom.com) that Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (the non-profit of which Homeschoolers Anonymous is a part) does *not* advocate for or against public policy. HARO/HA advocates for awareness and education, peer support, and resource development from within homeschooling. So at this point Karen seems to be *intentionally* spreading misinformation about HARO/HA.

    The tragedy here is that, if Karen is actually interested in non-legislative solutions to abuse and neglect in homeschooling, the very organization working on those solutions (HARO!) now has a more difficult job because of her willful misinformation.

  87. says

    Julie Anne,

    I am drawing a blank about that conversation and would like to see what he is referencing. I honestly do not remember having any conversation with him about the policy group itself. I am not denying it happened I just don’t remember talking with him about it. I did find an email exchange I had with him a long time ago when he requested from me about the 2009 Leadership Summit but no other messages. If he says it was on someone’s FB page, I would like to read that. ???

    I have been aware of HA for almost its inception but the policy group was new to me more recently. I went back and found the FB exchange I had with a friend when I first learned of it and that was in late December 2013. Perhaps our conversation he remembers was before that?

    My take on the two groups and how they work together, and in my mind are connected if not the same, is this: HA is providing the narrative for the “responsible homeschooling” group to use to accomplish their goals for “accountability” for homeschoolers. That is not their stated goal but if it were not for the HA narratives, there would probably not be the “accountability” group. While I do not doubt their desire to help those who are abused, I believe these groups are working hand in hand. Of course they are if Ryan is head of both groups!

    Is this a concern to him because of some tax exempt status issue? If so, I understand his concern. Otherwise, I am puzzled as to what the problem is, why this struck such a chord with him. FWIW, there are lots of people who see these groups as one in the same. Perhaps their marketing’s a problem?

  88. says

    from Ryan’s policy site:

    Oversight of homeschooling varies widely from state to state and frequently lacks basic protections. While we understand that every state is different and that homeschooling policy can and will differ from state to state, we believe that all homeschool policies should:

    Center on children’s interests
    Recognize homeschooling’s flexibility and potential for innovation
    Reflect what most responsible homeschooling parents already do

    Our recommendations are based on the above criteria, current best practices in several states, and conversations with current and former homeschool parents and homeschooled students. We have further research planned and will update these recommendations as needed. If you would like to offer your own feedback, please contact us.

    Variety in Homeschool Options

    Public School Services

    Funding

    At-Risk Children

    Notification

    Parent Qualifications

    Subjects

    Recordkeeping

    Assessment and Intervention

    Medical Care

    Special Needs

    Which of these would not translate in legislative action? I would also like to pint out that on Ryan’s FB page, several serious threats of legislative action were made and he did not refute them.

  89. says

    Here is another article Ryan recently wrote that challenged the same article by Israel Wayne that I found troubling, but for different reasons. My concern with Ryan’s perspective is that, for many Christian parents, mentoring and discipling our children is central to what we do as homeschooling parents. Ryan, though he doesn’t discuss the definition of “indoctrination,” appears to take issue with this, as do others who have posted on this thread. (What they would call indoctrination I would call a biblical worldview.) Again, I am asking if this group would consider a Christian parent who taught that homosexual behavior is a sin or even that a literal day creation is fact could be called abusive and therefore a threat to their own children. I believe this is a fair question to ask. How do you define “educational abuse” thus seeking legislative action to protect children from it?

    http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/you-cant-lace-geography-lessons-with-jesus-a-response-to-israel-wayne/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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