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. says

    Thanks, Karen, for responding to Ryan’s original point. I guess they will have to respond to these questions/concerns.

    My $.02 – It’s one thing to teach your children these things, but I think the real question is what happens if they decide to not hold to those teachings? Then what? Do they have the “right” in a parent’s home to have differing views? How will they be treated? Will they be emotionally abandoned? I’ve seen a lot of that and it disgusts me because these are not primary doctrinal issues as some have made them to be. And this hits home personally for me as it was the YEC issue that my daughter went head to head with and was the beginning of her abandoning her faith. She was told you can’t believe God’s word without believing YEC. After taking science classes in college, she could not reconcile the differences and also the very poor “studies” in YEC books we had.

    I don’t think Peter is standing at the gate asking whether someone believes in YEC or OEC before letting them in.

  2. Elizabeth says

    @ Julie Anne: I am a retired HSing mother of four. All adults now, all with varying political, doctrinal views. I am not a fundamentalist, but I am orthodox in my faith. My children have always been encouraged to think for themselves, and have never been ’emotionally abandoned’ for not taking my view on things. I taught them to be independent thinkers, and we have terrific discussions on all things, without rancor and in love.

    I think the difference is that I am much more certain of God’s sovereignty in my children’s lives then I am my own, and always have been. This leads to a great deal of freedom and grace. There is no fear when we place our children in God’s hands.

    My children always had vast and wide-ranging friendships with all sorts of people. We welcomed all sorts into our house and it was a wonderfully lively place, back in the day. I do miss that so!

    My final daughter got a bit involved with some patriarchal(mildly, I should say) folk. She toyed with it for a time, wondered why we were not ‘more like that’, but eventually came to see it as a possibly(depending on teh patriarch!) graceless way to live. God is her true Patriarch. I feel badly for some of the families I saw toying with this movement. The fear is often etched on their faces, the fear that they might not quite measure up. The fear that they might not lead well. The fear that they might disappoint their parents. Sad.

    But even there, God can bring good out of our foolishness.

    An aside: Illinoisians are particularly intolerant of changes to their state law. We moved to IL specifically FOR the freedom to HS as we liked without troublesome state schoolmarm interference. I’ll fight like a rabid dog to keep this state a free from incompetent(look at their performance!) school-marm interference. Illinois state schools are SO bad, a child would be better off staying home, poking about the neighborhood and reading books once in a while rather than attending.

  3. says

    A true Christian who denies the presence of sin is an oxymoron. Jesus came to save sinners. Therefore, how can one be saved as a true Christian, without admitting he or she is a sinner in need of a savior? Secondly, who gets to define sin? Me? You? No! God has done so in the Bible. If you don’t agree, then disagree, but don’t call yourself a Christian.

    To label homeschooling as abusive because it is taught from a Christian worldview is laying the foundation for Christian persecution by the State. When abuse occurs by those calling themselves Christians, expose it and prosecute it. I doubt that Christianity was really understood by such abusive people. But to attack the foundation shows your own lack of understanding. Victims don’t deny Christ and the Gospel, only unbelievers do. My family has been liberated and made strong by embracing Christianity (6 grown homeschooled children.) All living in the “real world” of differing opinions, every one of my family is not ashamed to preach and contend for the Faith. The fact that they all do is not a product of “brainwashing.” Each came to Christ in his/her own way and timing as a miracle of God’s saving grace. I have had to leave churches because of wrong theology and spiritual abuse, but never Christ.

  4. says

    Julie Ann,

    For what it’s worth (probably not very much), I’m most definitely an OEC. I do have the impression that YEC’s can be as intolerant (both of the ideas and the person) as some Dispensational “Get-Ready-for the-Rapture-Save Israel” folks are to people like me who are amillennial.

    I am sorry to hear that your daughter’s faith has been so injured by those who insist upon a YE view. I hope she can be shown some of the really good material from OEC scientists.

  5. says

    I have had to leave churches because of wrong theology and spiritual abuse, but never Christ.

    Ok, so you do know spiritual abuse. Isn’t it awful? Now put yourself in the shoes of children who live under the roof of their parents who dish out the same kind of spiritual abuse. These children likely don’t even realize it’s abuse as that is their norm. However, as they get older, things become more clear. You can be spiritually abused at your church or it can be inflicted by a spiritual abuser at home, i.e., by a parent).

    That is some of what we are seeing from the stories at Homeschoolers Anonymous, yet some homeschool parents are labeling it as “godly parenting” when they are essentially pushing kids away from God with the extra rules/legalism = spiritual abuse.

    When abuse occurs by those calling themselves Christians, expose it and prosecute it. I doubt that Christianity was really understood by such abusive people. But to attack the foundation shows your own lack of understanding.

    You are very simplistic, Christy. I wish it was as easy as you say. I exposed my former pastor, got sued for $500K for doing so and he is still preaching even though he is in church discipline and had his license revoked.

    The SGAs at Homeschoolers Anonymous are exposing their abuses. What has the response from “Christian” homeschool parents been? They’ve been called apostates and all sorts of names, mostly I believe because they don’t fit/look like what a lot of parents wanted our adult children to look like.

  6. says

    Really, Granddad? YEs are all intolerant, but not OEs? It’s easy to throw around negative labels on those one disagrees with. I am a YE with a son who is leaning towards OE. Do I shun him? No. We discuss and debate our differences. But my son still preaches Christ, even at the universities. He has a doctorate in some technical medical science (computer research) and now works at the CDC. During my son’s presentation of his doctoral defense with many of his professors attending, he began his presentation acknowledging Jesus Christ as his inspiration. Pretty gutsy for a scientist these days. I don’t mind focusing on the specific issues of the YE and OE debate, but stereotyping lacks critical thinking. Julie’s daughter may have been a victim of some very real issues, but it does her great disservice to excuse her rejection of Christ as a result of victimization rather than personal unbelief. It keeps one continually blaming others for one’s condition instead of acknowledging one’s own part in the process.

  7. says

    Elizabeth:

    I loved reading your story and how you encouraged your children to be independent thinkers. It’s interesting to note that those parents who try to control every aspect of their children’s lives many times end up with adult children who turned out opposite of what they wanted.

    You allowed independence and freedom through love and respect and look at your results. Wonderful!

    Granddad: Thanks for your kind words re: my daughter. I appreciate it.

  8. says

    Julie’s daughter may have been a victim of some very real issues, but it does her great disservice to excuse her rejection of Christ as a result of victimization rather than personal unbelief. It keeps one continually blaming others for one’s condition instead of acknowledging one’s own part in the process.

    I’m reading love and compassion all over that, Christy. (sarcasm button was turned on)

  9. Ladycelt says

    In my experience thus far, the leadership of the YEC crowd tends to be MORE intolerant than the OEC crowd. Personally, I am kind of agnostic on the issue of how long ago God made the universe and the Earth itself, although I lean toward the OEC position. Now I will say that I have a problem with anyone saying Adam was not the first human, or was not a literal person, or that Genesis is simply allegorical, etc. This is an area where I need to do a lot more reading.

    I agree that there are those within neopatriarchy jockeying for position in the sudden power vacuums created by the fall of certain longtime leaders. Patriarchy and all its problems have been around for as long as there have been humans, and that includes the entire history of the Church. So much of church practice seems to be determined more by surrounding culture, whether in imitation of or in reaction to it, than Scripture.

    Right now all the normal Christian homeschoolers have an enormous opportunity to press their advantage in directly challenging the proliferation of patriocentrism in the conference circuit and online, along with involvement at the legislative level. They need to make themselves heard now, while they still can. I’m still kind of waiting to see if HSLDA will do more than further knee-jerk reactions to groups like HA, or worse, attempt any more legislative stuff that reflects only their constituency but winds up affecting all homeschoolers. I believe the parental rights amendment is still on the table.

  10. says

    Julie Anne, I am speaking out of love and compassion for your daughter. I actually believe that there is a heaven and hell. I actually believe John 3:16. You don’t know everyone’s heart or experience. I care as much about abuse as you do and have decried it time and time again. But I also care about people’s souls. To challenge someone does not necessarily mean a lack of love. I’m not part of the SGM, didn’t join it for many reasons. They have misused Christianity in all sorts of ways. But to examine our own part does not have to mean perverse introspection resulting in condemnation. You call for others to repent of their evil ways, and I agree with you. Are you doing it out of love or arrogant spite? I’m assuming out of love… and so it is with me. No sarcasm here.

  11. says

    I’m very familiar with that kind of “love,” Christy. It’s the same kind that says that the SGAs at Homeschoolers Anonymous are just a bunch of rebellious apostates. I don’t think that is how Christ would treat them or my daughter. That kind of in-your-face REPENT-or-else is not loving. It’s not kind, it is not patient, it is rude, and it’s using spirituality as a weapon.

    These SGAs have been harmed. They know the Bible inside out and backwards and probably have more verses memorized than us. What they need is someone showing them love, the kind of love that gets in the trenches with them and listens to their stories, offers support and comfort, gives them respect as a human being and gives them choices, not forces them into what we want them to be.

    Please don’t spew religiosity around these SGAs. It didn’t work the first time.

  12. says

    Wow, Julie Anne. Talk about building an imaginary straw man and shooting it! I’ve never called SGAs a bunch of rebellious apostates nor demanded that they REPENT or else. It is because I respect your daughter as a human being that I care about her. Everyone is ultimately responsible for his/her own choices – especially before God. There’s obviously more going on with you than this discussion, for your need to overkill like this. Spewing religiosity around?… hardly! I think it’s best to end this here. Obviously, we are not on the same page. If you need to tell me off more, privately, you can find me and we’ll talk.

  13. Nancy says

    Karen, why do you say that Ryan is the head of CRHE? It just says on their “who we are” page that he’s News and Social Media Director, which is generally not the “head” position at any non-profit.

    While you were checking CRHE’s website and not understanding the difference between “recommendation” and “legislation”, you also apparently didn’t look through the whole site. CRHE also says on its FAQs page that it’s different than Homeschoolers Anonymous: “While several CRHE board members belong to the Homeschoolers Anonymous community, Homeschoolers Anonymous is a separate organization that does not take a position on the policy measures promoted by CRHE.”

    Also, on Ryan’s public FB page, he says quite clearly that the conversation you two had was on Chris Jeub’s page.

    If people are confused about the difference between HA and CRHE, as you seem to be, perhaps it’s because they’re not reading carefully.

    In the future, before ranting about the perceived agenda of other people, you might wish to consider checking for specks in your own eyes first. After all, that is what Jesus would do.

  14. says

    Nancy, it would be helpful if you read through my comments here.

    Yesterday I quoted their list of recommendations, asking which one would not require legislation. No response. Would you like to answer that?

    I haven’t been able to see any comments on the Riot Stollar FB page since 21 hours ago. What I read was that he had an exchange with me on the page of a mutual friend. If he named Chris I missed it. What was the date on that exchange, do you know?

    Why are you all unwilling to engage in the meat of this discussion?

  15. Nancy says

    I apologize: my previous comment makes no sense because I made a mistake with the HTML formatting. Karen, you may delete that post. (I appreciate that you let even critical comments through: that speaks well of your character.)

    Here is Ryan’s quote:

    Ryan said two things relevant to you in his post on May 31st. “I didn’t see that [comment by Chris Jeub] originally. That’s… interesting. Scratching my head about that. In fact, that’s the aforementioned mutual friend in the original status.”

    “Yes, CRHE is a policy and research non-profit. Yes, I am on the board. Yes, I support homeschool oversight. No, I don’t hide any of those facts. I was raised a good conservative: I believe in checks and balances, which means I believe neither parents nor the government should have absolute power over children. Children have rights, too. I don’t believe this is a radical position. This should be the common sense position. The homeschooling world has unfortunately and stubbornly staked out the radical position so consistently that THEY — not us alumni — moved the Overton Window. Checks and balances are *not* liberal or statist, y’all. (And I say that as someone who’s likely defined as liberal and/or statist.)

    And yes, Karen knows all this. In the same comment where I told her HARO does not do policy advocacy, I also was very clear that I am on the board of CRHE. I then explained to her the difference between the two and that I don’t mind if you support one but not the other. I *personally* support both (obviously). She is thus well-aware of the distinction and there are honestly no excuses — on this point — that can be made for her.”

    I, Nancy, said the following:

    Karen, I have read through all of your comments here, and I have read through the entire thread on Ryan’s page, and I sincerely believe that you are the one in the wrong here. You are coming across as mean-spirited and willing to spread disinformation, as well as painting yourself as the victim. You are not a victim. There is another group that has a difference of opinion in how best to bring about a goal that both of you share. This does not make you a victim.

    Have you tried reaching out to them, or is this the first contact you’ve initiated with HA or CRHE? Reading with an outsider’s eye, part of the reason why so many commentators are angry with you is because you’re not engaging with these homeschooled alumni fairly. You’re attributing a position to this homeschooled alumni that they don’t agree with. And when they say, “no, we don’t agree with this characterization”, you continue to strawman them.

    As for why no one is willing to engage in “the meat of this discussion” — it’s because what you consider the meat of this discussion is actually spoiled and suited for the flies. If you want to discuss how you feel unappreciated by these particular homeschooled alumni, several of whom appear to have had negative interactions with you in the past, and how you fear that they will try to outlaw homeschooling when their organization is named “Responsible Home Education”, and how you’re upset with them because they’re not Christian enough…well, that’s a very boring conversation for anyone who isn’t you. You can keep talking, but it makes you look petty and spoiled and Pharisee-like.

    If you’re genuinely interested in talking to homeschooled alumni about what they and you together can do to stop homeschooling abuse, and to suggest non-legislative methods for stopping child abuse that maybe they haven’t considered yet, then go to them and ask them what they think. Don’t snipe at them from the safety of your blog without actually going amongst them. Try listening to what they have to say. first, before attacking them.

    And before you do anything else, try a thought experiment: you’re very worried that you, a person in the majority Christian culture, will someday have to teach a perspective on a minority group that is contrary to your values (endorsement of homosexuality). Now, no one is telling you you have to do this: there is not one word on the CRHE website about values, homosexual or otherwise. But pretend for a moment that you are the persecuted minority, and the majority culture thinks that you are evil and going to hell, and teaches this in their schools. (Perhaps you believe this is already occurring, but as a veteran of the public schools, I can assure you it’s not.) Would you wish that people were forced to teach tolerance for you and yours? Wouldn’t you wish that your life was made easier, just for a moment, by someone saying that no, you aren’t evil, and everything you do isn’t damning you on a daily basis? Or would you take consolation in the fact that in this topsy-turvy world, an organization like CRHE does not say a word about your fate?

  16. says

    Nancy, I am really not being misleading or dishonest but I have gone through all the comments Ryan left on that thread on his FB page and see no reference to Chris Jeub or a conversation where he delineated the difference between the two groups. If that is the case, I do not see it and I don’t remember it. Please help be find this. I have not seen a comment since yesterday afternoon show up on that thread. I had trouble seeing all the thread initially as well. Maybe someone could cut and paste this for me.

    That being said, in reading through the two websites, even if they are separate entities, as they claim, I see them as being very closely connected. Apparently I am not the only one who does because I have been hearing from lots of people over the past few months and especially throughout the weekend. Many have shared the same concerns I have expressed. I will get to the meat of your comment in a while. A family is waiting for dinner!

  17. says

    “There is another group that has a difference of opinion in how best to bring about a goal that both of you share. ”

    Could you be more clear about this? What is that stated goal we share?

  18. Anna says

    A different perspective:
    I was raised in the conservative Christian homeschooling movement, and my family is one of the “success” stories: on the outside, we seemed polite and studious. We scored well on standardized exams and graduated with honors from colleges. What strangers and family friends never saw, however, was all the ugly details of a dysfunctional family. There has been so much familial pressure to never share that my siblings and I didn’t start talking about the past until only very recently and during the short period I was going to a therapist, I avoided the topic. Homeschoolers Anonymous has been a wonderful resource, community, and platform to tell the truth.

    I am confused what your issue with HA is. Is it that they do not silence LGBTQIA people? Is it that they dare publish negative stories about homeschooling?

    If the picture arising from the HA platform is not true, then surely that will be apparent as positive stories emerge. But examples of seemingly happy, successful families proves nothing, nor do examples of people who were homeschooled, homeschooling their own children- not with the scare tactics surrounding public schools perpetuated and the pressure that it is the morally right option, regardless of their own experiences.

    The greatest threat to homeschooling is homeschooled adults speaking up about their experiences? I don’t even know what to say about that, except to wonder why, if that is your view, you homeschool your own children.

    The truth will set us free.

  19. Lydia says

    “Julie Anne, I am speaking out of love and compassion for your daughter”

    So, you know her daughter personally? Has it occurred to you that long time trusting relationship with someone is needed if you want what you have said here to come across as love and compassion.

    In fact, this entire thread reminds me of why so many “former” fundies/evangelicals are becoming what so many current fundies fear the most.

    And I have no idea what a Christian world view is yet I hear it all the time. And you cannot point to the bible for a “world view” because there are so many interpretations from Calvinism to Social Justice Gospel. A “world view” projects your beliefs onto others as the criteria for salvation. Beliefs that can be anything from YEC/OEC to patriarchy/ egalitarian.

    We live in a composite society. Get out there and show the love of Christ to a homosexual. That, more than anything will be a witness to them about Jesus Christ and what He wants for them.

    We would not need HS legislation from the government if HS policed themselves. I spent last summer working on a refugee project that included a ton of Muslims. The biggest problem? They do not want their daughters educated. But government to find them jobs as babysitters. The “uncles” always spoke for them. But because they are on the government dime, they have no choice but to allow their daughters to learn English and be educated to the fullest extent they can be before “Uncle” marries them off. Let us hope by then she has some smarts to get out of there.

    It always reminded of the Patriarchy of the HS movement. And yes, HS has a bad reputation of being isolated and backward. Best to deal with that.

  20. Nancy says

    Karen, this takes a bit of reading comprehension. One of the first comments was by a woman named Eleanor, who wrote:

    Eleanor: “I feel that Chris Jeub has misunderstood HA as well, indicating in the comments of the article that HA has become a political action group:
    “Chris Jeub says:
    May 29, 2014 at 5:49 am

    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.”

    Ryan replies, tagging Eleanor, “Eleanor: I didn’t see that originally. That’s… interesting. Scratching my head about that. In fact, that’s the aforementioned mutual friend in the original status.”

    If you take a moment to connect the dots, it’s obvious that Chris Jeub was the mutual friend of yours on whose post you had conversed, and therefore you wouldn’t be wasting time looking through your emails for conversations with him. In fact, it sounds like you have not had any serious conversations with anyone from HA or CRHE, and if you have, you don’t remember them. Of course they’re reacting strongly. They feel like you’ve slandered them, and you feel like they’ve slandered you. But how can you demand respect from them when you offer none in return? Respect is a two-way street, and you are showing none — and instigating the fight. Perhaps the problem is you. Perhaps the problem is that they’re not explaining the difference clearly. But the issue is that you’re not open to understanding them, not that they owe you an explanation.

    There have been multiple people explaining the differences between HARO and CRHE both in this thread and elsewhere. I suggest rereading the comments by Scottie Moser on this post, and perhaps reading this post by Libby Anne, whom I don’t know if you follow, who lays out the differences here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2014/06/i-am-not-anti-homeschooling.html

    When you read these posts and comments, I suggest reading them with no preconceptions — with an open eye and, most importantly, an open heart. From your posts here and the work you’ve done over the past years, I thought you would want to be a partner with anyone who wants to end child abuse. They’re using a different approach to end child abuse than you are, but they are trying to end it just the same. If you think their approach is wrong, the best way to convince them is to talk to them openly, not to castigate them from afar. These are adults who have been hurt by the same systems of patriarchy and abuse you fight against. Why can’t you try to bridge that step, instead of insulting them?

  21. Taunya Henderson says

    Karen I have been closely watching the comments in this post and I notice that you and the SGA’s, and those them support them, seem to be talking around each other, especially when it comes to use of the word abuse.

    You asked me for my definition of abuse and I confess that in my irritation I gave a quick dictionary definition. After some reflection I realize that perhaps we are really seeing things differently which could great hamper communication and therefore my answer was not at all helpful.

    In an effort to clear things up I have a question for you. Do you consider all homes that subject their children to patriarchy to be abusive? In other words to you see patriarchy, in and of itself, to be abuse, or just wrong teaching that may at times present as abusive?

  22. says

    Nancy says: “But the issue is that you’re not open to understanding them, not that they owe you an explanation.”

    Nancy, so am I correct in understanding that those who are upset are saying these two groups do not work in conjunction with each other? And am I also correct that you believe they don’t need to make themselves more clear? That it is a “reading comprehension” problem I have or others have who see a clear connection?

  23. says

    “Do you consider all homes that subject their children to patriarchy to be abusive?”

    I am not sure what you mean. This is a pretty loaded question.

  24. says

    I have a question for those involved with this group/these groups:

    Are there connections between the two websites I linked to and what are they? And how do the narratives on the HA site affect the policy recommendations you have made on the above list?

  25. says

    Nancy, I have never stated what I personally believe all the solutions are to any sort of abuse in any home. All the thread commenters and the articles that are linking here are assuming I have done so but I have not. All I have done is draw attention to what I believe are very real threats to homeschooling freedoms.

  26. Nancy says

    Karen, I thought you wanted child abuse to end. My mistake if I am wrong.

    From my understanding, CRHE and HARO do not work together, and they have very different goals in mind, as seen in their various mission statements. Ryan Stollar works for CRHE and co-founded HARO, so there must be some overlap in staff, but there was at least one person identifying themselves as members of CRHE and not of HARO in the thread, so there must be differences. It would be a mistake to assume that they are all alike, just as it would be a mistake to assume that because you’re a Christian homeschooling mother that you must have the same beliefs as Debi Pearl.

    If you are truly interested in learning about CRHE and HA/HARO, you should go to them, not bury your question in the bottom of the comments section on your blog post after you’ve already attacked them. Why not reach out to Ryan Stollar via email or Facebook? You clearly know who he is. From his perspective, you have given him no reason to seek out your opinion on any matter at all, so why should he answer you here?

  27. Scottie Moser says

    I have a question for those involved with this group/these groups:

    Are there connections between the two websites I linked to and what are they?

    I am a member of HARO, but was unaware of the existence of CRHE until your blog post inspired me to look into their website (now, of course, I’m considering joining them). There are connections in that several people involved with HARO are also involved with CRHE. But to claim that having an overlapping staff means two organizations are one and the same, with identical missions and goals, is nothing short of ridiculous. You want to know the organizations’ missions and goals? Read their mission statements. They’re right there on the respective websites. Stop playing the conspiracy theory game; you doggedly undermine your own credibility.

    And how do the narratives on the HA site affect the policy recommendations you have made on the above list?

    The narratives on the HA site are narratives. They exist to bring to light the untold stories of abuse and neglect that most homeschool-oriented organizations would rather sweep under the rug. They do not have a legislative agenda. They do not have an agenda, period, other than to incite action and inspire people to propose solutions to end the abuse.

    The policy recommendations on CRHE are proposals introduced by that organization, which may or may not have been inspired by stories on HA or from other sources. They are introduced separately, and though some of the same people involved in HARO are also involved in CRHE, please take particular notice of the fact that the proposals are raised through the latter organization, while the former maintains its neutral, awareness-only position. They are not the same organization. They do not share the same goals. They do not push the same agenda. And neither is dependent on the other for anything.

    And, Karen, before you say another negative word against CRHE’s recommendations, I want to know what proposals you, personally, would introduce to end abuse and neglect in homeschooling circles. If you have none, you have no leg to support your kicking against CRHE’s or anyone else’s recommendations. If there is no recourse other than legal recourse, would you really have us do nothing? And if there is other recourse, please enlighten us to your ideas. Nobody is turning a deaf ear to you. But you continue to strenuously attack your own message.

    I believe this group poses possibly the greatest threat to homeschooling freedoms we enjoy today….

    What threatens you, Karen? Do stories of abuse and neglect pose a great threat to homeschooling freedoms? They might, indeed, if news of rampant abuse leads the population at large to consider making homeschooling illegal — an idea neither CRHE nor HARO endorses in any way.

    Or do you feel that the greatest threat to homeschooling today consists of proposals for legislative action that ensures homeschooling not only continues to be protected and endorsed by state law but also provides an unfriendly environment for abusive, neglectful, or incompetent would-be-homeschooling parents? And if so, as so many other commenters here have already asked (and been met with deafening silence), what non-legislative measures do you propose we take to accomplish the same goals?

    You pay lavish lipservice to the idea that abuse and neglect in homeschooling circles is abominable and must be stopped. But you are far more interested in protecting homeschoolers from the kind of oversight that would accomplish those goals than you are in seeing those goals met by any means.

    Ultimately, your argument is not for freedom to homeschool — but the ability to homeschool conveniently. And this is what you seem to believe is more important than preventing child abuse and neglect.

  28. says

    Christy wrte:

    “A true Christian who denies the presence of sin is an oxymoron. Jesus came to save sinners. Therefore, how can one be saved as a true Christian, without admitting he or she is a sinner in need of a savior? Secondly, who gets to define sin? Me? You? No! God has done so in the Bible. If you don’t agree, then disagree, but don’t call yourself a Christian.
    To label homeschooling as abusive because it is taught from a Christian worldview is laying the foundation for Christian persecution by the State. When abuse occurs by those calling themselves Christians, expose it and prosecute it. I doubt that Christianity was really understood by such abusive people. But to attack the foundation shows your own lack of understanding. Victims don’t deny Christ and the Gospel, only unbelievers do. My family has been liberated and made strong by embracing Christianity (6 grown homeschooled children.) All living in the “real world” of differing opinions, every one of my family is not ashamed to preach and contend for the Faith. The fact that they all do is not a product of “brainwashing.” Each came to Christ in his/her own way and timing as a miracle of God’s saving grace. I have had to leave churches because of wrong theology and spiritual abuse, but never Christ.”

    Amen!

  29. says

    Nancy said:

    “Karen, I thought you wanted child abuse to end. My mistake if I am wrong.”

    I would first like it defined.

  30. says

    Scottie:

    One of the key differences in how you and I would approach these topics is found in what we see as the source of solutions and, I imagine, in how we would define abuse in the first place.

    There are two differences in what you are saying and what I believe. The first addresses the definition of abuse to begin with. I would list several types of abusive behavior: physical, sexual, verbal, emotional (mental), and spiritual. Some would also list educational abuse (or neglect). They can happen independently of each other or in many combinations. Some are more obtuse, others more difficult to identify or define. And, of course, depending on someone’s worldview, perspective, and/or experience, there can be degrees of concern. For example, someone may be striking a child repeatedly, leaving welts and bruises and a piano teacher sees the marks and knows she should contact authorities. This may be required by current laws in your state and failure to do so could bring charges against the teacher. In Illinois where I live, any visible marks constitute physical abuse, which many people do not know.

    Now suppose that teacher sees no marks but hears the mother speak to her child in harsh, demeaning words and tones and the child was obviously humiliated. Was this abusive? Should that teacher report this mother to the authorities for abuse?

    Now lets say the parents are homeschooling parents who have established certain standards in their home for their teens for movie ratings, activities, relationships with the opposite sex, etc. They make their house rules based on what they believe Scripture teaches. Are they guilty of emotional or spiritual abuse? I remember one church lady who took our daughter aside and told her how very sad she was for her that we were homeschooling her and not allowing her to participate in prom etc. To that woman we were abusive parents.

    In which of these scenarios has abuse occurred? In which one should someone intervene or even call authorities? I am asking this sincerely because in some people’s eyes, homeschooling parents, simply by being actively engaged in the lives of their children and establishing standards for their own families are considered abusive. To some people, the very content of what we teach itself is considered abuse. Who gets to decide and define this?

    The second thing is that I love freedom and do not see the government as the solution for solving all social ills. It is not their role to begin with and they certainly have not proven to be any good at it so far. In fact, I would echo Elizabeth’s thoughts that there are many children who would be better cared for and educated if they were allowed to roam their neighborhoods and read books all day than be subjected to what goes on in many school districts. The fact is that many of the voices calling for government oversight of homeschoolers haven’t a clue what the public system is all about and they are foolishly enamored with a system itself that is broken and, dare I say, even abusive toward children! Have you ever read any John Taylor Gatto, a former NY state teacher of the year? It is not just homeschoolers who recognize this. Believing government oversight will solve all the abuse problems is naïve. How has that worked so far?

    What are my solutions? First, I think too many parents have been taught to view their children as adversaries. This is a huge part of the problem. I believe that most moms and dads do not want to think of their children in this way. In fact, Scripture actually assumes that parents want to do good toward their children. But there has been a misguided message that we are at odds with the next generation (Even Julie Anne has just assumed this to be true when calling for the older generation of homeschoolers to step aside.) In fact, we live in an entire culture, inside and outside the church, that assumes that parents are adversaries with their children and, in fact, that men are adversaries with women. This is proven in every sit com, every movie, every sermon illustration. Hollywood does everything in its power to portray homosexual relationships in a good, positive light but why not the interactions between husbands and wives or parents and children? All the laws and rules and government policies will not change human hearts. It will not happen until there is a real, genuine deep seated change in people and a cultural conversation that results in no adversarial rhetoric. You want to know how I personally address real abuse? This is it. It may not seem like much to you, but I believe it is affective and changes peoples’ lives and hearts. God’s grace is sufficient. Just stopping a pregnant woman in the grocery store and telling her how beautiful she is, what a blessing children are, is a start toward changing attitudes. I believe you would be the first to say morality can’t be legislated, no? It is the law written on the human heart that matters most.

    I also think that the threat of sexual abuse toward children is very real and that parents need to learn a lot more about them than they have in the past. They need to have age appropriate talks with their children, too. A few weeks ago I started reading Salter’s Predators. Every parent needs to read this! Churches and homeschooling groups need to take the lead.

    Then let’s consider “educational abuse” or “educational neglect.” How is that even defined? And most importantly, how can anyone think the government is not the first to perpetrate this on its students? Again, a glamourized view of the system.

    There are so many problems with the recommendations. Medical issues? People are now pushing for mandatory HPV immunizations for young teen girls! And listing the requirement for immunizations? Really? I am just curious as to how many real moms and dads put together this policy list! Oh, yes, I forgot, it isn’t our turn.

    I have lots more thoughts, Scottie. More later………..

  31. Anthea says

    Woah, this is what happens when I am busy actually home educating my children and don’t check into Karen’s blog for a while.

    The whole response to Karen’s original post is extreme and tendentious . The HA blog and the other site remind me of the advice my parents gave me in the 1970s : Don’t punish a white person in Tuesday for what another white person did to you on Monday. They required a temperate and proportionate response to injustice. Policy based on a bad (or good!) personal experience will always be a terrible policy. In the UK we say, “Hard cases make bad law.”

    Making policy recommendations should be done with care, because then it will provide not only protection but also a quality educational experience. Having lived in a nation that has attempted 20 years of educational reform and had all sorts of problems, it is clear that policy should be of a high standard. The recommendations I have seen so fiercely defended here in this thread are little better than the present situation, and will neither protect children nor defend good home education. The vituperation and accusations thrown at anyone who questions the wisdom of hasty home ed reform do nothing to help children, which is ironic.

    We had the same thing in England a couple of years ago — poorly-drafted legislation, composed by a hostile and hubristic administration, was defeated when exposed to scrutiny. But initially, anyone who questioned it was accused of not caring about abuse, being a bigot, caring more about parents’ rights than children’s rights, being a pushy parent/muesli-eating hippy/nasty Christian etc., etc.

    While people come on this blog to attack fellow home educators, legislators will let down children in *and* out of school, children who are loved *and* children who are neglected. Karen is right to challenge the idea that politicians are competent to make laws on the hoof. If they could work with home educators to get well-drafted laws and efficient structures in place, that would be ideal. But that isn’t how it has worked out in the last few years. Our experience of govt incompetence re NHS computer systems, and the ill intent behind other bills (ID cards) makes me wonder if politicians can be trusted to organise a p*** up in a brewery. Karen is not our enemy, y’know.

  32. michelle says

    Hi Karen,
    Just a few things. First, I think almost everytime I comment here (which isn’t a ton as I tend to be more of a lurker) I think I’ve always thanked you in my comment no matter what the subject was. The reason is because you were one of the few voices out there, say about five years ago, who was taking a stand against all of the stuff you take a stand against. You actually took your valuable time and spoke with me personally on the phone, twice (!), and were instrumental in helping me see through the fog of the destructive parts of this movement. Had it not been for God’s mercy and your writing and podcasts, I’m not sure I would have had the complete change of heart that I did, and and the beautiful, open relationships that I now have with my children.

    Legalistic Christianity has been so devastating to my extended family and has pushed many family members away from Christ. Because of the poor Christian example I was shown, I wasn’t a Christian until I was an older adult (almost a Damascus Road experience to get me converted, but I digress) and was absolutely shocked and disgusted that I too, a mere 3 years or so after becoming a Christian, would fall for such legalistic crap. I was well on may way to “tearing down my house with my own hands” until the Lord sent you into my life. So, all that to say THANK YOU, again. (I won’t stop saying it!)

    The second thing I want to say though, is how much the writings of former homeschoolers have helped me too. HA, Recovering Grace, SSB (not all are HS topics there), etc. have also been instrumental in helping me see things through the eyes of the kids. You lay down doctrinal issues, facts and reasearch, and the point of view as a mom; HA and the others (for me) put flesh on all of what I’ve been reading here for years. The personal narratives are priceless for me, as are the things that you talk about. At HA recently, for instance, I read an excellent series about Reb Bradley’s Child Training Tips. The young woman who wrote that series came from the perspective of one who had been raised in an environment that espoused the view of that book and her insights were incredible! I will be forever grateful for her words which were smart and humble. I don’t agree with all that are on those sites, and I don’t agree with you on every last jot and tittle (gasp! : ), but I don’t see a chasm between you and them, I see a common cause, and I hope this all can be worked out because I believe both your site and their’s are needed in this discussion.

    Lastly, (sorry for the length!) I want to tell readers here FWIW that I was a product of educational neglect. After “graduating” high school I was at about a 6th grade level, and it was only by sheer grit and many, many remedial classes that I graduated from college and until fairly recently, I have always felt dumb and behind my peers. I was public schooled K-12, and I’m here to say that my situation is not unique – it happens ALL.THE.TIME. I was also abused some as a child – that was never caught by the school. The grass is not greener over there!

    I have a sharp, engeineer-minded Aspergers kid who must have a quiet, undistacting evironment in which to learn; I have another kiddo who just isn’t speeding along in his reading, but keeps chipping away at it and is brilliant otherwise (no bias here!). I have a 4 year old who is practically already reading and is way ahead in many things. I can tell it will be a constant challenge to keep her from getting bored. And I love being around my kids! I adore learning with them and teaching them, I love that we can have freedom in our days, weeks, and years to explore our rabbit trails. This is why I homeschool. There are really good homeschool families out there, as there are really good public school families out there. Sites like yours and theirs make me a better homeschool mom, and I pray that mutual ground can be found here.

    Thanks all,
    Michelle

  33. says

    Lydia wrote:
    “And I have no idea what a Christian world view is yet I hear it all the time. And you cannot point to the bible for a “world view” because there are so many interpretations from Calvinism to Social Justice Gospel. A ‘world view’ projects your beliefs onto others as the criteria for salvation. Beliefs that can be anything from YEC/OEC to patriarchy/ egalitarian.”

    Perhaps a very basic definition of what a worldview is (or weltanschauung in German ) might be helpful.
    1. a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint
    2. A worldview is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously) about the basic makeup of our world.

    You are correct that there is no specific chapter & verse that provides a short and concise defintion of a biblical worldview. The details can only be derived by reading the Bible itself, but some basic categories include:
    1. Why am I here?
    2. Is there a God and if it/he exists what is it’s/his nature?
    3. Is the course of this world totally random or does it have a purpose? If it has a purpose who or what determined it?
    4. Is this life all there is?
    5. What does the Bible say about me?

    Think for a moment about the different presuppositions an atheist, a Muslim, and a Hindu have especially as regards #2-4. Now think about how they are radically different than the basic presuppositions of Christianity. Is there a difference between various segments of the Christian community regarding various aspects of these categories? Of course. One need only compare the worldview of a Calvinist (like me) and an Open-Theist such as Greg Boyd. I am certain God is absolutely sovereign over everything and totally omniscient about all things past or future. Greg Boyd, on the other hand would disagree with my view of God’s omniscience. But, and this is an important ‘but’, we don’t disagree over the existence of God himself.

    By the way, the term ‘Social Justice Gospel’ is a very unfortunate term because it completly obfuscates the meaning of the word ‘gospel’. The message of the gospel is not about what I do but about what Christ has already done for me. My obligation now is to live in light of that finished work.

    Does my worldview contain a ‘criteria for salvation’? Of course it does. I know what me heart is like and how I fail in all that I do to meet the requirement God himself established about being holy and perfect. I know what sin is and what it does to me and to others. But thankfully I understand what the Bible says about me, my need for an intermediator, and how that need was met in Christ. If a person denies their estrangement for God, denies their need to be reconciled to him, denies that they cannot be so reconciled by their own merit, and determines to be their own judge of what constitutes sin, they are in grave danger. One cannot deny the gospel and be saved.

    Lydia wrote: “We live in a composite society. Get out there and show the love of Christ to a homosexual. That, more than anything will be a witness to them about Jesus Christ and what He wants for them.”

    How will non-believers know the gospel unless someone tells them? What exactly does Jesus “want for them”?

  34. Anthea says

    This is what happens when there is a poorly-conducted attempt to control education. The linked report was by a cross-party committee of MPs — not exactly partisan or pro-home education — about the actions of the government in 2009-10.

    Summary
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmchilsch/39/3903.htm

    Full version

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmchilsch/39/3902.htm

    The then Secretary for State insisted on pursuing his plans without alteration, and the Bill ultimately failed. He did not listen to impartial advice and valid concerns from within his own social milieu!

    Karen is, rightly, drawing attention to problematic ideas and theories — wheresoever they might be found. It is entirely proper to scrutinise the proposals by those who are for change — just as she has scrutinised the thinking of those within the world of patriocentricity. To accuse her of being uncaring about child abuse is imply that there is only one valid solution to current problems in our communities. It’s the ‘my way or the highway’ approach, which will not do any good in the long run.

  35. Keri says

    Karen,

    I appreciate how you have over the years spoken out on these issues. I also really appreciate how you responded to Scottie.

    I think we all know what Abuse really is! The majority of the stories on the HA site are about Abuse! Pure and Simple!!

    I actually chuckled not because it was funny, but because I understood when you shared the story about the woman who told your daughter she was sorry about her not being able to go to the prom. There are honestly people who consider that kind of stuff abuse. It’s crazy isn’t it!

    I have had a relative threaten to “turn me in” because my toddler wouldn’t eat the dinner I put in front of him and I wouldn’t fix him something else. My kids have also had people tell them how sorry they were that they had so many siblings(we had six kids) . I have had people get on my case because I chose a strong Christian Curriculum to homeschool my kids with.

    I know the stories are real. I am truly saddened and sorry for all the former homeschoolers out there who were so terribly abused when they were younger. It is horrifying!

    I do believe these issues need to be brought to the light and out in the open.

    I also completely agree with Karen when she stated “All the laws and rules and government policies will not change human hearts”.

    Only the Lord Jesus can do that!!

  36. Scottie Moser says

    One of the key differences in how you and I would approach these topics is found in what we see as the source of solutions and, I imagine, in how we would define abuse in the first place.

    That is a complete red herring. Unless you explicitly deny that abuse takes place in homeschooling environments (and based on your later definitions, I don’t think you can do so), there’s no point in even bringing up this question. Abuse is abuse. It needs to be stopped in public and private schools, and it needs to be stopped in homeschools. There are groups and policies dedicated to opposing abuse in public and private schools, but precious little is being done to root out and prevent abuse in homeschooling circles — and that is why organizations like HARO and CRHE and blogs like No Longer Quivering and Recovering Grace exist.

    Now suppose that teacher sees no marks but hears the mother speak to her child in harsh, demeaning words and tones and the child was obviously humiliated…. Now lets say the parents are homeschooling parents who have established certain standards in their home…. In which of these scenarios has abuse occurred? In which one should someone intervene or even call authorities? … Who gets to decide and define this?

    Who do you propose, Karen? The ball is in your court. Stop whining about terms and give us some answers. We who have grown up in the midst of abuse and neglect and are sick of seeing it happen without justice or recourse have put our foot down and said this needs to stop. Yes, if you believe a family is treating their children abusively, do something. Don’t waffle about “well maybe that family defines abuse differently from the way I define it” — if I were to say something like that you’d be jumping down my throat for spouting relativistic bull. Confront the perpetrators if you feel you have enough rapport with them to do so; otherwise, or if confrontation yields no results, then yes, contact the authorities. The family’s not going to be hauled off to a concentration camp because one person said they suspect abuse. There are miles of red tape and checks and balances, and even organizations like CPS have to play by the “innocent until proven guilty” rule. So much fear in your writing, Karen. So much suspicion. So much aversion to any influence or authority outside of yourself.

    What are my solutions?

    I would love to hear your solutions.

    First, I think too many parents have been taught to view their children as adversaries….we live in an entire culture, inside and outside the church, that assumes that parents are adversaries with their children and, in fact, that men are adversaries with women…. All the laws and rules and government policies will not change human hearts. It will not happen until there is a real, genuine deep seated change in people and a cultural conversation that results in no adversarial rhetoric. You want to know how I personally address real abuse? This is it. It may not seem like much to you, but I believe it is affective and changes peoples’ lives and hearts. God’s grace is sufficient.

    “A real, genuine deep seated change in people and a cultural conversation that results in no adversarial rhetoric.” And that, boys and girls, is Karen Campbell’s solution to ending abuse. This is not a solution. This is a goal. But you have absolutely no plan or feasible steps to take to reach that goal. You can pray all you want, you can say nice things to people all day long, and at the end of the day all you’ve accomplished is your own smug self-satisfaction that “you did your part” by being a good little Christian. Congratulations.

    You really don’t care about anything but your own reputation, Karen.

    I also think that the threat of sexual abuse toward children is very real and that parents need to learn a lot more about them than they have in the past.

    I don’t know, Karen. How do you define sexual abuse? Maybe one person would call kissing their two-year-old on the mouth when they tuck them in at night “sexual abuse”, while another sees nothing wrong with making their sixteen-year-old daughter strip naked in front of the whole family for a spanking. Who’s to say who’s right? Surely we don’t want to get the government involved here; CPS might take away the mommy who kisses her two-year-old on the mouth. No, better just to pray and have a “cultural conversation” and say nice things to people who don’t commit sexual abuse (at least not when we’re around to see it happen), because that will change the hearts and minds of abusers and predators everywhere. God, what an effective solution.

    Then let’s consider “educational abuse” or “educational neglect.” How is that even defined? And most importantly, how can anyone think the government is not the first to perpetrate this on its students?

    Goodness gracious, Karen. I finally realize that you have not the foggiest idea of what you’re discussing. This is beyond ridiculous. You should be ashamed of yourself and your journalism that makes “shoddy” look like Pulitzer material.

    I am just curious as to how many real moms and dads put together this policy list! Oh, yes, I forgot, it isn’t our turn.

    You’re a grandmother, Karen. If your children were involved, would you be fighting this actively against them? There are parents (even homeschooling parents) involved with CRHE, and many more who support their work and their efforts. But you don’t care. You’re the patriarch matriarch here. Your words must be heeded, and your personal anecdotal experience gives you far more authority than these young whipper-snappers who are actually trying to effect real change and make some progress for the first time in two generations.

    Once again, your words leave me no possible alternative than concluding that you are your own worst enemy, and of every voice in this thread so far, yours is the loudest opposition to any real effort at ending abuse and educational neglect. Take down your blog, Karen. Go home. You no longer have a purpose here.

    And say not another word against abuse or neglect. You clearly have no interest in actually opposing them.

  37. Keri says

    Completely uncalled for Scottie! Honestly..How can you not know that Karen is Not the enemy here!! That post was so off and wrong!!

  38. says

    If I’ve missed the answer to this question, sorry for asking it again.

    To Scottie, Lydia, and others:
    Do you consider conservative Christian doctrinal instruction “abusive”? That is, if part of the curriculum includes instruction on the nature of sin, the fallen human nature, and the necessity for being reconciled to God through Christ, is this abusive treatment in and of itself?

    This is really a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question and should not require a lengthy explanation.

  39. Taunya Henderson says

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Scottie Moser!! You have put into words what I, and a handful of (old guard) adults I am in contact with, have been observing of Karen for years.

    Karen has put lipstick on the pig of patriarchy in an attempt to market herself as the guru of a slightly less radical form of conservative Christian fundamentalist homeschooling. An institution she appears to be willing to defend at all cost. I a glad to see her pinned down and forced to reveal what she really believes. I hope everyone who is truly concerned about abuse in this community takes note.

  40. says

    What is interesting to me, Scottie, is that, in your eyes, parents are always the perpetrators. If you look at real sexual abuse statistics, for example, less than 8% of sexual abuse is by incest, less than half of that via siblings. In reality, parents need to be encouraged to learn more of what to look for in sexual predators and to be more protective of their children in these matters. I posted the following link on FB yesterday to a wonderful article on this subject. Why didn’t you link to it? Where were all those who complain about my lack of solutions who could have linked to it? Instead, one of the most vocal HA supporters wrote disparagingly about it.

    http://www.frontlinemoms.com/2014/05/28/open-letter-fellow-homeschool-parents/

  41. says

    Taunya, if you think anything written here by me today is some big reveal you are naive! My message has not changed……there are many who have wandered in and out of this blog through the years who have radically changed but I have not. I have never wavered….I have lived what I said today…keep sharing the message of what relationships should look like, pointing out the error of false teachings that are genuinely abusive.

    If I have gleaned anything from this conversation is how spot on I am about the dangerous agenda brewing. This is my FB status this am:

    “As long as human beings are imperfect, there will always be arguments for extending the power of government to deal with these imperfections. The only logical stopping place is totalitarianism — unless we realize that tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom.” — Dr. Thomas Sowell

  42. says

    “your words must be heeded, and your personal anecdotal experience gives you far more authority than these young whipper-snappers who are actually trying to effect real change and make some progress for the first time in two generations.”

    Real change for the first time in two generations? Seriously? The arrogance of that statement astounds me! So many faithful families, so many precious children who have been loved and nurtured! You may not like it, but it is true. But then, my narratives don’t count.

  43. Taunya Henderson says

    “Taunya, if you think anything written here by me today is some big reveal you are naive!”

    No, not some big reveal at all Karen. If you look at the second sentence of my comment you will see that I state that myself, and a few others, have observed and even spoken of these things for years. I am merely noting that others, like Scottie, seem to be picking up on it as well.

  44. says

    Taunya, I don’t know how anyone could have missed it that I am a conservative Christian homeschooler! I think that is pretty clear and I have certainly never pretended to be anything but!!!

  45. Taunya Henderson says

    Also Karen I am not saying that you don’t have the right to your own opinion, of course you do, but I think it’s important that we know where each other stands. There is much overlap, and many areas where we all agree but the areas where we do not are important ones. Perhaps we are just beginning to see how vast the gap is. That’s unfortunate, but not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it is simply better to acknowledge the differences and move along on our separate journeys.

  46. Taunya Henderson says

    I did not miss it Karen. I saw it years ago, we even discussed it and it led to distance between us when we realized we were no longer on the same path.

  47. Kris says

    You know it is fine to have different opinions and differences, and I like reading this post comments, but when it gets divisive and into shaming, arrogance and name calling. That’s when it gets old and needs to stop. Karen is just presenting thoughts for discussion. If there can’t be a kind and loving discussion in spite of the different viewpoints, then some posters need to go elsewhere.

  48. says

    Kris, you’re quite right. I enjoy sparring with my Baptist and non-amillennial friends and do it frequently, but there’s never a place for personal attacks or such. Good debate and argument (in the proper sense of the word) can be rewarding and fun.

  49. Anthea says

    If people want to make change that involves legislation, or want to oppose changes,t hen there must be better arguments than:

    1. My story is better than your story

    2. If you don’t agree with me, you are a bad person

    3. Only people who agree with me care about the freedom and safety of others

    4. You can’t point out the flaws in my proposals/ideas, unless you have perfectly worked-out and costed ideas of your own

    5. The only two choices are my extreme one or another extreme one that I assume that you are espousing.

    6. The issue is about parents’ rights versus children’s rights.

    7. I always knew you were a bad ‘un.

    **In short, those people who just posted sarcastic and excoriating comments about Karen Campbell: is that how you plan to conduct debate, should your proposals reach the draft stage in government offices? Is that how you plan to answer people when they point out the flaws in the flaws in the procedure, or the practical problems that might occur?

  50. Anthea says

    Hey Granddad,

    You asked:
    “To Scottie, Lydia, and others:
    Do you consider conservative Christian doctrinal instruction “abusive”? That is, if part of the curriculum includes instruction on the nature of sin, the fallen human nature, and the necessity for being reconciled to God through Christ, is this abusive treatment in and of itself?”

    A Junior Minister in the Brown adminstration was asked this very thing, and said that it was one of the reasons behind the proposed legislation in England and Wales. I’m not in agreement with everything this organisation says, but this is the only place to find the clip after all this time:

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/bbc-slurs-evangelicals-in-home-school-debate/

  51. Anthea says

    “I enjoy sparring with my Baptist and non-amillennial friends and do it frequently”

    I’ll take you down Granddad, with my Wonderwoman non-OPC whips’n’chains!

  52. Scottie Moser says

    Do you consider conservative Christian doctrinal instruction “abusive”? That is, if part of the curriculum includes instruction on the nature of sin, the fallen human nature, and the necessity for being reconciled to God through Christ, is this abusive treatment in and of itself?

    No.

    That said, the exact same material (as most material that deals with religion or spirituality) can certainly be handled in an abusive manner, used to indoctrinate or shame or instill fear or control. But religion itself, even conservative evangelical Christianity, is not the problem here, and I don’t think anyone here has said otherwise.

    Real change for the first time in two generations? Seriously? The arrogance of that statement astounds me! So many faithful families, so many precious children who have been loved and nurtured! You may not like it, but it is true. But then, my narratives don’t count.

    No, narratives of success don’t count when we’re talking about failures. If your goal is to eliminate abuse, you’re only confusing the message by pointing out that abuse doesn’t always happen or isn’t the norm. Looking away or telling stories that don’t involve abuse does nothing to end abuse. We are looking for ways to end abuse, to prevent the isolation and totalitarianism that fosters and enables abusive parents to destroy their children under the guise of homeschooling. You, Karen, are looking for ways to defend their “freedom” to do so. And that is where you and I are fundamentally and irrevocably at odds.

    If you look at real sexual abuse statistics, for example, less than 8% of sexual abuse is by incest, less than half of that via siblings.

    Because young, elementary- or high-school aged children are a significant percentage of reporting victims. Again, the question isn’t “how much of all abuse is happening within homeschool communities” — the question is “how can we reduce the abuse that IS happening within homeschool communities to zero?”

  53. says

    I have a question for those involved with this group/these groups:
    Are there connections between the two websites I linked to and what are they? And how do the narratives on the HA site affect the policy recommendations you have made on the above list?

    It seems these are the question that should have been asked first before making blanket statements about these groups. I’m sure there is contact information on the websites.

  54. Anthea says

    Granddad asked: “What has become of the efforts to implement the legislation?”

    The Bill was too wide-ranging, covering schools, and families, and home educators. So the then Secretary of State managed to upset all three institutions at once. There was so much opposition from home edders in particular that the whole thing ran out of time, since Prime Minister Gordon Brown called an election. So no go. Interesting that the secular home educators were just as upset as the Christians, because of the anti-liberal slant of the latter stages of an ostensibly left-wing administration.

    BTW, notice that there was criticism of the lack of data and evidence. The chap in charge of the review did not bother to read international research, and this was not wise. Those who want to make changes, and those who question changes, should do their research.

  55. Anthea says

    In one paragraph:

    1. My story is better than your story

    “No, narratives of success don’t count when we’re talking about failures. If your goal is to eliminate abuse, you’re only confusing the message by pointing out that abuse doesn’t always happen or isn’t the norm. Looking away or telling stories that don’t involve abuse does nothing to end abuse.”

    2. If you don’t agree with me, you are a bad person
    3. Only people who agree with me care about the freedom and safety of others

    5. The only two choices are my extreme one or another extreme one that I assume that you are espousing.

    “We are looking for ways to end abuse, to prevent the isolation and totalitarianism that fosters and enables abusive parents to destroy their children under the guise of homeschooling. You, Karen, are looking for ways to defend their “freedom” to do so. And that is where you and I are fundamentally and irrevocably at odds.”

    Lest anyone should think that I plucked my list of Bad Arguments out of the ether.

  56. Scottie Moser says

    Anthea, Karen’s original post (you know, that big long chunk of test that glowers at us as we hold these increasingly tangential discussions below) is centered on exposing harmful teachings. Somehow, it decides to include both HARO and CRHE in that scope. Despite the fact that it has been repeatedly brought to Karen’s attention that HARO and CRHE share her own goals in exposing and eliminating abuse in homeschool communities, albeit through different methods, she stubbornly insists that the methods are more important than the results, that the right to homeschool conveniently outweighs children’s rights to be educated free from abuse, and hides these arguments behind excuses that non-homeschoolers abuse and not all homeschoolers abuse (neither of which has ever been argued or denied by anyone in this discussion).

    She continues to confuse the issue and contraindicate her own message. She claims to oppose abuse but in reality would rather we do nothing tangible to stop it from happening. How is calling her out on those issues creating the false dichotomy you accuse me of?

  57. Anthea says

    I think this is the heart of it. Because an organisation sees itself as on the side of right, it is assumed that no one can make a valid critique of its arguments. Just because someone claims to be standing up for children, it does not mean that no one can turn a searchlight upon the thinking behind a movement. You might be offended that Karen included you in a post that also examined organisations that you oppose, but that is perfectly acceptable.

    Bad arguments are bad arguments, even if you think that you are on the side of the angels. There is a consistent attempt to assume motives on the part of other people (e.g. “she stubbornly insists that the methods are more important than the results, that the right to homeschool conveniently outweighs children’s rights to be educated free from abuse”) and that’s just not the way to have a serious political debate about anything. By the way — Bad methods *do* in fact matter, because if you want any decent sort of societal structures, they need to be competent, if they have any chance of being benevolent.

    If these two organisations want to engage in the political process as advocates/pressure groups/lobbying groups, then unsubstantiated assertions based upon presumption won’t be good enough. Unless, of course, they are hoping to appeal to rank ignorant prejudice against parent-led education. In which case, the whole debate will descend into yahboosucks, character assassination and stereotyping. Can you make a case for a specific set of proposals, and handle the probing questions that will follow, without using those shorthand methods?

    You sneered at Karen’s appeal to a non-adversarial ethic about relationships, but I think that it’s very powerful. Because there are lots of damaged families, that are not technically breaking the law, but not enjoying their relationships as a result of flawed thinking which runs right through our society. Legislation might not apply to those families, but changed mindsets will affect them. Of course, it’s an uncomfortable challenge to all of us. Whenever Karen writes or blogs about ‘one anothering’, I examine myself. Because wrong-headedness is not ‘OUT THERE’ somewhere. Praying about things? The very idea. Changing hearts ? How weak and inadequate. Where could she have got such notions? In any case, setting up an either/or choice between legislation and changing culture is not at all helpful.

  58. Anthea says

    BTW, there are Bad Arguments for home educating:

    “I don’t want them to pick up swear words at school.” (Not when they can learn them from Shakespeare instead.)

    “I don’t want them to pick up bad behaviour.” (Let them make up their own ways to drive me crazy.)

    “I don’t want them to learn about sex at school” (I say, why let the teachers have all the fun? Where’s my Al Green record? Ah am so in lurve with yoo, Whateveryouwanttodo…)

    It is 11.20 p.m. here in the People’s Republic of Essex, so I am off to make a late night coffee for my inordinately handsome husband and leave y’all to fight it out while I sleep.

  59. Lydia says

    “How will non-believers know the gospel unless someone tells them? What exactly does Jesus “want for them”?”

    As a Calvinist, I am surprised you ask that. They were already chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world, right? (IF they were chosen). What you seem to be suggesting is that “choosiness” has to be “activated” by hearing the Gospel. Which sort of negates the entire premise of Calvinism. Not to mention church was mandatory in 17th Century Geneva so I suppose they were all chosen there. :o)

    We are worlds apart in our understanding as to what living out the Kingdom of God HERE AND NOW (on EARTH as it is in heaven) means so I don’t want to derail the thread with lengthy discussion that is off topic. You won’t convince me and I won’t convince you.

  60. Lydia says

    You asked:
    “To Scottie, Lydia, and others:
    Do you consider conservative Christian doctrinal instruction “abusive”? That is, if part of the curriculum includes instruction on the nature of sin, the fallen human nature, and the necessity for being reconciled to God through Christ, is this abusive treatment in and of itself?”

    I have no idea what conservative means. I do not believe in imputed guilt, penal substitutionary atonement or Augustine flavored definition of original sin. I believe we choose to sin and are accountable for the sins we commit as knowing adults. I lean toward the Christus Victor atonement and that we can be new creatures in Christ. I believe the Holy Spirit is our Advocate/Counselor. I do not believe babies are vipers in diapers. I don’t think any loving father would “imput” someone else’s sin onto me. However I do believe that all sin affects all of us in many ways. I do believe that man’s sin (which was a choice from creation) affected all of creation and brought sin into the world. I do not believe in worm theology. I think humans are accountable and responsible for what they do. I believe a true love relationship requires “choice” not force.

    Sooooo, if you are using the bible as a club and glorying in your “correct doctrine” over people (which is a cult tactic), I would constitute that “spiritual abuse”.

    You can teach your kids whatever you want. But LOVE/justice/mercy is the answer to all of it. I prefer to teach that as foundational to all of it. Amazing how they grow up and don’t agree with your “correct doctrine”.

  61. says

    Yes, a full-blown discussion of Calvinism, etc. would derail the conversation. I will say this, however, the Reformed doctrine of election does not say the election=salvation. All analogies suffer limitations, but this is as basic as I can get to illustrate the point: After the November presidential election the winner is only president-elect. He does not actually become President until he is inaugurated. Further, God always uses means to carry out out his decrees. In the case of election it is by the preaching & teaching of the Word.

    I must ask, if you don’t believe in imputed sin how can you believe in imputed righteousness by the death and resurrection of Christ. I think even Aulen, who advocated the Christus Victor view of the atonement, would have held to a believer’s imputed righteousness.

    We could most certainly have a fun and thought-provoking discussion. For another day…..

  62. Scottie Moser says

    I think this is the heart of it. Because an organisation sees itself as on the side of right, it is assumed that no one can make a valid critique of its arguments. Just because someone claims to be standing up for children, it does not mean that no one can turn a searchlight upon the thinking behind a movement. You might be offended that Karen included you in a post that also examined organisations that you oppose, but that is perfectly acceptable.

    I don’t have a problem with people critiquing organizations I agree with. I don’t even have a problem with people opposing them. I’d have no dog in this fight if I hadn’t come to expect more from Karen — more research before levelling fraudulent accusations, more generosity in allowing people to oppose the same destructive ideologies even with a difference in methodology … but, as I said in my first comment, she does not seem to be the person I believed her to be.

    Bad arguments are bad arguments, even if you think that you are on the side of the angels. There is a consistent attempt to assume motives on the part of other people (e.g. “she stubbornly insists that the methods are more important than the results, that the right to homeschool conveniently outweighs children’s rights to be educated free from abuse”) and that’s just not the way to have a serious political debate about anything. By the way — Bad methods *do* in fact matter, because if you want any decent sort of societal structures, they need to be competent, if they have any chance of being benevolent.

    Bad arguments are, indeed, bad arguments. Self-contradictions, question-begging, changing the subject, throwing up strawmen — these are the only responses I’ve received from Karen. And you can complain about the words I use until hell freezes over, but not liking what I have to say does nothing to negate the truth of what I’ve said — my statement you quoted, that Karen “stubbornly insists that the methods are more important than the results, that the right to homeschool conveniently outweighs children’s rights to be educated free from abuse”, is perfectly consistent with every single thing she’s said in this conversation, and I doubt you’ll even attempt to deny it.

    If these two organisations want to engage in the political process as advocates/pressure groups/lobbying groups, then unsubstantiated assertions based upon presumption won’t be good enough. Unless, of course, they are hoping to appeal to rank ignorant prejudice against parent-led education. In which case, the whole debate will descend into yahboosucks, character assassination and stereotyping. Can you make a case for a specific set of proposals, and handle the probing questions that will follow, without using those shorthand methods?

    I am a member of HARO. We speak for the voiceless. We’re telling the stories that people like you would prefer nobody hear, because it makes it easier to sleep at night. And our stories are truth, not “unsubstantiated assertions based upon presumption”. I am not a part of CRHE, though I certainly endorse their proposals. I do not represent them, and have not claimed to do so. If you wish to ask probing questions about their proposals, contact them directly.

    You sneered at Karen’s appeal to a non-adversarial ethic about relationships, but I think that it’s very powerful.

    So powerful that, two generations later, we have hundreds of SGAs speaking out about the abuse they suffered because nobody had the guts to step in and call wrong wrong, because the homeschool elite are too busy saving their own faces and exercising their own “freedoms” to bat an eye at the problems they’re helping to hide.

    Because there are lots of damaged families, that are not technically breaking the law, but not enjoying their relationships as a result of flawed thinking which runs right through our society. Legislation might not apply to those families, but changed mindsets will affect them.

    Then why, why, why, are you so terribly frightened of legislation?

    In any case, setting up an either/or choice between legislation and changing culture is not at all helpful.

    As far as I can tell, nobody here has set up that “either/or choice”. CRHE offered proposals calling for legislative reform. Karen thinks that’s an even more dangerous assault on healthy homeschooling than Vision Forum or ATI or HSLDA. Many people have asked how she proposes to end abuse, and her answer is to pray for a better future. Sorry, but that’s been the policy since the 80’s, and it’s gotten us nowhere. So forgive me for being skeptical, but simply saying we need to try harder what already hasn’t worked smacks of defeat.

  63. says

    “So powerful that, two generations later, we have hundreds of SGAs speaking out about the abuse they suffered because nobody had the guts to step in and call wrong wrong, because the homeschool elite are too busy saving their own faces and exercising their own “freedoms” to bat an eye at the problems they’re helping to hide.”

    I agree about the “homeschool elite.” But I take issue with you that “nobody” has spoken out. I have welcomed the voices and the stories and have featured Hilary on several podcasts and many people first heard the narratives right here on this blog 5, 6, 7 years ago! I have never, not once, sought to hide any of the stories. What I stated very clearly is that I think we must be careful to only call abuse what is truly abuse and teach and train parents to see their children as equals rather than minions under their chain of command. You can pontificate all you want about how you are really doing something about abuse and I have done nothing, but I beg to differ with you. Oh, I forgot again. My narratives don’t count.

  64. Scottie Moser says

    “But I take issue with you that “nobody” has spoken out….”

    So if you’re all about speaking out against abuse, why do you think HARO, in your words, “poses possibly the greatest threat to homeschooling freedoms we enjoy today”? This is why your post feels like such a betrayal to me — you’re taking an organization that is fundamentally committed to exposing these stories, and listing it at the end of a series of scandals and weasels as “the greatest threat to homeschooling freedom”. Again, I ask, what are you so afraid of?

    You can pontificate all you want about how you are really doing something about abuse and I have done nothing, but I beg to differ with you.

    Then I still want to know — what are you doing or what do you plan to do about abuse? Being friendly and spending extra time praying is all very nice, but that’s never proved to be an overwhelmingly effective tool for handling any other kind of widespread criminal behavior. Why should it be different for matters of abuse? Your only, only, only line of reasoning thus far in the conversation is that it’s (apparently) the only alternative to legal action (and I’m the one accused of creating false dichotomies), and we mustn’t allow anyone to make laws about homeschooling because (something something God and freedom and America and I get lost in the politicoreligious hyperbole) which, I guess, means it’s more important that we try a less effective tool than that we take sterner measures to end abuse, even if it means more pesky regulations to comply with (which you’ve said yourself wouldn’t pose any undue burdens on non-abusive families).

    Maybe you simply do not see widespread abuse and neglect among homeschooling families as a systemic issue that needs to be addressed?

  65. Scottie Moser says

    Incidentally, I’m still wondering if you have any plans to edit or retract the original post to acknowledge the factual errors that have been repeatedly brought to your attention regarding HARO and CRHE. As a long-time professional blogger, I would expect you to be concerned for journalistic integrity. It’s been nearly a week since the original post, and you’ve scarcely acknowledged even here in the murky recesses of a comment thread that you erred in failing to properly fact-check your statements before stating them publicly. If you have that little concern for factual reporting on organizations you so brazenly slander, why should your readers take seriously anything you say about HSLDA or the Pearls or even those old narratives from abuse survivors?

  66. says

    True, Scottie. I danced around that issue hoping it was jump start some kind of action in this comment: http://thatmom.com/2014/05/28/patriarchy-on-trial-part-four/comment-page-2/#comment-134764

    I’ll be more blunt this time. Karen said she read Ryan’s 384 comment thread, and at the top of the post, he expressed very clearly that Karen was not accurate:

    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.

    Me thinks the ball is in your court, Karen. It’s not too late.

  67. Anthea says

    “We’re telling the stories that people like you would prefer nobody hear, because it makes it easier to sleep at night.”

    2. If you don’t agree with me, you are a bad person
    3. Only people who agree with me care about the freedom and safety of others

    7. I always knew you were a bad ‘un.

    You know nothing about me *at all*, other than that I require intellectual rigour and political adroitness from activists of *any* sort. You have no idea what I want to hear, unless your powers of perspicacity are Jedi-like. In which case, you would have a better rate of accuracy …

    Then why, why, why, are you so terribly frightened of legislation?

    5. The only two choices are my extreme one or another extreme one that I assume that you are espousing.

    I don’t like poorly-costed, hastily drafted, one-sided legislation — slight difference. Most of the damage in education in the UK during the last 20 years has been a result of cock-up, rather than conspiracy. You have, again, presumed to know my motives and character.

    “simply saying we need to try harder what already hasn’t worked smacks of defeat.”

    No it smacks of a throwing in another idea, another voice. Effective change requires listening to all the voices, and it requires a slightly more sophisticated reading of culture than ‘four legs good, two legs bad’. If you can’t see that, then get ready for a rough ride when the secular home educators come to examine your proposals with a fine tooth comb.

    Did you read the report by the MPs, or the summary? They agreed with registration, but not the sloppy way in which the Bill had been “researched”, costed and presented. They were very firm about their concerns, despite being sympathetic to the idea of monitoring and protection. The presumption throughout your comments is that any critique can only be the result of a lack of concern about abuse. That will not work with me, and it will not work with any politician worthy of his salary. A grown-up debate must go beyond accusing people, and deal with the practicalities of any sort of “oversight”.

  68. Anthea says

    I had a look at the website by Mr Stollar. And it was more of the same one-note, clumsy politicking: telling a teacher that home edders should be allowed to use school facilities so that the schools can pick up on abuse. Nothing about the benefit of sharing good practice, community relations, helping out the good home educating families.

    Then I looked at another couple of posts. Cor blimey, it was like the Pulp Fiction of blogs; all that was missing was Samuel L Jackson eating a Chicken Royale in the corner! I know there’s a recession on and everything, but are you Americans so short of swear words that he has to keep dropping the F-bomb?

    But, of course, if I remark upon these things, it can only be because I am a BAD PERSON.

    Gotta go, the lady from the LEA is coming for our annual visit in a couple of weeks to look at our children’s progress. It shall be her 8th visit. Presumption, wasn’t it, to think that I fear this or that legislation? What I don’t want is a shoddy mess of a scheme administered by muppets. Which is inevitable if the ‘debate’ is highjacked by emotion-led groups.

  69. says

    Julie Anne, I am in the process of doing more research on HARO/Ha and the Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling, reading back through articles and on the blogs of those involved etc. While they may be two separate organizations, I see them as one group, one movement with different branches. The comment thread on the Riot Stollar FB page, I believe, reflects this. It is like someone contending that Doug Phillips and Kevin Swanson and Voddie Baucham and Geoff Baucham are are not the same group. Well, technically, they are each part of different organizations but I clearly see them as part of the same movement. I am in the process of writing something to that end. (GRACE is also doing something similar but they are focused on IBLP and certainly have a much different tone.

    As far as Ryan’s statement that I am purposely trying to mislead people because of a previous conversation we had, I have been trying to find that conversation and spent a couple hours this week looking back through the timeline on Chris Jeub’s FB page but could not find it. I asked Chris about the conversation and he is drawing a blank, too. As I said previously, I was unaware of the Coalition until late December 2013, as I found the FB conversation I had with someone else about finding it. I would like to read what it says.

  70. Lewis says

    BTW, there are Bad Arguments for home educating:
    “I don’t want them to pick up swear words at school.” (Not when they can learn them from Shakespeare instead.)
    “I don’t want them to pick up bad behaviour.” (Let them make up their own ways to drive me crazy.)
    “I don’t want them to learn about sex at school” (I say, why let the teachers have all the fun? Where’s my Al Green record? Ah am so in lurve with yoo, Whateveryouwanttodo…)

    If you’d added “I don’t want them to grow up and vote for mean ole liberals” and “I want them to be doctrinally pure”you’d have pretty much covered the basics (simplified, obviously) of the motivations behind the majority of the decisions made by sociopolitical Christian homeschool movement parents. Not a single one of those motivations is basic education-based at its core, but culturally and fear-based due to the hazy mix of fundamentalist religion with education. It’s one generation attempting to instill its cultural fears into another – rather than letting them make up their own minds. They fear that education, in and of itself, is more powerful than their own beliefs, so they make their own beliefs the education.

    Is that abuse? Well, it’s certainly not healthy, but whether that alone constitutes abuse is more than a little gray for most. There’s no gray area about it being a gateway, though.

    What you plant in a jar can only take the shape of the jar.

  71. says

    Btw, I haven’t seen a comment on that thread since #413 so I am assuming I have now been blocked from reading that discussion. That has been several days so I think it can’t be a FB thing.

  72. says

    “rather than letting them make up their own minds” ????

    Let me get this straight. Parents shouldn’t tell their children that some lifestyle activities such as sex outside of marriage or homosexual behavior are sin but instead let them listen to what popular culture (TV, movies, other media) says about them? Since we all know that the media is totally unbiased and neutral that has to be the right thing to do. NOT!

    As the OT prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things…” Can you really expect children to come to the conclusion on their own that some lifestyles are unacceptable to God when all they will hear from outside of the home and church is how much we all should embrace “alternative lifestyle”? Talk about putting your head in the sand.

    Lest some give a knee-jerk response and call me a homophobe remember what I wrote a couple of days ago about my neighbors and friends. I am opposed to the conduct not the person.

  73. Anthea says

    Hello Lewis

    1. I agree that there some Xians in some places who think like this:

    “I don’t want them to grow up and vote for mean ole liberals” (I say, why bother sending them to school, when they could just copy the not-very-old-slightly-lefty hippies that spawned them? Husband isn’t mean, except when there’s no soya milk in the house. Soya milk — says it all really. Don’t you be going vegan on me, husband …)

    2. And how about this non-religious Bad Argument:

    “Homeschooled kids are a year ahead of their schooled peers.”

    I once expressed concerns about the neuroticism of focusing on ‘keeping up’ with the National Curriculum, which we don’t even use.

    ” If I focused on keeping up, I’ll wouldn’t be able to achieve progress anyway,” I said.

    Husband said, ” I don’t *want* our children to keep up — I hope they fall behind.”

    Eh? I’m still trying to think that one through.

    3. My favourite story about Husband is the answer to this Bad Argument:

    “I want my children to be fine upstanding law-abiding members of society.”

    “Are people’s ambitions for their children so small?” I once mused aloud. “As long as they get a good job, get married and don’t get arrested — then they’ve raised them well?”

    “I hope our children *do* get arrested,” said Husband.

    See, I know this man, so I replied, “Is that “get arrested” in a ‘Martin Luther King’ kind of a way, or a ‘bank robber’ kind of a way?”

    “What do *you* think?”

    “Yeah, you’d be totally proud if they arrested one of the kids outside an embassy somewhere, wouldn’t ya?”

    Is it any wonder that I call him King of the One Liners? One thing I don’t suffer from is tedium or an unexercised mind …

  74. Anthea says

    To be fair, Granddad, Lewis’ point was about educating in a spirit of fear, if I may quote him (her?) in context:

    “It’s one generation attempting to instill its cultural fears into another – rather than letting them make up their own minds. They fear that education, in and of itself, is more powerful than their own beliefs, so they make their own beliefs the education.”

    That could be a failing by anyone from any subculture. We have a lot of class prejudice here (no surprise there, folks) and a lot of choices are made out of fear of being identified with another class, or being seen as a traitor to one’s own tribe. Parents who would never listen to anything but classical music, who favoured BBC over commercial stations, who would not go here or there to shop or eat or even worship because it was seen as ‘posh’ or ‘chavvy/common’. It’s dying out, but too slowly for my liking. It is a big big feature of educational choices, too.

    It would be naive to think that only faith communities have this problem.

  75. says

    Okay, I’ll semi-retract my statement. However, I do get pretty edgy when someone suggests that children should be free to make to make up their own minds about anything more substantial than what their favorite color (or colour) is or what superhero is the best.

  76. Nancy says

    Karen, I am really saddened by your responses.

    “While they may be two separate organizations, I see them as one group, one movement with different branches.”

    That is your opinion. Your opinion is incorrect. You are free to have your opinion, but if you insist on holding this opinion, you will be incorrect, and every premise you base on this opinion will be incorrect.

    Your opinion of CRHE and HARO is like if I say that because you are a Christian homeschooling mother and grandmother, you must be part of the same group as Debi Pearl. No matter how much evidence you bring up to show that is false, I can maintain this overgeneralization — because I am not listening to you or what you are saying. Of course you’d be upset with me. But once I spoke with you, and listened to you, I would see the differences. So to, you should listen to them.

    You say you’ve never heard of the Coalition before December 2013 — according to their website, they were founded in December 2013, so this makes sense. To me, this would be an example of their consistency. http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/an-update-on-our-progress/

    You claim that you assume that since you cannot see new comments on the thread for several days, you must have been blocked by Ryan. I have not been blocked — I have not posted, so there is no reason for me to have been blocked — and I can see that, contrary to your assumption that you were blocked, the reality is that no one has commented for several days. It’s insulting to Ryan to assume that he would block you, and it shows how twistedly you interpret all evidence about CRHE and HARO. You are not being kind. You are not being fair. You have a presumption of their malevolence towards you, even when it is not backed up in reality. You need to change your internal narrative first, before they have any reason to listen to you.

    As Scottie and Julie Anne have pointed out, the fact that you are willing to believe your own internal narrative on CRHE and HARO, and have not retracted your views despite being provided with evidence, hurts you and your causes. Do you feel like you a presenting a good example of Christian homeschooling through deliberately putting your head in the sand? You are acting far more like a Pharisee.

    Instead of doing “research” on CRHE/HARO, why not directly communicate with them? Why not actually listen to what they are saying, as opposed to basing your opinion on this false foundation? Ask Ryan directly about your previous conversation.

    CRHEs contact page http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/contact-us/
    HAROs contact page http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/haro/

    I hope that you will listen to what I am saying, not because you have any reason to listen to me, but because by refusing to open your heart to people telling you something you don’t want to hear, you are only hurting yourself and your followers. How is a Christian supposed to act here? With hate and assumptions of malevolence, or with love and understanding?

  77. Anthea says

    “what superhero is the best…”
    I can tell your children are out of the house. That’s not small potatoes in our home. Son could talk all afternoon about the relative merits of Luke vs. Obi vs. Henry V vs. Emmett . And the moral universe of each text.

    See, it’s amazing what counts as essential doctrine. I think this is the problem with using terms such as indoctrination. Is someone an atheist/Christian/conservative/liberal because of his upbringing, or despite it? Lewis is correct to identify weirdy weird thinking within the Christian camp, as long as we don’t get the idea that only believers have bad parenting habits.

  78. says

    Nancy, why is reading on their websites not a good way to understand them? I think it is very informative and certainly is what they want the public to know about them!

    Interesting about the blocking. I have had people share with me comments about my most recent comments on here so it much be being discussed somewhere else. I will clarify that.

  79. Scottie Moser says

    The presumption throughout your comments is that any critique can only be the result of a lack of concern about abuse.

    No. Karen has said, repeatedly, not that she’s concerned that these proposals are too flimsy or need refinement, but that any attempts at legislating homeschooling will strip home educators of undefined “freedoms” and put those who consider legislative action directly at odds with the home educating community at large. She insisted, time and again, that it’s imperative to come up with “non-legislative” solutions (not take more care in drafting proposals for legislation). When pressed directly for what she would consider a good alternative to legislative action, her response boils down to simply praying more and trying to make friends with more people and setting a better example. This is the only solution she’s offered. It does not create a false dichotomy for me to contrast the effectiveness of those two solutions in eliminating abuse or educational neglect. However, it is false for you to accuse me of creating such a dichotomy when I have repeatedly stated that I am eager to hear other solutions. Your criticisms of the proposals on CRHE may well be valid, but it would probably be more helpful for you to address, not me, but those involved in CRHE, if you’re concerned that the proposals they’ve offered are problematic. I’m sure your voice will be heard and appreciated.

    Karen, I am extremely disappointed. You have become a conspiracy theorist, and your own words betray not only your credibility but even your integrity. I doubt anything productive can come of further discussion. You formed a hasty conclusion, and you are devoting all your energies to proving that conclusion despite all those pesky “facts” people keep throwing at you … well, all the energy that’s not being spent trying to read and save every single comment that anyone has made about your blog or your behavior here. Again, for you, it’s all about saving face. I’ll just leave you with a quote from Hillary (remember Hillary? You spoke well of her just a few comments up…).

    It is a grave disservice to the heart, soul, body and spirit of a woman [or anyone] when she is given the subtle message that the truth of her own pain is not as important as the reputation of the ones who inflict it.

    Congratulations, Karen. You have broadcast that message quite clearly through this entire discussion.

  80. Scottie Moser says

    “We’re telling the stories that people like you would prefer nobody hear, because it makes it easier to sleep at night.”

    You know nothing about me *at all*, other than that I require intellectual rigour and political adroitness from activists of *any* sort. You have no idea what I want to hear, unless your powers of perspicacity are Jedi-like. In which case, you would have a better rate of accuracy …

    You are correct. I apologize for my hasty generalization.

  81. Keri says

    Thank-you for sharing those links Nancy. I see that Ryan Stollar is on both boards. Haro’s mission statement: “Our mission is to improve homeschooling for future generations through awareness and education, peer-support networks, and resource development.

    Ryan also has a personal blog: rlstollar.wordpress.com and a facebook page titled “Overturning Tables”. He has shared a post on May 22 “I Hate Gutenberg College As Much As I Hate Homeschooling”. He says in the post “I care about Gutenberg as much as I care about homeschooling: deeply, immensely, and viscerally. If I didn’t care, I’d pull a Lot and never look back”.

    I don’t get it. This from someone who is on these two boards. Just a little contradictory? I think so!!

  82. says

    However, I do get pretty edgy when someone suggests that children should be free to make to make up their own minds about anything more substantial than what their favorite color (or colour) is or what superhero is the best.

    And you wonder why so many SGAs are having difficulties when they were not given the ability to make their own decisions beyond favorite color or superhero?

    I suggest you re-read the symptoms that identify many SGAs because of that kind of control over their lives. I then suggest you read some of the stories at HA because of parents having the kind of control you are talking about. That is not respect. That is all about control. I know what this is about because I was part of it and did it with my own children. This is what was taught to us in the Homeschool Movement under Patriarchy rule. I have had to eat humble pie. The residual effects are long lasting. Please stop treating children like this.

  83. says

    Julie Anne, what do you believe Christians parents should and should not teach about faith in Christ and the implications of that faith? Are there any absolute truths that can/should be taught that do not constitute control? What does a biblical worldview look like to you?

  84. Anthea says

    I have seen those websites before and thought that they had an interesting perspective to present, but that the conclusions and proposals that were presented were severely lacking in detail. That would be fine, if there were a genuine interest in reformulating the ideas, or making them more concrete and comprehensive.

    There were so many things that were missing: What about the balance between monitoring and support? What about consistency? What is “a basic record”? What is “adequate academic progress”? What about proper training (since classroom teaching alone is inadequate preparation for overseeing home educators)? Inter-agency dialogue to ensure children/families who are in danger don’t fall through the cracks? Research evidence? A co0l-headed response to the arguments about choice and freedom? Quality control? What about diversity issues for black and ethnic minority families? Shall we mention money? If the system isn’t properly funded, it will be *more* dangerous for vulnerable children, so it isn’t an avoidance tactic to question how their ideas can be affordable (with *specific* examples from countries or states that have a system which they admire).

    If a half-baked law is passed, it will be dangerous to freedom *and* safety. That’s how I’d amend Karen’s original post — if it were any of my business to tell her how to run her blog.

    The responses from those who were offended by her original post were *not* a good advert for their organisations. Perhaps Karen *is* mistaken, and there’s no formal or informal link between the two groups. But to be honest, I’d have trouble telling them apart, since the tone and direction of comment here has been consistently florid and extreme. Line after line of personal abuse and presumptious nonsense, all wrapped up in self-righteousness, to boot. And, as a final course on the sweet trolley, did we have to resort to pulling out the ‘Pharisee’ card? Really?

    If anyone wants a quality upbringing for children, we need competence as well as compassion. We must be able to examine proposals, and also to question the philosophical foundations of an idea, or of a group presenting an idea. It’s clearly going to be the standard response from these groups that only a bad person would dare to poke around and ask too many awkward questions, and I think that there is an attempt here to shame and intimidate those who are seen as a nuisance. If these groups want to be seen as serious about reform, they will have to do better. And what will they say to *secular* home educators who are concerned about proposed legislation? “You’re a bad humanist?”

  85. says

    Another interesting link bringing people to this blog:

    http://kathrynbrightbill.com/post/87785055801/were-here-were-queer-and-patriarchy-had-nothing-to

    Disingenuous to say that they don’t advocate for “LGBT homeschoolers” since that is found here in a series of articles called Homeschoolers Are Out which leaves no room to doubt the fact that they do not believe homosexual behavior to be a sin.

    http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/category/homeschoolers-are-out-lgbt-awareness-week/

    Also, note that I did not bring this issue to the homeschooling discussion, I was responding to the above link. Also, Ryan Stollar who is on the boards of both organizations discusses the importance of his advocacy for LGTBs on his personal blog. I would like to see any statement that says teaching that homosexuality it is a sin does not constitute abuse or abusive language.

    The above blog author is Kathryn Brightbill, Legislative Policy Analyst and board member for the Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling.

  86. Anthea says

    Thank you, Scott, for explaining your point of view, and your gracious apology.

    It might be helpful to examine the laws in Karen’s state, and how much scope is already there for oversight of a child’s welfare and education. I have no idea about that. Perhaps in her state she does not see a need for more legislation? What I do know is that parents here in England were able to make the case that existing structures allow for health visitors, midwives, General Practioners, opticians, dentists et al to observe children for signs of neglect. It’s all free here for children, so they get seen quite a bit. The academic requirements in law are all about a parent’s responsibility to discharge his/her duty, wherever the child is educated. It seems vague, but in fact it covers every setting. Where oversight is lacking, it is more often to do with sloppy councils who will not pay for or cannot organise a good monitoring/support service.

    No doubt zealotry is behind some of the objection to new laws. But it could really be that some states have not used the laws which are already on the statute books, and more laws won’t help. Some political leaders don’t help themselves, either. The personality of the man who pushed for a new law in England did suggest that he was, um, a bit too keen on having his own way, a bit tempted to engage in’mission creep’ .

    I agree with you that there should be careful discussion about these things, and I am sorry that I misunderstood you. I realise that you want to use legal change *and* cultural change, rather than completely rule out something that could make education work better for our youth.

  87. says

    If I have understood the conversation so far there seem to be at least two issues here:

    1. Protecting children from physical or sexual abuse.
    No one opposes this, although there may be disagreement over the best way to accomplish this.

    2. Is it a form of abuse to inculcate children with a conservative Christian worldview that specifically states homosexual behavior is sin and incompatible with historic, orthodox Christianity?
    It seems that many posting here would say it is. The fact that Karen is adamant in stating it is not abuse does seem to annoy and anger a few posters. (That anger is sometimes thinly veiled behind other issues.)

    I would suggest that convincing those who do not agree with Karen’s stance regarding #2 — at least here — is an exercise in futility. In fact, just about any discussion that involves Christian doctrine as it relates to this thread is not likely to be productive.

  88. Nancy says

    Karen said, “Nancy, why is reading on their websites not a good way to understand them? I think it is very informative and certainly is what they want the public to know about them!”

    Then Karen said, “Ryan also has a personal blog: rlstollar.wordpress.com and a facebook page titled “Overturning Tables”. He has shared a post on May 22 “I Hate Gutenberg College As Much As I Hate Homeschooling”. He says in the post “I care about Gutenberg as much as I care about homeschooling: deeply, immensely, and viscerally. If I didn’t care, I’d pull a Lot and never look back”. I don’t get it. This from someone who is on these two boards. Just a little contradictory? I think so!!”

    Karen, this is a beautiful example of the limitations of what you can learn about someone just by reading someone’s blog and not actually speaking to them. If you actually spoke to Ryan, you would understand how he can care so much about homeschooling and yet still find things to critique. Instead, you bring up things out of context in order to make him look bad. This is malicious of you.

    You are in the wrong here. You don’t understand what’s going on in his head, or in the heads of any of the homeschooling alumni, and therefore you are misrepresenting them. I urge you again to go to them and listen to them instead of speaking first. Until you do, you will continue misunderstanding them and misrepresenting them. This makes you look much worse than you think, and it makes me distrust what you say about all issues, not just this one. Your reputation is on the line because you are bearing false witness.

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