Puncturing the Duggar Family Myth: Homeschoolers Rebel

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime." Herbert Ward link

D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA
D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA
 

What's the best form of education for "Christian" parents?

A few years ago, I was teaching a Sunday school class in which I reviewed the religious trends of the 80s and 90s. We had done a walk through history and were coming to the end. I mentioned the rapid rise of the homeschooling movement during this time frame. Suddenly, a woman in the class frantically waved her hand, obviously wanting to speak. As I recognized her, she immediately went into a tirade, saying that she was sick and tired of everyone shoving homeschooling down her throat and that she was quite happy with the public schools.

I reminded her that I was merely discussing religious trends and not endorsing any one form of schooling. At that point, I decided to explain my views on education since it was obviously a hot button issue. Years ago, I would give tours of my children's Christian school in Dallas. I would find parents who were searching for the "right" solution to their kids' education. I would emphasize that there was no "one size fits all" answer. In fact, I believed that in some families, children might be involved in different educational environments to fit their personalities. These could include just about any permutation one might imagine: homeschool, Christian school, public school, charter school, parochial school, or private secular schools. All of these choices are valid and none of them have a "spiritual" edge over another, as we will see in this post.

I encouraged them to look at their children and try to see what would work for them as individuals. Also, what might work for one year, might not work for next year. I also told them if they felt they were banging their heads against a wall about the school where their kids were currently attending, then an alternative might bring some peace to their family. 

As a mother with grown children, I also want to reassure young parents that there is no one schooling method that guarantees smart, gifted Christian kids who get into Harvard on scholarship, effectively evangelize the heathen there and then go on to become President and change the world. In fact, most of our kids will turn out to be nice, normal. slightly above average (aren't they all) kids with struggles and triumphs. Oh yeah, they also learn and grow the most through the struggles.

I have seen failures and successes in all of the learning methods that I have mentioned. No one method "assures" good Christian kids just like playing music to them in the womb does not breed a Mozart.

The Duggar Family Is NOT the Norm for Quiverfull Homeschooling.

The Duggar Family television show worries me.They are the Amway of the Quiverfull Movement. They hold out the promise of a beautiful home, trips to China, appearances on The View and personal tours of the Creation Museum by Ken Ham himself (a dream for the ardent YEC). I have been known, from time to time, to critique this family which usually results in a slew of emails condemning my judgmental attitude. I contend that the Duggars are an imaginary family that do not exist in a real world setting. Oh, these families exist but very few (if any) do so in the fantasy land that is the Duggars.

I am not judging their salvation. I think that they are probably very pleasant to be around. But they, as portrayed on TV are not, nor should they be presented as, a model Quiverfull, patriarchal family. 

Imagine the Duggars minus the TV, books and appearance income. Consider their lifestyle minus the hidden support of the second kitchen. Think about their lives without the trips to China, Dollywood (with a visit from Dolly herself) and Disney world. Did you know that there are frequent retakes of scenes when the children are acting up or don't look "just so?" The Duggars are a myth, supported by revenues that will NOT be available for the homeschool families who have 14 kids and a dad with an average job.

Did you know that the Duggars have church in their home? They are hardly isolated with their fame. Can you imagine how this works in the real world, isolated from everyone during the week and then having church at home as well?  The majority of these families are isolated, living crammed into small homes, while being financially strapped. Can you imagine the stresses in their day to day lives? I would predict that the potential for child abuse is pretty high. Well, as the first of these non-Duggar kids hit adulthood, the fiction of the "Duggar myth" is beginning to be exposed and the picture is not pretty.

Homeschoolers Anonymous

This is all well spelled out by a new website called Homeschoolers Anonymous link which is attracting the attention of the media. Our good friend, Julie Anne Smith, link, now serves as a member of this board. (This woman is a dynamo!) Most of the people who write on this site were homeschooled within fringe Christian groups which promoted ideologies such as Quiverfull, Bill Gothard, the Pearls and others. The vast majority of homeschooling parents are not represented by such groups and I want to make sure that I do not tar and feather them in the process of this post. I want to focus on what I believe to be the alarming subgroups. In the week to come we will be exploring, in depth, the aftermath of Bill Gothard, in particular which will be disturbing as well.

It is important to note that some of these young adults have rejected not only their upbringing, but their faith. They were sold a bill of goods by their parents. Many of them suffered significant abuse- physical, spiritual and sexual. They deserve our love and prayers as they honestly deal with their past.

The Daily Beast featured a story here called Homeschooled Kids, Now Grown, Blog Against the Past 

Here is an excerpt.

In 2006 the evangelical magazine World featured 15-year-old Kierstyn King—then Kierstyn Paulino—in a piece about homeschooled kids who blog “to rebel against rebellion.” She was quoted describing her heroes: “‘First, Christ. After that: soldiers, my parents, and Ronald Reagan.’” On her blog, she wrote posts with titles like “The Case for Christians in Government,” arguing, “Our founding fathers built this land on Judeo-Christianity, and we have strayed too far from Christ.”

These days King, 22, has a hard time stepping into a church without having a panic attack. She escaped—her word—from her family in Georgia on her 18th birthday and lives in Maine with her husband, also a former homeschooler. Very little is left of the ideology her parents worked so furiously to instill in her.

Heather Doney, another escapee of this movement, has her own blog, Becoming Worldy. Here is how she introduces herself. 

I am the eldest in a family of 10 children, more daughters than sons, now ranging in age from 10-30. I was homeschooled until the age of 13 by evangelical Christian parents whose beliefs and lifestyle can be best described as Quiverfull/patriarchal (although those weren’t the words we’d use to label ourselves). We lived in poverty in south Louisiana and there was considerable abuse and neglect in our crowded home, including poor hygiene, occasional food insecurity, a lack of medical care, and almost no formal education. We were physically disciplined in an often violent and unpredictable manner, generally with a belt or a wooden stick, for disobedience and mistakes. We were also socially isolated and told demons and the devil were lurking behind the actions of unbelievers, both strangers and our neighbors and relatives, waiting to pounce. Somehow I found the strength and desperation to rebel and seek outside help.

Due to an intervention by both sets of grandparents, my siblings and I were hurriedly “caught up” as much as possible, given a few basic resources and “normal” experiences, then sent to public school in 1998. I went into 9th grade at a medium-sized public high school and after overcoming some bullying and culture shock, found a profound appreciation for education and people in general.

The Daily Beast gives a bit of the history of this movement. They claim that the majority of parents in this movement are "fundamentalist". However, in my experience, the majority of parents that I know who homeschool do not fit this definition.

The Christian homeschooling movement first took off in the early 1980s, in tandem with the broader rise of the religious right. The Home School Legal Defense Association was founded in 1983 to promote homeschooling and protect parents from state oversight. Its founder, Michael Farris, dreamed of creating a generation that could do battle with the corrupt secular world and reclaim the institutions of American life for Jesus. At the extreme edge of Christian homeschooling culture, the Quiverfull movement, which picked up steam in the late 1980s,preached the duty of women to submit, bear as many children as God would give them, and train them up as dedicated culture warriors, arrows in a divine quiver. Estimating the size of these movements is tricky, but official statistics give us some hints. According to the Department of Education, 1.5 million kids were being homeschooled as of 2007, up from 850,000 in 1999. Eighty-three percent of homeschooling parents said they did so to provide religious or moral instruction. Not all these parents are Christian fundamentalists, but Christian fundamentalists predominate.

Homeschoolers Anonymous link describes their mission.

We are an inclusive community interested in sharing our experiences growing up in the conservative, Christian homeschooling subculture. From the Quiverfull movement to the betrothal/courtship mentality to Generation Joshua and the dominionist attitudes of HSLDA, we are survivors. And we are standing together to make our voices heard. We are an inclusive community interested in sharing our experiences growing up in the conservative, Christian homeschooling subculture. From the Quiverfull movement to the betrothal/courtship mentality to Generation Joshua and the dominionist attitudes of HSLDA, we are survivors. And we are standing together to make our voices heard.

Their stated goal is support and education.

 Above all, we want to provide healing to other survivors, hope for those still suffering, and knowledge to those unaware of the inner workings of homeschooling.

According to the Daily Beast, independent-minded girls are particularly hurt by this fringe movement.

As the eldest of eight, King was told that her divinely ordained role was to be a helpmeet to her mother until her own marriage, when her job would be to sexually satisfy her husband, bear as many children as God would give her, and homeschool them in turn. She dreamed of going to Patrick Henry College, but her parents saw no reason for women to pursue degrees. King never learned algebra; instead, she was taught “consumer math,” which was mainly about creating a family budget. 

Heather Doney, who was rescued by her grandparents, has published a guide called How to Escape from Bad Homeschooling here. She discusses the need to tell people about the abuse (she told her grandparents, boyfriend and the police) and to find friends to break the isolation which is common in this movement. This guide instructs escapees how to find a place to live and find a job.  Here is what she says about getting an education.

There are grant programs for you to go to college. I used them, Pell, SEOG, Louisiana’s TOPS program, and graduated debt-free. Admittedly this is rare and I managed it because I budgeted like a crazy person. I was still ridiculously afraid of debt because of how I’d been raised. if I could do it over again I’d honestly take out a loan or two and live a little less austerely. So if you want to further your education, do it. Also, if you want to go to hairdressing or mechanic school, do that, or if you want to join the military, read info on the connection between adverse childhood experiences and the higher risk of developing PTSD in the military. Then, if you still want to go the military route, do it.

If you are unsure about how educated or uneducated you are, get the collection ofbooks starting with “What Your First Grader Needs to Know” and going all the way through the sixth grader one. Sad as it may seem to say this, getting through the sixth grade book should make you feel pretty confident you can make it in college. You’ll need a bit more math and essay skills, but that’s about it. Also, it took me less than one year and my grandfather’s military-style dedication to my education (we started early in the morning and sometimes he even shouted drill-sergeant style and broke pencils) to get through them all. I caught up to high school level in everything but math, and that is the one subject I still struggle with, even though I have found I love stats and budgets. Still, even after a decade of educational neglect I made it through a mediocre public high school, went to a decent and affordable public college, and then got a master’s degree at one of the top 10 schools in my field. It mainly took patience and dedication to the goal.

I was deeply disturbed by the number of personal stories that are told on the Homeschooler Anonymous website. They are doing a yeoman's job, offering the world a peek inside of this isolationist movement. As we have found on our blog, people who have been abused find a great deal of empowerment by telling their story. The comments of support give them confidance that their stories are believed and that they will find love and support outside of their abusive family.

I feel that the best insight into the movement is told by an excellent writer who takes us through her growing up years in a six part story called Home Is Where the Hurt Is. Mary's Story. Make sure to have your Kleenex ready. Here are the links:

Part 1
Part 2 
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Please join us in praying for all those who have suffered at the hands of abuse under the guise of "Christian" education. 

Lydia's Corner: 1 Samuel 5:1-7:17 John 6:1-21 Psalm 106:13-31 Proverbs 14:32-33

Comments

Puncturing the Duggar Family Myth: Homeschoolers Rebel — 225 Comments

  1. Imagine the Duggars minus the TV, books and appearance income. Consider their lifestyle minus the hidden support of the second kitchen. Think about their lives without the trips to China, Dollywood (with a visit from Dolly herself) and Disney world. Did you know that there are frequent retakes of scenes when the children are acting up or don’t look “just so?”

    i.e. Typical Reality Show(TM).

  2. I’m glad to see TWW give time & attention to Homeschoolers Anonymous. I have not yet written my story for them, but I am starting to wonder if I should, to perhaps help those who are currently stuck in situations similar to what I escaped from.

  3. Sorry, I couldn’t finish reading Mary’s story. I got part way through Part 4 and couldn’t continue. That is extreme child abuse — pure wickedness.

  4. This movement (and the IFB) have combined the words “help” and “meet” from the KJV to form their own new noun: “helpmeet”.

  5. Dee,

    I wonder how many homeschooling families with their quivers full travel to China like the Duggars.

    http://hollywoodlife.com/2013/03/26/duggars-asia-trip-19-kids-and-counting-recap/

    I’m still amazed that my former deacon is on the production crew for this ‘reality show’. We were in church together when the show began, and when he mentioned his new ‘gig’, I had never heard of the Duggars. He was always a nice guy, and I am concerned that he is helping create this illusion.

  6. I think it’s worth pointing out that the Duggars own a car dealership, among other things. In a rural environment, this represents a substantially greater-than-average income, before factoring in the 50k+ per episode they make from the show.

    What concerned me deeply was watching “patriarchal” families with men in modest blue-collar jobs with minimal advancement opportunities have child after child in the naive belief that they could enjoy the Duggar lifestyle, since it was just a “matter of faith and obedience”, which, of course, it isn’t. It’s a matter of math. And the equation is a harsh one.

  7. Mary’s story is horrendous. I’m so sad, angry, and astounded that Mary had to live this experience. This mother seems to be mentally ill, maybe because of her illness, maybe something else. But why didn’t the father, or anyone, stop what was going on? How could no one see the abuse on these children? There is no excuse, it was evil and wicked if people stood by while this happened. Maybe the rest of the story will reveal something. But it won’t help me understand two adults both continuing the insanity.

    May healing come to your souls Mary and siblings.

  8. That Bad Dog wrote:

    What concerned me deeply was watching “patriarchal” families with men in modest blue-collar jobs with minimal advancement opportunities have child after child in the naive belief that they could enjoy the Duggar lifestyle, since it was just a “matter of faith and obedience”, which, of course, it isn’t. It’s a matter of math. And the equation is a harsh one.

    Awesome comment. Thanks

  9. Searching wrote:

    I am starting to wonder if I should, to perhaps help those who are currently stuck in situations similar to what I escaped from.

    Please feel free to write it for them and for us.We would be happy to publish it.

  10. Thank you, Dee, for posting about Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA). It is very dear to my heart because my family is still suffering from the aftermath of the “Homeschool Movement” (not to be confused with homeschooling in general). Yesterday, I posted a guest post by Ryan, the founder of Homeschoolers Anonymous and gave an intro of how our paths crossed (http://goo.gl/QYeUZ). Ryan and I almost had an opportunity to meet a couple weeks ago, but when it eventually happens, he will get a big hug from me.

    There are a few naysayers in the Christian community about the HA blog. On an earlier post on my blog, someone told me that I should not be “partnering” with unbelievers, that I wasn’t doing Christianity a service by my presence there, yada yada. A lot of Christians have difficulty with survivor-type blogs and think they have the right formula to try to convert them or tell them that they are living in a lifestyle of sin and rebellion against God. Others fail in accepting any responsibility for any part they may have played in this Movement. They want to shift blame onto these young adults. Where they fail is in listening and understanding and the kind of love that takes time walking through someone’s pain. I know that TWW readers are not like that. It is my prayer that Christians – especially homeschooling Christians – will acknowledge what has gone on and will appropriately address these issues. Some of these kids no longer have relationships with their parents. That is so sad. I’m so thankful I didn’t lose my daughter, Hannah. If a certain pastor had his way, it likely would have happened.

  11. “This is all well spelled out by a new website called Homeschoolers Anonymous which is attracting the attention of the media.”

    …which is exactly what was doomed to happen, since in my experience the Christian homeschooling community absolutely refuses to self-police and report things like what happened to Heather Doney, lest it “reflect badly on homeschooling.” (Same thing as “we can’t report this pedophilia because it will make our church look bad.”) If they had turned over their own rocks, at least they could have disowned the big nasty centipedes living underneath. But now “outsiders” are starting to turn over their rocks for them.

    “In 2006 the evangelical magazine World featured 15-year-old Kierstyn King…in a piece about homeschooled kids who blog ‘to rebel against rebellion.’ … On her blog, she wrote posts with titles like ‘The Case for Christians in Government,’ arguing, ‘Our founding fathers built this land on Judeo-Christianity, and we have strayed too far from Christ.’ … These days King, 22, has a hard time stepping into a church without having a panic attack.”

    Quite typical in my experience. A lot of times the kids who are most “on fire” at 15-16 are the ones who go the fastest.

    “King never learned algebra; instead, she was taught ‘consumer math,’ which was mainly about creating a family budget.”

    This is a big problem in general, not just with girls either. Homeschooling parents are scared stiff of algebra, I’ve never understood why. When I did “consumer math” a suspiciously large number of the word problems involved parochial schools and tithing…

  12. Did you know that there are frequent retakes of scenes when the children are acting up or don’t look “just so?”

    that’s pretty sad…that’s not God glorifying at all, it’s just presenting a shellacked, glossy version to the public that homeschoolers frantically try to duplicate…what these poor children must be going through trying to live up to all of these yardsticks…

  13. Addendum to my previous comment:

    Another hindrance to self-policing in Christian homeschooling is that the definitions aren’t always the same. For instance, if an average public school family had spanked their elementary school age kid 17 times in one night and the school found out about it, they’d have a social worker on their butt in a hot minute because that would be a clear case of child abuse. In Christian homeschool circles this is not only not considered abuse, it’s considered normal on some level. Most parents don’t have to go that far, of course, but they’d probably describe the kid who “earned” 17 spankings as a “tough nut to crack” or something like that.

    BTW, this is a true story – my ex-pastor in the PCA told my mom that he had done the above to his eldest daughter when she was a kid. If she had told him to his face that that was abuse, she would have had a very upset dude on her hands.

  14. @ Julie Anne:You do your thing and do not let the theological snots take potshots. Jesus hung around everyone BUT the theologians. And the theologians rejected Him. Be His hands and feet, girl.

  15. I’m thankful for the way the internet shines the light on things that need to be exposed. Julie Anne, I read H.A. regularly and I’m glad you’re involved there. I’ve also been following the TWW posts about Doug Wilson, and Hester’s posts about Doug Phillips, and now it’s the Duggars’ (and Gothard’s) turn. These are names right out of my 20-something years of homeschooling my kids. When things started getting weird, when families I loved started to fall apart under the weight of the patriarchy garbage, I finally did the research I should have done before we ever started homeschooling. We lightened up a lot (maybe too much!) and by the grace of God, our three kids turned out fine. I have a lot of regrets, though. If I could do it over, would I still homeschool? I probably would, because we saw a lot of wonderful benefits in spite of our mistakes. But I’d go about it in a very different way, minus Gothard, Phillips, Wilson, etc. (I hope this isn’t too disjointed…it’s hard to focus when hubby has Duck Dynasty blaring in the background. Yeah, another “reality” show.) 🙂

  16. @ DebbyLynn:They try to live up to a false image. The parents are also perpetrating this nonsense and leading lots of people down a path that ends up nowhere.

  17. That Bad Dog wrote:

    What concerned me deeply was watching “patriarchal” families with men in modest blue-collar jobs with minimal advancement opportunities have child after child in the naive belief that they could enjoy the Duggar lifestyle, since it was just a “matter of faith and obedience”, which, of course, it isn’t. It’s a matter of math. And the equation is a harsh one.

    Shadowspring has talked about the financial troubles of quiverfull families on her blog. She wrote in one post that she knew many that would claim all sorts of things like “most kids don’t really need braces, college is a waste of money, kids don’t need Christmas presents, kids don’t need to do sports or any outside activities.” In her opinion, they were trying to justify their choice to have a large family on anything less than a super-sized income.

    Everyone at my former church home schools their kids. Mr. Hoppy and I are math/science oriented people and in our opinion, not a single high schooler there got a math or science education as good as the ones we got in our public schools (and we didn’t even go to high ranking schools). I’m sure many of them got better writing instruction than we did and we know that several of them have much better history knowledge. Their foreign language skills are far below what I learned in my school and I don’t think my school was even very good at foreign languages.

    It concerns us that none of these kids meet the requirements of a college-prep level high school diploma in the northern state we grew up in. They seem to max out at 2 years of high school math, if that, and maybe 1-2 years of science. They are far short of the requirements of even moderately selective colleges – not that it matters because only one student there has “gone off” to college. (She was 21 and transferred to a conservative Christian college several states away and several of the men gave her dad a hard time about letting his daughter live somewhere else.) Two go to a decent local state U.

    Several girls go to Thomas Edison State College, and online college that lets you test out of most classes. Getting an English degree from this school is as ambitious as many girls are allowed to be. Some of them are probably only allowed to do it in case they ever move to a state that requires a bachelor’s degree to homeschool their future kids. (Yes, I’ve had some of the young ladies tell me this is why they are going to college.)

    I’m not against homeschooling. (In fact, I decided to homeschool any future kids back before I was a Christian, when I didn’t really even want kids.) I do it for academic reasons. I want to give them an education far better than they can get in any local schools. I’m just a bit frustrated with the anti-intellectual attitude many conservative Christian homeschooling families seem to have.

    I just realized one thing I forgot. The moms at my former church generally do an excellent job teaching their kids to read with phonics and spelling. Their kids are far better than kids learning sight reading at school. Middle school and high school is where they drop the ball, academically.

  18. As a homeschooler, I’ve been reading HA regularly. I can say that I don’t really identify with the “homeschool movement,” so I’m really finding it all interesting.

    Our Christian homeschool association has recently gone to our state education committee to get a bill through the Senate to take away the homeschool notification requirement and the testing requirement. We’ll see what happens – if it even makes it through the committee. My concern about taking away the requirements is for these families that are on the fringe. I’m about ready to write to all of the members of the committee to ask them not to take away the requirements. But, then, I think I’m one of the “strange” homeschoolers who thinks that accountability is not a bad thing.

  19. I can only add my redundant voice to echo the “thank yous” to Julie Anne, Dee, and everyone else who is shining a light on the mess that is fundamentalist home schooling.

    Throughout most of my childhood, I was home schooled by loving, though strict and very religiously conservative parents. My mom was educated and certified in teaching, so academics didn’t suffer, except for the high school science curriculum, which had the usual young earth creation nonsense (which I believed until I was exposed to real science while in college, in – of all places – a PCUSA Sunday school class). Back during the primary grades, we had a close call with Gothard / ATI materials, as someone had given us some, but my mom was too happy in spirituality and carefree in personality to enforce the deadly legalism therein. Bullet dodged, except for the way that it contributed in part to some internalized guilt that I struggle with to this day.

    It is most encouraging that you’ll be putting Gothard’s materials on the bright end of the spotlight soon. The more light on that cesspool, the better.

  20. dee wrote:

    @ Julie Anne:You do your thing and do not let the theological snots take potshots. Jesus hung around everyone BUT the theologians. And the theologians rejected Him. Be His hands and feet, girl.

    Jesus had a habit of snubbing the Righteous God Squads and hanging out with messed-up losers like us.

  21. Jeff S wrote:

    I’m pretty sure if Jesus were here in the flesh he’d be hanging out on survivor blogs.

    Actually, wasn’t He, like, the original spiritual abuse survivor? Of both “conservative” and “liberal” forms of conformity demands on both beliefs and behavior?

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure He gets it …

  22. We did ATI for a decade. We pretty completely drank the Koolaid. Our daughter was allowed to wear pants. But she still resents, and with good reason, that she was not allowed to go to college. She is fortunately happy in her marriage, but regrets that she married before she had the chance to experience life on her own.

    Our two youngest, who endured the most limitations on their lifestyles and most pressuring indoctrination, want nothing to do with God or church.

    Our marriage did not survive the strains of what it went through during their rebellion and the subsequent finger-pointing we did at each other. And up till all this, many people in our church (which was a regular church where most people sent their kids to school) thought we were a model for the Godly family.
    ——
    Like another writer, we began home-schooling before we were Christians. Our purpose was to remove a child from a bullying environment, but we then brought the other children home as well.

    Would I home-school if I had it do over? I think I might during elementary school, but with more outside enrichment. But I would do what all the children agree we should have done — transition the kids into the real world they have to live in by moving them into regular (probably public) schools by junior high.

  23. Yep, Jesus gets it.

    Just reading you all write this is so healing to my soul. I’m often surrounded by people who don’t get it and it gets to me after awhile. But Jesus gets it!

  24. I think the public must genuinely not understand that “Reality Shows” are not reality. They’re not meant to be. It’s the entertainment industry. The people in the shows are acting. Even if they aren’t professional actors and have never been in a production before.
    The only production that is not scripted is a documentary. And even that is edited, cut, packaged, narrated, for aesthetics and for viewer appeal.

    The Duggar family are characters. In a TV show.

  25. Nicholas wrote:

    This movement (and the IFB) have combined the words “help” and “meet” from the KJV to form their own new noun: “helpmeet”.

    Preach it, fellow-Nick!

    I’m not opposed to the judicious and thoughtful use of Christian terminology, but “helpmeet” is a nonsense word by any standards that, as you rightly point out, existeth not even unto the King James Versionest thereof.

  26. @ Nick:

    “‘helpmeet’ is a nonsense word by any standards”

    And then sometimes it morphs into “helpmate” so I suppose that would be double nonsense. : )

  27. @ Hoppy:

    “Several girls go to Thomas Edison State College, and online college that lets you test out of most classes.”

    Ah yes, CollegePlus – the only way a patriarchal female can go to college without leaving her “sphere of dominion.” According to Cindy Kunsman, their core curriculum in worldview appears to include materials from Reconstructionist Gary DeMar. (Note: TESC doesn’t use these books, they seem to be in addition to the classes from TESC.)

    http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2008/12/getting-your-ticket-stamped.html

    http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2009/01/getting-ones-ticket-punched-round-two.html

  28. Hester wrote:

    @ Nick:
    “‘helpmeet’ is a nonsense word by any standards”
    And then sometimes it morphs into “helpmate” so I suppose that would be double nonsense. : )

    Hmm… I can think of a use for “helpmate”, at least in the UK where “a mate” corresponds to “a buddy” in Americaland. But not if the context shows it to be a version of helpmeet. 🙁

  29. Wow, what awful stories. I’m glad our family was never part of the “homeschooling movement”, even though we have always educated our children at home. As Julie Anne pointed out, there is a big difference between the two. I’ve always been somewhat of a non-conformist – attended one homeschool conference early on, and that was enough for me. I never really cared what other homeschoolers were doing, didn’t do co-ops and things like that, so I wasn’t exposed to the extremist, damaging philosophies. So thankful.

  30. Jeff S wrote:

    I’m pretty sure if Jesus were here in the flesh he’d be hanging out on survivor blogs.

    But the thing is, Jesus is here in the flesh, and he does hang out (among other places) on survivor blogs. If all that rubbish in the Bible Scriptures about God existing, and Jesus rising from the dead, is actually true, then Jesus lives in us.

  31. I am even a bigger feminist now after reading that tale of collosal woman-hatred.

    I didn’t think that was possible. Dee continues to discover new ground in my brain! 🙂

  32. There was a major fire/explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas, about 15 miles from here, about 8 pm last night. An apartment complex, nursing home, and many individual homes were destroyed, and others damaged. The number of dead is unknown, one of three area hospitals has treated more than 100 injured. It is believed that fire fighters and other first responders are among the dead. Others may be trapped in the rubble of some of the buildings. Please pray for the victims and their families. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/us/huge-blast-at-texas-fertilizer-plant.html?hp&_r=0

  33. @ HoppyTheToad:
    HoppyTheToad wrote:

    The moms at my former church generally do an excellent job teaching their kids to read with phonics and spelling. Their kids are far better than kids learning sight reading at school. Middle school and high school is where they drop the ball, academically.

    I have heard this same thing in some of these restrictive groups. It is interesting that many kids who start off ahead in areas such as reading, begin to decline in their academics as soon as more complexity is introduced.

  34. @ Kathi: Good for you. I think it is important for well home schooled folks to advocate for certain requirements to weed out the fringe groups.

  35. Josh wrote:

    which had the usual young earth creation nonsense (which I believed until I was exposed to real science while in college, in – of all places – a PCUSA Sunday school class).

    Loved this comment. It was teaching about the varying views of creationism in an SBC church which caused an eyeopening experience in my life. I was shocked at the people who thought such simple science was evil and ungodly. I am glad that your church in college was thoughtful in this area. So many kids lose their faith in college over this issue.

  36. Barbara wrote:

    We did ATI for a decade. We pretty completely drank the Koolaid. Our daughter was allowed to wear pants. But she still resents, and with good reason, that she was not allowed to go to college. She is fortunately happy in her marriage, but regrets that she married before she had the chance to experience life on her own.
    Our two youngest, who endured the most limitations on their lifestyles and most pressuring indoctrination, want nothing to do with God or church.
    Our marriage did not survive the strains of what it went through during their rebellion and the subsequent finger-pointing we did at each other. And up till all this, many people in our church (which was a regular church where most people sent their kids to school) thought we were a model for the Godly family.

    I want to thank you for sharing your story with TWW. I am so sorry for the pain that you have endured in your life. I want to encourage you. You did the best that you knew. You were sold a plausible bill of goods and you wanted to do the “right” thing by your children. I know many people who share your story, including some of the victims’ families at SGM.

    That is why we are trying to get the word out. We want to reach decent people like you to give them a warning of the potential problems in movements like Gothard. I still remember Deb and I trying to convince an influential pastor to reconsider his penchant for Ezzo materials. He became incensed that we would question his advocacy of this method. He was limited to his own personal little life and could not see beyond it to the wider implications for others.

    As you look back to that time, please remember that you were trying to do your best.You were surrounded by those who pushed you in that direction. All of us out here have areas in wish we had a “do over.” But we must remember that we have a better hope. Eventually (one day) all things will work together for good for those who love the Lord but it is hard to see that at times. My prayers are with you.

  37. suzy wrote:

    he Duggar family are characters. In a TV show.

    For such “good” Christians, they seem to enjoy presenting a false view to the world. But, just like some churches, money pulls the reins.

  38. @ mayflower, ar: We are beginning our look at Bill Gothard this week. We expect it to go one for several posts. Deb called me about a story on that site that had implications for a tragedy that some friends experienced. I was saddened and asked her to tell the story.

  39. @ Marge Sweigart:I wanted to be very careful that I did not implicate the homeschooling movement as a whole. As I think about it, many of the people that I know who home schooled and did not get into these fringe groups were nonconformists as well.

  40. Argo wrote:

    Dee continues to discover new ground in my brain!

    You should see my brain-it is rapidly becoming a bit overwhelmed.

  41. Some websites helpful in understanding the homeschooling problems: Karen Campbell’s Thatmom.com – Rethinking Vision Forum – Recovering Grace (blog for ATI victims) and The Crux – a blog that exposes Gothard (also called Midwest Christian Outreach). The problem with those that shun all state accountability…is that those who “unschool” or put little emphasis on academics will bring harsher state prohibitions on those that do take it all seriously, when all of this hits the fan.

  42. Arce wrote:

    There was a major fire/explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas, about 15 miles from here, about 8 pm last night. An apartment complex, nursing home, and many individual homes were destroyed, and others damaged. The number of dead is unknown, one of three area hospitals has treated more than 100 injured. It is believed that fire fighters and other first responders are among the dead. Others may be trapped in the rubble of some of the buildings. Please pray for the victims and their families. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/us/huge-blast-at-texas-fertilizer-plant.html?hp&_r=0

    I will post about this at the top of our page. Even the Pope has sent out prayers. i heard that people felt the blast in Waco which is about 30 miles away according to the reports. I remember driving past West on my way to Austin when I lived in Dallas. I am so, so sorry.

  43. justabeliever wrote:

    The problem with those that shun all state accountability…is that those who “unschool” or put little emphasis on academics will bring harsher state prohibitions on those that do take it all seriously, when all of this hits the fan.

    You are correct. That is why the vast majority of home schoolers who do it right must lead the way in exposing the excesses.Such openness and cooperation might prevent draconian measures when crackdowns do occur. Homeschool families and coops should be in the business of exposing serious abuses by reporting them to CPS and the police. If they do not, I expect that the states will crack down and tar and feather everyone involved in this form of alternative education.

  44. dee wrote:

    @ HoppyTheToad:
    HoppyTheToad wrote:
    The moms at my former church generally do an excellent job teaching their kids to read with phonics and spelling. Their kids are far better than kids learning sight reading at school. Middle school and high school is where they drop the ball, academically.
    I have heard this same thing in some of these restrictive groups. It is interesting that many kids who start off ahead in areas such as reading, begin to decline in their academics as soon as more complexity is introduced.

    This is an interesting one (if slightly off-topic; but hey). A child who arrives at school having been taught some reading already will find him/herself ahead of the rest, as if by magic. Thus, to start with, they won’t have to try as hard as their peers, but this will be a short-lived advantage because it won’t help them learn perseverance in the face of difficulty.

    Similar results have been found more broadly, suggesting that children who are raised in environments where achievement is praised and valued, eventually do poorly compared with children raised in environments where endeavour is praised and valued. In other words, when a child is commended for trying, regardless of failure/success, then (s)he learns to enjoy the process of trying.

  45. @ dee:

    Got a little chuckle out of this…

    “Q: How can the Duggars justify having a TV show when they don’t have TV service?

    A: In their second book, the Duggars admit the irony of starring in a weekly reality show but not allowing broadcast television into their home. While they are not against TV, they do not agree with much of the content portrayed on the tube. Jim Bob and Michelle and the kids would rather spend their time being active and enjoying family game nights. They see their show as a family ministry.”

    http://duggarsblog.blogspot.com/p/faqs.html

  46. suzy wrote:

    I think the public must genuinely not understand that “Reality Shows” are not reality. They’re not meant to be. It’s the entertainment industry. The people in the shows are acting. Even if they aren’t professional actors and have never been in a production before.

    Reality Shows(TM) took off because they’re cheap to make. Minimal behind-the-scenes expenses for script or actors — there are a LOT of people who’ll do ANYTHING on camera just to be “Lookit Me! I’m On TV — I’m a CELEBRITY!!!” And it helps if they’re a walking “laugh at the freaks” show to start with — backwoods ‘gator or duck hunters with beards like ZZ Top, redneck toddler beauty paegants, incest is best, human autopsy, CELEBRITY look-alikes, you name it. Anything for the Al Bundys and Family Guys to watch on-screen and say “I THANK THEE, LORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FREAKS ON TV!!!!!”

  47. dee wrote:

    Loved this comment. It was teaching about the varying views of creationism in an SBC church which caused an eyeopening experience in my life.

    Dee, Deb – two weeks ago I sent and email with a proposed guest post that is relevant to this comment. Using such a thing is entirely at your discretion but I’d like to know if you received it.
    OldJohnJ

  48. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    A child who arrives at school having been taught some reading already will find him/herself ahead of the rest, as if by magic. Thus, to start with, they won’t have to try as hard as their peers, but this will be a short-lived advantage because it won’t help them learn perseverance in the face of difficulty.

    You have got this right. I watched mothers bragging about their kids reading at the age of 3. Those same kids, now grown, are not the high achievers.
    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    suggesting that children who are raised in environments where achievement is praised and valued, eventually do poorly compared with children raised in environments where endeavour is praised and valued.

    I have seen this with my own kids.Their dedication to their studies is what has always mattered to us. As time has gone on, their willingness to try has had great results. Sometimes sheer willingness trumps natural smarts.

  49. If you ditch your TV then you can’t watch the Duggar$. But they have one, it appears, and are not against TV and watch Andy Griffith DVDs. TV?- bad, detrimental to their marriage to the point they pulled it out of their home…watching their mini$try on TVs that are detrimental?- good.

    “According to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” the secret to a successful marriage is pretty simple: ditch your TV and say no to pets.

    “I grew up watching TV, but when we got married a doctor friend of ours encouraged us not to have a pet or a TV the first year of marriage. So we did that. For the first year we lived on love,” Jim Bob tells me. “And after that someone gave us a TV and for the first three weeks we were both glued to it. Communications dropped off, we weren’t talking as much and we couldn’t believe the content on TV we didn’t think was appropriate. This is detrimental to our marriage. We prayed about it and felt we had to pull it out of our house, which we did. And I would say that is one of the best things we have done for our family.””

    http://www.celebitchy.com/188242/the_duggars_dont_let_their_kids_watch_regular_tv_or_have_any_pets/

  50. @ dee:

    lol…as my word of faith mil would say and believe…the wealth of the sinners (TV) is laid up for the righteous (Duggars to use).

  51. Barbara wrote:

    Our marriage did not survive the strains of what it went through during their rebellion and the subsequent finger-pointing we did at each other. And up till all this, many people in our church (which was a regular church where most people sent their kids to school) thought we were a model for the Godly family.

    Oh, Barbara – your comment really tugged at my heart. I understand that pain. I have written about that pain on my blog and every time I try to reread those posts, the emotions swallow me up again. The marriage not surviving – – – wow – – see, people don’t get how destructive this is. It’s so hard to deal with that guilt. I’m so sorry.

    And you are right about the “model” family thing. We have experienced it everywhere and it doesn’t help that we have a large family and take up a whole pew – people just love that and think we’ve got it all together. If you ever want to vent, you can find me at my blog. I get it. I’m living it still. hugs to you!

  52. I won’t discuss homeschooling, but I both of my parents grew up in very large families, and both had psychological problems from a lack of attention, lack of just human contact when they were growing up.
    All of their sibling had 3 or fewer children.( The average is 1.68) It makes you wonder about the Duggars. At some point, sometime, some of the kids will break away from the family and we’ll see how some really feel about growing up in a herd.

  53. Dee – Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But the thing is, Jesus is here in the flesh, and he does hang out (among other places) on survivor blogs. If all that rubbish in the Bible Scriptures about God existing, and Jesus rising from the dead, is actually true, then Jesus lives in us.

    Amen!! Jeff S. – I am so thankful for that.

  54. Kathi wrote:

    As a homeschooler, I’ve been reading HA regularly. I can say that I don’t really identify with the “homeschool movement,” so I’m really finding it all interesting.

    Dee – – did I tell you that Kathi hails from my former town? We were probably neighbors, but didn’t know it. Kathi was the smart one and didn’t get sucked into homeschooling conferences. I wish I would have known her then. We would have been knitting buddies and she might have saved me from a lot of trouble. I’m glad to know her now, though.

    I want to know why some people get sucked into high-controlling environments and others have the smarts to stay far from it. I’ll volunteer myself for the study. LOL

  55. @ dee:
    I guess I was hoodwinked….I used to watch them and think they were just such a wonderful family…I did, however, note the irony of allowing no television sets, and yet starring in a tv show….

  56. @Julie Anne – You are one awesome gal! I don’t know how you do it all! It’s been great getting to know you too.

    I’ve saved the email sent our from the Christian homeschool association. Here are their top 10 reasons for why homeschoolers in the great state of OR should not have to send in notification for homeschooling or test (3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th grades):

    1. God gave children to parents to raise, not the government.

    2. Whoever is teaching your children is discipling your children (Luke 6:40).

    3. All education is discipleship.

    4. Parents who send their children to private school do not have to notify the public school, nor does the private school have to turn in student’s names to the state.

    5.The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

    6. Testing and the threat of remand to a classroom harms those students who need the one-on-one, individualized instruction provided in the home.

    7. By looking at a test score of any student, you cannot determine which educational venue (homeschool, private school or pubic school) will be best for that child.

    8. As a means of determining whether or not a child should be homeschooled, testing is inappropriate. The majority of ESDs in Oregon recognize it is a waste of time and money for them, too, and do not request test scores from families.

    9. Standardized achievement tests reflect what is taught in the public schools.

    10. 28 years of test results demonstrate that homeschooling is a viable educational option, and that homeschoolers are doing well enough to be left alone.

    What do you all think of this? I can agree with some of it and I disagree with some of it. Really, what I’m trying to do is come up with a valid reason for why homeschoolers should test. Besides the fact that it weeds out the crazies! 😉

  57. Julie Anne wrote:

    I want to know why some people get sucked into high-controlling environments and others have the smarts to stay far from it. I’ll volunteer myself for the study. LOL

    I think that is one of the most complex questions in this whole thing. If we could understand the different possibilities of how/why different kinds of people get sucked into high-control environments, maybe we could become more effective in identifying people at risk and intercepting them before it’s too late, and work on comprehensive, integrative ways of prevention and training so the organizational-side setups don’t get started.

    Of course, such research might cost as much as, say, a few seminary presidents’ salary for a year or two. And I really don’t know anyone or any organization that funds that kind of research, but it shore nuff would be helpful to survivors to know some of the routes by which we got taken in, so we could put our trajectories into reverse and not do that mistake again. And help others not do so either.

  58. Julie Anne wrote:

    I want to know why some people get sucked into high-controlling environments and others have the smarts to stay far from it. I’ll volunteer myself for the study. LOL

    Honestly, Julie Anne, I think for me it was the view of women and marriage. We just don’t buy into the patriarchal/complementarian view of women and marriage that the homeschool movement promotes. Which is a bit funny because we certainly are living that way. We view it more as an economic and education choice, not a requirement because I am the wife.

  59. @ Diane:

    “They see the show as a family ministry.”

    “A ministry of what?” would be my question. Is it to deceive people that this lifestyle is “the answer?” Is it to deceive people to think that what they see is real and as perfect as it seems? Is it to teach that “ministry” is a means to make money to support your family, make a name for yourself, and travel the world? The Duggar family is no different than any other man or ministry that uses the word “ministry” to make a buck. They are also no different in how they wittingly or unwittingly deceive people about life and a form of godliness

  60. DebbyLynn wrote:

    @ dee:
    I guess I was hoodwinked….I used to watch them and think they were just such a wonderful family…I did, however, note the irony of allowing no television sets, and yet starring in a tv show….

    Also ironic: all the ads for birth control products that air during the episodes (or did the last time I saw one).

  61. W@ brad/futuristguy:

    Don’t you think some of it is that person(s) who enjoy structure and order and flourishes in such an environment look for these traits? Sometimes, too, I think when one comes from a background of looseness (not just morally, but structure as well), they often head for the opposite extreme. I have often found this the case when interacting with people. Along with all this add in the teaching “against being lukewarm,” which can be misapplied and turn people into religious zealots, and we can easily create atmosphere of legalism and control. Fear is another huge factor IMHO.

  62. I spent the last 20+ years in a church that home schools. My husband was raised and homeschooled there. The patriarchal church determined what teaching materials could be used, and how much subject material was necessary. My in-laws’ minister told them that they now recognize that the kids that grew up in their system had a subpar education. My experience with this fringe group confirms that some in the Homeschool Movement are not concerned with quality of education, but more with control of and indoctrination of the kids. What’s sad is that these young adults are often “disciplined” by this “church” by being kicked out for infractions that amount to little more than not doing what their minister told them to do. They just weren’t “trusting” and “submitting” enough. Those young people then have to adapt to a culture they are ill-prepared to engage with. It creates a sort of “lost boys” scenario. The isolation from anyone outside the church just magnifies this.

    I’m thankful Dee, Deb, and Julie Anne are bringing attention to this. I know this Movement does not represent every homeschooling family, but it does encompass many. I believe if more people are made aware of this, then maybe parents who choose homeschooling for a quality education will know what to look out for and avoid.

  63. Kathi wrote:

    I think that is one of the most complex questions in this whole thing. If we could understand the different possibilities of how/why different kinds of people get sucked into high-control environments, maybe we could become more effective in identifying people at risk and intercepting them before it’s too late, and work on comprehensive, integrative ways of prevention and training so the organizational-side setups don’t get started.

    See, when I moved back to Bvtn, I was already long gone into that system, so I might have looked at you like you were a sinner for not being in submission. There’s that pompous judgmental attitude that permeates in the Homeschool Movement. I wonder how many friends I dissed. I’m going to have to think back and see if I owe anybody apologies for my bad behavior all of those years.

  64. I think the Duggars would have done better with a few pets and less kids. From what I read, the older kids are responsible (read “co parents”) for the little ones. The hypocrisy of all this is staggering to me…to parade your kids on TV and yet live such a conservative life. In my opinion, to parade your kids so publicly is borderline child abuse.

  65. Bridget wrote:

    W@ brad/futuristguy:
    Don’t you think some of it is that person(s) who enjoy structure and order and flourishes in such an environment look for these traits? . . . . . Along with all this add in the teaching “against being lukewarm,” which can be misapplied and turn people into religious zealots, and we can easily create atmosphere of legalism and control. Fear is another huge factor IMHO.

    Bridget – I have found the above 2 to be true for us. There is also abuse in our backgrounds and I wonder how much that plays into it. When you are abused, someone is taking control of you and this certainly is a high-controlling movement. We wanted to take control of our kids, but it was never presented like that – it was all about caring for their souls, protecting them, doing it God’s way, better than what the world offered.

  66. Diane wrote:

    we weren’t talking as much and we couldn’t believe the content on TV we didn’t think was appropriate.

    Yeah, like getting some differing perspectives on life. Don’t get me wrong, there is a bunch of nonsense on TV just like there is in real life.My husband and I like to watch singers and others compete on shows like Idol and American’s Got Talent. We are fans of NCIS and like to critique the methods used in discovery.I enjoy a good disaster flick like Revolution or Fallen Skies for entertainment. Finally, I like the show Revenge, a sort of modern Count of Monte Cristo. It shows the pain that occurs when you get your revenge but it isn’t quite the way you pictured it.
    Yep, I am a heathen.

  67. @ K.D.:There is a nonreligious discussion group called Free Jinger named after Jinger Duggar. They believe that she is the one who might actually escape.

  68. Julie Anne wrote:

    I want to know why some people get sucked into high-controlling environments and others have the smarts to stay far from it. I’ll volunteer myself for the study. LOL

    I think there are many good souls out there who are trying to find the perfect formula to raise their kids and to be really good Christians. I sympathize with the sentiment.

    The way to help those who might get sucked in is to remind them that God was the perfect parent and look at what happened with Adam and Eve. We need to remind ourselves daily that we all can screwup and there is no one perfect formula to prevent it.

  69. Kathi wrote:

    Parents who send their children to private school do not have to notify the public school, nor does the private school have to turn in student’s names to the state.

    This is a problematic comment. If a child is discovered not to be enrolled in school, it must be reported in all states. This is usually discovered when children go to the doctor or hospital. Also, children playing on the streets in many urban setting during school hours are often discovered by truant officers who also report this.

  70. Having read Mary’s story, I find it incredible – as someone else has said, it sounds like the mother may have had mental health problems to start with. However it sounds like they were exacerbated by some of the teaching she may have received, or simply by her own reading. I might have felt more sorry for the father if he hadn’t been such an apparently willing participant in a complete overdose of corporal punishment – transferring his rage against her to the children, perhaps? Ironically this story is almost an advert for why the husband should be in control! (Then again, even if it was/were a patriarchal setup, dad was obviously out of the house working most of the day while mum unleashed her reign of terror). As for using the children as domestic labour, I think theree’s a difference between helping mum and being treated like a household servant – and in fact any servant or cleaner would never put up with such treatment.

    Also the quotation of the Deuteronomy text about rebellious children is very misplaced in my opinion – the verse seems to explicitly be aimed at adult children who are leading a very bad life under their parents’ roof, not youngsters below the age of majority.

    Re Bill Gothard, the mainstream evangelical community has been sounding warnings about his teachings for some years, I believe, in particular his insistence that Christian men need to be circumcised, which is quite bizarre in the light of Galatians.

    HUG – I completely relate to what you’re saying about reality TV shows. We have the same problem over here – different stereotypes but the same attitudes, from desperately wanting the 15 mins of celebrity to thanking God we are not like unto the trash we see on TV.

  71. @ Julie Anne:
    I agree with you about the abuse in our backgrounds. I am now convinced that my mother has a severe personality disorder. But, growing up with her controlling, manipulative abuse was my normal. I think that’s why my “high-demand” church looked so normal to me. The whole “family” and “community” image appealed to me, because my own family is so dysfunctional. And don’t get me started on the whole “happy marriage” issue. My husband and I are doing so much better now that we don’t have the “discipleship” to conform us to the patriarchal hogwash.

  72. Kathi wrote:

    28 years of test results demonstrate that homeschooling is a viable educational option, and that homeschoolers are doing well enough to be left alone.

    All homeschoolers are doing well. That’s not true. One cannot take the general and apply it to the specific. That is also recognized by the educational authorities which have tried, albeit not well, to come up with certain standards of measurement to ensure schools are doing a basically good job. All public schools must participate, even the one recognized for excellence.

  73. Bridget wrote:

    “They see the show as a family ministry.”

    That is what many in the money making industry use instead of telling the truth of “We are in this for the money.” Amway claims they are a ministry.Good night!

  74. Amy wrote:

    Also ironic: all the ads for birth control products that air during the episodes (or did the last time I saw one).

    You know, there is a lot of money to be made in advertising. Such agencies carefully research the demographics of the audience. My guess is that they found ,through focus groups, that the majority of the people watching the show have an aversion to producing such a family. Instead, the watch it like those who go to the zoo to see view lions in safety.

  75. This just came through on my FB wall and is hilarious (I’m a choir nerd): Carmina Burana lyrics competition winner – Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents and Terrorising Toddlers http://youtu.be/Gz0dvPZhaTU

    But to bring it back to homeschooling, if I were to share this video with my staunch homeschool, full-quiver friends, I might get reprimanded for liking it, because all children are “blessings.” It’s weird because you get both sides of the coin at the same time. You will hear that babies are born sinners and you need to get their sin nature under submission, but then you also hear that children are a blessing, never a burden. Well, which one is it? LOL Crazy system.

  76. I’ve seen people who have high I.Q.s get sucked into high control situations and endure abuse.

    I’ve also seen people who have high E.Q.s get sucked in, despite high E.Q. individuals often realizing when a system hurts people. Sometimes they are overly loyal to toxic leaders, and/or magically think, “If I stay, it will make a difference.” But it doesn’t because most kinds of abusive leaders seem not to change.

    Those with more linear learning styles seem comfortable with the structure and get/stay sucked in.

    Those who are more non-linear and random often feel they need structure because they are so non-structured … but that feeling often comes from social pressure that says they *should* be more structured … and they get sucked in.

    I think one of the most insidious hooks that reel people in is when people sincerely want to live for God, do the right thing, serve and steward their lives well. And along comes someone with The Program or The Formula that resonates with that felt need to become all God wants me to be/do.

    But I am serious about research, partly because well-designed research may provide the kind of evidence that logic-oriented leaders require in order to base their decision of demonstrated evidence. Plus, it would give a range of specific data to help in the healing process of those victimized by unscrupulous leaders, malignant ministries, and toxic cultural systems of abuse.

    Barb Orlowski has done some important research, and there likely are other books out there with some such research in them. And through the survivor grapevine, I hear of a few candidates for advanced theological degrees (usually Doctor of Ministry) who are focusing on spiritual abuse and spiritual formation or church organization, so more may be forthcoming from their projects and dissertations.

    Thankful for their work, and for the grid of survivor blogs … we can learn an immense amount from our the facts and conclusions embedded in peoples’ stories.

  77. Thank you all for your prayers for the town of West. We have acquaintances and extended family members whose homes were damaged and had to evacuate. Thankfully, none of them were hurt. There are still people unaccounted for, though I hope they escaped safely amidst the chaos. It was a tense time last night.

  78. dee wrote:

    justabeliever wrote:

    to parade your kids so publicly is borderline child abuse.

    Prediction: there will be some consequences of this in the years to come.

    Just look at all the “Mommie Dearest” children-of-Celebrities tell-alls and train-wrecks. This is just the Christian Homeschool variant of the same thing.

  79. dee wrote:

    You know, there is a lot of money to be made in advertising. Such agencies carefully research the demographics of the audience. My guess is that they found ,through focus groups, that the majority of the people watching the show have an aversion to producing such a family. Instead, the watch it like those who go to the zoo to see view lions in safety.

    i.e. “LAUGH AT THE FREAKS!”

    We used to have Traveling Carny Freak Shows (up to and including the Geek biting the heads off chickens), this is just the 21st Century online Freak Show. And with Addiction-Tolerance Response kicking in, the Freak Shows have to get Freakier and Freakier to keep all those couch potatoes tuning in.

  80. JulieAnne, I loved the choir! Hilarious!

    I remember when I first got out of IFB’s. I could not get far enough away to breathe. I actually went half way around the world for a few months. It was there I saw how some Scriptures would be applied differently in that context than in my American context. Then I spent time in different region from where I grew up and found a great difference in application there, as well. Finally, I picked up and moved across the country where I did not run into IFB’s and made friends with regular people. It was the most refreshing experience! I was able to think/pray/study things through without any unnecessary pressure.

    With that baggage left behind, Jesus began to shine! I could see Him so much clearer. The stress was gone and I started over fresh. My IFB friends who left the movement, were stuck with the culture surrounding them. It took some of the years to recover, while others never seemed to.

    When I read of the homeschoolers who dared to make a clean break of it, like JulieAnne’s daughter, I have great hope of a faster more full recovery, first to sanity, second to peaceful lack of stress, and then finally, a fresh unencumbered view of Jesus Christ. No one can rush this, it has to happen naturally and the best medicine seems to be removing the crushing religious pressures.

    I went back to church, but that was the least important thing on my list, as I fell in love with Jesus in much more of a real relationship, not coerced, not under a magnifying glass, and not for anyone else.

    I agree with Dee, I expect there will be fallout later on, after the cameras are turned off. Out of 19 kids, someone is going to want to start thinking on their own and question. To the degree the parents are able to communicate real love to the kids, that damage will be less, but how effectively do kids feel loved in a crowd?

  81. @ Bridget:

    I know you know the answers already 🙂 but—1) yes- Gothard keeps the sin out of the house…(except for the sin-filled detrimental tv); 2) yes- because if it’s not as real and perfect as it seems, they would be considered, gasp, hypocrites/failures- like the rest of us in varying degrees; and 3) yes- I guess if you too are really special at keeping the sin out like the Duggars, you can sell that example for a buck or two.

    To me, they are no different than the word of faith TV evangelists (Copeland for example) who sell us their supposed victorious/financially blessed lifestyle (for a seed faith fee) to emulate.

  82. @ Julie Anne:

    What a hilarious video! That’s pretty much where we’re at right now, except that our toddler would be waving the knife at the cat. Thanks for the laugh!

  83. dee wrote:

    Julie Anne wrote:
    I want to know why some people get sucked into high-controlling environments and others have the smarts to stay far from it. I’ll volunteer myself for the study. LOL
    I think there are many good souls out there who are trying to find the perfect formula to raise their kids and to be really good Christians.

    Oh, so true.
    I didn’t grow understand good boundaries … so I joined a church family with strict rules.
    I didn’t know how to handle a baby … so I read Babywise.
    I didn’t know how to raise a child … so I took Ezzo classes.
    I didn’t know how to keep house … so I followed Flylady (I still like her help!)
    I didn’t know how to keep up with my kids … so I got one of those scheduling tools (can’t remember the name, but it’s big in quiverful famlies.)
    I didn’t know how to help my marriage … so I devoured complementarian books, and then without realizing it, being influenced by some patriarichal notions.

    You get the picture. If I had had some sort of functioning family as a child, maybe, just maybe I would not be so willing to accept whatever info I came across. Maybe I would have been more discerning? I am grateful that I did know to spit out some of the bones, but just not enough.

  84. We used public schools, homeschooled, and used parochial schools.

    One of our kids was very gifted, excelled easily, was always ahead of the pack, and in her mid thirties still is. Early success does not equal later failure.

    Another of our kids struggled hard and was encouraged in the struggle, not for the successes as per current educational thinking. And he still struggles and still does not succeed, but mostly has given up trying.

    Homeschooling and early reading isn’t bad. Neither is waiting for public school bad.

    Bad education, from any source, is bad.

    My dad was one of a huge brood and knew he was loved.

    I personally don’t agree with Duggars on much of their philosophy and don’t live by their rules.

    But neither would I write them off as bad parents quite yet.

  85. Katie wrote:

    I didn’t know how to keep up with my kids … so I got one of those scheduling tools (can’t remember the name, but it’s big in quiverful famlies.)

    That’s the Maxwells – Steve and Teri – I have their book and have followed them for years – -now I follow them for different reasons. Poor Sarah was just a young teen when I was introduced to them. She’s still single and serving her daddy in his home. Will she ever be released to get married? Maybe not – she’s too busy promoting her father’s business/blog/taking pictures of conventions, sewing jumpers, etc.

    ps – I followed all the same garbage you did.

  86. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    But I am serious about research, partly because well-designed research may provide the kind of evidence that logic-oriented leaders require in order to base their decision of demonstrated evidence. Plus, it would give a range of specific data to help in the healing process of those victimized by unscrupulous leaders, malignant ministries, and toxic cultural systems of abuse.

    Brad, you know I am very serious about this, too. If I run across something/someone willing to do this, you will be first to know. This is just as important as all the work you have done compiling the documentation on BGBC, CC, PBC. Brad, I so appreciate your work in helping those who have been abused. Your work is so important. Thank you, brother!

  87. I’m always harping on CLC because it’s what I know. Homeschooling is the majority there. I’ve heard moms say “we don’t really do math” or “just read the chapter and give a B”. Greg Somerville told me girls don’t really need a lot of math. Also if you send your kids to covelife school your giving up on
    your kids. I also know that alot of homeschoolerswho get placement testing for the school are woefully inadequate in their education.

  88. Julie Anne wrote:

    brad/futuristguy wrote:
    But I am serious about research, partly because well-designed research may provide the kind of evidence that logic-oriented leaders require in order to base their decision of demonstrated evidence. Plus, it would give a range of specific data to help in the healing process of those victimized by unscrupulous leaders, malignant ministries, and toxic cultural systems of abuse.

    Brad, may I contact you?

  89. @ justabeliever & Dee:

    I would just like to note that not all unschoolers are educationally neglectful, though their method of education may look very, very different from traditional schooling. I was mostly unschooled and, for the record, learned to read around age 2 (not because I was pushed). I do agree though that unschooling is probably the method of choice if you’re looking to cover up educational neglect. I usually say that there’s a difference between “unschooling” and “nonschooling.”

  90. Julie Anne wrote:

    Katie wrote:
    ps – I followed all the same garbage you did.

    I was pointing out how easy it is for many like me to get sucked into a whole philosophy of how to live life without even realizing what you are getting into if you follow it to the full.

    What helped me, was that no one around me was doing it (except when I was in the IFB) so I didn’t feel the pressure to do everything the books, classes, and helps were suggesting.

    I was able to read Babywise and it did help me to quit overfeeding my baby giving it colic. (I lacked common sense on that.) The scheduling was not employed legalistically so the baby told me when the schedule was wrong. But my child did well on the the basic schedule when not sick or growing. I never listened to the claims that my child would be spoiled if I didn’t follow their method.

    I was able to get an understanding of the difference between certain types of disobedience from simply having an accident. (Another common sense I don’t remember my parents using.) I used some of the tips and discarded others. But while I was excited about the help it did give me, I heard from others who were living in an Ezzo culture at their church and it was apparently really oppressive. Seems some have claimed it became abusive based on how some applied what was taught … maybe as it was intended, I don’t know. But whatever the case, problems arose and it seems they were significant.

    The scheduling thing … I never could use well. It tells you to schedule a different activity for your children for every half hour all day long. I took away from that the idea of making sure there were things for my kids to do for parts of the day, but every half hour was impossible for me, and I thought the kids needed free time to choose for themselves, too.

    So you see, I don’t think all these things are evil, and I do recognize some good take aways from their ideas; however, applying it all legalistically, buying into their overall philosophy, and doing it a culture that presented such ideas as the norm would have been unbearable and full of all sorts of problems.

  91. @ Hester:I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. I wanted to focus on the fringe aspects of these families and not someone who is obviously well-educated like you. Thank you for emphasizing this.

  92. Per the studies that have “proven” that homeschoolers do better across the board, there’s some serious problems with a lot of them. For one, there’s no way to take an accurate census of homeschoolers. For two, the sample size of homeschoolers in a lot of those studies was both self-reported, pitifully small, and overwhelmingly white, and was compared to the national public school test scores. Millions of kids across all economic, racial, etc. strata vs. a few hundred handpicked kids whose families felt confident enough to send them in for a study. Not good.

    Also, though this isn’t directly pertinent, I have read some things that Brian Ray (of NHERI who conducts most of those studies) has written outside of his NHERI stuff and he is a Fruit. Cake.

  93. dee wrote:

    @ Katie: I like Fly Lady as well. i just bought her rubba dubba scrubber!

    I have one and it works great! She was the one voice in my life, at the time, saying nice things to me and encouraging me. She took the pressure off and showed me how to do one thing at a time. To this day things run much smoother and with less effort by my following he basic idea of building habits. (Again, this is common sense to so many, just not me.) I’ve never done it all, but then she doesn’t have a philosophy that expects that. And it’s not tied to a religious expectation.

  94. @ Katie:It is important to be flexible and you are obviously wise about Babywise.

    The problem with the Ezzo method is that it led to some very, very sick babies. It became so concerning that the American Academy of Pediatrics issues warning about not using the Ezzo method.This was a highly unusual move. There is enough in that scheduling that is of concern that i think it should not be put on any recommended list unless churches and pastors want to deal with the potential of deathly sick babies.

    Ezzo was kicked out of his church and does not hold degrees that would indicate that he is an expert on the health and wellness of babies.

  95. Katie – I could have typed your whole post. There were a lot of things that I benefited from, too. And like you, there weren’t a whole lot of homeschoolers around me. I was venturing out many times alone. However, I did have online influences in e-mail groups, online groups/boards. I think those were more influential than I gave credit. I participated at Titus2.com (Maxwell’s forum) for years. Tons of full-quiver-patriarchy pressure there.

    You mentioned positives about the Ezzos. The scheduling thing I took from that was very beneficial. I charted my infant’s routine, marking their wake times/feedings/sleep times and discovered a pattern. I then helped them to stick to that pattern. So I took part of the Ezzos stuff and made it work with my baby’s schedule. It worked beautifully. When my baby veered off the schedule is when we had difficulties, so I’d gently get them back on the schedule they created and then all was calm again.

    But they did go off in other areas – – the newborn feeding thing was one area. My babies could definitely go 4 hours between feedings- my babies were all over 9 lbs at birth and could handle it. Other babies must be fed more frequently. The black/white thinking can go overboard and cause a lot of problems.

    So I was able to pick and choose with Ezzos, but other influences in the Homeschool Movement got more ingrained and I wasn’t able to filter the negative. Katie, did you participate on online forums/e-mail groups? I was part of Practical Homeschooling on an AOL board in which Mary Pride participated. It was on Compuserve, too (shoot, it’s been so long – is that the name?) I’m talking nearly 20 years ago.

  96. @ Julie Anne:

    The Maxwells had a conference in my state a few years back and a family friend went with her kids. When she got into Steve Maxwell’s session, he started calling television “the Beast” and spouting all sorts of legalistic crap. She was in the back of the room and said, “I cannot listen to this man any longer” in the hearing of the other parents in the session and literally walked out the back door. Her son (who’s a professional magician and you don’t exactly want to let that out at that kind of conference!) meanwhile spent the entire teen session shaking his head in horror/wonder.

  97. It was VERY refreshing to read through these comments and see everyone talking about things like the Pearls, Thomas Edison college, Doug Phillips, and others. To the former homeschooling parents who now “see the light,” please submit your stories to HA! We welcome all stories, but we all know how young adult will just be dismissed as rebellious. While homeschooling moms are held sacrosanct. Even some short essays (1 page) would be immensely helpful. There is so little reliable social science about homeschooling and the Movement (I call it the cult of homeschooling). Our best strategy is to overwhelm detractors with story after story. People need to understand that the cult of homeschooling dominates the national conversation about homeschooling and has influenced tens of thousands of families.

    Feel free to email me of you want to discuss a submission, anonymity guaranteed! Nicholas.ducote at gmail

  98. dee wrote:

    @ Katie: I like Fly Lady as well. i just bought her rubba dubba scrubber!

    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I am also a Flybaby! Scrubbas & Purple rags for the win 🙂

  99. One thing that has interested me as these stories have come out is…it’s always one or two children out of the whole brood that “make it out” of these horrific situations. One can only imagine what the remaining children have to deal with from their parents, especially if the parents take it out on them.

    Given the really negative comments that were placed on Kierstyn (Paulino) King’s blog in 2010 by people who purport to be her father, mother and one brother, my heart and prayers go out to Kierstyn – and her siblings who remain. If those parents are willing to be that abusive in public God help their children behind closed doors.

  100. Here’s another sad part:
    There are many parents who opt to educate their children at home, and who also involve their children in sports and many expressive and creative activities outside the home with children not of their own church or social circles. When homeschooled kids hear the horror stories and hear snickers directed at them because they are homeschooled, they often come to sense an inferiority complex, and even though they are miles ahead of their peers in learning and social skills, feel like they have been “abused” because they “missed out” on a public school education.

  101. Pingback: Duggars the “Amway of the Quiverfull Movement” | A Quiver Full of Information UNITED STATES

  102. dee wrote:

    @ Katie:
    The problem with the Ezzo method is that it led to some very, very sick babies. It became so concerning that the American Academy of Pediatrics issues warning about not using the Ezzo method.This was a highly unusual move. There is enough in that scheduling that is of concern that i think it should not be put on any recommended list unless churches and pastors want to deal with the potential of deathly sick babies.
    Ezzo was kicked out of his church and does not hold degrees that would indicate that he is an expert on the health and wellness of babies.

    Aww, yes, I can see how that could be the case if you followed the plan legalistically. That’s serious to have the AAP step in! Ugh! Well, I never recommended it to anyone once I heard of the problems my relatives ran into in their church.

    I did hear that Ezzo had church discipline issues, just didn’t know the particulars.

    What I thought was interesting, was that the parts I used were the parts my grandmother said were 1950’s common sense. But if one is going to write a book there ought to be some sort of expert weighing in with some sort of data.

  103. Thanks, everyone for the links to info on Ezzos. Wow! I really appreciate getting a clearer picture. I guess it was much more dangerous that I realized.

  104. @ Katie & Dee:

    I’ve never heard of any kids that died because of Ezzo but I have heard several reports of kids who lapsed into failure-to-thrive. I say this as someone who probably would have been one of them if my parents had used such trash – I had a sucking deficiency as a baby.

  105. Speaking of homeschooling horror stories, here’s some stuff on Christian foreign adoption. This was all the rage a few years ago and I’ve known cases (all homeschoolers) personally where it turned out really well and really terribly.

    The irony is that the kids in the first article were adopted from Liberia, which was founded for freed American slaves, and when they got to the U.S. they were treated like slaves by their adoptive families…

    http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/christian-evangelical-adoption-liberia

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/04/saving-children-from-africa-a-quiverfull-adoption-fad.html

    http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/20821

  106. hmmmm…. so, from what I’ve read concerning Quiverfull/Patriarchalness/Vision Forum/& the like, this is what it seems to me:

    1. a girl is born
    2. she grows up with learning that revolves around house cleaning, meals, kids, a man (dad or husband)

    A. a boy is born
    B. he grows up with learning that revolves around… being a family authority figure…. honestly don’t really know

    3. her purpose is house cleaning, meals, siblings, dad

    C. his purpose is to take on more and more family authority

    4. she gets married, youngish (education finished long ago)

    D. he gets married, youngish (any time left for higher education?)

    5. her purpose is having unlimited pregnancies, house cleaning, meals, children,
    husband

    E. his purpose is to be the family authority figure and bear the growing burden of bringing in more & more income with underdeveloped knowledge and skills

    6. a girl is born

    F. a boy is born

    the cycle repeats itself
    ************

    Insular to the extreme.

    Where’s the giving back? Where’s the “leaving the world a better place then when you arrived”? Where’s the contribution to society, to fellow human beings?

    I suppose they expect others to invest in the knowledge necessary to heal their sicknesses, make their cars and air transport safer and more efficient, make the air they breath cleaner, govern their country,…

    What if everybody lived as they do? Knowledge, skill, expertise would devolve more and more… society would crumble.

    What kind of a model is this for doing life?????

  107. @ Katie:

    Hi Katie. No, it just sent me an email.

    I am scheduled to visit Middle-earth today for some R&R time after working on a mind-numbing editing project. I’ll read your message more closely after I get back, and my brain returns too, and get back to you when I can …

  108. I have no problems with homeschooling in itself.Most homeschoolers are trying to do right by their childern. Sadly most right wing fundamentalist Christians are like dumb sheep and have no business homeschooling their children .
    The Christians mind is a terrible thing to waste .

  109. @ elastigirl:

    B. he grows up with learning that revolves around…HIM! ; )

    D. he gets married, youngish (any time left for higher education?) Answer: Maybe not. Apprenticeship and home businesses are pushed big time. College is completely online a lot of times and they test out of a lot of the coursework to “save money.”

  110. RE: elastigirl on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:34 PM,

    And this is all allegedly what the Bible “teaches”? All under the rubric of inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility right?

  111. Hester wrote:

    Apprenticeship and home businesses are pushed big time. College is completely online a lot of times and they test out of a lot of the coursework to “save money.”

    I think there is a place for online colleges, but if you were homeschooled and then essentially do “home college” via Thomas Edison or some other similar school, you aren’t going to have much to put on your resume. Employment recruiters are probably going to want to see a degree from a more respected college from homeschooled applicants.

    One of the elders at my former church was big on apprenticeship. Before we met him, he was paying his apprentices. Then he stopped paying them until they worked well enough to be of actual help. That’s fair. Then he started going around to conferences in his tech industry encouraging people to offer apprenticeships.

    The real kicker? After years of being anti-college and pushing other people to offer apprenticeships, people (meaning men, I doubt he’d take a woman) now have to pay him $8000 to for a two month apprenticeship program, during which time they have to work long hours. I have no problem with a person charging like this, since his apprentices have good track records of being successful, but the hypocrisy of charging so much after complaining about people having to pay for college is astounding!

  112. I really think the standard of living of the next generation of QF people will be much lower. The children raised in the movement will mostly have much less education than their parents. The wives won’t have college degrees or career experience to fall back on if the family has financial troubles or the husband becomes unemployed or to ill to work.

  113. elastigirl wrote:

    Insular to the extreme.
    Where’s the giving back? Where’s the “leaving the world a better place then when you arrived”? Where’s the contribution to society, to fellow human beings?
    I suppose they expect others to invest in the knowledge necessary to heal their sicknesses, make their cars and air transport safer and more efficient, make the air they breath cleaner, govern their country,…
    What if everybody lived as they do? Knowledge, skill, expertise would devolve more and more… society would crumble.
    What kind of a model is this for doing life?????

    The boys grow up to become Fundamentalist Preachers and Godly(TM) Patriarchs.

    The girls grow up to be sold off as Quiverfull Breeding Stock.

    That’s about it for job skills/vocations.

  114. @ Hoppy and Hester

    “Some of them are probably only allowed to do it in case they ever move to a state that requires a bachelor’s degree to homeschool their future kids. (Yes, I’ve had some of the young ladies tell me this is why they are going to college.)”

    As a CollegePlus coach, I have had my students tell me just that. One just wanted something to do while she was waiting to get married. However, at least they do have the opportunity for a Bachelors through Thomas Edison State College even if it is from home.

    “They seem to max out at 2 years of high school math, if that, and maybe 1-2 years of science.”

    I’ve seen this too. Drives me crazy, since as a homeschool grad, Math and Science were subjects that I took all 4 years! A College Mathematics clep is pretty intimidating if you don’t have a solid background in higher math.

  115. elastigirl wrote:

    Insular to the extreme.
    Where’s the giving back? Where’s the “leaving the world a better place then when you arrived”? Where’s the contribution to society, to fellow human beings?
    I suppose they expect others to invest in the knowledge necessary to heal their sicknesses, make their cars and air transport safer and more efficient, make the air they breath cleaner, govern their country,…
    What if everybody lived as they do? Knowledge, skill, expertise would devolve more and more… society would crumble.
    What kind of a model is this for doing life?????

    I have wondered about this as well. They claim they we all need to have unlimited kids as part of God’s plan to reach/change the world. The problem is, these kids are taught that when they grow up, they need to also have unlimited kids. That leaves the moms without any time to help anyone else, because they are nearly drowning themselves. The dads may have a bit of free time, if they have jobs that pay extremely well. But most of them will wind up in mediocre or low paying jobs and have to work ridiculous hours. After a generation or two this, they will be as relevant in society as the Amish and have about as much influence.

  116. Arce, BeenThereDone that, my heart goes out to your friends, neighbors and loved ones. I too know many people nearby and the situation is heartbreaking. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I’m only a couple hours away.

    Dee, the title of this post is perfect. The Duggar Family as seen on tv is a myth and they have a huge influence on people, so much so that we call their followers “Duggarites”. My town is the biggest one in the region of their homeschooling conference in TX and we feel the impact of the Duggars daily. I want to cry every time I see a Duggarite family because I wonder what falsehoods are being promoted and what potential abuse is occurring. I am amazed by how little the kids know about science and math and world news/history.

    I do have close friends who choose homeschool but they do so because their kids asked for it after several years in a private school. Every year they re-evaluate the situation and strongly consider local private schools and public schools. The situation is fluid and always open to change. Oh, and both parents have advanced degrees.

  117. When I read the QF books/articles, they made grandiose claims about how God would answer our prayers for people to cure cancer, etc, if only we’d stop being selfish by using contraception. You see, he wants to send people to solve the world’s problems, only they never come as the first or second child. The really talented ones will be number ten or fifteen, so we are preventing the birth of the very people we need to save us!

    Never mind that as family size goes up (past the first few kids), the quality of home education they each get will generally decrease, as will the opportunities to do extracurricular activities that help them discover their talents and passions.

  118. elastigirl,
    You might enjoy reading Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Although I don’t agree with everything he wrote, the same can be said of what I believe with regard to what various theologians and churchmen have written through the centuries.

  119. Michelle Duggar was a hero among the women at my former church. Vision Forum gave her a “mother of the year” award in 2011 or 2012. Of course, in my view, having read her one of her books (I haven’t seen the show, but I’ve read about it enough at the Free Jinger forum), she doesn’t do much actual parenting. Her older daughters should’ve been the ones given the award, not her.

    The saddest part was a quote I read about her last baby, Josie, a premie who needed to be insolation with Michelle for a long time after coming from the hospital. Michelle supposedly said something to the effect of “I can’t believe that it’s possible to bond with a baby this much.” If true, then it means that she hasn’t really bonded with the previous 18! I would think that she would’ve at least bonded with the first one or two, before she got so distracted with having a large family to take care of.

    It really sounds like she had even less of a connection with all her “blessings” than I did with my first baby, when I was a clueless parent, without much support, and not to happy about the experience. That is really sad to me. For someone who preaches about children being blessings, she, and other QF followers, give them less real attention than many people give their pets.

  120. @ ConfusedButHopeful:

    Very true. There are many adult children who were homeschooled who are now essentially disowned after they leave their home and start new lives. They are labeled as rebellious, in sin, etc. They are judged and called heathens. That breaks my heart. Can you imagine the abandonment those adult children feel? Can you imagine if they get married and start having children and they have no connection with their parents? Some of these kids do get married and their parents don’t approve of their spouses and don’t attend the wedding. They refuse any and all communication or place very strong limits. This is the behavior of cults. I’m going to be a loud mouth about this on my blog. It disgusts me.

    I want to hug them all. I have a special place in my heart for them because it almost happened to me and my daughter, Hannah.

  121. @ HoppyTheToad:

    “They claim they we all need to have unlimited kids as part of God’s plan to reach/change the world.”
    ********************

    It appears that neither they nor their future generations have any time/energy/opportunity/availability/physical placement to reach/change the world.

    It seems to be survival mode tucked away in a pocket sheltered from the world.

    If my perceptions are wrong, someone who knows please correct me.

  122. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    @ Katie:
    Hi Katie. … I’ll read your message more closely after I get back, and my brain returns too, and get back to you when I can …

    No rush, no deadlines, take all the time you need!

    Thanks.

  123. Julie Anne wrote:

    I want to know why some people get sucked into high-controlling environments and others have the smarts to stay far from it.

    Good question. I’ve wondered about this myself. I grew up in a fundamentalist church and family, but not nearly as extreme as many of the stories that I’ve seen on the Wartburg Watch, thank goodness. My growing up experience included lots of black and white thinking, an us versus the world mentality, young earth creationism pushed very hard, etc. As someone who likes to ask questions and wonder about things, tension developed as I got older (high school and college and young adulthood) and realized answers to the questions can’t always be put into neat little boxes.

    One of the things that I miss, however, is the sense of community and belonging. I still miss not being in a tight-nit religious group. My husband eventually found his way and joined the Catholic Church. I’ve spent the last few years searching and seriously considering the Cath. Church. There are still some issues that I’m not completely at peace with the Cath. Church so we, as a family, have visited a number of mainline churches. We just can’t seem to find a place that feels like “home” for a church we can attend as a family. We occasionally all go to mass with my husband and many of the masses have been beautiful and uplifting for me, but still, I don’t know if I will ever swim the Tiber. I would probably be one of the “nones” but I feel I should be bringing up my children in a church. I will definitely teach my kids that good Christians can and do interpret the Bible differently, and that asking questions is normal and okay.

    Sorry for all of the rambling, I guess the heart of what I’m trying to say is that a strong sense of belonging in a family-type atmosphere, the comfort of having the “right answers” and an us against the world type of thinking is probably very strong and draws and keeps people in very controlling groups.

  124. @ brad/futuristguy:
    Middle Earth? You’re down under here in New Zealand? I’ve sent you an email, Brad. Have fun: maybe you could squeeze in some cross cultural research?

  125. Before I address the homeschooling commentary, I did want to comment on this part:

    and personal tours of the Creation Museum by Ken Ham himself (a dream for the ardent YEC)

    I’m a YEC. I don’t know how ardent I am, but I’ve never once dreamed of meeting Kam Ham, fantasized about him, or wanted to visit the Creation Museum. I think I’m a rather warm and fuzzy YEC.

  126. “Amended Fears: Conceived In A Cross-Fire Hurricane?”
     
    Viewing internet porn since possibly the age of twelve, many a young man awaits the new public high school freshman class of young promising women. A contest that presents a peer trophy to the greatest amount of sexual conquests. The freshman women, aglow with new found attention, fall easy prey to these eager mastodons. The heart broken parents left to pick up the pieces as best they can. Round belly maidens are thus paraded as ‘grand slam’ trophies, while high schools compete for promising results. Parents who complain of stairwell or locker room sexual contact are berated for their lack of off campus permissiveness. 

  127. @ Hoppy:

    I don’t think online college is totally bad – I take distance courses from Brigham Young, though those are music performance courses so I have to have contact with people and I have juried music exams three times a year. But the amount of testing out the kids do worries me. I’ve known homeschoolers who tested out of a ton of subjects and a lot of them hadn’t studied the subject at all until they picked up the CLEP study guide to study for the test. That’s not education, it’s the worst form of cramming. I know not everyone does that. But that’s been my experience.

  128. About the homeschooling. The part that concerns me, which is an off shoot to Christians in general, not just home schoolers, is the tendency of a lot of American Christians to live in a Christian bubble where they seek to minimize contact with the secular world.

    My Mom made me go to church a lot when I was a kid, up to three times a week every week, and I’ve gone off and on over the years (as I’ve moved around the country a lot), but I’ve spent more time out of church and mixing with more Non Christians than I have in church.

    I went to public school, I was not home schooled, but my mother was over-protective, and discouraged me from going out on my own, being my own person, and similar things, and this created serious repercussions for me as an adult. (It made it harder for me to socialize and make friends, among other things.)

    At the same time, though, I was forced out in to the world via public school, university, office jobs I held, etc.

    Up until a year ago, I was a very devout Christian, I read a lot of Christian content on the internet, and have read a lot of books about Christianity (such as about the history of the Bible, scholarly works on the person of Jesus, etc).

    So I was very conservative and orthodox in my Christian faith, but as someone who doesn’t only hang out only with other Christians constantly, or who doesn’t go to church every week, and who has experienced a shaking of her faith in the last year, I’ve had my eyes opened to some things.

    A lot of American Christianity (of the Southern Baptist and Fundamentalist, Evangelical, conservative Protestant varieties) looks peculiar to me now, when I really stop to look at it, observe how many of them behave, what they teach, what they choose to focus on, etc.

    When you have not been part of a local church for years but viewing the whole church culture from a distance, aspects of it look very off and plain weird, and I now am more understanding of atheists and agnostics who have issues with churches or Christians. I find myself agreeing with some of what they have to say.

    I find a lot of American Christians and churches to be very odd, very superficial, and other than an obsession with sending food to inner city drug addicts, Haitian and African orphans, many have about zero interest in mingling with and talking to or helping Non-Christians.

    It’s like many U.S. Christians are either afraid of the secular world or don’t really care (even though they insist they’re all about “spreading the Gospel”).

    They seem to only want to hang out in their small country churches of less than 200 members, or join a big mega church and hang with their Christian pals sipping coffee in the church’s coffee bar.

    A lot of Christians I’ve met, talked to online, or watched on TV, have a hard time being “real” and in acknowledging that evil happens in life to every one, even to other Christians. Or maybe they know this, and like to live in denial because the world can be a scary place.

    I think it’s those factors, plus Christian females are raised to be codependent (to always be positive, saccharine sweet, passive) where churches and their members feel alien to me. They make me uncomfortable.

    I do have my problems (such as for years I had depression), but other than things like that, I’m pretty normal. I’m afraid if I was a regular church- attending person living in a little Christian bubble, I’d not be as normal.

    Jesus told his followers to let their lights shine before men (which I took to mean all people, not just other followers), don’t hide your light and talents, be salt in your community – but so many Christians want to hide their light and not be salt to the world (especially not to Non- Christians, unless it’s to bludgeon them with the Gospel).

    The funny thing is even in church, a lot of Christians don’t want to be salt and light for other Christians – they don’t want to invest time in caring for the hurting Christians among them. They brush off the hurting with fake, cheery- sounding religious slogans and platitudes and chipper Bible quotes.

    It’s as though this type of Christian enjoys the trappings of church- the worship music and the coffee- but they don’t want to get down to the nitty gritty and live out what the New Testament says, they don’t want to live it out for Non Christians, and not to Christians who are in pain.

    I don’t think they can spot any of this because they are in a bubble; they are blinded to it.

    When you’re in a bubble and living on a safe, comfy cushion where you never talk to or befriend people who don’t agree with you about every thing, you become numb to what other people in life are going through, and, IMO, that makes for a lot of superficial, shallow, insensitive, or weird Christians.

    (I don’t think the only solution to all this is to sell every thing you own and go live as a missionary in poverty in South America, like some of the “radical” preachers teach.

    I think a Christian can live where he or she is but just be more aware that not every one thinks exactly like you do, be more aware of hurting people around you – that sort of thing.)

  129. I definitely agree that there seems to be a weakness in science and math education in the homeschool community. I suspect it comes from two things 1) many parents don’t know it as well and 2) fear of Evolution. That said, my wife and I are starting to home school, now that my oldest is old enough for school and hope to homeschool the kids all the way through. But I recognize that plans may change and home schooling may not be right for every family. In our case, we are both well educated and science and math won’t be a problem. We are leaning toward a classical approach right now because it seems very rigorous, but since it emphasizes history and writing we will have to heavily supplement for science and math. Over my dead body will I let my kids not get a through grounding in science and math.

    My reasons for wanting to homeschool are mostly academic, not the “The Bible says parents are the primary teachers of children therefore you must homeschool” line or the “secular schools will turn your kids into Godless athiests” line. I think that since my wife is a stay at home mom and my wife and I are educated and my oldest seems extremely intelligent (the others are too young to tell), we can do better than a class with thirty others like the ones I sat through.

    Also, we’ll be teaching the girls rigorous academic subjects too, not just consumer math. If they want to be stay at home moms, that’s great. If they want to be neuroscientists at Duke, I’ll do my best to give the the intellectual tools they need to make their daddy proud.

    Oh, and I won’t teach them that the earth is 6000 years old either…

  130. Daisy–you will find most ELCA and UMC congregations very different than what you describe as “Christian.” Ditto for most RCC parishes.

    Part of the unhealthiness showing up in evangelicalism is assuming it is the only valid form of the Christian faith.

  131. I have been wanting to comment on this post all day but have been unable to because, ironically, I am in the midst of hours and hours worth of planning for our next year of homeschool. 😉

    The fringe homeschoolers drive me up the wall. (And I used to be one of them, so I know!) Homeschooling is and can be a great option for some families but those who choose to use homeschooling as a wall to hide abuse and non-education give it the biggest black mark it could receive. My heart goes out to children who are in these situations. You can be sure that if I ever were to witness or have knowledge of any kind of abuse or lack of educational teaching going on in ANY homeschool, I would report it.

    I am the oldest of nine children and I was homeschooled until graduation. I am currently homeschooling my own children, however we do a month-to-month evaluation of their academics, my stamina and health, and our finances to ensure that the educational choices we are making for our children are still sufficient. We do not homeschool for religious reasons, though we used to; in fact, though we are a Christian family, we are almost secular in our homeschool. We are looking to build a home in an area that has top-notch public schools in order to have that option should the need arise. We also live outside a major metropolitan city and so private schools are available by the plenty as well. I am genuinely grateful that we live in a country with so many educational options!

    ATI, the Duggars, Vision Forum and the like are providing a system of living and academics are low on the list of priorities. Homeschooling is NOT actual schooling with them but rather an indoctrination of gender roles, dominion views and a sad waste of the very-ready-to-learn brains that our children have.

    I am grateful to Jennie Chancey who, in the video A Monstrous Regiment of Women, which my husband and I watched when we were drinking the kool-aid. In that video she made the comment that she said that she feels that higher-education for girls is a waste of time since they will be needing rather to know how to keep a home and raise children. It was because of this that I started to move OUT of the homeschooling movement and patriarchy in general.

    I hope many more homeschooling families wake up and change as I did.

  132. @ Julie Anne:

    That youtube video was HILARIOUS! I was once a quiverfull, fringe homeschooler who would have gotten quite angry at that video, but now, thankfully, I can laugh and see the humor in the truth of those words. 😉

  133. @ Daisy:

    Daisy, I read your last comment while nodding my head the whole time. I am basically a none. I go to church for my children and husband but we are looking for a new church home. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a church who truly wants to serve for Christ and ALSO allows women the freedom to serve within the church. We haven’t found one yet. If anyone wants to enlighten me on denominations or how to look for a church that allows women to be whatever they are called to be in the church, I would greatly appreciate it!

  134. Pardon me, there seems to be a problem with the posting here. I think this statement from No More Perfect should have been bolded 😉

    ATI, the Duggars, Vision Forum and the like are providing a system of living and academics are low on the list of priorities. Homeschooling is NOT actual schooling with them but rather an indoctrination of gender roles, dominion views and a sad waste of the very-ready-to-learn brains that our children have.

  135. FYI–off topic sorta.

    http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/17130-no-more-pentecostal-popemobiles

    Great article about big name charlatan preachers. I had no idea the new pope told the Argentinians to not come to the ceremony in Rome but to give the money they would have spent to the poor. How cool is that? I would like to hear from the Evangelical side: Don’t spend your money on all these conferences, give it to the poor in your community instead.

  136. No More Perfect wrote:

    We do not homeschool for religious reasons, though we used to; in fact, though we are a Christian family, we are almost secular in our homeschool.

    I can relate to this. I was thinking today about when I first started homeschooling. I would have told you it was for religious reasons. Incorporating the Bible into our daily routine. However, I just didn’t get too involved in the homeschool movement. Now, I would say we’re somewhat more secular, even though we use some religious material. I just don’t emphasize it. Reading the Bible is a personal choice for me and my kids, not a forced/required action.

  137. “am grateful to Jennie Chancey who, in the video A Monstrous Regiment of Women, which my husband and I watched when we were drinking the kool-aid. In that video she made the comment that she said that she feels that higher-education for girls is a waste of time since they will be needing rather to know how to keep a home and raise children. It was because of this that I started to move OUT of the homeschooling movement and patriarchy in general.”

    Oh yes, one of the authors of “Passionate Housewives” who went to the trouble of having the bad reviews removed from Amazon.

  138. @ Mandy:
    Thank you for your thoughtfulness. It’s much appreciated. There’s not much we can do at the moment except pray and offer support. My sister-in-law’s brother was on his way home from having dinner with his family when the blast happened. By the time they reached the house, part of the roof was blown off, and all the windows and doors were blown out. It was an older home with windows that were not safety glass. They could have been cut up had they been home at the time of the blast. His neighbor was out in the yard after watching his father, a volunteer fire fighter, take off in his truck toward the fire. His truck had just reached the building when the blast occurred. He hasn’t seen or heard from his father since, so they fear he was killed in the blast.

    Many of the residents of West work in the surrounding cities where jobs are more plentiful. This tragedy will affect people all over the central Texas area. My heart goes out to everyone affected.

  139. Joining the chorus of voices (Katie, Julie, Futuristic Brad, inter alia) interested in what makes perfectly intelligent people drink the proverbial Kool Aid, I too a interested in this. I can’t boast a ticket to Middle Earth, but I do have a day in the English Loch District tomorrow (3am start for a 6am arrival in Patterdale, followed by the Helvellyn range, followed by a conference in Chester tomorrow evening – looking forward!).

    After which I’ll join in more properly…

  140. Anon 1 wrote:

    Oh yes, one of the authors of “Passionate Housewives” who went to the trouble of having the bad reviews removed from Amazon.

    Did you say she removed a negative review? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha I wonder if she would have sued if someone started a blog about their experiences. 😉

  141. P.S. I am truly sorry for the disappointment, but my “ticket” to Middle-earth is a set of extended version DVDs of *The Lord of the Rings* trilogy. Although I should certainly enjoy a trip to the IRL Middle-earth setting of New Zealand, sadly, I must make due with the virtual version.

    Every so often, I watch these films pretty much back-to-back-to-back so that the exhaustion of 11.5+ hours of film parallels the journeys of the Fellowship. Tis a reminder of the importance and “pay-off” of perseverance. And when you’ve been working on some large, multi-year projects as I have, that reminder is something that helps restore hope when the heart grows weary of doing good …

    So, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, to Middle-earthward I go!

    P.P.S. I recently celebrated my 10-year blogiversary, and reposted the very first article I ever blogged, back in early April of 2003, on “The Frodo Syndrome: Overcoming Grief and Melancholia in the Modern-to-Postmodern Transition.” Tolkien fans among us might find it of interest.

    http://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/the-frodo-syndrome/

  142. Wow. So glad to see this here.

    We have a large family because we really like kids. We are asked all the time if we like the Duggars. How do you respond to that? Usually we just say we aren’t fans and let it go at that.

    Homeschooling. We’ve homeschooled for years. Our oldest daughter wants to go to med school. More power to her. Right now she’s interested in surgery. She did not get that from me or her dad!!! I believe she’ll do well.

    Vision Forum. Ick. No, ick ick ick ick ick. There. We used to get their catalogues. The boys got all the fun toys. The girls had to sit around playing tea and dollies. Uh, no. Obviously this group had never seen our daughters who usually got far dirtier than the boys did. Trying to convince them to play tea party and be little prissies wouldn’t have flown. They do have great toys for boys tho, which my girls thoroughly enjoyed.

    Quiverfull. It is not safe. Our bodies were not designed to breed like rabbits.

    Ezzos. Not a fan of the Ezzo’s. However, they did change their material so that it is much less dangerous. The schedule in their books now is much much less severe. The feedings are a lot closer together and there are many warnings about checking your baby and not the schedule. The only reason I know this is because a friend was on the advisory board when they changed it.

    Activities. We do lots. Supposedly I’m a stay-home mom. I’ve gone overboard a time or two, so much so that my kids were begging to stay home. They are invovled with kids from public school, private school, and homeschools. We just want well rounded kids!!

    Academics. Mostly secular, actually. A few Christian here and there that we use because they were free!!!

    And young earth. I’ve always been YE. I was taught YE. I confess that I have just accepted YE. However, I am also interested in the other side of things now. I hope this summer to read up on rebuttals to YE. Just don’t have a lot of spare time at the moment.

  143. linda wrote:

    Daisy–you will find most ELCA and UMC congregations very different than what you describe as “Christian.” Ditto for most RCC parishes

    And the Episcopal Church, UCC, Disciples of Christ, etc. as well. It is always so amusing how many conservative American churches (defined as defending ‘the basics,’ or ‘the way it was at the beginning’ before it all became so librul) casually ignore the fact that most of the churches we today consider “liberal” or “unbiblical” were actually the main ones around at the founding of our nation.

    How times change.

  144. Regarding the Ezzo books, I have heard someone say about them,”Whatever is unique is not good, and whatever is good is not unique. So don’t waste time reading them.” I think that is excellent advice for most of this Quiverful stuff.

  145. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Joining the chorus of voices (Katie, Julie, Futuristic Brad, inter alia) interested in what makes perfectly intelligent people drink the proverbial Kool Aid, I too a interested in this.

    Is it too simplistic an answer to suggest that in many cases, a person is more likely to drink the Kool Aid when that person’s ideal “Other” is the same “Other” that the church happens to preach against as well?

    Most people gravitate toward groups that tend to reinforce their own beliefs, and only when the “Other” becomes them, or becomes part of their identity, do they find fault with it.

    For example, take Sovereign Grace Ministries: As long as the Other, i.e. (alleged) child molesters, is not seen as part of the organization, because only Others have corrupt church structures and moral weakness, people will not worry about “secondary issues” like personality cults. But when child abuse cases are linked to that organization, suddenly “the Other” isn’t foreign after all, and all the secondary things one has ignored or rationalized away because the MAIN THING is moral impurity of those outside the organization come to the fore as well.

  146. Dee and Deb – thanks for shining a light on this fringe homeschooling. I hope that, with this rising awareness of its dangers, people that are interested in homeschooling or are in the middle of it, will have their eyes opened. Maybe when they Google “vision forum” or “ati”, this or HA will come up and they will be curious enough to read it. May it be the beginning of a doubt that leads to change.

  147. I was homeschooled for part of my education and am now homeschooling my own children. I absolutely love it for so many reasons, but I’ve always found it extremely annoying to hear other homeschoolers speak and act as if any other choice is ungodly. And the emphasis on things that are merely lifestyle choices within homeschooling is nauseating. I’ve seen the negative effects of the “Duggar myth” on some who are very close to me. As much as I have intentionally avoided that particular wing of homeschooling (I’ve never set foot in a HS conference), it is still very rampant even in materials and textbooks. My faith is essential to my life, but can’t my kids do math word problems that are not filled with Christianese (“If Sally memorized 10 Bible verses and Suzie memorized 7, how many……”)

    Another thing that I’ve never understood is the fear that many homeschoolers have of social services (and I mean parents who have no reason to be afraid, aren’t hurting or neglecting their kids, etc.) Some homeschooling groups (especially HSLDA) even give lists on what to do if SS comes to your door and #1 is always: Do not let them in. (#2 Is usually: Call your lawyer.) Since i have nothing to hide, why would i need to feel so threatened? Someone homeschooling many years ago when they were fighting for legalization (the current “leaders” in the movement can not take credit for that btw), I understand the hesitation. But now homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. I’ve always thought it would rather be a great opportunity to invite them in and let them see how great homeschooling really is! Wouldn’t that be more beneficial to the “movement”?

    The visual and outspoken homeschooling world is predominately of the fundamental flavor. But I think the rise of non-Christian homeschoolers, and those choosing it for academic or quality of life reasons is beginning to grow and will balance the scales one day. I would love to see it become just another valid educational choice available for every parent to choose or not choose as they see fit.

  148. kindakrunchy wrote:

    Obviously this group had never seen our daughters who usually got far dirtier than the boys did. Trying to convince them to play tea party and be little prissies wouldn’t have flown.

    You have a couple Rainbow Dashes instead of Pretty Pony Princesses?

  149. Here is some of the history (in their own words) of the Middle Tennessee Homeschool Education Association. Several things jumped out at me.

    1. In 1990 approximately 400 homeschooling families attend the preliminary hearing in the Metro Nashville courthouse on the HSLDA lawsuit! Ashley Fitch of Brentwood testifies as well as Rev. Paul Williams, minister of education at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis.

    Yes, this is the same Paul Williams who, around that very same time, was molesting his own son.

    Twenty years of legalized homeschooling in Tennessee have passed. In a nation-wide movement of God, a handful of Tennessee families decided to risk jail, attorney fees, heavy fines, public ridicule, and extended-family criticism in order to conduct the education of their own children.

    Puhleaze. Paul Williams apparently didn’t mind risking “jail, attorney fees, heavy fines, public ridicule, and extended-family criticism” in order to molest his son either, so I suppose bucking the public educational system seemed mild in comparison. What a brave man!

    2. In 1992 HSLDA files a federal civil rights suit for four Tennessee families homeschooling at the high school level who have been denied wavers by the Dept. of Education Commissioner, Charles Smith. The families were the Floyds of Wartburg in Morgan County, the Goggans of Harrison near Chattanooga, the Snyders of Charleston in Bradley County, and the Williams[es] in Memphis.

    Yep, Paul Williams and Mrs. Williams, who by this time, knew of the abuse perpetrated against her own son in her own home by her own husband who never reported it to the authorities.

    3. In 2003 The MTHEA Summer Teachers’ Conference is held at Hendersonville First Baptist Church. Speakers: Cindy Rushton, The Binder Queen; Chris Davis of The Elijah Company; the Campbells of Far Above Rubies; Dewitt Black of HSLDA; Terri Camp of Ignite the Fire!; Maggie Hogan of Bright Ideas Press; the Notgrasses of The Notgrass Company, and the Shearers of Greenleaf Press.

    Aren’t those the same Campbells who lived in squalor with their children in an unheated shack in Australia with no running water and “lived off the land”?

    4. In 2006 the MTHEA Workshop Weekend is held at Madison church of Christ and Embassy House in Madison, TN. Speakers: the Pearls of No Greater Joy; the Campbells of Far Above Rubies; Mary Hood, the Relaxed Homeschooler; Todd Wilson, the FamilyMan; and Ginger Plowman of Preparing the Way Ministries.

    This is Michael and Debi Pearl of the “there’s no greater joy than beating your children with plumbing line” fame.

    From what I’ve read Mary Hood is another scary one to watch.

    All that’s missing were Doug Wilson, Doug Phillips, and David Barton.

    I’ve met some of these homeschooling parents around here. Some, and I would classify them as few, are providing their children with good educations. And then there are the rest. I get a creepy vibe from a lot of these parents. Not that I suspect any of the ones I know of abusing their children (although who knows what goes on behind closed doors?), but they just have this “holier than thou” air about them. Not that the public schools are doing kids any favors. They’re not. I’m not sure ECS and some of the “Christian” schools are doing much better. The fact is, education in the U.S. has been progressively dumbed down in the past 100 years to the point where today’s high school education is at about the same level (or lower) than a 6th grade education 100 years ago.

  150. @ notastepfordsheep:

    My kids are getting a great education in our public education system. Light years ahead of what my 70’s education was (also public Ed). Teachers are very conscientious, standards are very high, expectations are high. Character traits are emphasized — in fact the whole city gets behind it. A different character trait each month (honesty, respect, compassion, etc.). Discussed in class, school assemblies, banners around town. Conflict resolution skills are taught, forgiving each other. I see so many ways my kids are being prepared well for life in the public Ed system.

  151. Very happy to hear that! Obviously they don’t go to Memphis City Schools. Even my public school education several decades ago in another state wasn’t that great. Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for the rigors of college.

  152. @ notastepfordsheep:

    I understand. I know there can be great inequity in funds and resources & things that drive well-run for school districts. That “life isn’t fair” surely shows up in that realm. I am very fortunate. All to say public education doesn’t deserve the wholesale rejection it sometimes gets.

  153. Yes, the mainlines are mostly quite liberal at the denominational level.

    That doesn’t mean every local church is liberal, although I’d want a good working definition of liberal before I got too hot and bothered.

    I’ve been told I’m liberal because I am not dispensational fundamentalist.

    I personally don’t think that makes me a liberal. In fact, the very term conservative means preserving what already is or was. You know, conserving.

    The dispy’s and fundies frankly are the “liberal” ones in that they are rather new comparatively on the Christian scene.

  154. @ linda:

    The term “liberal” is indeed often abused by the IFB cult and other likeminded fundamentalists. They use it against people who don’t hold their “standards” on music, dress, “separation”, etc.

    You are quite right that the charge of “liberal” can be turned around against the Dispensationalists, who hold to a theology absolutely unheard of until the nineteenth century.

  155. notastepfordsheep wrote:

    The fact is, education in the U.S. has been progressively dumbed down in the past 100 years to the point where today’s high school education is at about the same level (or lower) than a 6th grade education 100 years ago.

    Ah, I don’t think so. Maybe in the area of writing/composition it is IN GENERAL downhill but it is definitely better in areas of science and math. I was a part of the first wave of kids to get calculus in the 70s. Now it’s standard if you are headed for a STEM education in college. And my father (high school class of 43) talked about how most of the boys in WWII skipped the last grade or two of high school to “join up”. But even prior to WWII they just dropped out by 16.

    Your statement would need a LOT of foot notes to be considered true about the US system.

    I think the biggest difference between now and the past is that now kids with no future still sit in school until they get to be 17 or 18. Maybe 15 or 16. In the past they stopped going and went to work. They didn’t stay around and get a diploma that meant nothing as they sometimes do now.

    In a very much over simplified analysis, the US lack of factory jobs for people without a high school education has exposed a long term issue. And by long term, one going back 100 years or more.

  156. @ ConfusedButHopeful:

    Actually, that is one of my concerns if I ever do attend church again. I do think correct doctrine is important to a point, and some churches these days do deny or alter certain truths.

  157. I didn’t know that the Duggar’s have their own “church” in their home. Does anyone know if this is a completely independent entity or some sort of “satellite campus” of an existing church?

    Also, if it’s completely independent, do they tithe to themselves? 🙂

  158. @ Lynn:
    About the decline in educational levels, I’ve seen concrete evidence in two different disciples.

    First is analytical chemistry. I had what was text for sophomore college level and copied some of the pages for reference. Later, when I had to replace the book, which was lost by my boss, I got the same text, just a later edition. I compared what I copied and could not believe the difference. Definitely not comparable, the older was more rigorous.

    Second was a basic theology course, I had bought a very old text to use as a reference, to supplement the course text book. Again, the older was much deeper and broader in scope. Both were for the first course in systematic theology.

  159. Mr.H wrote:

    I didn’t know that the Duggar’s have their own “church” in their home. Does anyone know if this is a completely independent entity or some sort of “satellite campus” of an existing church?

    I think they “home church” with other similar families, like the Bates. (I don’t know if the Bates live nearby or not.)

  160. Anna A wrote:

    @ Lynn:
    About the decline in educational levels, I’ve seen concrete evidence in two different disciples.

    On the homeschooling forum I go to, one of the moms is a physics professor. She hates the way modern textbooks constantly “interrupt” themselves with endless sidebars and unnecessary pictures. I have to agree. When I try to read one of these books, I can’t figure out what to look at first.

  161. When the Duggar’s first made their debut, all those years ago, I found them fascinating. I also remember them saying that the reason they were so financially stable is that they bought used and saved the difference and that they did not do credit, they pay for everything or they don’t get it.
    I think many family’s whether they have several children, one, or a dozen do not have that kind of control. I know that I would not be able to reframe from buying a larger home if I needed it until I had cash for it. I would be getting me a loan!
    I also agree that life on TV is not “real”. When cameras’ are turned off, I am sure things change some, but they is realty tv. Of course,I think most people relies this, at least I do. I always take those type of shows with a grain of salt 😉
    Now we are also Homeschooler’s and I could not “homeschool” as they do. Now I am not judging as I think everyone does things in a way that works for them, but I like to allow my children the ability to socialize and be more relaxed. I am Big on co-ops and church of course. Plus, I enjoy being Eclectic with our studies. I mean we use a computer based curriculum (T4L), but we also like to shake things up and do a unit study or watch a cool documentary from time to time.
    On another note, I think it is really a shame about the possible child abuse. Of course I think the idea of any child being abused is awful 🙁
    This was a interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

  162. I am also one contributing to H.A. The other thing about the Duggars is that although they still wear dresses and conservative clothing, all things considered, their clothes are pretty trendy. I never had that as a kid. I had hand me downs.

  163. I enjoy watching the Duggars, although they took awhile to grow on me, with their unique dress and lifestyle. But they seem like they’d be fun to hang out with, even though I don’t agree with everything they believe. My favorite person on the show is Amy because she is more relatable and real.

    As far as their tithing – good question about who benefits from their tithes. Maybe Bill Gothard?!

  164. I read one of their books a few years ago. They lived in a tiny house with their first seven (or more) kids, much like most quiverfull families. What saved them was getting lucky in real estate and their TV show. I know they put work in on the real estate, but still, they lived and invested in an area right before a big boom, if I remember correctly. What bothers me is that they promote the idea that if you avoid ALL debt (as taught by Jim Salmons), that God will bless you, too. Most quiverfull families are not going to live in the right area at the right time to use real estate to keep them from poverty.

  165. HoppyTheToad wrote:

    if I remember correctly. What bothers me is that they promote the idea that if you avoid ALL debt (as taught by Jim Salmons), that God will bless you, too. Most quiverfull families are not going to live in the right area at the right time to use real estate to keep them from poverty.

    There is not the norm yet they pretend that everyone could be like them. They are no different than Ed Young Jr who said he tithed and that is why he lives iso well.

  166. @ dee: Do you know, I’ve never even watched their show?

    I so wish that “reality TV” had never come into existence and hope it dies a quick death.

  167. @ dee: Just curious: does their “unreality show” (love the term!) deal at all with what so very many pregnancies have done to the mom’s health?

    I mean, it just absolutely staggers me whenever I contemplate the idea of so many pregnancies, all that can go wrong during a pregnancy, the effects of aging and multiple + pregnancies on anyone. (fwiw, there was a QF family in That Church and the wife’s life was in danger more than once…. she always looked totally worn out and I felt for her. I’d guess she looked about 55 when she was only 40, at times, anyway…)

  168. I feel that the best insight into the movement is told by an excellent writer who takes us through her growing up years in a six part story called Home Is Where the Hurt Is. Mary’s Story.

    Really disappointed and hurt by that…

    Skimmed through all 7 parts of that story and that was way over the top abusive on sooooooooo many levels and I find myself feeling really marginalized as if I am some kind of Nazi for having a Quiver Full of children and having homeschooled them for some 5 years (homeschooling a 12 yos now).

    I don’t keep on top of statistics for homeshoolers, but my adult children have proven themselves high achievers. The one who homeshooled the most years (5) is a National Merit Scholarship recipient and will receive her undergrad degree from Harvard this May. Our firstborn, a daughter is an MD in residency. Our second daughter is a Physician’s Assistant.

    Certainly, I regret some ways I was harsh with our children, but to suggest that Mary’s experience of torture, starvation, and sexual abuse provides “the best insight into the movement”.

    I’m speechless. ((((((((shakes head)))))))))

  169. i think that homeschool is bad made the duggars children thick and my son does go to state school which he have very high grades in all subjects and he is on a high belt in kickboxing

  170. I used to be a Duggar fan myself until I learned differently. in fact, I had never heard of them until catching a headline about their 17th child. TLC does a good job of watering them down. Look how much they have changed since the first special. It was to keep viewers from being turned off. Recently, Gil Bates started his own church as did the Duggars. As someone else mentioned, I wonder who gets the tithes. The Bateses had their own show but it got canned. The Bateses are more Quiverfull reality than the Duggars. They may seem more likeable, but lipstick on a pig is still a pig. It amazes me the people that defend either family. If it weren't for TLC, the Duggars would be nowhere close to their current lifestyle.

  171. dee wrote:

    They are no different than Ed Young Jr who said he tithed and that is why he lives iso well.

    Actually he lives so well because everyone in his megachurch tithes to HIM.

    “Hold up your checkbooks so our security cameras can see your routing and account numbers. If you don’t, WE WILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE.”

  172. @ Charis:
    I know you left this comment about a week ago, but I just saw it. (A lot going on here lately)

    I don’t want you to feel marginalized for home schooling. I’m still homeschooling my own children for the time being. Julie Anne and HA have stressed that there is a difference between homeschooling and “The Homeschooling Movement” (I wish I knew how to do one of those trademark symbols) that has dominated the scene for some time through Gothard, Vision Forum, et al. Child training “experts” such as the Pearl’s and Ezzo’s are embraced in these circles. It can make for a very frightening, isolating experience for a child. My husband and his brothers (all home schooled in a patriarchal environment) could tell you stories that would have you outraged. My husband and I are doing things very different now.

    To me, Mary’s story is significant, because it seems her isolation contributed to the abuse going unnoticed. I think her mother had an undiagnosed mental illness, and probably should not have been homeschooling without treatment and support. But, it is Mary’s story, and she needs a safe place to tell it. It may not be your experience or my experience, but you don’t know how many others may be able to identify with parts of it.

    I’m so glad you raised healthy, successful children. Your story is important, too, as an example of what homeschooling should be about, instead of how some nut job leaders are trying to define it.

  173. I trust a few articles on the detrimental effects of public and private schooling are soon to follow…

  174. Why are Chistians bashing brothers and sisters in Christ over a TV show that premotes Godly behavior and beliefs,(and for the record I disagree with many of the Duggers beliefs “doctrinaly”}but have you seen the garbage on tv, this is a show that actually shows a Christian family not compromising,and if you did think they were at fault why wouldnt you try to reach them personaly not bash them publicly,this article shows less character and a false humility then that show ever could by slandering fellow believers, whom you do not know,please,pray before you write articles against the body of Christ, satan does enough of that on his own! Godbless

  175. It’s television. That’s all.
    We see someone edited on tv, and we assume that our lives can be as “perfect”, whether it is childrearing, home decorating, or whipping up a meal with perfectly coiffed hair and wearing a size two silk dress. The responsibility is on us, individually to correctly discern what is true and right.
    TV is pretend. That would be the first lesson I would teach to my homeschool. That doesn’t mean the Duggars are nefarious proselytizers anymore than the Kardashians are plastic coke snorters.
    Where’s the grace?

  176. Don’t you just love it when critics of a blog post wait until it’s old before they comment, in hopes that nobody will respond to them?

  177. Athena,

    If everything about the Duggars is just pretend, then they should just keep their lifestyle to themselves and stop trying to sway people to embrace their wacko ideology.

  178. The Duggars way may not be for everyone but it works for them. Every parent makes the choice on how to raise their children and decides what works for them.The Duggars got their tv contracts because tv audiences wanted to see them and still do like following them. If you don't like them or their ways then here is a hint CHANGE THE CHANNEL, it is called a remote control for a reason, or better yet TURN THE TV OFF. No one is forcing you to listen to them or watch the show. It's common sense and anyone who says otherwise needs to get a clue and quit blaming one family or a show for the problems in the world we all have free will and the right to choose. In the end the choices we make the way we treat are kids is our own fault and to lay the blame else where just makes you a pathetic excuse for a parent. I say if it works for you go for it and WAY TO GO Duggars for following their beliefs and standing by their choices.

  179. Jennifer, BEAU, Athena, jeannette

    If you’d read the article, you’d know it was about problems inside a cohort of the homeschool movement to which Duggars belong.

    If you had sense of fair play, you’d know that when people put themselves on television, they become public figures and fair game for honest criticism.

    If you cared about children, you’d know that protecting children trumps parents’ freedom to choose. You’d also carefully read Homeschoolers Anonymous and start worrying about the Duggar kids’ health behind the appearances.

    If you were concerned about the reputation of God, you’d tremble to see him smeared in front of the whole world by people who say “Lord, Lord” while being destructive.

    If you are the Christians you say you are, you’d pray for the hurting children, at the very least. And I doubt you’d lackadaisically shoot messengers delivering unpleasant truths.

    THAT would be the beginnings of grace.

  180. Pingback: His Quiver Full of Them: Jeri Lofland’s Thoughts | H • A UNITED STATES

  181. Yup, the Duggars do seem like Hippocrates [or just ironic]. doesn’t mean we’ll stop watching this crap.