The Gothard-Sized Skeleton in HSLDA’s Closet

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There is a Gothard-sized skeleton in HSLDA's closet. But before we get to that, let's start with an excerpt from Michael Farris's white paper, A Line in the Sand: Although some people want HSLDA to be the police force of the homeschooling movement—removing those who miss the mark in some manner—that is not our role. Even though I have been uncomfortable with the teaching coming from each of these men for several years, it is not my place to try to remove viewpoints from the homeschooling com … [Read more...]

Why It Matters That Farris Strawmanned Patriarchy

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Last week Michael Farris published his white paper, A Line in the Sand. As I mentioned at the time, I appreciate his efforts to distance himself, and HSLDA, from the more extreme voices of the Christian homeschooling world. However, as I wrote immediately afterwards, Farris mischaracterized Doug Phillips' views and those of Phillips' organization, Vision Forum, throughout his piece. He wrote that "patriarchy teaches that women in general should be subject to men in general" and that "women are … [Read more...]

The Binary Is Collapsing

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I've blogged for years against patriarchal Christian homeschooling. I've blogged against courtship and modesty teachings, against the belie that adult daughters remain under their fathers' authority, and against the idea that women's only place is in the home. This is the world I grew up in, but it is not the world I live in today. And as I've blogged, my opponents have loomed large, each different in their own way but all united, all standing strongly on the side of patriarchy and strongly … [Read more...]

Patriarchy: What’s in a Word?

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Today Michael Farris published a white paper titled "A Line in the Sand." In it, he called out patriarchy and legalism directly, and condemned both. I am grateful for any additional freedom his words may bring children in Christian homeschooling families influenced by his words, but I am very concerned that we are once again getting caught up in what amounts to a word game.I'm going to leave aside that the biggest reason Farris gives for "treating children well and treating women well" is … [Read more...]

Farris: Patriarchy Makes Kids Gays and Atheists

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If you read my blog, you're probably aware of the Christian homeschooling subculture's patriarchy problem. A variety of prominent Christian homeschool leaders have been promoting patriarchal family structures at homeschool conventions and in homeschool publications for well over a decade, and two of those leaders---Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips---have recently fallen, engulfed in scandal. Michael Farris, another prominent Christian homeschool leader, has since come out criticizing these leaders … [Read more...]

Is the Christian Homeschool World Really Changing?

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Things are changing in the Christian homeschooling world. Vision Forum has fallen and ATI is shaken. People are talking, really talking, and the narratives are shifting.Some are still resisting this conversation. They claim that Doug Phillips' fall had nothing to do with his patriarchal ideology. With both Phillips and Gothard, they argue, the problem was with the leader, not the belief system. These claims are dispiriting, because in some sense these leaders are interchangeable. Old ones … [Read more...]

You Don’t Say, Mr. Farris? On Making Exemptions

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In spite of his recent decision to speak out against patriarchy in the homeschool movement, Michael Farris will be keynoting alongside Voddie Baucham at the Home Educator's Association of Virginia's annual convention this June.In case you're wondering what he'll be speaking on, well, Baucham's keynote address descriptions are available for viewing. Everything in them, from his focus on feminism to his invocation of "multigenerational" thinking, comes straight out of the biblical pa … [Read more...]


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