Quoting Quiverfull: Childish Homeschooler Syndrome Part 1

Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin at Visionary Daughters – “Childish Homeschooler Syndrome Part 1”

It’s been exciting to watch the homeschool “movement” grow up. The firstfruits of this effort are adults now, and we have a sizable army of exemplary and remarkable young leaders. The greatest, most successful young men and women coming out of this movement have this in common: Like the good stewards in the parable of the talents, they made good use of the advantages their parents gave them, and gave a tenfold return on their parents’ investment. They stood on their parents’ shoulders to go even further, learning from their mistakes, and being grateful for their sacrifice.

But not all of us have been good stewards of the home education experience. Our family has had the privilege of knowing homeschoolers from all over the world, and have noticed three common weaknesses of homeschooled youth:

  • We sometimes use the advantages our parents gave us as an excuse to become spoiled and complacent
  • We dwell on the disadvantages we may have had in our particular families
  • And then, worst of all, when we arrive at adulthood still acting like children, we blame our parents

Thanks to these three tendencies, there is a new stereotype of the homeschooled adult: Passive, undisciplined, frumpy, fearful, and directionless, content to merely exist in the comfort of his childhood bubble world, never looking beyond self or comfort to disciple and serve others.
Many observers have recognized a problem, but not everyone agrees on the cause, or the solution. What exactly is it that needs to be fixed? Parents? Children? The family-discipleship model itself?

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Dani

    Hmm, parents who control their children’s every move and don’t give them any agency have children who grow up to be poor decision makers? I can’t imagine why that would be! /sarcasm

  • Nightshade

    Passive, undisciplined, frumpy, fearful, and directionless’ Aren’t some of those ‘problems’ exactly what they’re aiming for, at least for women?

  • Sue

    I laughed at “frumpy” – I will NEVER forget what my husband said when we walked through the doors of our first homeschooling convention (MANY years ago): “Promise me you will never look like this”. And that EXACTLY what he saw – a sea of frumpy women, in denim jumpers, with no makeup and little jewelry. And nothing has improved over the years.

  • Anonymous

    I have noticed the fundie homeschooling childishness, but I dont think its for the reasons the quote gives. I think its down to a few things that are common amongst fundie Christian homeschoolers.

    If they shelter their children from the world, theyre not letting them develop age appropriate interests and having an age appropriate level of responsibility. Most teenagers are allowed to go out of the house and meet friends alone, choose their own friends, use the internet alone, make choices of what to wear and how to do their hair, read and watch whatever they like and develop their own opinions on things seperate from their parents. Even adult unmarried kids dont get those responsibilities, and theyre essensially given the same amount of freedom as a 10 year old.

    Everything has to be done as a family, so the activities the family do together all have to be suitable for the toddlers to do. Theres no doing an activity just for the teenagers and leaving the toddlers at home with a babysitter, or letting the teenagers go out alone to do their own thing. All of their movies are child friendly as all of the suitable ones for teenagers are “innapropriate”. They also spend more time with siblings than they do with other kids their age, so end up playing with kids smaller than them.

    Theyve got no measure of what is expected for someone their age in normal worldly culture, its like living in a different world, so theyve got different standards of how people are supposed to act. Ironically, in Biblical times, there wouldnt be 19 year olds who werent allowed to do anything by themselves because they had overprotective parents, as in the culture back then you were considered an adult when you reached puberty, and would likely be married with kids by 19.

    With all of the “training” any possible opinions or feelings out of a person, theyre preventing them from developing the ability to make decisions for themselves and making them completely dependant on their parents as theyve learned that if they dont, theyre going to get beaten. Theyve learned that only by being completely passive and compliant to their parents, will they be loved.

  • Kimberly

    I can ditto anonymous’ post, except instead of childishness, I’ve seen kids who get way too extreme when they finally move out and have experiences with the opposite sex, drinking, etc. The second-to last-paragraph really hit it on the head that they have no idea how people in the world’s culture are supposed to act. I’ve known of kids who have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble by taking things too far or going to the other extreme and not relating very well to anyone.