The Good and the Ugly Aspects of Christian Homeschooling

The Good and the Ugly Aspects of Christian Homeschooling – views from the insiders will be featured on today’s Free Thought Fridays and Variety Show with Al and Deborah. The show will feature some of our NLQ regulars and associates. More from their site.

Homeschooling has become an increasingly popular option in the United States and is particularly appealing to fundamentalist Christian parents.  By 1992, homeschooling was recognized as a legal option in every state.

This episode of the Freethought Fridays and Variety Show with Al and Deborah focuses on Christian homeschooling – from the perspectives of young adults who were homeschooled as children and from parents who advocate homeschooling.

Topics will include:

  • A history of the homeschooling movement;
  • The 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit that emphasized “the necessity of patriarchy” and other issues about female submissiveness;
  • Christian nationalism and history revisionist David Barton’s involvement in the Christian homeschooling movement;
  • Escape from secularism:  Homeschool ideologies and literature;
  • Creation “science” taught in the Christian homeschooling environment;
  • Perspectives from parents; and
  • What it’s like to be LGBT in Christian homeschooling.

We’ll also take a look at Homeschoolers Anonymous’ fight against abuse (seethe petition on

A stellar panel of guests will share their experiences and insight on Christian homeschooling.  Guests include:

Ryan Stollar – Extraordinary Debater and Co-Founder of Homeschoolers Anonymous.

Ryan spent his high school years as a speech and debate competitor in the HSLDA-created National Christian Forensics and Communications Association and was one of the original student leaders for Communicators for Christ (CFC), now the Institute for Cultural Communicators (ICC). His coaching experiences in homeschool debate include lecturing and training thousands of students across the nation with CFC conferences, at a HSLDA National Leadership Retreat at Liberty University, at Cedarville University, the University of Oregon, the Training Minds Ministry Debate Camp in Colorado, and others.

“Homeschoolers Anonymous is made up of a diverse group of people. We don’t really have a ‘thing’ that we all agree on other than this: we have seen or experienced harm within the conservative Christian homeschooling movement and we think those stories should be told. The truth should be known,” Stollar writes.

Kathryn Brightbill – Law School Student – Youngest Republican Precinct Committeewoman.

Kathryn was homeschooled from the start of formal schooling in 1st grade through graduation from high school. She is the second of four children and the first in her family to be homeschooled all the way through school. Growing up in a politically active family, at one time Kathryn was the youngest ever precinct committeewoman elected to her county Republican Executive Committee. She has a B.A. in Information and Computer Science from Covenant College, a graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, and is in the process of studying for her J.D. at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Prior to law school, Kathryn dabbled in several different fields, including spending time on the English faculty at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi, VN, where she taught reading and writing for international relations to foreign affairs students. While in law school she was asked to assist in researching an amicus brief in the Perry and Windsor US Supreme Court cases, including coauthoring a survey examining the experiences of LGBT youth and young adults. She’s still not quite sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but she thinks it will be working in Intellectual Property law.

Nicholas Ducote, Author and Co-Founder & Community Coordinator at Homeschoolers Anonymous.

Nicholas grew up in a home school family immersed in an array of local, state, and national homeschooling movements – namely CHEF of Louisiana in elementary and ATI in middle school and high school. After high school, he worked at Bobby Jindal’s congressional office. He attended his first Communicators for Christ conference (CFC) in 2003, and credits home school speech and debate for kindling his passion for teaching. This passion inspired him to share the values of inquiry and critical thinking. He toured with CFC from 2006-2007 and, in college, he taught debate in Jordan and Afghanistan – helping to organize the first internationally-sanction debate tournament in Kabul.   He had a fellowship with the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free market think tank in 2009, and spent the summer in Washington, D.C. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and his Master of Arts in History from Louisiana Tech University and has been a contributing writer to Gen Why Press.  He is in the final stages of publishing his first book, a work of history profiling the Hunt family and their influence on lumber development in North Louisiana.

Sarah Jones – Journalist and Activist.

Sarah is an independent journalist and researcher with specializations in social movements, postcolonial theory, and religion. She has presented work on these topics at the London School of Economics and Florida Atlantic University and holds a Master of Arts in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy from Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also a 2011 graduate of Cedarville University, and blogs regularly about her experiences as a former homeschooler and ex-Christian fundamentalist. Though raised in the religious right, Sarah now considers herself agnostic and is a feminist activist.

Heather Doney – Quiverfull Daughter & Social Justice Advocate.

Heather is one of the creators of Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Heather is the eldest in a family of 10 children, more daughters than sons, now ranging in age from 10-30. She 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 they’d use to label themselves). They lived in poverty in south Louisiana and there was considerable abuse and neglect in their crowded home, including poor hygiene, occasional food insecurity, a lack of medical care, and almost no formal education. They were physically disciplined in an often violent and unpredictable manner, generally with a belt or a wooden stick, for disobedience and mistakes. They were also socially isolated and told demons and the devil were lurking behind the actions of unbelievers, both strangers and their neighbors and relatives, waiting to pounce. Somehow she found the strength and desperation to rebel and seek outside help. Due to an intervention by both sets of grandparents, she and her siblings were hurriedly “caught up” as much as possible, given a few basic resources and “normal” experiences, then sent to public school in 1998. She 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. Heather now has a masters degree in public policy from Brandeis University and works and volunteers on social justice related issues.

Julie Anne Smith – Homeschooling parent and advocate for victims of spiritual abuse.

Julie Anne’s first site was She began that blog in Feb. 2012 after noticing that the Google reviews she had posted of her former church were being removed. Days after the commencement of her blog, she received a legal summons suing her and three others for defamation to the tune of $500,000. She believes that stories of spiritual abuse need to be told, as people are being hurt emotionally and spiritually by pastors who use bully tactics and people need a place to learn, to talk freely, and to heal. On July 26, 2012,  her case was dismissed and she won. In addition to blogging about spiritual abuse, Julie Anne also writes about dangerous trends in the homeschooling movement from her perspective as a 20+ yr homeschooling parent.

Star bulletShow Time: Friday night, July 12, 2013, 6 Pacific / 7 Mountain / 8 Central / 9 Eastern (Additional time conversions at the World Time Server).

Star bulletCall-In Number: 914-338-0452 or toll-free, 888-238-8529 (or, when show is live, simply push the SKYPE button that appears on the show page…see “how it works” below)

Star bulletTo hear the show live and participate in the web-based chat room:

Star bulletHow it works … When you visit the show page (linked immediately above), the podcast will automatically play out of your computer speakers when it is live. A SKYPE button will also appear that you can simply press and connect with the host (if you have SKYPE, that is). A web-based chatroom will be running contemporaneously with the show, where you can post questions and comments. To use the SKYPE feature and to participate in the chat room, you will need a free BlogTalk listener account (click the “Register as a Listener” option).

Comments open below

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


Patheos Atheist LogoLike No Longer Quivering and Patheos Atheist on Facebook!

Differentiating Between 'Cult', 'Cultic' and 'Spiritual Abuse'
News: Josh Duggar's Dirty Little Porn Star Secret?
News: One of Josh Duggar's Lovers Speaks Out
Vyckie Garrison in People Magazine
About Suzanne Calulu