Quoting Quiverfull: Abolishing High School?

by Mary Pride from her website Homeschooling World – Abolish High School

Those of you who are not convinced that high school is meant to be skipped might consider this:

The courses taught in high school today leave out much of what is needed for survival and success in today’s world.

Colleges, for example, still insist that entering students have at least three years of science courses. Now I don’t know about you, but I took a lot of science courses in both high school and college. Yet, when I want to learn about some new scientific thing, I just subscribe to a magazine or read a book. I don’t take a science course.

The current high-school science program was invented after the launch of Sputnik, to counter what was perceived to be a superior Russian science program. The idea was to teach science to every kid, in hopes that we would be able to attract enough talented future scientists. But an average American who just reads magazines will find out about the history and theory of each new scientific advance that affects him, without needing to struggle through years of science courses.

On the other hand, the high-school curriculum does not include any courses in nursing or doctoring. Yet every one of us will get sick or hurt in some way, or have a family member who gets sick or hurt. I just throw the thought out to you that three or four years of instruction in basic nursing, paramedicine, herbalism, and the like would be far more useful to most of us than three or four years of the science potpourri offered in school.

Another area neglected in the high-school curriculum is office work. The vast majority of students will have to know how to take phone messages, send faxes, type rapidly, keep organized files, balance checkbooks, and dozens of other office tasks. Even those of us who stay home find ourselves needing to know all this! But do high-school kids get trained in how to develop a pleasant phone personality, how to deal successfully with managers, employees, and peers, or how American business works? Very rarely. The few entrepreneurship courses I have seen are all about how to make money and get your product out, and nothing about how to deal with the machines and people—in other words, the work that makes up 90 percent of your business day.

Yet another neglected area: family management. What are the roles of husband and wife, mother and father? How do you solve the disagreements that arise? How do you take care of a baby or potty-train a toddler? Family-life courses in schools duck these issues by instructing you to pick a daycare center and making divorce and unwed parenthood sound equivalent to marriage. We homeschoolers can surely do better than this.

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


About Suzanne Calulu
  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    I think her opinion has value here: We could certainly rethink what high schoolers need to know. I’m not quite behind all she say (“we could look up science that interest us in a book, we should learn potty training a toddler in school.” – Potty training a tot could also be looked up in a book. And obviously, we do not agree on gender roles being an issue they should learn).
    But things like emergency first aid, office work, and basic principles of getting along with people (like for example using “how to win friends and influence people” as a handbook) could be more useful than many things currently taught.
    We could rethink what students learn and colleges could rethink what the entrance requirements are (higher science, for example, is only really needed in a few courses.)

  • Trollface McGee

    If I went to a doctor or scientist and their level of expertise was “I read an article” I’d run the other direction.
    This is great advice to ensure your child won’t make it to college – and shockingly, high schools already have tons of classes geared towards students who aren’t going to college.
    But yeah, lets cut science, which is already poorly taught and spend a year teaching them something they’d learn in a week of orientation on a new job and another year teaching them patriarchy. Who cares if they lack the basic general understanding that high school is supposed to have – they’ll be fully trained to use a stapler and will properly hate gays and women and that’s what’s really important.

  • Saraquill

    Reading articles are not the same as having a trained teacher helping you with the concepts. Also, articles are not a replacement for science labs.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Many high schools are already teaching those things. They are in my community, right down to a course on basic first aid that will qualify you to be a physician’s assistant. There are classes in marketing, basic business, home and family, childcare and all sorts of things for those kids not on track for university, Unfortunately Mary Pride is so unfamiliar with public high school that she doesn’t really know what they teach.

  • NeaDods

    Herbalism and gender roles are neither science nor civics and do not belong in any form of education! But then, if she’d taken a high school chemistry or biology class, she’d know that this suggestion was tincture of fertilizer. (My high school, intriguingly, not only had bio and chemistry, but I could take elective courses in first aid and veterinary medicine. So much for not learning useful doctoring!)

    …send faxes? Who does that anymore? Type? Everyone with a computer keyboard learned that in grade school. Office work? She knows as little about summer jobs as she does about public school. It’s surprising the skills teens learn when you don’t rigidly control 100% of their contact with the world.

  • Madame

    I agree with some of what she says too. I spent countless hours studying things that I have long forgotten and never needed. But I also agree with learning from a good teacher. Articles in magazines don’t replace good classroom teaching and discussion.

    Childcare, potty training and family management are best learned at home, as they naturally occur. If you didn’t have younger siblings and never babysat, then you can sign up for antenatal courses and learn the basics when you are actually expecting a baby.
    I don’t think you can learn how to run a family at school. How do you solve arguments? Have arguments with friends and learn to listen to their side. It doesn’t matter if they are male or female, you still have to respect their opinion. Practice that, and you are ready to have an argument with your spouse. Parental roles are easily learned: You made the baby, now you are responsible for it. Work it out among yourselves. If you need help, ask your health care provider or other parents (but be ready to hear conflicting advice)

    Mary is obviously pushing her agenda: patriarchy.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    I didn’t love reading “Lord of the Flies” three different times in high school (two different English classes and for government class), but overall I did feel like I established a basic knowledge to build on. When I went to college (five years after I graduated from high school), I needed a quick brushing-up on some specific concepts and skills, but I didn’t have to completely re-learn most of it.

    I remember learning basic first aid in health classes, I learned to use a computer in first grade (and my first “typing” class was in sixth grade), and I learned how to research and investigate information in nearly every class. I learned to organize that information in many different classes, from sciences (lab write-ups HAVE to be organized) to English/history (papers!). And an educational environment with teachers and classmates from different backgrounds taught me how to interact with people.

    It wasn’t perfect, but I do feel like I learned some of the basics to build on and how to research. Not just find the answers for a workbook, research. Sure, I didn’t learn how to balance a checkbook or change a diaper in high school, but there were classes that covered that information (“business math” dealt more with personal finances than abstract math concepts, and as much as Mary Pride hates the idea, family life classes included a variety of family situations and needs).

    And, no, reading articles doesn’t make you an expert. I’m editing a paper for a friend (she hopes to have it published and just needs the grammar cleaned up), but that’s not the equivalent of having gone to medical school. And reading an article on webmd doesn’t mean I can (or should) diagnose myself or anyone else. As I always say to my primary care practitioner, “you have the knowledge and experience, I just read an article about this” — I trust her knowledge and experience over webmd.

  • brbr2424

    My parents went to high school pre Sputnik and they had a very rigorous science education. They were educated in Canada so maybe the US high school students didn’t have science class. Mary Pride does a great job slaying the straw dragon. She is totally clueless about what is taught in high school. Office work? Public high school kids are already computer literate. Many of the assignments have to be turned in online. They already know how to type. Faxing? Really? They should learn that at the same time they learn to operate a teletype and other obsolete technology. Or in the unlikely event they need to fax something, a coworker can give them a 20 second lesson on its use.

    High schools have elective classes. My daughter took foods, accounting and banking. Letting kids pursue their interests through electives is what makes high school fun.

    Conflict resolution (not gender roles) is very important. That is taught in the dreaded Life skills class. The same class where they teach how to use a condom, gasps of horror. Mary Pride might also consider that allowing children to interact with their peers rather than being isolated in their family would provide a great education in interpersonal skills.

    I can’t get over that Mary Pride was a child prodigy and has advanced science and engineering degrees from top high schools as well as a stellar public school education. There is no doubt that she can pick up a book about science and grasp the concepts. Her target market is women who are unlike her in almost every way. And to these women she is selling an easy peasy, let’s wing it guide to raising successful children.

  • brbr2424

    It may take a few generations for Mary Pride’s grand social experiment to flop, but it will happen.

  • brbr2424

    The thing that is stunning is that Mary Pride got an amazing science education in the New York public schools. She went on to get several engineering degrees. She started a whole profitable social movement based on her own personal meltdown.

  • brbr2424

    She really is clueless. She has been fighting this evil straw man so long that she has completely lost touch with reality.

  • shuttergirl46q

    I went to high school in the early 1990s, and my school offered first aid classes, AP biology, nursing and home health aid courses at the vo-tech (as well as auto body, computer courses, cosmotology, food service and child care, to name a few), typing, home economics, shop (where we learned everything from basic home repairs to architectural drafting), social studies, foreign languages (complete with class trips to other countries), drivers ed, sex ed and a variety of music and arts courses. We also had a school newspaper and a yearbook staff, peer support groups, volunteer groups, athletic groups and debate/forensics. We had to give speeches, and we learned rather quickly what happens if one doesn’t act with respect toward a teacher, parent or the principal. lol. I do agree that a class on office protocol would be helpful, but I’d rather pick up a manual to learn how to use a fax machine than how to suture a gaping wound.

  • NeaDods

    That is sad and scary to hear. Because she had a tough time, every woman in the world must be stunted? This whole thing is the academic version of “I regret my abortion”?

  • Independent Thinker

    “Another area neglected in the high-school curriculum is office work. The vast majority of students will have to know how to take phone messages, send faxes, type rapidly, keep organized files, balance checkbooks, and dozens of other office tasks. Even those of us who stay home find ourselves needing to know all this! But do high-school kids get trained in how to develop a pleasant phone personality, how to deal successfully with managers, employees, and peers, or how American business works? Very rarely. The few entrepreneurship courses I have seen are all about how to make money and get your product out, and nothing about how to deal with the machines and people—in other words, the work that makes up 90 percent of your business day.” As a woman who has been self employed for over a decade I wanted to address this specifically. I don’t need someone to take phone messages I have voicemail. I send maybe four faxes per year and they are generally to businesses way behind technology wise. I don’t own a fax machine but do just run to Staples or Office Depot in an absolute emergency and they take care of it for me. Organizing files isn’t difficult and the internet is full of ways to organize files. Balancing a checkbook in business is also somewhat outdated thanks to QuickBooks because when you write a check Quickbooks automatically takes it off your balance. Pleasant phone personalities aren’t necessary because most well run business have phone scripts. My businesses have always had them all you need to do is follow the script and sound friendly. Dealing with people is simple. You get what you give. As for putting a product to market you simply can not do it alone on a grand scale. You are going to have to find a distributor or manufacturer. It’s really not as hard as you think what ever industry you are in has trade shows swimming with people willing to produce and distribute your products. They are well versed in taking on new business and getting products to market. When you make money they make money. An afternoon with a good business attorney to read over your contracts is worth every penny. For a few hundred dollars a good business attorney will keep you from being hosed by a vendor, distributor, or manufacturer. I am sorry but Mary’s business advice is way outdated. I could teach everything she thinks you need to know to someone in three or four hours. If you really want to start a business the best thing you can do is work for someone else in the industry figure out what they are doing right and wrong and figure out how you would fix it. A one size fits all approach to business is a bad idea and a recipe for failure.

  • brbr2424

    She didn’t have a tough time which is the odd thing. Instead of starting the next big tech thing she started a cult. She went the Jim Jones route. I agree it is like the “I regret my five safe legal abortions”, as in the case of failed GOP congressional candidate Star Parker.

  • mayarend

    Wait, send faxes? :S

  • Sara Lin Wilde

    I’m all for some practical-life-skills courses on child development or money management, but getting rid of actual science courses is just about the last thing we should do. The point is less about imparting specific scientific knowledge – yeah, if kids were interested in the internal anatomy of frogs, it’s probably on the Internet somewhere – but to inspire fascination and wonder at the way our world works, so that some of them will develop a desire to investigate the world as scientists one day.

    Science classes are also designed to help students develop skills for scientific inquiry and a baseline knowledge of how science works, so that one day they can go read those articles with the background knowledge needed to understand as well as with a critical-thinking brain. Those are the important skills that underpin each person’s eventual participation in the political landscape as they confront increasingly science-based questions like: how can we ensure everyone in the world has enough to eat? is it safe to vaccinate children? what do we need to do to ensure sustainable living? is global warming real? and so on. Knowledge about science and why it matters is every bit as important as knowledge about child development, interpersonal communication, or intelligent banking strategies (which, frankly, aren’t awful subjects to teach in school . . . just not at the expense of academic subjects).

  • gimpi1

    The most important thing about a basic science education is learning how the scientific method works. Knowing how to test ideas, understanding how to draw conclusions from evidence rather than preference, and understanding the value of peer-review and results that can be replicated is one of the most valuable and necessary things we can learn. And, somehow, I doubt that Mrs. Pride’s homeschooling programs teach that.

  • Nightshade

    ‘Yet another neglected area: family management.’ But those skills must be taught only in the way approved by her, i.e. father as the boss, wife as servant, children obedient automatons…otherwise it will be schools trying to usurp the role of parents. There’s no winning this one.

  • Theo Darling

    I LOLed.

  • derickrae

    My mom is a Special Ed teacher who teaches Life Skills at Public High School. Now most kids don’t need such classes because the language arts, math, and science courses they take teach them how to learn for themselves. I would like to see more teaching on personal finance included with the math curriculum, but I didn’t need a homemaking class to teach me how to google what to do when it’s time to potty train my son.

  • Lolly

    HIgh school is meant to be skipped because there is no degree in diapering? I, yes even I, figured out how to change diapers all by myself. I didn’t need to study it for more years than the baby was actually going to be in them. All Mary can complain about are science classes, and that office work(???) isn’t taught, but by the way? A lot of kids have summer jobs, they are smart and can pick up on these things really easily. By high school many of them have already been through an interview or 2. If Mary really actually gave a crap about skills and jobs, interviewing courses would be the place to start. You don’t even need a whole semester course, just a 2 hour seminar, just like diaper changing.

    Also, schools focus on athletics, fitness and health more than they ever did when I was in school mumble mumble years ago. Fitness is an essential life skill that doesn’t fit into the patriarchy so it doesn’t count, but sports medicine has become just huge, and a huge draw for colleges. Now, that is college and life skills prep right there. Yeah, just skip it.

    And, again, by the way? My daughter is taking the red cross lifeguarding class. At public school. For credit. And she’ll be qualified for a job next summer. For a Christian know-it-all, Mary could really stand to learn a thing or 2 about public schools. Funny how she has to employ this straw man tool in order to make her own personal choices sound so superior. Apparently they don’t stand on their own.