Quoting Quiverfull: Homeschooling is Changing, But Don’t Change Too Much?

Quoting Quiverfull: Homeschooling is Changing, But Don’t Change Too Much? April 30, 2014

by Israel Wayne posted at Ladies Against Feminism and Christian Worldview Net – A Shift in the Homeschooling Movement

In September of 2013, Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) spoke to state convention coordinators and other national homeschooling leaders, at the annual leadership conference they sponsor. He warned against the dangers of the excesses of extreme child discipline and a low view of women that has taken hold in some corners of the homeschooling community. He warned that unless homeschooling leaders actively speak against abusive and unGodly approaches to child discipline and unBiblical views of Patriarchal authority (that demean and devalue women), we risk losing our very legal freedom to homeschool.

Mr. Farris has sounded a much-needed warning. My concern, however, is that when we over-react and swing to the other ditch, we end up teaching only love, grace and mercy (with no boundaries for children). By rejecting “Patriarchy” (abusive or domineering tendencies of men towards their wives and families), we may revert to the Feminism of the 1960′s, and all the problems that came with it, that led many women to react 180 degrees in the other direction by staying home and homeschooling their children. By rejecting rigid step-by-step rules about issues like strict clothing mandates and courtship procedures, we may revert back to the kind of sexual permissiveness that led to the legalism in the first place.

Do we really want to go back to families where mom is trying to pull that whole family uphill all by herself, while dad is off playing golf, letting mom run the family all by herself? Do we want three-year-olds who rule the parents with an iron fist and parents who jump at their every demand? Do we really want teens who are groping their girlfriends in the back seat of a car because we don’t want to impose a legalistic standard on them? Do we really want to encourage the kind of American narcissism that says children are a nuisance and 0.8 children is the goal, because we want to avoid the imbalance of policing bedrooms and imposing doctrines not clearly spelled out in Scripture?

We need the truth. We don’t need Pharisaism or Cheap-Grace “license to sin” theology. What we need is solid, balanced, truthful theology. We don’t need to pendulum swing back into the errors and excesses of worldliness that caused our movement’s initial pendulum swing into legalism. Neither ditch is helpful or beneficial. We need to stay on the narrow road and get out of ditches on either side.


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.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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  • What does this narrow road look like? Is it different for every family, based on their circumstances-or is there a “one size fits all” approach?
    Please, explain what this middle road looks like, and also show how it differs and is the same as current teachings.
    Was there anything beneficial from the 1960s feminist movement that you would like to include in your new homeschooling? Do you see a way to grandfather-in the current popular teachings, or do you expect people to change on a dime?

    Is anyone else confused as to what the author is saying they want?

  • Nightshade

    ‘…we want
    to avoid the imbalance of policing bedrooms and imposing doctrines not
    clearly spelled out in Scripture?’ What exactly is he saying here? Should we or should we not police bedrooms? Is imposing doctrines not clearly spelled out a good or bad thing?

  • Allison the Great

    What I got from that part was “Do we really want to mind our own business when it comes to what people do in their bedrooms? Do we have to mind our own business when it comes to how many kids people have? That thought makes me cold and shaky”

  • Independent Thinker

    Based on a personal experience my guess is that this is financially and politically motivated. I was a HSDLA member up until about three or four years ago. Just to give some background I had a miscarriage in college that I rarely discuss prior to getting married with a guy who is not my husband. For some reason around the holidays this situation always ends up in the back of my mind. So at Christmas time in the mail arrives the Vision Forum catalog with an attached letter stating they had got my address from the HSDLA. I thumbed thru the catalog and there was some DVD called The Hopeful Theology of a Miscarriage by Doug Phillips. My immediate response was how tacky and cruel was it to mail a family a catalog that brings up miscarriage at Christmas. I was highly offended. Women don’t need a reminder of things that can be painful at the holiday season. So I called up the HSDLA to complain and was basically told that they have a working relationship with Vision Forum and if I didn’t like it I could hit bricks. So I told them to cancel my membership and for the next two years got letters in the mail begging me to come back but nothing ever apologizing for shelling my personal information out to Vision Forum. Perhaps Farris is starting to feel the burn. I can’t imagine I was the only person to complain about this situation. I can also attest that several homeschooling families got very upset when the HSDLA took on a case of a non-homeschooling family out of Michigan in a medical rights case. I think in a way Farris wants it both ways fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers and mainstream homeschoolers. Just as long as they joyfully cut a check for their annual dues to the HSDLA.

  • Allison the Great

    From what I’m seeing, they want to keep things the same because they are afraid of what would happen if they don’t.

  • Nightshade

    Sounds about right. They don’t know how to mind their own business.

  • Saraquill

    “I totally don’t do the things this subculture is infamous for doing! Please ignore the flames emerging from my trousers.”

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “… I think in a way Farris wants it both ways fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers and mainstream homeschoolers. Just as long as they joyfully cut a check for their annual dues to the HSDLA…”

    I believe you hit the bull’s eye there. A lot of homeschoolers have paid dues to HSLDA because of the “free” legal assistance, while ignoring their support of Dominionist political causes and CPM doctrine. But recent scandals may have a lot of secular and moderate Christian homeschoolers thinking twice about financially supporting such an organization.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Is Mr. Wayne suggesting that all the “evils” he cited were once rampant, and since the advent of “Christian Homeschooling” have disappeared? And further that acknowledging that “Maybe we shouldn’t teach that women are second class citizens” will cause all of them to return in full force?

    I can’t decide if that’s a Strawman Argument, a False Dichotomy, or some other form of logical fallacy. I suspect Double Dukes is right when she says his REAL message is “I don’t wanna change anything!”

  • Nea

    Well, you know, “real true Christians” don’t ever do anything bad. So of course, when they’re caught abusing kids by, say, keeping them in cages, it must be for some noble cause.

  • And the ones that “aren’t like that” almost always make excuses for the ones that are.

  • Indeed. They want to keep things the same, because change is scary and even though they’re the ones in power, they’re too cowardly to back away from something after realizing it’s a bad thing.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Yes. And HSLDA can tell whether parents are abusing their kids by talking with them over the phone for a few minutes. 😛

  • Independent Thinker

    That is so true. I was discussing our choice to homeschool with our business lawyer when we first started. He offered up some unsolicited advice that in retrospect was very smart. He suggested we keep a curriculum list, a daily journal of what had been taught and samples of our child’s work. He stated if anything ever came into question we would have our bases well covered. If you notice the HSDLA doesn’t give that same advice. Pure logic should be on the table. If you are homeschooling your children effectively than you should have no problem keeping records of your child’s progress. States currently mandate homeschooling laws and in places like Texas no record keeping is required. If HSDLA was legitimate representation they would prepare there members to protect themselves and review each family carefully before representing them.

  • Astrin Ymris

    But if HSLDA empowered homeschooling parents by telling them this, what justification would they have for demanding $100 dues annually?

    It strikes me that HSLDA encourages paranoia about government officials in order to make parents feel that they “need” HSLDA’s services– and thus need to pay their dues. Telling parents that local Boards of Education and state representatives will be satisfied by simple documentation that their kids ARE being taught makes secular authorities seem so… reasonable and fair-minded. Reasonable and fair-minded people don’t make good boogeymen.

    From HSLDA’s viewpoint, then, it’s best to tell parent not to worry their pretty little heads, just pay your dues and WE’LL do all the esoteric legal mumbo-jumbo needed to get the Eebul Gubbamint off your backs.

  • Independent Thinker

    Not going to lie I fell for the HSDLA scare tactics until I got so upset with them I simply came to my senses.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Don’t feel bad! I read John Holt’s ‘Teach Your Own’, and according to him, some of the pioneer homeschoolers DID get harassed by local education authorities. The HSLDA may have earned their dues during that era.

    Since then, there have been enough court cases and laws passed establishing homeschooling as a legal option that reasonable parents who document their instruction don’t really have anything fear. The HSLDA is thus a dinosaur which has outlived its usefulness. Well, at least as far as secular homeschoolers and moderate Christians are concerned– they apparently have other political goals, as mentioned in an earlier NLQ post.


    Interestingly, John Holt recommended the exact same documentation your lawyer did– back in 1981! He also pointed out that school districts could– if they wanted to– collaborate with parents and count homeschooling kids as “attending” their school for funding purposes. Some schools apparently did take this common sense approach.

  • Independent Thinker

    As far as homeschooling goes I am very supportive of hybrid schools. Hybrid schools are a bit of a spectrum but all of them that I am aware of offer curriculum help, guidance counseling, and testing services. Some take it a bit further offering field trips, test prep (for college), and elective classes. Hybrid schools can be public or private but are much more cost effective than full time private school. Hybrid schools put students face to face with certified teachers thus creating a barrier for isolating children and put a dent in hiding child abuse. I am not aware of any hybrid school that does not require record keeping. Some states like Florida also allow part time enrollment in public schools and allow homeschooling students to participate on sports teams if the child is zoned for the school they are on the team for. Florida has no limitations on how many classes or teams a homeschooling student can participate in. Homeschooling students must follow the same rules and regulations as other students while attending classes or participating in extracurricular activities. This is another awesome solution. If a child is struggling with reading and homeschooling works best for them on that subject they can still take math and pe at the local school.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I’ve never heard of hybrid schools before! It sounds like a great idea.