Quoting Quiverfull: Michael Says Public School Stressed Out Kids Brains?

Quoting Quiverfull: Michael Says Public School Stressed Out Kids Brains? June 2, 2015

quotingquiverfullby Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy Magazine – What Age?

Editor’s note: Michael is right about one thing in this piece – learning to read is part developmental function. But his comparison between regular schools, both public and private and homeschooling is not so cut and dried. More fear tactic than anything else.

Because some children are ready to begin learning to read at the age of four to six, it has been accepted as the time to start all children. Children are put in class rooms where they are continually bombarded with information and tested as to their progress. It takes twelve long hard years to drive the information into them. The system has been arranged so that as soon as a child’s mental development will allow comprehension of even a small amount of the material, he is made responsible for it. The early maturing children have set the pace for the average. The later maturing children who are just as bright a year or two behind the others are always under a pile trying to keep up. In this competitive environment, they develop feelings of inadequacy. If he is not crushed by the sense of failure, the late maturing child may prove to be the brightest when he is grown. What they are doing is like moving into a house before it is finished. If you wait until the child’s mental faculties are amply developed, in the fertile environment, there will come a craving to learn. At such a time, teaching is easy.

For the sake of understanding, observe with me an imaginary experiment with two children of equal mental comprehension who will mature at the same time. The one in a traditional class room will be continually pushed to his limit. Before he is ready he will be made responsible for the information. Some of it he will comprehend right away much of it will just swim around his head until he matures to the point of comprehension. For the teacher it is sometimes like piling dry sand. It is a constant process of hammering it in — drill and test, drill and test. As he develops new mental rooms, the teacher waits outside to fill them with information. Most of what is thrown at him, he is not ready for, but they just keep slinging it in his direction until it sticks. The poor child is a professional student at six. He is filled with responsibilities and worries, with no mother to comfort him.

The other child in our experiment is at home at his mother’s feet feeling secure and protected. He is mentally developing at the same pace, but his information rooms are not being challenged or filled before they are complete. He will appear to be two or three years behind the other child in our experiment. At seven or eight this child will begin to learn the school material that our other child was learning at six. The difference is that where it only takes an hour a day to teach the eight-year-old, it took eight hours a day to teach the six-year-old. And, our eight-year-old homeschooler is loving every minute of it. He is not being burnt-out by pressure and competition. He is not struggling to learn. His hunger is just being fed. The homeschool parent who is willing to wait for the mental and emotional development to occur will experience far less frustration and anxiety. And, the child will have fun learning.

I have observed that by the time the homeschooled children are fourteen or fifteen they have far surpassed their traditionally schooled counterpart, and that with one-tenth the effort.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, cultural enforcers and those that seek to keep women submitted to men 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 and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

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  • Friend

    What an idiot.

  • Nea

    The system has been arranged so that as soon as a child’s mental development will allow comprehension of even a small amount of the material, he is made responsible for it.
    …Says the person who expects six-month-old infants to be responsible for comprehending and obeying any order, so if they don’t, they are deliberately disobeying and deserve to be whipped mercilessly.

    It is a constant process of hammering it in — drill and test, drill and test.
    …Says the man who suggests making a “fun game” of drilling in obedience and whipping, drilling and whipping.

    The other child in our experiment is at home at his mother’s feet feeling secure and protected
    This would be the mother who is supposed to help with whipping if her child calls for her? The mother who spanks if a kid crawls off a blanket or doesn’t play with a toy she orders the child to play with? THAT mother making a child feel secure and protected?

    I have observed that by the time the homeschooled children are fourteen or fifteen they have far surpassed their traditionally schooled counterpart, and that with one-tenth the effort.
    Citation needed. Especially from a man who had an emotional meltdown at the idea of having to do critical thinking *in college* – hardly surpassing most of the secular students who had already had plenty of practice in that.

  • Rebecca Horne

    Um, gotta say, as a kid who was labeled “gifted” and then had my learning disabilities ignored, this is exactly what school was like, and exactly why I want to homeschool.

  • Rebecca Horne

    My unschooled wife and her sister started college at 16 and 15, respectively.

    As one just said, “an anecdote is not citation,” but it’s something.

    I think you’ve got the right kind of criticism here: it’s not that Michael is wrong. It’s that, as in most cases where he’s right, he’s inconsistent with his own advice.

  • Anonyme

    I read that in Hermione Granger’s voice. 😀

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    It is that for some kids, exactly, but it isn’t that for most kids. Michael is making sweeping broad assumptions again.

  • Poster Girl

    I don’t know when you were in school, but you should know that federal special education law has provisions for the school OR the family to refer a student for testing for eligibility for special education services or accommodations under federal 504 law. When a parent requests testing, the school HAS to follow through. Unfortunately, if the referral is made on the school’s end, a parent has the right to refuse– I’ve seen kids who really would have benefited from services denied them because the parents didn’t want the “stigma” of an IEP.

  • Plain English

    So, let me understand this manipulative prick clearly: Because regular school does not capture an ideal pace for average learning, then being in a religious gulag with mommy is really a guarantee of a better outcome? Pearl, you scum-brain. You child abusing, miserable excuse of a father… Some of us survived, and we will not be silent.

  • Plain English

    Pearl is a low-life abusive prick. He uses religion to back up his delight in harming innocence. He wants to harm. He loves to hurt others, God commands him: Whip those children into shape!

  • Plain English

    NO, Pearl is wrong! He is an abuser who beats children. He is not correct. Even if his children were way beyond in learning according to normal standards he would he a miserable, abusive bastard. Children deserve our love and respect. When we trespass on their autonomy by shaming and spanking/hitting, we are always wrong.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Since the only education Michael has in child development is “watching Amish farmers beat mules” I see no reason to give his educational policy recommendations any credence.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Seriously. The American public education system has its share of problems, but it’s not hell for everybody, and just cause it’s not perfect doesn’t mean all kids would be better off in homeschool. Not all kids have parents who are willing and able to homeschool, doing it properly is a lot of skill and work. Saying homeschool is always better is like, I dunno, classist? It operates under the assumption that all parents have the education, time, and resources.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    In my opinion, the child(ren) who will do well in homeschooling have certain qualities that make this option work for them. Not all kids are ‘cut out’ for homeschooling no matter who is the home-teacher or how complete a curriculum they’re using.

    Sometimes parents choose traditional schools because they have weighed everything from careers, finance, quality/breadth of education, and how to pull all of these things together while keeping the family safe and happy, together. Sometimes this is not possible, or desired, and that’s okay too. I was raised by two public school teachers who put in 40 years each, but I didn’t really see the truly mind-boggling scope of how much sacrificing, planning, and all the choices that were made along the way by my parents – until well into my adulthood, I thank them for even the very small things they do for their adult daughter and acknowledge what they willingly put into raising my brother and I to the best of their abilities.

  • SAO

    Few of the examples of homeschooling I’ve seen surpass a publicly schooled middle-schooler. Unfortunately, statistics are hard to come by, as the kids who are left behind rarely get tested and the ones who takes tests like the SAT tend to be the ones who excel, skewing the data.

    But really, homeschooling means the kid never gets away from their mother and schoolwork is a lot more chores for the mother to get the kid to do. And let’s face it, even kids who love learning often have subjects they don’t like.

  • TheGreatA’Tuin

    I don’t know . . . . I’ve seen Amish farmers treat their mules better than the Pearls treat children.

  • ShinyZubat

    Man, I have Inattentive ADD. Just getting homework done at home was an uphill battle. I wouldn’t have gotten *anywhere* operating completely from home. The structure of the classroom, with all the teachers, aides, and my peers, was soooo important for keeping me on task.

    Also, yeah, a big “Citation Needed” on those claims there, Michael.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I’m actually an example in just how different things can be when there are two people diagnosed with the same condition (in my case it’s bipolar disorder, and the same condition was diagnosed in a guy who was horrifically abusive in every way one can imagine towards me in the decade-ish long relationship) but one of them has the benefit of multiple factors and parents who are educators, vs my ex’s highly abusive family where his sisters are 10 and 12 years older with plenty of issues added in, leading to behavioral problems/diagnosis for pharmacological based treatment/said diagnosis going on the ‘permanent academic record’ then indiscriminately revealed by school employees and family alike just to be cruel – blue collar small business owner-operator (workaholic) father and mom dishing out the abuse she was getting with her daughters – the middle one has been addicted to heroin since age 16 so they were raised by their grandparents – plus her son, there were too many directions she was getting pulled in to make time for finding ways to get him the academic and social supports needed so he would have more options in life than working in the family business while not being considered good enough to run it one day…He’s quite bright and learned many things from reading books, with a knack for mechanical/spatial relations that benefited from all the years and the hours spent at the family operation while young (funny how working for free in the employ of family is excluded in child labor laws) using his hands and establishing a system to know what information will be important when it’s being transmitted orally as other tasks are being performed…If his parents were more like mine, even just slightly, were willing to learn about everything that comes with the diagnosis given to their son so that he might have the ability to stand on his own two feet or considered capable of taking the helm of the business the family has operated since 1913 rather than sell it off in pieces once his dad can no longer run it. My upbringing and parents have made being diagnosed with bipolar disorder when starting college not something that I should let keep me from getting my BA and JD – it just took longer to do. His family and upbringing have had a perpetual cycle of turmoil, conflict, and a pattern of sporadic medication treatments that increase the chance he’ll reach a point where the symptoms are drug-treatment-resistant. As abusive as my ex was, he was a child who deserved much more than he got and that environment had a significant part in creating a tendency for this highly volatile abusive personality – with fear and punishment controlling those around him, he gets his way, so he chooses to be abusive and conveniently revise the history of any interpersonal relationships with others. I could have had his family – we lived one major surface street from each other all our lives, lived in comfortable suburban tract homes with a lot of the tangibles that come with middle class incomes, ate food bought at the same market and balanced meals, got plenty of outdoor activity for exercise….the only differences were in the family aspect which no child has the option to choose.

  • Nea

    Right? I doubt Pearl has the intelligence to comprehend the child development “evidence” he gives against public schooling is EXACTLY the opposite of the child development “evidence” he gives for early child beating. You can’t be “right” when you directly contradict yourself!

  • Nea

    The writing style and lifestyle of his children do not evidence particularly strong educations.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Maybe Michael only watched the abusive Amish mule wranglers, and ignored the gentler ones?

  • BlueVibe

    I was also “gifted” but learning disabled. My mother is still apologizing, twenty-five years later, for not homeschooling me. The difference is that my mother has a Ph.D., understands the limits of her teaching ability (she can do math, physics, and writing, but advanced biology would be a no-go), and knows not to mix religion with science. She would either have had to send me, finally, to regular school or hire tutors.

    I had a very hard time in school, yes, but it didn’t ruin me. Homeschooling would have had its own set of issues (all that time with my mother and brother could have strained family relations. We like each other but, wow, that’s a lot of togetherness).

  • Astrin Ymris

    Alaska actually collected data on homeschoolers through a program in which children participated in state testing programs in exchange for their parents receiving instructional funds. They found that the so-called “benefits” of homeschooling were a socio-economic effect– the poorest parents didn’t homeschool. When family background was controlled for, the “homeschooling advantage” disappeared.


    Of course, this doesn’t capture the performance of those 25% of homeschoolers whose parents couldn’t bring thimselves to co-operate with the Eebil Gubbamint to that extent.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Another thing MIchael fails to mention in that part of being able to read is developmental stages as much as teaching. It is like trying to teach a puppy or a rock to read if you try before the child has developed that portion of their brain, next to useless. Used to have facts and figures on this because I did an enormous amount of research at a teaching college’s library back years ago when my son was in kindergarten and the teaching staff decided he was ‘slow’ because he wasn’t catching onto reading as well as the others in his class. I fought the school on labeling him as such and am glad I both protested to the school that they were too premature to label him as well as taking advantage of every type of specialized help they were willing to give him. After he reached the developmental milestone where reading just clicked in his mind he went from being considered ‘slow’ to being labeled ‘gifted’. That is one of my things I don’t like about public school, the eagerness to put people in boxes and keep them there.

    But at the same time public and private schools are going to have the extra resources, teachers, programs and extra help that homeschooling does not automatically have.

  • Astrin Ymris

    And while you don’t want to prematurely label kids, you DO want to diagnose true dyslexia while children’s brains are still malleable enough to benefit from appropriate therapy. Experienced, trained teachers are more likely to recognize the signs early on than parents. (Unless said parents have family members with dyslexia, and are thus aware it’s a possibility.)

  • Rebecca Horne

    His child-reading advice is 100% wrong.

    But what he says here? That public schools heap responsibilities on kids without much concern for how it affects them?
    As somebody who’s experience with public school went from glee over the fact that teachers thought I was smart and insightful, to suicidal over the fact that I couldn’t keep up, I agree with him. Having dry sand dumped on my head, without regard for whether I could handle It, pretty much sums up my school experience.

  • Rebecca Horne

    I was tested and diagnosed with adhd, given meds, and basically told that if I still had trouble, it was because I wasn’t trying hard enough.

    People noticed individual other problems and wrote them off as habits ( stimming), not paying attention ( executive functioning disability) and just not caring, (being so overwhelmed that detaching was the only way to get any relief). They didn’t piece anything else together.

  • Rebecca Horne

    That seems most likely. Beating Animals rarely makes them want to help you.

  • Plain English

    Hi Rebecca, you are very clear about your desire and you should be able to learn as best works for you! The problem with homeschooling as it is often brought up here, is the religious aspect, the need to train-up kids in religion. When religion is the reason for learning at home, then I will almost always oppose it. But finding a way to learn, as you want to, without the needless hassles of public school for you, is the very best thing! There are many curriculum-based systems, as you know perhaps, and there are some others too, non-curriculum based, self-design ways of learning. I wish you every good fortune in finding a system that works for YOU because you have an idea of what you want in that respect. There are so many choices out there to peruse…. all the best to you!

  • Plain English

    I agree; options are the answer, not one thing only. Public schooling deserves much better funding and support but it should never be exclusively the means to learning (and it never was!)

  • Plain English

    There is much to be desired in education, of course. You have so many more choices now though. And remember, homeschooling with curriculum is only one. Ever research unschooling and self-design in education? I hope you don’t feel defeated by bad experiences! There is a whole world of learning possibilities out there for us.

  • Plain English

    You are a remarkable survivor of much challenge and I am thankful for your pointing out that Relationship is the thing. In all things human, relationship is what matters. In fact, schools can only build on relationships that sustain children who attend. If those relations are broken, then education suffers. No child has the option to choose is simply, and too often sadly so true.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Agreed, sometimes other options are better. Every kid is different.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I would lean more towards just getting lucky in the family I got and the random lottery of genetics that worked out to give me a great deal of positives to work with with a side of bipolar disorder to put it all in perspective – being as close to having a ‘normal’ life isn’t so much remarkable, just delightfully…’normal’. 🙂 Just about everyone who regularly turns up here on NLQ to comment is a survivor, some are even survivors of many terrible things (everyone…who doesn’t come on here to try and convince us why they’re totally righteous dudes and it’s us who need fixing by way of a Stepford wife attitude adjustment) – it’s one of the reasons I read/comment here, I need the connection and inspiration that comes from every step in these survivor’s journeys that are openly shared to keep moving forward on my own journey.

    Besides, where else am I going to share my wicked love of puppy and kitten pic-porn!

  • Rebecca Horne

    Yup! When I say homeschooling, I actually mean unschooling. I just know that can be a polarizing topic.

  • Rebecca Horne

    I thiiink you might be getting the wrong end of the stick here. I’m 30. What I meant when I said I want to home(un)school was that I want to in school MY kids (when I have them.)

    At this point, I’ve more or less figured out what works for me. When I go into rants, it’s because I think the system itself is so terrible– not just in what it does to kids, but what it does to parents and the whole of society.

    Even for the kids it supposedly “works” for… it kinda works the same way that sexism “works”for men. You succeeded due to the abuse of others, and now you either decide you deserve that success and they don’t (which is just another way of being broken, really) or else you grapple with the shame of that– my sister has told me that she grew up being really embarrassed and ashamed of her good grades because they came easily to her, and she could tell it was so much harder for me. I think she felt like she was cheating.

    I don’t want my kids to have to deal with any side of this.

  • Plain English

    I get it! But homeschooling with school books and following a local curriculm is so far from unschooling, as you obviously know. I wish there was another term. I honestly never understood the concept of unschooling until my kids DE-schooled and taught me. I think I was the last in the family to get-it.

  • Plain English

    Brilliant… only 30! And you know what works for you…. this means you unschool yourself now and that makes it especially easy if you try to do with your own kids (when and if you choose to have kids). My wife and I did public schooling, then private schooling (China and Thailand), then unschooling when we returned from overseas.
    Our kids have seen many ways to do things along the way and both choose unschooling now (17 and 18 years old). They know that they can go to school for any course they want, if they want to, or, that they can find mentors in areas that interest them. We find a way to make it happen because it is their free choice and therefore we have no issues of compliance or homework not being done or all the other crap that parents so often face.
    I am so happy for you that you found your way to unschooling by age 30…. I was brought up the son of a Baptist preacher and my mom was the daughter of a Baptist preacher. For me, the two sure realities were school and church…. When I thought of not sending my kids to school, I sort of felt a panic attack. It was not easy. But layer by layer, I began to see that they were free to learn as I allowed them and let go of my desperate controls. First, I had to let go and keep remembering to ‘do no harm’. I fretted over times-tables and maths while my kids seemed disinterested and wanting other stuff. It took me a long time to let go and let my kids lead me. It seems to go against of the whole Biblical bullshit control way of training up children in the way they should go….. I don’t know if you can relate to that but that is what happened with me. I had so much anxiety about allowing them to make their choices for them first and not us parents.
    Norm Lee, Parenting Without Punishing, was a gift to me, a free .pdf on the web written by a child advocate who deserves a medal of bravery and love as far as I am concerned. He was a terribly abused child who grew up to be a teacher, and then realized that homeschooling/unschooling was the answer for his boys. He is not kidding when he says NO punishment. At the same time I had just read Rue Kream. I know you would love her work, just by reading your words here.
    You are very astute, brilliant young person. (Yes, 30 is young!) I admire you. I am 63. If there is anything we can do to encourage and assist you in your wish to unschool your kids when the time comes, please be in touch. {plainengATgmail }My wife works with Self-Design now as an educational consultant and is aware of many resources, should you require them. I am very pleased that you see and understand these issues with regard to learning styles. My very best wishes to a remarkable young woman.

  • Quadratic Wizard

    Me too. I was a child with undiagnosed disabilities, so school was often incredibly traumatic and incomprehensible. I was always either miles ahead or dangerously behind on subjects, and was bullied severely. Having said that, I strongly resent Pearl appropriating struggles like mine to get on his soap box and advocate his horrid way of life.

  • Rebecca Horne

    I’d agree, except I don’t think he’s appropriating. Debi describes him as getting really single- mindedly obsessed with hobbies, to the degree that it damages his relationships and his ability to deal with other responsibilities. His description of a “visionary” ( which I think he considers to be his secondary personality type?) is somebody who has brilliant insights into things and can become a revolutionary innovator if they handle themself well, but is very prone to getting swept up in new pursuits that they abandon halfway through, interspersed with periods of depression.

    I think he’s family, and I’m pretty sure he’s describing his own experience of school up there.

  • Quadratic Wizard

    You could be right there, I don’t really know too much about him, but I have picked up his tendency to project himself onto everyone without realizing he is, well,………incredibly odd, and not ‘normal’ by any stretch.