Let me get this out of the way....
I support homeschooling, the public schools are often cesspools and yes they do indoctrinate your children. I do not judge those who must put their children in public school via work and economic needs but understand the purpose behind homeschooling. I have known several families who have homeschooled and have seen it done the right way and successfully. Often properly homeschooled children were far in advance of their regular school compatriots-- more calm, studious, mature, and far less dominated by peer culture.
But I have noticed something insidious within the homeschool movement, and seen even friends within it, go along with a few of these trends, that have been sold to them via homeschool groups, magazines and more. Now let me say this, this is not to speak of homeschooling as a whole, there are even non-Christian homeschoolers out there and many other factions. But there seems to me, to be plenty of evidence that patriarchy groups and others like Vision Forum have been getting their claws in areas of the Christian home school movement and media. This isn't to say all Christian home schoolers have gone this way, many are independent and, pray to God for the truth, and use their discernment but when you hear friends discussing courtship rituals for their young 20 somethings where marriage must be approved by Dad and, "SAHD" [Stay At Home Daughter: Quiverful]rules for their daughters or positively discussing Bill Gothard or Vision Forum, you know something is up and changing radically out there.
Some months ago, I ran into this magazine and got it out of an old magazine bin at a library, along with some Above Rubies magazines, it was an old Homeschool Digest from the late 1990s where the theme was "True Wisdom" [they use the owl to suggest "wisdom" which is a bit bothersome] and in this magazine, I saw the severe culture war influences, and patriarchy articles already beginning. It is an example of homeschoolers being sold the PATRIARCHY/VISION FORUM Dominionist teachings.
This is the back cover of the magazine....you'll see the articles listed. One thing to realize, I am only taking a snapshot of ONE magazine here, and one that is some years old, but remember the whole family integrated, Quiverful, Vision Forum model is being sold many other places and has only grown in popularity. Here is an example, and large home school conferences such as CHEC have teamed up with Vision Forum before.
I found myself thinking, Wow, good Christian people could be reading this magazine and unless they were in prayer and heavy discernment, all the great stuff in there about disciplining children and having the best Christian family on the block really could mislead them. Even the folks who publish home school materials perhaps even those who publish this magazine, have not caught on to the subtle lies of the Vision Forum/Patriarchy ilk. They see the stuff about "character building", having good Christian families, stemming the tide against secular wicked culture, and think what's not to like? As long time readers of this blog know, I have written about what is not to like about these movements in many blog articles...
"Two Sides of the Same Evil Coin: Radical Feminism Vs. The Patriarchy Movement"
"The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Vision Forum, and The Quiverful Movement"
as well as many others on Dominionism, Vision Forum and more....
What is sad is how many GOOD people they are luring in with this stuff, who desire a decent Christian life for themselves and their children but even here the "perfect lifestyle TM" is sold. One thing I have noticed about this "sub-culture" and it really is becoming such, is they *sell* an idealized vision [VISION FORUM] of the world, where everyone in the family are Christians, where an idealized "Father Knows Best" father always has a high paying job in a lovely rural area that can support the entire family in upper middle class and above luxury, with white picket fences and Victorian styled dresses included. For the women, perfect "godly housekeeping" is advanced as part of this Christian Martha Stewart on steroids lifestyle for women and a new standard to keep up with, that is a direct opposite to the "have it all" hyper feminism. In other words, while Christians can cheer for old fashioned values, that are biblical such as modesty, charity, love of a family, responsible mothers and fathers, etc, these things are being skewed to sell Dominionist power and control and "another gospel". Even I find myself lured in for a time by ads like this, until I found out the leaders and others who were attached to them...
Have you seen some of the Quiverful and Patriarchy blogs? [see here here,here , there are many more, this is to help give you a flavor of this world, all these bloggers support the patriarchal Vision Forum lifestyle--you'll see the links on their pages] Notice the extreme appeal to the past, one even advertises an 1890's version of "Mrs Morehouse's School of Elocution and Composition for Young Ladies" and the extreme authoritarianism that is praised within the family structure.
You'll see many of these folks, do have good ideas, the appeal to jump into a time machine to a fantasy late 19th century life is definitely there, but they do look for the positive things of the past, while ignoring it's negatives. The late 19th century wasn't the bastion of total morality they seek after, it had it's brothels, street urchins, and wickedness too. They forget the physical filth and killer diseases that modernization wiped clean as well. Life before refrigeration and antibiotics wasn't always perfect and early death came far easier to all. I suppose they have good intentions dreaming of the days they saw as being more moral, and desiring close-knit families and seek more self sufficiency. These are all good things. But where is it leading if they have signed on to the likes of Vision Forum and groups like it?
Of course history is not only rewritten to turn the late 19 century into a shining beacon of historical and moral perfection, but one sees the new versions of American history married to false patriotism and the "values and character training" for children, advertised. Here too you see the focus on the politics of this world and becoming part of the "system".
Let's look at this picture...
The article is entitled "Learning to Be Keepers at Home". This is a theme very stressed in patriarchal circles, while women are to care for their families and there is nothing wrong with that it is stressed to the extreme in the patriarchy movement. Here you see women who are single or who may be childless, being shunted aside for the idealistic life sold by these groups. A young woman named Brook Tingom wrote this article, she appears to be about 18 years old back then, still very youthful and eager and wrote for a magazine called "Kindred Spirits". This article discusses "godly homemaking" and basically puts forth the message that homemaking is to be the woman's first endeavor. Now there is nothing wrong with homemaking, even I cook and clean daily but I find an oddness to it's glorification.
"If we plan to become homemakers someday, if God wills, then we must set our goals high and diligently seek a path towards those goals.
"We young women have a special opportunity to prepare for the role of the homemaker by learning skills and lessons. But it is not merely a knowledge of cleaning and cooking or sewing and washing that we seek--rather it is the possession of a servant's heart that truly will prepare one to be a keeper at home.
Now realize the subtle stuff here, this girl, I believe had good intentions, and was taught to be a good housekeeper and have a servant's heart, nothing wrong with that, but think about those who desire power by telling women in general, your only place is in the home, you have no role to serve elsewhere. What I worry about for this generation of young women, being raised this way, is unlike the Amish, or other communities who have parted ways from the outside world, and have a set community, they are expected to live this way mixed in with the "modern world". There are practical issues that are ignored by those who promote unrealistic legalism. I do not see it working that well, especially in a dying economy unless they happen to find in a agriculturally based small town where many of the locals share their same religious and other beliefs, to help support each other and where the daughter could find a husband of the same beliefs.
The strangest thing to me, is seeing modern professional "Christian" women who were college educated themselves teaching their daughters in the suburbs to become masterful housekeepers or being trained in "safe" patriarchal professions such as becoming a "midwife" but what is the oddest thing, is some of these families live in urban areas, there is no community of the same values, who is the daughter to marry? Many are even attending "modern churches" like Calvary Chapel or mainline Baptist churches. Who is the daughter to do midwife work with, when living in an area where most ladies are going to the hospital with it's highly technological medical equipment down the street? I found myself asking one Vision Forum directed acquaintance these questions. How is she to survive once the parents are deceased if no supportive husband appears? It seems to me the false idealism and more are setting up some young girls for a precarious future. Some Vision Forum families even if there is lots of love there, become little islands unto themselves.
Historically too, it is "off" in that women even in the Little House on the Prairie days, had to help with the homestead, get the crops in, go clean houses or take in washing for the wealthier to help feed their families. It is an idealized view of history and reality that never existed. My grandmother had to work a job, to help her farmer husband even as early as the 50s. As I said on the two opposite coins article--Patriarchy Vs. Hyper-feminism [see above], this is a skewing of what God intended and more about control of women. Couldn't someone tell me I should be mopping the kitchen floor instead of writing this blog? I do not want to see young Christian women, told that how well they clean is the be end and end all. Remember this article appeared in a HOMESCHOOL magazine. How would that affect the education of daughters?
Then there is this article
"The Father's Heart: God's #1 Priority" by Phil Lancaster.
Phil Lancaster was and is by the way, a leader in the patriarchy movement.
I do not agree with the conjecture that:
"A father's relationship with his children is the most important relationship in life. It is no exaggeration to say that everything else hinges on this relationship; not only the welfare of the children themselves, but general well-being of the family, the health of the church, the welfare of civil society, the strength of the economy, the moral climate of civilization, the prosperity of the Kingdom of God in history, the future of the world. Everything is affected by what happens between fathers and the children in their homes. Such is the central place of the family in God's plan, and such is the pivotal role of fathers in that foundational institution"
While yes, fathers are very important to children, here we have the idolization of the family and of a human father, that is advanced in the patriarchy movement. Sometimes when I read things like this, I think how absurd. Many Christian believers came out of non-Christian home and departed from fathers that didn't even believe in God at all! That applies to me, of course in those who want patriarchal control and wish to have people look to this world, they ignore such facts. The Patriarchy world is a closed loop system that betrays the Great Commission.
He even manages to directly contradict the words of Jesus Christ here.
"Throughout the ages, the family has been the nursery of faith for each generation , the primary place in which Christian discipleship, has occurred. The future is shaped generation, by generation, in homes. Other institutions come and go, but the family remains a constant part of life in this world, and of God's plan for the ages. Even the new Testament church itself is modeled on the family and copies its patterns of life among the members."
Now remember what Jesus Christ taught?
Mar 3:31 ¶ There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
Mar 3:32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
Mar 3:33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
Mar 3:34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
Mar 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
and of course this:
Luk 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
How many of us are the few among our family? Or even the only born again believer among both sides of relatives?
Phil Lancaster goes on to write of love between family members, that is fine and good but he still elevates the role of fathers far too high and puts them higher then God in many cases:
"It is just as the Lord promised in Prove 22: 6. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old enough he will not turn from it" Why? Once a child's heart is turned to his father, there is no breaking the bond that is created! For that child to turn from his father and the faith of his father would be to destroy his own heart."
and sums up...
"A father's relationship with his children is the most important relationship in life. The question is What are you going to do about it?"
Actually the most important relationship is one's relationship with God. No other. A father can not control a grown child, and will have to let go eventually. Sometimes reading the literature from these groups, it's like helicopter parenting taken to it's ultimate zenith. Scores of hovering parents who do not allow children to grow up, who do not allow them to be their own people, who seek to control them even in to their adulthood. If anything, the best parenting brings a child to a place where they can stand on their own two feet, that includes being a Christian in reality as well not just because it is 'expected'.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Phil Lancaster wrote a magazine called Patriarch magazine, which was advertised in the back of this Home School Digest magazine as well....He went on to found Immanuel Family Fellowship and was part of the family-integrated church movement. He has worked with Vision Forum. [see here too]
The family integrated church model, which I have wrote about before, advances patriarchy too. Read more about family integrated churches here. It was advertised in this magazine as well:
And then World magazine was too. World magazine, is the Christian magazine for Dominionists but that will take it's own blog entry to explain....
And then you can see more of the Vision Forum influence...
This is a magazine still in circulation called "QUIT YOU LIKE MEN", It is taken from 1 Corinthians 16:13. You can see Doug Phillip's then involvement with it.
So there is the snapshot of this magazine. Looking at other homeschool literature, magazines and sources, the influences for Patriarchy and Dominionism are there in others. I have known personally homeschoolers being influenced by these groups, their literature and more. Be careful of what you read out there, even if things sound good on the surface, about ways to discipline and add to your child's character or education. Be wary of those who teach you can have total control over your grown children's lives, and who think that extreme authoritarian parenting to go along with their totalitarian politics will solve all of the world's problems. Warn your other homeschooling friends. I'm facing the reality of warning a few of mine. Realize how these groups have invaded everything from politics to even as shown here, trying to strongly influence the HOMESCHOOLING community and ask yourself WHY?