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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

The horrors of Christian homeschooling, as told by secularists

Christian homeschoolers are Bible-thumping, child-beating isolationists who hope their numerous children will take over America, according to a Washington Post story, Revolt of the Christian home-schoolers.


Reporter Peter Jamison focuses on Aaron and Christina Beall, a nice young Virginia couple who were raised in "the most powerful and ideologically committed faction of the modern home-schooling movement."


"Among conservative Christians," he explains, "home schooling became a tool for binding children to fundamentalist beliefs they felt were threatened by exposure to other points of view."


The Bealls were homeschooling their children, but sparing the rod. When they saw a daughter struggle with reading, they enrolled her in the well-regarded local public school. She thrived, so they enrolled her two school-age siblings. Christina, who has a toddler at home, now volunteers at the school.


Their parents were very, very unhappy by their "revolt," but seem to have adjusted.


So how large is this faction of homeschoolers? Are they all "oppressively patriarchal" child beaters? For that matter, what percentage of homeschoolers are conservative Christians? The Post doesn't really say.


The story does quote Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, who calls these families “the fringe of the fringe,” considered extremist by other conservative Christians. He says people lashing out at home-schooling were raised in this small minority of extremist families.


"Former home-schoolers have been at the forefront of those arguing for greater oversight of home schooling, forming the nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Home Education to make their case," writes Jamison.

Farris hopes a “Joshua Generation” of the homeschooled will "seek the political power and cultural influence to reshape America according to biblical principles," writes Jamison.


So they're not isolationists?


Homeschooling has become "more diverse, demographically and ideologically," Jamison concedes. The closure of public schools gave it a huge boost.


Yet conservative Christian activists remain influential. Jamison blames them for inflaming "the nation’s culture wars, fueling attacks on public-school lessons about race and gender with the politically potent language of 'parental rights'.”


So people concerned about "parental rights" are child beaters?


Aaron, who skipped college but became a successful software engineer, and Christina, who was graduated from a Christian college, "understand that they could not recover or reconstruct the lost opportunities of their childhoods," writes Jamison.

For example, they're not familiar with Punxsutawney Phil's role in Groundhog Day. Their daughter learned about Phil in public schools. (I had to learn it in the streets.) "These were the gaps Aaron and Christina had become accustomed to finding as they learned about a world whose boundaries extended far beyond the one in which they had been raised," he writes. "There were so many things they had not learned, and perhaps would never learn."


They really should watch the movie.



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