The first of the two pieces that initally provoked my thinking on this topic was, …
Kennebec Journal, Kennebec, Maine, 21 January 2007, Letter shows most Christians miss message
I was really dumbstruck by Erica Granquist’s letter to the editor (Jan. 13). She states that she is a home-schooled Christian girl. This information proves what I thought all along: Home schooling is just brainwashing and there is nothing Christian about any war.
I tried finding Erica Granquist’s letter, but it is no longer online. The Kennebec Journal site seems to keep them online only for about a week, so the link above will probably be useless after a while, too. Apparently she’s thirteen, and wrote to the paper in support of President Bush’s policy in Iraq.
I discounted the letter writer’s screed against “home-schooled Christian” girls as immaterial until I clicked on the link to an article in a subsequent Google alert.
Christian News Wire, Washington, D.C., 22 January 2007, Considering Homeschooling: Christians Can Help Stop Abortion
Considering Homeschooling a nationwide homeschool recruitment group, urges Christians parents to see home education as a powerful tool to deter abortions in their own families, and as an excellent means to raise up leaders with a strong life ethic.
A homeschool recruitment group? Using homeschooling as an anti-abortion tool? What was going on last week? Was Mercury retrograde again? (I guess not)
It is fully the right of groups such as the one mentioned in the second article to exist, even if they do give the general public the impression that “home schooling is just brainwashing.” We wouldn’t want it any other way because for one group to lose their rights would mean we’d all lose something.
Still, I wish there was a greater range of ‘homeschooling voices’ being heard by the workers in the public information media. For example, in a recent PBS broadcast about homeschooling, only one homeschooling subgroup is quoted, that of the far-right sector of Christianity. Because of programs like this, it isn’t surprising that “homeschooling” is seen as a vehicle for “brainwashing” children.
Religion & Ethics, PBS, 10 January 2007, Home Schooling Movement
BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: By some estimates, the number of children in this country being taught at home is well over a million and may be approaching two million, and in some states there is very little or no government oversight of what the kids are learning, which is just the way most home school parents want it. We have a Lucky Severson story today on the home school debate.
LUCKY SEVERSON: School kids from Houston having a field day — home schooled kids, that is.
The people on the program are
- Mr. Abernethy and Mr. Severson from PBS
- Rob Reich, a critic of homeschooling as it is currently regulated
- people publicly connected to ‘homeschooling’
- and homeschooling mothers.
Of the people interviewed who are publicly connected to homeschooling, all of them are outspokenly conservative Christian, which isn’t to impugn them, per se, but merely to question the breadth of the pool of those intereviewed.
- Bruce Shortt: Dominionist Press Publishes book by Southern Baptist
- Jube Dankworth: bio from HomeSchooling Family to Family, an outreach program of Frontline Ministries.
- J. Michael Smith: President, Home School Legal Defense Association
Of the identified homeschooling parents who don’t have public homeschooling personas, the interview portions that were included in the transcript of the program 80% of them referenced Christianity, and specifically a Biblically literalist viewpoint.
- Teresa Strack: her portion was followed by Mr. Severson saying, “More often than not, the home library will include a large section of Christian books.”
- Rena Sumbera: “I believe in the story of Genesis.”
- Yoshika Lowe: “We don’t believe that humans came from animals, because that would mean that they weren’t made in the image of God.”
- Voddie Baucham: Ethics Daily.com, Evangelist Opposes Homosexual “Agenda” in Schools, “Baucham co-wrote the resolution with Bruce Shortt, a Houston attorney who last year failed in an effort to bring to a vote a similar resolution that would have called for a mass exodus from government-run schools.”
The one named homeschooling adult who wasn’t connected to a specifically Biblically-literalist viewpoint was Jan Snow, a microbiologist.
Because the program was titled, “Home Schooling Movement,” and not “Conservative Homeschooling Movement,” “Conservative Christian Homeschooling” or “Biblical Literalist Homeschooling Movement,” I wonder why no liberal or moderate voices of homeschooling were included?
- Why was Bruce Shortt the person replying to Rob Reich and not Larry Kaseman or Pam Sorooshian?
- Why are Mr. Shortt and Ms. Dankworth (who are both affiliated with the Exodus Mandate) paired on the program, and not Linda Dobson and Dr. Mary Hood?
- Why was J. Michael Smith interviewed — in addition to Mr. Shortt and Ms. Dankworth — and not Patrick Farenga, or John Taylor Gatto?
Other possible featured speakers on homeschooling could have been:
- Ann Zeise
- Jon Shemitz
- Shay Seaborne
- Rebecca Rupp
- Marsha Ransom
- Jean Reed
- Tamra Orr
- Raymond Moore
- Pat Montgomery
- Alison McKee
- Helen Hegener
- Nicky Hardenbergh
- David Guterson
- Mary Griffith
- Billy Greer
- Ann Lahrson Fisher
- Daryl Cobranchi
- David Albert
I understand part of the reason why the moderates and liberals aren’t included in the national conversation — they don’t seem to tie their homeschooling to other agendas. They homeschool … and do other things, but the homeschooling isn’t a vehicle for promoting the other things. That kind of living doesn’t produce many fireworks, and few hot-button issues. They also aren’t out “recruiting.”
Still, it’s a shame that public news media don’t dig deeper into the subject. If they are going to present a national “debate” on homeschooling, let that debate reflect the full gamut of the homeschooling movement, and not just the kind that looks like “brainwashing.”