Homeschool Apostates

They were raised to carry the fundamentalist banner forward and redeem America. But now the Joshua Generation is rebelling.

“Children in these situations are taught that if you talk badly about your parents, that’s a sin, and you’re going to hell,” Lauren says. “So when they finally get the courage and determination to say something, no one believes them, because they didn’t say anything all those years. You end up having to find an entirely new support network of people who actually believe you.”

Homeschool Apostages – Kathryn Joyce, American Prospect

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About Jonny Scaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on December 6, 2013, in Christianity, Education, Fundamentalism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Once again, we see the assumptions of religious authority at work causing real harm to real people in real life. Homeschooling must be legislated and regulated to meet public education curriculum and the parents of these children held legally accountable. This is the British Columbia model and it works to mitigate the totalitarian impulse so many fundamentalist parents seem to associate with godliness. The parents can be as pious as they want, but their home schooled children will meet these educational requirements – most importantly the demonstrated ability to think critically, which is identified as the key skill – by the founders of Homeschooling Anonymous and No Longer Quivering – young adults need to break out of fundamentalist mindset into which they have been indoctrinated.

    As a parent of a home schooled child and an educator, I am well aware of the benefits a good home school program can offer, but I am also aware of the tremendous benefits beyond merely basic academics that public education – even poorly done public education – offers… especially in age appropriate socialization and cultural exposure. Nations need a common social and cultural base to function well and public education is the primary tool by which this base is achieved. To exempt children from meeting these curriculum outcomes is not simply a matter of parental discretion but a matter of national concern for a variety of compelling reasons… not least of which is to discourage so much abuse in the name of piety.

    • “To exempt children from meeting these curriculum outcomes is not simply a matter of parental discretion but a matter of national concern for a variety of compelling reasons… not least of which is to discourage so much abuse in the name of piety.”

      Very well said. Reminded me of a quote by Psychologist Alice Miller:

      “Physical as well as psychological abuse of the child is not only harmful but highly dangerous. Not only for the individual but under certain circumstances for whole nations.”

    • Homeschooling must be legislated and regulated to meet public education curriculum and the parents of these children held legally accountable. This is the British Columbia model and it works to mitigate the totalitarian impulse so many fundamentalist parents seem to associate with godliness.

      Because nothing mitigates a totalitarian impulse quite like passing laws forbidding people from raising their children with different beliefs and understandings than the state approves of. You’ll sure teach them a lesson about totalitarianism when the social worker shows up with armed police to relieve them of their children!

      Nations need a common social and cultural base to function well and public education is the primary tool by which this base is achieved.

      Once again, that previous riff about the dangers of totalitarianism is just comical in retrospect. We must mitigate the totalitarian impulse of fundamentalist parents. Why? Largely because they get in the way of the totalitarian impulse of others. We need a common social and cultural base – and if that requires stamping out some cultures, well hey. Parents do not raise their children and give them an upbringing of their own accord. They are to be viewed as extensions of the state – they may raise their children on the state’s behalf. And if the children fail to get the right cultural ideas or beliefs, then the state may take those children away.

      The lengths through which we must go to fight totalitarianism…

      • What a ‘crude’ interpretation of Jonny’s post. I suppose you think public schools represent totalitarianism, too? Whoosh.

      • Parents are free to indoctrinate their children to their heart’s content but when it comes to their children’s education, there are standards in place that all must meet. This includes homeschooling and even religious homeschooling. Meeting those curriculum standards is not a question of either/or but a baseline of common knowledge and skills. Withholding these from children does not improve their opportunities available to adults but intentionally impedes them in the name of something else… something other than education. That is why it is for the common good that all children receive a standard education… not just in basic skills and knowledge but in order to hold for the country as a whole to have its citizens able to relate to others. Without this common education of common skills and common knowledge, a country cannot produce a social setting in peace, order, and good government can be attained, principles upon which Canada’s Constitution is put into common law. When we allow fracturing of public education to become the sole domain of individual parents, we lose a necessary cohesion and allow isolated communities to become the replacement. Our history is full of bloodshed and gross discrimination when this was the nor; we have evolved since then by utilizing public education to create a common bond that has unified an extraordinarily diverse population into a politically cohesive whole without harming individual rights and freedoms. Public education is demonstrably reasonable and helpful, while religious ‘education’ is demonstrably harmful to peace, order and good governance. If that is a tyranny to your way of thinking, then you need to get out more, travel to theocracies, and then utilize your public education properly and effectively to be able to fairly and critically compare and contrast the reality you find in these theocracies with the ridiculous beliefs you hold about the ‘tyranny’ of the secular.

  2. Hello Jonny.

    Did you yourself suffer under such an education in the UK?

    I’ve only been in England from October and I had no idea before that there are so terrible things going on in fundamentalist Churches.

    As a Christian I feel deeply sorry about this http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/the-good-godless-gay/ , as ironically enough the historical Jesus Himself did.

    When will your book be ready?

    Best wishes from Lancashire.

  3. Sorry my link looks ugly, I did not pasted it well.
    I meant that I and many other progressive Christians are also constantly exposing fundamentalism, so we are in the same boat.

  4. Jonny, thanks for posting the article. I was stunned for lack of a better word. I was also blown away regarding the Seventh Day Adventist education researcher, Raymond Moore and his assumptions in the early development of Homeschooling, that schooling children before the 4th grade was developmentally harmful. I would agree with that assumption if it’s taking place in a fundamentalist homeschooling environment. Otherwise that assumption is in complete opposition to what the neurological and child development studies have shown over and over. The earlier the better, and it needs to take place in a positive, non-threatening environment.

    Two things really stood out for me in the article. Two-thirds to three-forth of homeschoolers are fundamentalist (wow), and this:

    “In June, the HSLDA–authored Parental Rights Amendment was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives with 64 co-sponsors. The amendment would enshrine in the Constitution parents’ “fundamental right” to direct their child’s upbringing however they see fit, free of state interference.”

    I looked for updates but couldn’t find any and was unable to get on the HSLDA website tonight. It kept timing out.

  5. So you home-school your child and teach them a naive Christian conception of the world and then they get out into the real world and the cossetted world they were raised in can’t compete with that. That’s America at work. It’s all about choice and freedom.

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