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Friday, December 3, 2010

Homeschool Cults

There's been an uproar about homeschooling for many years, but due to recent outcries of abuse it tends to draw in a negative audience. Homeschoolers get upset at the negative publicity, but hey..publicity is a good thing. The part that is the worst is when cases of abuse arise and homeschoolers try to cover it up and hide it. Those are the homeschoolers that get the most negative attention.

The problem people have with homeschooling is the same problem they have with religion and many times homeschooling and religion mix. It's not always a good mix. There are plenty of Atheist homeschoolers who don't abuse and there are Christians homeschoolers who don't abuse. The problem is the isolation and the "I'm always right" mentality. The "Us vs. Them" camp is where most of the problems come from.

These particular camps are creating a modern day Berlin wall. "We're better than you.. you're the enemy blah blah blah".

Excuse me, but I never read where Jesus ever said to isolate yourself and think you're better than everyone else. Some families get so caught up in fear that they isolate themselves from the world as if it's full of blood sucking zombies. There have been so many tragedies when camps isolate themselves. If Jesus had stayed in his own little synagogue where would we be today?

I've had long conversations with foster parents who have dealt with social workers in regards to their religion. For the most part, social workers don't care if you're a church going family of faith. What they do care about is the "Us vs. Them" mentality. And I believe they have a good reason for that concern.

I'm not so concerned about getting negative attention about our homeschooling. Here's why.. I don't force my kids into isolation, I don't limit their textbooks to only Christian books, and I don't forbid them from learning world religions. As a matter of fact, we take quite a bit of time studying world religions. I think it's incredibly important for our next generation to have a good working knowledge of what other nations believe, in order to effectively communicate with them.

Our homeschooled kids are going to enter this world as adults someday and how are we preparing them? With fear? To isolate from co-workers who don't go to church? To only befriend people who go to the same denomination as them? It's no wonder church feels like high school. 

I cringe at the idea of homeschool circles being like that. I want to be able to gather with other homeschoolers without having to go to their church. I don't want to hear a bunch of condemnation about the status of my womb or my husband's sperm count. I don't want my kids to have to worry about getting snubbed by culotte wearing teens. In a lot of ways, the world is far more accepting of our family than some homeschool and Christian groups.

I can hear the accusations now...

"Don't call homeschoolers cults!"

I'm not. But what I AM saying is there are a lot of homeschoolers who are in cults and the cult mentality is oozing into the homeschool circles and it's quite annoying. If you don't want the word 'cult' associated with 'homeschooling' then don't adopt the legalism that is infecting much of the homeschool market. Push legalism back in it's closet where it belongs.

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8 kind words:

Abigail December 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

Good points! I cringe when the extremists are splattered across the media because it gives the idea that all of us think like they do. And we don't! Home education is as individual as the families and students doing it. Do not lump any of us together with anyone else.

Michelle December 5, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

I think the Us Vs. them mentality goes both ways.

When we made the decision to home school, our family really was the outcasts even though we tended to be far more friendly and sociable than the families who looked down on us!

I do agree that homeschoolers can create this mentality as well. I've seen it many times and it is sad. We are suppose to reflect Christ's light to those around us and I don't see how that is possible if we treat everyone with disdain.

Tiffany December 7, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

I really enjoyed reading this. You gave me a lot to think over and ponder, and I appreciate that. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your blog is lovely!
Blessings, Tiffany

Dana December 8, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

Right there with ya!
I mentored a young homeschool mom for several years. During coffee one day she shared with me that she didn't think she was cut out to homeschool. "Why?" I asked. I thought she was doing a great job!
She told me that she couldn't connect with the other homeschool moms in her area. "I let my boys watch Batman & other cartoons. I let them wear clothes with super hero's on them, I let my boys play video games. These moms scolded me for not protecting my sons more. And then I mentioned drinking wine with my husband & they wouldn't talk to me anymore." She went on for an hour & many tears about how she just couldn't be the right kind of homeschool mom. I was so mad that I wanted to confront those moms, but I didn't. Thankfully, my young HS mom friend has continued to HS.

TC December 9, 2010 at 12:00 AM  

AMEN and amen! I left a certain popular homeschooling site a few years ago because a small group of legalistic, home schooled TEENS had started berating other members over issues that they had decided were markers of "true" Christianity. It just made me sick that a small number of people could so twist the words of a gracious, holy God to create division and chaos.

As far as I can tell from reading the Bible, doctrine (of any stripe) is pretty much worthless without LOVE. Genuine, compassionate involvement in the lives of others - even those who believe and live very differently than us - is what attracts people to what it is we believe: a God of mercy who loves us in spite of our sin and failures, and our self-righteousness and -justification. And it's these indignantly self-righteous, isolationist, cultic home schoolers who give the entire home education movement such a bad name.

Sharon December 29, 2010 at 5:30 AM  

" I don't want my kids to have to worry about getting snubbed by culotte wearing teens." Ouch. been there done that... apparently my daughter didn't have the right amount of pleats... and yet the girl accusing had hers way up over her knee... go figure!

Dawn February 19, 2011 at 8:09 PM  

Oh my goodness have we been THERE! My daughter literally SCARED OFF 3 jumpered girls when she dared SPEAK to them as they browsed our curriculum sale table. My daughter was 12 at the time, and wearing jeans with holey knees and a motocross jersey. Those poor girls didn't know what to think about her. Our daughter said they ran off like scared squirrels! One of them was around her age, too.

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