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May 19, 2004

Homeschoolers: Witches and Zealots

I think Quinn Cotton was trying to be funny. Trying very hard. It didn't work.

The following ugly statements are from the editorial that recently appeared in Creative Loafing, an "alternative press" weekly in Charlotte, North Carolina.

a lot of the homeschooling faithful are as fueled by a fanatical, religion-based belief in their mission as Islamist terrorists, and seem to be just about as brainwashed.

. . .

Some of the homeschooling moms (HMs) are kind of witch-y, with the uncut hair and the long skirts because pants on females are unholy, but the description that really applies to this coven is "All of Them Zealots."

. . .

They're not only terrorist-like in their conviction that their calling is divinely ordained, homeschoolers also often have a broad martyr streak. Rather than suicide bombings, though, they commit "suicide book-learning," sacrificing their own lives to teach their kids.

. . .

What's really scary about homeschooling is what it can do to the sanity of a mother deluded into thinking it's her Christian duty. No woman was ever meant to be trapped in a house all day with children old enough to spell "homicide."

. . .

All young animals must be immersed in a mass of their peers so they can figure out what it means to function as a member of the larger group.

Ironically, I remember 15+ years ago, when homeschooling was more underground the neighbors thinking we were a little weird, but their usual concern was What about socialization? We've all heard that before.

Homeschooling has become so mainstream, that most neighbors are pretty accepting of it, and see value in it--even if they still think "I could never homeschool my kids."

Maybe that's Quinn Cotton's problem with homeschooling now. It isn't alternative enough.

(Via Ariana)


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Quote #3 simply proves that Cotton has bought the absurd lie that being out in the working world is somehow glorious and fulfilling for most of the women who do it.

Let's see...what would I rather be doing 8 hours a day...being here with my kids, supervising their education, playing with them, teaching them the non-academic stuff of life, providing a well-tended home for them (I wish)...or working alongside the women who work under my husband, assembling electronic parts on a workbench, or tending undisciplined kids in daycare, or being on my feet scanning groceries, or sitting in a cubicle entering meaningless data, or reminding the kids at the counter to ask if they want fries with that and yelling at them when they show up late...every day....

the dirty little secret of American society that is so GLARINGLY obvious to anyone with two eyes but is noticed by almost no one because of the *brainwashing* we've been subjected to is that *most* women who work outside the home are not producing thoughtful journalistic pieces, landing lucrative deals to the praise of those who said it couldn't be done, or defending the innocent accused in court -- they're drudging away at pretty unrewarding work. This is what I'm "sacrificing" to homeschool my kids. Gee, what a shame.

That's on the more serious level of cultural criticism. On the "that's just silly" level are the cracks about long skirts and long hair. I'm no BDJMer myself, but has Quinn failed to notice that long skirts and long hair are actually among the accepted fashions for the general public these days?

Posted by: pentamom at May 19, 2004 04:10 PM

"All young animals must be immersed in a mass of their peers so they can figure out what it means to function as a member of the larger group." Yep. That's how you get animals for kids! Oddly, though, I can't think of any other animals who raise their kids this way....

Posted by: Valerie (Kyriosity) at May 19, 2004 04:15 PM

As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother, I can recognize true FREEDOM!

Posted by: Carol at May 19, 2004 04:59 PM

We have our own alternative journals around here. One ran a piece about our local pro-life ministry, Pregnancy Support Services, and about how they were misrepresenting themselves as medical professionals by offering ultrasounds. The big media doesn't want to lower itself to fight the occasional differing worldview, but those "alternative journals" are very zealous to preserve the cultural secular orthodoxy.

Posted by: Lenise at May 19, 2004 05:09 PM

Well, at the risk of undermining Valerie's cute point, flock, herd, and pack animals do it that way.

But -- NOT without adult supervision in the same proportions as in the immediate family circle, right? Not that it's even RELEVANT what animals do -- leaving aside the silly evolutionary assumptions, don't even most of the pagans admit that there are things that *separate* humans from the dumb animals?

But this is taking her piece entirely too seriously anyway. :-P The whole thing is a shining example of "if you can't beat 'em, make fun of 'em, and hope no one notices that your caricature bears no resemblance to reality."

Posted by: pentamom at May 19, 2004 06:44 PM


You're so right. While many of my jobs have been "meaningful" and personally rewarding, none of the have been financially profitable in the way the feminist equalizers would think is ideal.

Well, Valerie, we *do* call our boys yellow-haired monkeys. . .

Lenise, usually I like the altmags. They can be amusing and a good source for what's going on in the area. But I don't like how they incessantly propagandize.

Posted by: TulipGirl at May 19, 2004 10:05 PM

from a male point of view, I think a woman who stays home to care for the family and homeschool her children is a woman who is carrying out one of the most demanding jobs in the world, yet it's a career with one of the most rewards. It kind of makes me jealous. But it puts a desire into my heart to make sure I provide for my wife and child(ren) so that these things can happen. I encourage all you mothers who are taking on this role to remain strong and you'll be blessed in the job that you do.

Posted by: david at May 19, 2004 11:32 PM

I think the problem secularists have with Christian homeschoolers is that they see all these children who are completely out of the reach of their influence. They may see it as the children as being held prisoner and being indoctrinated with a set of beliefs they (the secularists) see as dangerous, like how most of us would have interpreted the situation with the Branch Davidians' children in their compound. Of course you and I know that what religious instruction HS kids are receiving is beneficial, but to those on the outside, they don't know this.. and as non-Christians, they wouldn't see it as such anyway.

But I think we all have known someone who was homeschooled improperly, meaning they were in fact isolated because their parents were afraid of the world corrupting their child so the first chance that child got to go in to the world on their own, they a) didn't know how to socialize; b) didn't know how to handle those with differing opinions and/or c) went hog wild indulging every appetite they never knew they had. For me it was my college roommate in the dorms. I love her dearly, but today she is over 30, still lives with her parents, still cannot drive, still works at her step-dad's business, because she never learned the life skill of independence. And she is miserable. These stories are powerful motivators to not homeschool and to look askance at anyone who does. Not that I do, but I think I understand why some people do.

Posted by: AutMom at May 20, 2004 06:53 AM

Penta, I meant that herd and pack animals don't send off the lambs, calves, kids and foals into age-segregated pens and pastures...do they?

Posted by: Valerie (Kyriosity) at May 20, 2004 06:45 PM

No, of course not, Kyrio. ;-)

Autmom, you're right, we all know, at least secondhand, of such stories. The thing is, though, that we probably all know a lot of non-homeschooled kids who have other equally bad problems that are traceable to their being mis-socialized or mis-educated in some other setting. So it seems to me it's more of a tragic reality of sinful and irresponsible or unwise people failing to care for children properly, than anything specifically germane to whether homeschooling (or non-homeschooling) is a good thing or not. I don't have to deny that homeschoolers mess up in specifically homeschoolish ways, in order to refute the notion that homeschooling is inherently worse or more dangerous than other kinds of schooling.

Posted by: pentamom at May 20, 2004 07:41 PM

First of all, anyone who thinks that homeschooling mothers are pent up in the house all day with their children has not been to my homeschool.

Secondly, there are MANY social misfits being created right in the public schools these days... people who are over 30 with no social skills -- unemployed and useless people who cannot function. So the fact that a person can find one homeschooler who fits that description should not prevent anyone from homeschooling.

I homeschool my children because I want to direct their social, moral, academic and practical education while at the same time completely immersing them in the Christian way of life.... teaching them to understand their Bible and act on it. I am convinced that I cannot accomplish these goals if I send my child to an institution for the best hours of their day. So it is my repsonibility to see that they receive all that they need for proper social, moral, and academic development. I want each of them to develop their God given abilities to the maximum and I find the institutional setting does not provide the right atmosphere for "real" education.


jenzy35, homeschooling mother of seven children, age range 17 - 2 years old and, for the record... over the 12 years that I have been dedicated to homeschooling, I have always taken the time to be sure I pursued my own interests, even if it was in a smaller way than others without the responsibilities I carry can maintain. Perhaps the person who assumes we homeschool mothers are all martyrs just simply is imagining things or doesn't know enough homeschoolers to judge rightly. The same martyr-mother syndrome can be found in many families, regardless of educational choice.

Posted by: jenzy35 at August 3, 2004 06:30 PM


Welcome to TulipGirl!

And you definitely are speaking from experience. I do think that some h/s mamas "forget" to do what you've wisely done in "taken the time to be sure I pursued my own interests." But like you've said, the martyr-mother syndrome is seen in a range of families, regardless of educational choice.

Grace and blessings,

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 3, 2004 08:38 PM

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