Reconstruction and Homeschool Movements: Stay-at-Home Mothers and Adult Daughters

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Reconstructionists and leaders in the Homeschool Movement have been very vocal about the role of women as “keepers at home.”  Is this completely Biblical?

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This article is the third article related to Reconstructionism, the Homeschool Movement, and women.

The first article, Homeschooled Adult Daughters Held Captive at Home, Prevented from Getting College Education, discusses how some homeschooling parents interfere and prevent their daughters from going to college, essentially holding them captive at home to be “stay-at-home” daughters.  The Homeschool Movement has made the “stay-at-home daughter” a noble concept.

The second article asks the question, Are Daughters the Biggest Threat to the Christian Patriarchy Movement and Reconstructionism?  This article takes a look at trend of building the father/daughter relationship by marketing this idea in books, videos, retreats.  I now believe the focus on the father/daughter relationship is an attempt to sell their daughters on their future “position” in the home as homemakers or “keepers at home.”  If daughters do not embrace this concept, the future of Reconstructionism is at stake because it requires adult daughters to procreate and adopt these ideas to keep the ideology extended throughout the generations.

Today, I want to continue the discussion on raising daughters in the Homeschool Movement, but will extend it to discuss wives as homemakers in this Movement.

Raising Homemakers is a blog “dedicated to inspiring, teaching and blessing mothers who have an interest in raising their daughter in godliness and preparing them in the arts of homemaking to the glory of God.”  It appears to be a pretty popular blog when I checked the Alexa ratings.  I spent a considerable amount of time reading blogs like this when I was “in” the Homeschool Movement.  My frequent hang-out was the Titus2.com forum by Steve and Terri Maxwell, which is no longer in existence, but they still maintain a blog at the site.

Yesterday, I found a post at the Raising Homemakers blog written by Kathy, a mother, giving advice on important skills daughters should learn before marriage in an article entitled, Before You Give Her Away.  The skills mentioned are important ones.  I would teach these skills not only to my daughters, but to my sons as well.  They include:

  • how to do laundry
  • how to make an apron (this one made me laugh, I’ve been a homemaker for 28+ years and have probably donned an apron 10 times)
  • how to clean house
  • how to cook
  • how to grow a garden
  • basic auto maintenance
  • basic money management/budgeting

Financial advice included how to budget and live on a budget for a year, how to fill out tax forms, etc.  She says this is important because, “The husband may choose to handle the money and business, but she NEEDS to know how to do it and be willing, especially if he were to die before her.”  (bolded by JA)

The author makes mention of quilting, crocheting, or cake decorating as ways to make money from home, if need be.

So, let me get this straight.  It’s important for daughters to know how to handle the money and also have money-making skills like quilting or cake decorating.  So, if her husband dies, she will know how to handle the money she makes  . . . . . from where?  Quilting or cake making or crocheting??  Really???

We all want to give our children a good start in life and that includes the skills and character they will need for marriage and family life.

The normative is that most women will get married and have children. According to Scripture they are to be a keeper of their home; a ruler of their home. This is their primary way of being their husband’s helper. (Titus 2)

We want our daughters to be a blessing to their husband, to help him take dominion of the earth for God’s glory.

In the event that they do not marry, these skills will only enhance their lives!

(Pssst . . . . in case you missed it, the “take dominion of the earth” phrase is coded language, screaming:  RECONSTRUCTIONIST.    It’s interesting, when you are in this Movement, you may not even notice the wording, I think I have the lingo down now. )

Ok, back to the topic of women – – – I get concerned when we have whole movements sucking people into their rhetoric and telling people how to live based on one specific phrase in the Bible, rather than from the Bible in its entirety.  This is what I have seen in the Homeschool Movement.

The author mentions Titus 2 in reference to women.  I checked Titus 2 and this is the only reference to women in the chapter:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  Titus 2:3-5

The Homeschool Movement puts a whole lot of emphasis on words/phrases like:  homemakers, keepers at home, stay-at-home mothers, stay-at-home daughters.  Many blogs have jumped on this “keepers-at-home” bandwagon and there are scores and scores of blogs perpetuating the same kind of teaching.  I believe this stems from that sole phrase in Titus 2 ,”working at home,” and it dominates their whole philosophy of what the Homeschool Movement believes as far as a wife/mother’s role and responsibility in the family.

It is important to note that so much of the focus on wives in the Homeschool Movement refers to wives being at home.  However, if you take a look at the Proverbs 31 woman, this stellar Proverbs 31 woman is knowledgeable about real estate and buying fields.  You can’t do that sitting at home, can you?  It says she seeks out wool and flax.  I don’t have any wool or flax growing in my home.  This is obviously done away from the home. It says the Proverbs 31 woman’s merchandise is profitable. I don’t imagine her house to be a makeshift market.  She must go out of her house to sell her wares, in addition to gathering her food from afar.

Reader, Anonymous 2, had this to say about the skills required for Proverbs 31 women:

Well, the Bible has very high requirements for women:

Proverbs 31 alone…

1. Run a profitable import/export business
2. Manage a staff
3. Purchase commercial real estate from her profits
4. Purchasing raw goods for manufacturing
5. Runs a manufacturing facility
6. Active selling her manufactured goods.

(Notice that “profits” and “earnings” and “selling” are mentioned many times in this passage.)

Christians ought to make sure their daughters all get MBA’s if they take Scripture seriously.

So, my question is this – why are the leaders in the Homeschool Movement remiss in mentioning other ways for women to earn money outside the home like the Proverbs 31 woman?  Does the Proverb 31 woman not meet their standards?  Why not?  She seems pretty amazing to me.  Is the Homeschool Movement hand-selecting only a specific phrase in one section of the Bible to promote their agenda, resulting in sequestering women to the home, even adult unmarried women?

I have no doubt that if the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband died, she would be able to take care of herself and her family.  She had marketable skills and was respected in the community.

But what about the Titus 2 woman (the woman who bases her role solely on Titus 2)?  I doubt many women who follow the Titus 2 “working at home” model would be able to have financial security should they encounter financial hardship, unemployment, disability or death or divorce of spouse.  Money earned from cake decorating and crocheting or quilting would not make much of a dent in a family’s budget to be of real assistance.

It is my opinion that the wives and young adult women connected with the Homeschool Movement are not getting a full picture of God’s potential for them that we see in the Bible. They are only getting a limited picture based on the one phrase in Titus 2.

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photo credit: martinak15 via photopin cc

If you are a mom or a single adult woman who has been involved in the Homeschool Movement, I encourage you to find women in scripture and see for yourself.  Women were not stuck at home, they were free to use their gifts, to earn money, to minister to others, to spread the gospel, etc.   Our lot in life need not be limited to raising children, cake decorating, crocheting, and writing homemaking or stay-at-home daughters blogs.   Sure, it’s good to have our family and home as primary focus, but the whole world is open to us, our talents, and creativity.  At least that is what my Bible says.  Ladies, let’s set this record straight once and for all.

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21 comments on “Reconstruction and Homeschool Movements: Stay-at-Home Mothers and Adult Daughters

  1. It has often been said that you can excerpt from the Bible, with a little interpretation added, words that will support any ridiculous idea anyone can invent. This is surely one of them. BTW my mother taught her two sons all of the above skills, ensured that we knew how to care for a newborn, etc. And she was the money manager in the home, b/c Dad was working 60 hours a week on a job and serving at church and doing projects for the church and the needy. She also took us to visit extended family (both sides) when he could not get away when we had school vacations due to it being his busy season. A phenomenal woman who was as independent as they come and a most committed Christian. Worked in three two-week Bible schools each summer, and served as the principal of one or more each summer.

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  2. I applaud Elisabeth Elliot, one of the great heroines of modern Christianity, and a model traditionalist. She strongly defended college educations for Christian women, saying that the word “educate” is based on the concept of “drawing out” the talents, skills and gifts a person has been given by God.

    To keep women uneducated is to hide their light under a bushel.

    To keep women uneducated is like the unfaithful servant who buried his one talent in the ground.

    Refusing to educate women and allow them to exercise their gifts to assist the broader community and to the world is to squelch the gifts that God has given — not to hoard in their own home — but to advance the Church worldwide.

    We need to educate women to the highest degree to which they are capable and inclined to pursue.

    (Not to mention that people with 4-year college degrees marry at a higher rate and divorce at a lower rate than the rest of the population.)

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  3. So, my question is this – why are the leaders in the Homeschool Movement remiss in mentioning other ways for women to earn money outside the home like the Proverbs 31 woman?

    Because they don’t want their wimmen to get Uppity.

    If they’re not at home cranking out homeschooled baby after homeschooled baby, how will We ever Outbreed Those Heathen?

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  4. ◾how to make an apron (this one made me laugh, I’ve been a homemaker for 28+ years and have probably donned an apron 10 times)

    Well, an apron IS an integral part of the French Maid uniform…

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  5. I only just now read down to the part about aprons.

    Some Independent Fundamentalist Baptists are into the apron thing, too.

    Here is a blog by a woman who I think is IFB, and she insists the only way to be a proper Christian wife/ woman is to not only wear an apron but to make your own.
    Link,
    Joyful Help Meet At Home

    I don’t remember what part of her blog mentions the aprons and why women should use them, maybe the ‘Silk and Purple’ part?

    I perceive these “keep women at home” kind of attitudes as being on the fringe, but they filter down to religious groups I’d consider more ‘normal,’ and that is disturbing.

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  6. @ Anonymous2
    You have to be careful, there, though.

    I remember several years ago some Southern Baptist college offered homemaking college courses for females.

    Ordinarily, I’d be okay with that, but given their position on women in general, and that they were not pushing males to take those courses, raised red flags with me.

    Some of these complementarian / “keep daughters at home” people are okay with a female going to college so long as it’s all “Home Ec” only type courses.

    No political science, math, history, literature, philosophy, just the best way to make a sammich, and not even for herself, but for her ever lovin’ man. 🙄

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  7. Some of these complementarian / “keep daughters at home” people are okay with a female going to college so long as it’s all “Home Ec” only type courses.

    Like Pensacola or perhaps Bob Jones? I know at least Pensacola did not used to be accredited. I can’t remember if it is now.

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  8. Here is a blog by a woman who I think is IFB, and she insists the only way to be a proper Christian wife/ woman is to not only wear an apron but to make your own.
    Link,
    Joyful Help Meet At Home

    I don’t know why, but the words “help meet” just do not sit right with me. What is my problem?

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  9. JA quoting some blog or article:
    The normative is that most women will get married and have children.

    It’s no longer normative to get married and have children, though.

    We’re getting closer to half of the population in this nation of adults being single. That’s not just Non Christians, but true of Christians.

    Link, Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married – A Record Low, Dec 2011,

    In 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are.

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  10. Julie Anne said,
    Like Pensacola or perhaps Bob Jones?

    I’m not sure. I don’t have any specifics in mind.

    Just from skimming over some of the complementarian comments on blogs over the years, or their articles, I see some of them seem to be fine with a woman getting more education so long as it is limited to home-making type stuff, or making them better wives/ moms.

    Just to be clear for any other readers who may not be familiar with my views:

    I’m not opposed to women taking home making courses, wanting to be stay at home wives/mothers, wanting to be mothers, nor am I against women who enjoy baking cookies.

    My only problem is when women are not given or presented with any other options, or when they are pressured to do those things when they don’t really want to do them, or when people who claim to be Christian say that God only approves of women who do “X,” when there is good reason to believe their understanding of the Bible on gender may be wrong.

    I rarely debate people over political stuff on blogs or forums, but at times when I have, or just stated my views on other sites, I have defended women being Stay at Home mothers (if that is their informed choice), and I have been shredded by Non Christian feminists for holding those views.

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  11. Julie Anne said,
    I don’t know why, but the words “help meet” just do not sit right with me. What is my problem?

    It’s not just you. I’ve long felt that the phrase “help meet” sounds a little strange. 🙂

    Regarding the “take dominion of the earth” (by having lots of children). This really bothers me, because it makes much more out of family than God ever intended, and even more alarmingly, undermines the Gospel message itself.

    The New Testament never teaches, that I can recall, that Christians are to influence society by having children.

    The New Testament does say that Christians are to tell non-believers about Jesus Christ.

    I also find the “have babies to win the USA back to God” problematic, because not every child born to Christian parents becomes a Christian.

    Some children of Christian parents grow up to become atheist or agnostic, or join some other religion. I have an internet friend whose mother is a dedicated Christian who works at a church, but she herself is a Wiccan.

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  12. I think I have a problem with dominion because of the war-like terms. CON was hot on war terms. I understand there is a battle going on, but the idea of having babies for the purpose of putting them on the battlefield is troublesome if the focus is predominantly warlike.

    Again – – yes, we do wrestle with powers and principalities, but I’m not sure that wars and spiritual battles should be our primary focus. Battles are often a result of living our life for Christ and spreading His gospel, but the focus should not be on the battle, but on Him.

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  13. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was offering homemaking courses for the wives of students in the MDiv program, with the wives program under the direction of the wife of the seminary president!

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  14. I think I have a problem with dominion because of the war-like terms. CON was hot on war terms. I understand there is a battle going on, but the idea of having babies for the purpose of putting them on the battlefield is troublesome if the focus is predominantly warlike.

    Because they’re not babies any more, but future living weapons for Culture War Without End, Amen. Christian Uruk-Hai coming out of the spawning pits beneath Isengard.

    And women become just Wombs to push out those living weapons — they become nothing more than the spawning pits for those Uruk-Hai.

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  15. @ missdaisyflower & Julie Anne:

    I don’t know why, but the words “help meet” just do not sit right with me.

    Probably because the noun “helpmeet” is essentially made up, a corruption of an earlier English construction and the result of an unexplained 17th-century printing practice. The proper phrase is “help meet for him,” “meet” meaning suitable or fitted to. (“Help” does not mean servant either, but I suspect you already knew that.) There is no noun “helpmeet” in either the original Hebrew or the original Authorized Version of the Bible.

    https://blog.oup.com/2009/01/helpmeet/

    Also, Julie Anne, we must all have been on the same wavelength this week because I did a two-part analysis of a Doug Phillips lecture on stay-at-home daughterhood too. 🙂

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  16. Hester: I know – isn’t that funny how that happens? Dee and I have laughed about it how we don’t even know what each other is writing on and cover the same topics. Interestingly, each time we have done it, we both have a different slant. Maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking to us at the same time!

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  17. I now believe the focus on the father/daughter relationship is an attempt to sell their daughters on their future “position” in the home as homemakers or “keepers at home.” If daughters do not embrace this concept, the future of Reconstructionism is at stake because it requires adult daughters to procreate and adopt these ideas to keep the ideology extended throughout the generations.

    I think you may be right. I think WTH may have uncovered the answer here, though he was talking about something else entirely (emphasis mine):

    Roy Baumeister indirectly touches on this by pointing out a pragmatic reality: if half the men of a generation are killed there are still enough penises left to sire a subsequent generation. If half of the women are killed off by war or disease then the plethora of corresponding penises do no good in producing a subsequent generation. I might say here that unless one woman agrees in such a situation to sire children for multiple men to ensure family lines continue then a majority of men are consigned to being genetic dead ends. Actually, Baumeister points out that half of the males in any given generation are already genetic dead ends.

    And from Baumeister:

    When a cultural group competes against other groups, in general, the larger group tends to win out in the long run. Hence most cultures have promoted population growth. And that depends on women. To maximize reproduction, a culture needs all the wombs it can get, but a few penises can do the job. There is usually a penile surplus. If a group loses half its men, the next generation can still be full-sized. But if it loses half its women, the size of the next generation will be severely curtailed.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter if the Reconstructionists kept every one of their sons (which they don’t BTW). If they lose their daughters, their movement is doomed because they won’t be able to reproduce in large enough numbers. It’s a genetic / demographic / biological fact. Thus, they have to prevent the daughters escaping at all costs.

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  18. Hester, Have you been reading up on what is happening in China because of their policy after a generation or so?

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  19. @ lydiasellerofpurple:

    I’m marginally familiar with the situation because of family friends who adopted two Chinese girls. India appears to be following suit.

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  20. I have a huge problem with the Dominionist/stay at home Daughter/Women as homemakers and mothers only movement for one overwhelming reason: The subtle/not so subtle shift in dependence from the Spirit to the flesh.

    John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” 

    Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth,[a] before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you[b] as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”

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