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Homeschool Mom Responds to the Doug Phillips Scandal and His Influence in Patriarchy, Christian Homeschool Movement and Conferences


A homeschool mother responds to the influence of Doug Phillips in Patriarchy, in the Homeschool Movement, in Christian Homeschool Conferences, and how it has affected her family and her faith.



A comment came in a bit ago from “devaneyjoy” on the article, Attempting to Set the Doug Phillips Record Straight: Part 2 – The Victim.  I’m sure this commenter represents many who have a connection with Doug Phillips, either having attended his conferences or familiar with his materials.  Thousands of people are landing at SSB by searching “Doug Phillips” in their search engines, and I have no doubt that her comment will resonate with many who have been influenced by him, including me, so I wanted to make her comment into a separate article for discussion.

While we have been talking about Doug Phillips and his Victim, devaneyjoy’s comment shows the far-reaching effects of Vision Forum ministries outside of Doug Phillips’ church, Boerne Christian Assembly, outside of San Antonio, TX where he lived, and into the private homes of thousands across the US and actually, the world.


Some people ask may ask:  how can Doug Phillips and his message affect people in their private homes?   He’s not there to “rule” over them?  How does this work?


Let’s read from devaneyjoy (in purple font):

I was sexually and spiritually abused by a spiritual leader in our church starting at age 13. Unless you have lived that experience, you cannot understand the anguish and struggle it is to be whole again with both God and self. The shame, the confusion, the lost innocence, losing the childlike faith you had in God and “Jesus loves me this I know” because you no longer “know”. S’s comments obviously show her own unhealed, bitter woundedness from her husband’s unfaithfulness, as it is a very selfish stance to ever blame the one under the control of a man of such age, authority, spiritual position and charm as DP (and my own abuser).

I would be interested in doing a study to find out how many who were abused as a child are drawn to a dynamic leader like Doug Phillips.  I came from an abusive childhood background and I’ve noted a pattern here.

I was sucked into the Patriarchial mess 9 years ago when our state’s Christian homeschool conference changed from teaching us how to teach our children, to guilting us in how badly we were living as families of faith.

Note where devaneyjoy said it all began, at a Christian homeschool conference. If you go to a Christian homeschool conference, do your homework.  Who are the speakers and who do they represent? Many of the so-called “Christian homeschool conferences” should probably be renamed Christian Patriarchy Conference or Christian Reconstructionist Conference.  You will likely find speakers in these conferences promoting these two ideologies. It’s important to understand this influence.

A large percentage of “Christian homeschool conferences” are run by people who have an agenda to push.  I naively thought Doug Phillips, Doug Phillips scandal, homeschool conventions, Christian Patriarchy, Christian Homeschool Movement, Family-Integrated Churcheswhen I went to my first Christian homeschool convention that I would meet with other Christians who wanted information on how to educate our children at home in a Christian environment, access to Christian curricula, etc.  You will certainly find some of this at these conventions. And because you will find some of this, you might get sucked in to believe that everything presented there is okay.

I also had an idea that there would be a wide range of Christians attending the conference:  non-denominational, maybe a few charismatics, Reformed, Baptists, you know, your basic hodgepodge mix of Christians from both in attendance and speakers.  The idea that there would be a mix of curricula to choose from, too, crossing different doctrinal lines, occurred to me, too.  I didn’t see much of that.

Those doctrinal differences weren’t discussed or easily noticed.  However, from the speakers, we heard a common language of how godly homeschooling parents should be raising their children. Homeschooling parents were raising their children the godly way by not sending their “blessings” to government schools to be indoctrinated by evil.  devaneyjoy expresses this here:


In my own spiritual mess of striving to please God, as I was not yet whole from the abuse, I quickly fell for the charm, the smiling, happy-looking families, the mandate that to be right with God we must live their way.


Yup, sometimes we’d see the charming children with their matching homemade dresses/attire, lined up like ducklings follow Mama Duck. These families had the perfect family image. How did they do it with all of those children? Could I measure up?


To have our children saved, faith-filled, strong in the Lord, we must live their way. To pass on the mantle of faithfulness that the world could not destroy in them or future generations, we must live their way–and of course, that meant buying and using what they sold.


That is what I observed, too.  At the vendor’s table, they had the perfect books and materials to help you achieve your godly family. You would be able to read from others who somehow became homeschool celebrity experts who jumped on the homeschool speaker circuit, became authors in the midst of homeschooling their large families, and could give you advice and encouragement – – – all pushing their pet topic or agenda.

This was like an Amway pep rally, except for homeschool families.  I remember getting very pumped up at each convention.  This was awesome.  It was nothing like I could get at my own church where my own pastor wasn’t exactly doing things the right way.  After all, he was sending his children to private school and wasn’t “raising his children in the way they should go.” Instead, he was shirking his responsibility off to other Christian teachers.

Yes, we homeschoolers were doing it the right way.  I remember going back to my home church and looking down at my pastor and other families in disdain for their choice of sending their kids to public or private schools after hearing a weekend of “we homeschoolers were doing it the godly way” and patting ourselves on the back.


For 3 1/2 years I wore skirts only. I finally convinced my husband to let us go to a FIC. We were all miserable, but that only meant that I was failing to “get it right”.


If you thought peer pressure was a challenge in high school, the peer pressure among women in the Christian homeschool arena is just as strong, if not stronger.  Because now you are doing it for the Lord and you should not mess up the “Lord’s work.”  This is serious stuff. Your children’s lives are at stake. There really is a lot of pressure to be the perfect Proverbs 31 homeschooling mom, wear the right clothes, dress modestly the way they viewed modesty. You are responsible for shaping the next generation of visionary daughters and sons.

You notice the mention of FIC – – that is family-integrated churches – a very strong movement in the Christian Homeschool Movement.  You see, homeschool families are learning together as a family without segregating the children by ages, so it’s a natural extension to bring this concept to church, worship together as a family and say this is the right way, not like those other “less-than churches who send kids off to Sunday school by age groups or especially the dreaded youth groups which are really social clubs where kids engage in sinful activities, not Christ-redeeming work.”  Do you see how this message of “we’re doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong” is presented in the homeschooling community?

Look at this pressure she feels:


Somehow, someway, I was missing the message.

So much fear grew in me.

My family, my children were not going to turn out right.

I was failing them and failing God. Wow!!

Exactly what my abuser had once told me, “Saying no to him was saying no to God and failing him was failing God.”


I just found out about all of this on Saturday when I came across the World magazine article on DP someone posted on Facebook. Although we have been away from the FIC for 5 years and patriarchial thinking in general for 3, it was fresh salt to the wounds. I have thousands of $’s in materials from VF that have been sitting on shelves untouched because I have been so unsure, uncertain in what to believe. Today, I will box them up for the dump. I see freedom in my future. But for now, this is all so very painful.

Unless you have walked in any shoes similar to Victim, you CANNOT understand. To be sinned against in such a way, in the name of Jesus, is indescribable. I apologize for writing so much, but I do appreciate having a safe place to express these deep emotions. Thank you!


I want to continue to make sure this place is one where people like devaneyjoy can discuss these issues and get free from the spiritual bondage and unnecessary pressures that are so common within this movement.

Note:   Please read devaneyjoy’s full comment here.




85 thoughts on “Homeschool Mom Responds to the Doug Phillips Scandal and His Influence in Patriarchy, Christian Homeschool Movement and Conferences”

  1. Glad you made it out, Devaneyjoy! Welcome to fresh air!

    You mentioned peer pressure amongst homeschooling women. I remember walking into a homeschool meeting dressed sharply, with Starbucks in hand. I was eager to meet women and share ideas, I was a sponge ready to learn from more experienced moms.

    After the meeting a mom pulled me aside and told me in a subtle way that I didn’t belong there. I was naive and tried to tell her I had been homeschooling for about 6 years but really wanted to connect more with other moms. She then focused on a major question, “Does your husband help with the homeschooling?” I responded that he didn’t because he worked full time, scratching my head in confusion. That was her litmus test to see if I was all in or not. She made it clear that she had no time to interact with a woman whose husband was not leading his family. And suddenly I realized she was standing there in a jean jumper, along with all the other mothers. Apparently, my attire gave me away.

    So if I were lonely, I’d have been more inclined to follow the women’s ways in order to have a community. Being disconnected is a powerful motivator for one to check their common sense at the door.


  2. “While we have been talking about Doug Phillips and his Victim…”

    Unfortunately there are many victims here…family members, parents, congregants, friends….


  3. Davaneyjoy & Katie – absolutely… I’m more of a blue jeans and shirt kind of gal (or capris) – no jumpers for me, and dresses are reserved for special occasions. Thankfully I’ve found a group of other homeschool moms that seem to be able to look past what we wear and join together in the common bond of homeschooling. (But event then, some of the mom’s are in the patriarchy movement.)

    Katie, like you, my husband works full time, often overtime. He doesn’t help me teach or choose curriculum or anything. He’s a sounding board for when I run into difficulties (two of my three kids are dyslexic like he is), and will help me hash things out, but he is not really involved in our “school” outside of that. Well, he might help my daughter with a science concept or math concept if I’m having trouble getting it across, but that is it. The rest is on me.


  4. Devaneyjoy,
    I am so sorry for the abuse you’ve been through and the pain you’re going through right now. I just want to send you a hug and let you know you’re in my prayers. May Jesus continue to heal you emotionally and spiritually and bring you wholeness in those areas that are hurting.

    I’ve been homeschooling for a while (graduating my youngest this year!). When I found out, like you, about the “behind the scenes” of these groups and leaders, it was like a bomb went off in my face. I was so disillusioned. I went through times of anger and doubting everything I had believed about homeschooling. But it validated my “gut”. I had known something was off, but just couldn’t put my finger on it. So, I began to read and research everything I could get my hands on. It pushed me to start speaking out more and share with other homeschool mom’s about the concerns (elitist attitudes). I’m also learning about alternative groups to join and conventions to attend (other than HSLDA and our state convention which has been big into the patriarchy camp). If I’m correct, the patriarchy crowd is just a small percentage of homeschoolers. I never knew about the other homeschoolers! I was definitely living in a bubble. But within this “bubble” the information flow was limited. Now with the internet, things are changing.

    BTW: The main draw of the conventions for me was checking out the curriculum. I wanted to see and touch the actual books before I purchased them. Also, I’d save on shipping if I bought it there ☺ So, I wonder if that’s as important now with the ability to view so much of the curriculum online. Does that just leave more time for indoctrination into the latest trend?

    I just needed to learn to think for myself and trust my family with Jesus. He’s the one I need to trust, not some homeschooling guru. That may sound over simplistic, but that’s what helped me through the last few years.


  5. Something has changed in recent years in Christian homeschooling (or spouse and I simply never encountered it before, or it is more acute in the region where we now live). When we started 16 years ago, other homeschool families seemed helpful, open to different perspectives, views on church, etc, there was an “all in it together, how can we build one another up” attitude. But we moved to another region of the country, the Deep South, and when we got plugged in with a homeschool group the oppression and enforced conformity was enormous. Everything you discuss was what we encountered (people were of the opinion that anything other than the narrow little path they’d chosen was evil and giving your children up to the world)After a time, it was no longer a matter of being built up, it was a matter of trying to survive the increasing burdens on us to be perfect.

    Finally we left our FIC (which ended up being an abusive environment) and the homeschool group altogether. We still hear through the grapevine what the homeschool families are saying about us (unbelievable things, e.g., our oldest daughter, still a minor had sex with a man nearly 30, we paid for her abortion, etc.) All completely made up, all this slander from so-called Christian homeschoolers. So glad to be free.


  6. Devaynejoy, thank you for the deep insight you have given those of us on the “outside” of this movement. I have two sisters-in-law who homeschooled in the past. I could never understand their fear and narrow thinking. They prepared for Y2K, buying all sorts of supplies. They were particularly afraid of zoo animals escaping and eating people. I often was sent articles on the evils of Pokemon and Beanie Babies (my son had both). I wasn’t allowed to use the word penis when my nieces asked about my son’s anatomy (he was 6 months and I was changing his diaper). This is just the tip of the iceberg. So much of their activities seemed to be based on some sort of role they were assigned. It seemed they feared a loss of control. Your article helps give me a framework to try to understand why they were so limited. I assumed the homeschooling conventions would have offered a lot of diversity. I was wrong. I pray for your continued healing from all your past abuse. There has to be a special place in Hell for those who victimize the young and take away their innocence.


  7. Keeping Sweet,

    Welcome! Yes, sadly, that is so true. That’s why it’s important to keep talking about this story and not let it get swept under the rug. There are lessons to be learned.


  8. Devenejoy – I am so sorry for what you have gone through. Thank you for sharing your post. You said so well so many of the things that I have been thinking and not been able to put into words. While I have not come from an abusive background, so much of what you said about fear and feeling that we had to do things in a prescribed way in order to “get it right” and have our kids “turn out well” rings true with me.

    We have friends who introduced us to this whole world (Patriarchy, Quiverfull, FIC, etc…). Until about 7 years ago, I was unaware of the existence of all of this. However, seeing how this family (our friends) operates and how much we respect them, I began to buy into a lot of this stuff (and my husband to a lesser extent) and have felt so much fear and pressure in the past years that I AM MESSING UP. The reason I feel I am messing up is not because my children are beating me up running away from home or even failing in school. None of that is true. It is because we don’t look just like the poster family for VF. I so appreciate you sharing your heart in this way. It helps me to continue to work through the emotions and confusing/conflicting thoughts that I constantly have and to realize yet again that I am not alone in feeling these ways. I also have to constantly remind myself that it is Christ Jesus I am to keep my eyes fixed on and to emulate Him…not some standard here on earth. While I am so sorry for what you have gone through, I am so thankful for you being willing to share. And thank you, Julie Anne, for all of your work on this blog. I have been reading since the beginning of this year and commenting more lately and I am finding it to be so helpful and healing. Thank you for all of the time and effort that you put into this.

    And I just have to share, the part about homeschool conferences…makes me see how God has been at work in an area for us. For the past 3 years we have tried to make it work to attend a new conference in our state…a very patriarchal conference I now realize. The Lord has prevented us from attending each year for one reason or another. We paid the first year and just had to eat the cost since we couldn’t go. We were even going to go this year! but an unforeseen situation came up a couple of weeks ago and we had to decide to not go. I had already sent in my money, but it was $5 off so they voided my check and asked me to resend the correct amount. Our unforeseen situation that came up did so the day before I was going to mail my check in! I truly believe the Lord has been at work here. After reading the above about some homeschool conferences, I believe that this has been God’s grace to us (and especially to me I think) in keeping me further away and less pulled in to all of this.

    Thanks again –


  9. Welcome, OlderandWiser!

    Yea, I think over the country there is such a wide spectrum of homeschoolers. When you go to the conventions, it seems like the majority of the homeschoolers are Patriarchal, however, when you leave that environment in connect with people in the community, it’s not so prevalent.

    What a horrible experience you dealt with at the FIC and homeschool group. Sometimes when you leave a church or group, you really see people’s true colors. It’s so sad. I’m glad you are free.


  10. Wow, so many homeschool convention stories! When I attended my first Christian homeschool convention (Oregon), it was just to hear about the basic requirements for my state. Also, since I was new, I used the time to look at curriculum.

    Over time, I got to know some of the people involved in the leadership of the Christian homeschool group and was not impressed at all. I clearly heard their agenda and noticed that that conferences turned more into “relationship” topics rather than actually about educating kids.

    I had not attended a conference, since that first one, until I went one year to work a booth for my employer (about 8 years later). I was amazed at the people there, the ultra fundamental curriculum pushed and the topics that seemed more based on fear than anything. There didn’t seem to be much in talk about how to effectively teach kids and that made me so sad. So sad to see all of those gullible people (in my opinion) eat it all up.

    By the way, my employer was never asked back to the OR Christian homeschool conference. I think it was because we weren’t Christian enough.


  11. Because now you are doing it for the Lord and you should not mess up the “Lord’s work.” This is serious stuff. Your children’s lives are at stake.

    No, your children’s ETERNAL lives are at stake.
    This elevates everything to (Literally) COSMIC Importance.
    At which point, there is no upper limit.


  12. And suddenly I realized she was standing there in a jean jumper, along with all the other mothers.

    i.e. The uniform of the Inner Party.


  13. So if I were lonely, I’d have been more inclined to follow the women’s ways in order to have a community. Being disconnected is a powerful motivator for one to check their common sense at the door.

    Isn’t that the usual recruiting profile for Cults?
    Religious Cults, Political Cults, whatever?
    Find someone disconnected and lonely and offer connection/community (even Cosmic Connection) in the Cult?


  14. @Kathi – your opinion on “all those gullible people” is a judgment you truly cannot make when you have no idea what life experiences they have had that have brought them to the place where they are.

    @Monique mentioned “gut feelings”. I had those too, but just thought–again–it was me and my failure to understand.

    I thought once we started going to the FIC I would find the joy I had known earlier in my home, during the 6 years we homeschooled before Washington’s Christian convention changed hands. Bradrick’s church, by the way, because he and the pastor were board members of the new HS convention (Christian Heritage), so true perfection in a church would be there, right?? Being around them weekly, watching, asking questions–surely I would “get” what I wasn’t “getting”.

    At our old church, I had enjoyed teaching children’s classes. Now at the FIC, I did not understand why if God had given me the gift of teaching (which others said I had) why teaching my children alone at home wasn’t enough (as I was told it should be). Again–what is wrong with me? And no women were speaking in church (I never “heard” it wasn’t allowed, but they definitely didn’t). I felt like a second-class Christian in a whole new way. I also learned to stop asking questions. My questions made them either uncomfortable or preachy. Neither response was helpful.

    This is where some may think I should have had enough red flags, my husband did, but because of my twisted mindset as a result of my own spiritual abuse, I didn’t trust myself. And my husband was not weak. He saw my hurts, struggles, striving, hardness on myself in a front row seat. He wanted me to find peace and joy, so was willing to go where I thought I needed to be to find it. Poor guy–he had men, younger than himself, questioning him on his husband/father role and counseling him on how to do “better”.

    I remember one occasion in particular having a conversation with Micheal Bradrick (Peter’s father) and walking away feeling so “less than”. He gave me a bit of a talking down. For what, I honestly don’t remember, I just remember feeling I had disappointed an important, godly man.

    They really are lovely families, those who attend there, but they are also very prideful. The pride in the teenagers was especially disturbing. We left shortly before the pastor died of cancer. We watched from a distance how they encircled and cared for his family. It was quite moving.

    Christ’s perfect love casts out all fear. As God continues to daily free me and restore to me the joy of my salvation, I not only receive, but soak up His abundant love, and the grip of fear lessens and falls to the wayside. I am so grateful to read of all of YOUR stories of freedom (Julie Anne, @Katie, @Monique, @Olderandwiser, @Lily J). We have much to be thankful for. But I remain truly saddened for those living under this teaching. “Whom the Son sets free shall be free indeed.” There is no freedom where you constantly feel you fall short in pleasing the Lord, especially, as Julie Ann stated, in raising our children–the next generation.

    Salvation, initial and ongoing, is Christ’s work alone, not ours!


  15. Hi, I’ve been a lurker since this scandal unfolded. I will keep my opinions of what is alleged to have happened to myself as it will help none involved.

    I too came from what I consider to be a spiritually and mentally abusive childhood, I was attracted to Doug Phillips’ VF Inc, his ministry, and what I now know is fantasy because I felt guilty over “sin” in my youth and wanted better for my new son in terms of education and salvation. He deserved the best parents he could possibly have, after all. Homeschooling seemed to be the correct answer as presented in local Texas churches, their approved literature, and Doug’s ministry pals.

    Homeschooling was not an option since my child has learning disabilities that required an educator with real expertise in the field of special ed. My son is successful because of his own efforts, the public school teachers who refused to give up on him, and my realization that I was not what was best for him in terms of learning. Nothing else will receive credit or praise from me, like it or lump it. I also have a witty daughter who will never be the perfectly coiffed and arrayed in white dress girl portrayed in the VF cataloger. She likes football, cheer-leading, and (GASP!) Barbie. Not the rebellious “Jezebel” I was guaranteed by some in homeschooling circles.

    When the formula prescribed by Doug couldn’t work, I was told by a prominent homeschooling daughter that I didn’t have enough “faith.” and that my goals for parenthood were completely of “Caesar” and worldly. I was told to pray son’s disability away by others. Some were well meaning, others, not so much This was the beginning of the realization that there was no one size fits all method to raising responsible, intelligent adults, that can support themselves financially. I’m ashamed that I was duped, especially after what I survived in childhood combined with my level of education. Moving forward,I hope everyone learns to be honest with themselves, see the truth of any situation. May everyone move on and be happy.


  16. I’m sorry to sound harsh with the word gullible. I certainly meant no disrespect – I do understand that many are drawn in and have a hard time getting out. I almost was drawn in, but I felt like what I saw was too fear and shaming based and I did not want a part of that. I finished 10 years of homeschooling this year and looking back, I wish I would have started out my first years differently.

    I do watch my family and friends who have been drawn into this culture and it seems like they have been in a sense, brainwashed. Which leads me to the think that they have a hard time making any decisions that go against the world view they have been led to believe. At times I feel like they are a bit gullible because they will believe anything anyone says as long as they claim it is “Biblical.”

    Looking back at my words, I apologize to any of you on here who may have thought I was labeling you in this light. I certainly did not intend to do that, but I know that my words may have come across that way.


  17. Although I don’t have any children of my own, back at the dawn of time (of homeschooling) and for many years thereafter, I helped family and friends organize a homeschool convention in our state. Initially, the state committee designed it for spiritual and educational encouragement; however, over the years, the speakers that they began to choose were espousing more and more Patriarchal / Reconstuctionist viewpoints. Every year the state leaders attend a leadership summit / convention for state leaders and HSLDA brings in vetted speakers for them to hear. These speakers then show up all over the country at the state conventions.

    Although I never attended any sessions at the convention, because I was one of the unpaid volunteers who kept the convention running, I could see that the philosophies / theology being presented were something that I didn’t agree with. At.All. And I struggled to have my labors support ideas that I didn’t support. Eventually, I managed to extricate myself from my activities with the convention.

    The committee planning the convention had/has the goal of creating like-minded homeschoolers. Their goal is to expose all the homeschoolers to the Patriarchal / Reconstructionist philosophies they have come to believe. They reject any curriculum that doesn’t meet their standards and only ask speakers that they agree with. If they feel that your curriculum or the materials that you are selling doesn’t agree with their philosophies, they won’t invite you back.

    Recently some new conventions from ‘for profit’ organizations have come on the scene and are creating havoc amongst the traditional / HSLDA influenced state conventions because they are losing business to these ‘for profit’ conventions. They are offering a wider variety of curriculums and speakers although there are still a lot of the same old same old speakers even there.

    I believe the only way to affect change in the homeschool state conventions is to quit supporting them with your dollars. Without funds they can’t put on the convention. Writing to them or leaving comments after the convention really won’t change anything. When you are dealing with people who have an agenda (philosophy whatever you want to call it) that they are intent on passing on, letters or comments won’t have any effect. Yes, touching the curriculum is nice, but in order to do that you have to run the gauntlet of their philosophies. Stop supporting these Patriarchial conventions with your money. (I know, easier said than done when they are the only game in town).

    Still… vote with your dollar to effect change.


  18. The current scandals happened at just the right time for me and my family. Just this semester we sent our oldest daughter to public school…9th grade. She has hated homeschooling from the very beginning, but I felt pressure to jam her into this perfect mold. By eighth grade she was not only hating homeschooling, she was hating us. These scandals were the final straw. We let our artistic social butterfly go and our relationship is better than it ever was. She is excited to be planning for college. It is going so well, I told my other 4 kids they can choose to go to high school also.

    We also have 2 boys that we adopted from foster care. Both have attachment issues. This made it impossible to homeschool the more severely disturbed boy. We sent him to Christian school a year ago. At first I felt like a failure, but looking back on this year, he has healed so much, I know we did the right thing.

    The younger boy was delayed, so we sent him to a special kindergarten. I got a lot of scowls from other homeschoolers because of that decision. This year he is doing really well in regular kindergarten. I haven’t decided what would be best for HIM next year. I may or may not homeschool him. It is a wonderful relief to have this pressure off my back to HAVE to homeschool, but to make decisions based on each individual child.

    I witnessed an FIC, homeschooling family completely squash their daughter’s dreams, by not letting her go to college. They drilled into her brain the notion that her only way out, was to get passed off from her father to her husband. Well, she went off the deep end as soon as she turned 19. She ran off with the first guy that gave her a second glance. She is now living with another boyfriend and the family is devastated. I could see that as my future. Their story, my kids’ unhappiness, and knowing that homeschooling does not create a utopia, has helped the scales fall from my eyes.

    LEGALISM. My brain was stuck in legalism. I am learning to live with grace. To not judge others, be filled with more compassion and mercy. To know that every situation is case-by-case, and it’s not my job to place extra-Biblical standards onto myself or others.

    PS One of the most irritating things with the DP scandal is finding out that his wife had a nanny and housekeepers. Here I have been beating myself up about not keeping up with everything, and I find out that neither can the picture-perfect mom. So much for the homemaking books I bought from Vision Forum! My dumpster has had a few extra items in the last couple of months.


  19. Emaline, agreed. It is tough when it is the only game in town. Some curriculum providers do allow returns. Or, seek out friends and ask what they have and if you can take a look at it. The company I buy my curriculum from won’t be at our state convention this year, so some of us are going to get together and do our own mini-display sometime soon. Also, one of our local libraries helps homeschoolers by hosting a used book sale – free tables and a two-hour window to sell your stuff. I have made some great finds there.


  20. Emmaline said:

    “They reject any curriculum that doesn’t meet their standards and only ask speakers that they agree with. If they feel that your curriculum or the materials that you are selling doesn’t agree with their philosophies, they won’t invite you back.”

    This is what happened to our group. I can remember attending our local convention back about 14-15 years ago. Attendance was much larger so that we needed a good size venue and SO many more participating curriculum vendors. I didn’t go for many years and checked it out a couple years ago. Attendance and participating curriculum vendors was a fraction of what it used to be. Vision Forum was the biggest booth there and other “like minded” curriculum companies, and of course DP was the star speaker. I was so dismayed remembering how it used to be and sorry to now see what it had become.

    Regarding the topic of homeschool high school teens, Devaneyjoy mentioned the pride of the teens as disturbing. I witnessed this as well. In our experience, my teens found the public school kids easier to make friends with. We found the local group of homeschool teens VERY clique. I know that can happen anywhere, but our homeschool group bragged about how “awesome” our teens were. We didn’t find that to be true at all.


  21. WRNS – Yes, our library also hosted a used curriculum sale and it was great. Some people even gave theirs away for free.

    Kathi – I was gullible. It just never dawned on me that someone would hatch a plan to infiltrate the HSLDA state conventions in order to control the curriculum, in order to influence the masses with a particular religious philosophy that is beyond the pale of orthodoxy. But it makes sense that the enemy would do so.

    There were clues along the way that another homeschooling culture was growing in my area; however, I never fully understood till Julie Anne’s blog (I think) mentioned that the Sonlight Curriculum was dropped from the Colorado’s homeschool convention because it “wasn’t Christian enough.” This opened my eyes and that’s when I learned about the ploy of the Reconstructionists.

    I can now see the infiltration and affects on friends who are still homeschooling. They are too busy to figure it all out. They just want to get their daily duties done. My mentioning it to them comes across as just another time sucking issue that they don’t want to deal with. They want to belong somewhere, and all they have are the local homeschool groups that go to these conventions. They don’t realize what their kids are picking up from the curriculum.


  22. “Many of the so-called “Christian homeschool conferences” should probably be renamed Christian Patriarchy Conference or Christian Reconstructionist Conference.”

    I know the annual Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) conference is like this, and it’s worrisome.


  23. Wow! I am loving the comments on this post! Thanks to all the new folks who have chimed in with their experiences. Your voices are so powerful. I’m reading from you parents how much you love your kids, and are making the best choices for your family. Yay! I, too, am sick of the fear and legalism. Homeschooling was meant to be another option to give our kids the best start possible. Today, it comes packaged with an entire lifestyle. Where is the freedom in that?


  24. Katie, I’m from Colorado and my understanding is Sonlight was dropped from our state convention because the were not Young Earth creationists. It is a hill that our state convention chose to stand on, and I disagree with it and will no longer be attending our state convention. I have friends who are definitely Young Earth creationists who still use Sonlight – hahahaha! – because they love their book choices. (There is another smaller convention a couple of hours away from where we live that is cheaper and less “patriarchal,” but husband is working overtime and one of my sons had a baseball game.)

    We are taking continuing homeschooling a year at a time. My oldest (a very social girl) is choosing to stay at home (and with her dyslexia, I believe public school would be a big challenge for her to keep up with, and in Colorado dyslexia is considered a medical condition, not a learning disability, so it would be difficult to get support for accommodations). We do try to give her as many activities as she wants (dancing is her big one, AWANA, PE). Of my twin boys, I have one who has an evangelist’s heart (at 9 years old!), and I can see him wanting to go to public school to be able to share the gospel. My other twin boy is also dyslexic. I’m not sure what is in his future.

    Now that I know the mindset behind our state convention, I won’t be attending. I’ve worked for my curriculum vendor at their booth in the past, and noticed the last two years attendance has been down. So, what are they doing this year? Allowing children to come… But you know the biggest complaint among some of my friends in the past? The children are too noisy/distracting/etc… It will be interesting to hear from my friends what they think about kids being there. They’ve done this in the past and waffled back and forth on it.

    I really wish we could get one of the “for profit” conventions closer to us. Would love to hear from some of the other speakers.


  25. “PS One of the most irritating things with the DP scandal is finding out that his wife had a nanny and housekeepers. Here I have been beating myself up about not keeping up with everything, and I find out that neither can the picture-perfect mom.”

    I know what you mean. In my former patriarchal cult, all the ministers’ families had free household help from one or several young ladies in the “church.” I read some similar accounts from former SGM members. Talk about hypocrisy. They heap extra burdens on those who can’t possibly maintain the same standard, because we don’t have a pseudo-harem to pitch in with all the chores.

    I’ve seen different outcomes. A few families have well-educated children, but their homes aren’t fit to live in. Some have cleaner living conditions, but the kids are woefully uneducated (I know one young man who took a placement test before studying for his GED. He placed at 3rd grade level. He was already married and had a son by this time.) Others are so overwhelmed that the homes are a mess and the kids uneducated. Just to be clear, I am speaking of large, full-quiver families. There are limits to how much a mama can do.


  26. “Every year the state leaders attend a leadership summit / convention for state leaders and HSLDA brings in vetted speakers for them to hear. These speakers then show up all over the country at the state conventions.”

    I had trusted HSLDA in the past, but have rethought that support in light of some recent developments. If I had known this agenda in the beginning, I probably would have made some different decisions for my kids. I feel manipulated. Yuck.


  27. We’ve home schooled since 1993, and throughout that time we’ve seen a lot: started sweet, simple and naive, been swayed by the “movement”, got our “discerner” back in order, and for the last 8+ years have stood in sickened awe at the way things have gone. When, several years back, I first read this:

    so much made sense. It is a long read, but take the time to educate yourself. What we are seeing now started further back than many realize. I kind of think that the current uproars, in home schooling and Christianity in general, are just the manifestations of the wood, hay and stubble that have been used. I’m counting myself in that error as well. But God is faithful! He can use all of this for our good, and His ultimate glory!

    This is my favorite reminder:

    Jeremiah 17:5-8
    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

    Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.


  28. HSLDA was started by a group that was at the time, patriarchist, etc., etc. It was a strategy to use homeschoolers as reactionary revolutionaries for the future dominion of certain Christian leaders over the United States and eventually the world.


  29. The committee planning the convention had/has the goal of creating like-minded homeschoolers. Their goal is to expose all the homeschoolers to the Patriarchal / Reconstructionist philosophies they have come to believe. They reject any curriculum that doesn’t meet their standards and only ask speakers that they agree with. If they feel that your curriculum or the materials that you are selling doesn’t agree with their philosophies, they won’t invite you back.

    Emmaline – what you said above is so, so important for homeschooling moms to read. There is an agenda going on with speakers and materials at these conventions.

    Typically moms new to these conventions will see “Christian Homeschool Convention” and leads them to believe that they fit in that category. They think it’s going to be their brand Christianity (because there really isn’t much else out there because these groups have dominated “Christian homeschooling.” It is not the brand Christianity that many of us adhere to.

    We go, we try to connect with what is familiar because we want a Christian homeschool connection with others. So, we connect with the homeschool aspect – – – but then look around and see other ideologies that aren’t part of ours. It might be courtship or the full-quiver ideology, but the pressure is very strong in this environment. We begin to question why we don’t hold to that ideology – maybe we’ve been wrong – – the message is very loud and clear at these conferences that full-quiver is the right way and next thing we know, we’ve added that ideology to our ideology collection, not realizing that it is all part of a bigger agenda of Generational Christians – – Visionary Families = Reconstructionism.


  30. HSLDA leaders have strong Reconstructionist ties. Every homeschool pillar in the Homeschool Movement has Reconstructionist ties – – ties with Rushdoony. Interestingly, these homeschool pillars were probably more strict than Rushdoony because Rushdoony wasn’t saying that homeschooling was the only way, but the big leaders in the Homeschool Movement have essentially said that parents who don’t homeschool their children are turning their children over to Satan.

    I have written several articles that show connections between homeschooling and Reconstructionism: Look specifically for Reconstructionist in the title.


  31. the hslda comments here are quite concerning to me….am I reading this correctly – that hslda holds annual conferences with featured speakers, etc….and that this is what state conventions pattern their conferences from? and that hslda (as noted by “an attorney” is patriarchist, dominionist? is this true? could you/others please share data, etc on this…

    .I understand that Doug Phillips worked at hslda years ago, but I’ve also understood that Michael Farris posted a comment on homeschoolers anonymous that challenged Doug Phillips claims about working on issues there at the frontlines – Farris (as I recall) pointed out that he was a, shall we say, “grunt” (my paraphrase)…I had HOPED that this implied a lack of endorsement for Phillips…and HOPED that this meant a lack of endorsement for patriarchy….

    what am I missing? would appreciate any insight/help here….wow…


  32. maze, welcome to SSB!

    I’m just headed out or I’d give direct links. Look in categories on the right sidebar and you will find articles in Farris and HSLDA. Please read up. I was clueless when I started going to homeschool conventions in the 80s. I didn’t know what Dominionism or Reconstructionism was.


  33. “HSLDA was started by a group that was at the time, patriarchist, etc., etc. It was a strategy to use homeschoolers as reactionary revolutionaries for the future dominion of certain Christian leaders over the United States and eventually the world.”

    The irony is that it is the Feds who have “dominion” over our child’s education unless one is rich. No choices– but pay for it anyway.

    Back in the early 80’s I had hippie friends who were non Christians who were being harassed by the govt over homeschooling. (both had degrees but not in education and the union was trying to make that mandatory)They did not care who took up the fight. They were glad someone was fighting. Now how that played out at HSLDA is another thing. But the Feds have “dominion” now over our education choices unless we are rich.


  34. I was told by someone who knew Phillips in the beginning of his employment at HSLDA that he drew some of his ultra weird gender stuff from Mike Farris. They (were) funded by the same benefactor, and they follow the same set of ideals. Farris is also very involved in the Council on National Policy (the religious right’s private super right wing answer to the Council on Foreign Relations) that Howard Phillips help to found.


  35. but I’ve also understood that Michael Farris posted a comment on homeschoolers anonymous that challenged Doug Phillips claims about working on issues there at the frontlines – Farris (as I recall) pointed out that he was a, shall we say, “grunt” (my paraphrase)…I had HOPED that this implied a lack of endorsement for Phillips…and HOPED that this meant a lack of endorsement for patriarchy….

    I have a screenshot of that Farris comment somewhere in my hundreds of screenshots. That was regarding HR 6.

    Oh, I found it rather quickly online:

    Doug Phillips was NOT the architect of the HR 6 fight in 1994. He was a foot soldier. I know he has been telling this story for years but it is just another example of his tendency to exaggerate his role in everything.
    October 31, 2013 at 10:32pm · Like · 12


  36. WouldRatherNotSay, I know of a group of homeschoolers in North Metro Denver, who have remained separate from the conventions. They appear well organized, thriving, and tolerant of differing views. I know of groups south of Denver who have been taken over by the conventions’ Reconstructionist influence. They are not large, and known for being unkind and insular. The real tragedy are the many naive homeschooling moms around the Parker, Castle Rock, Elizabeth, Kiowa areas that are unknowingly being influenced by the convention and the curriculum they’re using. I keep picking up more and more Reconstructionist ideas in their conversations that weren’t there before.

    Where is the non-deconstructionist convention held? I’d like to tell my friends.


  37. I find this all very sad. You think one’s culture has moved ahead and then this comes out. I am a Christian. As a child, I thought all the churches were silly because there seemed to be time in nearly every service to ‘bad-mouth’ the congregation down the way. Little did I realize that that was a relatively minor thing.


  38. Katie, there is a conference in Loveland – it was a couple of weekends ago. I do’t know if they’re non-reconstructionist or not. I know it is much smaller (and cheaper!) than the CHEC conference. is the link to this year’s fair that already happened.

    Unfortunately, I’m on the south/south-east side of Denver. I only participate so my kids have “presentation day” and a chance to chat with other moms, but now my “patriarchy” radar is turned on, so I’ll be more in tune when the conversation (if the conversation) turns that way.


  39. If you know anything about Doug or Vision Forum, you will know that Doug exaggerated & embellished everything. He lied about MANY things. But if you came up with facts and charged him, there was &*&* to pay. Doug used anyone and everyone to get where he needed to go or make a buck. He over dramatized situations to bring attention to Vision Forum.

    He had groups of people that “seemed” like good/close friends, but they were only his pawns. They were only being used. If you notice that the people that he talked about, he would talk about them for a while and then never again. Usually he would use them and use them and then move on to the next victim or they would get sick of it, BUT if they ever spoke up against him at all, and didn’t worship or praise him, they got slapped with threats and lawsuits. They realize that NOW, when it’s too late. He had VERY few close friends to him. I can name them on less than one hand.


  40. The christian homeschool convention has been burning my butt recently. Look no further than the HomeSchool Bookfair in Arlington, TX to demonstrate what you are talking about JA. Ugh. They are incredibly legalistic and the leaders/helpers wear the same hideous, matching jumpers every year. Its embarrassing. They had a major love affair with Doug Phillips/VA. Guess he won’t be there this year! I’ve washed my hands of them. I noticed that Great Homeschool Conventions is coming to Ft. Worth next year and I think I may try them. They seem to have a wide variety of speakers/curriculum.


  41. Reading this excellent comment thread got me to remembering how we were sucked in for a short time by some of the Pearls’ materials that I stumbled across in the vendor hall. I don’t remember where I first heard of them, but there were homeschool moms at church and/or the coop who ate up their stuff. I think I still might have a copy of To Train Up a Child, with its switch (or spank)- your -kid -into -joyful -submission ideology. Our oldest was about 2 or 3 at the time, and was the very unhappy recipient of our parental mistakes, though thankfully you wouldn’t know it today. Actually, everyone was being made miserable by this garbage, until my dear husband came to the firm decision, THIS IS NOT WORKING. There was the slight temptation to think well, maybe we’re just doing it wrong, but thank the Lord we ultimately followed our gut instincts and dropped Michael Pearl’s ideas like a sack of hot potatoes.

    Then there was the women’s fellowship group meeting in the home of the leader, that handed out free copies of Debi Pearl’s Created To Be His Helpmeet. By that time, my BS detector was working a little better and some of the stuff in there really bothered me, especially what she had to say about wives who were being battered by their husbands, yet apparently submitting to possible future abuse or even murder attempts. That in particular wasn’t the focus of the study we were doing, but nevertheless it was in there, along with other objectionable things.


  42. “Interestingly, these homeschool pillars were probably more strict than Rushdoony because Rushdoony wasn’t saying that homeschooling was the only way, but the big leaders in the Homeschool Movement have essentially said that parents who don’t homeschool their children are turning their children over to Satan.”

    JA, this is what I like to refer to as the “twice the child of hell” syndrome. One of Jesus’ criticisms of the Pharisees was that they circled land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he was made, he was twice the child of hell as the Pharisees. In other words, devout followers often carry their leaders’ ideas to much greater extremes.


  43. May I just say that there are MANY state homeschool conventions who have not bought into the Reconstructionist worldview and who have deliberately chosen to bring speakers who are not involved. I know that in my state, Idaho, the leadership of our state organization has never brought Doug Phillips, even when he offered to speak here for free. In Idaho, we believe that a homeschool convention should be about HOMESCHOOLING!

    Also, Mike Farris and Mike Smith of HSLDA have been very vocal in their opposition to Doug and VF at the national homeschool leader’s conferences.


  44. good morning, all….following up on hslda comments again, if I may…

    linda – you say that mike farris and mike smith have been very vocal in their opposition to doug and vf at the national leader’s conference….i’d love to learn more about this….and am encouraged….

    I’ve seen nothing from them since this whole doug Phillips thing broke (other than that post from farris on homeschooler’s anonymous that ja linked above)….perhaps I’ve missed it…i’m hoping i have….

    I’ve been wondering where the homeschool leaders are in speaking up on all of this mess/the insidious impact of these teachings over the past few months….now it seems that there are claims that they are instigating it….i’m sick about this…is this EVERYWHERE in the homeschool community….it’s feeling like it….

    as i’m thinking back to the homeschool conference in Illinois, i’m now seeing it…everywhere…..and it’s influenced so many of us….my crowd in more subtle ways than the full on quiverfull, etc folks….

    many of us have been slower to speak up to our husbands and i’ve seen several moms not helping provide for their families as the economy has hit their husband’s careers….they viewed this as the husband’s responsibility only and they had the God given right/obligation to homeschool….it’s deep teaching/thinking….and it’s really messed with MANY in the homeschool community..imo….

    finally, back to hslda….ja, I’ve clicked all over this blog and followed links…I’ve seen articles pointing to their alarmist views and hyper defense of parents’ rights at the expense of protecting children…but i haven’t found their advocation of patriarchy nor dominionism….is there any further direction you can give (sorry to be high maintenance)….

    may the Lord continue to bring light to this topic and purify the homeschool community to bring Him, and Him alone, honor and glory….


  45. I am a state leader who was shocked by the recent revelations. What has happened is not acceptable on any level. My heart hurts for those who have been directly and indirectly touched by the whole thing.

    Some commenting seem to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy among the leaders – a grand scheme to brainwash moms into having a bazillion babies and secret contracts with blue jean material manufacturers. At our convention, we do not have quiver full workshop topics and have never discussed dress codes. While we are careful that our vendor hall does not *display* items that violate our mission and statement of faith, we do not prevent vendors from selling a certain item if someone asks for it.

    I can not speak for ALL other state organizations, but I can say based on my relationship with many past and present leaders and the organization we are serving, the collective desire is the same: to support and encourage homeschool parents to have strong marriages and relationships with the Lord and to train their children well, both academically and spiritually.

    My point is: not all leaders are out to take over the world with patriarchal ideas.


  46. Maze, most of us do not want to gossip about things that we cannot be a part of fixing. Attorney’s are particularly reticent to do so.

    Many state leaders have watched the rise of VF with alarm. Some have made deliberate efforts to bring only speakers who will restore joy to homeschooling, instruct parents and not add burden particularly to moms. Please do not throw out all state conventions because of the few who have fallen victim to this aberrant teaching.

    In respect to Parental Rights, the attorney’s at HSLDA have worked very hard to protect children but not at the expense of parental rights. I can assure you that they do not ever want to protect abusive parents, and their amendment is written in such a way that it does not. While Mike F. does have many children, he is most definitely not a part of the patriarchal movement. He treats his wife with such care and respect!

    Knowing the attorney’s there, I doubt that you will ever see a direct statement from them on this issue, but please read between the lines! They often state their minds indirectly.


  47. My involvement in homeschool conventions is limited to the 90s in VA, GA, and ME and that’s where I remember HSLDA and their strong connections with Patriarchy.

    While it’s clear that in recent years Farris distanced himself from Phillips, obviously at one point they were friends and shared common interests. Take a look at this conference.


    HSLDA is smart to not SAY a whole lot about Patriarchy, but you’ve got to look at who they rub shoulders with, who they speak at conventions with, etc. Seriously, folks, if I did not like Patriarchy, there is no way EVER you’d catch me speaking at a convention and continuously rubbing shoulders with those who endorse it.


  48. Again, I make the caution: if you want to go to a homeschool convention, take a CLOSE look at the speakers. You will be able to find them listed on websites before having to pay. Find out what their doctrinal beliefs are and see if they align with yours.


  49. Some commenting seem to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy among the leaders – a grand scheme to brainwash moms into having a bazillion babies and secret contracts with blue jean material manufacturers.

    Good, you got my message loud and clear (not so sure about the blue jean part, though. There most certainly has been an agenda with quite a few in this movement. I cannot emphasize this enough. Moms, please be careful out there.


  50. I can not speak for ALL other state organizations, but I can say based on my relationship with many past and present leaders and the organization we are serving, the collective desire is the same: to support and encourage homeschool parents to have strong marriages and relationships with the Lord and to train their children well, both academically and spiritually.

    My point is: not all leaders are out to take over the world with patriarchal ideas.

    I have been seeing more conferences out there that do not have the same emphasis that I experienced. I am very thankful for this and am hopeful that there will be more well-balanced basic Christian conferences not pushing an agenda, but encouraging parents as they try to educate their children with good Christian curricula and practical help for families.

    I speak bluntly with cautions because in some areas, families do not have a choice of conferences and ONLY get the Patriarchal type and don’t even realize it. We sometimes hear “Christian” and think it means our brand of Christianity. This is where we need to be discerning.


  51. Julie Anne,

    There might be an agenda among some, but I as a leader have not heard of it or been invited in. We all need to be careful with what we listen to, read, ascribe to. If it does not line up with the Word – chuck it out.

    I tried wearing a jumper once years ago. Didn’t go over so well here at home.


  52. “We sometimes hear “Christian” and think it means our brand of Christianity. This is where we need to be discerning.”

    I would agree.


  53. I think early on there were some good reasons for protection from the government on homeschooling. I think people were hopeful for the defense association but many also saw what it was becoming and it got splintered with the less fundy types pulling away. They were fearmongering on a serious issue and that will backfire. It is true, the teachers unions do not like homeschooling (not always the teachers but those who represent the unions) and tried to make life miserable for people in some states.

    I mean think how stupid public education is in my state. You can have a PhD in Biology and not be qualified to teach in a public school. Why? Because you do not have a masters in Education. And most of that masters is based on educational theories that have not been working well for decades.

    There is much to fix on both sides if we are serious about our country’s future. We can start with eliminating the Federal Dept of Ed. Seriously, what can they do the states cannot except tyrannize and mandate?


  54. “HSLDA is smart to not SAY a whole lot about Patriarchy, but you’ve got to look at who they rub shoulders with, who they speak at conventions with, etc.”

    This is my message to ALL of Evangelicalism. So many like so and so but ignore the ties to certain groups or leaders. People forget that silence means consent. If your favorite guru is silent on obvious evil by some he has been sharing stages with then guess what? He is complicit.

    There are a ton of leaders out there now trying to pretend they never knew Driscoll, for example. And many are scrubbing youtube and websites like crazy. Why would I ever trust them?


  55. Good luck finding a homeschool convention/book fair here in Texas that is not overtaken by these patriocentric whackadoodles. I am with JA: there IS an agenda behind many homeschooling conventions and associations.


  56. Speakers go where they are invited to speak. Often times they don’t even know who the other speakers will be.

    If non-Recon speakers leave the arena because there might be Recon. speakers, then they will lose their opportunity to speak truth. Many of them have waged a personal and private battle against this evil.

    The final responsibility rests upon the shoulders of parents. We are responsible to check out every speaker, every sermon for ourselves to see if it lines up with the Word of God. Many were too quick to embrace an idol, and I fear that this potential is in the heart of every sinner. Our hearts are prone to wander.


  57. There’s a Reconstructionist agenda behind the Colorado State Homeschool Convention. Doesn’t it include: Patriarchy, quiver full, harsh discipline, stay-at-home-daughters, only homeschooling … is there more?


  58. Katie, not *everyone* who speaks at CHEC is all those things, but there are some. Last year’s speakers included: Norm Wakefield, Jeff Baldwin, Marshall Foster, Carol Barnier, James Wanliss (I liked his stuff – talked about evaluating things from a biblical perspective), Kevin Swanson (definitely FIC, Patriarchy, etc), Erwin Lutzer, Shelly Noonan, Tom Clark, and some local guys. (That’s not a complete list.) 2012’s speakers included Ken Ham, Mike Smith, Reb & Bev Bradley, Mike Winther (I like his talks – he’s not a 100% homeschooler), Bill Ward, Woody Robertson, Mike Chapa, and of course, Kevin Swanson (again, not complete). Basically CHEC has over 70 “talks” (4 “main” sessions, and then the rest are either vendor sessions or topical presentations/workshops). I bought the last 2 years full conference recordings because I worked at the vendor booth rather than attending. There were good bits and pieces to pull out of the workshops, but a lot of the topics are are more relational than “how to homechool”.


  59. The insulating nature of this patriarchy movement can be so damaging. Depending on how far you get into these teachings, you run the risk of alienating friends, family, and other members of the Body of Christ.

    I have personally experienced the shunning of not quite fitting into this mold. I’ve also had to repent of my own judgemental attitude toward those who didn’t share my enthusiasm about homeschooling.

    Now my interest in homeschooling isn’t so much for me (since we’re pretty much done), but for my grandchildren. I want to be sure they have a “healthy” homeschooling option. I’m fine with whatever educational choice my kids choose, but I definitely want them to have all options available for them, and that includes homeschooling.


  60. @Steve Scott:

    JA, this is what I like to refer to as the “twice the child of hell” syndrome. One of Jesus’ criticisms of the Pharisees was that they circled land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he was made, he was twice the child of hell as the Pharisees. In other words, devout followers often carry their leaders’ ideas to much greater extremes.

    “Can You Top This?”

    Until you wind up Who Can Be Purer Than Thou, until you’re more Calvinist than Calvin ever dreamed of or more Islamic than Mohammed could envision.


  61. @KA:

    They are incredibly legalistic and the leaders/helpers wear the same hideous, matching jumpers every year.

    Like I said up near the top, “The Uniform of the Inner Party.”


  62. @JulieAnne:

    HSLDA leaders have strong Reconstructionist ties.

    “Come the Rewolution…” HSLDA leaders see themselves as Future Commanders of Holy Gilead.

    Remember, Reconstructionist = Handmaid’s Tale For Real.


  63. @Eileen:

    He had VERY few close friends to him. I can name them on less than one hand.

    You mean the ones who haven’t outlived their usefulness just yet?


  64. For those of you affected by the fall out from the Vision Forum/Bill Gothard scandals here are a few websites (along with Julie Anne’s) and resources that have helped me sort through the whole patriarchy junk.

    These are the ones that helped me the most regarding the patriarchy movement: Karen Campbell has done a couple patriarchy podcasts

    Patriarchy podcasts:

    BTW: I hope it’s okay to plug her new book, The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s available now on Amazon. This looks like a great resource to counter the damaging teachings in some corners of the homeschool movement.

    Cindy K’s website: (who comments on the blog )

    She has a Patriarchy Workshop linked on her home page. Really eye opening and helpful.
    She discusses SO much, but you get to learn about the roots of this movement and how it’s connected to the homeschool movement.

    I’m sure there are lots more resources, but these were a good start for me.


  65. As I have watched my family and friends homeschool their children for the past 30 years, I have observed them increasingly withdrawing from society. I’ve had the feeling that these children (now adults) who’ve passed through the sheltering / Patriarchial / Umbrella of authority homeschool culture have become the new Amish eschewing anything have do with the culture around us. Sheltering (which started to be talked about in the early nineties) is all well and good, but I’m afraid the the homeschool children raised in a hothouse creates weak plants. Once they leave the shelter, they are lost. I believe that’s why the homeschool pioneers moved from sheltering to keeping kids under the authority of the parents forever. That way they never get to leave the hothouse. However, keeping children from attending college is depriving them of the tools that they need to succeed in the world. Is that what homeschooling is all about?

    Plus it’s incredibly difficult to witness to the people around us when we have absolutely no common language. My nieces and nephews and the children of my friends do NOT relate at all to Christians who were raised outside of their narrow bubble and they don’t relate or try to relate to people of the world. They are totally isolated. Even as adults. I’ve read homeschool adults on blogs talking like they are from a totally different world. They don’t feel as if they can relate to their peers at all and they have absolutely no cultural references. They feel like they don’t belong anywhere. Is that really what we want to do to our kids?

    Are we so afraid of everything in the culture that we can’t let our kids experience anything?

    I was checking out conventions and came across Great Homeschool Conventions

    The following statements from the ABOUT section on their website are really exciting to me:

    “Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc. is a conservative organization and avowedly ‘young-earth’. Notwithstanding, Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc is an education forum.
    “We disavow ‘groupthink’, as we believe that it is incumbent upon parents to teach children to think critically, to be able to access a broad spectrum of knowledge, and to formulate reasoned conclusions as individuals. Such a foundation should enable them to defend their Faith and their worldview as they move through successive levels of education and into the workplace.
    “To this end, we believe that educators (parents) cannot be closed minded to opinions that differ. I may understand my own position very well, but I cannot defend it properly unless I am informed regarding other points of view. Such an approach makes for a well-rounded education and, if properly inculcated, a well-grounded student.

    “We welcome diversity of opinion, as legitimate questions and alternate viewpoints may be found within a variety of subjects. This must not be construed to imply that we are indiscriminate or undiscerning with respect to our speakers or exhibitors. Biblical values are foundational to a cohesive and just society; they cannot be ignored nor posited within a vacuum.”

    They have a broad variety of speakers and Sonlight Curriculum is included in their Curriculum Hall!

    If you are homeschooling your children, please, please help them to experience life outside the homeschool bubble.


  66. Emmaline – thank you for your excellent comment. I’m very encouraged by what you quoted from Great Homeschool Conventions. Maybe this was the kind of convention I thought I was getting 20-something years ago!!


  67. Readers: I hope to get a new post up today. This has been a whirlwind week with high school choir activities. At the last minute, I was asked to play for another high school which of course meant more practices. Yesterday was the festival choral competition so I should have a bit more time now. Whew!


  68. To whomever sent the link to Kevin Swanason’s recent broadcast – thanks, but no thanks. The only way I post his stuff here is to tear it apart for discernment, not to promote his rhetoric.


  69. So interesting. I am a public school teacher and send my kids to public school. My sister home schools her kids and her husband’s side also home schools. I follow my sister’s in-law’s blog and over the years, I heard about DP and had googled his website to see what he was all about. I knew his patriarchal style and boxing kids into “girls do this” and “boys do this” didn’t jive with me. I also watched my sister’s in-law’s kids go through a stage where they wore swim dresses and jean skirts, teach Sunday School lessons in which they gave their students a stick of gum and asked them to rub it on their heads and then eat it. When the students gave a grossed out reaction that is what they equated not pre-marital sex…but simply having any sort of physical contact with the opposite sex before they were married. This is probably a DP concept they had learned. They are beautiful kids but seemed to equate looking old-fashioned and sometimes frumpy with godliness. I’ve noticed they are back to dressing more normal now. They are often praised for being very friendly and helpful. They are.

    On the blog, they demonize public school a lot, and really don’t know what they’re talking about since they’ve never stepped foot in a public school. In my years of watching this movement and looking at other school options, I have come to the conclusion that people feel the need to demonize the thing that they don’t do as if that somehow validates the thing that they do do. It’s really just silly. Every form of education is going to have it’s strengths and weaknesses and I am so grateful that we have so many options open to us. It would be really good if we could all understand that and support each other’s often hard-thought out decisions on how we decide to educate our children. It really isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Public schools launch many kids into greatness; they also fail some kids. I think the same could be said of home school, private school, montessori, or any other type of school. People need to figure out what’s best for them.


  70. honhol:

    Welcome – I appreciated reading your comment as a public school teacher. You are certainly right that this group has demonized public schools (they call them government schools). Phillips also talked about modesty and purity. I’m not familiar with the stick of gum illustration you mentioned to verify if that came from Phililps, but there are other illustrations I’ve heard to bring home that if you lose your virginity, you are “used.” What does that say to those who are sexually abused? It’s pretty sad because it misses the identity of who we are in Christ when He forgives our sins.

    There’s a lot of stuff that is really law-based which can be a very difficult standard to live. We’re seeing the negative fruit of this as many homeschool kids who are now adults are speaking out. I hope parents learn from these young adults.


  71. Obviously, I do not know anyone connected to this situation. I have purchased a substantial amour of product from Vision Forum over the years. As I read Jens Gems and the accounts of mistreatment, I was appalled at the The Church leaderships actions and stunning gall and arrogance towards the family in Jens account. I also am shocked at why the families under the Church’s leadership care about the opinion of the Church leader as much as they do, especially when they recognize error. We are a free people, you only owe allegiance to Christ and His word, not to men who are abusing their authority. The leader only had power because people were willingly giving it to him. I was so sad reading the accounts of Pastoral abuse and with all that has come out, it should be a warning to all who are under authoritarian leaders. We must be noble Bereans and study what the minister says, to see if it be true. And truth should be followed by Love from the leadership not cold hearted indifference. My heart aches for the hurt families who have been abused and mistreated in the name of Church authority. Leaders sometimes develop a god like mentality, in which they think they are untouchable and above the fray. I hope all those hurt, will heal and be made whole through the power of Gods word and His Spirit, and the fellowship of caring Christians.


  72. I don’t know if I really fit in here. I was wearing dresses and homeschooling long before ever hearing of VF or homeschool confrences. I felt led to by simply reading the bible. I am a simole person, so this will not be an elaberate post.

    My husband and I are both disabled, we have a daughter with major health issues, and another with learning disabilities. We have an adopted child and do foster care. I also care for my mom and dad who are ill. My sister and her husband are also not well and I help them. They live on our property also. They have two children and one is special needs that I care for. We have starred trying to start an organic business because of the foods our family needs. I found out about VF last year and have felt so inadequate because we recieve Social Security. So this last year i have been less spiritual more stressed and less productive, because I was trying to meet their standards. God forgive me for looking toward man’s approval. I won’t be able to view any other comments as i am on my phone, and wont see it again. But you can email me if you wish. [email-address removed by mod.]

    Mod note: I don’t feel comfortable publishing private e-mail addresses, so it has been removed. If someone would like to contact this crystal, please e-mail me: spiritualsb@ gmail dot com


  73. May I share here also, and perhaps someone will read this, and know who I am and that is ok. I have been a homeschooling mom for 24 years. I am remarried and now married to a pastor. Through the years, I have been involved in many different churches, I have been involved with HSLDA, I also have purchased and have been given Vision Forum products. I have attended many homeschool conferences, have been a speaker in local home support group meetings; I was even invited to be a speaker at a state conference. I have loved my children, have taught them about the Lord since they were born, have gone through a very hard first marriage and now the Lord has blessed me with a godly man.

    Four and a half years ago, my husband was asked to be a pastor at a small local church which he accepted and we were thrilled to be with these few people, and watched the church grow. We were a family integrated church that just happened to work out well for us, starting in a home, and growing out of room, had to move to a local restaurant where the church grew and appeared to be so godly and wonderful. My husband and I finally felt like we were in a church that was being used by the Lord in our local area. Many of the families had homeschooled or were thinking of homeschooling.

    After three years of ministering in this church, my husband and I were faced with many of the families becoming very legalistic; modesty was being discussed by the women and men, the elders and their wives and their children. It got so bad, (my daughter and pastor’s kid), (my son, pastor’s kid), and myself ( pastor’s wife) did not meet the criteria of modesty, clothing and hairstyle. My family, stylish in clothing and hairstyle, (not im-modest) did not fit in anymore. The very church, the very people and families we loved, were now changing to strangers we felt we did not know anymore. An elder’s wife would pull me on the side, point her finger, and literally tear my daughter a part for what she was wearing, comments about her hair, her shoes, my sons haircut, my illness was made up, and on and on, to the point that my husband left the position for the sake of our sanity and the legalism literally was killing us.

    We are now unemployed, my husband had to begin semi-retirement. My daughter became ill and questions faith. My husband and I gave up everything for this church, even losing our home in an illegal foreclosure during the recession because we took a huge cut in pay and tried to seek help from the bank. We were willing to give up the material things we had for this body of believers because we had hope the the Lord could use us in Massachusetts where it is very hard to have a church grow.

    I would like many to know that it is not just a pastor that leads people astray. If people want to follow the false sheperd, there is nothing that can be done. The Lord calls his sheep all the time to repent and to follow him, but they dont, we dont, I don’t. I don’t want to be critical here, I just want people to read this, and to see that there are also godly men like my husband, who care enough about their families, to also remove them from a trap that the enemy is trying to set up under the title of “christianity,” God forbid we be entrapped under legalism, and be bound up. An elder’s wife told me she had the gift of “holiness” and I had the gift of “grace”. Before the Lord as my witness, I certainly hope that I am becoming holy as HE is holy, and I want God’s grace and I want to give grace. She is not better than me because she is holy and I guess I am not by her standard. I am grieved as you all are over what is happening today with the universal church, with the Doug Phillips issue, and let us all stay in prayer for one another. I have to remind myself to stand in the evil day.

    One Sunday, I went to sit down in my seat prior to the service, and found a book on my seat called “Purity” (a mild suggestion for my daughter). My son’s Facebook page was being watched. A calendar was being kept on me and how many services and bible studiesmI would miss (I was very ill for several months, visiting the emergency ward and many drs, appointments), but was told I was faking my illness even though not one elder ever came to my house to pray for me and my husband was a fellow comrade with them.

    Someone I know may read this someday, and I hope and pray that they will give these issues some real concern, and to think. Most have not even contacted us to see why my husband resigned. God knows the issues, and that is what I have to trust. We all have a story, and entrust it that the Lord will turn it around for our good.


  74. Hello, I am new here. I have been following the DP scandal, and am thankful for this community because it shows both sides.

    I was raised in a secular, non-Christian home- not a bad one, but not a particularly good one either. I have a lot of resentment towards the way my parents raised me. I am now a Christian- but like Julie Anne said, our church is NOT this brand (reconstructionist) of Christianity. I love our church because it has strong, biblical teaching, but VERY un-legalistic- they don’t even have a denomination because they only want to be about Jesus.

    So anyway, I have a lot to learn, but I am very interested in homeschooling- but I’m afraid that it’s for the wrong reasons (fear). The conversation in this thread has helped me to see the wrong in that. The plan right now is to start our oldest daughter in public kindergarten in Fall 2015 and see how it goes- but I know I’m going to be very picky. I have been very concerned though about keeping our kids in a homeschool bubble- I don’t want them to go crazy when they enter the real world, and I’m looking for more information on that. As was discussed above, I know there is a sect of homeschooling that isn’t reconstructionist, as Great Homeschool Conventions demonstrates.I would love to know more about this and am researching like crazy, but not coming up with much. If anyone out there has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thank you so much for this discussion, and for this blog Julie Anne.


  75. Hi Erin,

    Welcome! You have a great question. I’m tied up a bit but you can be sure I will be stewing about your comment. Maybe it would be good to have a separate post on this topic because I’m sure you aren’t the only one with similar concerns.


  76. Erin,

    It’s really good to hear what you have to say. It’s really a breath of fresh air, to be honest. I know that there are healthy church’s just like yours out there. It’s a shame that people seem to gravitate to the legalistic toxic church’s that puts people under bondage. I hope that you find a homeschooling program that you like, and are comfortable with.



  77. Crys, So sorry to hear what happened to you and your family. It is so easy to slip into a culture of judging. I’ve seen many good people go there, myself included. Praying for the people in your former church, praying for your daughter that God would meet her right where she is at and minister to her heart and that He would continue to bring healing and provision to your family.


  78. Crys wrote: “I just want people to read this, and to see that there are also godly men like my husband, who care enough about their families, to also remove them from a trap that the enemy is trying to set up under the title of “christianity,””

    Thanks, Crys! I had an abusive pastor-father (for whom the church covered), so it is hard for me to be objective, esp when so many leaders are corrupted. It’s lovely to hear from the good pastors and wives who I’m sure are out there. I wish more like you would speak up.

    The people in your church sound awful, to be honest. I hope you can find a healthier community. Life’s too short to spend with folks who refuse to live it. I am sending a prayer for you.


  79. “She is not better than me because she is holy and I guess I am not by her standard.”

    A person does not have to tell you they have the “gift” of Holiness. That is a red flag. It is not a gift reserved for a special few but for all believers who grow in Holiness if they are believers. And by your desecription, I have to assume she did not understand the definition of Holiness..

    It is so strange what people believe. I am so sorry for what you have gone through. My advice to all believers is to never put your financial well being into the hands of any “Christians”.


  80. Lydia, Crys: yeah, what does she even mean by “gift of holiness”? Does she think God gave her a talent to be chief Sin-Sniffer? If so, she’s mistaken a character flaw for a spiritual gift and that’s off-the-wall wrong.

    Haven’t heard this particular excuse before. Give her a point for creativity, I suppose. Anything to keep from being just one among the rest; anything to preserve the illusion of superiority. You’d think I’d be properly cynical by now but nope, I still get surprised.



  81. Patrice, I have had so many Christians say similar or strange things to me. Of course they are always said in a situation where you cannot have an actual convo about it. I call it “sound bite” Christianity. And I am done with it.

    Now, when people make these Christianese “drive bys” to me for whatever reason, I always politely suggest that is a concept worth discussing in depth. Have they thought long about it? etc. I even propose meeting over coffee to discuss it. That rarely happens, btw. It would not be a pithy sound bite if we discuss it and analyze it, would it?

    I should make a list of the Christianese sound bites I have heard:

    You will never find a perfect church (said to diminish whatever nastiness going on and to suggest ones standards are way too high?)

    Jesus wants us to be unified (are we sure they don’t mean conformity?)

    Scritpure is clear on this (No explanation needed)

    We are all sinners saved by grace (usually used to excuse horrors done by a professing Christian–even pastors and ends up making a mockery of grace)

    My absolute favorite though was said to me by an old friend (not anymore) still in the same system: If they had not done those things, you would never know Jesus as well as you do now. I was able to comeback: Then that suggests the church should advertise they spiritually abuse people so you can know Jesus better? Sigh

    Too much of Christendom has become a sound bite. We must ask ourselves why they work so well. It says a lot about us, too, that we let them stand so easily. It takes a lot of work and committement to communicate and seek to understand each other.


  82. Erin and all commentors and headless unicorn guy:
    Erin don’t think the grass is greener on the other side. Spent more than half my life grieving that I was raised in the church and in a so-called Christian home that was anything but, no fruit in what false and abusive leadership is doing. Read my comments under article: “Blogger/Mother who posted public article about her daughter’s disobedience has changed her mind and removed, dated July 12, 2014. Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound comments.

    Julie Anne: if, you know of any lawyers that will defend children/young adults and go after perps. Please let me know. Do not want these children revictimized by the system and thrown under the bus and run over. Any lawyer want to take on 10/11/09 article in LA. Times by Kim Christenson and two other writers; where 268 children killed themselves in Group Homes in 19 months case? Got lot’s of cSes like.


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