Joe and Nicole Naugler, the off-grid homeschooling family in Kentucky whose 10 children were taken away last week due to allegations of unsafe living conditions and truancy, attended a custody hearing today before a Breckinridge County judge. Kentucky Child Protective Services had placed the 10 children in foster care after the local authorities seized them. The seizure happened after local sheriff Todd Pate showed up at the Nauglers’ homesteading property to serve Joe with a summons for allegedly threatening his neighbor with a firearm. According to an emergency custody affidavit from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the family lives on property with only one makeshift shed and two makeshift tents.
The most dramatic turn of events is that 19-year-old Alex Brow, Joe Naugler’s oldest son who lives out of state, showed up at the courtroom with Sheriff Pate and made a public statement. When Brow was 4 years old, he too was removed from his father’s care. Brow said he fears for the well-being of siblings because he personally experienced significant abuse from his father. According to WLKY, Brow said, “I am very worried about them and I hope that everything that can be done, that was done here, can help them move on and have a better life.” Brow alleged not only physical abuse, but also sexual abuse: “I got all the beatings. I got most of the mental abuse. There was a lot of sexual abuse towards me. We had a very dysfunctional relationship.”
HSLDA, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, is allegedly assisting the Naugler family. HSLDA attorney TJ Schmidt spoke in defense of the family for a WorldNetDaily article and Michael Farris, Jr., HSLDA’s social media director and son of HSLDA founder Michael Farris, also expressed support.
UPDATE, 05/11/2015, 6:12 pm Pacific: Joe Naugler issued a statement via their Facebook page claiming that CHFS “have confirmed, and confirmed again today that our children are happy, healthy and well cared for and that our property is sufficient for their needs.” Joe also said he was “heartbroken” over his oldest son’s testimony. An image of the statement is saved here or you can read the full text below:
We have allowed CHFS to inspect our property and interview our children multiple times. After every visit they have confirmed, and confirmed again today that our children are happy, healthy and well cared for and that our property is sufficient for their needs. Despite that, the judge decided as a result of the deliberations in today’s hearing that our children will remain in CHFS care while they continue their investigation. Alex, my 19-year-old estranged son, testified in today’s hearing. We are both heartbroken with the way Alex’s upbringing away from us and his strained relationship with his mother have affected him. Although we are sad our children will not be returned to us today, we have nothing to hide. We have cooperated with all requests made to us by CHFS and will continue to do so. We are confident that throughout this process Nicole and I will be shown to be the good parents that we are and that our family will be reunited. We thank everyone for all you have done for us and ask for continued prayers for our children. We want all our children to know that we love them and we are constantly with them in our hearts.
UPDATE, 05/12/2015, 1:35 pm Pacific: Joe and Nicole Naugler appeared in court again today (Tuesday) to face criminal charges. They each pleaded not guilty. Additionally, HSLDA today said in a WorldNetDaily article that they are no longer assisting the Naugler family.
The city of Baltimore has been in an uproar over the homicide of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a lethal spinal cord injury while in police custody. In the wake of the homicide and its consequent protests, a video has gone viral that shows Toya Graham, mother of 16-year-old Michael Graham, physically attacking her child for participating in a street protest. The video spurred the hashtag #MomOfTheYear on social media, with many praising Toya’s violence against her son as proper “discipline.” For her part, Toya says she simply was terrified her son would become another Freddie Gray by participating in the protests, and acted out of desperation. “That’s my only son,” Toya explained, “at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,”
You can view the video in full here:
While Toya’s sentiment is understandable (and the fact that she felt she had to act this way just to save her child’s life a tragic reminder of the reality of white supremacy), her actions are nonetheless disturbing. In the video, Toya screams obscenities at her child (such as “get the f*** over here”) while repeatedly striking him in the face with her fist, violently shaking him, grabbing his neck, and shoving him. As Kathleen Harter, executive director of the Consortium for Children’s Services in Syracuse, says, “It sends a terrible message. The ‘Mom of the Year’ beats her child? I don’t think so. Had she thrown herself into a burning building or thrown herself in front of police bullets and saved her son’s life — maybe. But she’s not ‘Mom of the Year’ because she kicked his a**.”
The fact is, Michael is a minor and Toya slapped, shook, grabbed, and shoved him. Which means that Toya physically abused her child. Toya’s actions, however understandable or relatable, fit clearly and unequivocally under the definition of physical child abuse. The American Humane Association defines physical child abuse as “non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child,” even if it “results from inappropriate or excessive physical discipline” or is provoked by “crisis situations.”
What Toya did is illegal. It is child abuse.
But that didn’t stop HSLDA’s satellite organization ParentalRights.org from lauding Toya for abusing her child. (HSLDA founded ParentalRights.org in 2007.) On April 29, ParentalRights.org shared an article on their Facebook page titled “‘Mom of the Year’ Baltimore mother praised for smacking rioting son” (Facebook link here, archived PDF here). The organization added their own text, “Parents: The ultimate crime deterrent. #baltimoremom”:
Tracy Klicka MacKillop, wife of the late HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka, chimed in with praise for Toya assaulting her son, saying she was “so proud” of Toya’s actions:
Almost immediately people began questioning both the wisdom and rightness of ParentalRights.org and Tracy Klicka MacKillop so blatantly praising an act of child abuse:
People pointed out the hypocrisy of praising Toya assaulting her son if they would not praise a father similarly assaulting his daughter:
However, defenders of ParentalRights.org were not to be deterred. They argued that black boys like Michael are “animals” that need to be trained:
Or they just admitted they would be ok if a father similarly assaulted his daughter and that a father “wailing on” his daughters was parenting, not abuse:
Tracy Klicka MacKillop did not back down, arguing that the child abuse was a “courageous” reaction:
ParentalRights.org, for their part, also did not back down. They responded that Toya’s assault of her child is evidence that she is a “good mom”:
So there you have it. HSLDA’s ParentalRights.org believes that the physical abuse and assault of a black child is evidence of good parenting.
The following is a historical timeline of the modern U.S. homeschooling movement from 1904 through the present. It details the various and divergent aspects of homeschooling — from the leftist unschooling movement pioneered by John Holt to the conservative Christian takeover masterminded by Michael Farris, Gregg Harris, Mary Pride, and Brian Ray, the so-called “Four Pillars of Homeschooling.” The purpose of this timeline is to educate the public about how homeschooling has evolved over the years and also reveal divisions that have plagued it since its beginnings. Please feel free to make suggestions for changes or additions in either the comments or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Indiana Appellate Court case State v. Peterman, the Court defines a school as “a place where instruction is imparted to the young” and holds that “a school at home counts as a private school.”[i]
Influenced by the Catholic Worker movement, Norbert and Marion Shickel begin subsistence farming. They homeschool their 13 children and call their homeschool “Mary Hill Country School.” Their local school district is not only impressed by their homeschooling, but also “actively sought [Marion] out to deal with some of their problem cases.”[ii]
In Illinois, Marjorie Levisen and her husband Lincoln are convicted of truancy for violating the state’s compulsory attendance law. Marjorie had decided to not enroll her daughter in public school and instead enrolled her in the Home Study Institute, a Seventh Day Adventist correspondence course.[iii] The Levisens are Seventh Day Adventists who believe “that the child should not be educated in competition with other children because it produces a pugnacious character, that the necessary atmosphere of faith in the Bible cannot be obtained in the public school, and that for the first eight or ten years of a child’s life the field or garden is the best schoolroom, the mother the best teacher, and nature the best lesson book.”[iv] In the Illinois Supreme Court case People v. Levisen, the truancy conviction is overturned and the Court rules that Levisen’s homeschooling via correspondence course “did qualify as private schooling under Illinois law.”[v]
Paul Goodman writes Growing Up Absurd.
R.J. Rushdoony writes the book, Intellectual Schizophrenia, a critique of tax-funded, public education.”[vi]
Bill Gothard incorporates Campus Teams, the organization that will later become the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP).[vii]
Many conservative Protestants pull their children out of public schools on account of Supreme Court decisions that force racial desegregation and ban school-officiated religious activities (such as school-sponsored Bible reading). Their complaint is that the Court “put the Negroes in the schools—now they put God out of the schools.”[viii]
Raymond Moore cofounds the Hewitt Research Foundation with Carl Hewitt.[ix]
R.J. Rushdoony writes The Messianic Character of American Education, a critique of the educational philosophies of over two dozen of the major founders and philosophers of American progressive education, from Horace Mann to John Dewey.[x]
Paul Goodman writes Compulsory Miseducation. Between this and Growing Up Absurd, Goodman argues “that compelling children to attend school is not the best use of their youth, and that education is more a community function than an institutional one. This idea was developed and amplified over the years by many authors, but most forcefully by John Holt.”[xi]
John Holt writes How Children Fail. This book “created an uproar with his observations that forcing children to learn makes them unnaturally self-conscious about learning and stifles children’s initiative and creativity by making them focus on how to please the teachers and the schools with the answers they will reward best, a situation that creates a fake type of learning.”[xii]
Francis Schaeffer first encounters the writings of R.J. Rushdoony. He makes Rushdoony’s book, This Independent Republic, the basis of a seminar for students at L’Abri in Switzerland.[xiii]
Wheaton College, Bill Gothard’s alma mater, invites Gothard “to design and teach a course based on his work with youth.” The course is given the name “Basic Youth Conflicts.”[xiv]
R.J. Rushdoony founds the Chalcedon Foundation.[xv] The Foundation affirms homeschooling as not only one of the most important institutions for implementing Rushdoony’s ideology of Christian Reconstructionism,[xvi] but also “the only model for education given in the Bible.”[xvii]
In New Jersey, Barbara and Frank Massa remove their daughter from public school to homeschool her. This action leads to the 1967 New Jersey Superior Court decision State v. Massa.[xviii]
The New Jersey Superior Court rules in State v. Massa that homeschoolers satisfy the “elsewhere than at school” portion of New Jersey’s compulsory school attendance statute. The Court declares not only that “a child may be taught at home,” but also that the homeschooling teacher “need not be certified by the State of New Jersey to so teach.”[xix] This vindicates Barbara and Frank Massa’s decision the previous year to remove their daughter from public school to homeschool her.
In response to school authorities demanding Amish children attend public school, the Iowa legislature passes SF 785, establishing “an exemption from compulsory school attendance for members of religious denominations which profess ‘principles or tenents [sic] that differ substantially from the objectives, goals, and philosophy of education embodied’” in public school.[xx]
John Holt writes How Children Learn.
Paul Lindstrom founds the Christian Liberty Academy as a result of dissatisfaction with government schools. From this academy is developed a homeschool curriculum known as CLASS. Many of the early seminal court decisions that helped to win the right to homeschool involved homeschoolers who were affiliated with CLASS.[xxi]
Dr. Henry Morris founds the Institute for Creation Research.[xxii]
Ivan Illich writes Deschooling Society, which influences Holt. After Deschooling Society appears, Holt studies and corresponds with Illich at length.[xxiii]
Everett Reimer writes School is Dead: Alternatives in Education.
Edith Schaeffer writes her book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, which later inspires Mary Pride in her writings.[xxiv]
Raymond Moore writes “The dangers of early schooling” for Harper’s Magazine.[xxv]
Reader’s Digest publishes a condensed version of Moore’s piece for Harper’s as “When Should Your Child Go To School?”,[xxvi] which “distributed it to millions more readers.”[xxvii]
Shamanist/writing coach Hal Bennett writes No More Public School, which “explains how you can take your child out of public school and educate him at home.”[xxviii]
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Wisconsin v. Yoder (a court case frequently cited by later homeschooling advocates and leaders), rules that Amish children could not be placed under compulsory education past the 8th grade. The Court affirms “the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the State, to guide the religious future and education of their children.”[xxix]
The Colorado legislature revises its compulsory attendance law to exempt from school attendance any student “being educated at home by a parent under an established system of home study approved by the state board [of education].”[xxx]
In Marion, Utah, noted white supremacist John Singer removes his children from public school after his daughter comes home one day with a textbook that celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. and showed a picture of black and white people together. While Singer is initially arrested for doing so, a Utah court rules that he is “permitted…to homeschool his kids so long as they were tested twice a year and received an annual psychological evaluation at the Singer home.”[xxxi]
R.J. Rushdoony writes his book, The Institutes of Biblical Law. Gary North says that this book, which “took the Ten Commandments as the ordering principle [to] be applied to modern life” and “that civil government must be shrunk drastically to meet biblical standards,” “launched the Christian Reconstruction movement.”[xxxii]
John Holt becomes a public advocate for the children’s rights movement with the publication of Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children.[xxxiii]
Bill Gothard’s organization Campus Teams is re-named the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts.[xxxiv]
Raymond Moore coauthors Better Late Than Early with his wife Dorothy.
Mormon homeschooling pioneer Joyce Kinmont begins homeschooling[xxxv] because her “6-year-old daughter had become ‘engaged’ to a boy at school.”[xxxvi]
The State of Virginia passes a religious exemption from compulsory school attendance. The exemption states that, “A school board shall excuse from attendance at school…any pupil who, together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school.”[xxxvii]
In Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better, John Holt proposes “a new Underground Railroad to help children escape from schools.” This proposal inspires current homeschoolers to contact Holt, which in turn inspires him to create a newsletter for homeschoolers.[xxxviii]
John Holt starts Growing Without Schooling, a bimonthly magazine for those who desire educational activities outside a traditional school framework.[xxxix]Growing Without Schooling is “the nation’s, and probably the world’s, first periodical about homeschooling.”[xl] The magazine is “filled with citations of trial court rulings home schoolers had won. These cases gave parents confidence and helped the home school movement grow.”[xli]
John Holt coins the term “unschooling” in the second edition of Growing Without Schooling.[xlii]
Manfred Smith, who was previously involved with the “radical reform school movement” that embraced free schools, discovers the writings of John Holt and becomes a homeschooling advocate.[xliii]
Nancy Campbell begins publishing her Quiverfull magazine Above Rubies, “seeking to fill a void in the encouragement of women who resisted the lures of feminism and careers.”[xliv]
In Amherst, Massachusetts, Peter and Susan Perchemlides decide to homeschool their son and submit a curriculum proposal to their local superintendent, Donald Frizzle. Frizzle repeatedly rejects their proposal, leading to the 1978 Massachusetts Superior Court case Perchemlides v. Frizzle.[xlv]
In Perchemlides v. Frizzle, the Massachusetts Superior Court rules that Peter and Susan Perchemlides, who removed their son to homeschool him and are represented in court by the Western Massachusetts Legal Services and the Cambridge Center for Law and Education, have a constitutional “right to privacy” that includes the right to homeschool. The Court declares, “Parents must be allowed to decide whether public school education, including its socialization aspects, is desirable or undesirable for their children.”[xlvi]
Bob and Linda Session are tried in Iowa Magistrate Court for allegedly “failing to obtain equivalent instruction for their homeschooled 7-year-old.” However, the Sessions are ultimately victorious on appeal. The Iowa District Court rules that, “The state had failed to make its case that the Sessions’ homeschooling program was not equivalent to the instruction provided by a certified teacher.”[xlvii]
Time Magazine runs an article on the homeschooling movement,[xlviii] “the first of its kind in a major American weekly.”[xlix]
John Holt and Bob and Linda Session appear on The Phil Donahue Show,[l] which has “an immediate and dramatic impact on the scope and prestige of homeschooling.” This show is profoundly influential on later homeschoolers, as “many of the first wave of homeschooling families trace their inspiration back to that first Donahue show.”[li]
Steve Gothard, Bill Gothard’s brother and an employee of the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, is discovered to be having sexual relationships with numerous IBYC employees. Bill Gothard “did nothing officially about it.”[lii]
Beverley LaHaye founds the Concerned Women for America, an organization that “opposes the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, comparable pay legislation for jobs of equal worth, unisex insurance and the 1984 Civil Rights Act.”[liv]
Catholic educator Pat Montgomery becomes a fan of homeschooling. She is asked by a family “to help them teach their nine-year-old at home using the same approach she designed for the students of the campus school.”[lv] Montgomery consequently creates the Home Based Education Program administered through her private school, Clonlara School, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It becomes “a popular correspondence program designed specifically to meet the needs of homeschooling families.”[lvi] It also technically allows parents to obey state laws requiring certification of homeschool teachers (since Montgomery herself is certified).[lvii]
Raymond Moore does his first radio show with Focus on the Family, prompting James Dobson to later say, “I consider Dr. Raymond Moore to be the father of the modern home school movement. The avalanche of mail we received at Focus on the Family after our initial broadcast with Ray in 1979 confirmed that his pioneering theories on education had found a receptive audience.” Note: email correspondence with Milton Gaither indicates that Moore first appeared on Focus on the Family on May 3 and 10, 1980, during a two-part show called “School Can Wait,”. [liii]
Manfred Smith founds the Maryland Home Education Association.[lviii]
Bill Gothard announces his resignation from the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts due to, among numerous charges, sexual harassment accusations against him as well as accusations that he ignored his brother Steve’s sexually inappropriate relationships with IBYC employees. However, Bill “return[s] to power shortly thereafter”[lix] and technically “never left the function of IBYC president.”[lx]
Pat and Sue Welch begin publishing The Teaching Home magazine.[lxi]
Laurence Popanz of Avoca, Wisconsin withdraws his 3 daughters from public school. Popanz informs his district school administrator that he is a member of “The Agency for the Church of the Free Thinker Inc.” and that this church administers “The Free Thinker School,” his own private school in which his daughters are now enrolled. This leads to a conflict that results in the 1983 Wisconsin Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Popanz.[lxii]
Dr. Anne Carroll creates the first Catholic homeschooling curriculum, Seton Home Study School.[lxiii]
Michael Farris becomes head of Washington State’s Moral Majority, “the largest Moral Majority affiliate in the nation.”[lxiv] As the affiliate director, Farris debates Timothy Leary at Whitman College on LGBT rights.[lxv]
R.J. Rushdoony starts being an “expert witness” in school court cases.[lxvi]
Francis Schaeffer writes his book, A Christian Manifesto, making him “the leading theorist of the ‘religion’ of secular humanism,” against which “the practice of Christian schooling increased.”[lxvii]
Tim LaHaye creates the Council for National Policy, once dubbed “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of.”[lxviii]
Bill Gothard writes his book, Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts: Research in Principles of Life.
Ken and Laurie Huffman create the Utah Home Education Association. Joyce Kinmont organizes the Association’s first conference and features John Holt as the keynote speaker.[lxix]
After a school board denies homeschooling parents Denise Pierce and Christopher Rice their request to homeschool, the parents appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. In Appeal of Pierce, the Court rules in favor of the parents, saying that, “While the state may adopt a policy requiring children to be educated, it does not have the unlimited power to require they be educated in a certain way or place.”[lxx]
Michael Farris attends a pastor’s seminar taught by Bill Gothard and is converted to the Quiverfull movement.[lxxi]
Michael Smith hears Raymond Moore on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program and he and his wife Elizabeth decide to start homeschooling. As he was professionally a lawyer, Smith “quickly found himself inundated with requests to defend homeschooling families in Southern California.”[lxxii] According to Smith, Moore’s interviews with Focus on the Family “laid the foundation for the early explosion of the home-school movement.”[lxxiii]
Michael Farris travels from Washington to Utah to tape a radio program with Tim and Beverly LaHaye. HSLDA says, “Raymond Moore, a guest on the program, was there to discuss homeschooling. By the end of the day, Dr. Moore had convinced Mike, as well as the LaHaye’s daughter, to homeschool.”[lxxiv] Many other notable homeschool leaders credit these interviews as foundational.[lxxv]
Michael and Vickie Farris and Michael and Elizabeth Smith found the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).[lxxvi]
Michael Farris moves from Olympia, Washington to Washington, D.C. to become the general counsel of the LaHayes’ organization Concerned Women for America.[lxxvii] He helps Beverly LaHaye defeat the Equal Rights Amendment.[lxxviii]
Mark and Helen Hegener begin publishing Home Education Magazine.[lxxix]
Cathy Duffy begins her career as a “curriculum specialist” for the homeschooling movement.[lxxx]
Francis Schaeffer’s daughter, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, writes her treatise on Christian education, “For the Children’s Sake.” Cathy Duffy considers Macaulay’s book “foundational reading for those beginning to homeschool”[lxxxi] and the book causes the work of Charlotte Mason to experience “a resurgence among Christian homeschoolers.”[lxxxii]
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in Wisconsin v. Popanz, supports Laurence Popanz’s decision in 1980 to withdraw his 3 daughters and enroll them in his home-based private school, “The Free Thinker School.” The Court overturns “the state’s compulsory school attendance law by holding that the attendance law could not be enforced against parents or guardians who sent their children to an unrecognized private school because the statutory phrase ‘private school’ was so vague that it was impossible to determine whether or not children were attending a private school.” In response, the Wisconsin legislature passes the 1983 Wisconsin Act 512, providing that “instruction in a home-based program may be substituted for attendance at a public or private school only if the home program meets all the criteria required of a private school.”[lxxxiii]
Manfred Smith’s Maryland Home Education Association organizes the legal defense for Kathleen Miller, a Maryland homeschooling parent charged with truancy. According to Smith, “The trial lasted two days, and the defense team overwhelmed the prosecution. The trial proved that Mrs. Miller was in full compliance of the law and that anyone could homeschool in Maryland so long as they provided regular and thorough instruction to their children.”[lxxxiv]
The Coalition on Revival is formed “to form a united, spiritual army willing to help mobilize the Body of Christ.”[lxxxv] The original steering committee includes Gary DeMar, Michael Farris, Duane Gish, Timothy LaHaye, Josh McDowell, Gary North, R.J. Rushdoony, and Edith Schaeffer.[lxxxvi]
Beverley LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America applies for — and is denied — $85,000 in federal funding “to survey the nation’s 16,000 school districts for school policies, textbooks and classroom activities that Beverly LaHaye believes violate parental rights.”[lxxxvii]
Bill Gothard, Dr. Larry Guthrie, and Inge Cannon begin development of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI),[lxxxviii] a homeschooling program in which “the core curriculum is the Wisdom Booklets, a 3,000-page amplification of the Sermon on the Mount.”[lxxxix]
Jordan Lorence is hired as a part-time attorney for HSLDA.[xc]
The North Carolina Supreme Court rules in Delconte v. State that, “Homeschools should be permitted to operate under the rules governing private schools.”[xci]
Chris Klicka becomes HSLDA’s first full-time attorney.[xcii]
Francis Schaeffer’s son, Frank Schaeffer (who was himself homeschooled[xciv]), is a literary agent and discovers an author named Mary Pride.[xcv] Mary Pride writes her seminal book, The Way Home, detailing “her post-college embrace of evangelical Christianity, which led to her repudiation of what she saw as anti-biblical feminist ideals.”[xcvi] Starting with this book, Pride is considered by some to be “the Spiritual Mother of the Quiverfull Movement.”[xcvii]
The number of homeschooled children reaches 50,000.[xcviii]
Large-scale homeschooling conferences (with 1,000 or more attendees) begin to spring up across the nation.[xcix]
Conservative Christian homeschoolers become the dominant force within homeschooling, changing “the nature of homeschooling from a crusade against ‘the establishment’ to a crusade against the secular forces of modern-day society.”[c]
Kirk McCord and Brad Chamberlain establish the Texas Home School Coalition as a political action committee “because of the numerous lawsuits against home schoolers across [Texas] and harmful legislation being introduced in Austin.”[ci]
Michael Farris begins working full time with HSLDA.[cii]
Michael Farris allegedly signs the Coalition for Revival’s 1986 manifesto, which declares, “We believe American can be turned and once again function as a Christian nation.” Farris later denies signing it.[ciii]
Mary Pride publishes The Big Book of Home Learning, “the first mass-market homeschool how-to book.”[civ]
Michael Smith moves from Santa Monica, California to Washington, D.C. to work full time with HSLDA.[cv]
Gregg Harris writes The Christian Home School. Harris’s “early Homeschooling Workshops inspired thousands of families to begin homeschooling and many state homeschool organizations to launch annual state conferences.”[cvi]
Bill Gothard’s organization, the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (originally called Campus Teams in 1961), is renamed the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the name which it continues to have today.[cvii]
David Barton launches WallBuilders,[cviii] an organization dedicated to “educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country” in order to inspire “public policies which reflect Biblical values.”[cix]
Cheryl Seelhoff starts her homeschooling magazine Gentle Spirit, “a small magazine for (mostly) Christian women living the simple life at home.”[cx]
Brian Ray creates the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).[cxi]
HSLDA founds the National Center for Home Education “to serve state leaders by providing information about state and federal legislation of concern to home schoolers.”[cxii]
Joyce Kinmont founds the LDS Home Educators Association.[cxiii]
Christian Home Educators of Colorado is founded.[cxiv]
After creating ATI’s Wisdom Booklets and directing Bill Gothard’s ATI program for 6 years, Inge Cannon is invited by Michael Farris to head up HSLDA’s National Center for Home Education.[cxv]
HSLDA membership reaches over 15,000 families and spans all 50 U.S. states.[cxvi]
Cheryl Seelhoff appears on a Focus on the Family radio program, an appearance that “brought mounting attention to Gentle Spirit.”[cxvii]
Rick and Jan Hess publish A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, a foundational text of the Quiverfull movement.
During the 1990-91 school year, fewer than 2,000 homeschoolers sought assistance from HSLDA.[cxviii]
HSLDA goes international with the formation of HSLDA Canada.[cxix]
Jordan Lorence becomes a full-time attorney for HSLDA.[cxx]
Doug Phillips begins working for HSLDA as their first law clerk.[cxxi]
Inspired by the work of John Holt, Grace Llewellyn publishes her book The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education. The book “speaks directly to teens, encouraging them to consider the unschooling option”[cxxii] and embrace youth rights.
Sociologist Jane Van Galen classifies homeschoolers into two groups: ideologues and pedagogues.[cxxiii]
Homeschooling is officially recognized as a legal option in every state.[cxxiv]
John Taylor Gatto publishes Dumbing Us Down, the central argument of which is that “schools are not failing,” rather, they are “explicitly set up to ensure a docile, malleable workforce to meet the growing, changing demands of corporate capitalism.”[cxxv] This book puts him in “heavy demand as a speaker to groups ranging from principals’ associations to software companies to homeschool conferences.”[cxxvi]
Michael Farris runs unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.[cxxvii]
Mary Pride and her husband Bill appear on the first edition of Wired Magazine, promoting the use of computer software in homeschooling.[cxxviii]
Doug Phillips becomes the Director of Government Affairs for HSLDA’s National Center for Home Education.[cxxix]
President Bill Clinton signs the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill drafted by Michael Farris. Farris is unable to attend the signing ceremony so Doug Phillips attends in his place.[cxxx]
Michael Farris establishes the Madison Project.[cxxxi] The organization “raises money for conservative candidates through [its] network of grassroots conservatives”[cxxxii] and currently has a budget of over $5 million.[cxxxiii] The group becomes known for evading federal election laws regarding donation limits by engaging in a fundraising practice called “bundling.”[cxxxiv]
Gregg Harris’ son, Josh Harris, creates New Attitude, a magazine aimed at teenage homeschoolers.[cxxxv]
H.R. 6 sends cataclysmic divisions throughout the U.S. homeschooling movement.[cxxxvi] Doug Phillips plays a central role in HSLDA’s efforts against the bill.[cxxxvii]
In October, Raymond Moore vehemently attacks not only HSLDA for how it handled the H.R. 6 situation but also all four of the “Pillars of Homeschooling” (Farris, Harris, Pride, and Ray) in his White Papers, or “The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion.” [cxxxviii] Moore accuses Gregg Harris of property theft, saying Harris “raped our Foundation program in the crudest, boldest, most dishonest spree ever.” He also lambasts all the “Pillars” for a “form of bigotry” he labels “Protestant Exclusivism.”[cxxxix]
Larry and Susan Kaseman argue in Home Education Magazine that HSLDA is undermining (via federalization) the entire homeschool movement and its rights, placing homeschooling freedoms at risk.[cxl]
HSLDA successfully lobbies against the U.S. ratification of United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.[cxli]
Cheryl Seelhoff’s magazine Gentle Spirit reaches approximately 15,000 subscribers and generates a gross income of $300,000.[cxlii]
Ken Ham launches Creation Science Ministries in the U.S., later renamed Answers in Genesis.[cxliii]
The number of homeschooled children is between 500,000 and 750,000.[cxliv]
Christopher Klicka writes his book The Right Choice: Home Schooling. The book contends that “sending our children to the public school violates nearly every biblical principle” and homeschooling is the “biblical form of education.” Klicka includes a chapter by Gregg Harris that argues against interfaith homeschool support groups because “biblical methods of discipline may be reported by fellow group members to authorizes as ‘child abuse’” Klicka’s also includes a section written by R.J. Rushdoony, in which it is argued that a child’s will “must be broken.” [cxlv]
IBLP and HSLDA stakeholders (including Bill Gothard, Michael Farris, and Jordan Lorence)[cxlvi] launch Oak Brook College of Law, a “law school for homeschoolers.”[cxlvii]
HSLDA joins (and pays membership dues) to Tim LaHaye’s Council for National Policy.[cxlviii]
Michael Farris’s daughter, Christy Farris (now Christy Shipe), starts a homeschool debate league through HSLDA.[cxlix]
Tim Echols incorporates TeenPact, “with a mission to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend the Christian faith, and engage the culture.”[cl]
Mary Pride’s sales of The Big Book of Home Learning reach close to a quarter million copies.[cli]
Grace Llewellyn founds the Not Back to School Camp. The camp is for “unschoolers & homeschoolers ages 13-18” and “aspires to create a sanctuary that affirms, inspires, and mentors unschoolers” through normative outdoor camp activities and crafts.[clii]
Cathy Duffy presents John Taylor Gatto with the “Alexis de Tocqueville” Award from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State.[cliii]
13-year-old Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, New York wins the National Spelling Bee, bringing “new attention to the growing phenomenon of homeschooling” as she is “the first homeschooled child to win the National Spelling Bee.”[cliv] Sealfon, however, is not entirely positive about homeschooling, noting that, “One disadvantage is that many of your friends are not at your same age, and there is not the same socialization quite like I would have in school.”[clv]
Josh Harris writes I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which “singlehandedly made the word ‘courtship’ popular in mainstream evangelical circles.”[clvi]
Cheryl Seelhoff, publisher of the Gentle Spirit homeschooling magazine, sues 3 of the “Pillars of Homeschooling” — Sue Welch, Gregg Harris, and Mary Pride — as well as others for “defamation, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with commerce, and violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.”[clvii] Michael Farris provides counsel to the defendants.[clviii]
HSLDA holds the very first national homeschool debate tournament at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Virginia. Christy Farris (now Christy Shipe) is the tournament organizer.[clix]
David and Teresa Moon launch Communicators for Christ (CFC), a nationwide tour teaching homeschooled students public speaking and debate. CFC is later renamed the Institute for Cultural Communicators, with the goal “to equip Christians to shape the future through authentic leadership and cultural communication. “[clx]
HSLDA successfully lobbies against HB 211, a New Hampshire bill that would have included “psychological injury” and “isolation” as forms of child abuse.[clxi]
The Homeschool Sports Network is launched, a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting homeschool sports events and teams.
Doug Phillips leaves HSLDA and founds Vision Forum Ministries with the aim “to facilitate the restoration of the Biblical family.”[clxii]
Cheryl Seelhoff is victorious in her lawsuit against Sue Welch, Gregg Harris, and Mary Pride. In the court case Seelhoff vs. Welch, the jury “returned a verdict saying the defendants Welch entered into an illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act, that damages were caused and determined the damages to Cheryl’s business were in the amount of $445,000. In antitrust actions, awards are automatically trebled, so Cheryl was entitled to receive in excess of 1.3 million dollars from Sue Welch.”[clxiii] Prior to the trial, “Welch’s co-defendants Gregg Harris, Christian Home Educators of Ohio and its then-chairperson, and Bill and Mary Pride settled with plaintiff Gentle Spirit publisher and editor Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff.”[clxiv]
HSLDA has 45 employees and reaches 53,000 member families.[clxv]
California homeschool activist Mary Griffith publishes The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom, a book that becomes immensely popular among unschoolers. The book is “focused on the idea that children learn best when they pursue their own natural curiosity and interests.”[clxvi]
Kevin Swanson becomes the Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado.[clxvii]
HSLDA holds its “Proclaim Liberty” conference in Washington, D.C., where many Republican presidential candidates show their support for homeschooling.[clxviii]
Then-Senator John Ashcroft honors “home schoolers throughout America by presenting Mike Farris with Senate Resolution 183—recognizing September 19-25, 1999, as ‘National Home Education Week.’”[clxix]
HSLDA admits using member dues to pay for Michael Farris’s membership in the Council for National Policy.[clxx]
The National Home Education Network (NHEN) is launched as an inclusive, interfaith alternative to HSLDA. Founded by homeschoolers frustrated with HSLDA’s exclusivism,[clxxi] NHEN declares it “espouses no one particular political agenda or homeschooling philosophy”[clxxii] and “formed in order to expand the general public’s image of homeschoolers to what we truly are, an enormously diverse group which cannot be neatly categorized.”[clxxiii] The founding Board of Trustees include Lisa Bugg, Laura Derrick, Carol Moxley, Sue Patterson, Pam Sorooshian, and Barb Weirich.[clxxiv] The organization’s regional contacts include Linda Dobson, Barbara Weirich, David H. Albert, Elizabeth Bernard, and Holly Furgason.[clxxv]
The Texas Home School Coalition incorporates as a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization “to serve and protect home school families in Texas.”[clxxvi] The organization represents “home-schoolers disenchanted with the HSLDA Texas affiliate.”[clxxvii]
John Holzmann, co-founder of the Christian homeschool curriculum company Sonlight, announces that Sonlight will “dissociate from HSLDA” because of HSLDA’s tactics against supporters of Cheryl Seelhoff.[clxxviii]
Michael Farris and HSLDA launch Patrick Henry College[clxxix] “with the primary goal of training conservative, fundamental leaders who will work for legislators and think tanks.”[clxxx]
Salon covers the internal conflicts within homeschooling between “conservative” homeschooling groups (HSLDA, the “Four Pillars”) and others. Mark Hegener, co-founder of Home Education Magazine, declares that HSLDA is “part of a socially conservative constituency network using home schooling as a way to further its political goals.”[clxxxi]
In partnership with German homeschoolers, HSLDA creates Schulunterricht zu Hause, a Germany-based homeschool legal defense association.[clxxxii]
Eric and Joyce Burges found the National Black Home Educators Resource Association, later renamed National Black Home Educators. The organization is “affiliated with HSLDA” and “has grown to become the premiere national organization for Black homeschooling families in this country.”[clxxxiii]
HSLDA’s homeschool speech and debate league becomes a separate organization, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA). NCFCA’s original seven-member board of directors includes Christy Shipe, Teresa Moon, Todd Cooper, Michael Farris, Skip Rutledge, Deborah Haffey, and Terry Stollar. [clxxxiv]
The number of homeschooled children reaches 1.7 million.[clxxxv]
Attorneys meeting at the annual Homeschool of California Conference decide to launch the Association of Home School Attorneys, an HSLDA alternative with the goal of “helping homeschooling families negotiate legal issues that are unique to homeschoolers, including the legality of homeschooling, obtaining services from the public schools, custody issues, and contacts from child protection agencies.”[clxxxvii]
Homeschooling baseball coaches Lori Cochran and Jeff Hartline launch the Homeschool World Series Association, a national homeschool baseball tournament.[clxxxviii]
FLDS leader Warren Jeffs calls for all FLDS families to remove their children from public schools in order to homeschool them with his own FLDS curriculum.[clxxxix]
The National Household Education Survey finds that 70 percent of homeschoolers cite a nonreligious reason as the top motivator in their decision to home school.[cxci]
National and state homeschool leaders across the U.S. join together to launch the National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership, Inc., otherwise known as “The Alliance.” The organization is “dedicated to the support of Christian statewide home education organizations”[cxcii] and hosts an annual training conference that allows leaders of Christian state homeschooling organizations to train and network. The Alliance has an approximate annual income of $100,000.[cxciii] Its original staff includes Kenneth R. Patterson, Bruce Eagleson, Susan Beatty, and David Watkins.
HSLDA creates Generation Joshua, a youth civics program with the goal “to ignite a vision in young people to help America return to her Judeo-Christian foundation.” Generation Joshua founding director Ned Ryun says, “In another ten or fifteen years, we may see a disproportionate number of homeschoolers in positions of highest leadership.”[cxciv]
Michael Farris files a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court defending a Texas law that makes it a crime for two people of the same sex to engage in consensual sexual activity.[cxcv]
HSLDA membership reaches over 70,000 families internationally.[cxcvi]
HSLDA commissions NHERI’s Brian Ray to conduct “the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated.”[cxcvii] While Ray’s study “is widely cited to support the claim that graduates of homeschooling are well-socialized and go on to lead successful lives,” it unfortunately “has so many methodological problems that we can draw few conclusions from it.”[cxcviii]
Homeschooling parent and lawyer Deborah Stevenson founds the National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD). Stevenson creates the organization as an alternative to HSLDA because she believes HSLDA aims “to actively promote the adoption of federal regulation of homeschooling.”[cxcix]
The number of black homeschoolers reaches 103,000.[cc]
Jennifer and Michael James found the National African-American Homeschoolers Alliance,[cci] “the only nonsectarian organization for African-American homeschooling families.”[ccii]
Mitchell Stevens publishes Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement, a sociological study of the modern homeschooling movement. Stevens divides homeschoolers into two camps, the “inclusive” unschoolers and the religious “believers.”[cciii]
African American scholar Paula Penn-Nabrit publishes Morning by Morning: How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League. Penn-Nabrit receives “a lot of open hostility” due to detailing “accounts of the discrimination her sons allegedly faced in public school” and her emphasis on “an Afrocentric approach to education.”[cciv]
Noticing her local Islamic school does not offer “a comprehensive Islamic Studies and Arabic curriculum,” Cilia Ndiaye founds the Al-Duha Institute.[ccv] The Institute offers the first-ever Islamic homeschooling curriculum. Thousands of copies of the curriculum are sold to Islamic homeschoolers around the world.[ccvi]
SecularHomeschool.com is created in 2003 “to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world.”[ccvii]
Tim and Beverly LaHaye present Michael Farris with the “Alexis de Tocqueville” Award from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State.[ccviii]
HSLDA backs an amendment to the U.S Constitution to ban both same-sex marriages and civil unions.[ccix]
Homeschool alumna Lila Rose creates LiveAction, an organization that conducts hidden camera stings on Planned Parenthood. Rose is a former NCFCA debater.[ccx]
Jolene Irving founds the National LDS Homeschool Association.[ccxi]
Unschooling advocate Sandra Dodd coins the phrase “radical unschooling” to signify the erasure of the division between academic and non-academic activities.[ccxii]
The number of homeschooled children reaches 1.9 to 2.4 million.[ccxiii]
Gregg Harris’ kids, Alex and Brett Harris, create “The Rebelution,” a blog aiming to “’wake up’ other teenagers.”[ccxiv] The Rebelution becomes immensely popular, currently boasting “more than 40 million page views.”[ccxv] Alex and Brett are former NCFCA debaters.[ccxvi]
The National African-American Homeschoolers Alliance reaches 3,000 member families.[ccxvii]
Reb Bradley pens an article called “Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling,” which later goes viral with the name “Homeschool Blindspots.” Bradley describes the “crisis” in the following way: “Parents have graduated their first batch of kids, only to discover that their children didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. Many of these children were model homeschoolers while growing up, but sometime after their 18th birthday they began to reveal that they didn’t hold to their parents’ values.”[ccxviii]
HSLDA creates ParentalRights.org, a parental rights advocacy group.[ccxx]
Alex and Brett Harris’s Rebelution launches “The Modesty Survey,” described as “an exciting, anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty.”[ccxxi]
The National Household Education Survey finds that homeschooling parents list religious or moral instruction as the most important reason why they homeschool.[ccxxii]
The homeschool industry generates $650 million in sales annually.[ccxxiii]
Unschooling advocate Dayna Martin and her husband Joe appear on the Dr. Phil Show,[ccxxiv] introducing 50 million viewers to Martin’s philosophy of “radical unschooling.”
HSLDA creates its Lifetime Achievement Award and names it after Gregg Harris. The “Gregg Harris Award for Leadership” is first awarded to its namesake.[ccxxv]
HSLDA awards NHERI’s Brian Ray its Lifetime Achievement Award, the Gregg Harris Award for Leadership.[ccxxvi]
The National African-American Homeschoolers Alliance disbands.
Dayna Martin founds Unschooling United, a non-profit organization dedicated to unschooling advocacy.[ccxxvii]
After homeschooled speech and debate competitors protest NCFCA’s national tournament being held at Bob Jones University on account of the University’s history of legalism and racism, California separates from NCFCA and forms a new speech and debate league, STOA.[ccxxviii]
Nancy Campbell’s Above Rubies magazine reaches a readership of 150,000.[ccxxix]
Milton Gaither publishes Homeschool: An American History, “the first scholarly book-length treatment of its theme.”[ccxxx]
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services removes 437 children from FLDS leader Warren Jeffs’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, TX due to allegations of widespread child abuse. This removal leads to “the largest child custody battle in U.S. history.”[ccxxxi] While the children are eventually returned, numerous cases of child sexual abuse are substantiated.[ccxxxii]
Kevin Swanson resigns as Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado in order to become the full-time Director of Generations with Vision and its radio program, Generations Radio.[ccxxxiii]
HSLDA awards Focus on the Family’s James Dobson its Lifetime Achievement Award, the Gregg Harris Award for Leadership.[ccxxxiv]
Kevin Swanson’s Christian Home Educators of Colorado hosts the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit at IBLP’s Indianapolis Training Center. The Summit features Kevin Swanson, Doug Phillips, Chris Klicka, Voddie Baucham, and Brian Ray and aims to “define a vision for the future of the Christian home education movement” and develop “a Christian Education Manifesto statement.”[ccxxxv]
Dayna Martin publishes her book Radical Unschooling – A Revolution Has Begun.
Unschooling advocate Sandra Dodd publishes her book Big Book of Unschooling.
Robert Kunzman publishes Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling, a study of six conservative Christian families who have decided to homeschool. Milton Gaither calls it “one of the most important books on homeschooling ever written.”
The Christian Law Association, run by David Gibbs Jr., launches a homeschool legal defense organization alternative to HSLDA. The organization is called Homeschool Legal Advantage (HLA) and is run by Gibbs Jr. and his son, David C. Gibbs III.[ccxxxvii] Gibbs III says HLA is “on track to have over 10,000 member families by the Spring of 2010.”[ccxxxviii]
HSLDA invites IBLP’s Bill Gothard to be a special guest speaker at the 2010 National Leadership Conference.[ccxxxix]
HSLDA awards Bill Gothard its Lifetime Achievement Award, the Gregg Harris Award for Leadership.[ccxl]
Tim Echols and his organization TeenPact are accused on engaging in legally questionable campaign practices after Echols directs “150 home-schooled Christian teenagers” to potentially “violate two tenets of laws requiring nonprofits to avoid political campaign work.”[ccxli]
Brennan and Mary Jo Dean launch the Great Homeschool Conventions, a national, for-profit homeschool conference company[ccxlii] that they describe as “a conservative organization and avowedly ‘young-earth.’”[ccxliii]
Former students of IBLP and ATI launch Recovering Grace, “an online organization devoted to helping people whose lives have been impacted by the teachings of Bill Gothard, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), and the Advanced Training Institute (ATI).”[ccxliv]
The Association of Home School Attorneys ceases operations.[ccxlv]
Brennan Dean’s Great Homeschool Conventions company withdraws their invitation to Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, who was to speak at four of their upcoming conventions. The invitation withdrawal is due to Ham publically criticizing another one of GHC’s speakers.[ccxlvi]
Buddhist homeschooling parent Tammy Takahashi writes Zenschooling: Living a Fabulous & Fulfilling Life Without School, a book about weaving together Buddhist teachings and the homeschooling experience.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° features Michael Farris as a leading opponent of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[ccxlvii] Due to the efforts of HSLDA members and others, the Convention’s ratification fails.[ccxlviii]
David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies is voted “the least credible history book in print” by the History News Network.[ccxlix] The book’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, ceases publication because “basic truths just were not there.”[ccl]
A group of international scholars (including Milton Gaither and Robert Kunzman) found the International Center for Home Education Research. They contrast themselves with Brian Ray’s HSLDA-affiliated NHERI by saying, “We are not an advocacy group.”[ccli]
The Liberated Minds Black Homeschool and Education Expo is founded “for the strong purpose of providing quality culturally based resources, educational training, and support to Black/Afrikan homeschooling & non-homeschooling parents as well as educators.”[cclii]
Muslim homeschooling mothers in Southern California join together and form the non-profit organization Muslim Homeschool Network. The Network exists “to support Muslim homeschoolers on a larger scale in areas such as Islamic, educational, social, and parent growth, and at the same time outreach to the larger Muslim community and increase awareness and education on homeschooling.”[ccliii]
Homeschool alumni launch Homeschoolers Anonymous “to bring awareness to, and healing from, different forms of abuse in extreme homeschooling subcultures.”[ccliv]
Gay rights advocate and sex advice columnist Dan Savage recommends homeschooling in cases of gay kids being bullied.[cclv]
The National Home Education Network, intended as an inclusive, interfaith alternative to HSLDA, disbands.
David C. Gibbs III separates Homeschool Legal Advantage from his father’s Christian Law Association and re-launches it[cclvi] as the National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL)’s Center for Homeschool Liberty.[cclvii] The Center intends to compete with HSLDA as “a fresh approach to homeschooling legal help.”[cclviii] NCLL’s Center for Homeschool Liberty is, like HSLDA, explicitly Christian.[cclix]
Brett Harris partially apologizes via The Rebelution for his and Alex’s “Modesty Survey.” Brett says they sent “the message that modesty is a female issue and lust is a male issue.”[cclx] (The Modesty Survey is later pulled offline a year later in Fall 2014.)
In October, Doug Phillips resigns as president of Vision Forum Ministries and discontinues future speaking engagements. Phillips claims “a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman” led to these actions.[cclxi]
In November, the board of Vision Forum Ministries declares the organization is closing.[cclxii]
Homeschool alumni create the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), “the first-ever non-profit public policy organization to advocate on behalf of the interests of homeschooled children.”[cclxiii]
NHERI’s Brian Ray and Generations with Vision’s Kevin Swanson announce the Gen2 Survey, allegedly “the largest Christian study ever conducted on the Millennial generation.”[cclxiv] While claiming to be notable in its survey of homeschool alumni, it is criticized for “severe limitations”: “it is a non-random sample that strongly attracted similar-minded homeschoolers.”[cclxv]
Homeschoolers Anonymous incorporates as a non-profit organization, Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO). HARO’s mission is “to advocate for the wellbeing of homeschool students and improve homeschooling communities through awareness, peer support, and resource development.”[cclxvi]
HARO announces the 2014 Survey of Adult Alumni of the Modern Christian Homeschool Movement, the first-ever survey of its breadth to be conducted by alumni for alumni.[cclxvii] Brian Ray criticizes it for “tell[ing] the public very little about adults in general who were home educated”[cclxviii] and Milton Gaither criticizes its method of distribution.[cclxix] Shawn Mathis, however, praises it in comparison to the Brian Ray and Kevin Swanson’s Gen2 Survey, saying, “The substantial amount of data offered by the HARO study renders this study a more transparent and interesting read about homeschoolers.”[cclxx]
In February, Patrick Henry College is rocked with allegations that the college administration mishandled numerous cases of campus sexual assault.[cclxxi]
In February, the Institute in Basic Life Principles places Bill Gothard on administrative leave “while the board investigates claims that he years ago engaged in sexual harassment and other misconduct.”[cclxxii]
In February, Scott Brown’s National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC), which was originally part of Vision Forum Ministries, launches an intern program using the exact same material from Vision Forum Ministries’ intern program.[cclxxiii]
In March, Bill Gothard resigns from the Institute in Basic Life Principles and its affiliated organizations in the wake of the sexual harassment and molestation accusations against him.[cclxxiv]
Cynthia Jeub, child of nationally renowned Christian homeschool speech and debate coach Chris Jeub, accuses her parents of child abuse.[cclxxv]
In May, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel — the woman with whom Doug Phillips claimed he had “a lengthy, inappropriate relationship” — comes forward with her story and files a lawsuit against Phillips in Kendall County District Court in Texas. The lawsuit alleges Phillips used Torres-Manteufel as “a personal sex object” over a period of five years; Torres describes Phillips’s actions as non-consensual, abusive, and predatory. National Center for Life and Liberty attorney David C. Gibbs III serves as Torres-Manteufel’s attorney.[cclxxvi]
In August, Michael Farris publishes via the HSLDA Home School Court Report a white paper, “A Line in the Sand,” in which he publically condemns the actions of Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips. Farris also states his opposition to the ideologies of legalism and patriarchy.[cclxxvii] Doug Phillips’s wife, Beall Phillips, issues a public and emotional retort.[cclxxviii]
In October, Paul and Gena Suarez, publishers of the popular homeschool magazine The Old Schoolhouse, are accused of both physical and sexual child abuse as well as protecting known child predators. Homeschool leaders also accused of covering up or ignorance the Old Schoolhouse abuse situation include: Michael Smith from HSLDA, Heidi St. John from the Busy Mom, Brennan Dean from the Great Homeschool Conventions, and David C. Gibbs III from NCLL.[cclxxix]
Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) publishes a scathing report on how Bob Jones University responded to campus sexual assault cases. GRACE’s report finds that the University “urged sexual abuse victims not to go to the police and counseled them to repent for the blame it said they share” for decades.[cclxxx]
In November, Doug Phillips is publicly excommunicated today from his former church, Boerne Christian Assembly.[cclxxxi]
Unschooling United disbands.
Ben Hewitt breathes new life into the unschooling movement with his book Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World. In an NPR interview, Hewitt declares that, “Unschooling isn’t merely an educational choice. It’s a lifestyle choice.”[cclxxxii]
Homeschool alumna Alecia Pennington’s story of identification abuse goes viral.[cclxxxiii]
The number of African American homeschoolers reaches 220,000,[cclxxxiv] making up about 10 percent of all homeschooled children.[cclxxxv]
Scott Brown’s National Center for Family Integrated Churches issues A Declaration on the Complementary Roles of Church & Family. Most notable in the declaration is the allegation that sending children to Sunday School or public school are sins necessitating repentance.[cclxxxvi]
The shocking, grisly deaths of Stoni and Stephen Blair — 2 homeschooled children whose bodies were discovered in a freezer — inspire Michigan Representative Stephanie Chang to propose a bill requiring annual notification and homeschooled children to have contact with mandatory reporters twice a year.[cclxxxvii] HSLDA opposes the bill;[cclxxxviii] CRHE supports it.[cclxxxix]
Lourdes Torres-Manteufel’s lawsuit against Doug Phillips is expanded to include former Vision Forum board directors Don Hart, Scott Brown, and James Zes. Torres-Manteufel’s lawyer David C. Gibbs III says, “Trial is set for March of 2016.”[ccxc]
[i] Coalition for Responsible Home Education, “A History of Homeschooling in Indiana,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ii] Milton Gaither, Homeschool: An American History, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, p. 83-4.
[iii]Chicago Tribune, “Woman Gives Up Savings to Aid 2 Adventists,” May 8, 1949.
[iv] Supreme Court of Illinois , The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, v. MARJORIE LEVISEN et al., January 18, 1950.
[vi] Gary North, “R. J. Rushdoony, R.I.P.,” LewRockwell.com, February 10, 2001, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[vii] Institute in Basic Life Principles, “IBLP History,” link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[viii] Gaither, 2008, p. 107: “The 1962 and 1963 Supreme Court decisions outlawing organized school prayer and school-sponsored Bible reading shocked and devastated many conservatives. Coming on the heels of the Court’s desegregation decisions, many conservative Protestants were simply appalled. Alabama Representative George Andrews spoke for many when he said on national television that the Supreme Court had ‘put the Negroes in the schools—now they put God out of the schools.’ With minorities in and God out, many conservative Protestants left.”
[ix] HSLDA, “The Passing of a Pioneer,” Home SchoolCourt Report, September/October 2007, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[x] Gary North says, “This book became the academic touchstone for leaders of the independent (non-parochial) Christian school movement, which was just beginning to accelerate in 1963. It provided them with both the theological foundation and the historical ammunition for making their case against compulsory, tax-funded education.” See Gary North, “R. J. Rushdoony, R.I.P.,” LewRockwell.com, February 10, 2001, link, accessed on April 29, 2015. William Edgar also credits this book as early inspiration for homeschooling: “Many have credited Rushdoony with being an early inspiration behind the home school movement. He certainly was the strongest possible advocate of religious education, consistently favoring private over public schooling. In The Messianic Character of American Education (1963) Rushdoony decried the American public school system, tracing its ideology back to John Dewey and other secular thinkers who believed in the natural goodness of children and the role that education could play in liberalizing society.” See William Edgar, “The Passing of R.J. Rushdoony,” First Things, August 2001, link, accessed on April 29, 2015. Furthermore, Joseph McAuliffe says, ”One of his early books, The Messianic Character of American Education, was a major influence in the fledgling home school movement in California. During the 1960s, Rushdoony was called upon in court cases as an expert historian on home schooling as a legitimate alternative to public education.” See Joseph McAuliffe, “An Interview with R.J. Rushdoony,” The Second American Revolution, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[xi] Pat Farenga, “John Holt and the Origins of Contemporary Homeschooling,” PATHS OF LEARNING: Options for Families and Communities, May, October, and January Catalog Number 4004, 1999, reprinted by the Massachusetts Home Learning Association, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[xvi] Chalcedon Foundation, “Our Ministry,” link, accessed on April 29, 2015: “Chalcedon’s activities include foundational and leadership roles in Christian reconstruction. Our emphasis on the Cultural or Dominion Mandate (Genesis 1:28) and the necessity of a return to Biblical Law has been a crucial factor in the challenge to Humanism by Christians in this country and elsewhere. Chalcedon’s involvement in and commitment to Christian education began with its inception when founder Rousas John Rushdoony pinpointed the Christian and home schools as the most important institutions in reversing the influence of secular Humanism.”
[xvii] Lee Duigon, Chalcedon Foundation, “Why You Should Homeschool Your Christian Child, Part IV: Ten Reasons Why You Should Homeschool Your Child,” August 8, 2006, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[xviii]State v. Massa, Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County Court, Law Division, June 1, 1967, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xx] Coalition for Responsible Home Education, “A History of Homeschooling in Iowa,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xxi] Wayne S. Walker, “The History of Homeschooling,” HOMESCHOOL EDUCATORS ON ACTIVE DUTY, SENDING UPWARD PRAISES, Volume 8, Number 4, November 2005: “One man who was one of the earliest to build upon that foundation by calling for Bible believers to take their children out of the public schools and homeschool them if necessary was the late Dr. Paul Lindstrom, a fundamentalist Protestant minister with the Church of Christian Liberty in Prospect Heights (now located in Arlington Heights), IL. He founded the Christian Liberty Academy, a church-related day school in 1968 as a result of dissatisfaction with government schools. Around 1970, from this was developed a homeschool curriculum known as CLASS (Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools, now Christian Liberty Academy School System). Many of the early seminal court decisions which helped to win the right to homeschool, such as the 1979 Nobel case in Michigan, the 1982-1985 Budke case in Minnesota, and the famous 1993 DeJonge case also in Michigan all involved homeschoolers who were affiliated with CLASS.”
[xxii] Institute for Creation Research, “Who We Are,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xxiii] Farenga, 1999: “Holt studied and corresponded with Illich at length, and was deeply influenced by Illich’s analysis, particularly with his analysis that school serves a deep social function by firmly maintaining the status quo of social class for the majority of students.”
[xxiv] Kathryn Joyce, “Wifely Submission and Christian Warfare,” Religion Dispatches, March 25, 2009, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[xxv] Raymond S. Moore, Dennis R. Moore, “The dangers of early schooling,” Harper’s Magazine, July 1972,
[xxvi] Raymond S. Moore, Dennis R. Moore, “When Should Your Child Go To School?” Reader’s Digest, Vol. 101, No. 606, October 1972, p. 143-147.
[xxvii] Michael Smith, “Honoring Moore’s achievements,” Washington Times, August 20, 2007, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[xxxiii] Farenga, 1999: “One tactic Holt wrote about was to fight for children’s rights — which he thought would not only help kids escape bad schools, but also help them escape bad social situations — by granting children the full protection and responsibilities of US citizenship. Holt’s Escape from Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children (1974) continues to stir passions on both sides of the argument, particularly now that some of the scenarios Holt discusses, such as giving children the right to choose their own legal guardian, the right to control their own learning, and the right to legal and financial responsibility, have come into our courts twenty- five years later.”
[xxxiv] Institute in Basic Life Principles, “IBLP History.”
[xxxv] Darla Isackson, “Joyce Kinmont, Homeschooling Pioneer,” Meridian Magazine, October 6, 2005, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xxxvi] Susan Saiter, “The Learning Society; Schooling in the Home: A Growing Alternative,” New York Times, April 14, 1985, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xxxvii] Coalition for Responsible Home Education, “A History of Homeschooling in Virginia,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xxxviii] Farenga, 1999: “Holt proposed removing children from school legally or as an act of civil disobedience. While the education establishment barely recognized this particular book of Holt’s, it struck a chord with some parents. Some wrote to Holt explaining that they were teaching their children at home legally, others that they were doing so underground. Some were rural families, some city dwellers, others were in communes. Intrigued, Holt corresponded with them all and decided to create a newsletter that would help put these like-minded people in touch with one another.”
[liv]The Spokesman-Review, “Farris now is lobbyist in capital,” January 3, 1985.
[lv] Clonlara School, “Mission & History,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[lvi] Mitchell Stevens, Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement, Princeton University Press, 2009, p. 49.
[lvii] Somerville, “Politics of Survival”: “She formed the Home Based Education Program at the Clonlara School in Michigan. Michigan law, at that time, required every child to be taught by a certified teacher, but the law did not specify how much time that teacher had to spend with each child. Clonlara made it possible to comply with the letter of the law while keeping the spirit of unschooling.”
[lviii] Manfred Smith, “A Lifelong Journey: Twenty Years of Homeschooling,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[lix] Libby Anne, “Bill Gothard: When People Know . . . and Do Nothing,” Love Joy Feminism, February 13, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[lxvii] Paul Maltby, Christian Fundamentalism and the Culture of Disenchantment, University of Virginia Press, 2013, p. 1992.
[lxviii] John Sugg, “A Nation Under God,” Mother Jones, December 2005, link, accessed on April 29, 2015: “The Council for National Policy—a group that holds meetings for right-wing leaders, once dubbed ‘the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of’—was founded in 1981 as a project of top John Birch Society figures (see ‘The Fountainhead’). Its members included Rushdoony, Gary North, Tim LaHaye, former Reagan aide Gary Bauer, and activist Paul Weyrich, who famously aimed to ‘overturn the present power structure of this country.’”
[lxxv] Three examples: (1) Susan Beatty, founder of CHEA of California, “God’s Homeschooling Tapestry: A Memoir,” The California Parent Educator, Summer 2007: “I turned on the radio. This simple act changed the course of my life and my family’s life. It was also one slender thread in the tapestry of history that God was weaving. It was February 1982. The program was Dr. James Dobson’s ‘Focus on the Family,’ and the subject was early childhood education. Dr. Raymond Moore, author of Better Late Than Early and School Can Wait, was describing a typical third grade child who, because he’d been attending formal education from age two or three, was suffering from educational burnout. Dr. Moore was describing my first grade son. Resonating in my heart and head, the idea of keeping children out of formal education until their minds and bodies were mature enough to handle it, took hold of me as I shared it with my husband and as I read Dr. Moore’s books. But this was only the beginning.” (2) Beth Wolsey and Marcia Mantel, co-founders of CHEO, “CHESCA History,” link, accessed on April 29, 2015: “Beth Wolsey and Marcia Mantel, co-founders of CHESCA and the state organization, CHEO, did not know one another when the year of 1983 dawned; but the Lord had already set them on a course that would change their lives, and ours, forever. The prayers of three women asking for direction about an organization to support families interested in home educating were to be answered in God’s perfect timing. Beth, a college-trained teacher, and Marcia, already quietly home educating two children, both heard Dr. Raymond Moore on a ‘Focus on the Family’ radio broadcast. He espoused his ‘better late than early’ beliefs, and a Gregg Harris homeschooling workshop was announced that was to be held in Wooster in the fall of 1982. Both Marcia and Beth attended the workshop.” (3) Mary Pride, founder of Practical Homeschooling, “What’s Our Next Step? The Future of Homeschooling,” Practical Homeschooling, Number 50, 2003: “That famous radio interview catapulted homeschooling into the Christian mainstream. Prior to that time, homeschooling had been growing quietly behind the scenes, as parents from all parts of the political and religious spectrum had become increasingly concerned about their children’s future in both the public and private school systems.”
[lxxvi] Tyler, 2003: “By 1982, Mike Farris had already developed a regional reputation both as a political activist and as a Christian lawyer engaged in fairly high-profile constitutional cases. Mike Farris’ work took him to Sacramento, California, where he met Mike Smith for the first time. Mike [Farris] explained to Mike [Smith] his idea of starting a legal defense association for homeschooling families. His idea embraced the notion that if the education establishment attacked one homeschooling family, the whole homeschooling community would effectively come to their defense…In March of 1983, Mike and Vickie Farris and Mike and Elizabeth Smith became the founding board members of Home School Legal Defense Association.”
[lxxviii] Michael Farris, The Joshua Generation: Restoring the Heritage of Christian Leadership, B&H Publishing Group, 2005, p. 102.
[lxxix]Home Education Magazine, “About Us: History,” link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[lxxx] CathyDuffyReviews.com, home page, accessed on April 29, 2015: “Since 1984, Cathy Duffy has been reviewing curriculum for the homeschool community.”
[lxxxi] CathyDuffyReviews.com, “For the Children’s Sake,” updated 2009, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[lxxxii] Patrick Farenga, “Homeschooling: Main theories, theorists, and methods,” Encyclopedia Brittanica, link, accessed on April 29, 2015.
[lxxxiii] Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, “Home Schooling in Wisconsin,” August 24, 2000, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[lxxxiv] Manfred Smith, “A Lifelong Journey: Twenty Years of Homeschooling.”
[lxxxv] Coalition on Revival, “History of COR,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[lxxxvi] Coalition on Revival, “National COR Steering Committee,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[lxxxvii] Russell Chandler, “Religious Right Makes Political Arena Its Major Battleground,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1986, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[lxxxviii] Institute in Basic Life Principles, “Wisdom Booklets,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “A group of educators, ministers, scientists, historians, and engineers worked under the direction of Bill Gothard, Dr. Larry Guthrie, and Inge Cannon to develop this curriculum, which comprises over 3,000 pages in 54 Wisdom Booklets.”
[lxxxix] Institute in Basic Life Principles, “Educational Programs: Advanced Training Institute International,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[xc] HSLDA, “Marking the Milestones: 1983-1998,” 1998, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[xci] Coalition for Responsible Home Education, “A History of Homeschooling in North Carolina,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[xciii] Farenga, 1999: “In 1985, John Holt died of cancer at the age of 62.”
[xciv] Mark Oppenheimer, “Son of Evangelical Royalty Turns His Back, and Tells the Tale,” New York Times, August 19, 2011, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “’I had been home-schooled,’ Mr. Schaeffer told me. ‘I had no education, no qualifications, and I was groomed to do this stuff. What was I going to do? If two lines are forming, and one has a $10,000 honorarium to go to a Christian Booksellers Association conference and keynote, and the other is to consider your doubts and get out with nothing else to do, what are you going to do?’”
[xcv] Oppenheimer, 2011: “As a literary agent, he discovered Mary Pride, the Christian home-schooling guru.”
[xcvi] Mark Oppenheimer, “A Christian Pioneer of Home Schooling Looks to Its Future,” New York Times, January 18, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[xcvii] Hopewell, “Midwife at the Birth of Quiverfull,” No Longer Quivering, June 2, 2011, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Way back in the Day, when he was still styled ‘Franky Schaeffer’ (to distinguish him from from his same-named father), Frank was literary agent to a new Christian author named Mary Pride. With the Schaeffer name attached, Pride’s book was a shoe-in. Today we know her, and her (in)famous book, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality as the Spiritual Mother of the Quiverfull Movement. Frank(y) then, was her midwife.”
[xcviii] Isabel Lyman, “Homeschooling: Back to the Future?”, Cato Institute, Policy Analysis No. 294, January 7, 1998, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[c] Lyman, 1998: “In the 1970s the countercultural left, who responded more strongly to Holt’s cri de coeur, comprised the bulk of homeschooling families. By the mid-1980s, however, the religious right would be the most dominant group to choose homeschooling and would change the nature of homeschooling from a crusade against ‘the establishment’ to a crusade against the secular forces of modern-day society.”
[ci] Texas Home School Coalition, “THSC History,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ciii] Mark J. Rozell, Clyde Wilcox, Second Coming: The New Christian Right in Virginia Politics, John Hopkins University Press, 1996, p. 103-4: “Farris’s name appears among ninety-seven Christian intellectuals who signed the Coalition for Revival’s 1986 ‘manifesto’ which declares, ‘We believe America can be turned around and once again function as a Christian nation as it did in it’s earlier years.’ The document lists Farris and Virginia C. Armstrong as co-authors of the section entitled ‘The Christian World View of the Law,’ which states, ‘We affirm that a society must inevitably choose between conflicting legal foundations and views of law and should choose Christian views and a Christian foundation because the Christian system is vastly superior to all alternatives.’ Farris denies ever signing the document or co-writing the section on a Christian view of the law although Armstrong recalls that she and Farris wrote different parts of the section and ‘he certainly seemed to be in general agreement’ of the finished version.”
[civ] Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “All About Reading and All About Spelling Ranked #1 by Practical Homeschooling Readers,” April 7, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxii] Cathy Duffy, “Review Of: The Teenage Liberation Handbook,” CathyDuffyReviews.com, 2009, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxiii] Rachel Coleman, “How Have Scholars Divided Homeschoolers into Groups?”, Politics of Childhood, May 22, 2013, link, accessed on May 1, 2015: “In her 1991 article ‘Ideologues and Pedagogues: Parents Who Teach Their Children at Home,’ Jane Van Galen, a sociologist, argued that homeschooling parents were divided into two camps, which she called ‘ideologues’ and ‘pedagogues.’ According to Van Galen, the ideologues, which comprise the larger group, were Christian fundamentalists who objected to what they believed the public schools were teaching and wanted to instill their conservative political and religious beliefs in their children. Pedagogues, in contrast, homeschooled because they believed that children learned more naturally apart from formal schooling, which they believed stifled children’s innate curiosity and creativity.”
[cxxiv] Mary Pride, “What’s Our Next Step? The Future of Homeschooling,” Practical Homeschooling, Number 50, 2003, link, accessed on April 30, 2015:
[cxxv] David Albert, “The Success of Public Education,” Home Education Magazine, March/April 2002, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxvi] Mary Pride, “Interview with John Taylor Gatto,” Practical Homeschooling, Number 37, 2000, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxvii] John Clifford Green, Mark J. Rozell, Clyde Wilcox, Prayers in the Precincts: The Christian Right in the 1998 Elections, Georgetown University Press, 2000, p. 82: “In 1993 it was the Christian home-schoolers that dominated Republican politics. The 1993 convention nominated Michael Farris for lieutenant governor…Farris won the nomination easily against a pro-choice moderate woman and longtime GOP activist, Bobbie Kilberg…Farris, however, lost, running an extraordinary twelve percentage points behind the top of his ticket. Don Beyer, his Democratic opponent, characterized Farris as a Christian Right extremist who would ban books from public schools and whose ideas were dangerously out of the mainstream. Farris was a prolific writer and public speaker, and a number of passages from his writings and published statements gave Beyer ample and credible ammunition.”
[cxxix] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “Announcing the Congressional Action Program,” January/February 1993, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cxxx] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “Religious Freedom Restored: President Clinton Signs RFRA Into Law,” November/December 1993, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cxxxi] People for the American Way, “Madison Project,” Right Wing Watch, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxxii] Madison Project, “14 in 2014,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxxiii] Center for Responsible Politics, “Madison Project: 2014 PAC Summary Data,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxxiv] Erika Niedowski, “A Bundle From Virginia,” CNN, January 17, 1998, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxxxv] Tim Challies, “The Bestsellers: I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” Christian Post, March 30, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Beginning in 1994, he began publishing New Attitude, a magazine targeted at fellow homeschoolers, and one that quickly gained a substantial readership. He was now the second generation of Harris’s to make a mark in homeschool circles.”
[cxxxvi] Walker, 2005: “In the 1970’s and 1980’s, it seems as if homeschoolers from both of these wings of the movement generally presented a united front to support homeschooling freedoms. However, an underlying tension between the two groups has always been present and in more recent years a lot of public disagreement has been noted, especially after the H. R. 6 incident in 1994.”
[cxxxvii] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “The Anatomy of a Victory,” May/June 1994, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cxxxviii]Home Education Magazine, “HSLDA touting Raymond Moore?”, August 23, 2007, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “One of the lesser-known items authored by Dr. Moore was a white paper he wrote in October of 1994, The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion. Part of the white paper is about the nationwide alarm HSLDA set off in early 1994. The alarm was to stop the danger that only HSLDA saw from an amendment to the House portion of the then-Congressional bill H. R. 6, a $12 billion reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).”
[cxxxix] Raymond S. Moore, “The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion,” October 1994, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxl] Larry and Susan Kaseman, “HR 6 and the Federalization of Homeschooling,” Home Education Magazine, 1994, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “HSLDA was unwilling simply to have the Miller amendment removed from H. R. 6. Instead it worked for and was clearly pleased with the Armey amendment that is increasing the risk of federalization of homeschooling. Homeschoolers have worked out agreements in all 50 states and in over 15,000 school districts as to how they will homeschool, agreements that are now working well in most cases (of course, there will always be a few problems, and in some cases the agreements include non-compliance or civil disobedience). But by supporting the Armey amendment, HSLDA appears willing to exchange these carefully worked out agreements for one federal statute that could disrupt these agreements and give the federal government power over homeschools that it does not now have.”
[cxli] HSLDA, “Marking the Milestones: 1994,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “In response to an alert from HSLDA, home schoolers from around the nation bombarded their senators’ offices with phone calls and letters opposing the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the 1994 Lobbying Disclosure Act. Following widespread public opposition, the Lobbying Disclosure Act was defeated and the Convention was put on hold for the rest of the 103rd congressional session.”
[cxlv] Christopher J. Klicka, The Right Choice: Home Schooling, Noble Publishing Associates, 1995, p. 112-3, 181, 188, 422.
[cxlvi] R.L. Stollar, “Oak Brook College of Law Distances Itself from Bill Gothard and IBLP,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, February 20, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015: “When OBCL was launched in 1995, it was done so as a joint effort between Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (ATI) and HSLDA stakeholders. Bill Gothard served as the law school’s Chancellor, Michael Farris served on the Board of Trustees, and former HSLDA director and staff attorney Jordan Lorence served as the school’s Constitutional Law Professor as well as Chairman of Oak Brook’s Board of Advisors.”
[cxlvii]Practical Homeschooling, “Law School for Homeschoolers,” Number 15, 1997, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cxlviii] Sarah Posner, “Secret Society,” Alternet, February 28, 2005, link, accessed on April 29, 2015: “CNP’s tentacles also reach into a community of well-connected activists who advocate for the imposition of fundamentalist Christian ideology in public life and have succeeded in forcing their agenda in the Bush administration. Besides the well-known affiliation of Dobson and Hodel, just one example is the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has paid CNP dues so that Michael Farris, its executive director, could attend the meetings.” The years of HSLDA’s membership are listed as 1996, 1998, and 1999 at “THE COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL POLICY: Past/Present Officers & Prominent Member Profiles,” link, accessed on April 29, 2015: “Michael P. Farris – CNP Membership Directory (1996, 1998, 1999).”
[cxlix] Michael Farris, “Using debate to learn valuable skills,” Home School Heartbeat, Volume 41, Program 3, December 10, 2002, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cl] TeenPact, “History, Vision, and Mission,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clv]Practical Homeschooling, “Rebecca Sealfon Knows How To Spell ‘Success’: Interview with Rebecca Sealfon, homeschool student and winner of the 1997 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee,” Number 19, 1997, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clvi] Libby Anne, “What I Learned from Joshua Harris,” Love Joy Feminism, October 25, 2012, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clvii] Home Education Information Resource, “Jury Finds Teaching Home Editor Conspired to Restrain Trade: Defendants Gregg Harris, Mary Pride, Sue Welch Settled,” July 3, 1999, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clviii] Dobson, “News Watch Special Report”: “Four defendants with varying degrees of memory lapses will testify to Michael Farris’ involvement and/or reveal telephone notes indicating involvement in the preparation of the letter of discipline.”
[clix] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “First Annual National Home School Debate Tournament: October 3-4, 1997,” November/December 1997, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clx] The Institute for Cultural Communicators, “The Mission of the Institute for Cultural Communicators,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxi] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “NEW HAMPSHIRE: Homeschoolers Block Bad Legislation,” July/August 1997, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxii] Doug Phillips, “Vision Forum’s Quest for Family Renewal,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[clxiii] Shay Seaborne, “The Truth About Sheryl,” Home Education Magazine, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxiv] Home Education Information Resource, 1999.
[clxviii] Andrea Billups, “GOP rivals all praise their efforts and urge an era of responsibility,” Washington Times, September 25, 1999, republished by HSLDA, link, accessed on April 30, 2014.
[clxix] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “Teach Them to Dream Big Dreams: A Look at HSLDA’s Conference at the Capitol,” November/December 1999, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “The resolution was initiated by the Missouri Home Educators Association and drafted by the National Center for Home Education.”
[clxx] E-mail letter from Michael Farris to John Holzmann, December 21, 1999, published by HomeschoolingIsLegal.info, “Does HSLDA Mix Causes?”, link, accessed on April 29, 2015: “We [HSLDA] pay dues to the Council for National Policy so that I may attend the meetings.”
[clxxi] Helen Cordes, “Battling for the heart and soul of home-schoolers,” Salon, October 2, 2000, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Frustrated home-schoolers have in the past several months decided to fight fire with fire, launching a new national inclusive group called the National Home Education Network, which will focus only on home-schooling issues and resources.”
[clxxii] National Home Education Network, “About NHEN,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxxiii] National Home Education Network, home page, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxxiv] National Home Education Network, “NHEN Board of Trustees,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxxv] National Home Education Network, “NHEN Regional Contacts,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxxvi] Texas Home School Coalition, “THSC History.”
[clxxvii] Cordes, 2000: “In Texas, which boasts the highest number of home-schooled kids at 150,000, a state home-school lobbying organization will debut in November, representing home-schoolers disenchanted with the HSLDA Texas affiliate, which is headed by Republican National Committeeman Tim Lambert.”
[clxxviii] Ibid: “John Holzmann is another stalwart Christian who felt the righteous rage of HSLDA when he asked its leaders to respond to issues raised by Seelhoff, the HEM report and many customers of the Christian curriculum publishing firm he co-founded, Sonlight. Sonlight materials had enjoyed great popularity in HSLDA circles and Holzmann offered HSLDA membership discounts to customers. But when Holzmann spoke up, HSLDA struck back. At a meeting with the group’s representatives, Holzmann says he got the bottom line: Don’t ever speak out against HSLDA publicly or you will face HSLDA charges of ‘gossip, slander and failure to observe the requirements of Matthew 18:15-17.’…In January, Holzmann announced that Sonlight would dissociate from HSLDA.”
[clxxix] Sarah Pride, “Patrick Henry College: A College for Homeschoolers (and Others),” Practical Homeschooling, Number 76, 2007, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxxxii] HSLDA, “HSLDA Attorney Visits Germany, Legal Defense Organization Established,” October 1, 2001, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “In August 2000, German home schoolers asked HSLDA for additional assistance. We provided support and encouragement to them in establishing their own national legal defense association: Schulunterricht zu Hause (School Instruction at Home).”
[clxxxiii] National Black Home Educators, “About Us,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[clxxxiv] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “An Affirmative Plan: National Home School Debate Tournament,” November/December 2000, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “HSLDA has recognized that it is time for a separate organization to take on the support of the national home school speech and debate community. This new organization, the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA), was formed in 2000.”
[clxxxvii] Linda Conrad, “AHSA Moves to A to Z!”, Association of Home School Attorneys, August 24, 2011, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[clxxxviii] Homeschool World Series Association, “History of the HWSA Organization,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[clxxxix] Milton Gaither, “The FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and Homeschooling,” Homeschooling Research Notes, February 1, 2010, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “In 2000, when much of the Church lived along the Arizona-Utah border near Colorado City, AZ, the Church made headlines when leader Warren Jeffs called for a massive exodus of the Church’s children from the public schools, urging them to be homeschooled using a FLDS curriculum instead.”
[cxci] Milton Gaither, “Home Schooling Goes Mainstream,” Education Next, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 2009, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cxcii] National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership, home page, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cxciii] Faqs.org, “National Alliance Of Christian Home Education Leadership Inc in Brooks, Georgia (GA),” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cxciv] Robert Kunzman, Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling, Beacon Press, 2009, p. 100-1.
[cxcv] Tom Strode, “High court could be poised to overturn sodomy law,” Baptist Press, March 27, 2003, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Michael Farris, who wrote a brief defending the law, acknowledged he was ‘discouraged.’ While an oral argument ‘doesn’t make or break a case,’ it can provide ammunition for the justices, said Farris, whose friend-of-the-court brief came on behalf of the Center for the Original Intent of the Constitution.”
[ccii] National African-American Homeschoolers Alliance, “About,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cciii] Nicholas Ducote, “Home Education Ideologies and Literature: Review, Part 1,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, April 23, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cciv] Jessica Huseman, “The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families,” The Atlantic, February 17, 2015, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccv] Shannon Espelien, “Interview with Founder of Ad Duha Islamic Studies Curriculum,” Middle Way Mom, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccvi] Daniel Jackson, “Muslim families turn to home-schooling,” Washington Times, February 21, 2012, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccvii] Secular Homeschool, “About SecularHomeschool.com,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccviii] Alliance for the Separation of School and State, “History of the Alexis de Tocqueville Award.”
[ccix] Michael Farris, “Questions and Answers Regarding a Constitutional Amendment on Same-Sex Marriage,” HSLDA, April 15, 2004, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccx] Alex and Brett Harris, “Lila Rose: Fighting for the Unborn,” The Rebelution, May 16, 2007, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxi] National LDS Homeschool Association, “Jolene Irving,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxii] Sandra Dodd, “Is there a difference between a Radical Unschooler and just an Unschooler?,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “I think if people divide their lives into academic and non-academic, they’re not radical unschoolers.”
[ccxiii] Lori Arnold, “Popularity of homeschooling rises nationwide, curriculum concerns, safety cited,” Christian Examiner, September 2, 2007, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxiv] Aaron Mesh, “New Kids In The Flock,” Willamette Week, June 18, 2008, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Gregg told his sons to embark on an ‘intense’ summer reading program ranging from books by New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman to right-wing talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt. The goal: to familiarize the twins with global trends. They say their reading sparked their desire to ‘wake up’ other teenagers, which led them to start the Rebelution blog in 2005. It is a forum for Christian teens to discuss issues from Third World slavery to women’s modesty.”
[ccxv] Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, “Alex and Brett Harris are Doing Hard Things,” The Gospel Coalition, November 5, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxviii] Reb Bradley, “Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling: Exposing the 7 major blindspots of homeschoolers,” Family Ministries, 2006, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxix] The Moore Foundation and Academy, “Death of Homeschooling Pioneer Dr. Raymond S. Moore,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Dr. Raymond S. Moore, author of Better Late than Early, the book that launched the modern homeschooling movement in the United States, passed away on July 13, 2007, at the age of 91.”
[ccxx] HSLDA, “Parental Rights Amendment,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “The grassroots organization, ParentalRights.org, was established in 2007 to pass this amendment.”
[ccxxi] The Rebelution, “Modesty Survey,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxxii] National Center for Education Statistics, “1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007,” December 2008, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “In the 2007 NHES, parents also were asked which one of their selected reasons for homeschooling was the most important. The reason reported by the highest percentage of homeschoolers’ parents as being most important was to provide religious or moral instruction.”
[ccxxiv] Sara McGrath, “Concerns about unschooling family on Wife Swap TV show,” Examiner.com, April 15, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxxv] HSLDA Home School Court Report, “Dr. Brian Ray Receives Award,” January/February 2009, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “First given to Gregg Harris in 2007, this award honors a leader who has demonstrated valuable leadership to the homeschool community, inspired and motivated others to effective action, overcome hardships and obstacles to succeed, demonstrated a servant’s heart while exhibiting the qualities listed above, and maintained a clear witness concerning Jesus Christ and the Gospel.”
[ccxxxii] Carolyn Jessop, Triumph: Life After the Cult–A Survivor’s Lessons, Three Rivers Press, 2011, p. 23: “They did find other children that were being abused, and that, either way, having sex with a sixteen-year-old in the state of Texas is a felony. They found—they found felony cases of child abuse.”
[ccxxxiv] Jim Daly, “Two Tributes to Dr. James Dobson,” Focus on the Family, October 5, 2009, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “On Friday, September 25, 2009 the HSLDA presented Dr. Dobson with its Lifetime Achievement Award during its annual National Leaders Conference here in Colorado Springs.”
[ccxxxv] R.L. Stollar, “End Child Protection: Doug Phillips, HSLDA, and the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, May 14, 2013, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxxxvi] HSLDA, “In Memoriam: Christopher J. Klicka,” October 12, 2009, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxxxvii] Homeschool Legal Advantage, “Our History,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxxxviii] Homeschool Legal Advantage, “Newly Launched Homeschool Legal Advantage is Experiencing Rapid Growth from Homeschooling Families throughout the United States,” Christian News Wire, November 25, 2009, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxxxix] R.L. Stollar, “HSLDA Gave This Man Their Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award Just 4 Years Ago,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, August 31, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxl] Kiri Kincell, “HSLDA Leadership Conference 2010,” The Kincell Family, October 12, 2010, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “During [Saturday] evening, the Greg Harris [sic] award (named after it’s first recipient) was awarded to Bill Gothard for his huge contributions to the early homeschooling movement.”
[ccxli] Aaron Gould Sheinin and Margaret Newkirk, “TeenPact kids’ campaign efforts raise questions,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 1, 2010, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxlii] Brennan and Mary Jo Dean, “About,” Great Homeschool Conventions, July 15, 2010, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxliii] Sam Blumenfeld, “The Homeschool Convention Season Is On,” The New American, March 26, 2012, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxliv] Recovering Grace, “Our Mission,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxlvi] Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, “Creation Museum Founder Disinvited from Homeschooling Conferences,” Christianity Today, March 25, 2011, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccxlvii] Anderson Cooper, “Farris: U.N. treaty ‘is a law’,” CNN, December 11, 2012, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxlviii] Michael Smith, “Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty,” HSLDA, December 4, 2012, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccxlix] Jennifer Schuessler, “And the Worst Book of History Is…”, New York Times, July 16, 2012, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccl] Elise Hu, “Publisher Pulls Controversial Thomas Jefferson Book, Citing Loss Of Confidence,” NPR, August 9, 2012, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccli] International Center for Home Education Research, “About ICHER,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclii] Liberated Minds Black Homeschool & Education Expo, “About The Liberated Minds Black Homeschool & Education Expo,” link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[ccliii] Muslim Homeschool Network, “About MHN,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[ccliv] Homeschoolers Anonymous, “For the media: Former homeschoolers rally against abuse,” March 16, 2013, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclv] Dan Savage, “If Your Gay Kid Is Being Bullied At School And He Begs You To Homeschool Him…,” Portland Mercury, January 29, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015: “Straight parents: If you know your gay kid is being brutalized in his school and you’ve complained and it’s gotten worse, get him the fuck out of there. Homeschool him. Homeschool him and sue the school. Move away. Move someplace more tolerant. Move someplace better.”
[cclvi] Sonlight Curriculum, “Homeschool Legal Advantage is now the Center for Homeschool Liberty,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclvii] National Center for Life and Liberty, home page, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclviii] Center for Homeschool Liberty, home page, National Center for Life and Liberty, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclix] National Center for Life and Liberty, “About National Center for Life and Liberty,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015: “This nonprofit legal ministry—NCLL—will serve to protect and defend the Bible-based values upon which our nation was founded.”
[cclx] Brett Harris, “The Other Side of Modesty,” The Rebelution, June 22, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxi] Doug Phillips, “Statement of Resignation,” Vision Forum Ministries, October 30, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxii] Vision Forum Ministries Board of Directors, “The Closing of Vision Forum Ministries,” Vision Forum Ministries, November 11, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxiii] Coalition for Responsible Home Education, “Homeschool Graduates Launch Nonpartisan Organization to Advocate for the Legal Interests of Homeschooled Children,” December 18, 2013, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxiv] Gen2 Leadership Conference, “The Vision,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxv] Shawn Mathis, “A tale of two surveys: the continued polarization of homeschooling,” Examiner.com, March 18, 2015, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxvi] Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out, “Our Vision and Mission,” link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxvii] Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out, “Announcing the Results from HARO’s 2014 Survey of Homeschool Alumni,” December 2, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxviii] Brian Ray, “A Thorny Survey of Homeschool Graduates,” National Home Education Research Institute, December 11, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxix] Milton Gaither, “The HARO 2014 Survey of Homeschool Alumni,” International Center for Home Education Research Reviews, January 1, 2015, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxi] Kiera Feldman, “Sexual Assault at God’s Harvard,” New Republic, February 17, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxxii] Warren Cole Smith, “Bill Gothard place on administrative leave,” WORLD Magazine, February 27, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxiii] Julie Anne Smith, “Christian Patriarchy is Alive and Well: NCFIC’s Scott Brown Moves to Fill the Void,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, February 3, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxxiv] David Waller, email sent to member families of the Advanced Training Institute, March 6, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxv] Cynthia Jeub, “Melting Memory Masks,” CynthiaJeub.com, October 3, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxxvi] Chelsea Schilling, “Christian Giant Sued For ‘Using Nanny As Sex Object,” WorldNetDaily, April 15, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxxvii] Michael Farris, “A Line in the Sand,” Home School Court Report, August 27, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxviii] R.L. Stollar, “Beall Phillips, Wife of Doug Phillips, Accuses HSLDA’s Michael Farris of ‘Gross Error,’ ‘Bully Pulpit’,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, August 28, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxix] Hännah Ettinger, R.L. Stollar, “When Homeschool Leaders Looked Away: The Old Schoolhouse Cover-Up,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, October 8, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxx] Claire Gordon, “After scathing sex abuse report, Bob Jones calls itself ‘very safe’,” Al Jazeera, December 19, 2014, link, accessed on May 1, 2015.
[cclxxxi] Boerne Christian Assembly, “Update Regarding Doug Phillips,” November 17, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
[cclxxxii] Audie Cornish, “These Kids Grew Up With The Woods As Their Only Classroom,” NPR, September 4, 2014, link, accessed on April 30, 2014.
[cclxxxiii] Samantha Laine, “Alecia Pennington can’t prove she’s an American – or even exists. What would you do?”, Christian Science Monitor, February 12, 2015, link, accessed on April 30, 2015.
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a homeschooling father and long-time political favorite of homeschooling leaders.
He has keynoted for Generation Joshua, HSLDA’s youth mobilization organization. And to return the favor, 200 Generation Joshua participants — funded by HSLDA’s political action committee — launched “an early deployment to work with the Cuccinelli campaign [for the Virginia Governorship]” in 2013. This deployment was codenamed “Operation: Shock and Awe” and paired with a Mission Impossible-themed video:
HSLDA’s support of Cuccinelli has a long history. In 2002, HSLDA founder Michael Farris officially endorsed his campaign for the Virginia State Senate. Farris declared that, “I fully endorse Ken and hope that those who believe that standing for principle is the only practical way to preserve our Republic will support him enthusiastically.” In 2012, Farris’s Patrick Henry College invited Cuccinelli to deliver the commencement address.
It is curious to note, therefore, that HSLDA favorite Ken Cuccinelli has publicly spoken out in favor of denying children identification documents.
The recent situation with homeschool alumna Alecia Pennington, who has struggled to prove her American identity and citizenship because of identification abuse, highlights just how problematic such a position is. But as recently as 2010, Cuccinelli gave a speech saying he was considering not getting his newest child a Social Security card because the government uses such cards to “to track you.” He also claimed this was becoming a more popular decision.
You can watch the video below:
Text of the video is:
We’re gonna have our 7th child on Monday, if he’s not born before. And, for the very concerns you state, we’re actually considering – as I’m sure many of you here didn’t get a Social Security number when you were born, they do it now – we’re considering not doing that. And a lot of people are considering that now, because it is being used to track you.
Interestingly, HSLDA recently declared that they would provide assistance to any homeschool alumni who are battling the very situation into which Cuccinelli was considering putting his own son (and encouraging others to put their own children into as well). They also declared they knew of no alumni actually in such situations. In a public statement made on their Facebook page, HSLDA declared the following:
HSLDA Senior Counsel Jim Mason learned of Alecia’s story soon after her video was posted. He contacted her and offered to help. As of this time, Alecia has not taken HSLDA up on the offer. We understand that conflicts between parents and their adult children can be complicated, and that we likely do not know all of the facts in Alecia’s situation. But we do support homeschool graduates’ right to have an identity, get a job, and fully participate in society. In over 30 years of defending homeschoolers, we have never seen allegations like the ones in this situation. We encourage homeschool graduates who encounter problems with documentation, diploma validation issues, or discrimination in employment or postsecondary education to contact us for assistance. We want to help if we can.
The problem of identification abuse disproportionately impacts individuals who identify as female; this disproportionate impact seems to correlate with families adhering to the ideology of Christian patriarchy, as numerous stories of identification abuse reference gender roles and the stay-at-home-daughter movement. Furthermore, the most common reason for parents withholding an adult child’s identification documents is control: control of the adult child and that adult child’s future decisions.
It is irresponsible of Cuccinelli to put his child in such a situation, and HSLDA — if they are going to live up to their promise to help alumni suffering from identification abuse — needs to publicly condemn such a position. As HARO’s 2015 survey concluded,
Membership in HSLDA does not protect against identification abuse. This should highlight to not only HSLDA as a homeschool movement leader, but also HARO as an advocacy organization as well as all homeschooling communities, that awareness and education about the importance of procuring identification documents for one’s children is vitally important. That importance should be communicated from all levels of homeschooling power structures. Such structures should also encourage families to procure such documentation. The future health and well-being of homeschool alumni depends on it.
On September 10th and 11th of 2014, leaders of various right wing family organizations from around the world gathered at the Kremlin for what was to have been the “World Congress of Families VIII – the Moscow Congress.” The conference was a “pro-family” event that blended a mix of quiverfull, homeschooling, anti-abortion, and anti-LGBTQ organizations together.
Both Michael Farris and Michael Donnelly of HSLDA were originally slated to speak, and until now it was believed that HSLDA was one of the organizations that had pulled out of the convention because of the Crimea situation. It turns out that’s not what happened.
I suspect that given how difficult it was to track down evidence that an HSLDA representative was in Moscow, HSLDA knew that the decision to cozy up with Putin wouldn’t play well back in America. That didn’t stop them from going, however. It just stopped them from telling their members that they did it.
On September 8, 2014 Donnelly made a public Facebook post indicating he was traveling to Russia to, “encourage homeschooling families and meet with other pro-family organizations as well as policy makers to discuss parental rights and family freedom’s.”
The next day, September 9th (the morning of the 10th, Moscow time), he updated the post with a comment about meeting with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church and his plan to attend the conference at the Kremlin that day.
Donnelly also posted a link to the Russian language site of one of the conference sponsors, indicating that he would be speaking the next day (September 11th).
We were also able to locate a video clip documenting Donnelly’s speech.
The official conference website includes the text of the speech. It’s typical HSLDA boilerplate about parental rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, German homeschool laws, and scare tactics about the dangers of government overreach. The irony of claiming that government regulation of homeschooling was an unnecessary government intervention, while standing within the halls of a government that had just annexed another country’s territory by force, seems to have been lost on Mr. Donnelly.
Let me be clear here. While Michael Farris’ former employer, Concerned Women for America, bowed out of the conference because they did not wish to be seen as giving their support to an increasingly totalitarian and expansionist Vladimir Putin, HSLDA had no such qualms. They sent Michael Donnelly to the halls of the Kremlin in an action that helped add international legitimacy to Vladimir Putin’s efforts to position himself as a guardian of the family at a time when he was under growing pressure from the international community for his disregard for international law.
We do not yet know whether Vladimir Putin’s expansionist goals end with Crimea. Only time will tell. Without even going into the fact that HSLDA lent their support to an anti-LGBTQ conference at a time when the Russian government is cracking down on LGBTQ people, going so far as to propose taking away their children (something HSLDA ought to oppose but won’t), what Donnelly and HSLDA did is akin to going to a conference on families in Berlin after Germany annexed Sudetenland. You simply do not cozy up with expansionist, totalitarian regimes.
Agree or disagree with me on homeschool regulation. But HSLDA going to Moscow to a conference endorsed by the Kremlin after what Russia did in Crimea and Ukraine is irresponsible and indefensible.
Recently Will Estrada, HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations, posted on social media an image of himself and HSLDA’s Deputy Director of Federal Relations Andrew Mullins heading to Washington, D.C. with the statement, “Snow won’t keep us from fighting for freedom on behalf of millions of homeschoolers around the world!” A homeschool alumna commented on the image, saying, “Smiling won’t keep home school kids from dying from abuse and neglect.”
Will Estrada responded (and fellow HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly agreed with in a subsequent comment) with the following:
We’re fighting for homeschool freedom for ALL kids so they can escape bad public schools. For the gay teen being bullied and his mom wants to homeschool him. For the Christian teen who is told she can’t read her Bible. For the kids in public school who are being sexually abused (see this story: http://www.slate.com/…/is_sexual_abuse_in_schools_very…)
That catchy little slogan “all kids matter” rings hollow because HA and CRHE do nothing to help the kids in the situations above. We do. By fighting for homeschool freedom so parents, not faceless government bureaucrats, can protect their kids.
Which brings us to the major difference between HA/CRHE and HSLDA: HA/CRHE turn to the tired old liberal position: find something wrong, and add more government regulation and laws. Whereas homeschoolers find something wrong and turn to freedom. That’s why homeschool parents continue to win. Sure, HA/CRHE will continue to get little quotes in the NYT, but it’s why homeschool parents, not HA/CRHE are winning in states like VA, PA, IL, MA, and others.
Here is an image of the interaction:
Since Estrada seems unfamiliar with what HA/HARO actually is and does, and confuses us with the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), I figured I’d clear up some things for him:
HA is Homeschoolers Anonymous, an internet project of the non-profit organization Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO). As an organization, HARO gives its unqualified support to children who experience a negative or threatening environment in public schools. This is why, from day one of our organization’s launch, we have made explicit that we support homeschooling. As HARO’s FAQ page states, “We believe that homeschooling is a powerful, useful tool. It represents a democratic approach to educational progress, innovation, and creativity. It allows a child’s learning environment to be tailored to individual and personal needs. When homeschooling is done responsibly, it can be amazing.”
HSLDA has made the lives of numerous homeschooled children a nightmare.
There are homeschooled children who remained trapped in abusive homesbecause of HSLDA.
So while HARO believes strongly in the power of homeschooling and believes it should be an option for children (especially at-risk children), we are not going to give Estrada gold stars for pretending that somehow bullied LGBT* kids can “escape bad public schools” because of HSLDA. He doesn’t get to whitewash his organization’s history towards either children’s rights or LGBT* issues. And we refuse to entertain Estrada’s revisionist attempt to clothe HSLDA as a champion of LGBT* children when he and his organizationdaily andexplicitlycontributeto theirdehumanization and oppression.
Finally: HARO is not the same organization as the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), which Estrada could have discovered with a simple Google search. HARO has never been quoted in the New York Times. But if we ever have the opportunity, we would tell the newspaper the same thing we would tell Estrada: that HARO’s position is neither to “add more government regulation and laws” nor to “turn to freedom”; HARO’s position is that we must stop turning a blind eye to the children left damaged and abandoned when organizations like HSLDA value “winning” more than actual children’s lives.
On August 26, 2014, ThinkProgress reporter Josh Israel published an article entitled “Why Conservative Christian Homeschoolers Are Fighting Standards That Don’t Apply To Them.” Israel’s article focused primarily on HSLDA’s opposition to Common Core. However, he also discussed the fact that HSLDA has long involved itself — and its members’ money — in lobbying that has no obvious relation to homeschooling. One of HSLDA’s non-homeschooling targets has been, and continues to be, the legalization of same-sex marriage. Israel interviewed both myself and Will Estrada (HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations) on this matter:
One common attack on HSLDA has been that its work often extends to topics that are not directly connected to the rights of homeschoolers…In the 2006 [sic], the group even lobbied for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. A statement on the group’s website explained that because “Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization,” it thus constitutes an “attack on parental rights.” Estrada said that the group no longer lobbies on this issue and that he did not know why it had done so then.
Ryan Stollar, executive director of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (a group of former homeschoolers who work within the movement to protect the rights of current homeschool kids), told ThinkProgress that he believes the issues the leaders of HSLDA “have chosen and continue to choose to focus on are not necessarily that issues that are in the best interest of the homeschooling movement,” and may be “actively jeopardizing” it. He cites “right-wing extremism,” positing that “making opposition to same-sex marriage a homeschooling issue is shooting [themselves] in the foot” in their attempt to represent the broader movement.
As seen above, Estrada claims that HSLDA “no longer lobbies on this issue.” He even claims that he “did not know why it had done so then.” Estrada would know: he is HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations. HSLDA says that his job is “to serve as HSLDA’s federal lobbyist.” Surely HSLDA’s federal lobbyist would know what HSLDA is lobbying for and why.
But either Will Estrada is strangely ignorant of his own organization’s agenda against same-sex marriage or he blatantly lied to Josh Israel.
Note that Israel said that, “In the 2006, the group even lobbied for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.” The link that Israel provided takes the viewer to a lobbying report filed by HSLDA in 2006 regarding the amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Look who signed it:
Will Estrada himself filed the report.
Yet he “did not know why it had done so”?
Furthermore, if Estrada was not sure why he himself did so (and his organization continues to do so), HSLDA has conveniently made public since 2004an official page on their website. It’s entitled, “Why HSLDA is Fighting Against Same-Sex Marriage.” It continues to exist to this day. It does not say HSLDA “no longer” fights same-sex marriage. Rather, it declares HSLDA continues to fight it. And the reasons are quite clear:
“HSLDA will continue to fight against same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization. This is an attack on parental rights. This is a battle the homeschooling movement cannot afford to lose.”
What of Estrada’s other claim, that “the group no longer lobbies on this issue”?
This, too, is blatantly false. Let’s take a look at just the last two years:
HSLDA opposed Hawaii House Bill 1109 because it would legalize same-sex marriages. On January 28, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage.”
HSLDA opposed Texas Senate Bill 480 because it would create civil unions for same-sex couples. On February 13, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage as part of the foundation of the Western tradition supporting parental rights.”
HSLDA opposed Texas House Bill 1300 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On February 25, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage as part of the foundation of the Western tradition supporting parental rights.”
HSLDA opposed Texas House Joint Resolution 78 because it would repeal Texas’s traditional marriage amendment that excluded same-sex couples from the state’s definition of marriage. On February 25, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage as part of the foundation of the Western tradition supporting parental rights.”
HSLDA opposed Delaware House Bill 75 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On May 21, 2013, HSLDA declared that, “Given HSLDA’s interest in preserving traditional marriage, this bill should be opposed.”
HSLDA opposed Rhode Island Senate Joint Resolution 708 because it would legalize same-sex marriages. On July 3, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage and the traditional family.” HSLDA then linked the the article “Why HSLDA is Fighting Against Same-Sex Marriage” — as recently as 2013.
HSLDA opposed Pennsylvania House Bill 1647 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On September 11, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “Given HSLDA’s support of traditional marriage between one man and one woman, this bill should be opposed.”
HSLDA opposed Pennsylvania House Bill 1688 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On October 24, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “Given HSLDA’s support of traditional marriage between one man and one woman, this bill should be opposed.”
HSLDA opposed Hawaii Special Second Session Senate Bill 1 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On November 14, 2013, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill.
HSLDA opposed Hawaii Second Special Session House Bill 6 because it would legalize same-sex marriage. On January 1, 2014, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” the bill because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage” and “opposes the establishment of same-sex marriage.”
HSLDA opposed Hawaii House Bill 1109 and Senate Bill 1369 because they would legalize same-sex marriage. On May 1, 2014, HSLDA declared they would “Oppose” these bills because, “HSLDA supports traditional marriage.”
HSLDA has not changed their position on same-sex marriage nor have they stopped lobbying on this matter. They continue to publicly oppose same-sex marriage and they urge their members to similarly mobilize, as evidenced in this e-lert they sent out just a few years ago in 2012:
Also in this e-lert HSLDA once again explains why they oppose same-sex marriage:
Why is HSLDA opposed to these bills? Our freedom to educate our children is based upon the foundation of marriage and traditional family. In many of the cases before our courts, parental rights are based on “Western civilization concepts of the family.” Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in Western civilization upon which the foundation of parental choice in education and basic parental rights are based.
Yet despite repeated mobilization against same-sex marriage all the way through 2013 and 2014 (each mobilization with explicit reasons for why), Estrada had the gall to not only tell ThinkProgress reporter Josh Israel that HSLDA “no longer lobbies on this issue,” but to play clueless about “why it had done so.”
“Excellent speech becomes not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.” ~ Proverbs 17:7
Anthropology and history indicate that cultures and societies since the beginning of time through today have many varied and conflicting answers to the question. A simplistic synopsis of the most common answers would be:
Children belong to their community.
Children belong to their parents.
Children belong to their god/gods.
Children belong to the government.
Children belong to themselves.
One can observe cultures and societies around the world that have held to each of these positions. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, children belong exclusively to their immediate families: “Child rearing is the exclusive province of the family into which outsiders of any sort, whether neighbors or representatives of government agencies, are not licensed to intrude. Parents believe that they should be at liberty to handle their offspring as they think fit.”[i] In Papua New Guinea, however, “The raising of children is in many respects a public activity…Sociological parenting is, practically speaking, more important than biological parenting. Furthermore, even small children are free to change residencies, at least temporarily, if they become angry or feel mistreated.”[ii] In Japan, one would traditionally see a hybrid of concepts: while “from the mother’s standpoint, her children, especially her sons, remain extensions of herself,” “the Japanese believed that for the successful growth of a child, rearing by its biological parents alone was not enough. The child needed the nurturance and protection of many other people who played the role of its ‘ritual parents.’”[iii]
But one does not have to look to foreign countries for such diversity. Even within the United States one can observe cultures and societies that have held to each of these positions. The Puritans in Massachusetts in the 1600’s, for example, believed that government should have the final authority in child-rearing: “Parents were expected to teach their children the principles of religion and the fundamental laws. However, because a child’s salvation was at stake, child rearing was too important to leave to unsupervised parents. Far more than the schools and government do today, Puritan authorities oversaw the upbringing and education of children.”[iv]
In contrast, many Native American families feature “extensive involvement of extended family members in childrearing. Involved caregivers ranged from aunts and uncles to great-grandparents….Native American family values most often demand cross-group relational behavior, instead of autonomy and independence, and extended family systems strongly promote interdependence.” To many Native Americans, “Child rearing is a collective responsibility with ingrained cultural traditions governing everything from respecting one’s elders to individual character.”[v] McClellan Hall, Executive Director of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project, has also noted that, in many Native American groups, children belonged to their community, not simply their birth parents: “The understanding that it takes a village to raise a child…was the norm in Native communities. There was no concept of other people’s children. A child was regarded as a gift from the Creator and members of the community shared responsibility for the upbringing.”[vi]
In sharp contrast to both the Puritan and Native American concepts of family (as well as HSLDA’s, as we shall soon see) stands John Holt, one of the early pioneers of homeschooling in the United States. Holt rejected the concept of the nuclear family: “Not only is the modern nuclear family a very bad model of adult and social life, because it is so incomplete and distorted, but it is its isolation from the world that creates the need for models.”[vii] Holt did not see this rejection as radical; rather, he saw the nuclear family concept itself as radical, even ahistorical: “The family we talk so much about preserving,” he said, is “a modern invention.”[viii] While Holt leaned more towards a community concept of child-rearing — “What we need is to recreate the extended family” — he believed that children belong to themselves and thus should have the autonomy to determine what or who that extended family involved: “We need to allow, encourage, and help young people create extended families of their own.”[ix]
In terms of anthropology and history, therefore, there is no single model — nor even a monolithic “American” model — for answering to whom children belong. Instead there are multiple, diverse, and conflicting answers. The purpose of this present exposition is to accurately chart Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)’s answer.From charting their answer we can extrapolate their philosophy of parental rights and better understand their opposition to children’s rights.
As this exposition’s purpose is descriptive, personal commentary will not be given. Critiques will be provided only when relevant to pointing out logical gaps or internal consistencies in HSLDA’s own analysis.
God, Parent, Child
The late Chris Klicka was HSLDA’s senior counsel and, according to HSLDA founder Michael Farris, “one of the most important pioneers of [the homeschool] movement.”[x] Klicka wrote his seminal book The Right Choice: Home Schooling in 1995. Fellow homeschool leader Gregg Harris’s company, Noble Publishing Associates, published the book. In Chapter Four of the book, entitled “The Biblical Principles: A Support for Home Schooling and an Indictment of Public Education,” Klicka articulated his and HSLDA’s understanding of the child-world relationship.
According to Klicka, children are the property of God but they are — in a sense — on loan to their parents: “Children belong to God, but the responsibility and authority to raise and educate them is delegated to their parents.” Parents have a responsibility to “craft” their children to be weapons for God: “God describes our children as arrows in the hands of a warrior!…Have we diligently crafted our ‘arrows’ so they can be trusted to hit their target as we launch them into the world?…Have we personally guaranteed our ‘arrows’ are the most carefully crafted and have the sharpest point?”[xi]
This “children as weapons” concept is shared by Michael Farris. In his book How a Man Prepares His Daughters for Life, Farris uses weaponization as a metaphor for “Setting Spiritual Goals” for one’s children. He says, “No army general would ever try to train soldiers in the haphazard way many of us try to train our daughters to serve our Lord. An army has an organized plan and a training course of increasing rigor designed to produce soldiers capable of winning the battle. Our duty to train our children is no less important. It is equally necessary for us to develop goals and plans for the training of the spiritual warriors whom God has entrusted to us.” According to Farris, this spiritual weaponization requires a child-training plan that is “essentially behavioral in nature.”[xii]
Klicka’s ideal of Christian-based homeschooling is key to his and Farris’s shared goal of child behavior modification via spiritual weaponization: “God, not the state, has given parents the sole authority and responsibility for the education of their children…Parents must train their children to think God’s thoughts…Home schooling enables families to properly and comprehensively train their children’s minds.”[xiii] Klicka clarifies this does not mean children are solely the property of parents; rather, they are the property of God and parents simply “steward” God’s property: “Although God has ‘given’ children to parents, children are a ‘gift of stewardship,’ which means that parents do not really ‘own’ their children. Parents, therefore, are not free to raise their children any way they want because God gives the parents certain ‘conditions’ that must be met.”[xiv]
While the above statement might make it sound like Klicka believes children have rights that parents must respect, his meaning is actually quite different. Klicka explains that parents not being “free to raise their children any way they want” means parents should homeschool, not put their children in public school where there is an “anti-God curriculum and complete lack of values.” Klicka says parents who put their children in public school “sacrifice their children,” comparing such parents to Israelites in Ezekiel 16:20-21 who “slaughtered [their] children” by fire. In his mind, parents who enroll their children in public school are guilty of spiritual child-murder.[xv]
Klicka’s philosophy about children ultimately belonging to God but legally stewarded by their parents continues to be HSLDA’s philosophy to this day. Will Estrada, HSLDA’s current Director of Federal Relations, reiterated this philosophy just last year in an interview with The Daily Caller. Estrada stated that, “Children are given by God to parents and to families to be loved, to be raised and to be prepared to go on to become leaders in their community. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes parents—loving parents in a home—to raise a child.”[xvi]
This philosophy of HSLDA’s — as expressed by both Klicka and Estrada — was previously found in the Christian Reconstructionist position advocated by R.J. Rushdoony and the organization he founded, the Chalcedon Foundation. Both Rushdoony and Chalcedon inspired HSLDA[xvii] and were favorites of Klicka. (He quoted warmly and frequently from Rushdoony in his book The Right Choice: Home Schooling.[xviii]) Rushdoony not only “testified in courts around the country on behalf of Christian home-schoolers,”[xix] he also “provided expert testimony in early cases brought by the HSLDA. Rushdoony saw homeschooling as not just providing the biblical model for education but also a way to bleed the secular state dry.”[xx] The Chalcedon Foundation declared, in a paper on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, that, “Children are not the property of the state, nor of their parents. We are all God’s property, who created us and bought us with a price. We speak of human rights, but it is God who has the rights…Parents do not own their children, but God’s law assigns to them the duty to care for and instruct their children and guide them safely into adulthood.”[xxi]
One observes a tension in this understanding of to whom children belong as expressed by both HSLDA employees and the Chalcedon Foundation. On the one hand, children are God’s property; on the other hand, God has transferred the daily care and maintenance of that property to parents. So while parents do not own their children in a transcendent, spiritual sense (because God owns everyone), they nonetheless own them in an immanent, pragmatic sense. Parents are stewards with an exceptional amount of power over children. As Klicka said, parents have “sole authority and responsibility” over children and have the divine right to “carefully craft” their children’s lives and minds — and all of this in a concrete, legal sense. Parents must have enough legal dominion over children so that, as Rushdoony said (and Klicka agreed), “the child’s will” can be “broken to God’s purpose.”[xxii]
For all legal intents and purposes, therefore, HSLDA does envision children as some species of parental property. Theologian Janet Pais expresses the end result of this vision: “Adults, often unconsciously, act toward children out of an attitude that the child is a possession properly subject to their control…An adult may value a child for what the child can do or achieve, but this is not the same as valuing the child simply for being who and what the child is.”[xxiii] Pais calls such a parental vision “a contemptuous attitude” towards children; HSLDA, on the other hand, sees such an attitude as biblical. Children must be properly subject to parental control for behavior modification to be successful and spiritual weaponization achieved.
Parents Over All
One best observes the fact that HSLDA sees children as parental property when the organization argues who does not have rights to children’s lives. Namely, no one other than parents — not the government, not the surrounding community, not even the children themselves — have such rights.
There are many obvious examples of HSLDA opposing government and/or community rights to children. On April 9, 2013, HSLDA released a statement on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s video declaration that, “Kids belong to whole communities.”[xxiv] HSLDA called Harris-Perry’s declaration a “radical and controversial idea” that “threatens to impose the state between parents and children.”[xxv] HSLDA then connected this threat to homeschooling freedoms in general and the Romeike family’s situation in particular, saying, “Today the Romeike family is facing deportation from the U.S. because Attorney General Eric Holder doesn’t believe that the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is not a fundamental right worthy of protection.” (The Romeike family is a German homeschooling family who attempted to receive asylum in the U.S. because homeschooling is generally not allowed by the German government. While the Romeike family lost their asylum appeal, the Obama administration nonetheless granted them indefinite stay.[xxvi])
HSLDA’s logic is that the concept of children belonging to a community (rather than parents) creates a slippery slope to a world in which parents do not have the right “to direct the upbringing and education of their children.” This does not logically follow nor is it reflective of actual history; however, HSLDA does not attempt to give any further explanation. But what is most notable about HSLDA’s response to Harris-Perry is its title: “Do Our Kids Belong to Us—or to the Community?” In other words, in HSLDA’s mind, children can only belong to either their parents (the “us”) or to the community. While this is itself a false dilemma, HSLDA obviously does not believe children belong to the community. Thus HSLDA must believe children “Belong to Us” — in other words, children belong to parents. There is no option presented for children to belong to themselves.
This sentiment — that children are parental belongings — is shared by allies of HSLDA. The most notable ally is former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum, a homeschooling father himself, was given a stamp of approval during his presidential campaign by Michael Farris[xxvii] as well as by Will Estrada.[xxviii] Santorum is a frequent guest on HSLDA’s radio program Home School Heartbeat,[xxix] a partner with HSLDA in their advocacy against international disability rights,[xxx] and was even dubbed “Sir Santorum” by HSLDA’s youth mobilization program, Generation Joshua.[xxxi]
Part of Farris’s reasoning for approving Santorum’s presidential campaign was that, according to Farris, “As a fellow homeschooler, [Santorum] knows how important it is to protect parental rights.”[xxxii] Santorum’s understanding of parental rights, for which Farris has bestowed him with such praise, is exactly the same as HSLDA’s. In an April 16, 2013 column for Townhall, Santorum declared that, “Children Belong to Parents, Not Government.”[xxxiii] And just like HSLDA, Santorum took aim at Melissa Harris-Perry’s statement that, “Kids belong to whole communities.” Santorum declared this to be “hark[ening] back to Marxism” and then, again like HSLDA, related a loss of parental rights to a threat against homeschooling (and the Romeike situation specifically). “The president, like so many on the left,” bemoaned Santorum, “believes that the state should form the hearts and minds of our youths so they think the way the government wants them to think.”
It must be noted that, like HSLDA, Santorum presents a false dilemma: either children belong to parents or they belong to the state. Santorum does not have a problem with someone other than a child itself forming that child’s heart and mind to think the way that someone wants the child thinks. Rather, Santorum simply wants parents to do that forming, rather than the state. This is because Santorum believes, like HSLDA, that children belong to their parents — hence the very title of Santorum’s column. Children are still property to Santorum, just not the property of the state.
From Divine Rental Property to Common Law
HSLDA’s concept of children as divine rental property forms the basis for HSLDA’s understanding of parental rights as expressed through common law. HSLDA attempts to ground many of its arguments for religious liberty and homeschooling on a Western concept of common law, especially as expressed by English jurist William Blackstone in his work, Commentaries on the Laws of England. In The Right Choice: Home Schooling, Klicka wrote, “One of the most influential common law sources on which the founders of our country relied was Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries. Blackstone recognized that the most important duty of parents to their children is that of giving them an education.”[xxxiv]
Blackstone’s advocacy of parental rights, Klicka argued, became the cornerstone of an Oklahoma Supreme Court Case that Klicka considered key: “Building on this traditional liberty of parents as enunciated by Blackstone, the Oklahoma Supreme Court in School Board Dist. No. 18 v. Thompson secured the right of parents to control the education of their children.”[xxxv] This was key to Klicka because he and HSLDA desired to return to a previous era where “parental liberty historically was held to be virtually absolute,”[xxxvi] and the Thompson case argued that, “In this empire [the United States], parents rule supreme during the minority of their children”[xxxvii] [emphasis added by Klicka].
Because Klicka considered this court case to be of such significance, it is worth reviewing what aspects of the case Klicka neglected to mention. It is true that in 1909 the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in School Board Dist. No. 18 v. Thompson that, “In this empire parents rule supreme during the minority of their children.” However, the Thompson case also situates this parental supremacy in only one figure: the family patriarch. The case declared that, “The father was vested with supreme control over the child.” In terms of legal rights, “A mother, as such, is entitled to no power.”[xxxviii]
What the Thompson case declared — that the family patriarch has supreme power over his children (and the mother or wife has no legal power whatsoever) — is exactly what one should expect to find in traditional Western common law. Traditional Western common law is specifically grounded in the property-rights paradigm descended from classical Roman patriarchy. It goes back to the Roman legal concept of patria potestas (Latin for “power of the father”). Patria potestas meant that the male head of a household, otherwise known as the pater familias (father of the family), “not only…had control over the persons of his children, amounting even to a right to inflict capital punishment, but that he alone had any rights in private law.”[xxxix] The pater familias’s power went beyond his children: “The pater familias could do as he pleased with his family members: from dictating the conditions of marriage and divorce to disposing of his wife, children, and slaves through adoption, sale, or death.”[xl] Under such a paradigm, rights are distributed according to property. Since adult Roman men (the family patriarchs) were the only ones allowed to have property, they were also the only ones allowed to have legal rights. Children, women, and slaves had no legal rights. They were all considered property under traditional Western common law — even to the point that they could be bought and sold: “In early law the paterfamilias could sell children into slavery… [The paterfamilias] had available to him the standard proprietary remedies of an owner. Thus, if a child was kidnapped, it was regard as ‘stolen’ which enabled the paterfamilias to recover it through a vindicatio and to sue for damages under the action for theft.”[xli] Similarly, “in controlling his wife, a man was simply exercising control over his own person or property.”[xlii] This is the tradition to which Klicka appealed and to which HSLDA continues to appeal.[xliii]
A primary reason for such appeals is that the United States Constitution does not explicitly mention the rights of parents. Thus HSLDA appeals to the tradition of common law to deduce the rights of parents from “the laws of nature” found in Western Civilization, in other words, property rights. Chris Klicka and fellow former HSLDA attorney Doug Phillips made this very argument in a 1997 article for Educational Leadership. In their section “Roots in Common Law,” Klicka and Phillips say, “The United States Constitution does not explicitly mention parental rights. Like other legal principles at the time of the nation’s founding, the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children was an implicit and necessary assumption of society. That parents had a God-given duty as well as right to make all decisions with respect to the future of their unemancipated children was part of the higher law that the Declaration of Independence termed ‘the laws of nature and of nature’s God.’” They say these “laws of nature and of nature’s God” were enshrined in Western common law: “For more than a thousand years, the doctrine of parental rights had been a bedrock principle of the Western legal tradition, expressed throughout the ‘common law.’”[xliv]
Farris himself explicitly ties this concept of Western common law to HSLDA’s advocacy of conservative Christianity and his organization’s understanding of what conservative Christianity teaches about parental rights. Farris says, “Our nation was founded upon the traditions of Western Civilization. This civilization was founded on the principles of the Word of God. God gives children to parents—not to the state, and not to doctors.”[xlv]
To Farris and HSLDA, therefore, any threat to traditional Western common law or Western civilization could be perceived as a threat to homeschooling. One sees this fear directly in the rationale HSLDA has given for making opposition to same-sex marriage part of its homeschool advocacy. On their web page entitled “Why HSLDA is Fighting Against Same-Sex Marriage,” HSLDA states that, “Parental rights are a recognized constitutional right despite the fact that they are not explicitly stated in the Constitution. It is a fair question to ask: if they are implied rights rather than explicit rights, what is the source of parental rights?…Parental rights are based on ‘western civilization concepts of the family.’ When those concepts are no longer the legal definition of the family in this nation, then the foundation upon which parental rights are based is completely removed…Therefore, HSLDA will continue to fight against same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage attacks the traditions of the family in western civilization. This is an attack on parental rights.”[xlvi] HSLDA takes this “attack on parental rights” so seriously that it has supported a constitutional amendment to ban not only same-sex marriage, but also civil unions for same-sex partners by means of “the Institution of Marriage Amendment.”[xlvii]
The problem with grounding parental rights in common law (on the one hand) and then denying children should be treated as parental property (on the other hand) is that, as we just saw, common law is a property-based system. These “traditional rights” of parents come from a tradition wherein the male patriarch of a household rules supreme. The patriarch is the sole recipient of legal rights. This tradition continued even through 1909 in the Oklahoma Supreme Court case Thompson that Chris Klicka eagerly cited. In that case we see the vestiges of the tradition: the father alone has supremacy over everyone; the mother has no legal supremacy; the children have no rights until maturity; slaves have no rights whatsoever. Thus HSLDA is holding a logically tenuous position by trying to claim that, because of the Western common law tradition, parents should have sole legal authority over their children and yet children should not be considered those parents’ property. This not only creates a legal Twilight Zone. It also means that granting anyone other than the father of a household any rights would (as it has) upset the entire tradition.
The Threat of Children’s Rights
HSLDA’s view of children as divine rental property thus does not lead to a simple defense of parental rights. It leads HSLDA to directly attack any and every attempt to recognize children’s rights because such attempts are considered outright attacks on Western tradition — the foundation of HSLDA’s legal paradigm.
“Children’s Rights are Wrong,” declares the title of an August 3, 2011 article on HSLDA’s website.[xlviii] This basically encapsulates HSLDA’s position on children’s rights: they are a threat to parental rights and thus are wrong. HSLDA has a track record of opposing just about every effort to put into law any declaration of children’s rights, whether those efforts involve international treaties like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (which the aforementioned 2011 article addresses) or specific countries’ domestic legislation. For example, HSLDA’s official affiliate in Bulgaria, Peter G. Porumbachanov, declared opposition on HSLDA’s website to a Bulgarian draft “Children’s Rights” bill.[xlix] Porumbachanov said the bill was “state genocide against the Bulgarian family” because it “wants to give rights to the children.” Porumbachanov believes that parents instead should have the right to “control the child’s dangerous strivings toward self-destruction” by “form[ing] character in the child by teaching their philosophical and religious views.”
The Threat of the Village
When one understands HSLDA’s insistence upon parents having the “sole authority” to “carefully craft” their children’s lives and minds, while denying those children any rights of their own, it is understandable that other answers to whom children belong — such as themselves, the government, or the community — are seen as threatening. These other answers redistribute rights away from parents and towards non-parental units. But one particular answer — Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “it takes a village” answer — has received a disproportionate amount of attention from the organization.
HSLDA employees seem inexplicably obsessed with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advocacy for children’s rights. Klicka said Clinton had “declared war on parents’ rights in America”[l] because of her support of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Farris made one of the villains in his fictional book Forbid Them Not a character named “Helene Rodman,” whom he describes as “the first female president of the United States” with a “perfectly plastic smile,” a “feminist agenda,” and a desire to attack “home schooling.”[li] Farris has freely admitted that Rodman is based on Clinton.[lii] In Forbid Them Not‘s alternate universe, “Rodman” (or Clinton) takes advantage of “a landslide election, which swept a Democratic majority into both houses of Congress” and immediately signs the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Naturally, all hell breaks loose and a Farris-esque hero named Cooper Stone (a lawyer who moved from Washington State to Loudon County, Virginia,[liii] just like Farris) must swoop in and save the day.
Other HSLDA employees have also obsessed with Clinton,[liv] in particular her book It Takes a Village that called for “comprehensive early education programs for disadvantaged children and their families.”[lv] The “it takes a village” concept has long been a target of conservative Christians (beyond just HSLDA) — which is odd, because the concept is nothing new nor did it begin with Clinton. As stated in this exposition’s introduction, the “Children belong to their community” answer to the question “To whom do children belong?” dates back millennia. It is neither Clintonian nor Marxist — nor anything else modern, for that matter. Yet conservative Christians today (including HSLDA) fixate on Clinton as the arch-nemesis of their own values who threatens to bring Big Brother into families’ living rooms and bedrooms.
The most explicit articulation of this sentiment comes from Michael Farris’s 1999 presentation before the Howard Center for Family, Religion, & Society’s World Congress of Families in Geneva, Switzerland.[lvi] Farris says “it takes a village” advocates (whom Farris equivocates with child welfare workers) use terrorist-like tactics: “Those who believe that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ are willing to use coercion, threats, raw police power, and intimidation to enforce their agenda. Parents who raise children in a manner that the village doesn’t like have learned to fear the knock on the door lest they hear the dreaded words, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help raise your children.'”
Farris relates international children’s rights efforts to these terrorist-like tactics. He specifically calls out a number of children’s rights as negative, such as: (1) “the right of the child to express his/or her opinion” concerning the child’s own education; (2) the right of a child to not be physically hit by parents; and (3) the right of “children, particularly adolescents, to pursue, medical or legal counseling without parental consent”. Children should not have these rights, Farris makes clear. And if children are granted them, Farris believes the consequences will be dire: “It is up to this generation of parents to act for the generations to come to ensure that we protect the family in the black and white of our Constitution lest the global village overtake our homes.”[lvii]
These three children’s rights — the right to self-determine education, the right not to be physically hit by parents, and the right to self-determine one’s medical treatment — are consistently targeted by HSLDA. In fact, nearly every statement HSLDA has made in the past (and continues to make today) against the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child — or any other declaration of children’s rights — calls out these three rights negatively. It is worthwhile, therefore, to look at each respectively:
The right to self-determine education
The right to self-determine education is, of course, a direct threat to HSLDA’s specific form of homeschooling advocacy. HSLDA holds back little on this count: Klicka was forthright about the fact that, if children had rights, then they could say no to homeschooling — which Klicka would not tolerate. “If children have rights,” he said, “they could refuse to be home-schooled.”[lviii] Thus to protect the ideal of homeschooling, Klicka denounced giving children rights. In fact, in a later article written on behalf of HSLDA by both him and former HSLDA attorney Doug Phillips, to “give children fundamental rights enforceable against their parents” was explicitly said to be a “threat.”[lix] As Klicka and Phillips later define “fundamental rights” as rights such as “speech, press, religion,” one can deduce that HSLDA does not believe children should have rights to speech and religion enforceable against their parents. Indeed, the Washington Post has noted that two reasons HSLDA opposes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are “the group fears that ratifying the treaty would mean children could choose their own religion” and “a child’s ‘right to be heard’ could trigger a governmental review of any decision a parent made that a child didn’t like.”[lx]
Klicka made this explicit in The Right Choice: Home Schooling. He explained that rights such as “freedom of expression,” “freedom of religion,” “freedom of association,” and “right to privacy” “would virtually undermine parents’ rights as we know it in the United States. Parents no longer would have the basic right to control [their children],” in particular “what church they attend.” Giving “children the fundamental rights of freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of religion,” and so forth is thus “in direct opposition to of [sic] those parents’ rights.”[lxi]
The right to not be physically hit by parents
The right to not be physically hit by parents is a direct threat to HSLDA’s advocacy of corporal punishment. The aforementioned quote by Chris Klicka continues as follows: “If children have rights, they could refuse to be home-schooled, plus it takes away parents’ rights to physically discipline their children.”[lxii] Klicka and HSLDA not only defend the right of parents to physically hit children, they actively fight to expand that right to include foster parents physically punishing foster children: “[Klicka] had a similar explanation for [HSLDA’s] opposition to increased federal child abuse laws — more laws would mean more likelihood that corporal punishment could be defined as child abuse…Administrators from Patrick Henry College were among those testifying before the Virginia Department of Social Services for a measure that would allow foster parents to physically discipline foster children.”[lxiii]
It is important to highlight that HSLDA does not simply defend the right of parents (natural or foster) to physically hit children. Rather, HSLDA explicitly promotes parents doing so. Michael Farris has declared that, “I am a firm believer in—dare I say it?—spanking. When the children are little I will spank either gender for deliberate disobedience of a rule that they have been taught.” Farris describes a father who will not use corporal punishment on his daughter as a “pushover” who “loves his daughter in principle, but…hates her in practice.”[lxiv] In Klicka’s book The Right Choice: Homeschooling, Gregg Harris contributes a guest chapter (“How Should We Then Teach? Walking In Light Of God’s Principles Of Education”) where he instructs parents that, “Spanking is one divinely mandated method which must not be ignored,” and that if parents do not spank, their children “could become another statistic in the war on drug abuse, AIDs, and drunk driving.” Parents who do not use corporal punishment are “disobey[ing] God by discarding a clearly biblical method of child discipline.”[lxv]
The right to self-determine one’s medical treatment
The right to self-determine one’s medical treatment is a direct threat to HSLDA’s defense of parents’ religious freedom — contextually defined as the right of parents to withhold medical treatment from their children if their religion thus dictates. Religious freedom forms the cornerstone of HSLDA’s objection to mandatory vaccinations, for example. Chris Klicka has declared that, “Immunizations should not be mandated for all children [because] many parents have strong religious convictions against vaccinating their children.”[lxvi] Klicka defends medical religious exemptions because, “Religious exemption statutes simply codify the protections of an individual’s right to freely exercise their religious belief as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and parallel portions of the state constitutions.” However, Klicka never explains how an individual’s right to religious expression implies a right to impose that expression on another individual — i.e., a child’s medical treatment.
Similarly, HSLDA’s current senior counsel Dee Black has expressed support for parents exempting their children from not only immunizations but other health care as well. HSLDA offers support to homeschooling parents who “claim a religious exemption from immunizations,” Black says, “and health and medical services.”[lxvii] Farris believes this is appropriate because, even when it comes to complicated medical procedures of which parents have zero education or expertise, “God has delegated these kinds of decisions to parents, not to doctors, social workers, or courts.”[lxviii]
Since “the village” — the concept of community taken for granted by many cultures and societies throughout history — could potentially lead the recognition of one or more of these 3 rights, it takes on a purely nightmarish quality to Farris and HSLDA. This nightmare drives them to shrink the circle of necessary and desirable socialization to the nuclear family — as we see, for example, in the aforementioned statement by Will Estrada that, “It doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes parents.”
But note: while mass mobilization on a national or international scale via government-funded programs (such as public schools, day care, health care, etc.) to recreate the “village” atmosphere lost due to the last few centuries of industrialization is indeed a relatively novel idea, so too is the idea that a nuclear family can adequately carry all the responsibilities previously carried by the “village.”[lxix] (This is why John Holt, as previously mentioned, argued that, “The family we talk so much about preserving is a modern invention.”[lxx]) While HSLDA does not hesitate to point out the former, they never provide any justification or rationale for the latter. Whether this is due to historical ignorance or intentional omission is unclear. What is clear is that they believe, contrary to actual facts, that the 20th century, American, heterosexual two-parent nuclear family concept is the historical norm.
As demonstrated in this exposition, HSLDA believes that children are divine rental property who at no point belong to themselves. God owns every soul. But when parents create or adopt a child, God essentially rents that soul out to the parents who have the responsibility to maintain that child to the satisfaction of God. When the child becomes a legal adult, the child takes the rental lease over from the parents — but still belongs to God, not itself. The child (as a legal adult) now has the responsibility to maintain itself to the satisfaction of God.
Depending on whom you are talking to, how much of the rental lease the child takes over from the parents may vary. Former HSLDA attorney Doug Phillips, for example, believes unmarried children never take the lease over until they get married.[lxxi] Michael Farris, though publically condemning his former HSLDA colleague for going “far beyond even a very traditional view of Scripture’s teaching,”[lxxii] agreed in his 2004 book What a Daughter Needs From Her Dad with Phillips to a significant extent with regards to female children. Farris argued that you should never push your daughters towards a “career as her first priority,” because “God-given female distinctiveness” means “marriage and motherhood are the highest.” Female children should be encouraged towards such responsibilities, where they will immediately fall under the authority of their husbands: “The Bible correctly teaches that a woman should be submissive to her husband.”[lxxiii]
Regardless, the consensus of HSLDA employees (both past and former) is that children belong to God in a transcendent sense but in an immanent sense belong to their parents. They are the property of their parents, rented from God until they become legal adults. HSLDA rejects outright any other answer to the question “To whom do children belong?” HSLDA is adamant that children do not belong to the government, the community, or themselves. Their rejection of the first two explain their general opposition to government intervention and community-based programs of intervention, while their rejection of the third explains their intense denouncement of children’s rights. If children belong to themselves, as autonomous human beings they would have every claim to human rights that any other human beings have. Insofar, therefore, as HSLDA believes that children must belong to their parents in a legal sense, children are to have no fundamental rights — and fundamental rights for children are seen as a monumental threat to not only the homeschooling movement, but more importantly the parental rights agenda on which HSLDA has chosen to ground that movement.
[i] Sarah LeVine and Robert LeVine, “Child Abuse and Neglect in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Jill E. Korbin, published by University of California Press, 1981, p. 38.
[ii] L.L. Langness, “Child Abuse and Cultural Values: The Case of New Guinea,” Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Jill E. Korbin, published by University of California Press, 1981, p. 26-27.
[iii] Hiroshi Wagatsuma, “Child Abandonment and Infanticide: A Japanese Case,” Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Jill E. Korbin, published by University of California Press, 1981, p. 133, 131.
[iv] John Hollitz, “The Raw Materials of History: Childhood in Puritan New England,” Thinking Through the Past: A Critical Thinking Approach to U.S. History, Volume I, 3rd edition, 2005, published by Houghton Mifflin, p. 21-22.
[v] Tamara Camille Newcomb, “Parenting Characteristics in Native American Families,” Oklahoma State University, 2005, link, accessed on December 9, 2014.
[vi] McClellan Hall, “Facilitating a Natural Way: The Native American Approach to Education,” National Indian Youth Leadership Project, 2000, link, accessed on December 9, 2014.
[vii] John Holt, “Free the Children; They Need Room to Grow,” Pyschology Today, October 1974.
[viii] John Holt, Escape from Childhood, published by Holt Associates, 1996.
[xvi] Will Estrada as quoted by The Daily Caller, “Homeschool advocate obliterates MSNBC host over ‘collective’ view of children,” April 14, 2013, link, accessed on December 12, 2014.
[xvii] Charles H Lippy, Peter W Williams, “Education: Homeschooling Movement,” Encyclopedia of Religion in America, Granite Hill Publishers, 2010, p. 644: “For Rushdoony, the family was divinely instituted to train warriors for Christ who would fight to subject all nations to his law. Rushdoony’s theories inspired many of the leaders who created the institutional infrastructure supporting both the Christian day and home school movements, including Paul Lindstrom’s Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools (CLASS) with its Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum, John W. Whitehead’s Rutherford Institute, and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).”
[xviii] Klicka, The Right Choice, 1995. In Chapter 3, “The Philosophical Crisis in Public Education,” Klicka repeatedly cites Rushdoony’s 1968 book, The Messianic Character of Education. Appendix A of Klicka’s book, “The Difference Between Christian Education and Humanistic Education,” is a reprinted section from Rushdoony’s 1981 book, The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum.
[xix] Marcia Clemmitt, “Home Schooling: Do parents give their children a good education?”, CQ Researcher, Volume 24, Issue 10, March 7, 2014, p. 217-240.
[xx] Kathryn Joyce, “The Homeschool Apostates,” American Prospect, December 4, 2013, link, accessed on December 10, 2014.
[xxi] Lee Duigon, “Will UN Treaty Abolish Parents’ Rights?” Chalcedon Foundation, 2009, link, accessed on December 10, 2014.
[xxii] R.J. Rushdoony in Klicka, The Right Choice, 1995, p. 422.
[xxiii] Janet Pais, Suffer the Children: A Theology of Liberation by a Victim of Child Abuse, Paulist Press, 1991, p. 10-11.
[xxiv] For context about Harris-Perry’s statement, see KJ Dell’Antonia, “Melissa Harris-Perry’s ‘Uncontroversial Comment’ About Children,” New York Times, April 10, 2013, link, accessed on December 9, 2014.
[xxv] Michael Farris as quoted by HSLDA, “Do Our Kids Belong to Us—or to the Community?”, April 9, 2013, link, accessed on December 7, 2014.
[xxvi] Ben Waldron, “Home Schooling German Family Allowed to Stay in US,” ABC News, March 5, 2014, link, accessed on January 3, 2015.
[xxvii] Rick Santorum, “Press Release – Home School Legal Defense Association Chairman Michael Farris Commends Rick Santorum to the Voters,” January 20, 2012, archived by the American Presidency Project, link, accessed on December 7, 2014.
[xxviii] Daniel Burke, “Rick Santorum’s secret army: home-schoolers,” Religion News Services, March 5, 2012, link, accessed on December 7, 2014.
[xxix] HSLDA, Home School Heartbeat, “American Patriots: An Interview with Rick Santorum,” April 29–May 3, 2013, Vol. 115, Programs 51–55. Accessible online: link.
[xxx] HSLDA, Home School Heartbeat, “Understanding the UN CRPD: An Interview with Rick Santorum,” March 4–8, 2013, Vol. 115, Programs 11–15. Accessible online: link.
[xxxix] Encyclopedia Britannica, “Patria potestas,” link, accessed on December 30, 2014.
[xl] A. Javier Treviño, The Sociology of Law: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives, Transaction Publishers, 2001, p. 21.
[xli] Paul du Plessis, Borkowski’s Textbook on Roman Law, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 112-113.
[xlii] James G. Dwyer, Religious Schools V. Children’s Rights, Cornell University Press, 1998, p. 72.
[xliii] See, for example, Michael Farris, “Parental Rights: Why Now is the Time to Act,” Court Report, Marcy/April 2006, link, accessed on December 12, 2014: “The legal principle used in Pierce was first announced in Meyer v. Nebraska. The Court announced that ‘those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men’ were protected under the Due Process Clause…If implicit rights are tied to history, then there is a solid basis for determining what was a recognized right at a particular point in time.”
[xliv] Christopher J. Klicka and Douglas W. Phillips, “Why Parental Rights Laws Are Necessary,” Educational Leadership, November 1997, Volume 55, Number 3, link, accessed on December 8, 2014.
[xlv] Michael Farris, “Who Makes the Really Tough Decisions: Parents? Or Doctors?”, HSLDA, November 29, 2011, link, accessed on December 12, 2014.
[xlvi] HSLDA, “Why HSLDA is Fighting Against Same-Sex Marriage,” link, accessed on December 12, 2014. Archived as a PDF here.
[xlvii] Michael Farris, “Questions and Answers Regarding a Constitutional Amendment on Same-Sex Marriage,” HSLDA, April 15, 2004, link, accessed on December 12, 2014. Archived as a PDF here.
[xlviii] Marten Schultz, “Children’s Rights are Wrong,” HSLDA, August 3, 2011, link, accessed on December 8, 2014.
[xlix] Peter Porumbachanov, “Children’s Rights vs. Parental Rights?”, HSLDA, January 22, 2012, link, accessed on December 8, 2014.
[li] Michael Farris, Forbid Them Not, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002, p. 398-400, 448.
[lii] Michael Farris, “Parental Rights: Why Now is the Time to Act,” Court Report, Marcy/April 2006, link, accessed on December 12, 2014: “In 2002, I published a novel, Forbid Them Not (Broadman & Holman), with the premise that a thinly-disguised Hillary Clinton had been elected president. The first act of her new administration was to secure the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). I do not claim the gift of prophecy, but there is a looming possibility that I may be proven right.”
[liv] Examples of HSLDA’s singling out of Hillary Clinton include: (i) Michael Farris, “Appeals court rejects coerced entry to home,” Washington Post editorial, September 7, 1999, link, accessed on December 8, 2014. Michael Farris begins generalizing about the “it takes a village” people: “We have heard from the ‘it-takes-a-village people’ that the government’s need to protect children from abuse.” (ii) HSLDA’s autobiographical series, “1983-1998: Marking the Milestones — A Review of History: Hardwon Freedoms,” describes Clinton’s “village” concept in its “International Threats” section: “So-called child advocacy groups, such as Children’s Defense Fund—part of the ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ establishment—have begun to use international bodies, like the United Nations, to gain more control over the world’s families.” See link, accessed on December 8, 2014. (iii) HSLDA, “Pray for Parental Rights,” January 5, 2005, link, accessed on December 8, 2014. HSLDA declared it is “increasingly concerned about the erosion of parental rights, especially when religious parents want to do something that offends modern secular sensibilities. There is a profound tension between the rights and responsibilities of parents, on the one hand, and the increasingly popular ‘It Takes a Village’ mentality on the other.” (iv) Michael Farris, Home School Heartbeat, “Parental Rights, Part 1 — Lessons from History,” Volume 67, Program 1, April 24, 2006, link, accessed on December 8, 2014. Farris says, “There are three direct threats to parental rights,” one of which is, “There’s a rising number of anti-parent politicians who believe, like Hillary Clinton, that ‘it takes a village’ to raise a child.” (v) Michael Farris, “New World Playpen,” American Conservative, October 1, 2009, link, accessed on December 8, 2014. Farris describes “a coalition seeking ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child” as “the faithful, who subscribe to the notion that ‘It Takes an (International) Village to Raise a Child.'” (vi) Will Estrada, HSLDA, “Whose children are they? UPDATE: HSLDA’s Will Estrada counters Melissa Harris-Perry on The Daily Caller,” link, accessed on December 8, 2014. Will Estrada, HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations, criticizes MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry by way of criticizing Clinton: “It doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes parents…This leftist ridiculous idea that children somehow belong to the state—I thought we defeated this back with socialism, back with fascism.” (vii) One of Will Estrada’s speech presentations takes direct aim at Clinton: “The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child—It Takes a Village to Raise Your Child.” See link, accessed on December 8, 2014. These are but a few of many possible examples, all of which indicate HSLDA is particularly bothered and/or threatened by not only the “village” concept in itself, but perhaps more importantly by Hillary Clinton’s specific articulation of it.
[lv] Katherine Paterson, “First, Families,” New York Times, February 11, 1996, link, accessed on December 12, 2014.
[lvi] Michael Farris, “Remarks to The World Congress of Families II,” presented at the 1999 World Congress of Families, The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, link, accessed on December 8, 2014
[lxiv] Farris, How A Man Prepares His Daughters For Life, 1996, p. 30-31.
[lxv] Gregg Harris in Klicka, The Right Choice, 1995, p. 188, 190.
[lxvi] Christopher Klicka, “Immunizations: A Parent’s Choice,” HSLDA, September 13, 2007, link, accessed on December 8, 2014.
[lxvii] Dee Black, “Homeschool Affidavits: Health and Medical Services/Immunization Requirements,” HSLDA, January 6, 2014, link, accessed on December 8, 2014.
[lxviii] Farris, “Who Makes the Really Tough Decisions: Parents? Or Doctors?”, 2011.
[lxix] In fact, there is growing evidence that this will only further strain the health of nuclear families. For example, see Emelie A. Olson, “Socioeconomic and Psycho-Cultural Contexts of Child Abuse and Neglect in Turkey,” Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Jill E. Korbin, published by University of California Press, 1981, p. 96: “[There is] another result of the increased [modernization in Turkey]: children are valued more for ‘primary group ties, affection, and love’ and less for security in old age and utilitarian values. Ironically, as children become relatively more important as sources of love, support, and companionship to parents cut off from their family and neighborhood networks, it is possible that the parents’ unmet emotional needs may lead to increasingly high expectations and unrealistic demands on their small children and thus to more classic child abuse.”
[lxxi] Vision Forum Ministries, “The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy,” retrieved from the Internet Archive, link, accessed on December 12, 2014: “Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection. Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives.”
[lxxii] Michael Farris, “A Line in the Sand,” HSLDACourt Report, August 2014, link, accessed on December 12, 2014.
[lxxiii] Michael Farris, What a Daughter Needs From Her Dad, Bethany House, 2004, p. 113, 110, 114, 109.
Here is what HLSDA had to say about House Bill 295, a 2013 bill in New Hampshire:
House Bill (“HB”) 295 imposes the requirement of criminal background checks on employees and volunteers at recreation and “youth skill” camps. The bill is a potential problem for homeschoolers because of the overly broad definition of “youth skill camps” that could include homeschool groups.
The Senate Health, Education & Human Services committee amended the bill to define “Youth Skill Camps” as “a nonprofit or for-profit program that lasts 8 hours total or more in a year for the purpose of teaching a skill to minors. Such camps include, but are not limited to, the teaching of sports, the arts, and scientific inquiry.”
Oppose unless amended to exempt homeschool related groups. HSLDA suggests that the bill be amended to include language similar to:
A “youth skill camp” does not include a group formed by or relating to home education programs.
So in a nutshell, this bill would require criminal background checks for employees and volunteers at a variety of youth camps, and HSLDA was concerned that the language was broad enough that it would require criminal background checks for those teaching in homeschool co-ops.
Let me say a word about homeschool co-ops. They take a variety of forms. When I was a girl, I was involved in a homeschool co-op that met for a morning every other week. We children were divided into classes by age to study subjects chosen by semester. The mothers served as the teachers, creating lesson plans geared to our age groups. When I was a teen I was involved in a weekly homeschool co-op that brought in professional teachers to lead classes in band, choir, and art.
I don’t see a problem with requiring background checks for those who teach in homeschool co-ops. I recently filled out a volunteer form for my daughter’s elementary school. If I want to be a chaperone at field trips, even under the supervision of teachers and other school employees, I have to have a background check. And why not? I’m glad to know that other parents chaperoning on my daughter’s field trips will have background checks on file, to prevent sex offenders or others with questionable criminal histories from having close contact with or authority over my child.
And don’t think this isn’t something that happens in homeschool groups.
I have a friend whose old homeschool group recently let a child sex offender speak at their annual homeschool graduation ceremony. He was one of the parents, and had been tried and convicted. I doubt most of the parents there knew. We saw this come up with The Old Schoolhouse scandal as well, when Paul and Gena Suarez sought to conceal the fact that a friend was being investigated for child pornography from other homeschooling families in their community. In Alabama, the founder of a homeschool “umbrella” school was arrested and convicted for child trafficking, and numerous otherhomeschooltutorsandco-opteachers have been found guilty of child sexual abuse as well. This is a thing that happens.
I understand that requiring homeschool co-op instructors to have criminal background checks does mean paperwork. But shouldn’t it be worth a bit of paperwork to protect children from predators? The practical effects of HSLDA’s opposition to this bill would be to allow parents with questionable criminal backgrounds to teach in homeschool co-ops undetected. Once again, HSLDA seems to care very little about the actual safety and wellbeing of homeschooled children.
And yet, in their commentary on this bill’s ultimate passage, HSLDA vows to work to ensure that homeschool co-ops are not counted as youth camps, concluding that:
HSLDA will be following up on this issue and working to insure that homeschoolers interests are safeguarded.
Whose interests exactly are being safeguarded? Not the children’s, that’s for sure.
New Jersey is one of eleven states that do not require homeschooling parents to notify education officials of their intent to homeschool, and from time to time bills introduced into the state’s legislature have sought to change this. In 2010, a bill was introduced that would have required parents to provide notice of homeschooling at the beginning of the year and turn in a portfolio documenting the child’s educational progress at the end of the year. Unsurprisingly, HSLDA objected, but it was another part of this bill and HSLDA’s response that caught my eye.
2. A parent or guardian of a home-schooled child shall provide documentation to the resident district board of education no later than September 1 of each school year that the child has undergone an annual medical examination.
You can see the logic here. Annual medical examinations are important. I know several homeschool alumni who have life-threatening medical conditions today—conditions that were preventable and would have been noticed and treated had they seen a doctor as children. Requiring homeschooled parents to take their children to a doctor each year makes sense, and would have made a world of difference for these alumni.
This bill (companion to S3105) treats every homeschool parent like a child abuser by requiring them to give their school system documentation of a medical exam every year for every homeschooled child.
Yes, in HSLDA’s world, if you are required to take your child to the doctor for a checkup each year, you are being treated like a child abuser. This makes especially little sense when you realize that parents of public school children are also required to take their children to the doctor and submit documentation, and that each public school is required to carry out annual hearing and vision screenings and examine children for various chronic conditions. Does this mean that all parents of public school students in the state being treated like child abusers?
Let’s talk about the abuse aspect for a moment, though. When bills are introduced with the intent of making it harder for abusive parents to use homeschooling as a cover for their mistreatment, HSLDA and organizations like it often complain that homeschoolers are being “singled out.” The problem with this argument is that it is rarely true—public school children are seen by mandatory reporters every day, and many states, like New Jersey, require doctor visits and conduct examinations of their own. However imperfect it may be, there is a system in place in the public schools for identifying and dealing with chid abuse or medical neglect. There is no such system for homeschooled students.
I stated already that I think requiring homeschooling parents to take their children to the doctor each year makes sense simply as a way of preventing medical neglect, but there is indeed another aspect as well. HSLDA has this to say of abuse concerns:
The media carried reports recently about the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) failing to protect an allegedly homeschooled child in danger—with tragic results. In effect, S3105 punishes parents for the failures of DYFS.
It’s true: New Jersey has had its share of homeschool child abuse horror stories. But as you can see, HSLDA blames these tragedies solely on DYFS, enabling them to ignore the role homeschooling can play in concealing abuse and making it harder for social workers to gain access to that child. When an report is made about a child who attends public school, social workers will frequently speak with the child on site, before or after school. This is not possible when a report is made about a homeschooled child—and children sometimes die as a result. Similarly, teachers will often report when other adults in a child’s life will not, and removing a child from contact with teachers can mean the end of reports—and theendfor the child. So HSLDA can pretend all they want that these cases are all the fault of social services’ incompetency, but they’re wrong.
Now yes, the vast majority of homeschooled students do not homeschool to hide child abuse—but it does happen. When a child dies or is horrifically neglected, it’s normal for officials and lawmakers to look at the system and ask what went wrong—and how they can change things so this won’t happen again. This happens when the victim attends public school, and when the victim is homeschooled. If having an annual medical examination has the potential to help even a few abused homeschooled children—doctors are mandatory reporters, remember—I’m all for it. After all, what do we lose?
So, what is the practical effect of HSLDA’s opposition to this bill? Put simply, preventing this bill allows homeschooling parents to not take their children to the doctor—ever, if they so choose. While many homeschooling parents will take their children to the doctor regardless, others won’t. Without required medical examinations, it will be easier for abusive homeschooling parents to hide their maltreatment—and in addition, more homeschooled children will have preventable conditions go unnoticed and undiagnosed, in some cases resulting in chronic or life-threatening medical conditions as adults. And I’m not just saying this—I know homeschool alumni who never saw the doctor as kids, and suffer permanent consequences today.
Unfortunately, the bill ultimately died in committee. But if nothing else, HSLDA’s opposition to this bill makes it obvious that they’re not working for the interests of homeschooled children.