No Longer Wanted: Natalie’s Story

My parents meant well. They wanted the best for me. They were excited to find the perfect formula to raise a perfect daughter.

And somewhere along the line they stopped wanting the best for me and started needing me to be what they decided was best.

And when I wasn’t that picture they no longer wanted me. That’s the best way I can describe it.

I think like many people raised in the world of homeschoolers, I’ve had the gut feeling that it’d be inappropriate to share my story. Our 11th commandment was to never speak ill of our family or lifestyle. There was always a push to hide what we were doing and never cast any negative light on the angelic conditions of homeschoolers and our perfect families. I’ve only told a few people what happened with our relationship.


 

When I was five we moved to acreage in the middle of nowhere. We listened to programs that told us music with a beat was scientifically proven to kill your brain cells. We didn’t have cable because all the shows would make us worldly. We stocked up for Y2K. We supported groups like HSLDA that told us the evil government would take away our children if we didn’t fight with them by paying membership fees. We obsessively absorbed the wisdom of the Pearl’s.

My experiences with the outside world were limited to church activities and the library, but even this was enough to make me question if my parents were really raising me correctly. My parents couldn’t keep up with all the books that I read. I’d borrow big piles and hide the ones that wouldn’t pass inspection in the middle.

My parents told me that people who didn’t homeschool their kids didn’t really love them. That people who dated didn’t value their future spouse and would get divorced.

Purity and gender roles were everything.

My mother obviously wouldn’t work outside the home, even when my dad lost his job multiple times and money was tight. Respect was the most important thing to my dad. We were all to submit to him without question, to the point that we couldn’t ask something that ended with a question mark. We had to direct conversation as respectful statements that he could choose to respond to if he wanted.

My mom couldn’t explain anything past simple math and my dad would get frustrated at me when I didn’t immediately understand it. I faked the majority of my math work past 2nd grade. Science was a similar story. My parents made it clear that I only needed it because the state required I learn it. It wasn’t vital for a woman’s education. What was vital was understanding that my goal in life was to be a wife and mother. I needed to sew, cook, clean, and learn to be the best wife and mother. All of my life was focused on that aim and that meant everything was focused on getting married.

I’m still sorting my education into the facts and what was just an elaborate attempt to shape my worldview. The “mistakes” that my parents made were probably the only way my brain developed in the shape that it did. They regret letting me have part time jobs, taking classes with other Christian homeschoolers, and not monitoring me close enough. My friends were all very intellectual. They pushed me to excel when my parents didn’t necessarily care. I started to question their mandates. I didn’t want to solely be a stay at home daughter. I wanted to figure out what I believed for myself. I wanted to understand my father’s beliefs. He wouldn’t explain them to me. He said my questions were disrespectful and I should just accept that he knew what was best. My role was to serve his family until I got married and then I would serve my husband’s family.

I wanted to go on a mission’s trip after I graduated. They grudgingly agreed, assuming I wouldn’t be able to raise the funds. I worked all summer and then my brother told them that it wasn’t appropriate to let me leave their guidance. They postponed my trip for 6 months. They canceled it again. Then my dad borrowed $2000 from my account without asking. When I sheepishly mentioned it he said he needed it to pay bills for our family and was offended I had brought it up. Months later I saw that he had paid it back. Eventually I convinced them that I should go on a mission’s trip for 3 months with our church. My reasoning was that I should serve others some before I got married.

College wasn’t ever a choice for me.

Going into debt was sinful. My parents couldn’t afford to send me even if they approved of the choice. I knew I wasn’t educated enough in math and science to get a scholarship.

My sister had the perfect long distance courtship. They only wrote letters for months. They didn’t hold hands till they were engaged. They didn’t kiss till they were married. My dad gave an hour long sermon at her wedding and he cried from happiness. She was everything they wanted in a daughter. Since it all worked out so well for them, my parents insisted that it was the perfect method. When I didn’t act like her I was a disappointment. They had been (untrained) marriage counselors for years. They’d insist on telling me all the intimate details of people’s marriages. Sometimes they were my friend’s parents. When I didn’t want to hear it I was disrespectful. When I didn’t want to read another book about submission I was rebellious. When I didn’t want to watch another marriage DVD series I was selfish and disobedient. All the scenarios ended with the wife realizing that if she just respected her husband more he would love her and things would be fine.

When I got tired of my life only being focused on marriage, I asked them if I could focus more on pursuing God.

They told me the only way I could pursue God was to pursue marriage.

Single people were selfish. Pursuing independence was sinful. Living outside the protection of my spiritual authority was unthinkable. My dad told me whatever I was doing, I should think of what he would want me to do and then do that. If I didn’t I was sinning against him and God.

When I got back from my missions trip I wanted to move out and for some reason they complied. A couple months later it was a different story. I had a full time job, and I wanted to buy a car. It was a battle. I wanted to pay for my own car insurance, and they finally lost it. They gave me an ultimatum: quit my job, move back home, stop pursuing my selfish independent lifestyle and I could remain their daughter. They couldn’t bear to see me living in sin any longer.

My father told me that God would always forgive him if he strayed, but he was a human so he couldn’t promise that he would always forgive me and take me back.

I couldn’t agree to their terms. They told me the choices I was making would make me a horrible wife and would ruin my marriage and children. My dad wouldn’t bless my marriage. My mom started crying and told me that she shouldn’t have had such high expectations for me. Maybe if she had lower expectations for me this wouldn’t be so hard. I was 18 and on my own. A couple months later I tried to reconcile with them, and my dad clarified that we didn’t have a relationship unless I could come back to the biblical model. I couldn’t.

Six months later my dad shared that he still felt the same however cutting off relationship meant he was giving us responsibility for me and he couldn’t do that as he was still responsible for all my sinful choices. He said he was sorry if I was hurt by the things he said, but they were true. He said we needed to have a relationship again so he could show me how to be better.

It’s been a couple years since then. Things are still rocky between us. It took me over a year to come out of the depression that our broken relationship caused. I was suicidal and cried continuously.

They were my entire world.

The hardest part is that I was close to my family. I didn’t think they were capable of disowning me. They were all I had ever known, and I was relatively happy with my brainwashed life. I didn’t know how to function without them. I had to learn to support myself on my own. I had to figure out who I was without my family. I had to deal with my parents turning my whole family against me.

Since then I’ve found out that members of my family helped and supported an elder that molested his adopted daughter for years. They protected him because he was the head of his household and knew best. Now when stories surface of incest and abuse I don’t question them.

Of course this happens, we were all taught to blindly obey.

I still have to fight the guilt when they say I ruined our relationship. I still hear that I should just be like my older sister and things would be better. I still hear that I’m not what they want. I still deal with them poisoning my relationships. Counseling and time helps. But it’s still complicated and it still hurts.

“Fake Someone Happy”: A Book Review by Rebecca Irene Gorman

Also by Rebecca on HA: “I Was Beaten, But That’s Not My Primary Issue With Homeschooling.”

Possibly over half a million American women obediently serve their parents’ households, locked in a perpetual childhood, with no means of escape.

Charlie Newton's "Fake Someone Happy" is about a young English musician who accidentally becomes entangled in the American Patriarchy movement.
Charlie Newton’s “Fake Someone Happy” is about a young English musician who accidentally becomes entangled in the American Patriarchy movement.

Call it the Quiverfull Movement, Christian Patriarchy, the Stay at Home Daughter Movement, or Reconstructionism — that’s as close as you’ll get to giving it a name. Adherents simply call it ‘obeying God’ or, even, ‘loving God’. What it is at essence is the modern American denial of women’s humanity, the entire deprivation of her rights, the erasure of her personality. And it’s vividly portrayed Charlie Newton’s recent non-fictional, anonymized short novel, ‘Fake Someone Happy’.

The story is about a young English musician who accidentally becomes entangled in the American Patriarchy movement. What begins as a joyful immersion into a community of loving, picture-perfect families devolves into an horrific submersion into a world of exploitation, coercion, and betrayal which challenges the heroine’s understanding of friendship, the world, and herself.

I highly recommend this book as a window into the world of American Christian Patriarchy.

As a survivor of this subculture, I can vouch for the accuracy of the depiction. In fact, this world and the plight of its survivors is rarely depicted in such vivid detail. Some might nit-pick at the fact that the writing does not constitute a literary masterpiece; however, the author has achieved the significant triumph of transporting her readers to this vast, hidden, and rarely-depicted dark world.

I do have some reservations about the book’s depiction of a survivor after her escape. The heroine’s unfamiliarity with the psychology of second-generation cult members and American Christian cultural norms manifests in understandable frustration which, however, the author fails to resolve. My suggestion to readers is to read this book in combination with others that delve deeper into the psychology of survivors of Christian Patriarchy and their journey of recovery, healing and growth.

To that end, I recommend the following books:

Quivering Daughters, by Hillary McFarland — The story of the exploitation of a daughter of Christian Patriarchy and her theological journey to empowerment and freedom.

Pilgrim’s Wilderness, by Tom Kizzia — A journalist’s masterfully written and insightful account of a Patriarchal family with subjugated adult children which moves to the Alaskan wilderness, with an excellent treatment of the psychology of captivity and escape.

Quiverfull, by Katherine Joyce — A rigorous investigation of the modern Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement.

Ready for Real Life: An Investigative Series

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Ready for Real Life: Part One, Botkins Launch Webinar

HA note: This series is reprinted with permission from Ahab’s blog, Republic of Gilead. Part One of this series was originally published on September 15, 2013.

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Also in this series: Part One, Botkins Launch Webinar | Part Two, Ready for What? | Part Three, Are Your Children Ready? | Part Four, Ready to Lead Culture | Part Five, Science and Medicine | Part Six, History and Law | Part Seven, Vocations | Part Eight, Q&A Session | Part Nine, Concluding Thoughts

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One of my readers alerted me to a webinar series hosted by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, led by Geoffrey Botkin. The Ready for Real Life webinar series, hosted by the Botkin family, is a seven-part audio series on how Christian homeschooling families should teach children.

“Starting this September, the Botkin family will be hosting a 7-week webinar series on educating children for leadership in the real world. Featuring all seven Botkin children, as well as Geoffrey and Victoria, they’ll be taking on the tough questions: What do you do if your child has a special gifting? How should we teach our sons and daughters marketable skills? How do we teach them to navigate the real world without becoming like the world? How do we find the best resources without breaking the bank? How do we prevent homeschool dropouts? What constitutes “success,” and how do we help our children achieve it? What should we do about higher education? And how do we teach our children well about things we don’t know ourselves?”

I have purchased access to the webinar series, and I will be posting a series of blog posts on its content. 

What I’ve listened to thus far has depicted the state as an antagonistic entity and Christian homeschooling as a positive force for freedom, children, and the future of faith. As the series progresses, I am eager to hear how the Botkin’s views on gender roles, “statism”, and children as torchbearers color their views on children’s education.

For readers unfamiliar with the family, the Botkins are a fundamentalist Christian family with strong ties to Vision Forum. The Botkins are not only supporters of fundamentalist Christian homeschooling, but vocal proponents of Christian patriarchy. For instance, books by the Botkins at the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences are supportive of Christian patriarchy tenets such as courtship and traditional gender roles. Geoffrey Botkin took part in an interview for the anti-contraception film The Birth Control Movie. Also, So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin encourages young women to be helpmeets to their fathers and promotes a “stay-at-home-daughters” vision for girls. Websites such as Overcoming Botkin SyndromeTime to Live FriendNo Longer Quivering, and Love, Joy, Feminism have criticized the Botkins for promoting sexism and unhealthy family relationships.

To boot, Geoffrey Botkins is vehemently opposed to so-called “statism”, painting the modern state as a bloated, intrusive entity at odds with the Christian community.

For instance, at this summer’s History of America Mega-Conference, Geoffrey Botkin devoted a talk to the alleged harms of the “Messiah state” and social safety nets. In a 2009 commentary piece, he attacked the state’s alleged “Marxist social engineering”, accusing it of seeking to kill Christendom, emasculate boys, exploit women through the workforce, and confiscate wealth. Geoffrey Botkin’s caricature of the modern state must be understood in order to understand his enthusiasm for fundamentalist homeschooling and Christian patriarchy.

With this in mind, the Botkins’ webinar series should offer a revealing glimpse into their ideology. Stay tuned for commentary on the “Ready for Real Life” webinar series!

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To be continued.

It’s Not the Affair that Irks Me, Mr. Phillips

Kirk Cameron and Doug Phillips.
Kirk Cameron and Doug Phillips.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on October 31, 2013 with the title, “He’s Priest Over Our Courtship Life, But Fails His Own.”

Doug Philips, president of Vision Forum, and popular advocate of Christian Reconstructionism, Christian Patriarchy, and the Stay-at-Home-Daughter Movement, who has influenced 1000s of homeschool families to not use birth control or send their daughters to college and keep daughters at stay home until they marry, cites some kind of emotional affair as reason he is stepping down from Vision Forum.

by Douglas Phillips, Esq., October 30, 2013

With thanksgiving to God for His mercy and love, I have stepped down from the office of president at Vision Forum Ministries and have discontinued my speaking responsibilities.

There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance. I have confessed my sin to my wife and family, my local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries.  I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.

There are no words to describe the magnitude of shame I feel, or grief from the injury I caused my beloved bride and children, both of whom have responded to my repentance with what seems a supernatural love and forgiveness. I thought too highly of myself and behaved without proper accountability. I have acted grievously before the Lord, in a destructive manner hypocritical of life messages I hold dear, inappropriate for a leader, abusive of the trust that I was given, and hurtful to family and friends. My church leadership came alongside me with love and admonition, providing counsel, strong direction and accountability. Where I have directly wronged others, I confessed and repented. I am still in the process of trying to seek reconciliation privately with people I have injured, and to be aware of ways in which my own selfishness has hurt family and friends. I am most sensitive to the fact that my actions have dishonored the living God and been shameful to the name of Jesus Christ, my only hope and Savior.

This is a time when my repentance needs to be proven, and I need to lead a quiet life focusing on my family and serving as a foot soldier, not a ministry leader. Though I am broken over my failures, I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my family, nurturing my wife and children and preparing my older sons and daughters for life. So, for these reasons I want to let my friends know that I have stepped down as a board member and as president of Vision Forum Ministries. The Board will be making provision for the management of the ministry during this time. To the friends of this ministry, I ask for your forgiveness, and hope that you will pray for the Phillips family at this time, and for the men who will be responsible for shepherding the work of Vision Forum Ministries in the future.

Doug Phillips

When I read this letter,  I was hurt.

It has triggered so much. I’m the weak sex. I need a man to protect me. Eve at the fruit first, you know.

I couldn’t date in high school. I was not supposed to go to college because I would lose my virginity. I couldn’t be trusted anywhere. I needed accountability.

I couldn’t speak in church. God couldn’t entrust me like he did men. I remember laying my head up against the “men’s meeting” at church (not his church) as a young adult, hurt because I couldn’t hear from God like them.

I remember so much of Vision Forum, all the catalogues and books and dolls. My sister as a kid entered their film festival, but was told she couldn’t receive the award alone (if she had won), not without our dad by her side.

Yet at the end of the day, what the heck? Mr. Philips has an affair.

It’s not the affair that irrks me. Whatever there. We all get messy. It’s that he said I couldn’t be entrusted to go to college. And he said I couldn’t be entrusted to be pure before marriage if went on dates or to college or whatever. And he said I was underneath the man. And Eve ate the dang apple.

This is what Mr. Philips needs to do.

He needs say look folks, I get it now. I’m messed up human like the rest of us, men aren’t better than women, and assuredly men in Christian leadership aren’t better than a lay woman. In fact, most of you are probably doing better than me.

And then he needs to send daughters on their way.

Yea, that right there. He needs to say it.

When Your Daughters are The #1 Threat to Your Agenda

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on October 15, 2013 with the title “Are Daughters the Biggest Threat to the Christian Patriarchy Movement and Reconstructionism?”

Whether they say it publicly or not, I believe that Christian leaders in the Reconstructionist and Homeschool Movements view adult daughters to be the biggest threat to their agenda in furthering their ideologies.

In this video trailer of The Return of the Daughters, you can hear the urgency of this movement, the fear-mongering blaming the feminists as the primary cause of the destruction of the idolized godly family image.

Stay-at-home daughters — it’s a matter of choice

I want to be clear what my beef is with this movement.

It is not the idea of daughters staying at home if they choose to stay at home.  It’s about an adult daughter not being allowed to make choices for herself.  It’s the idea that if daughters don’t stay at home under their father’s “protection,” they are not being biblical – that the only right way is if a daughter has her father’s blessing on all of her choices, including marriage – and that marriage is very selective as the father wants to make sure that his future son-in-law holds to the same Patriarchal beliefs as he.

I am sick and tired of the implication that young ladies who go to college are trying to perpetuate the feminist agenda and destroy families, simply for making the adult choice to further their education.

In studying the patterns of abuse in churches, the control tactics the proponents of this movement use are similar.  

Why does this issue have to be so black and white?  Because it’s about control.  We see love-bombing of daughters, building her up in her femininity, her homemaking skills, but there is no allowance for an adult daughter to question of authority, to have differing viewpoints, to have a mind of her own.

If adult daughters are not sold on the concept of first being comfortable at being stay-at-home daughters, and then stay-at-home moms, the authoritarian position of the Patriarch, and thus, the entire Movement, is diminished. Any diminishing of their role as Patriarch by a daughter challenging or questioning them would be looked at as disobedience and sin and divisive, just as in spiritual abuse patterns, any questioning of a pastor’s authority would be labeled as divisive.  Do you see the parallels?

Their ideology is that husbands will be spiritual heads of the home, will rule over their wives and families and wives will humbly submit without question to everything they say.  They will be reproducing babies and raising them with the same ideologies:  boys will grow up to be men and heads of households and will rule their families spiritually.  Daughters will grow up and embrace their “biblical role” as submissive wives/mothers.

But ask these folks what happens when abuse enters the picture?  

Does the wife and children get support?  Or what about a death of a husband or disability or unemployment?   Does the church assist these families in real and practical ways?  Or is the family abandoned and the wife accused of sin when she attempts to earn income for her impoverished and broken family?

…O, treason of the blood!
Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds
By what you see them act.  ~ Othello

Daughters who are allowed to think for themselves, make their own choices, are viewed as a threat

It is my belief that daughters who go against this system, who go to college, learn how to think for themselves, are viewed as a threat. It is wrong to challenge, to question, undermine, speak out against this destructive movement.

I’m certain that Patriarchs know this real threat and that is why we are seeing so much building up daughters positively by glorifying the godly wife role and encouraging the relationships with fathers and daughters.

Patriarchal fathers must win their daughter’s heart at a very young age, win her approval and trust, in order to successfully perpetuate this cycle.

I am now convinced that for many Patriarchs, the agenda is not to honestly build the relationship between the father and daughter. Rather, fathers are using their daughters to instill in them what they believe to be the godly ideology and sell the daughters on their role in continuing and supporting this ideology. This is accomplished through purity ballspurity covenants, books, videos, conferences or retreats like this:

God’s Word speaks volumes to the relationship between fathers and daughters: His most sacred duty is her protection and preservation from childhood to virtuous womanhood. He leads her, woos her, and wins her with a tenderness and affection unique to the bonds of father and daughter. Success in his life mission is directly related to the seriousness and compassion with which he seeks to raise her as an industrious, family-affirming, children-loving woman of God.

She, in turn, looks to her father as a loving picture of leadership, of devotion, and of care. Her relationship with her father will help to define her view of the worth of a woman, the meaning of fulfillment and contentment, and her vision for virtue. When these relationships are realized and cultivated, the generational mission of the Christian family is secure.

Is it any wonder that Satan is on the prowl seeking to tear the hearts of daughters from their fathers, and driving wedges of indifference between them — fathers with no time for their little girls, and young ladies who have replaced the love of their fathers with the acceptance of peers and inappropriate romantic relationships? The Vision Forum Ministries Father & Daughter Retreat is one step on the journey of recovering the preciousness of this relationship so crucial to the kingdom-building work of the Church. (from Father & Daughter Retreated Sponsored by Vision Forum)

Sadly, I also think that some fathers are unknowingly climbing aboard this fast train of destruction.

They don’t understand the system in which they are caught.  

They believe what they are doing is good for their families and daughters and don’t understand the price it will have on their family. It really is not about a relationship for many.  It is about an agenda.

As I have been following trends in the Homeschool Movement, what I am seeing is that those fathers who tightly control their daughters and their lives — do not allow them to have educational and work choices, do not allow them to make important life decisions,  do not allow them to think for themselves spiritually or own their own faith — will likely lose their daughters in adulthood.

They may in fact lose a relationship with their daughters forever.

“My Daughters Are Not Going Off to College”: When Homeschooled Girls Are Trapped

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on October 12, 2013 with the title “Homeschooled Adult Daughters Held Captive at Home, Prevented from Getting College Education.”

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“There are too many homeschooled girls who need help overcoming the legal obstacles their parents put in their path to a college education. It also bothers me that the leaders of the Christian homeschooling movement preach that young girls shouldn’t get a ‘regular’ education – that they should only be trained in domestic arts and ‘female’ tasks.”

~ Nick Ducote, “Reflections on Malala, Patriarchy, and Homeschool Advocacy”

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In an effort to “raise up a child in the way they should go,” some Christian homeschool parents are essentially kidnapping their daughters, only teaching “homemaking” skills, even denying and preventing them from getting a college education.

The father is involved in all aspects of his adult daughter’s lives until marriage.

Earlier this week, my young friend, Nicholas Ducote, co-founder of Homeschoolers Anonymous, wrote something that resonated with me.  It hit me hard because this was a path our family was heading down.  He was writing about the plight he has seen among a number of young ladies who are part of the “Homeschool Movement,” the subculture of fundamentalist Christians who adhere to the Patriarchal lifestyle in which the father is very involved in all aspects of his adult daughters’ lives, even through adulthood until they are married — married to a husband approved by the father.

Nick, a former homeschool student, has earned his Master’s degree.  He knows the challenges he faced in getting his degrees. But it struck me how Nick was clearly upset about the injustices he saw facing his female homeschool peers.

In the Homeschool Movement, this educational imbalance among the sexes is not perceived as an injustice whatsoever. In fact, to even think of sending an adult daughter “off to school,” is to some, heretical.  As recent as a month ago, a homeschool mom and friend of mine posted on Facebook that her adult daughters would not be going to college — that she and her husband “just don’t believe in that.”

It makes me wonder: did her parents make all of her decisions when she became an adult?  Probably not.

Here is a screenshot I saved from a homeschool wives group on Facebook several months ago and you can see the similar mindset:

daughters1

I used to believe this way.  

In the Homeschool Movement, I was taught to believe that if we sent our daughters off to college, they would want to use that education, get a job, might even earn more money than their husbands.  This was “not right” because husbands were supposed to be the breadwinners and mothers were to be busy at home with the children.   They claimed this was all the work of feminists and the feminist influence on society was breaking up families and demeaning men.

Feminism was the cause of the moral decay in society.

I’ve been a homemaker for nearly 27 years.  I have loved staying home with the children.  It is wonderful for mom to stay home with her children.  But is it the only way?  Is it always possible?  Is it really all that black and white as “they” portray it to be?  Can we have decent families in which a mom works part-time?

Leaders in the Homeschool Movement spend an exorbitant amount of time selling their rhetoric in words and in materials (books, videos, blog articles) sharing what they believe to be the ultimate role of women as homemaker:  how to be respectful and submissive wives, how to cook, sew, how to raise children, etc.

If you are a young girl raised in this environment, your know your lot in life is:  get married to your approved husband, have many children, teach your children at home, and hopefully, your children will do the same.

It is important to note the basis of this ideology. The ultimate goal in the Homeschool Movement is to be fruitful and multiply and “take dominion” of the world.  Dominionism and Reconstructionism are foundational roots from which everything in the movement is cultivated.

Nick then discussed a young lady who has been in the spotlight lately, Malala.  If you are unfamiliar with Malala, I encourage you to read about this courageous young lady who is making her voice be heard in a country where women’s voices are squelched.

“Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. (Source)

Here is a video Nick included of Malala.  The Taliban tried to assassinate this young lady because of her powerful voice and she survived and her voice is even stronger and now has international attention.   Please listen to this amazing interview.

Nick writes:

What is especially disturbing is when you hear Malala talk about how the Taliban in the Swat Valley of Pakistan wants to take education away from girls. You would hope, in the 21st century, young women would have basic access to education.

I will be loud and proud about my homeschooling advocacy because my heart is broken on a regular basis when homeschooled teenagers trapped in fundamentalism contact me trapped, struggling to assert themselves and pursue the future they want. Sometimes parents deny FAFSA signatures, or they edit their transcript if they apply to an “unapproved” school. I have talked to homeschooled girls who were literally trafficked (for sex and for labor).

Some homeschooled adult daughters fare no better than Pakistani young ladies when it comes to education.

Nick is right.  We expect this kind of thing in Pakistan, but not in the US.  Some of these young ladies who have officially graduated from their homeschool high school are not allowed to even choose whether they go to college or not. College is simply not allowed. They are destined to be a “stay-at-home-daughter,” serving parents, helping with the remaining children at home, help with cooking, cleaning around the house, etc.

In the United States of America, we have young female adults — I said adults — who are living at the home of their Christian homeschooling parents, unable to make adult decisions of where they can live, where they can go to school, who they can be friends with, where they go on the internet, etc.  They are essentially forced to follow the path of their parents.  They are cut off from the outside because their internet use, cell phone use is highly monitored.

Now some of these young ladies go along with this without any dissension. This is the only life they’ve ever known. They have been sheltered from the “world” or society.  Their friends are people from church, from homeschool groups, etc.

This is their norm.

Some may do fine with this. They will allow their parents to help select a husband for them, get married, have babies and continue living the legacy their parents planned for them.

However, there are other young ladies who want to explore life outside of the life and rule of their parents.  They want the opportunity to go to school and further their education. But they are not allowed this opportunity. They are prevented.  How can this be? In this day and age?

These parents hold the keys to their adult daughters’ freedom. They are the ones who decide whether they will turn over their signed homeschool high school transcript. They are the ones who must sign and turn over info for FAFSA documentation for financial aid. They decide whether their daughters can get a driver’s license, work outside the home, etc.

In the United States of America, there are young ladies held against their will in their parents’ homes and they are trapped.

They don’t know where to go. They don’t know how to escape. They don’t know how to get schooling. They are completely isolated.

This is happening in our country — the USA.