Saturday, December 4, 2010


This is a project I have had tumbling in my mind for over a year.  I have been hesitant, because I've seen so many other blogs dissipate when the author changed views.  Blogs and writers and psuedo-celebrities who, for example, spent their time advocating courtship and no kissing before marriage who are now divorced and want nothing to do with their former selves.  Writers who had huge websites and articles and newsletters talking about homeschooling, no dating, no college for girls, and home churching who are now divorced and advocating the extreme opposite.  It is a shifting world, and what is on the internet stays available, long after it is officially deleted.

I, perhaps, am someone who on the outside might very well fall into the patriarchy lifestyle and all it brings with it.  I was homeschooled all the way through high school, I come from a large family, my parents are extremely conservative.  My mother subscribed to all the "right" homsechool magazines, which I devoured. Gentle Spirit, Quit You Like Men, Homeschooling Today, The Homeschool Digest, and Far Above Rubies.  I had New Attitude, my best friend subscribed to Hope Chest, which she lent me after she was done.  My mother bought me and my sisters Beautiful Girlhood and I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  I read the Quiverful digest online.  I am married, and work only one day a week so I can stay home with my baby son, whom I plan to homeschool.
But here is where the story changes.  Even at 11 or 12, when I was reading those homeschooling magazines, I knew it was crap. Sitting at a homeschool conference at 13, listening to a speaker on courtship, something inside told me this was, plainly, nuts.  I went to college, which my parents fully supported.  I have degrees in philosophy and writing, I am working on  a master's in education.  At the age of 27, I married a man that I had dated(gasp), and we have a happy marriage, even though we had dated others before each other.  At 28, I had a son.  I did not live at home until marriage, but went away to college and graduate school, though I did move back home to get a jump start on paying off my college loans.  I work, albeit only 24 hours a week, in a career that is masculine dominated and that I have to wear a uniform to do.  I am smart, educated, enjoy a career, have an egalitarian marriage, believe the instruction to women to be silent in the church was a cultural mandate only, plan to have a tubal ligation after my next child, and though I do want to homeschool my son, it isn't because the public schools are evil, but because I believe I can give him in a better education.  In short, according to some of the homeschooling leaders today, I am a complete homeschool failure.
 A few years ago I started wondering  what happened to those big homeschool names and writers I remembered from so many years ago.  Like anyone else in the information age, I googled them.
I discovered that in the last ten years, much had changed.  Some, like Cheryl Lindsey and Vyckie Bennett, had done a complete turnarounds and were now vocally decrying the lifestyle they had left.  Others, like Vision Forum and No Greater Joy, had sunk deeper into the weirdness, teaching things that can only be described as father-worship and child abuse.   No college for women, in fact, not even leaving home until marriage, is a rampant teaching.  And courtship, which I remember Joshua Harris described as not much more than waiting until you're ready to marry to date and involving your parents, has dissolved into something bizarre, rule-laden and often harmful. 
In short, the homeschooling world had changed, and not for the better.

So after two years of debating, much research and thinking, I decided that I needed to write about it.  Much of what is written on the quiverfull and patriarchy movement falls into either those proponants of it or those who are completely against it.  Perhaps I can analyze this culture differently, since my toes have already been dipped into it.  Perhaps I can lend a unique perspective as one who remembers the beginning.  Perhaps I can add a personal touch, since I do plan to homeschool my son, and worry greatly about the dangerous influences that seem to be permeating the homeschool community.

So we begin, here.  With book reviews and movie reviews and critical analysis of each.  I hope to delve into the beginnings of this movement, to trace where it came from and why, to discover through personal interviews and blog readings why women, especially, are so drawn to a movement that seems to rip them of their rights.  Do I think there is any danger of being drawn into this movement myself, as I feared two years ago when I started thinking about it?
No. I have what these women don't have--a husband who thinks patriarchy is ridiculous, a son to raise into a strong man, a career that I love, and, most importantly, the ability and education to think critically and analyze ideas.

Will you follow me through this journey? I would love to know what you think. What your stories are. When you agree and when you disagree with me.  It will, most assuredly, be interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Hugs and hurrahs to you! =)

    Your very existence gives me hope in dark times.

    As a home school mom who loves Jesus, freedom and education, I grieve to see the wacko fundamentalism in home schooling seeming to thrive.

    But children learn what they live, not necessarily what they are fed. By their own parents example of independence (from the larger culture) and breaking away (from grandparents, society at large) I have been predicting that many (please God, let it be MOST!) of the children from these homes would live by the example and not the rote learning.

    Not to mention that God, whom the fundie extremists claim to serve, exists quite apart from them and takes orders from no man. In honoring Jesus and teaching children of His existence and love (though they muddy the waters with their own feet) a wild card of unpredictable and glorious proportions has been put on the table. LOL Let the games begin! Woo hoo!

    Sorry for mixing all the metaphors, but I am delighted to find your blog. n_n

    My own (Lutheran) pastor was teaching about John the Baptist this past Sunday, from an angle I never considered. He pointed out that while John was dressing weird, eating weird foods and hanging out in the wilderness like a hermit, his Dad was no doubt still serving in the temple as a traditional priest.

    What did John the Baptists dad think? Did he think that the angel's message to him all those years ago about John's birth was fantasy? Was he expecting his son to rise in the temple heirarchy and serve God in the same way his daddy did? Was he disappointed in how his son turned out?

    Or did he bless his son to follow his son's own path and trust that God was leading his son, even though life was not turning out at all like Zecharias had envisioned when the angel appeared to him in the temple that day?

    My pastor, and I with him, like to think that Zach was okay with his son's wacky lifestyle, though he didn't understand it. Now that's a lesson you won't read in your fundie mags! ;-)