In which we live tweet a Kevin Swanson radio show rant about homeschooling and World Magazine

Have fun reading this. Or not. In any case, it’s a whole lot of ridiculous strawmen and a whole lot of attacks on homeschool alumni. Also, WORLD Magazine may be harboring socialists. He hopes not, but it’s possible. The storified version of the tweets is after the jump. [View the story “Kevin Swanson on WORLD Magazine’s homeschool story” on Storify] Embedded Storify stories don’t show up right if you’re viewing this in Tumblr, so here’s the link to the story.

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Michelle Duggar’s anti-trans* robocalls and #DuggarHypocrisy

I haven’t really written about the Duggar family before because I feel for their kids still at home. They had no say about being thrust into the national spotlight, and invariably criticism of Jim Bob and Michelle turns into snark about the kids, and I don’t want that. Before I go any farther, let me say that any attacks on the Duggar children in the comments will be deleted. They didn’t ask for this, and with the exception of Josh, who has chosen to become a professional activist with hate group FRC Action, they need to be off limits. That aside, the reason I’ve broken my self-imposed “No Duggars” rule is because of Michelle Duggar’s robocalls against Fayetteville, AR’s proposed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. I’ve embedded the audio Jeremy Hooper provided on GoodAsYou after the cut. Be warned, it’s a rather disturbing anti-trans diatribe about how transwomen are men who are trying to be predatory towards women and children. In response to this virulent attack on trans* people and their identities, a group of former homeschool kids has created the hashtag #DuggarHypocrisy.  Here’s why. While Michelle Duggar pretends to be concerned about sexual predators targeting women and children, Michelle and Jim Bob have remained silent as both Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips’ sexually predatory behavior was exposed. Shaney Lee has detailed the Duggar’s ties to Bill Gothard and their promotion of Gothard’s material, it’s an important read. Micah Murray’s post on the Duggars and Gothard is also more than sufficient to demonstrate the close ties the Duggars have with Gothard. As for the Duggars and Doug Phillips, in 2010, Michelle received the “Mother of the Year“ award from Doug Phillps. As documented by the Christian Post, before Vision Forum went under they sold DVD’s such as “Tea with Michelle Duggar,” a Vision Forum-produced video[…]

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13 Again

I feel like I just found a time machine and was transported two decades back in time. You may have seen that American Prospect came out with an article, “The Homeschool Apostates,” that chronicles some of the people who were hurt by the fundamentalist homeschooling world, and how homeschool graduates are pushing back. It’s a pretty long and important article and discusses Homeschoolers Anonymous, which I’m involved with. The article has gotten a lot of press and buzz on Twitter, including from Richard Dawkins (who I really don’t like for lots of reasons, but hey, he’s super famous) and Dan Savage (who I like much better than Dawkins). Plight of homeschooled children with religious wingnut parents: http://t.co/9FxSwfokuJ. Support group here: http://t.co/56Hp3X4v6B — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) December 6, 2013 Terrific—and depressing—longread: children escaping from homeschooling families. Read: http://t.co/eXKMiiCcGs — Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) December 6, 2013 ICYMI: Compelling piece about kids abused and miseducated by “homeschooling” parents—and how they’re fighting back: http://t.co/XGyt5MizYT — Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) December 7, 2013 That was cool and all, famous people tweeting about something I’m involved with, but what really meant something was seeing that Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales (and voice of Larry the Cucumber), the videos that every evangelical kid of a certain age watched, tweeted the article.  This story about extremes in Christian parenting/homeschooling is frightening, but worth reading. http://t.co/9ryKpAljdk — Phil Vischer (@philvischer) December 7, 2013 And then Lisa “Junior Asparagus” Vischer tweeted about it too. Good homeschooling rocks! But this disturbing article/data is good motivation to avoid unhealthy extremes… http://t.co/40ZqyIfwvx — Lisa Vischer (@LisaVischer) December 7, 2013 It’s silly, but for all of the press and the attention from famous people like Dawkins and Savage, what feels like it really matters is that the Veggie Tales people read the article and[…]

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Kevin Swanson and the “Homeschool Apostates”

Guys, guys, my favorite wingnut is talking about Homeschoolers Anonymous! He doesn’t mention HA by name, because heaven forbid someone go to the website and see what it’s about, but apparently wanting to reform abuses in homeschooling makes us all apostates. Also, somehow doing debate plays into it, though I’m not entirely sure how debate could have made me an apostate given that I’ve never done it. Particularly amusing to me is that I first saw that in Kevin Swanson’s universe I’m some sort of apostate when I got home last night from hanging out with my Bible study group. Anyway, I can’t stop laughing. On a somewhat more serious note, I would like to point out to Kevin Swanson that if his only solution to keep kids from becoming “apostate” is to keep them from learning critical thinking skills through debate, he’s got a problem. You shouldn’t have to shut down your brain and brainwash your children in order to keep them in the faith. If you have to do that to keep your kids from leaving, odds are that you’ve gotten yourself involved in a cult.  I can’t stop laughing long enough to dissect the rest of Kevin Swanson’s podcast, although I should probably try and and contain my laughter since people listen and take him seriously, and that’s quite sad. Libby Anne has a good post about it though. P.S. If you’re going to reference “ihatekevinswanson.com” instead of mentioning Homeschoolers Anonymous by name, it would behoove you to register it yourself before putting your broadcast online. Let’s just say that it’s now been registered by some anonymous individual who is using the domain to help people find the site Swanson refused to mention and leave it at that.

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Nerdy Homeschooler

Note: I wrote the following for Homeschooling Positives Week on Homeschooler’s Anonymous. *** I’m a nerd, a geek, though I suppose not enough of one to get caught up in the arguments over which of those terms is positive and which one is the insult. I was a female computer geek back before there were enough of us for people to even start whining about “fake girl geeks” showing up at cons. When being a woman interested in tech meant you and a roomful of guys who didn’t quite know what to do with you. I’ve read the studies, I know the statistics, and the reality is that even now in 2013, the majority of girls don’t make it out of junior high still feeling good about their abilities in math and the hard sciences. By the time they get to college, not many girls are still in the pipeline of women in technology. While the problem is multifaceted, we know that the combination of peer pressure and negative gender stereotypes makes it an uphill battle. No matter a person’s actual skill level, when the prevailing message is that people like them aren’t good at a particular subject area and there aren’t many role models, they start to internalize that message. I missed that message. Or rather, I should say that by the time I became aware of the idea that girls aren’t supposed to be good at math, I was sufficiently confident in my abilities that I concluded that something must be wrong with a society that says that girls can’t do math. Being homeschooled by a former math teacher meant that it was expected that I learn enough math that the door was open to any path I might decide to pursue in college, and my sister and I were held[…]

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HSLDA, the Parental Rights Amendment, and Enabling Child Abusers

I’m sick, I’m really sick. When I wrote back in May about what I suspected was a legal strategy by HSLDA to make homeschooling a fundamental right, I said that I hoped I was wrong. I hoped that HSLDA’s end game wasn’t giving parents the right to do almost anything to their children short of killing them. The following was posted on the ParentalRights.org Facebook page on Monday:  Read that again.  The Parental Rights Amendment establishes that courts must give the highest level of protection – strict scrutiny review – anytime a government action would infringe on parents’ rights. Nearly every law or government action held to this level of review in the past has been declared unconstitutional. What this means is that under the Parental Rights Amendment that HSLDA is campaigning for, remember, an amendment that provides no exceptions to strict scrutiny other than for parental action that would end the life of the child, any attempts to legislate what parents may do to their children is subject to a level of scrutiny where, “[n]early every law or government action held to this level of review in the past has been declared unconstitutional.”   Remember, this is an amendment that specifically had to spell out that murdering your child did not fall under strict scrutiny. That sure looks like they know that without exempting actions causing the death of a child from strict scrutiny, even the decision to murder one’s own child would be a protected parental right subject to the virtually insurmountable strict scrutiny requirements. The fact that the amendment says nothing about beating a child within an inch of his or her life being exempted from strict scrutiny means that even horrific levels of child abuse are subjected to a level of scrutiny where, “[n]early every law or[…]

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I Resemble That Remark

I’m not generally in the habit of responding via blog post to tweets by 21 year old college students, but when that 21 year old college student is an occasional World Net Daily columnist tweeting slurs to mock something I’m involved in, I’m willing to break that rule. This lovely little gem was tweeted earlier today, he’s since deleted it (without apology, I might add), but too bad the Internet is forever. There’s a good post by Nicholas Ducote, one of the folks who started Homeschooler’s Anonymous, over on the site. I’d encourage you to go read it. Among other things, it points out that you can’t fit the contributors to the site into a box and write the whole thing off with a label. The funny thing about trying to write off Homeschooler’s Anonymous as a bunch of disgruntled “homos” is that of the people who are official blog partners with HA, I’m the only one who identifies as gay. So yeah, Josh Craddock, I guess I resemble that remark. And yet, I’m the one who has repeatedly gone on record talking about how my homeschool experience was overwhelmingly positive (other than that whole courtship thing), even in posts that are critical of aspects of homeschool culture. My story happens to be a mostly good one because my parents didn’t buy into the movement homeschooling to the same level as many parents. I was always taught that could be or do whatever I set my mind to, and was never given the message that there were certain things that were off limits to me because of my gender. I had free reign of the library to read whatever interested me. Other than being told when I was seven that Stephen Hawking was way too advanced for me to understand (I was on a[…]

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Guest Post: Homeschooling’s Unwilling Boosters?

The following is a follow-up to my posts, The One Thing You Should Never Ask a Homeschool Kid, and Well, That Was Certainly Not Something I Expected to be Controversial. The author wishes to remain anonymous. *** Kathryn blogged last week about homeschool children who are asked to defend homeschooling to strangers who want to know if they’re well educated and well-adjusted.   What does it look and feel like when our parents and homeschooling community expect us to be apologists for homeschooling? This kind of upbringing can lead to 2 results: You grow haughty about your own superiority and stand at a distance from your peers You don’t learn to be self-reflective, and you end up a crippled version of yourself because you don’t change the things you need to change to become a fully developed adult and. I know this, because I’ve both seen it in others and lived it myself.  As a homeschool student from K-12, I too was asked by many strangers and friends to defend my experience as a homeschooler.  But the same expectation existed within my own community.    My homeschooling experience started in the early days of the homeschooling movement.  I was often asked by my parents to describe the benefits of my homeschooling experience because they were proud of me, but also because homeschooling still required defense in a lot of circles.  At my graduation, the unwritten expectation of my homeschool community was that I would speak about how my experience was superior to that of my peers.  This expectation exists for most homeschool graduations I’ve been to—parents expect their children to stand as apologists for their homeschool experience.  I once attended a graduation where the two speakers talked about the superiority of their educational upbringing—they were confident, articulate, and very convincing.  Except[…]

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Well THAT was certainly not something I expected to be controversial

When I wrote my post The One Thing You Should Never Ask a Homeschool Kid a few weeks ago, it didn’t cross my mind that it might generate controversy. It was basically just a rant about something that’s bugged me since I was really little, and since most homeschoolers I know have complained about random people quizzing them about homeschooling, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. “Don’t put homeschool kids on the spot to defend their education,” pretty simple, right? I figured that maybe a few people would see it and think twice before quizzing the homeschool kids they come across and some kids could be spared the general weird awkwardness of those encounters. So yeah, turns out that I’m a bad judge of what’s controversial. On Tuesday my little rant was crossposted to Homeschoolers Anonymous. I assumed that the most it would get was a few former homeschoolers commiserating about how much we were annoyed by the questions while we were growing up. That’s the response I got when I posted my original blog post to my personal Facebook. It seems, however, that some homeschool parents just really aren’t a fan of people saying anything negative about homeschooling–not even if parents are only mentioned in one line of a post that’s mostly about bad behavior by non-homeschooling adults. In my estimation, there should be nothing about saying that no six year old should be expected to explain homeschooling laws, history, and philosophy to adults that could cause defensiveness on the part of parents. This leads me to ask the following question.  If I, someone who has repeatedly said that I had an overwhelmingly positive homeschooling experience, cannot talk about a negative that is more pet peeve than anything without getting push back from parents, when are homeschoolers[…]

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Guard Your Heart, Part One

This is part one in a two part series, Part Two is here. It was originally written as part of the Homeschoolers Anonymous series, “Homeschoolers Are Out.” *** It turns out that it’s easy to guard your heart when you’re not attracted to someone, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. To begin this story, we need to go back in time, back to when I was a homeschool kid growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Despite my parents running the private school for homeschoolers, and my mom finding herself spending far more time on the phone giving advice to new homeschoolers than she would have liked, and that one time that they wound up helping to put together a state-wide homeschool convention (something they vowed never to do again), my family wasn’t nearly as connected to the homeschooling subculture as many people. There really wasn’t that much of a homeschooling subculture when my parents started homeschooling, since back in the mid ‘80s there weren’t many homeschoolers.

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