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Are American Homeschool Movement Leaders Holier Than The Bible?

Always watch out for self-proclaimed leaders. Especially the ones who don’t answer to any higher authority than themselves (wait a minute, didn’t they just have a “Sufficiency of the Scriptures” convention? Oh, good. Then they won’t be able to argue with me. Because I’ll only back up my arguments with the fully-sufficient Scriptures).

These men have turned in to quite a hot commodity on the homeschool conference speaking circuit.

No doubt they will have to amplify their message some other way before long, as homeschool families without extra cash will be forgoing conference attendance due to tight funds in this bad economy.

Kevin Swanson is a good example of a “Leader of the Homeschool Movement” who is a danger to the Body of Christ. I will illustrate this with his own words from his online radio broadcast, “Generations with Vision,” which airs daily and has a very large audience of Christian Homeschoolers. Probably made up mostly of women who try and coax their husbands to listen along if they can. (I’m one of them, so I know this dynamic!)

First they attempt to induce fear.

Then they attempt to instill in us, their audience of Christian homeschool (probably quiverfull, too) families, a confidence that they are the ones with the answers. Since we’re already afraid, we’re primed to feel they speak for us. Fear, as we so easily forget, is one emotion that does a great job of erasing our faculties of rational problem-solving. This is why terrorists are so effective–their primary weapon is fear.

Then they try to shame their critics.

Then they begin to spout off the teachings of men.

The last thing they do to deflect criticism is to get us to believe their leadership came naturally, invited by others, and was not self-proclaimed. When they do this, they’re showing their vulnerability and trying to cover their weak spots.

The problem they don’t have a solution for, is that they are mortal. And as such, they are not above criticism. Just as Christ and the Apostles openly criticized those who sought to mislead unsuspecting people, so everyone who communicates to a large audience is fair game. Surely they know this, for they openly criticize various “leaders” who take hold of social trends. We can do the same with them, can we not?

Because when it comes to The Cult of the Experts, the rule they live by is Communicate or Die.

How ever did Christian families manage before they came along? Before we first heard their golden tongues?

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I’ve been researching what approach I want to take with homeschooling our little girl. She’s just 3 1/2, so right now we’re simply focusing on reading to her, doing plenty of coloring time, sidewalk chalk, time at the piano tickling the ivories with Mommy, learning that A says “a” and B says “b.” She actually knows the sounds of all her letters now, except usually gets mixed up on Y. She likes to go through the Hooked on Phonics set we’re borrowing from our church.

I’m trying to decide what I like better: Classical Christian home education, the Principle Approach, or an amalgam of whatever I put together at low cost. Our home education budget is probably going to be low. Maybe I’ll just plan it myself using library books and used bookstore books and website helps.

Yesterday we attended a Classical Conversations meeting at the home of a homeschool mom nearby. It seems great in many ways, but it is tuition-based. I like how the weekly 3-hour meetings can provide some social time with other moms and kids, and motivation for what we do at home. Looking over their 2009 catalog, the materials seemed high quality in many ways.

I also have a catalog for the Principle Approach, also known as the Noah Plan. That was very impressive to me. I love how they focus on the Bible at the center of it all, and focus greatly on American history, heritage and literature. But how would I expand on that? I think it needs a lot of expansion. The plan is a framework designed for flexibility for the parents and child, though, I think. If I want to add material on Ancient Egypt, I can, no doubt.

I’ve also been influenced by Victoria Botkin’s CD (mp3, actually) message “Curriculum Advice,” available through Vision Forum. I loved every minute of her 2 talks. I admire the work she and her husband Geoffrey have done raising well-educated young men and women of character who are already having a good influence on other homeschoolers in this country and abroad. Mr and Mrs. Botkin don’t advocate any one approach. They designed their children’s education as they went along, uniquely for each child. In fact, Geoffrey Botkin told me himself that to homeschool well, all you need is a Bible, a pencil and paper, and a library card! Wow. And lots and lots of prayer, I would add!

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