Monday, July 29, 2013

Homeschoolers and Quiverfull Families

This week's Washington Post has an article about a young man who has struggled to rectify the deficiencies in his homeschooling education:

Josh Powell wanted to go to school so badly that he pleaded with local officials to let him enroll. He didn’t know exactly what students were learning at Buckingham County High School, in rural central Virginia, but he had the sense that he was missing something fundamental.

By the time he was 16, he had never written an essay. He didn’t know South Africa was a country. He couldn’t solve basic algebra problems.
The local school system wouldn't go against his parents' wishes when he decided he wanted to enroll in public school.  He left his family, and with the help of a friend was able to attend community college.  From there, he enrolled in Georgetown University -- no small feat for a community college transfer student.  (Not to mention, it's a Catholic university, which has to rankle his Pentecostal parenst!)

Now he's trying to help his eleven younger siblings get a real  education.  His parents may have meant well, but they have no credentials for teaching any subject other than farming and homemaking, and teaching all grade levels at once will inevitably result in what happened to this family -- the competing interests of all the children resulted in none of having their needs met.

As you read through the article you realize there's an essential issue being ignored: the rights of the children to have a say in their education (not to mention their right to have an education).  This boy should have been able to enroll in school, and so should his siblings if they wish.

So ... how could that happen?  The article talks about education standards, but I think this is an issue of child neglect.  If a child is enrolled in public school and never shows up, the parent will be investigated by Child Protective Services.  Where is CPS when children are forced into these incompetent family schools?

Both the older and the younger children need protection from these delusional parents.  When there are twelve children in a family, if there are only two actual adults in the home, the oldest kids' needs will be put to the side as they are forced to help out with the younger ones.  And the younger ones who get this help, are they better off?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Depends on the older kid who gets assigned to them.

The article doesn't mention the Quiverfull movement but this family sure smells like a Quiverfull family.  They are a fundmentalist family with an excessive number of children, and they homeschool.  The mother refused to comment and let her husband do the talking for the article.  That's because her role is that of a brood mare, not an actual human being with thoughts and ideas.  The only good side of the quiverfull movement is that it's creating a whole generation of children who will grow up learning how totally insane and destructive their religion is. ... assuming their mother isn't the next Andrea Yates.


Hausdorff said...

do homeschooling parents not have to live up to any standards of education? If I wanted to homeschool my son would I have to prove myself capable in any way?

LadyAtheist said...

Apparently not, at least in Virginia

L.Long said...

Some states require that the homeschooler has to pass the same standard tests as everyone else. But it is not universal, usually you will find the religidiot states don't care, as being stupid means less drift from the true faith.

Anonymous said...

"assuming their mother isn't the next Andrea Yates".

OUCH, that is the true test of their fanaticism, just what level of enlightenment are you willing to go to?

This is the saddest truth of how religion can make good people do bad things.

Anonymous said...

as a non-theist looking to start homeschooling, this makes me sad. There is no support out there for free-thinkers who homeschool. Seems if I choose to do so, I'll be either alone, or grouped in w/ignorant theists. Texas requires NO training of any sort & there are no checks & balances when it comes to homeschooling. There are , of course, advantages & disadvantages but it allows me the right to teach my children as I choose. To become caring, compassionate critical thinkers who appreciate life & strive to help us save what is left of this world. my 2 cents.