What Are They THINKING? — Dr. Phil’s New “Christian Homeschoolers”

15 02 2008

An ordinary sad case like this isn’t about homeschooling OR Christianity, just an inability to reason for whatever reason — much less provide for or parent trapped kids (who anyone would feel sorry for and want to help, never mind homeschooling or religion.) To his credit, Dr. Phil refuses to be drawn into elevating it to being about either one. It is about this one wacko dad and how he’s using God and homeschooling to inflict himself on other people and hurt them.

“Do you want to know why the Lord told me that?” says the dad.

“No,” says Dr. Phil. “It is not about the details. And you can filibuster all you want but you came here to ask for my help and I am GOING to ask my questions!”

If anything it’s about vocational and economic education? Maybe the rest of the show will go that way. But it reminds me that we need the common cultural language and will, to be able to cut through such sacred cows and get kids out from being trampled, while we watch and act polite and all PC.

Whoops! Dr. Phil just said:

“Look. I have a problem when people use religion as a DODGE. . . “

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16 responses

15 02 2008
johnnypeepers

Home-schooled kids can pass the standardized tests, but they are woefully unprepared for social encounters and dealing with society. For the most part they live in a little social bubble populated by like-minded Zealots. That is cool for a minute, but eventually the rest of us have to deal with them.

15 02 2008
JJ

Yeah, too bad they can’t all be as um, socially sophisticated and scrupulously analytical as their internut critics. . .

16 02 2008
Dawn

johnnypeepers – Exactly my thoughts on many publicly schooled kids, well except for the passing standardized tests thing of course.

16 02 2008
Nance Confer

Wait, I have to go wake mine up. They were up late out at the county fair with half the other teenagers in the county. They seemed to be able to stand in line and laugh and scream and run around OK. But I’ll go check if they were properly “socialized.”

I know, johnny, ours must be the exceptions to your brilliant analysis.

Nance

16 02 2008
Nance Confer

Sounds to me like Mom and Dad need some serious counseling — even beyond, Dr. P’s help — about how to live in the real world. And why is child protective services involved? Or are they and I should have played the video?

Running out. . . back later. 🙂

Nance

16 02 2008
AngieR

Johnnypeppers says: “but they are woefully unprepared for social encounters and dealing with society”

Okay, I am Christian, I homeschool, my husband has a job, we pay the mortgage and we SOCIALIZE way too much with homeschoolers AND public schooled kids!

This is not the first time Dr Phil has brought forth a crazy homeschooling family to show America. This is not about homeschooling! If you want to know more about homeschooling, the Dr Phil show is not where you go to find REAL homeschooling families.

16 02 2008
JJ Ross

You might “have to deal” with the likes of my kids eventually from the audience, and only if your tastes run to the arts, humanities and culture. But it’s unlikely because creepy folk aren’t allowed backstage, and grubby little bigotries are seldom integrated with their many cultural passions. Wallow unsocialized and ignorant of the real world, in NASCAR or the public schoolteachers union or whatever, and you will never “have to deal with them” at all.

Two stories from here:
First, Favorite Daughter spent the week nursing her voice back from the nasty community virus everybody out in society has passed around this winter, and which she brought home to all of us. Which she is very happy to have accomplished satisfactorily if not perfectly (getting enough of her voice back, I mean, not infecting us all!)

Why? So she could get up at 5 am and travel with her internationally recognized soprano coach and a carful of lovely, talented peers to Gainesville (2 1/2 hours by highway) for the all-day juried NATS audition-competition.

“To encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.”

She hasn’t met the other students yet, but they’ll be fast friends by nightfall I know, because they share much that is real including the love of singing as a discipline, and of this amazing teacher. (A government computer did not just throw them together for political convenience and compel them to perform on an unreal standardized rockpile, IOW.)

Second story: Two weeks ago sick as a dog yet loving all her college classes and especially this one,, she showed up bright and early for honors humanities II class. Three of her peers saw her and got all mother-hen over her, told her they would inform the professor she was taking a nap in the honors lounge and all three of them would take notes for her.

This meant far more to her than the class session would have (both the nap and the love) and the professor was impressed with them all — and again, it happened because these kids (and the professor as it turns out) are COLLEAGUES in the true sense of the word.

Not jailers and inmates of a perverted public system (or of any religious extreme) that favors authority and obedience over individual development and freedom to be.

16 02 2008
Shawna

I took the episode to be about a religious fanatic and dead beat more than about homeschooling… but I am sure some will only focus on the homeschooling aspect.

Oh, and I only read the clips; couldn’t find a video clip **shrug**

16 02 2008
JJ

No, Shawna is right — I saw the whole thing and it wasn’t about homeschooling but it also wasn’t about “religion” and that’s why I found it notable. I was thinking we could ALL do a much clearer job of making bad parenting about, well — bad parenting!

Even if it’s a certain kind of schooling family or a certain kind of churching family, etc. who is having a problem to be addressed, one of the key things about good thinking, is the ability to sort and evaluate what’s important in that situation, and what is not. And generalizing from one specific case to a global cause is almost always an error in thinking, but we see it all the time in public policy debate.

Which is one of the biggest reasons that “scientific inquiry” being undermined by biblical definitions of inerrancy like Young Earth creationists is so harmful — it’s not the science alone, but the thinking about everything that gets screwed up. Including thinking about kids and families.

16 02 2008
JJ

Dana has a new post with some interesting research to add to this issue. Wonder if Johnnypeepers is intellectually bold enough to confront his own prejudice and fallacious schema reinforcement meme? 😉

16 02 2008
Nance Confer

Dana really does put together some excellent columns!

Nance

21 02 2008
Dana

A bit slow getting around of late, but thanks, Nance.

JJRoss, I couldn’t agree with you more here:

I was thinking we could ALL do a much clearer job of making bad parenting about, well — bad parenting!

It is so easy to push people into stereotypes, whether they are religious, or otherwise. It annoys me in a lot of the things I read about homeschooling, largely because in some ways I am exactly who they are talking about with the stereotype of Christian homeschools…and yet, we aren’t like that, either. Nor is anyone I know.

But not having television, I am wholly spared from Dr. Phil, who seems to only annoy me the few times I read of him. : )

21 02 2008
JJ

Hi Dana, so glad to see you here. I think we enrich each other directly, and help expand the possibilities of all homeschooling families when we can do this issues thinking at such a diverse yet civil, honest, constructive level. [back-patting to all]

“Parental rights” is the new heat-and-serve Hot Pocket being heavily marketed in home ed discussions, so big and so hot because of the UN and HSLDA both, with their competing versions of defining and limiting my private freedom from THEM, that it turns my political stomach and makes me decide to stay home instead of joining any of the public food fights about any control of “parental rights”. (Their strategy is called political suppression, I believe. It seem to work, at least if you go by me.)

Or how about parental rights politics as a travel metaphor instead of frozen food marketing — for me there’s too much stereotypical wordview baggage going round and round the carousel, and I despise and distrust all the officious armed guardians and gatekeepers wielding their Omnipotent Power to Dominate Our Public Places with their holy handbook of rules, all of which makes me as a private individual just steer clear of their conversational airports and mass transit, meander on my own time with my own means or stay home instead.

I see parental rights as far more private and important and complicated than anybody’s politics or amendment can be allowed to “define” and then enforce by any level of government. But no one (men mainly) on any side of the soundbite is listening to real-person reason, or listening to anyone else at all! So some things for when y’all can and do make time to listen and think, even if you aren’t moved to comment. . .

I need to go look up stereotype, I guess, but in my understanding of words and power of story, “derogatory” is inherent in how ANY stereotype feels on the receiving end. And there should be a picture of “School” as stereotypical next to its definition. . .

“Firing Stephen Foster, Promoting Uncle Ben”

But what the composer and the kitchen help do share, and why my mind connected them unbidden, is that these famous identities were both born of vague cultural stereotyping, human belief embodied in “art” that first captures our imagination but grows real enough to threaten us and thus need killing or elevating to higher power, (either is risky in itself). . .

Are those the only two choices we have as a people, to satisfy ourselves? Kill or exalt our own stories, what kind of integration or progress is that?
Is “affable conservative” the old style, or the new — and should we kill it, or worship it now?

I think we tried both already, what’s left? (yeah, okay, pun intended)
If “whatever the people want” will satisfy affable conservatism, then what DO we want? Why don’t we ask ourselves what the heck we need an official state song for anyway — and a state flower and animal and bug and tree, much less a state brand of rice?

Maybe instead we could focus on something that we might all actually *want* and be able to use, wouldn’t that be more likely to “satisfy?”

When current culture and diversity tires of, wears out, or just can’t fit into old wardrobes, what to do? Save them in the cedar chest for the grandkids? Restyle and repeat? Burn em, hang em, hand em down intact to those less fortunate, apologize for ever having worn them at all (yes! if we’re talking the 1970s) — or maybe makeover the culture instead of the clothes? There are no simple answers and not much common culture to draw on (or about) anymore.

Diversity has its own edgy style, and dress codes don’t fit diversity. The State cannot hope to adopt any official anything that will fit, to satisfy all the people. Maybe statewide song choices can’t be one size fits all any more than schools, churches or Uncle Ben’s rice can. (Or homeschools.)

“Parental Rights, Responsible Parenting of Sex and Potential Parenthood”

We were talking before about a state LAW — can’t remember which state — that explicitly allowed parents (arguably potential grandparents at that point) to impose some decisions on a girl and to (I believe) veto others if she is still a minor, including to make her give birth and actually make them grandparents even against her own will.

I know my state and many others already have a parental notification law,under which everyone’s daughter is still treated as a daughter even after she is a potential mother (whether we define that as sexually active and seeking reproductive health care and/or actually pregnant isn’t the point — in this case before birth of their grandchild is the point.)

I think that is poor public policy, and discriminatory. I would think so even if I were a devout Christian who believes personally as you describe above, and who nevertheless advocates for that individual privacy (as you and I both do, I think) for all citizens to be free from public morality being legislated. It seems to me that you don’t need any law between you and your children, to follow your own parenting heart, and neither do I! 🙂

(not so sure about the grandkids though, because at that point you aren’t the parent and neither am I. At that point I begin to say that legally, my daughter and yours are equally as much moms as you and I were in our time, and the law needs to respect THAT, not us as the grandmoms.)

12 11 2008
Dale McGowan’s Guide to Thinking Parent Blogs « Cocking A Snook!

[…] What Are They THINKING?? Dr. Phil’s New “Christian” Homeschoolers An ordinary sad case like this isn’t about homeschooling OR Christianity, just an inability to reason for whatever reason — much less provide for or parent these trapped kids (who anyone would feel sorry for and want to help, never mind homeschooling or religion.) To his credit, Dr. Phil refuses to be drawn into elevating it to being about either one. It is about this one wacko dad and how he’s using God and homeschooling to inflict himself on other people and hurt them. . . […]

24 02 2009
N.M.

I personally am happy that Dr. Phil brought this to light. When children are being raised in fanatical religious environments, I believe that their well-being can be at stake. There is more likely to be harsh punishment and even abuse. There are no checks & balances..parents can become out of control and the children cannot defend themselves. I think homeschooling parents are way too defensive and walk around with perpetual chips on their shoulders. It seems to be all about them and their egos..not really the children. The children become reflections of their parents because they have no other choice. We know a family who ‘religiously’ homeschools their children and I feel like I’m dancing on eggshells with the parents and the kids seem so frightened of their parents and look at everyone suspiciously. It always creeps me out and the parents are forever speaking FOR the children and the children are always looking over their shoulders like someone is going to wack them. It is beyond sad!

24 02 2009
NanceConfer

You know a family . . . yep, we’ve all got stories like that.

We know a family where the parents are always harping at their young children to clean up, sit down, do their homework, be quiet, etc. All nagging and nasty tone, no loving kindness to be seen. Lots of material wealth but no hugs.

These children attend public school and private preschool.

What does that prove?

Absolutely nothing about the type of schooling. Everything about the way too many parents don’t cherish and respect their children.

Nance

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