It may be more accurate to say "fundamentalist religion", but even so, I'm no fan of the mix of religious ideas (of any kind) with an academic education. I want to use this post to pool a few of the thoughts I shared in the comment thread of my last post, hopefully providing some clarity as to my own thoughts, even though I believe I've been fairly clear already.
One final time - I have no problem with homeschooling, or with Christians who homeschool. I have a HUGE problem with the Christian homeschooling movement. If you're not a part of the Christian homeschooling movement, what I'm saying here doesn't apply to you, and there's no need to defend your educational choices. They aren't under attack. If you choose to lump yourself in with the Christian homeschooling movement, don't expect me to change my language to suit your choice. I won't.
Homeschooling itself isn't the problem. It's merely another mode of education - and a good mode when done right. When homeschooling becomes mixed with religion, or becomes a religious endeavor, it becomes a gateway, and that's the problem.
Homeschooling makes up a small percentage of the educational process in America. A small percentage. Yet, probably 75% or more of my readership, here on a blog where I write about spiritual abuse, patriarchy, quiverfull, the irrational positions of the religious right, and Christian fundamentalism, are either graduates of homeschooling or are currently homeschooling. That's VERY telling. Speaks to a connection, I'd say.
Ideas like patriarchy, quiverfull, purity promises and pledges, super-rigid roles regarding gender, and so on, aren't entering the Christian arena through the mainstream. Most mainstream Christians don't really know what those things are. I didn't in any detail until 4 years ago when I encountered a Christian homeschooling cult - my former future in-laws. Those legalistic ideas are entering the Christian arena through the world of Christian homeschooling. I don't think there's a rational argument against that, and I don't think anyone reading this would deny as much.
As far as what constitutes being a part of (or having been a part of) the movement? Here's a few of my own parameters...
If your curriculum introduced ideas of patriarchy - you were/are part of the movement.
Quiverfull - you were/are part of the movement.
Purity pledges or promise rings - you were/are part of the movement.
Connected to HSLDA - you were/are part of the movement.
If your curriculum stresses YEC - you were/are part of the movement.
If your materials came from Vision Forum, Bill Gothard, Bobby Jones, A Beka, any similar materials, or any individual or group associated with the aforementioned - you were/are part of the movement.
If your curriculum mixed and intermingled faith and patriotism - you were/are part of the movement.
If you were homeschooled because your parents didn't want you exposed to things like evolution, feminism, or any other "liberal" or "worldly" ideas - you were definitely part of the movement.
If your homeschooling brought you into contact with, and encouraged the reading of, literature from people like Elizabeth Elliott, Mary Pride, the Pearls, the Ludys, et cetera - you were/are part of the movement.
If your homeschooling placed heavy emphasis on words like "honor" and "character" (usually only definable with "obedience to authority") - you were/are part of the movement.
If you were homeschooled, and "missions" was or is one of your primary interests - you were/are part of the movement.
If you think homeschooling is the only "godly" way to educate - you're definitely part of the movement.
Maybe you measured and rejected some of the ideas in the list above (and I applaud those of you who did), but just the fact that your homeschooling experience brought you into contact with those things says that you were/are part of the movement. Maybe you rejected THOSE parts, but the money spent on the materials or events that introduced those things still went or goes into the industry that promotes those things. In other words, your money was/is funding the movement.
This doesn't make you a bad person. Perhaps you didn't or don't know these things. Now you do. It's easy for the toxins to sneak into the mix. I think things like the Christian homeschool world might be one reason that Christ taught us that while we're to be as harmless as doves, we're to be wise as serpents. I look at how mainstream Christianity is embracing the movie "Courageous" - and it's chock full of anti-Christ ideas and teachings! Chock full of sneaky little Vision Forum ideas and concepts wrapped up in ideas of "honor" and "godliness" and "responsibility"! Heck, Vision Forum is even marketing a line of "Courageous" merchandise. It snuck right in under the noses of most mainstream Christians. Gradualism usually reveals Christians to be more wise like doves and harmless like serpents than anything else, and it's a shame.
When homeschooling becomes a religious endeavor it becomes a gateway. Mainstream churches don't generally promote or mandate it. Authoritarian churches and groups do. They need to indoctrinate the young to keep them in the fold and continue the fundamentalist cause. Homeschooling is the perfect method. From that, we have the Christian homeschooling movement. "Courageous" is evidence that these cultic groups are seeking out new gateways, and given how successful it's been, how most Christians have gotten caught up in the religious emotion of the movie and decided to not discern the actual message and undercurrents, expect to see more of it.
Teaching about Jesus doesn't need to color every aspect of education. For instance, if you start mixing the Christian faith into teachings about American and world history, and your method shines a positive light on the practice of the Christian faith in history, you're failing your child. History shines a poor light on the practice of the Christian faith. Jesus doesn't need to be forced into every equation. Why not just educate your children, while loving them as Jesus loved and instructed us to love, and when you want to talk about Jesus with them, then talk about Jesus. It's nearly impossible to use Christian homeschooling curriculum that doesn't bring a heck of a lot of baggage with it, and practically all of it opens a gateway into some ugly, legalistic stuff.
I'm don't foresee a change in my ideas on mixing religion with education. I'm not going to be changing my terminology regarding the Christian homeschooling movement unless and until there's good reason to do so. Right now, there's NO reason to do so.
To paraphrase my friend shadowspring, homeschooling is an educational choice, not a divine mandate. If you think it's a divine mandate, or part of your "godly" obligation or duty, it's become positively unhealthy - and likely your religion in and of itself.
I strongly encourage you guys to invest the time to read Raymond Moore's "White Paper". He's one of the pioneers of home education, and gives a detailed account of where "Christian homeschooling" went off the rails. From that derailment sprang all of the craziness I write about here.