Back in September, I wrote a blog concerning the Biblical role of women, in opposition to several things I have been reading about a movement know as Quiverful. This movement came to my attention because of a woman from my hometown in Nebraska named Vyckie who used to be a part of this movement. She has recently gotten more media attention through several TV interviews she has done.
In her description of the Quiverful movement, and also through the reporters’ descriptions as they interviewed her, homeschooling is often listed as one of the major aspects of the movement along with having many children, giving birth at home, dressing conservatively, and wives submitting to their husbands. I was homeschooled myself, and I want to draw a distinction between the “typical” homeschooling family, and this Quiverful movement.
The Quiverful movement, from my reading and understanding, supports homeschooling to shelter children from the “evils” of public school and the many, many negative influences of people outside the movement. In the interview, the oldest daughter of Vyckie said of their families’ escape from Quiverful, “School for me is the best thing ever, I love learning and to be able to have that freedom, have friends, have a life.” (http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/In_Depth_Motherhood_Movement_nov_06_200) To me, this implies that there is a bondage in homeschooling that restricts a love of learning.
There is a sheltering aspect to homeschooling, but not in the way that Quiverful describes. My parents chose to homeschool my siblings and me because they wanted to be actively involved in our education, but they did not keep us away from having friends and being involved in other activities. We were involved in many different activities with our church, and also participated in a local 4-H group. Many of my friends (but not all of them) were homeschooled, and they were also involved in other activities outside of their homes. One of the most common myths is that homeschoolers are not socialized, but it is the families like those in the Quiverful movement who give homeschooling a bad name. Homeschooling encourages students to be excited about learning, and many homeschoolers, just like public schoolers, are successful college students who continue to love learning.
Homeschooling is one of several options for the education of children. I think each option has plenty of pros and cons, and it should be up to each individual family to look at the needs of their children and their family situation. Having been homeschooled, though, I want to stand up against the broad statements that I have heard coming out of the Quiverful movement and say that they need to be careful before applying their claims to all of homeschooling.