homeschool debate | Forums Wiki

HomeSchoolDebate

Speech and Debate Resources and Community
Forums      Wiki
It is currently Thu May 25, 2017 5:23 pm
Not a member? Guests can only see part of the forums. To see the whole thing (and add your voice!), just register a free account by following these steps.

All times are UTC+01:00




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 196 posts ]  Go to page Previous 16 7 8 9 10 Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:11 pm 
Offline
Hint hint peoples.
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:18 pm
Posts: 1358
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: San Diego, California
I've been following this thread since it was started and would like to opine just a little bit. Sk8erboy, if I misrepresent anything you or your organization espouses, then please correct me, understanding that I am simply trying to understand the situation better and am "typing/thinking out loud." :)

I admire the objectives that HA is seeking to accomplish and their open-minded platform to help raise awareness and bring healing to victims. But, as John III so eloquently put it,

John III wrote:
HSA folks - I'd really encourage you to try to draw a better distinction between homeschooling as a system of education and the destructive parenting practices of a small minority within that system.
[emphasis added]

Openly and honestly bringing to light the issues with homeschooling is good. Revealing the truth about the dangerous implications of the mindsets of some people in various movements (like the Quiverful movement) is good. I myself have seen some of the consequences of espousing "fundamentalist" doctrine. HA seems to be a great attempt at helping many to understand the gravity of their teachings.

Like Ginger Josh said a while back, I too have been skeptical of "awareness" as an end goal since Kony 2012. I was nodding in agreement with quite a bit of what Josh wrote. But HA's "awareness" is a whole different ball game. We can directly help change how people act and how they think. Kony isn't going to change simply because millions of people viewed a YouTube video about what he has done...why? Because he just plain doesn't care. He's going to keep doing what he's done in Uganda regardless of what millions of YouTubers are "aware" of.

But what HA has done actually can help people here rethink what they believe or who they associate with. "Awareness" in our open free speech society is often the first step towards real change. Many things in life are not harms-plan-solvency-prestochango! Team Policy style "cases." If you just confront somebody you know disagrees with you with your opinion and come across as belligerent, they're probably not going to agree with you. But, if you simply tell the facts as they are, more people will tend to agree with you since then, arguably, the facts would lead to "self-evident" truths which form the basis of your opinion.

My concern with some writers from HA is that sometimes they can come across as decrying "traditional" homeschooling and Christianity. Maybe that is not HA's intent. Some in HA do simply tell the facts. But I think that HA is unfortunately becoming more known for what they seem to be AGAINST (HSLDA, Michael Farris, Voddie Baucham, "fundamentalism," etc.) instead of what they are FOR. I don't put my full trust in organizations. I choose to put my faith and trust in Christ, and Christ alone.

Another issue that I've seen some have with HA is that HA's premise is built on the "victimization/entitlement mentality." But that isn't the case, at least in my view. These are real people with legitimate concerns and anecdotes of abuse. The people coming out with their stories are, as far as I can tell, NOT doing this to try and get attention, manipulate, or "milk the system." It is a huge leap of faith to not cover up anymore and come out with such psychologically jarring experiences.

In summary, this post does not constitute a full endorsement of HA. My family is a member of HSLDA, but that doesn't mean we necessarily agree with much of what the leaders or some popular "fundamentalist" teachers say. (In fact, we don't agree with Baucham and others on quite a few issues, but that's not my main point.)

While I do admire the intent of HA's efforts at producing real change, I have been slightly disturbed by some of their rather inflammatory rhetoric that characterizes some of their content. Thus, I tend to shy away from associating with HA because of the stigma that seems to be attached to them. Same reason I don't really associate myself formally with the Libertarian Party apparatus and have an aversion to being a "MEMBER" of certain groups. Even though I agree with almost all of what the LP says, I disagree with the leadership in how they choose to communicate the optimistic message of liberty to others in a quite negative way that turns people off. You might say that HA's message has to be communicated negatively...but I don't necessarily think so. There is a time to be "negative," but that shouldn't be our focus. Point out the facts about the dangers of IDEOLOGIES, but then proceed to build each other up.

Sk8erboy, thank you for bringing this conversation out into the open. More homeschoolers need to actively think and talk about these issues more instead of just sweeping it under the rug." But doing so by lashing out at others isn't the best way to do it.

_________________
Evan Buck, LD Coach
Twitter | Seeking Alpha | Coaching Website | YouTube

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. -Psalm 42:1

Truth is treason in an empire of lies...


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:47 pm 
Offline
Kenya debate as good as me?
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:06 am
Posts: 1926
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: In your head.
I affirm much of what Evan said. But be careful about using the label fundamentalist - that carries a lot of assumptions and connotations, and I'm pretty sure Voddie Bauchaum for one wouldn't endorse it. :) I'm regularly called a fundamentalist, but I'd never apply the label to myself.

_________________
I desire to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.

SDG.


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:23 pm 
Offline
Ex Site Owner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 3:09 am
Posts: 1975
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: La Grande, OR
I've made the distinction between the three different meanings of the term "homeschool." It's a pedagogy, a counter-cultural movement, and a legal status. And the reason it's hard to discern what HA is "for," is because we are all for very different things. We did not all arrive at the same place, but our collective journey to escape the damage done through homeschool is very similar. We do not intend HA to be a platform for policy advocacy. Yes, I personally support regulations, but that's not the purpose or goal of the organization (to push regulations).

_________________
-Nick

You think you're radical
But you're not so radical
In fact, you're fanatical
Fanatical


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
My next response is going to take some time. Sk8erboy is not the only one with a full time job.

I will be looking carefully at the information cited.

Mindbender, I don't think it is unreasonable for me to ask for specifics. When someone makes charges they should be prepared to back them up with specifics. Mike Pearl has said many things. But, I would be guessing at best if I tried to determine exactly what you or Sk8erboy or anyone is using as the reason for believing what you do. If you want me make reasonable, factual responses to your concerns then do me the courtesy of providing me the the specific reasons for your concerns. Otherwise it seems to me that you are coming across as saying something like "everyone that is not pretty stupid knows what Mike Pearl teaches, and if I have to tell you you must be pretty stupid." I am not overlooking your example. I noted it and will address it in my future comments.

I disagree with a lot of what is being said. But, I will deal with it as honestly and straightforwardly as I can. Because I have spent so much time on this, and I need to work, it may be a day or so before I can respond again.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:24 am 
Offline
Ex Site Owner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 3:09 am
Posts: 1975
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: La Grande, OR
You can call me Nick.

::extends hand in greeting::

I await your reply.

::tips hat::

_________________
-Nick

You think you're radical
But you're not so radical
In fact, you're fanatical
Fanatical


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
I don't have time to do more tonight, and to be honest, there is a big part of me that wonders what the point would be in continuing. I am going to deal with just a couple of points in the first part of Nick's (1st name used by permission) "evidence" about the crimes of Mike Pearl fully documented in "To Train Up a Child".

Nick, I am disappointed in you as a former debater. Your "evidence" is pathetic. Maybe later points are more closely connected to reality. But, whoever (and I know that this was "borrowed") did this did not feel constrained to provide a legimate representation of what Mike Pearl says, at least in these first few points. It is a total hatchet job.

Harping on the debater perspective just a bit more, even if later points are more accurate, credibility is lost at the start. If there is better, this should never have been the first.

I recognize that some may disagree with Mike Pearl even when he is fairly represented. But, in an honest discusion he should at least be fairly represented.

Moving on to some quick specifics.

From Nick's post about "To Train Up a Child"
The Pearls recommend whipping infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9). They recommend whipping the bare skin of “every child” (p.2) for “Christians and non-Christians” (p.5) and for “every transgression” (p.1). Parents who don’t whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are “creating a Nazi” (p.45).

We have the book, and have had it for years. I probably read it years ago, but I did not remember any real details. So I sat down to read it (it's not very long). I did not get past the introduction and a quick scan of the first chapter before it was obvious that the claims made in Nick's post are horribly out of context and worthless. I challenge anyone to read the book honestly and come to a different conclusion.

The first two sentences of the Introduction read:
This book is not about discipline, nor problem children. The emphasis is on the training of a child before the need to discipline arises.

The very goal of the book is to teach child training in a manner that discipline (read spanking if you want) is rarely if ever needed.

Next we have: They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9). It is easiest to insert the key parts of the book as follows:

***
STEPS TO OBEDIENCE
One of our girls who developed mobility early had a fascination with crawling up the stairs. At four months she was too unknowing to be punished for disobedience. But for her own good, we attempted to train her not to climb the stairs by coordinating the voice command of "No" with little spats on the bare legs. The switch was a twelveinch long, one-eighth inch diameter sprig from a willow tree.

Such was her fascination with climbing that four or five sessions had not made her stop. The thought of further spankings was disconcerting, so I conceived an alternative. After one more spanking, I laid the switch on the bottom step. We later observed her crawl to the stairs and start the ascent, only to halt at the first step and stare at the switch. She backed off and never again attempted to climb the stairs, even after the switch was removed.
***

A few things to note.
1) The recognized their daughters limitation and were simply trying to keep her from hurting herself. They were not out to beat their child into submission.
2) They used a small stick not much bigger than a pencil.
3) They intentionally limited the force to "little spats:.
4) They were concerned that they might be overdoing it, so changed the approach, and succeeded.

None of the above can reasonably described as "whipping" (a very inflammatory word) in the manner the writer was intentionally trying to convey.

They recommend whipping the bare skin of “every child” (p.2) for “Christians and non-Christians” (p.5) and for “every transgression” (p.1).

I am not even sure how to deal with this because it is so far fetched.

Here is the only reference to "every child" on Page 2.

***
No amount of discipline can make up for lack of training.
Proper training always works on every child.
***

This context goes straight back to the comments in the introduction. Mike Pearl's desire is to see parents be so effective in non-disciplinary training that discipline (spanking) is not needed. If his approach with his 4 month old is representative, then he seems to desire to train in as gentle a manner as he can.

I could not find "Christians and non-Christians" anywhere on Page 5 so I opened up a pdf of the book and did a word search for "non-Christians". It may be there somewhere but I did not find it. Maybe the mistake is on my part, but at this point the credibility of the post author goes down even farther in my mind.

"every transgression" on Page 1. The phrase is there, so now I need to look at the context.

***
When you tell some parents they need to switch their children, they respond, "I would if I could find someone willing to trade." I have had children in my house that would be enough to give an electric wheat grinder a nervous breakdown. The parents look like escapees from a Second World War, Polish boxcar. Another hour with them, and I would have been searching the yellowpages for discount vasectomies. While we try to sit and talk, the children are constantly running in and out of doors, complaining of ill treatment from the others, begging to go or stay or eat, or demanding a toy that the other children will not relinquish. The mother must continually jump up and rescue some breakable object. She says, "No" sixhundred and sixtysix times in the space of two hours. She spanks each child two or three timesusually with her hand on top of a diaper. Other than misaligning the child's spine, it seems to have no effect.

When we speak of consistently rewarding every transgression with a switching (not a karate chop to the lower backbone), this mother can only see herself as further brutalizing children for whom it will do no good. Her discipline is just "laying down a field of fire" to give herself sufficient cover to get through to the next task. She doesn't hope to conquer their wills, just create enough diversion to accomplish her own mission.
***

I could not find a good way to excerpt this and provide a proper context, so you get the whole first two paragraphs of the book.

Yes, Mike Pearl believes there is a time and a place for spanking, of a particular type to be touched on again shortly. But, his real desire is to help such be unnecessary.

We saw the switch, described as about the size of a pencil, used under control as what Mike Pearl means by switching. He clearly does not like pointless, ineffective hitting (karate chops to the lower backbone).

The section I extracted above is followed by an example in complete contrast with the behavior of well trained children. The title of the book is "To Train Up a Child" and its approach is very far from "How to Beat Your Child Into Submission" which is what Nick's information would lead you to believe.

To be truthful I am already tired of wasting my time responding to agenda-driven nonsense that completely mischaracterizes what Mike Pearl is saying. But, because I said I would work through the first list, I will do so.

Parents who don’t whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are “creating a Nazi” (p.45).

"whip" here again is this word being used in a manner intended to agitate.

"their babies" We saw how Mike Pearl handled his own four month old. Whipping is not at all an accurate description.

I suggest you read Page 19 to get the context of what is being said here. I will not copy the whole thing into this post.

Mike Pearl is making a point when he uses the word "Nazi". I am pretty sure everyone reading this has been around somone who has never been trained, but simiply left to exercise their own will in all circumstances. Such are virtually impossible to deal with and not pleasant to be around. Even if you disagree with how training should occur, I would hope that you acknowledge that training is essential for the good of the child. No one does any child any favor by refusing to train them.

So what was the first paragraph of Nick's post? It was an absurdly concocted collection of false representations.

I am willing to continue to discuss what Mike Pearl teaches as much as anyone wishes. But, I will not waste my time working through trash like this.

If any of those who have indicated they are Mike Pearl detractors on here have seen anything that surprises them and gives even the slightest hint that they may not have been given the straight scoop about Mike Pearl I would encourage them to read the whole book. It is a small book and only just over 100 pages long. It is a quick, easy read. (And as I noted, it can be found on line as a pdf, so it's free and easy to get.)

I am well aware as I suggest doing so that there will be things in the book that some of you do not like. Again, I am willing to discuss such things. But, I would much prefer doing so with those who are working from a first hand account of what Mike Pearl really says within the whole context of what he is saying.

ps - As a final general comment, I strongly suggest that whenever you see someone string along an argument grabbing a word here and a phrase there to be very suspicious. Context is critical, and the odds are very high that the person writing in such a manner is crafting nonsense.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
Mindbender wrote:
Mike Pearl has openly advocated hitting children (in print and on TV), and not the open-handed spankings some people may find more acceptable. He gives specific advice about what type of switches and other implements to use, specifically states that pain should be inflicted, and recommends parents wear these weapons on their person to intimidate their children. Even if you don't believe that hitting children is wrong (which seems highly questionable, since we would all generally agree hitting an unwilling adult with 1/4" plumbing line is a crime), it should be easy to see where the seeds of escalating violence have come from.


Mindbender,

For the most part I am inclined to suggest that you read all of To Train Up a Child your self to see how accurate your information is as I recommend in the post above. Context and word meaning is really important.

"Openly advocated hitting children"
Here again, like the word whipping the word hitting is being used in an inflammatory manner. It may not be as drastic, but the basic intent is the same.

Just for the sake of argument, it may be that Mike Pearl advocates a measured, controlled, cautiously applied spanking in a manner that does not cause any sort of physical damage to the child. If something like that is true, it is not exacltly like some sort of vindictive, indiscriminate "hitting" that could be interpreted from your wording.

"open-handed spankings some people may find more acceptable"
Maybe Mike Pearl has a reason for recommending an inanimate object rather than a hand. Maybe the idea is something like the concept that the hand is a personal thing and the recipient then associates the person with the discipline rather than the object. Maybe people will disagree with Mike Pearl's theory, but it is not without basis or thought.

"1/4 plumbing line"
If you refer to my earlier post I note that the size of the switch in view is about the size of a pencil. In looking back I think I may have overstated the case. A pencil is about 1/4 inch in diameter, the switch was only 1/8 inch. Now we are looking at a 1/4 inch plumbing line. If I did not know what 1/4 inch was I might think you were talking about a 1-inch piece of pipe which could be used like a club.

Finally, I will refer back to my earlier post to note that Mike Pearl's stated desire is to see training (non-disciplinary training) to be so effective that spanking is rarely needed.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
This is just a quick, belated addition that should have been said before.

I do appreciate Nick's courtesy that he extended. It was not an intentional mistake to overlook it, but it was a mistake.

I tend to get very focused on the arguments, so much so that I can get very intense and come across as brusque and pushy.

Ultimately I am not here to attack anyone personally. My goal is to address facts and issues as straight up and honestly as possible.

With that I look forward to responses to my posts.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:38 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:19 pm
Posts: 1070
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: NC
I took a brief look at the book (an online copy is linked in the patheos article that Nick posted), and I was shocked much less by the descriptions of the "spanking" (or whatever you want to call it) than I was by the general philosophy of the book. I'm not at a point where I can (or really want to) lay out a full argument for this, but I'd like to let the record reflect that it strikes me as degrading to "train" children as you would train a dog. Shouldn't there be more to "training up" a child than attaching negative consequences to "bad" actions, such as intentionally tempting them by placing a cookie on a table and then switching them when they try to grab it? Shouldn't "training" involve more than pure and unquestioned obedience? Is this at all similar to the way in which God "trains" us as his children?

I'm sure that the Pearls didn't mean to beat their children, but I'm not sure if the philosophy they're advocating is any better. Training a child as you would an animal is - by definition - inhuman. Again, this is just my first impression, but it's not a good one. Training a child in the way the Pearls suggest just strikes me as wrong.

_________________
- Will

2010-11 | Freshman | Bardsley/King | IX | 13th at Regionals
2011-12 | Sophomore | Dovel/King | IX | Q'd to Nationals
2012-13 | Junior | Dovel/King | IX | 17th at Nationals
2013-14 | Senior | Dovel/King | IX | 5th at Nationals

Baylor University class of 2018


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
kingwill wrote:
Shouldn't "training" involve more than pure and unquestioned obedience? Is this at all similar to the way in which God "trains" us as his children?


These are fair questions based on a direct reading of the book.

I think it takes more than a quick, passing glance to understand the full extent of what is being said in the book, but I can understand the concerns expressed.

To be honest, to give a proper answer to these questions I will have to read the book completely again. My prior posts were simply point by point responses to specific incorrect or misleading statements.

I think the key may be the answer to the first question. "unquestioned obedience" may be a very basic starting point, and Mike Pearl may have much more to say beyond that, both in this book and in other places.

In addition, I would also suggest that some perspective and context may be necessary. The era in which the book was written and other factors may have something to do with what is said and how it is said. Just thoughts for consideration.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:24 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:06 pm
Posts: 207
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: Wherever the tournament is.
kingwill wrote:
I took a brief look at the book (an online copy is linked in the patheos article that Nick posted), and I was shocked much less by the descriptions of the "spanking" (or whatever you want to call it) than I was by the general philosophy of the book. I'm not at a point where I can (or really want to) lay out a full argument for this, but I'd like to let the record reflect that it strikes me as degrading to "train" children as you would train a dog. Shouldn't there be more to "training up" a child than attaching negative consequences to "bad" actions, such as intentionally tempting them by placing a cookie on a table and then switching them when they try to grab it? Shouldn't "training" involve more than pure and unquestioned obedience? Is this at all similar to the way in which God "trains" us as children?

Will, I agree with this post 110%. I think that physical punishment is worthless and emotionally damaging. Not only does it teach our kids that hurting someone when we're upset with them is okay, spanking often just invokes anger. Plus, many homeschooling parents don't inflict this type of punishment even semi-humanely. I know parents who turn to spanking as their first resort. Before they even try to reason with the child or help him change the driving force behind his actions (his mindset), they spank them. And I know so many people who define a "normal spanking" as forcing the child to remove their clothing and then repeatedly hitting them with a leather belt or switch of some sort. I've seen these "normal spankings" result in bruises that last for weeks, open and bleeding wounds, and busted blood vessels.

Meanwhile the parent who inflicts this type of punishment is not doing anything to change or nurture the heart of the child, which is from where their punishable action stemmed.

Although it will be hard for me as a parent because it is so unlike what I am accustomed to, I do not believe that any form of "spanking" is safe, "humane" (for lack of a better word), or even effective. As Will said above, our relationship with God, which is the best example for a good parent/child relationship, is very different from the "spanking mentality" that so many parents, not just homeschoolers, utilize. Christ targets the heart, which is the root of all our bad actions. Change the heart, and consequently you change the child's actions. Even without hurting them or emotional damage. Just my opinion. <3

_________________
Emily E. Rose
2011-2012 | Rose/Schvaneveldt | UADC | R8
2012-2013 | Rose/Schvaneveldt | UADC | R8
2013-2014 | Rose/Schvaneveldt | UADC | R8

Hammy wrote:
Like bacon on that sandwich, you can change me from its mediocre self into a vibrant living sandwich of ecstasy.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
...only by the grace of God...

1) Do you believe in God as presented in the Bible? (The only being existing before creation, creator of all that exists exept for himself, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.)

The answer for Mr. Engel is yes.

2) Do you believe in Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible (fully God, fully man, virgin born, perfect, sinless life, substitutionary atoning death made for all) as your personal Lord and Savior?

The answer for Mr. Engel is yes.
________________________________

The more I think about the challenge of trying to give complete, comprehensive, thoughtful, honest responses to the many issues already raised, and the multitude of other ones that must naturally arise as you start to peel back the onion, the more it is clear to me that I am incapable of doing the job well, and a forum like this is a poor venue for even attempting such.

At the same time, I want to say some things I hope are constructive and helpful, and I feel the need to try. Anyone even looking at just recent posts knows I can be long-winded, so to say I hope to be as brief as possible has little meaning. But, I do intend to be as brief as possible.

I am, and have been for some time, working on something completely separate but related to all of this that I hope to finish very soon. If it ever gets posted it will fill in a lot of pieces that I am either going to bypass altogether or just touch on here.

With all of that preamble, I think it is appropriate to really begin by saying that being a parent is the hardest job, bar none. I have six children with ages from 28 to 11. No one knows the mistakes I have made along the way better than I do.

Life might have been simpler if I could have just signed up for (fill in the blank name's) parenting program, followed all of their human rules, and blamed all of the problems that resulted on someone else.

My wife and I do not tend to live like that. For our homeschool curriculum we use one source for math, another for science, another for history, another for etc., etc., etc.

We have followed a similar pattern for our parenting. Stumbling into the role of parents at the arrival of our first child it was obvious that we had much to learn. And with each child and each stage of growing up we have continued to realize that we continued to have much to learn, and are still learning.

To learn something you must find someone who both knows it and has both the ability and willingness to teach it. In our quest to learn to parent we have looked at what has been said by many different teachers and would-be teachers. We have attempted to weigh the teaching offered by two principle standards: (1) what God says, and (2) the results produced by those following such teaching.

As with our homeschool curriculum we looked to many different sources. We looked at what they taught. To the best of our ability we measured it against the Bible, and we looked very, very carefully at how such teaching worked or did not work. We especially tried to look not just at the immediate results, but at what kind of adults it produced. If you were to try to label us with a slogan we would hope that something along the line of "We are not raising children, we are raising adults" would not be unreasonable. But, if that slogan was all you knew about us you could very easily go very far away from how we have actually dealt with specific circumstances and phases of raising up our children.

In the course of looking at many different people with many different opinions about how to raise children we have "discovered" the not so surprising "truth" that there is no one who is 100% correct in all circumstances, and also that even those with which we have serious disagreement may have useful ideas and insights on some things in some circumstances.

Among those whose teaching we have become familiar are Mike and Debi Pearl. We have seen and read what they have written for about 15-16 years. I know pretty well what they teach. It was that knowledge that prompted me to respond when I read things on this forum that, in my opinion slandered and falsely misrepresented what they teach in such a way as to insinuate guilt by association for murder.

I did not jump in to blindly defend Mike Pearl because "he is one of 'us'". More than a single specific accusation, I saw a whole array of accusations against the homeschool community that I know to be either false, or highly exagerated. I have seen these before, repeatedly. They are not new. The only thing that was new was that they had been picked up by former homeschoolers and were being deliberately given to current homeschoolers in what I perceived as an attempt to undermine the efforts of homeschooling parents to teach their own children in the way they believe best.

(For those who think I am going to completely gloss over the existence of any and all problems, please stick with me a bit longer.)

I chose to focus on the situation with Mike Pearl because I was pretty sure I could show that the accusations as presented were simply wrong. I think I was able to do that in a reasonable manner.

Does that now mean I am going to continue by lecturing you all to go out and buy, read, believe and follow everything written and said by Mike Pearl? No, it does not. No, I am not.

As I said at the start, I do not feel capable of handling all of the issues underlying this situation, even just the basic ones raised by "To Train Up a Child", especially in a format like this forum, and also especially when some of you are so biased against certain things that at this point in your life there is no point.

Fortunately for me I do not have to answer all of your questions. God has other peope in your lives and he will lead you through circumstances as he chooses. You will continue to learn under the day you die. It is inevitable.

To touch briefly on "To Train Up a Child" I do understand the reactions to how Mike Pearl presents his teaching. But, I think there is a reality about our nature as humans (as we were created by God) that Mike Pearl recognizes and attempts to address that we as humans wish we could deny, and try very hard to deny.

(I may well mischaracterize Mike Pearl myself, but I will do my best to be fair and honest.) We are born with one center of the universe, ourselves. We want what we want and we want it now. The concept of obedience is completely foreign to us, except as we develop the idea that others can and should obey us as we express our demands.

That stands in contrast to another reality that is the obedience we must acquire to simply function in the midst of society. We must obey the government. We must obey our boss. We must control ourselves and "obey" certain social conventions if we hope to have others allow us be around them.

In the providence of God through the creation of the family, the family is the first source for training the necessary obedience. The family is not only first, it is the primary source for children, and one of the fundamental functions of the family.

Once you recognize the need for learning obedience you are faced with the choice and the challenge of how to teach it.

At this point I will simply note a few of my opinions about Mike Pearl and the approach presented in "To Train Up a Child".
-What he teaches was pretty common up until very recent times.
-There are what I consider good arguments to be made that modern child training methods have not produced better results that the older ones.
-If you will read Mike Pearl honestly and gain a true sense of what he is saying you will find that he is not advocating harshness in any way. He believes that minimal discipline promptly and consistently administered will preclude the need for harshness, which actually fails more often that it succeeds.

Beyond those few basic thoughts, as for me dealing with more specifics in "To Train Up a Child" you can mark this down as Mr. Engel's official punt. I am not going to do it. I sat down yesterday evening for a couple of hours reading and writing notes. It was during that time that I realized what I consider to be the impossibility of the task.

I am now going to make some hasty(?) generalizations. If as you think about yourself you find they in some way apply to you I suggest you think about them just a little. If they don't apply to you, just ignore them and move on. You have learned to be critical, and that is important, necessary and useful. But, sometimes in your ignorance and youthful arrogance you pass hasty judgement on things that you really do not understand yet. (I use plain English words here intentionally. We are all ignorant until we have the opportunity to learn something. God has given youth the gift of a zeal to attack the world and the audacity to believe they can succeed when they do so. He knows that you will learn as you make the attempt.)

Having come this far I am going to make a bit of a turn and say a few more things that you may or may not believe or accept.

I was definitely surprised to see Mike Pearl's name introduced into the disucssion as it was. I was further surprised to see how wide the sentiment ran with the belief of the severity of teaching supposedly advocated by Mike Pearl. I also believe that some of you may be surprised to learn that Mike Pearl has himself openly criticized the harsh discipline methods some parents use. This is not a one time passing occurrence, but in my observation an important issue of great concern to Mike Pearl.

Having said that I am going to stick my neck in the noose so you can hang me if you want. I am going to link one article that was written in two parts. I am not going to comment on it, and I am not going to defend or debate about it.

Why do I say "stick my neck in the noose"? Because I know that just like the objections raised with "To Train Up a Child" there are things Mike Pearl says, and ways that he says them, in this article that some of you will not like. So I am taking the chance that on balance bringing them to your attention will be a net benefit. But I am well aware there is no guarantee of that.

http://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/jumping-ship-part-one/
http://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/jumping-ship-part-two/

____________________________________________________________

Miss Batman, I believe I would be remiss if I did not respond to your post. Since you are so confident in your opinions at this point I suspect it would be pointless to try to convince you of how likely it is that you will either change them some day or regret the resulting consequences.

"Also, to some extent what the Pearls actually advocate is irrelevant. If a significant number of people have interpreted it as justifying homicidal abuse, then we have a problem, even if the Pearls themselves would decry such a reading." MSD, I hope you recognize this as unfair, and that you would not like to be judged by this standard.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:42 pm 
Offline
Kenya debate as good as me?
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:06 am
Posts: 1926
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: In your head.
Mr. Engle - I wanted to thank you for being so thorough and thoughtful in your comments. I spoke hastily and (funny enough considering the subject) the decisive opinions of my parents when discussing the Pearls. I'll be more careful in the future and be sure to read your links. I do think some level of spanking is necessary in raising children, and I look forward to reading future comments you have on this subject.

Again, thank you for your thoughtfulness and care.

_________________
I desire to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.

SDG.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:08 am 
Offline
Get off my lawn, young'ins!
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:06 pm
Posts: 1909
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: Frantically hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del
Mr. Engel wrote:
MSD wrote:
Also, to some extent what the Pearls actually advocate is irrelevant. If a significant number of people have interpreted it as justifying homicidal abuse, then we have a problem, even if the Pearls themselves would decry such a reading.
MSD, I hope you recognize this as unfair, and that you would not like to be judged by this standard.
Lone crazies are one thing, but when you see multiple people independently referencing a specific book as the reason they beat their children to death, something's not right. Parenting books don't normally have that effect.

That doesn't necessarily mean we should blame the Pearls, who I'm sure had the best of intentions, but it does mean we need to take a hard look at why this happened and what we can do to keep it from ever happening again.

_________________
Abe bimuí bithúo dousí abe - "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"

COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook - NCFCA/Stoa (thread)
Factsmith research software - v1.4 currently available (thread)
Loose Nukes debate blog - stuff to read with your eyes.


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:32 am 
Offline
Truth In Advertising
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:43 am
Posts: 2373
Home Schooled: Yes
Well the government shut down so I thought I'd check out another discussion concerning children...

Mr. Engel,

A little about me. My name is Scott. I came to this forum in 2005 a year before I joined NCFCA in my sophomore year of high school. I debated through graduation (I think I remember seeing some of your kids debate once) and then for another three years in college before I (recently) graduated. I grew up home schooled, attended a church attended exclusively by home schooling families, and have followed home schooling issues closely for as long as I can remember.

I answer yes to both your questions (though I believe my expression of those answers takes a different form than yours). I was spanked as a child. I am the better for it and so are a great many of my friends who were also spanked.

Less than a month ago I burned my parent's copy of To Train Up a Child. (No seriously, I took a picture if you want to see, it was pretty epic.)

Why?

Because while some forms of chastisement advocated by the Pearls might seem reasonable when taken in context, the attitude that fills up the lines of their book is significantly problematic. I would give you chapter and verse but alas the rain just washed away the ashes so I will have to direct you to the same attitude that lies in the links you shared. It is an attitude which encourages conformity by force. How do I mean? Consider the rhetoric of the NJG article. "We must keep/prevent/stop our children from jumping ship when they have the chance." Consider Pearl's rhetoric with Anderson Cooper. "You must use physical pain to get their attention so that you may then instruct them." Consider the rhetoric of the book (parts of which I have read) where Pearl recommends, in speaking about pieces of plumbers line, to buy them in bulk because it is cheaper that way and leave them lying around the house so that the child is always reminded if your (the parent's) authority.

Now, I am going to pause and point out that Pearl does periodically try to distinguish between pain for pain's sake and purposeful discipline, but quite frankly the momentum of everything else all but extinguishes those warnings. Pearl talks at length about how he wants to train up balanced, intelligent, and emotionally stable children.

And myself and so many of my childhood friends are emotionally stable. But not in the rosy way that Pearl portrays. For some of us, we find stability in suppressing all emotion whatsoever because being "loud" earned a spanking. For some stability comes through running everything by mom and dad even if they are grown adults because otherwise their parents will think they are being rebellious. Still others find stability in online personalities where they can hide behind eHarmony profiles or gaming avatars because they don't have a clue how to truly connect with another human being outside of their family or sex. And the list goes on.

You see, if physical pain is only used as a method of attention getting, then you are faced with a very serious problem. What happens when the child's attention is not gotten? More pain? What happens when the child's attention is gotten but then lost? More pain? What happens when the child wants to investigate something not readily "safe" from their parent's view? More pain? What happens when the child has a learning difficulty but s/he has parents who do not believe that autism exists? More pain? What happens when a child finds it difficult to copy out an entire book of the bible long hand before they can get out of their cage because that was their parent's view of "proper behavior"? More pain? *sigh* Ahh, now I feel something...

I hope you caught a couple things out of those last few paragraphs. In fact, it's the best way I know how to describe the systemic problem that HA is trying to uncover. Homeschooling as a structure, and all of its furniture like the Pearl method, or the ATI Wisdom Booklets, or Vision Forum Families, and so on, it is all a grand tool belt that any parents can strap on and get right to work raising their kids.

In the hands of parents like the Pearls or yourself, some of these tools are used extremely effectively in raising wonderful, beautiful children. Note that I have no problem believing that the Pearl kids are doing just fine, if that is, in fact, the case. But what happens when the parent clipping on this tool belt has problems, just like almost every human being on the planet? Perhaps it is anger, or control, or disconnection, or passivity, or what have you. What about the kind of pride which says "I am right and you are wrong" to everyone who disagrees with you? (Good thing that's a very small percent of the popula....oh, wait)

The big bad systemic problem I mentioned previously is accountability, by the way. Please keep reading. It's going to be a worthwhile conclusion. Homeschooling is by nature an isolating process. On some level, a homeschooling family, and especially one that does so for ideological reasons, has to have decided that, "darn it, this is my family and I am going to teach my kids how/whatever I darn well please." Again, for most parents, this probably won't be an issue. But in my experience, homeschooling seems to attract and encourage (or condition?) people who like to be in control and aren't happy with their children doing anything contrary to their perspective on life. Now what happens if a particularly anger-prone father picks up a copy of To Train Up a Child? Perfect. Here is a recognized leader in the homeschooling world telling me to pick up that 12 inch piece of plastic (or a belt, if they are old enough) and use it on my child to achieve conformity. Pearl can disclaim all he wants, but his definitions of "attention", "propriety", "discipline", "instruction", and so on are extremely...redefinable. What cannot be misconstrued are his suggested implements and what to do with them. There are over 625,000 copies of TTUAC in print. Let's be generous and say that 1 in every 1000 parents has a problem with control, anger, etc...And thus the stage is set and the body bags prepared. All that is necessary is a particularly strong willed child (or one with mental difficulties) and a particularly strong willed parent (or one with mental difficulties) and...*sigh*

Oh right, accountability. So who holds homeschoolers accountable for how they treat their children?
1. The police - Let's hope the neighbors are vigilant and willing to call 911.
2. Child Protective Services - Not if HSLDA gets their way.
3. Homeschooling Organizations - I wonder where they got the Pearl literature in the first place
4. Extended family - Only if they know whats going on which means being allowed to see their cousins/grandchildren/etc
5. The Church? - Ahhhh NOW we are getting somewhere...except I have been attending church my entire life. In 23 years I have yet to hear a sermon on Ephesians 6:4 or related passages. What I HAVE heard are sermon after sunday school lesson after youth group plea to honor your father and mother, to respect your elders, etc. And how willing is a fellow homeschooling parent or a church leader, especially one who practices the same literature/methods, to step in and tell a suspect parent how to do their "job"? And what about the family I know about in California whose father moves church every time the pastor/elders say something he disagrees with? Looks like the church is (functionally) out too.

Accountability then falls to those who know, and are willing to speak.


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:45 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
I have a lot going on in the near future and I won't have the time to write a suitable response for quite some time. It could well be more than a week before I have time. But, I do want and plan to respond.

In the meantime I would like to issue a challenge. There seems to be a distinct sentiment among a fair number of forum participants against any sort of spanking. (I could try to come up with other fancy words, but I think that one works fine.)

So far this has largely been expressed in the negative. I will not... I will never... I can't imagine...

Most of those who are not already married will eventually marry. Most of those will eventually have children. At that point the theoritical will come face to face with reality.

My challenge is primarly to those who say (in whatever way), "I will not...", how then will you handle those situations where you child is disobedient? I am hoping for some very specific details. Mushy, hypothetical, maybes are not good enough. If you are going to criticize others then you ought to have a better way.

Along those lines I would like to know someone who advocates your approach. Again, be specific. If you do not like To Train Up A Child, what do you consider good? There must be someone who has done what you want to do and been perfectly successful at it. I suspect sometimes a constant reference back to debate gets old. But, I am going to say that if you have not raised children of your own, you are not a credible expert. If you are going to throw one one approach as bad, you need to have one that you are sure is better.

Finally, I want to reiterate that I am not here as Mike Pearl's apolgist. I have read a lot of different people on raising children, and as I said before I have gotten useful information from a wide variety of people. But I would not consider myself a "follower" of any of them. I have responded to the attacks on Mike Pearl because, based on what I know, I have found them to be uninformed and unfair. It is not my desire to make this the "Mike Pearl" thread. Hopefully we can move past that.


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:55 am 
Offline
Hermione's smart friend
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:43 pm
Posts: 1840
Home Schooled: Yes
I don't think one needs to have 18 years worth of parenting plans plotted out, nor does one need to have personally raised children (a good way of mooting most of the voices on this site), to argue that striking other people is wrong. No one needs to have created the perfect parenting system to point out that another is horribly flawed. The challenge itself seems incorrect. Indeed, it seems more like the onus is on you to prove that this particular method, spanking/striking a child and instilling controlling fear, is a positive one compared to the alternative of not doing those things.

_________________
"What happened to your apartment?"
"I filled it with playpen balls!"
"I...what? Why?"
"Because we're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means."
<3


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 54
Home Schooled: No
Mindbender,

I am sure there are better words to characterize your post, but the best ones that come to mind at the moment are:

1) Lame
2) Cop Out

If you want to assert that a know-nothing, do nothing approach to parenting is better than strict discipline, then do so. Be clear about what should be done. Otherwise it is pretty hard to take you seriously.

Everyone can be a critic. The world wants people with real solutions. Do you have any? Or do you just prefer to throw bricks at other people in your gentle, non-hurtful way?


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:56 am 
Offline
Ex Site Owner
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 3:09 am
Posts: 1975
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: La Grande, OR
Just so y'all know, I have a hip replacement this month and I'm in the last three month stretch of a two year book project. I'm not avoiding Mr Engel's detailed response, but I simply don't have the time for a line-by-line response. I meant to provide links and information to alternative perspectives on To Train Up a Child so that you could make up your minds. Honestly, I don't know much about the books and teachings - other than what was beaten into me in the name of Pearl-style "spankings." Although I did read a lot of the material my parents got when I was younger. Many of my peers have spent many hours educating themselves about this book and I provided links to that analysis. I'm not here to give line-by-line refutation on every perspective and nuance on Homeschoolers Anonymous. I just want to be the voice crying out in the wilderness.

I refuse to believe that dogs can be trained without pain, but infants need pain to learn not to do something. I don't know what "paradigm of parenting" I will use, but did you when you first had children? Of course not, those things are learned over time and only now, with the benefit of hindsight and years of parenting experience, could you even explain the evolution of your personal parenting paradigm. I know that the Pearls aren't a good source for that knowledge, but it's not like there are no other paradigms of parenting. The Pearls emphasize ancient practices that ignore modern psychology and scientific understandings of child development. If literal conformity to the text of the scriptures is so important, you better spank your child with a rod and not a plumbing line, as recommended by the Pearls.

_________________
-Nick

You think you're radical
But you're not so radical
In fact, you're fanatical
Fanatical


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:15 pm 
Offline
The Great White Sharc
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:58 pm
Posts: 4769
Home Schooled: Yes
Quote:
But, I am going to say that if you have not raised children of your own, you are not a credible expert.

Who, then, would you like to respond, if all of us who haven't raised children are not allowed?

_________________
Marc Davis

I currently help coach at TACT in Region X.


Top
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 196 posts ]  Go to page Previous 16 7 8 9 10 Next

All times are UTC+01:00


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited