The homeschooling movement is experiencing sharp divisions over the influence of conservative Christians in its ranks.
While homeschooling is growing among believers and non-believers as well as gaining academic credibility, a battle is being fought over the role of the Christian rightist Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in the loosely-based movement, according to the Charisma News Service (Oct. 2). The HSLDA, which most recently gained headlines for founding Patrick Henry College, the first college designed for homeschooled students, has been a pioneer of homeschooling, growing to 70,000 member families since it started in 1983.
The news service cites an article from the online magazine Salon which reports that both Christian and other homeschoolers are protesting that the HSLDA requires local homeschooling support group members to sign doctrinal statements and exclude those who are not conservative Christians. The social and political outspokenness of the HSLDA, including its views supporting corporal punishment and gun ownership and condemning the United Nations and gay rights, has also come under fire by those pressing for “inclusive” homeschooling.
The National Home Education Network was recently started to address homeschooling topics without a religious bias. Christians disgruntled with the HSLDA have also founded inclusive support groups and a new Christian homeschooling magazine called Gentle Spirit.