Brief Comments on “That Kind of Girl: Effects of Homeschooling on the Sexual Health of Women and Girls” by Vicry
PERSPECTIVES – News and Comments1
Brian D. Ray
National Home Education Research Institute, Salem, Oregon
Keywords: homeschooling, home schooling, home education, home-based education, sex, sexuality, sex education, religion, worldview, statism, secularism, law, regulation, private schools.
Here are a few comments on Vicry’s 2017 article entitled, “That kind of girl: Effects of homeschooling on the sexual health of women and girls.” First, it is telling to see how she wordsmiths her views of Christian homeschoolers. For example, Vicry labels Christian homeschoolers as “anti-government” (p. 108) instead of as pro-limited government, pro-individual liberty, or pro-U.S. Constitution in regard to government’s role in citizens’ live. She labels Christian homeschoolers as “anti-progressive” (p. 109) instead of as pro-conservative, pro-Christian, or pro-biblical. Finally, she labels them as “counter-cultural” (p. 110) instead of as cultural change agents, as many university professional educators argue that public school teachers should be. The following, on the other hand, is true for many Christian homeschool parents, as Vicry writes: “For these parents, homeschooling was not only an educational choice but an entire way of living. These parents were unwilling to have children raised in the ‘American cult of the child’ and brought up under a worldview of secular humanism imposed on them by strangers” (p. 110).
Vicry never clearly states her personal worldview or Weltanschauung that is plainly driving the direction of her paper. On this note, she “pulls” from the “The CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] [which] has adopted the 2002 definition of sexual health from the World Health Organization [WHO] …” to focus on her “… three ‘building blocks’ of sexual health …” (p. 111). Vicry is committing the fallacy of appeal to questionable authority. She never tells her readers why they should accept the philosophy of sexuality education of the CDC or the WHO. Why does Vicry follow the beliefs of the CDC and WHO, and why should the reader, homeschool families, and those who are considering placing more government regulations onto private homeschooling accept the values, beliefs, and religious-philosophical worldview of these two government-controlled entities? Vicry fails to mention that both the CDC’s and her building blocks are based on a religious-philosophical worldview that is eminently secular and anti-Christian. This is one of her key lacks in this paper – a failure to acknowledge to
the reader the philosophical and religious presuppositions behind her entire thesis.
The database for Vicry’s conclusions about the sexuality education of the children of Christian homeschoolers is gaunt and strained. For example, she presents the following to her readers: “This anonymous homeschooled student’s story is one common to many homeschoolers. When ‘Holly’ left home and arrived at college, she had no basic knowledge of her own anatomy, sexual or reproductive functioning, or what constitutes healthy sex” (p. 113); Vicry pulled this anonymous story from a blog of a website of a group that is consistently and constantly advocating for increased government regulation of homeschooling which is a form of private education in the United States.
Vicry picks and chooses, seemingly randomly or more likely quite purposely, the oddest sounding examples of sexual information from select curricula that homeschool families use. There is no indication of a scholarly sampling, whether random or simply a purposive variety, of curriculum materials.
The author carefully chooses certain excerpts and concepts from a few sources to weave her description of what she implies is typical or normal amongst the teachings of Christian home-educating parents (e.g., p. 119-120). She clearly, apparently because of her religious-philosophical worldview, disdains the historic biblical and Christian concept that sexual relations should occur only within the confines of the marriage of a man and a woman.
In the end, despite the fact that Vicry’s article title includes the word “effects,” she provides no evidence of legal, philosophical, or diagnosable emotional harm to children who are being home educated or adults who were home educated by the typical biblical teachings on sexuality that most Christian homeschool parents give to their children at a rate that is less than, the same as, or higher than for other populations. Furthermore, Vicry offered no evidence that graduates of homeschooling by Christian parents are at any greater risk of psychological or emotional harm or problems such as sexually transmitted diseases or sexual dysfunction than children who are raised in government public schools.
Vicry’s recommendations are based on her religious-philosophical worldview of statism and humanism. She wants to raise awareness about what she sees as the evils of biblical Christianity’s perspective on sexuality. She wants the state (government) to have ultimate authority (via “increasing regulation” and “regulatory solutions,” p. 126) over what must be taught to a child in the form of private education called homeschooling. Finally, Vicry appears to believe that the state should have a right to decide that a child (minor) has certain rights to receive select state-sanctioned information or knowledge (i.e., the right knowledge, the official knowledge) and that the state’s right to do this is more valid and valuable than a parent’s right to decide what is taught to a child.
The author begins by selecting Christian homeschool parents and their beliefs about sexuality. Vicry ends her article by asserting that people of her religious-philosophical-political worldview should use the state (government) to force – i.e., use coercion – a different set of beliefs about sexuality into the curriculum that all homeschoolers use with their children. One should note that Vicry’s view would put the state in authority over the curriculum and schooling of all homeschoolers and unschoolers and not just of Christian homeschoolers. This author’s perspective should concern every person, whether in the United States and any other nation, who holds to a worldview that includes educational freedom and parents having more authority in a child’s education and upbringing than the state.
Vicry, Madalyn Doucet. (2017). That kind of girl: Effects of homeschooling on the sexual health of women and girls. The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, 18(103), 103-129.
The “Perspectives – News and Comments” section of this journal consists of articles that have not undergone peer review.