New Castle News

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November 5, 2012

Home-school proponent well-versed in controversy

(Continued)

Bauer's disagreement with home-schooling proponents who say the public schools are hostile to Christianity also has become a point of contention.

"I've been told if I say anything supportive of public schools, even charter ones, I'll lose my speaker's fee, and I don't get my expenses reimbursed," she says. "Of course, I tell them I won't come."

Bauer has been asked "to swear I won't bring certain books for my book table; to mention certain words," she wrote on her blog in April. "None of which, I should say, have anything to do with what I normally talk about: grammar, history, writing, reading, learning. I have been told that I am not welcome, in some cases, because I talk too much about the psychology of learning, and not about the Bible. Or because I have a theological degree and am obviously pushing a Christian agenda. Because my 'professional associations,' however loose, are too liberal, or too secular, or too Christian."

She got 69 comments on that entry, including: "My husband and I ultimately decided against homeschooling after a few years because it was so incredibly difficult to build/find a community and we found the experience horribly, destructively isolating as a result. We were either too Christian or not Christian enough, or not the right kind of Christian, too structured or too unstructured, too egalitarian in our marriage or too husband-led."

Mark Reynolds, the new provost at Houston Baptist University, who has home-schooled his four children, believes the annual home-schooling conferences have moved to the right.

"A more fundamentalist minority has seized control of the conferences," he says. "Fewer people are attending them, because most of the information you used to only get at a conference you can now get online. I think Susan is right. What's happened to her says that the national organizations are irrelevant to home-schoolers in the United States."

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