Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When Child Training Leads to Abuse and Murder: Pearls of Wisdom for Concerned Parents

Butte County (California) District Attorney Mike Ramsey confirmed last Thursday that he is exploring a possible connection to a Web site that endorses "biblical discipline" to the murder of a seven year old girl. Kevin Schatz, 46, and his wife, Elizabeth Schatz, 42, were arraigned in Butte County Superior Court and could face two life terms in prison if convicted. The Schatzes were arrested Saturday morning, February 6, 2010 after their adopted daughter, Lydia, age 7, stopped breathing. She was subsequently pronounced dead. Her 11-year-old sister, Zariah Schatz, remains in critical condition at a Sacramento children's hospital, though she is showing some signs of recovery. The two were adopted at the same time with an infant girl, now 3, from the same African orphanage about three years ago.

Salon is reporting that the Schatzes followed closely the popular, child "training" practices of Michael and Debi Pearl. The teachings of the Pearls and their Tennessee-based No Greater Joy ministry, which brought in $1.8 million last year in sales of books, DVDs and the like, are widely known across many conservative Christian churches and home-schooling communities. The Pearls advocate a specific program of even-tempered "chastisement" designed to bring about total obedience -- even by infants -- to their sovereign parents. Their website proclaims "A length of quarter-inch plumbing supply line is a real attention-getter."

It is with such an instrument that sisters Lydia and Zariah were punished. The Pearls cannot be ultimately blamed for the death of Lydia, but there is a growing concern among Christian groups that the mindless following of Old Covenant discipline principles taught by the Pearls, based upon a Jewish covenantal system that ultimately called for the death of continuously rebellious children, is misleading many Christian parents.

For more information on this tragic murder one may read the following sites:

Tragedy in a Homeschooling Family
The Course of Our Lives
I Speak of the Unspeakable
A Terrible Event
When Parenting Kills
Does the End Justify the Means?
When Parenting Kills: An Update
Hold Them Down, Defeat Them Totally
Sharper Iron


Lydia said...

There is some real sick stuff coming out of the Patriarchy movement.

I have been contacted by friends who are taking in young women who are escaping from these families. Folks would recognize some of the names of these leaders. Some are big in FIC.

These young women (around 19-22) have never had a female exam (one was found to have a big tumor that had to be removed), were not allowed to attend college and not allowed to date. Arranged marriages were their destiny when daddy decided it was time. said...


There is a really excellent book entitled "Quiverering Daughters," written by Hillary McFarland, that should help some who have been scarred by the patriarchy movement. I'm looking forward to it being published.

Steven Stark said...

What a tragedy.

What is the whole point of discipline? To create robots or independent thinkers?

There is a time and place for "because I said so" -but it's out of interest for the child - not for the interest of obedience itself.

Parenting like this seems to me that it could result in a kind of long-term "toddler-hood" - where children never learn the reasons for right and wrong behavior, only physical consequences. It's a form of "divine command theory" for parents - what is right is because I said so, independent of reasons.

Thanks for the post, Steven

Anonymous said...

Hey Lydia, I found a book for you:

Preparing To Be A Help Meet


I know you will be furious after you read the description of the book--for even I was. But then the disgust turned quickly to sadness as I read the comments below of ladies and young mothers drooling over the release of this book.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Very sad. Christians who tolerate this kind of thing should have nothing to say against Muslims and burqas.

Kelly Reed said...

What do you mean by FIC?

Tikatu said...

Thank you, Wade, for blogging on this. I've seen Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians blogging about it, and bringing out the problems with the Pearls and their methods. Now the Baptists know.

Tikatu said...

Oh, and an update: Zariah is out of the hospital. I'm not sure if that has been reported in the media, but some of the blogs have brought that update to light.

Kathy said...

Thank you for raising concern about these parenting guidebooks. The discussion at Sharper Image that you linked to is extremely disappointing, though. God, what will it take?

Man of the West said...

Not to be overlooked is the fact that this sort of thing makes homeschoolers in general look bad, and that it makes parents who occasionally administer a perfectly normal spanking look like abusers.

Jeff said...

Lydia, Let's not generalize the patriarchy too much. I know you hate to think that God created the male to be the leader, but don't use it as an opportunity to bash others.

Tell me since when is not allowing dating wrong!!!

Gene S said...

It is amazing that the more we know about children, the dumber we are in dealing with them! This case is a glaring example.

In my mind, child rearing is the greatest and most important task God calls us to do. It has no clear-cut direction book except Jesus' wonderful addage: "As you would that men should do unto you, do unto them likewise."

Our most important lessons in child rearing come naturally as our parents raised us. If they did wise things, we were lucky. If they did foolish things, we saw it from the child's perspective and can have the Will to correct it when it is our turn.

Those who write books about the subject are sometimes helpful, but whatever is written needs to be evaluated in our personal experiences and watching those who are successful parents.

Dr. Spock based his concepts on rat experiments relative to how rats learn to not waste time on a lever which produces a food pellet. He concluded that, since the rat quit pushing the lever in about the same time whether he got a shock or just no pellet--that to just not reward a child would produce as much results as a spanking.

Now anyone who thinks a child is no smarter than a rat---that should lead to some serious doubts about the wisdom of his approach.

On the other hand, anyone who thinks a child will just become a perfectly behaved and never crying "little adult" by having been beaten half to death by a religious fanatic, is worse than stupid--they have justified physical abuse--in this case, death of a child.

How stupid can you be!!!!!

A loving parent will produce loving children. It requires you to be just a little smarter than the child and a little more patient and caring. You don't have to be an expert--just a little smarter.

More clearly defined, I mean NEVER descend into the selfish and demanding world of the child! Those parents appear to me as people wanting complete control of another human--just like a child does.

They wanted instant gratification--just like a child--so they could beat that baby until it gave them what THEY wanted.

Children obey your parents is one of the 10 Commandmants, but "Thou shalt not kill" is far more important to be obeyed for me.

When religion is full of crazy notions as well as child rearing, we will only get worse and worse crazy--producing more crazy until the world is so crazy, God decides to start again with whatever is left after someone who is crazy and selfish pushes the red atomic button!

Gene S said...

I know a number of "Home Schoolers." By and large I find them to be fearful perfectionists afraid the "evil world" will corrupt their innocent and "predestined to be religious" children.

We can have children who know everything in the world, yet have no knowledge of social graces or the give-and-take of getting along on the playground.

I would never take my child out of school and try to do a better job at home. For one thing, the books available for such teaching are usually quite biased in the information they give our children.

In other words, they have an angle to them which short circuits a well-rounded mind of the child.

Usually, such parents deny their children access to the Discovery / Learning / National Geographic Channels for fear they might be corrupted with evil thoughts not the parents'. It is Liberty University incarnate with Bob Jones University taking up any slack--you name the others who educate out of fear and harsh discipline.

Religion was crazy enough without adding education to the process.

"Be in the world, but not of the world" didn't mean to withdraw into a special corner where evil could not get to you. We all have an evil side residing in our "world of 1"!

That's why no religiously based society has been without its Salem Witch Hunt insanity. If there is no crazy to start with, you can guarantee Satan is developing it within the "perfect people" assuming religion = perfection!

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

They are beating infants.
May God have mercy on all of us together.

Maybe the 'government' can make the beating of infants by religious fanatics a 'hate crime'. That way, the Pearls CAN be accused of fostering hate crimes and they can be brought to justice.

The sadness of the plight of these little ones calls out to God's people for intervention.

One of the features of extreme fundamentalism is the faithful's idolatry of its leaders and teachers.
Also, a seeking for 'perfectionism' and for the 'discipline' of any and all who are seen as lacking by those judgmental 'perfectionists'.
'Sucking up and kicking down' is a norm. When the 'sucking up' is bowing before the sadistic Pearls, and the 'kicking down' is the beating of little ones, including infants,
you know you are witnessing Satan's hand at work among those whose 'tough love' pride has led them into his service. The dead child is a victim of 'extremist fundamentalism'. She died to satisfy the teachings of a satanic cult.

They practice the beating of infants.

May Christ the Lord have mercy on us.

May He send St. Michael the Archangel to defend Christ's little ones from those who worship the Evil One.

Caritas Christi,

Christiane said...

Daniel 12:1

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people . . . "

Timothy Snider said...

I have some concerns about what this post left unsaid, and the direction some of the comments seem to be going.

As a homeschooling father of three in North Central OKlahoma, #1. This is a sad story, and I condemn the underlying extreme philosophy unequivocally. #2. I regularly associate with dozens of other homeschool families, and can speak confidently that such a philosophy is not present in our groups. #3. I've never heard of the Pearls.

I think we all need to be careful to draw our 'Venn diagrams' very carefully. (If you've forgotten your math, what I mean is: 'Don't stereotype OR Don't paint with a broad brush.)

Timothy Snider said...

I'm not going to make the error of 'reading in' to Wade's post, but I do wish the post was more definitive in its cautions against guilt by association.

The comments of Gene S have motivated me to respond and perhaps steer this in a more charitable direction. I won't deny anyone's right to an opinion, but do desire to provide facts to dispel myths.

Gene S raises concerns about biased information in homeschool texts. Your point is???? The reality is that homeschool families have access to literally any educational curriculum out there, and most families glean from the best. Most of the core 'public school' curricula also have their biases.

'Fearful'? No 'social graces'? Can't get along on a playground? Studies have shown homeschool graduates are significantly more involved in community/social/service groups and organizations during adulthood. Playground behavior? We must be looking at two different groups of people. Fearful? Sure, to some extent...fearful of shootings, fearful of state control instead of parental control of reproductive education and medical decisions. But fearful overall? No way.

'Religion was crazy enough without adding education to the process.' This might be the most 'out of touch' sentence in the comment. The only broad thing to have occurred between religion and education went THE OTHER DIRECTION - subtraction. Most, if not all, original educational structures were explicitly religious in their founding and goals. Within this respect, many homeschoolers are returning to historical roots.

'Well-rounded?' My homeschool family and other families we associate with perform community service, sing, play sports, learn foreign languages, meet with legislators, show livestock, raise fruits and vegetables, sew, cook, build, play, enter art and essay contests, memorize Scripture, go to summer camp, travel in foreign countries, host foreign exchange students, etc etc ad infinitum. PLUS, we do all of this while propping up the failing public schools with our property taxes while receiving none of the extra-curricular benefits our Tax Dollars pay for. We can't participate in their sports or band programs that our tax dollars support. We cannot meet the author of the children's stories whose travel to our local public schools was paid for with our tax dollars. I could go on and on.

Did I just say 'failing public schools'? Yes, I did. Recent study showed 77% of OK public high school seniors could not name the first US President (who was homeschooled by the way). 90% did not know how many Supreme Court justices there are. Financial resources thrown at the public education machine have grown massively, and outcomes have done nothing but flatline.

My six year old this morning struck up a conversation with me about the sticky accelerators on the Toyota cars. He KNOWS what 77% of OK 18 year olds do not. He has friends who are in public school and homeschool environments. The same could be said for my two older daughters.

Please learn the facts about homeschooling. For the most part, we just want to exercise the freedom to raise and educate our children how we see fit, not how the STATE sees fit. Our overall track record shows that we do a good job, our graduates are sought out by many colleges and universities, we've had a Heisman trophy winner, and our overall educational outcomes and indices of adult happiness/social involvement outpace those who came through public education.

Gene S said...


Don't get your pants in to much of a wad--I am reflecting the negative side of home schooling--too much of which I have seen among those I personally meet who do this.

Why don't we really lay the cards on the table with the problems of public education these days. As I perceive them they are:

(1) Minorities mandated to be bused into public school outside their lacale tend to bring down the level of students in the class room. It sounds great in philosophical terms, but putting slow student in the advanced classroom just makes education boring for the more intelligent students.

(2) The Public Schools are expected to be substitute parent for parents who don't give a tinker's dam whether their child does his homework or behaves in the classroom.

(3) Too many of our Public School teachers do not practice good English, for example. My son had a note sent from his 2nd grade teacher which did not have a single correct sentence along with many misspelled words. What you don't know, you can't teach. In combining schools during integration, there was no standard set for teachers.

(4) Private Schools were started in droves for "white Christians only." I hold churches responsible for helping people escape from the need for all people in a given town or area crossing the lines of social strata to help one another.

Is this Home School just another ways of avoiding true communication across racial and social lines???

(5) If a wide scale home schooling or private schooling movement takes place, where are the quality controls?

(6) Do you just opt out of being a responsibile citizen who cares for all children needing education in deference to your own children?

(7) How does this relate to Jesus' example of moving and healing among the outcasts of society?

Again, I applaude you personally for your success. Do you in any way minister, as a Christian, to other children around you who do not get the chances you are giving to your children?

Sorry you perceived me as a total critic which I am not. As good parents we discussed with our children what they were learning--and added what we could as we helped with homework. We also educated our children in proper control of their sex drive and gave them more than just a talk about the "birds and bees." True Love Waits has shown itself to be a grand failure in cutting premarital sex among those taking the vow.

How do you feel about paying local taxes to support a school your children do not attend? It seems like a pretty big financial waste for anyone who opts to Home School.

Timothy Snider said...

Gene S
Sir - I do not intend to engage in 'flame wars' here. Your 'pants in a wad' entry does little to promote civility, in my opinion.

My chief purpose in commenting was to caution readers/commenters from the 'guilt by association' pitfall with regard to homeschooling. Again, I wish Pastor Wade's post could be more explicit in sharing such cautions. Homeschooling, after all, is an easy target because of their minority presence, their differences from the norm, and a lack of understanding.

Your points #1-4 are concerns I would largely share, and as they're not germane to my goals in commenting, I won't comment further.

Your pt #5: Quality controls? Your question seems to imply that the almighty 'quality controls' in public education have been wildly successful. Wow-just look at it. We have a bloated bureaucracy of 50 State level education departments, a Fed level Department of Ed, tens of thousands of school boards, etc. all doing the job of 'quality control' and yet we can't teach high schoolers who the first president was, and we can't compete better than 15th or so on the world stage in core subject matter. QC is a non-issue until a true QC standard is developed.

Your pt #6: Yes, I defer to my own children first. I admit not grasping your POV; are you indicating that I should not? Also, I am a responsible citizen by caring for my children.

Your pt #6 and #7: You summarize in these pts a common charge Christians level at homeschoolers. It is most appropriately addressed in Sally Thomas's piece at First Things:

Minister to other children? Sure, as much or more so than any public school parent. You seem to insinuate upon Christian homeschoolers that we are purely isolationist, and that's unfortunate because it is wrong. My wife teaches SS to kindergartners. We teach 4-H workshops and public speaking practice in a local 4-H club. We volunteer for food banks, Salvation Army, etc. all of which provide support for children.

Feel about taxes? I partially addressed that earlier. My tax dollars pay for books, A/C, bricks and mortar, salaries, guest author visits, shoulder pads, pitching machines, and clarinets. At a local level, we should have every right to avail ourselves of the benefits that we selectively choose. At a state and national level, the per capita public school student expend in OK is somewhere north of $10000, and in DC I heard it was around $25000. We provide better education for our kids (3) for under $1200 or so. The big argument is for 'school choice' and vouchers to put some competition stimulus into the program. Wow, we'd love to opt out and get an annual voucher/tax credit/etc for $30,000 a year.

Unknown said...

Two thoughts.

Any time I research the Pearls' teaching, the harsher and meaner I am with my children. I have found that it is very difficult to read their stuff, even so that I can speak against it knowledgeably, without it tainting my thoughts. I sincerely encourage other parents to stay away from their website. There are many older, experienced parents who know the Pearl stuff inside and out. Read what they have to say and do not harden your hearts against your children.

Secondly, all the Pearls have to do in their defense is quote other "big shots" in the church:

John Piper, "If Jesus were married and had children, I think he would have spanked the children.
The place that I would go to help a person see that he would, when they can't imagine that he would, is Matthew 5 where he said, "Not a jot nor a tittle will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished. In other words, all the Law and the Prophets stand until they're done. And the Law says, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." That's a paraphrase. The book of Proverbs says, "If you withhold the rod, you hate your son." Jesus believed the Bible, and he would have done it."

Piper is pushing these "Old Covenant discipline principles" that you mentioned!

Also, Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child's Heart "One of the justifications for spanking children is that ‘Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him’ (Proverbs 22:15)" p.20

He states that the OT "justifies" what he teaches.

These parents believe that Jesus took the punishment for their own sin, but they insist on beating it out of their children. So sad.

Gene S said...


You are obviously on the defensive, and I don't mean for you to take it so personally.

I do speak somewhat plainly. I find it to communicate more clearly than all the "sweet talk" which sometimes comes to this blog and others. I live in a very real world of owning a Tree Surgery Company where plain talk gets communication so we don't get killed by a tree. It is a pretty much black-and-white world where you can either put that monster tree where you aim it or something gets destroyed!

As I read your comments, I see a somewhat "me and my family approach" tendered with some community service.

I compare the current school situation to what I experienced in a small crossroad town named Clarkston in the 1950's outside Atlanta before it had reached its first million residents. Also I now reside in the similar town of Bath, NC, with a small and person-focused elementary / middle school. It is integrated, but produces an above average kind of student. They are able to name the Presidents and discuss current events in ways you describe from your home schooling.

In my day there was no such thing as "social promotion." You either passed or had to repeat the grade. In my school almost all the teachers knew our names and their subject matter. They taught it in a caring way. We were truely educated.

Also, in my day, we divided students according to intelligence tests administered to everyone into 3 groups: Advanced / Average / Slow. The Advanced group took courses together on a College Prep track. The Average students were on a track to a technical or trade career. The Slow students got special attention and could, at the least, read and write when they graduated. There was no such thing as a graduate of Clarkston High School who could not do the basics.

Also, in my day a College Education meant a higher level of achievement so that you learned how to think rather than "what to think." You were required at Emory University to write papers which showed a study of all sides of a given issue concluded with a reasoned explaination at to why you took the position you did.

Gene S said...


No one stands a chance of getting into Emory / Duke / Harvard level schools without "above average" scores on the SAT. They are providing generous financial support options to students of meager financial means so that people from working class incomes can find a way to pay the high cost of a Private School education.

I find too much of today's education to have the quality control problems you wisely cite. Because of this we have an over all society which is "educated" but incapable of thinking for themselves too often.

I blame our families these days for working too much and delegating child rearing to kindergartens with a mass society approach to things. They don't even go to the bathroom without having to all grab a rope to be led like little dogs to the restroom. Whatever happened to enough self-control so that children can stand in line and wait their turn without a rope??

This translates into adults who want to be told what to do. They prefer to go to a large church where individuality is lost and pay their required tithe to be entertained.

Over all it appears to be a lowering of individual responsibility and a numbing of the mind to do what those parents in the initial article did to their children. They were following so much the demands of the spiritual leaders they failed to notice their small child was literally dying under the blows of the vinyl pipe with which they were beating them into submission.

The parents should have been loving and exampling them into more decent humans who can, in turn, raise decent human beings into adulthood. It is much like the terrorists being emotionally coned into 40 virgins if they will martyr themselves blowing up Americans or whites so fear reigns in our society today.

Education has always involved, from Jesus' day, an understanding of the reason for laws and civil society rather than a blind obedience motivated by fear of eternal punishment if the tithe is not properly paid.

I see some of this in your home school endeavors, but I don't buy the neglect of a wider societal influence. Compassion should motivate us to bring quality education to all so that society move upwards through education and understanding. Right now it seems to be moving sideways or downward.

Inkling said...

The last few years of my life have taught me one thing above all else -- perfectionism is the enemy of grace, and thus the enemy of true faith. I've learned that from my life experiences, but also from some great writers and thinkers (a great introduction to this is Steve Brown's A Scandalous Freedom). Yet it never occurred to me that perfectionism can literally be deadly. What a sad, sad story.

One of the bloggers cited by Wade said this: "The Pearl's system does not just mold children, it molds well-meaning parents into the kind of people who think they can and should expect perfect obedience and perfect behavior from imperfect and defenseless little creatures."

Yet isn't that simply a reflection of what we do in so many of our churches? So much of what is discussed on this blog is rooted in churches who expect perfect obedience and perfect behavior (and perfect doctrine) from imperfect creatures.


Unknown said...

Timothy, I think the point here is that homeschooling families make up a high percentage of the Pearls' audience and supporters. Many homeschool families (and I am familiar with several, both academically successful and not) take on the challenge of homeschooling because they want their children to be separate from the world and untainted by it. But homeschooling is a challenge, especially when a family has small children in addition to school-aged ones. The Pearls' materials virtually promise that they'll have compliant, happy, well-behaved, Christ-loving, saved children if they follow its methods. What Christian father or mother doesn't want that?

Unfortunately for the Pearls and the Schatz family, parenting isn't a "one-size-fits-all" kind of thing. Each child has a God-given uniqueness, and they must be dealt with on an individual basis. Furthermore, Lydia and her adopted siblings were from a war-torn country. They had special needs that the Pearl's methods just could not and would not take into consideration, and that the Schatz's were seemingly unaware of. So, they followed what the Pearls recommended (as evidenced by the telling 1/4" plumbing line used in the beating)... and they killed their daughter.

I challenge you to read some of the blogs listed. The ones written by Paul and Laurie Mathers are particularly poignant because they had some time to know the parents before this happened.

Before someone jumps down my throat and says that I'm against spanking, I'm not. I think that corporal punishment can be an effective tool in a parent's disciplinary methodology. I also think it should not be the first resort, nor the only one, and that even parents who don't spank can still have compliant, happy, well-behaved, Christ-loving, saved children. On this, the Pearls and I strongly disagree.

When someone says, as the Pearls evidently do, that people who don't follow a certain methodology (namely theirs) don't deserve to have children, I will certainly discount whatever they have to say.

Timothy Snider said...

@ GeneS. There's no need to 'stigmatize' someone with whom you disagree, and yet it continues.

At this turn, you now assert I'm defensive. So be it -- guilty as charged. But, for those keeping score at home, your comment said homeschoolers are "by and large...fearful...afraid...have no knowledge of social graces...provide biased curriculum...short-circuit(ing) a well-rounded mind...and that we deny access to materials." Who among us would not defend?

Also, the 'neglect a wider societal influence' comment. Was that directed at a. our family b.homeschooling in general or c. what? Hopefully, the latter, as a. you don't know us, and b. my whole point has been to not make 'guilt by association' fallacies.

@ Dianne - I understand the point trying to be made, but it comes dangerously close to the 'guilt by association' fallacy, which in and of itself is something that Wade Burleson seems to crusade against within Southern Baptist life. Your statement, though stated charitably, is no different than saying that 'Muslims make up the highest percentage of terrorists' --- and then just leave it at that. Or take an example that Wade might take a shine to: if you don't believe in (storehouse tithing, men only in the pulpit, etc), then you must be a liberal/not a true Southern Baptist.

I saw no news story listing the educational background of the shooter at Columbine earlier this week. Odds are it was public education - big deal. But, IF he was homeschooled as a child, you can bet your life that that point would be mentioned by the media. Again, it is easy to target homeschoolers because we are small, we're fairly monolithic, and we're poorly understood. All of this sets up for some dangerous 'guilt by association' fallacies. said...


I am sympathetic with your feelings that some might find others guilty by simple association after reading this post.

That is not what I intended--at all.

I do wish people would use wisdom before they accept any writings as "of God."

In His Grace,


Christiane said...

"Again, it is easy to target homeschoolers because we are small, we're fairly monolithic, and we're poorly understood. "

I disagree about the 'fairly monolithic'.

First of all, if you don't want to stereotype, that is not exactly the thing to say to support your wishes.

I KNOW many parents who homeschool who don't fit a mold of extreme fundamentalism.
These parents are university educated and in some cases, professional educators.
Many of these parents have special needs children and have banded together in support of one another to provide a more detailed program for implimenting individual learning goals of their children.

They are not 'conservatives', some are not 'white', some are international, they come from a variety of faith traditions, and they are primarily very comfortably middle-class. They do not see 'homeschooling' as a way to further a fundamentalist agenda.
They see it as a way to do the best that they can for the sake of their children.

I respectfully disagree that the majority of homeschooling parents are white, conservative, fundamentalists.

They are NOT at all fairly monolithic, in my part of the country.
Maybe you were unaware about the 'other' homeschooling parents out there.

Lydia said...

Wade, someone just wrote me about Hillary's upcoming book. Someone who is very familiar with Patriarchy and got out.

Kev, The Hebrew is Ezer Kenegdo meaning a help corresponding to him. There is no 'helpmeet'. That is a very bad translation and would not fit God's proclaiming them a ONE FLESH UNION. But thanks, anyway. :o) (I am not furious. Books like this make money. People love roles, rules and formulas. It is easier than abiding in Christ alone)

Kelly, FIC is Family Integrated Church. This is not a blanket accusation against all who go that route. Just an observation that these young girls came out of that model.

Jeff wrote:

"Tell me since when is not allowing dating wrong!!!"

At 16, I agree with you. At 22, I don't. If you have not raised her to have some sense by then, she is in even bigger trouble. I worked my way through college and paid rent. By age 24, I had started a business. I did not have time to be stupid. :o)

Just to make it clear on other points: I am a big proponent of homeschooling. I am NOT a proponent of certain cultic groups that have taken over a big portion of the homeschooling market. And are making a fortune, BTW. Many times through fearmongering.

I detest public schools for many reasons. My child is in a private Christian school on a partial scholarship and lots of sacrificing.

But even then, the "Christian" school is becoming worldlier by the minute.

Lydia said...

What I would like to know is why the Bible is not good enough for childrearing anymore. It served my family well for generations.

Meliss said...

Wade, thank you for your last comment. I did not sense judgment towards all homeschoolers in your post. However, Gene S.'s comments were lacking in grace AND truth, and I appreciate Timothy Snider's articulate defense. It would be great if the comments could stay focused on the actual tragedy!

Gene S said...


You, yourself, said you were primarily interested in your own children. While you say you are involved in things like 4-H, I detect no real interest in the education of your community's children.

I am just taking you at your word with no further demeaning of those who choose to use home schooling.

The issue we are discussing is the murder of a child who was using the Pearl way of rearing them.

Please refer to my first comment about the methods parents choose to rear children who learn to be responsible and who are respectful.

Personally, I have no problem with the correct use of spanking. There is a nerve which runs directly from the posterior to the middle of the brain. When tickled properly, it gets a message across which is not soon forgotten.

After I administered such to each of my children, it was followed by clear loving and the hope it would be a while before it needed to be given again. My son, in particular, was in the habit of working up to a lesson in prosterior tickling about every 3 months. He is now a responsible citizen who serves in the Coast Guard. He has 2 children who are a source of pride for their grand parents.

I think we did pretty well in child rearing and sending our children to public schools. They are both believers and good parents to their children. My test was passed!

Lydia said...

"I detect no real interest in the education of your community's children.

I do! Just give us parents the amount from tax dollars that are going to be spent educating our children and let us decide what school. I have HUGE problems with spending so much on education that does not exist.

Ask yourself: Why do community colleges have remedial classes?

Gene S said...


You clearly cite one of my problems with present day public education. I cited it above.

We have too much "social promotion" without the child meeting basic standards to move from one grade to another.

Beyond that, we have too many parents who don't care and don't spend the needed time making sure their child has done his homework and understands the content of what is being taught.

In a way, this is home schooling but using the public school resources which our taxes provide. That is the best of both worlds, in my opinion.

Timothy Snider said...

Wade-I was, I hope, careful to not eisegete your post. Nonetheless, I do appreciate your statement that you weren't trying to associate all homeschoolers.

Christiane - Good point - I typed the 'fairly monolithic' in haste, hoping the word 'fairly' would hold strong. It obviously did not. You're right, on its face, such a statement makes me out to argue with myself. I'm aware of all types of homeschoolers: atheistic, Scientologists, freethinkers, fundamentalist, Muslim, etc. In that sense, we are not monolithic at all. I don't have time to wordsmith a more appropriate phrase, but I will maintain that homeschooling still is an 'easy target.'

Meliss - Thanks.

GeneS-Yes, I'm still most interested in my own children. I think that is Biblically based, etc. I don't see the problem. Regarding the general education of the larger public, there are some practical and statutory barriers barring my full participation.

However, I've got a proposal that meets the 'put your money where your mouth is' guideline. The OK per capita student expense is $10,000 per year. Give my wife and I $150,000 and we would gladly educate our three children and the twelve nearest neighbor children, and our educational outcomes would be better. My point with that scenario is similar to Lydia's-HUGE expense, no results.

Also GeneS states "The issue we are discussing is the murder of a child who was using the Pearl way of rearing them." Well, you weren't - you decided to lump all the homeschoolers 'by and large' into the same circle, and that's what brought us to this point.

Lydia-excellent point.

In that vein, I recently discovered that OK schools were successfully teaching phonics again. The bad news? It's in college:

Unknown said...

Tim, I apologize for offending you. Even though the Schatzes were a homeschooling family, that particular choice is moot when discussing how and why this tragedy happened. If there is any "guilt by association" I see, it would be between the Pearls' teachings and how closely the Schatz family followed them.

BTW, there is a loud call to boycott the Pearls' materials, and it is coming primarily from Christian families who homeschool.

Gene S said...


I applaude your commitment to your children, my brother! If it were a choice between being sure your children are educated and making sure all children are educated, the first priority should be your own children.

You are paying a personal price in home schooling them. I will assume the strange characters who are trying to keep their children from the world exist elsewhere.

Our shame these days is that many people are in classrooms who don't belong there. I found the Education courses I took in college (few) to be the easiest of all. Perhaps, they should be toughened to cut out the pretenders!

I hear complaints from teachers about how little they are paid. It sounds pathetic UNTIL you realize their pay is based on 9 months of work! Any teacher who has real gumption uses the other 3 to get another job or teach summer school.

I come from a family of teachers who take their responsibility seriously. My Momma was the best at an elementary school--so good she got the hard to teach students. None of them buffaloed her!

My sister and her husband both teach with the same effectiveness. I guess this is why I honor public school teachers and have no fears of my grandchildren going there.

On the other hand, if public schools are sorely wanting, it is the parent's responsibility to see to it their children are properly educated. Just don't make it a racial thing.

JaneDoeThreads said...

One thing, Somebody, Lawyer, Legislator--time to Pass Laws, Holding [how much kaching Money again, to train how to beat ya baby classes in the name of God? but oh, it's about Pro-Life and Children and oh, give me the puke bucket],

Pass the Accessory to Rape, Accessory to Murder [DV] and Accessory to Child Abuse Laws, Remove Protections, under Separation of Church and State, that these C.R.I.M.I.N.A.L.S. hide behind...

and do IT NOW. For revenge, NO,

but do Deter, Other NUTJOBS and CULTS from doing this and making this NORMALIZED, as it stands today, NO child is safe in the Church--the Church, is a Haven for Child Rapists and Child Beaters, it's all about grace and peace, on the backs and blood, of children and women, more and more--I say,

not more. There IS no Peace, without Justice--we have a Duty, to Protect, Children...if we don't, well, we can't cry about the whole Islamic Sharia Law now Can we? Hmmmmmm

Lydia said...

"My sister and her husband both teach with the same effectiveness. I guess this is why I honor public school teachers and have no fears of my grandchildren going there."

It is not the teachers I have a problem with. It is the edicts handed down to the teachers I have a huge problem with. Most teachers do, too. Their hands are tied. Most are glorified babysitters who CANNOT teach because all their time is in dealing with discipline problems, unnecessary paperwork and new experimental education theories to practice on the kids.

And besides, school districts really vary. BUT, Washington needs to stay out of it. Bush's NCLB is ridiculous.

Gene S said...


Good and caring teachers rule--those who can't teach---become administrators!

Anonymous said...

Those speaking out against this abuse:

The Pearl's response: