Teaching My Baby To Read

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Be Careful Where You Get Your Advice

For those of you who are new to thinking about offering your child some semblance of a Classical Education either through Homeschooling or Afterschooling please beware. In my opinion your best guidebook will be The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer.

There is also another famous (or infamous) author out there named Doug Wilson promoting what he calls a Classical Christian Education. (The end of this post will include my review of Mr. Wilson’s latest book, Father Hunger which I received a complimentary copy of from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinions and review.)

I knew enough about Doug Wilson before I ever read Father Hunger to know that his name was a loaded term. So I called up my cousin Daniel who is studying at an Evangelical Seminary to give me an education. Daniel helped fill me in on the controversial things that Doug Wilson is involved in like the Federal Vision, which (in my mind) seems to be a completely unnecessary “how many angels can dance on a pin” way of seeing if you are a good enough Christian. As a United Methodist, I believe that is a relationship defined by God and the Bible, not Doug Wilson.

I filled my cousin Daniel in on the truly shocking things I already knew about Doug Wilson, namely his co-authorship of the notorious Paleo-Confederate pamphlet Southern Slavery as It Was, which many leading experts in history and religion view to be racist, revisionist, and possibly plagiarized. In Southern Slavery as it Wasn’t Sean M. Quinlan, Ph.D. and William L. Ramsey, Ph.D. soundly denounce the pamphlet calling it “a short “monograph” of thirty-nine pages that defends racial slavery and claims its abolition is the primary cause of “abortion, feminism, and sodomy.”” Reverend Jack Davidson of North Carolina has also written an excellent essay called Wrong About the History of Southern Slavery: A Response to Steve Wilkins and Douglas Wilson’s History of Slavery.

From Doug Wilson’s blog, I also knew that he has really (in my mind) bizarre views on women. He thinks it is okay for girls to learn to play basketball for example, as long as they don’t play with boys and that they are taught to play in a lady-like manner. Then there is the issue of gay rights, which is so contentious in churches today (Methodists included.) In an April/2009 interview in Christianity Today, Doug Wilson refused to say that stoning people to death for homosexuality was a bad idea.

Father Hunger, Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead their Families is full of other types of (in my opinion) misinterpretations of Biblical truths and twisted Ayn Rand nonsense. Wilson claims that a free market economic system would be guided by the Holy Spirit (p 96). He suggests suggesting that Autism is caused by mothers putting their children in daycare (p112). He spends two pages saying that feminists really harbor rape fantasies (pp 141-142). He also calls the Civil War the “War Between the States” (p 94), and not in a cute or ironic way, either.

If you can stomach all of that garbage, then you also have to listen to him basically say that if you put your children in public school then you aren’t really a good Christian (70-71). In fact, Wilson seems to think that many Christian private schools aren’t good enough either. This might be an appropriate time to point out that Wilson is a contributing author to Veritas Press, the same homeschooling company that sent out a Christmas video in 2011 featuring a gun. It is also an education catalogue that offers almost no books for children featuring people of color.

What bothers me is this. You might be a devoted, Christian parent who walks into a Bible bookstore and picks up one of Doug Wilson’s books thinking “I want to do right by my child,” or “I want to give my child a first-class education.” You might stumble across the Veritas Press catalogue like I once did, and think “Hmmm… This looks interesting.” Before you know it, your head and your children’s minds could be filled up with some really twisted stuff.

What really bothers me is that more people of faith and education aren’t speaking up against Mr. Wilson. I’m a Christian, I’m an educator, I have a Classical Education, and I think it is a crime that we are allowing somebody like Doug Wilson to speak on behalf of the Classical Christian Education movement. Our children deserve better.


  1. jenbrdsly says:

    Hey Jenny, I can’t seem to get a comment on to your latest blog post. So here it is!
    I certainly agree with you! Though I’m not sure how one goes about denouncing Douglas Wilson, besides pointing it out when his name is mentioned. Do I need a note on my blog’s sidebar?

    I didn’t know about all the patriarchy/paleo-confederate stuff for years. When I was first getting interested in classical ed and had read WTM, I got his book from somewhere and read it too. It’s mostly aimed towards founding classical Christian schools (he’s not much on homeschooling I guess), and I didn’t care for the book much, but somewhere near the end he told a ‘cute’ family story about his FIL, who ‘affectionately’ refers to babies as “little bundles of sin.” Oog. (I realize that many Christian denominations believe in original sin, while mine rejects any such notion, but HOLY COW.) I’ve disliked him ever since, and only heard worse and worse about him. I should probably read that awful pamphlet, since I’ve only vaguely heard about it. Yick.

    Anyway. It really kind of bugs me that it was Wilson who (AFAIK) originally popularized the Dorothy Sayers essay and the idea of classical education. I try to ignore that and stick to the WTM. I’ve always liked Sayers of course and it cracks me up that she accidentally started all of this. 😉


  2. Jen Arrow says:

    Wow, insanity! Thanks for letting me know.

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