real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

rick saenz weighs in on sonlight

Over the weekend, Rick Saenz, former assistant to R. C. Sproul Jr., weighed in on the Sonlight situation, basically asking for truth in advertising on the part of CHEC. After taking into account CHEC’s correspondence with John Holzmann and coming to the conclusion that CHEC is “in flux” in developing standards of orthodoxy in education, in the comments section Saenz adds:

“I would actually give CHEC the benefit of the doubt, because I think this unhappy situation arises from a drift in the purpose of an organization that didn’t have a clearly stated purpose to begin with—outside of its name, anyway. But now that it is becoming clear that the guiding forces behind CHEC want to minister to a group that doesn’t come close to including all Christian homeschoolers in Colorado, they need to come clean about that by changing their name and stating their new purpose clearly.

As an analogy, I think it would be fine if Vision Forum started staging its own homeschooling convention, but it would not be fine if they simply took over the FEAST (Family Educators Alliance of South Texas) organization and repurposed it without changing the name or at least clearly announcing that the scope of the organization had been narrowed.”

I don’t know what CHEC initially stated as their purpose but I believe that, while they may not make their agenda known on paper or otherwise to those homeschooling families in Colorado who wander into their conferences, they most definitely have an agenda, one they are anxious to turn into a “homeschooling manifesto.” They are not drifting, they are bulldozing their way right over the top of others who disagree with them. Listening to just a few of Swanson’s broadcasts and the over-the-top statements he makes shows what little regard he has for those of us who hold convictions that fall within Biblical but not patriocentric orthodoxy. Reading the writings and listening to the recordings of those who are heading up this conference tells you EXACTLY where CHEC is going and where it has been for quite a while. No surprises here.

Do these people have qualms about “taking over” organizations? I don’t think so. If you do much reading of the family integrated church writings, you quickly learn that many within that movement don’t have a problem with “taking over” local churches to turn them into FIC’s. Some have even tried to take over entire denominations with their agendas! And the same is true for homeschooling groups. Just ask the moms around the country who are fed up with attending conventions that are really a front for Vision Forum et al.

As much as I admire Rick Saenz’s desire to “always expect the best of someone,” a biblical admonition for sure, in this case it is better to caution homeschoolers to become wise like serpents though harmless as a doves.



  Shauna Okongo wrote @

I am new to Sonlight, but am using their curriculum for my preschoolers. Is something happening there that I missed? Are they changing?

  thatmom wrote @

Shauna, you might want to check out this post:

  TaunyaH wrote @

As a eight year Sonlight user I am so glad to see so many peiople speak up in defense of this wonderful CHRISTIAN curriculum. It is probably a good thing that Vision Forum and organizations that share their “vision” continue to make moves like this. I think it will wake up Christian homeschoolers and force them to see what this organization is really about. If something is not done soon homeschooling will become synonomous with Vision Forum!

  thatmom wrote @

Taunya, I believe the Lord is working in the hearts of homeschoolers and motivating them to no longer say nothing about this. Just last week I heard from 5 different people who have decided to take a public stand about the infiltration of patriocentricity into their homeschooling groups. I wept when I read some of these testimonies. We need to keep praying that the Lord will bless their efforts and that hearts will be changed.

Thank you for being part of this process, dear sister!

  Jessica Andrews wrote @

I was wondering if there is any alternative organization for us in Colorado? I have always been grateful for the CHEC representatives that speak for us in legislative context. I am concerned at the path CHEC is taking and share the concern expressed by others that it will reflect badly on all of us, perhaps hindering our movement in the end. We already fight many myths and wrong opinions, as well as downright opposition. It will reflect poorly to be labelled extremists. Does anyone else represent us in CO? Or is the CHEC organization the only one?

  Jerzy wrote @

Hi Jessica,

I live in Colorado, too. Unfortunately, CHEC is the only state organization that is the most organized and offers the most services. We have not withdrawn from CHEC’s independent school yet mostly because we’re holding out hope that their direction may change. We’re contacting their board members about their posturing to see if there are others who may be able to influence the direction this is going. I suspect that because of the prevalence of people on the board who are in agreement with Kevin’s views, trying to influence CHEC wil be a pretty tall order and the organization of a new state entity may be on the horizon.

In the meantime, there are other options. Concerned Parents for Colorado is an organization run by Treon Goosen, our legislative liaison (a piece was done on her in the Winter 2006-7 edition of Old Schoolhouse magazine). She sends out email alerts and information about what is going on in our legislature. If you’d like her website address, shoot me an email ( You can send her an email to get on her list.

If you need another place to register (i.e., an independent school) in order to keep records, there are others around the state. The one here in the north is Shema Academy.

There’s also a conference here in the north as well, but it is smaller. They don’t have keynote speakers and all that but they do have workshops and vendors. I’ll be happy to send you the site address if you contact me.

Karen, I apologize for hijaking your thread! Back to regularly scheduled programming!

  thatmom wrote @

Jerzy, I am so glad you answered Jessica and gave such a good, detailed response. I was hoping you would!

I continue to pray for hearts to be moved, whether it means that CHEC changes course or that there would be people in Colorado who would move to begin their own ministry to homeschooling families.

  mary wrote @

You are right Jerzy, the board members are all very supportive of Kevin. I would be surprised if even one would stand in any kind of opposition to what he is doing. I think he is the pastor of several.

Money is the only way to get them to listen at this point. They are truly blinded by all of this. If the families enrolled in the independent school drop out, if there is a drastic drop in attendance at the state conference…then you might see some take notice. As it stands, they truly believe they are following God’s direction in these decisions. They follow Kevin without question.

  mary wrote @

Another vendor that I noticed was not at the chec conference last June was Cornerstone Curriculum (david quine). They are not on the list for this year either. Is it possible that Quine has offended as well?

  thatmom wrote @

Mary, I would be really interested in the answer to that question and if there are others besides Sonlight that have been “disinvited” to CHEC’s convention. How can we find that out? Have you contacted David Quine? My guess is that if there are others, they may be hesitant to say because of the power the patriocentrists seem to hold over many conventions and support groups.

  Jerzy wrote @


Do you know Kevin Lundberg? He is on CHEC’s board and he’s also a senator. Would he be worth contacting? I think I’ll contact David Quine, too, just to get his take on things.

Also, just thinking aloud here as I mull over how a new state organization could be started. If one was started, and we had a convention, would we have to have patriocentric vendors be represented in the interest of being inclusive? Or would we, like them, have our own agenda and keep them out? I would imagine this would be hashed out in a mission statement or something.

I just honestly don’t know how you gather people from all over a state and create a group like CHEC. They’re so organized and offer so much. It seems very daunting. Makes me wonder how on earth Kevin does all that he does and finds time to be at home with his family, like he tells other men to do. I asked him once in an email and he never responded.

  mary wrote @

The Lundbergs ran Chec for years before Swanson arrived on the scene. They are conservative but I never saw anything extreme at all from them.In fact, I wasn’t aware that he was still a board member. If I were him I would be distancing myself from all of this…especially the daughter’s serving their daddies at home stuff, if I wanted to keep winning elections. I honestly have never heard anything negative about him. He seems like a good guy.

Chec has an infrastructure that took many years to put in place. It would take a long time to duplicate in another organization. I guess that is the frustrating thing here. Swanson has taken a conservative organization and turned it slowly into a radical one.Over the past several years they have implamented small changes like changing the conference name to ‘family conference’ rather than a home education conference. Thus their keynotes can be more oriented toward patriarchy than education. The turning event in my mind was a few years ago when they let rc jr speak after his defrocking while keeping the defrocking under wraps. No integrity there.

I think Swanson has finally overstepped in the whole Sonlight debacle. He went up against an intelligent couple who are not intimidated by him. I think he was telling the truth in the beginning correspondence, the vendor committee had most likely based their decision on the old earth/new earth issue. But then he could not resist throwing in his new and admittedly not entirely thought out philosophy of what constitutes a ‘Christan’ curriculum. This muddies the waters to the point where no one even knows what the issue is anymore and how it can be consistently applied in the vendor hall. Chec itself sells non Christian texts such as Saxon math- thus indirectly recommending a secular, godless , without even a sticky note, text to thousands of trusting families…How does one reconcile that with the measuring stick they apply to Sonlight? You can bet that people are opening their eyes to this now, maybe even a board member or two. The vendor hall is a major, major reason why people come to the conference. People are tired of the same ol, same ol they are getting for keynotes. In the past we have had the likes of Bill Bennett and John Taylor Gatto, now its just different versions of vision forum every year.

  Margie wrote @

Thank you for sharing this!

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