Dr. Phil’s Take on Homeschoolers

Ha. Thanks to Gina, I’m onto him. Dr. Phil, that is.

For those of you that wonder what the big deal is, go read “The Homeschool Scuttle”…or save yourself an hour and read the highlights of the article here.

Dr. Phil is airing today, November 24, a taping titled: “The Great School Debate”. In a nutshell, he’s lumping all homeschoolers into the “unschooling”category. Yeah, take the most radical and controversial approach out there and bingo, sensationalize it.

Taken from the article:

Dr. Phil opens the “Great Debate,” episode with news-media coverage of the recent school shootings, and in a grand flourish of the “Great Debate,” he states that more and more families are turning to homeschooling. This episode could very well be mainstream America’s first exposure to a “typical,” homeschooling family.Perhaps, a very new “Newbie,” is thinking of homeschooling as they watch this show, interested in the wise Dr. Phil’s assessment of homeschooling. While it’s true that the Unschooling family did hold her own very well against Dr. Phil who relentlessly kept quizzing her with questions such as, “Yes, but don’t you want your child to be prepared to compete in America’s competitive Market?” His choice to use a “Radical Homeschooling Family,” was exploitive, deliberately calculated and controversial.If he truly wanted to have a “Great Debate,” why not begin the show by first having a knowledgeable, reputable homeschooling advocate explain the many different styles and ways to homeschool, and the theories and benefits of each style, so that the mainstream general audience could develop informed opinions and be appreciative of what they were debating in the first place?He never, ever, once said, “Teach us about homeschooling.” Or, “Explain to me the different styles of homeschooling.” Instead, he right off, used this extreme, self-proclaimed, “Radical Unschooling Family,” and never explained the basic concepts of homeschooling and all the choices that homeschoolers can make in how they choose to teach their children.What I found most fascinating was how Dr. Phil enticed homeschoolers to be a part of this program. You’ll have to read the “Bait and Switch” part of the article, if you decide it’s worth your time. I had to laugh at the fact that the homeschoolers invited to the program were asked not to bring along any children under 18. Weird, huh. Even stranger when the homeschool families standing in line outside the studio realized that busloads of public school children were arriving to take places in the audience.

Hmm. What’s up with that? Deliberately rigging the audience?

The viewing audience will not be able to see the audience as being high school children. To the television viewer, they will just be arms in the air opposing homeschooling. This is when I realized why we had been brought in as, “Special Guest Audience.” The Dr. Phil Show took no chances. They wanted to make sure that they had an audience of 10-15% that would passionately raise their hands in favor of homeschooling, and a guarantee that the entire rest of the audience would be strongly in favor of traditional schooling. They did not want an audience of people who did not care one way or the other, as they might have had with a random, mainstream audience. They needed to have a handpicked audience that would unilaterally, overwhelmingly opposed the homeschooling, *ON* a homeschooling show in which the homeschoolers had been invited, and had come to express their love of homeschooling!

You’ll have to watch it and fill me in. Or read the article. According to people who’ve been to his tapings, this isn’t the first time he’s exploited lifestyle choices by pretended praise.

For those of you able to tune in, I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts.

14 thoughts on “Dr. Phil’s Take on Homeschoolers”

  1. This is a piece of devastating truth to me. I have always respected the man, watched his programs and found a lot of wisdom in them. It seems though, that even he eventually chose the ‘popular’ over the ‘fair’ way of presenting his topics.
    Once again my little world of human icons has been somewhat decreased.
    Shame.

  2. ann_in_grace is wiser than she knows…these human icons have no wisdom for those who ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…’ God is Omniscient and knows all things…He is truth so every Word of His is meat and drink for those of us who know Him. Poor Dr. Phil…methinks all the adulation he has received has gone to his head when what he needs is God’s truth for his heart! I have become downright fearful of the so-called wisdom of the world system…I can’t forget how the serpent beguiled Eve by mixing truth with error. I’ll stick with ‘every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4)’ God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit in Eph. 6.

  3. Does anyone know if he claims to be a Christian? I saw a book by his wife advertised in a Christian book store flyer. Is SHE a Christian? I’d really love to know what they claim and if so, shame on them even more!

  4. You know, I somewhat respected him too. I’ve seen snippets of him in years past when he first appeared on Oprah, and thought he had some great advice on marriage. Especially his “Marriage is not for wimps, it takes work and commitment” approach.

    AMom, great cautions you listed. Mixing truth with error, yikes. Very applicable as regards Dr. Phil, and many other self-help gurus.

    Jana, he does claim to be a Christian. I’ll c&p a quote from Gina’s blog: “I saw Dr. Phil and Robin on the Life Today show with James and Betty Robison professing their faith in Jesus Christ.”

  5. My DH has always “forbidden” me to watch Dr. Phil as his answers aren’t directed from the Bible but rather the “wisdom of man.” However, had I stumbled across your post earlier, I think we both would have tuned in (with DHs Dr.Phil-loving mother here for T-Day)to see what it was all about. Again, we watched sceptically, but we would have wathced. I’ll have to go read that article. Thanks for the info.

  6. Ok, checked out Dr. Phil’s site briefly to see what was posted on his site about the episode. Very irritated now, thought not at all surprised. Check out his unsensored web chat on the episode. Totally ignorant IMO. He went on some tangent about how he’d hire someone with a college degree over someone who had never completed a college degree. . . and that has to do with what? Then he went on a brief tangent on how it might be ok when the kids were young but. . . socialization (surprise, surprise).

    And, truly, it seems it must have been quite rigged as they discussed the “radical unschoolers,” a mother who wanted to homeschool and the dad who didn’t want her to, and the 26 year old who was “ruined by homeschooling.” Explain to me why they didn’t have one of thousands of children who could easily explain how their lives have been made difficult or even horrible because of things that went on in the public school system. . .

    Anyway, check it out at drphil.com
    . . .you WILL be disappointed.

  7. The problem with a lot of “professions” is that they can be only deep enough to reflect what the audience expects– unfortunately.

    In my readings for Political Theory, Machiavelli expressed that the perfect leader would express devotion to some religion while basically being a “in name only” type of individual. I’m afraid that, to some extent, a lot of people in power or popularity are “in name only” type people but want you to think that they are more than that because it helps them keep power, popularity, etc.

    It’s sad– and sometimes I’m glad that only God sees the heart!

  8. I missed the show because football was airing at the time Dr. Phil’s show was scheduled.

    I am also disappointed especially since I saw Dr. Phil and Robin on the James Robison show where they professed their personal relationship with Jesus. But one thing I think we’re missing is that this may be one area Dr. Phil needs growth and education in and instead of bashing him (not saying that we’re doing that here) we should be lifting him up in prayer.

    As a homeschooler, personally I couldn’t help but agree with some of the things Dr. Phil said about unschooling, but that’s just me and homeschooling is not for me and my family. I absolutely think it was unfair that only this method of homeschooling was highlighted and that in this day and age there were still a lot of ignorant things said about homeschooling.

    I’m hesitant to point the finger at Dr. Phil, and know the entire staff and producers should be held accountable for their slant of the issue just for the ratings and sensationalism.

    So let’s pray for Dr. Phil and his views on homeschooling. Who knows, he might turn out to be a homeschooling advocate one day!!!

  9. My mother watches Dr.Phil often and is always talking about him and his views on different topics. She has all his books, too and of course has wanted me to read them. I have, to some extent. Of course I had to send her the site about the show!! What it basically comes down to…Dr. Phil is not God, and his books are not the Bible. So give him and those such as him a wide berth when applying their advice to our lives if we are Christians. Not everything he says is wrong, but you have to be very discriminating…as we should with all things in this world we live in. As Believers I sometimes wonder why we spend so much time focusing on people such as Dr. Phil, Oprah, other celebrities. They don’t even pretend to have a Godly, Biblical view on anything. But, the Bible does. Just think how much we could accomplish if we use that as our guide and spend as much time with it and in prayer as we do the other ‘stuff’. Yes, Dr. Phil and Robin proclaim to be Christians. Her book is even in CBD. Even more reason to be praying for them and the people they reach and have so much influence over! Deb

  10. Thanks for all the feedback! I did go to drphil.com (thanks for the link Erica!) and thought it amusing to see his poll on what education you wanted your children to have–overwhelmingly people voted homeschool. My computer didn’t let me watch the video, well, it let me watch it but his speech was too garbled to understand.

    I don’t know if you all noticed, but I changed my title to this post, my former one wasn’t very nice. I agree that Dr Phil deserves the benefit of the doubt, as to his Christianity…but my favorite line from Casting Crown’s song, “What if His People Prayed” seems to apply here:

    “What if the life that we pursue
    Came from a hunger for the truth
    What if the family turned to Jesus
    Stopped asking Oprah what to do”…or Dr. Phil… :O)

  11. Yes, that song sprang immediately to my mind as it tends to everytime I hear Oprah or Dr. Phil mentioned. I also always remember a sermon I heard by Dr. Ergun Caner entitled “The Gospel According to Oprah.” If you can figure out how to get ahold of it, it is well worth listening to.

  12. Hi Rachelle, just checked out your site and would be happy to add a fellow Christian writer to my blogroll! Welcome! I’ll add you asap!

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