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The Folks in England Are Talking About Us

April 15, 2006

The good folks from The Old School House magazine planned a speaking tour to England this spring...
The good folks from The Old School House magazine planned a speaking tour to England this spring. No Greater Joy signed up to have our literature distributed on their tour. We had no idea it would cause any problem.
We are told that in England it is a crime to spank your children. Therefore Christians are not able to openly obey God in regard to Biblical chastisement. They are in danger of having the state steal their children. Christian parents do not want to be seen at an event that might be distributing literature advocating spanking. I remember how scared I was when we first started homeschooling. Because it was rare and unknown to the authorities, most were against it, suspecting us guilty of all manner of dark and evil deeds. It had not yet come to the public’s attention and the legislators had never heard of anything so “unorthodox.” Surely it was “depriving the children of a good education.” We received scary visits from the child protective agency, and they had us in court threatening to take our children away from us if we continued to homeschool. While we fought it legally, we were forced to make contingency plans to move to Central America, fleeing ignorance and oppression. But we joined with many others and fought it in the legislature of Tennessee. Parents prevailed and homeschooling was recognized to be our parental right. There was nothing on earth as important to us as our children. There was no fear greater than that of losing them. I can completely understand WHY the parents of England would be so concerned. Anyway, the blogs of England have been buzzing with all manner of misinformation concerning the Pearls.
Of course, us two old Pearls were unaware that we had become internationally infamous. Furthermore, we have been too preoccupied to give it any thought or energy. Both sets of our aged parents have been in health crisis, plus we continue to run an ever expanding ministry (18 employees and growing) besides trying to squeeze time in with our children and grandchildren. But then we started getting letters from England, informing us that Rebekah Joy’s (our eldest daughter) blogged response to the criticism was widely and favorably received. I called Beka and told her to send us a copy. Here it is.
Are Michael & Debi Pearl “Guilty as Charged?”
My name is Rebekah Anast, I am the firstborn daughter of Michael and Debi Pearl, the authors of the best-selling book To Train Up a Child.
A handful of angry people have begun an outcry against Michael and Debi Pearl for the child-training principles in this book. These nay-sayers have also struck out against The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for refusing to reject the teaching of “the Pearls.” Along with quoting out of context, verbalized anger, and false assumptions, they have attacked those associated with the Pearl family, and threatened to shake the fragile platform of homeschooling in the UK by going to the media with the sensational story that certain UK homeschool groups are hosting the infamous Michael and Debi Pearl.
In every society there are “movers and shakers,” those people who call the media, make the stories (or the stink, as the case may be) and bring about changes that effect the thousands of ambivalent and, often clueless, masses. Some of these movers and shakers have the good of the masses in mind, others are simply angry, irrational people that need attention and like to make a scene. Unfortunately, the media thrives on these sensation-makers, and is quick to poison the waters of truth if the poison is offered on the silver platter of a “hot story.”
How do we combat the irrational and unfounded sensationalism that would poison the waters of our communities? With truth. If the media wants a story, give them the truth. Let them know that we are very aware of the lies and sensation being spread - but that we’re not afraid of it, because we know the truth.
These sensational storytellers say that Michael and Debi Pearl teach child abuse, the subjection of women, and general injustice.
I would know (I am their daughter) whether their techniques are violent and unjust, or loving and temperate. I would know if the result is an emotionally damaged and fearful child, or a creative, successful, happy adult. I would know, yes, better than any one of these angry people, whether Michael and Debi Pearl are barbaric child abusers, or loving, successful parents.
Every type of abuse leaves evidence to prove its occurrence, whether it be a mark on the spirit or the body. Let me give you the evidence that is me:
I am 32 years old, married and the mother of three children. I am the happiest person I know, and my life is full of fruit; my own three very happy, balanced children are completely sound in body and mind.
I have written articles, books, screenplays, and traveled the world for 4 years, meeting new people, eating new food, ministering to those in need, and loving life. I always returned to my favorite place and my favorite people... my family.
I married a wonderful man who is worth every moment of reverence and honor I give him; he is my best friend and only lover.
I have very few bad memories of childhood, all of which I can recall clearly; my dog dying, my hand getting cut on a fresh pine board, my brother being stung by bees, and my father’s grief over a friend’s suffering. That’s all that I can recall.
I remember only one spanking. I remember it because I laughed all the way through it, and so did my Dad. I had played a prank that was dangerous, but funny, and fully deserved a spanking for it, but my parents were unable to spank me without laughing. That is the only spanking I clearly remember. The others were so well-deserved my conscience was able to write off the memory once the deed was paid for.
I was never injured in body or spirit by the training I received. I was never “struck” in anger. I did receive non-injurous spankings on my fully clothed backside with a willow switch when I had clearly transgressed a known “law” of the house. These spankings did not leave bruises or abrasions, or emotional distress.
I learned by the gentlest way possible that foolishness has consequences and wise choices make life comfortable. This training has literally saved my life and I am eternally grateful to both my parents for using a literal rod to train my flesh to make wise choices.
My brothers and sisters were my best friends growing up. We did everything together; swimming, playing, working. We usually got in trouble together too, and when spankings were due, they were due all around. However, trouble was hard to find, as either Mom or Dad was almost always with us, joining in the fun, the projects, and the learning. From dancing in the rain, to building forts, to learning to ride a bike; they were there, so much a part of my life.
A person is innocent until proven guilty. I have proof that Michael and Debi Pearl are wise and loving parents: I am the proof, and every one of my siblings would agree with me.
Almost everything we (my parents) have ever written is available online for FREE on; and everything else is as inexpensive as possible while still allowing No Greater Joy to operate as a non-profit ministry, geared toward helping thousands of parents and children.
A lot of information about the Pearl’s on the internet is simply taken out of context or completely misquoted. Look up the quotes on for yourself and make sure your source isn’t lying or misconstruing the truth. It’s important to the homeschool movement that we be accountable for our views, instead of blindly following the loudest sensationalist, or giving them credibility of any kind. Rebekah Joy Anast
Debi Pearl

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3 comments on “The Folks in England Are Talking About Us”

  1. "The Good Folks at the Old Schoolhouse Magazine"???? are you crazy! Those people are child abusing monsters. How can you align with them?? This is why people think you teach parents to straight up abuse their kids, because you are comrades/friends with people like the Old Homeschool Magazine publishers. Shame on you. You need to publish an article where you distance yourselves from them. If you do not, I and many others have to assume that you are cowards who will not stand up for children, and are too greedy for the money and fame that your association with this organization brings you!

    1. This article is over 8 years old. The Old Schoolhouse stopped selling our materials and accepting advertisements from NGJ several years ago and we have had no association with them since. I can assure you that NGJ is not profiting from any association with The Old Schoolhouse. The child training philosophy and practice of NGJ is diametrically opposed to physical and sexual abuse. We have published 2 books, Samuel Learns To Yell & Tell and Sara Sue Learns To Yell & Tell, for the purpose of protecting children from sexual predators.