Friday, January 19, 2007

Yet Another Reason...

...to consider homeschooling your children.

Homeschooling is a priority in our home is because our children are precious gifts from God. They are my responsibility; not anyone else's, especially not the government. Yet the government would like to think that children are just pieces of property to be farmed out to the highest bidder. Bob Allen, writer for EthicsDaily.com, quotes a Stanford professor's criticism of the homeschooling endeavor in this January 16th article:
Stanford Professor Robert Reich said he is skeptical of studies showing homeschooling to be superior, because most are based on research done by homeschool advocacy groups. He also argued the state has an interest in knowing its children grow up to be well-rounded citizens [emphasis mine].
Say what, Dr. Reich? Where did I ever get the funny idea that my children belong to me? And besides, if well-rounded citizens is the best the state can do, I think I'll just keep them, thank you very much. And if you think pro-government educators like Dr. Reich do not feel threatened by homeschooling, think again:
"If parents can control every aspect of the kids' education, shield them from exposure to things that the parents deem sinful or objectionable, screen in only things which accord with their convictions, and not allow them exposure to the world of democracy, well the children grow up then basically in the own image of their parents, servile to their own parents' beliefs," he said.
It is very naive of Dr. Reich to make a statement like this, because I, a stalwart homeschooler, agree with him. Really, this is not a criticism of homeschooling, but simply a straw man Dr. Reich has constructed. Are not the government schools' agendas mirror images of what he criticizes homeschoolers of doing? Do they not intend to shelter "their" kids from what they deem objectionable, a firm faith in God? Do they not intend to have "their" kids grow up in "their" own image, servile to the efforts of the state?

Could I get a little clarity in here?

My wife and I have been criticized by well-meaning public school teachers on numerous occasions. My response has always been a trite maxim, "The proof is in the pudding." If homeschooling was turning out weak-minded, blathering brats unable to articulate a coherent, complete sentence, I could understand his hypersensitivity. Nevertheless, homeschooled children typically outperform their public schooled neighbors in every area.

And are not state standardized tests tailored so as to get the best possible results, yet government schooled children still do undeniably worse on standardized tests than homeschooled children? If there is a testing bias, it is certainly on behalf of government schooled children. This is the marked difference between homeschooled and government schooled children and why homeschooled kids out perform their government schooled friends: homeschooled kids learn; government school kids are educated.

Dr. Reich, I love my children, enough to give them my very best. That I intend to do, until I no longer have breath. And no, neither you nor the state can have them.

63 comments:

Raborn Johnson said...

I could not agree more, Tony! While I was in Bible school, my wife worked at a local university as a financial-aid counselor. I remember her telling me that there was a marked difference in the number of scholarships homeschooled children received versus kids from the public school system.

In my own experience, I find that children who have been homeschooled tend to be more well-adjusted adults with greater people skills than the average person. It is interesting to me that one of the arguments against homeschooling is the supposed lack of socialization that children receive. I tend to think the exact opposite. It seems to me that this is truer of children who have been raised in the public school system, as they have experienced interactions primarily with people their own age, and therefore have a harder time adapting to an adult setting. Great post!

Tony said...

Raborn,

The socialization/adjustment/good citizen arguments are all one in the same and it surprises me that pro-government schoolers still resort to these arguments. Simple empirical evidence has proven them wrong time after time.

Homeschooled children are typically better adjusted because they are allowed to develop at their own pace and are not forced into a particular mold. Parents can shelter/disciple/mold according to the child's demeanor and not according to state standards. Hence, you have better adjusted kids, more suitable citizens, and they are more than adequately "socialized" (whatever that really means). Homeschooled kids relate better to adults because they are not under the influence of peers all day but rather their parents.

Thanks for commenting; always nice to find a fellow homeschool advocate!

Spunky said...

Mr. Reich's words defy the freedom this country affords us as its citizens. That is the freedom NOT to be exposed to ideas OR others interpretation of those ideas. Yes, a completely closed mind is not pleasant to be around but a closed mind is not a criminal offense. Mr. Reich's desire for our children to be exposed to a diversity of thought so they will be "well rounded" is not Constitutionally sound.

It is the discretion of the individual child and their parents not the state that decides what we are exposed to, what we think, and subsequently what we believe.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

State mandated exposure to competing ideas is not consistent with a free people. If we lose the freedom to refuse exposure to an idea then we will eventually lose the freedom to speak against that same idea.

As a homeschool parent and advocate, my children are taught and exposed to a variety of thought. Just this week my older three children read excerpts from the Analects by Confuscious, but they studied them through the lens of a biblical worldview. If they were to study the same teaching in a public school the lens in which they would be taught read them would be a secular worldview.

And that is what so upsets people like Mr. Reich, its not the exposure to ideas that is at the root of his objection, but the interpretation of those ideas. And that is why he seeks increased regulation of homeschoolers.

Streak said...

Tony,

A few points. First, the article is addressing a phenomenon, or perceived phenomenon that has much less to do with the quality of education, than an attempt to inculcate a particular world view. I wrote on this over at my blog, and as a liberal, I shudder to think how many homeschooled or religious schooled kids are being taught that God wanted the Pequots to burn because the Puritans were his sword. Or learn the "lost cause" of Southern mythology. Or learn, and be trained from birth, to absolutely reject scientific evidence on evolution.

That part of the movement, and I don't think you are even close to it, are part of the dominionist movement and I think are a problem. The Stanford prof may be phrasing it badly, but do we, the rest of us poor liberal, sometimes secularists, have any voice in the world view that is raised here? If the movement were predominately leftist, and radically leftist, and were taking their kids out of school so they could indoctrinate them repeatedly that Jesus was a myth and God doesn't exist--and that Christians were to be despised, would you have a problem with that?

If their primary goal is to gut the public education movement that has served us (with major problems, admittedly) fairly well at providing a middle class existence in this country for the last century or so, then that bothers me.

And with all due respect to your commenters, I am not terribly convinced that learning the Bob Jones curricula will help this diverse nation move forward. In fact, I suspect it will increase the "balcanization" where Christian fundies barricade themselves off from liberals like myself. Well, except to use modern medicine that comes from the enlightenment (rather than the "Biblical worldview" as if there is "one.")

Pardon my frustration this morning. I started teaching this week and am a bit sensitive to public education bashing (all I have ever had) and also a little sensitive to students who decide whether they accept my take on history based, not on evidence, but whether they "like it."

Tony said...

Spunky,

I am honored to have you comment on my blog again. Thanks for your insight. As you do, I expose my children to a variety of thought, but in a controlled environment.

I found Reich's statements troubling for the same reasons you do, not to mention they seem to be a preemptive strike against homeschooling in general.

Streak,

I am generally prone to give the benefit of the doubt, but in this case, Reich said exactly what he meant. I don't think there is any spin we can put on his words to make it sound or feel any better than the way he expressed them, and neither do I think I missed the context in which they were spoken.

How can he claim that parents should not have sole authority over their children? If that is not what he meant, he certainly implied that idea. And if the state is uninvolved then how else can you interpret it that he fears the inculcation of certain ideas?

Are parents generally not to be trusted with the raising of their children? And is the end-all, be-all of a child's education responsible citizenship and productive consumers?

I understand your concerns about revisionist history, Southern mythology, and even evolution. But to be fair, not all homeschoolers are zealous, right-wing fundamentalists, though some are. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, atheists, Jews, and a plethora of other groups homeschool. The mass exodus from public schools is actually taking place among Presbyterians right now more so than Baptists.

And I also was public educated, so I am not on the outside looking in; all twelve years and I graduated with a BS from University of South Carolina-Spartanburg. I'm not speaking from within a vacuum.

Public school has served us well, but like any system, it needs overhauling. And if there are no plans to overhaul your system, and there is an acceptable alternative, sound reason demands to take the alternative, wouldn't you agree?

If the movement were predominately leftist, and radically leftist...would you have a problem with that?

I cannot help but think that you ask this for the sake of argument without a real point to prove; I could be wrong. I do not think you disbelieve in God, or Christ.

However, I probably would be offended, and there are some in-your-face homeschoolers out there who give the rest of us sane ones bad names. But if you really want to talk about the inculcation of ideas, I have a hard time believing that no parents do not indoctrinate their children with some ideas and send their children to school with a blank slate.

You allude to this in the final sentence of your comment, about young people in your classes who base their historical approach on personal taste.

My problem here is why homeschooling is generally unacceptable, when home education was the norm up until the mid 19th century or so. Plus, the idea that the state "owns" our children bothers me in the same way this "gutting" of public education bothers you.

It is not my intention by refusing to send my children to public schools this balcanization you speak of. The plain and simple reasons I homeschool is because I can, and I like having my children home with me.

Spunky said...

Streak, you have a voice in the worldview that is raised here in the arena of ideas NOT in the minds of our children.

You also asked, "If the movement were predominately leftist, and radically leftist, and were taking their kids out of school so they could indoctrinate them repeatedly that Jesus was a myth and God doesn't exist--and that Christians were to be despised, would you have a problem with that?"

I know many homeschoolers who teach their children exactly as you stated. I live very close to the University of Michigan which is heavily "left and liberal." Many are homeschooling to teach their children their idealogy. They don't think the schools go far enough. I have a few "blogging" buddies who also educate in the exactly same worldview. They don't go as far as to say Christians should be "despised" because they accept as I have that our nation is big enough for a variety of worldviews. Is the Domionist viewpoint my worldview. Not at all. But neither is the state-school worldview that all truth is relative to the point where tolerance is viewed as "acceptance." Meaning, I cannot say another persons point of view is wrong.

We also see things differently about how well public education has served us. Public education is a relatively new in terms of our nation, existing for less than a century. We still have illiteracy and our knowledge of civics is declining (see Barna) two things public education set out to "solve." But they haven't.

A diverse nation MUST accept that their will be a faction of Bob Jones adherents. Just as we must accept that their will be every other 'faction' of adherents. With all do respect and I say this in the kindest of regard, you sound like a Dominionist in reverse. That you, like the theocrat, will decide what is "acceptable thought." I don't want Sharian law of the Muslim, the Dominionist law of the theocrat, or whatever label you ascribe to your brand of liberalism that rejects that idea that Christian 'fundies' are wrong for barricading themselves.

If you think their wrong, engage them, but don't legislate against them.

This little exchange between you and I clearly identifies why public education will never work in the long term. We all as parents and educators have a purpose and goal in mind when we educate children. When the purpose and goal is the same a public education system could work. Which is why public education seemed to work for a few decades. But when goals diverge the cracks begin to show.

The Constitution of most states recognize that it is the parent NOT the state that has the natural right and the final authority to direct the affairs of their offspring. And thank God they do.

When their is a disparity between what the state thinks is best and what the children believe is best, our nation's court precedent has sided with the rights of the parent. So while you may not like the "fundies" philosphy they are Constitutionally allowed to teach it.

My suggestion is to have as many children as possible and encourage your friends to do the same. Teach them diligently in what you believe. I doing so, the next generation will enjoy the same invigorating discourse that comes from an intellectually free society.

Thanks for the discussion.

Tony, I always enjoy your thoughts even if I don't always comment.

Streak said...

Tony,

I knew my comments were a bit strident. Like I said, I have not been in the best mood. That said, I am not convinced by Spunky's response even with a little more sleep and perspective. A) I don't think there is a movement to outlaw homeschooling or to mandate any particular curricula. Yes, we do have people who are concerned by the Bob Jones U approach, but waving the flag of "freedom" here is a bit disingenuous. No one is crashing down your door to take your kids to a government mind control center.

In fact, I am still not convinced that Reich is arguing that the state owns your children. I won't defend him any more, because I don't care about him. But I do think there is a core issue here that my buddy ubub has talked about over at my blog.

How do we construct a civil society based on some basic shared understandings. Does the state, (and here, the state as our government, which means us) have a vested interest in that shared basis? What happens if we all come to the table with markedly different understandings of "truth" or even the role of government?

I also still think that the ethics daily column addresses something that you do not want to take on--that much of the homeschool exodus from public schools comes out of a dominionist perspective.

I don't ever think I said that homeschooling was or should be considered unacceptable. (Though arguing that it was the model in the early 19th century does not necessarily explain much.) And I also have acknowledged many times that homeschooling can be a great experience for all involved. But to suggest that it is the solution or a "policy" for education bothers me. Is that what you are suggesting here? That we disband the public school system? And for all the discussion of variety, we are still dealing with the fact that there is a tremendous market for homeschooled curicula that is written by people like David Barton rather than actual historians.

I am not attacking your choice to homeschool, but neither do I feel the need to apologize for my horror at what some kids are learning. I would love more information on how many people use this horrible curricula v. those who don't. Perhaps I have been overly concerned since just about every homeschool "advocate" has sounded like a Jerry Falwell (or worse) devotee. Help me out here. As many people on my blog have mentioned, Tony, you are one of the first to make many of us reconsider the SBC, conservative evangelicals, or homeschooling.

Streak said...

Spunky, we wrote on top of each other.

First, could you explain that first sentence again. I don't understand your point.

I also think you misunderstood my point, and hope that Tony didn't read it the same way. I did not, and have not suggested that we legislate a way of thinking or education. To call me the leftist version of the dominionist is to misread my approach. Perhaps that is my fault. But you are incorrect there. I am not, and have not questioned your right to teach your kids. I never said anything like that. I said that I was concerned by much of the curricula that is championed by the far right.

I also take issue with your characterization of tolerance, but concede that may be how it appears in public education. I don't see it that way, nor do any liberal intellectuals I know. Tolerance is what you are claiming here--extending the right to people to take the viewpoint they want. I have no idea where the idea came about that we can't criticize ideas or say they are wrong. And I don't see it actually in action.

Further, and I understand that you don't know me, nor know anything about me. I don't have children, and that has not really been an option, so your suggestion that I have as many as possible is unfortunate.

Second, I am well aware of the history of education. I teach American history for a living (such as it is). I am not really suggesting that public education has been some kind of panacea, but would suggest that it has forged some concensus and even the framework for a middle class. I never said it was particularly effective at educating, but I am not really convinced that is what Americans want from education. I think its primary goal has been socialization.

I take responsibility for your misunderstanding of my ideas. I was not as clear as I want to be.

Spunky said...

Sorry Streak, I had a problem with the comments and when I repasted I forgot to include the first part of your quote in which you asked,

"The Stanford prof may be phrasing it badly, but do we, the rest of us poor liberal, sometimes secularists, have any voice in the world view that is raised here?"

and my reply was, "you have a voice in the worldview that is raised here in the arena of ideas NOT in the minds of our children."

Dinner was being served and I thought I could come fix it afterward. You're quick!

Steve Sensenig said...

Spunky, I enjoyed your comments. You should have your own blog......oh, wait. Never mind! ;) hehe

Tony, I wish I could put myself in the shoes of those who are so apparently fearful of homeschooling. As far as I am concerned, the public school had their chance with our son, and they failed miserably. In so many ways. It was time to take matters into our own hands. I only wish we had done it sooner!

Streak, you're a great thinker, and I enjoy your comments, even when they are completely counter to what I believe. Even when you're frustrated, you still communicate in a reasonable way, and I appreciate that. Now, how can I say this kindly: I think you've very much misunderstood homeschoolers or our view of the public school. See my statement in the previous paragraph. We tried it "your way", and it was hopeless on all levels -- academically, socially, and yes, spiritually.

Spunky said...

Streak I hope to get to your other thoughts soon.

But I must compliment you. I have dialogued and debated this issue countless times and you're attitude and tone are a refreshing contrast to the tone of other discussions I've been engaged it. Thank you.

Streak said...

Spunky, you said and my reply was, "you have a voice in the worldview that is raised here in the arena of ideas NOT in the minds of our children." and I think I finally understand. My original sentence was rather tortured, which explains why I struggled with your answer. Got it now, and understand. Again, remember, I am not suggesting legislating homeschooling out of business, but wonder if I have a right to be terribly concerned that some (and I will emphasize some) homeschoolers are teaching their kids that God ordained our slaughter of Indians? Or that Stonewall Jackson was some kind of hero because (that's right, because) he liked to slaughter the enemy or even unarmed citizens (Mexican war). I find that horrifying and have no idea how that will turn out well for our future.

Steve, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate the conversation as well. (just read spunky's compliment and appreciate it as well). I have suggested to Tony that most liberals and most conservatives have more in common than they differ.

Like I said in my comment to Tony, you guys need to help me out here. Most of my interaction with homeschooling prior to this conversation is with the David Barton school of teaching. As an American historian, I am concerned that kids are learning, well the stuff I just outlined above, and think that will bode poorly in the future.

Now, have the public schools been an abject failure? That seems to be the concensus, yet I am not sure I agree. First, it depends on which public schools (which kind of speaks against spunky and Tony's discussion of a "government school" since the quality from one district to another is quite different. Second, in my conversations with public school teachers (all of whom I would trust my children if I had any) suggest that the biggest problems are the parents. Yes, they have real issues with administration idiots and education phds who know little, but when it comes down to it, the problem children are the ones who's parents are absent, drunk, or mentally ill. I don't know which. But those parents are not going to, and should not be homeschooling their kids.

Again, I repeat, I am not castigating you all for homeschooling. I would like some information on the curricula, but understand that many have a good experience. I am teaching some this semester who were homeschooled and they are very bright and great students.

But that doesn't mean that homeschooling is a solution to our education problems. Nor, with all due respect, are religious schools, which, it seems to me, bring some of the same problems that the public school does, just from a different perspective. I have no problem with you all homeschooling, but if this is your plan to fix education, then we are screwed. Yes, even more so than with our current system.

Steve Sensenig said...

but if this is your plan to fix education, then we are screwed.

First of all, I will only speak for myself (and my wife). Our top priority is our son, not any reformation of the educational system.

We were not drunk, absent, mentally ill or any other kind of parent other than loving, interested, involved parents. However, once the school started telling us that we didn't know what was best for our son, and they started telling our son to do things that directly contradicted things that we were doing with their knowledge to try to make the educational situation better, I realized that it was hopeless. But, that's just my story, and I don't need you to understand and/or approve of it.

Again, I repeat, I am not castigating you all for homeschooling. I would like some information on the curricula, but...

Whoooaaaa...Freedom Police: Pull over! Why would you like information on the curricula that we use? So that you can decide that it's really ok for us to homeschool our son? Think about that for a moment, Streak. Think about the ramifications.

It really comes down to the simple question that Tony was trying to get at: Who determines what my son learns or how he is educated? There are basically two options: Us as parents, or...someone else. And your comments indicate that you think it should be someone else.

If you say that you're ok with us homeschooling, but then have to add a phrase implying that you're only ok with it on the condition that you can be sure we aren't teaching our kids some far-right trash (which we don't, by the way! So, at ease, Soldier!), then you are saying that someone, somewhere needs to give approval to us for educating our own children.

That will not fly, Streak. You can't have it that way.

Unless, of course, you're prepared to suggest that citizens of our country should not have the freedoms that they currently do.

So, Streak, what is the solution, if homeschooling is not? You've told us what you're against. What are you for?

christy said...

I need to chime in a bit here. I, too had a reaction to Streak's statement and criticism towards parents. I have been a teacher in public education (until this year--as my husband Steve stated in an earlier comment, we are homeschooling our son)and I have witnessed way too many times school personnel being very judgmental towards parents, most of the time unwarranted.

Unfortunately, I witnessed this firsthand with my own child. As Steve stated earlier, he was not from a home of parents who didn't care about him, but still, by the school's standards, was considered a "problem". He has specific needs that the school just could not fill--no school could fill them (as he was in 3 different schools in his K-8 career).
The awesome freedom that we have been able to experience this year by choosing the curriculum that fits his learning style and being available to him for concerns that arise is something that I would not want to be taken away from me or my husband. If I have to show my curricula to someone for approval...I guarantee you that it would be according to what the "average" child in his peer group needs and therefore would not be a good fit for my child.

Tony said...

Everyone,

Thanks for the amiable discussion. We started with the nightly marathon, I call it, of supper, baths, stories, prayers, and bed. I have come back to a great discussion.

I won't try to address everyone, but make some general comments from where I think we all are coming from.

I readily admit, I had a bit of an elitist tone with this post, simply because I found Reich's comments offensive. Whatever he may be arguing for, one thing is certain, he is an opponent of homeschooling. Be that as it may, his attitude of governmental entitlement is still troublesome.

I am not arguing for the abolition of all public schools. Unfortunately, there are some parents who, for whatever reason, cannot homeschool. The Shortts and Pinckneys are fairly outspoken and both have argued that the public school system is beyond redemption.

Nevertheless, some parents just are not going to homeschool and some cannot; so homeschooling as a policy is ineffective.

Granted, there is a lot of right-wing trash out there and some heinous extrapolations of history and science. In VA, we can pick and choose our curriculum. Gov. Kaine just recently made it even easier to homeschool in VA, and for that I am thankful. He lifted the bachelors degree requirement and leveled it with a diploma. So, no one is beating my door down, no one is demanding test scores, at least not until August 15th. ;)

I am by no means a dominionist but take the education of my children seriously. It is not that I think I can do a better job than any perceived "system."

Speaking from my experience, my wife and I decided to homeschool long before kids were even twinkles in our eyes. We really did not evaluate based upon our child's public school experience; they have not had one.

Streak,

I honestly do understand where you are coming from and being an educator yourself, a desire to learn more about curriculum.

Right now, we are using Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World in history; Saxon math and BJU Press for math (they actually have really good math...just math); Rod and Staff and SWB's First Language Lessons for English; Spelling Power; Veritas Press for science; Phyllis Schlafly's First Reader plus too many individual readers to list. Oh, and of course, the Bible!

That being said, I must agree with Steve's comment, even if you think we are disingenuously waving a "freedom flag."

My concerns remain the same as I have already laid out, even though you think I somehow missed Reich's point.

Christy,

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere, so glad you joined us!!

My oldest daughter may be similar to your son; I once had a lady tell me she was a poster-child for Ritalin. If she was public schooled, I probably would be filling a prescription every month she doesn't need.

I am thankful I can tailor my child's life to suit her needs and not a 7-8 hour school day for the benefit of her peers or a teacher.

christy said...

As I was reviewing my earlier comment, I would like to add a thought...my comment was not, in any way, judging the heart of any teacher involved with my child. In fact, there were many teachers that tried very hard to accommodate my son's needs...they were unable to do so in the system that was in place. Just wanted to clarify!

Streak said...

before I get annoyed and defensive, can someone show me where I have advocated taking away your freedoms somewhere?

I am not the thought police and am merely asking what is going on in the homeschooling world. Is that overboard or something? I have written on my blog about some of the worst type of historical interpretations that are used in some (some) curricula. It concerns me and I am asking about it.

We were not drunk, absent, mentally ill or any other kind of parent other than loving, interested, involved parents.

That wasn't aimed at you, and was merely noting that many students don't have dedicated parents--which means that they aren't going to be homeschooling. Christy also misunderstood me on this point. Maybe I am not being clear. That was in the context of homeschooling as a "solution" for all education. It also follows that so many of my friends/family who have kids who have excelled in public school have done so because their parents were involved. So, please, everyone, back off. I am not attacking you. I didn't call you drunks or bad parents or anything.

I am writing as a historian and a college teacher, and a citizen. I am merely asking questions and frankly wish you would all stop implying that I am some kind of Big Brother looking to lock all of you up for far-right thought.

What is my solution? I am not sure I have one. I still say if we are depending on homeschooling, then we have problems, because there are many, many, many, many parents out there who don't have the economic, emotional, or intellectual wherewithall to homeschool their kids.

I understand many of the problems with the public school system. Personally, I would start some of my reform with the numerous bad education colleges in universities around the country that dumb down so much of what they offer. I would also pay teachers more. Many of my friends spend much of their hard earned money providing basic materials for their students. Seems to me that many of our problems come from a public that wants a perfect education system, but is unwilling to pay for it. (please don't attack me for that, I am not implying that you are drunkenly refusing to pay your taxes).

But I stand by what was misunderstood as an attack on your parenting. I don't think that some of these kids will ever succeed because they don't have a basic support structure. Some of that is economic--in that our political economic system has eroded the lower middle class's ability to sustain themselves. Part of it is the greed that Tony and I have written about. Solutions are hard to come by.

Take your shots.

Tony said...

Streak,

On behalf of everyone here, I would like to apologize. Your comments here are always welcome.

Forgive me if a I get a bit antsy (sp?) when it comes to non-homeschoolers asking about curriculum.

As I said in my previous comment, I am not for the abolition of the public school system; overhaul, yes. Some of my good friends are teachers!

I have no gripe about paying my taxes; you and I have discussed that before (remember volfan?). The majority of my property taxes supports the schools and though my kids don't attend them, I have no problem paying because I am helping a child that does not have the same luxuries I do. To abolish the public school system would be disingenuous and foolish because as you said, there are many, many, many, many parents out there who don't have the economic, emotional, or intellectual wherewithall to homeschool their kids.

Here you are absolutely correct. The creation of a substantial middle class has undercut the lower classes and poverty-level so that a luxury like homeschooling or any other schooling option is a non-issue for them. I mean, we have spent upwards to $1,500 on texts.

Obviously some cannot do that. My solutions to the problems in education? First, pay teachers more; period. Cut administration as far back as possible and allow the teachers more say-so. Continuing education for teachers; not just state certification mock-ups, but real honest-to-goodness education.

How about educational perks for teachers? I know some states do this, like working in a troubled area for a certain period of time to pay back tuition? That is only a start, but it helps to begin somewhere.

And somehow, someway, parental involvement must increase. As you stated in an earlier comment, without the parents, each kid is as good as sunk; the problem is not the kids, rather, it is the parents.

But then, some kids don't have that support structure. How do you solve that problem? I don't think there is one.

And, I don't want to take any shots...

Spunky said...

Streak,

I think I understand a bit more now that you've mentioned David Barton and the Wall Builders. But I'd like to address and earlier comment first,

You said,

"I am not, and have not questioned your right to teach your kids. I never said anything like that. I said that I was concerned by much of the curricula that is championed by the far right."

It's fine to be concerned and voice those concerns to those who are willing to listen. People like Prof. Reich and others in positions of policy influence seek to "regulate" that concern as evidenced by the quote Tony posted from him. His believes the state has an interest in producing "well rounded" citizens. That in and of itself means there is a universal consensus on what "well rounded" means. Clearly, there isn't one. Should we choose the liberal, domionionist, or Muslim definition? That is the fundamental reason public education is cannot work in a free society. A socialist state where the state has the final authority can offer public education to the masses because they are the final aribitors of what is taught. In our form of government, we have given the parents that right. And that means parents are free to teach zionism, buddhism, or theorcrism, or any other form of belief they choose. To deny them that right means they don't possess the final authority over the direction of their children's education.

Spunky said...

You also said,

"Tolerance is what you are claiming here--extending the right to people to take the viewpoint they want. I have no idea where the idea came about that we can't criticize ideas or say they are wrong. And I don't see it actually in action."

Here are two examples where for the sake of tolerance a student must accept a viewpoint without criticism, homosexuality and evolution. Students have been penalized for telling other students that homosexuality is wrong or a sin. Even wearing a t-shirt at school implying such a belief is censured. Evolution is taught as fact not theory and anyone attempt to say that evolution is wrong is not accepted as a proper education. Those are just of the big issues but there are many others as well.

The fact that parents in California had to go to court to prevent their children from being given a sex survey in elementary school and the Ninth Circuit said that they are free to teach anything as long as it is in the best interest of the state demonstrates that all beliefs are not tolerated. So whether it be a child or a parent who says something is wrong, the state and the schools they operate suppress their ability to say something is wrong.

Spunky said...

Streak,

Here is a place of somewhat agreement, you said:

"I never said it was particularly effective at educating, but I am not really convinced that is what Americans want from education. I think its primary goal has been socialization."

That has been the primary goal of education since its inception. Sociaizing the citizenry, but to what end?

If you listen to most early proponents of public education and even those of current politicians they mention education as a means to attain employment. A job. That's NOT why I educate. My goals are very different. So "socialization" to me mean something very different. To me a properly socialized child is one who loves the Lord their God and serves Him. Any education must be with that goal in mind. Not just from the viewpoint of the child, but also those chosen by the parents to teach them.

And if Americans want socialization more than education, who is educating the child? They spend 7 hours a day being socialized who is educating them? More importantly, as a Christian I must ask who is DISCIPLING them?

That is what Jesus has called me to do, make disciples. Those disciples must include my own children. They state seeks to socialize, as a Christian I am called to disciple. The two are not compatible. Unless the state is working to make disciples for Christ (and clearly they are not) my desire for my children and that of the state will be at odds.

Spunky said...

Streak,

Here is a place of somewhat agreement, you said:

"I never said it was particularly effective at educating, but I am not really convinced that is what Americans want from education. I think its primary goal has been socialization."

That has been the primary goal of education since its inception. Sociaizing the citizenry, but to what end?

If you listen to most early proponents of public education and even those of current politicians they mention education as a means to attain employment. A job. That's NOT why I educate. My goals are very different. So "socialization" to me mean something very different. To me a properly socialized child is one who loves the Lord their God and serves Him. Any education must be with that goal in mind. Not just from the viewpoint of the child, but also those chosen by the parents to teach them.

And if Americans want socialization more than education, who is educating the child? They spend 7 hours a day being socialized who is educating them? More importantly, as a Christian I must ask who is DISCIPLING them?

That is what Jesus has called me to do, make disciples. Those disciples must include my own children. They state seeks to socialize, as a Christian I am called to disciple. The two are not compatible. Unless the state is working to make disciples for Christ (and clearly they are not) my desire for my children and that of the state will be at odds.

ubub said...

Several questions arise as I read the post and comments, but I'll just raise one for the moment.

First and foremost, what is the purpose of education? Wherever whatever services might be delivered, certainly not all means are equally adept at achieving the same ends. So, what are the ends being pursued?

Steve Sensenig said...

Streak, I wasn't trying to attack you in return. I was merely trying to point out the fallacies in your response.

Primarily, I was hoping you would see that your request to get information about our choice of curricula was, in itself, a degradation of our freedoms.

Yes, you can ask, but I also can refuse to answer. I was trying to demonstrate that in my response to you.

It's not that you have attacked us, or that we are attacking back. It's the logical fallacies present in your position.

Fair enough? *extending a hand for a shake* :)

Streak said...

Spunky, with regards to tolerance, you seem to be asserting a universal right to what you believe. I will leave the evolution discussion alone here, though it does reflect the concensus view of science--asking public schools to not teach it is illogical. But that aside, let's take the issue of homosexuality. Tony and I have talked about this many times, and we disagree.

But let's take your model. Say that we have a conservative southern family that teaches their kids that non-whites are the "mud people" and condemned by God. In your model, that kid, taught by his family at home, should have the right to go up to his fellow students and tell them that they are not equal to whites.

Look. Diversity and democracy and freedom are all incredibly hard things. We all have to negotiate the conflict between what is our views, and our boundaries and our needs and those of others. My freedom sometimes intrudes on yours. Your religious freedom might intrude on mine--especially if you tell me I am going to hell, right?

In that context, the public schools are in an unenviable position. How do they manage that? Personally, i don't think just dismissing those efforts at diversity and "tolerance" are bad. They are imperfect, and will remain so. But your rights are not superior to mine.

As for your earlier comment, a couple of things. A) I am not sure why Professor Reich is such a threat? He works at a private university. Last I checked, conservatives have ample representation in Washington. This guy isn't in charge of anything, that I know of. Your fears of the government breaking down your door and grabbing the David Barton out of your hands are unfounded. Oddly enough, there are tremendous challenges to individual liberty over the last several years, and they all come from the most conservative President we have ever had, as well as the most vocaly conservative and Christian.

I fully agree that we lack some universal view of what a well-rounded education means. But this statement: That is the fundamental reason public education is cannot work in a free society. is patently false. It has worked. It continues to work in many locales to this day. To assert it is a complete failure is simply false. Students come through many of these schools with a decent education, access to diversity they would not otherwise have, and prepared to deal with a very diverse and complex world. All of you have decided to homeschool for a variety of reasons. But you seem to be suggesting that people who leave their kids in public schools are borderline abusive. Stop that, please.

We aren't in a socialist state, and to suggest otherwise is another falsehood. And further to suggest that we will be better off without public education is simply irresponsible--unless you really think that all kids have (as Tony acknowledged) the luxury of parents who can and will homeschool. As elusive as my solutions are, yours are simply to condemn the bulk of the poor, or broken families to, well, the streets.

Spunky said...

Streak, your horror over what is taught by homeschoolers mirrors the horror many of us feel when we think about what is taught in the public schools. There is one key difference, the schools do it at tax payer expense, David Barton does not. So as long as he (or those who choose to purchase his materials) spend their own money, you can comment on a blog, send them critical letters, write your own curriculum as a rebuttal, or other such means, but regulation is not an option in a free country. And that is what Prof. Reich and many others are advocating.

As a side note, in my area (Google Dearborn) the Muslims are strongly moving toward homeschooling or completely private schooling. I've talked to quite a few who see the influence of a secular worldview on their children and are worried about their children losing their faith. I can assure you they are not buying David Barton's materials trust me.

The media has done an excellent job of selecting the most extreme examples is just about any "movement." Homeschooling is no exception. Added into it a few vocal groups that seek to speak for all homeschooling and a very skewed picture develops. However, I think that if you look around and venture into the world of homeschooling a little bit you'll see that we are an incredibly diverse group that cannot be pinned down into anyone philosphy or belief. Bruce Shortt and David Barton have an agenda, no doubt about it. But so does the public schools. There are just as many if not more "evangelists" FOR public school than homeschooling. And they get the added luxury of doing it at tax payer expense! So while the Barton's and Shortts may annoy or horrify you, they are not taking your money too!

Most of us who homeschool accept that the government will take our money and "evangelize" for their cause, but they won't take our children. And we'll fight anyone who seeks to regulate that right away.

Steve Sensenig said...

All of you have decided to homeschool for a variety of reasons. But you seem to be suggesting that people who leave their kids in public schools are borderline abusive. Stop that, please.

Let me be the first to cry "foul" at this, Streak. At least from the perspective of my participation in this conversation (since you said "All of you", I'm justified in feeling lumped into your following statement, beginning with the conjunction "But"), I made it clear that our choice to homeschool was based on our child's needs, and the school's inability to meet those needs.

Unless I've missed something, I don't see anyone here implying any abusiveness. In fact, Tony has gone out of his way to advocate the continuation of a public school for those who can't homeschool.

Spunky, likewise, has not hinted, that I can see, at what you put into our mouths here.

I think you have us mixed up with Bruce Shortt. He does not speak for me, I can assure you.

Spunky said...

I cannot comment much more on this tonight and I'll be gone tomorrow so please don't take my silence as a dismissal of your thoughts. However, I'd like to address one thought you said,

"Spunky, with regards to tolerance, you seem to be asserting a universal right to what you believe. I will leave the evolution discussion alone here, though it does reflect the concensus view of science--asking public schools to not teach it is illogical."

Yes, I am asserting the right to believe what I believe. And in a free society that MUST include and allow for others to tell me my beliefs are totally wrong. I'm not asking the public schools not to teach evolution, just to allow a student in a public school to tell them they are WRONG and not be penalized for it. Currently, a child who does not regurgitate the current evolutionary line would fail at science. So the choice for most children is to either repeat it for the sake of a grade but not believe it (a lie) or stand on principle and refute it and flunk. Neither option is acceptable in my opinion.

In regards to your question about the southern family who teaches a child to be a racist, there are many avenues beside government censure of their views that would be a better approach in a free society. Public shame is one such method. Others of opposing viewpoints should be free to speak out against them and expose their beliefs as long as their exposition doesn't rise to the level of criminal behavior which then would bring in the civil authorities. But giving authority to the state to regulate thought they deem deplorable is should not be criminalized. Because "hate" becomes relative based on who is speaking.

Here's a personal example, my house was completely spray painted with religous slurs and obscentities by neighborhood kids. When the police were notified of this "hate" crime they said they would not prosecute because we were not gay, black, or Muslim. Whites don't qualify for a hate crimes in the Detroit area. That's the kind of thinking that results when the government is left to determine whose thoughts are acceptable and whose are not. In the end, tyranny or anarchy will result.

In regards to my statement about public education cannot work in a free society, I was speaking into the future. Public education has worked with some "success" because the state goal and the personal goal were close enough that there were minimal conflicts. As we move forward in our "diverse" society that will not be the case. Thus either conformity of thought will be necessary and expected for it it to continue or it will collapse.

Currently, through mandatory testing of what our children think and know, we see that conformity of thought is the option of choice.

Streak said...

Steve, you have not proven your case that I am being illogical. Nor have you proven that I am attacking your freedoms. In fact, it was you who jumped to conclusions about your parenting, when I was addressing parents who don't homeschool, and don't engage with their kids. I might be slow, but you still haven't demonstrated where my questions imposed on your freedom.

Steve, also, Spunky said this:

That is the fundamental reason public education is cannot work in a free society.

What I am I to conclude from that? That public education just needs some tweaking?

Spunky,
Bruce Shortt and David Barton have an agenda, no doubt about it. But so does the public schools. There are just as many if not more "evangelists" FOR public school than homeschooling. And they get the added luxury of doing it at tax payer expense! So while the Barton's and Shortts may annoy or horrify you, they are not taking your money too!

Well, given Barton's connections to the Bush administration, I am not sure. But as I noted in my previous comment, there is not just one public school system.

One last time. I am not trying to outlaw homeschooling. Not trying to impose some kind of cultural hegemony. Not trying to take away personal freedoms.

Streak said...

Currently, through mandatory testing of what our children think and know, we see that conformity of thought is the option of choice.

Ok. Just curious, are any of you frustrated with the Bush administration's education policies? Or other stances on civil liberties?

Steve Sensenig said...

I might be slow, but you still haven't demonstrated where my questions imposed on your freedom.

Streak, somehow you have missed the fact that you stated it was "ok" with you if we homeschooled, but that you would like to know what curricula we were using (or at least to know some things about it).

Do you not see how that immediately begins to cross the line? You haven't taken away the freedom, or advocated for that outright. But, you have made your acceptance of our freedom subject to your knowledge of our curricula choices.

I'm sorry you don't see the contradiction there, and I certainly don't want to turn this into an ugly fight. For one, I'm tired, and for two, I'm not interested in fighting with you about this.

You can stand by your point, and that's fine.

By the way, with regard to the comments about parenting. Here was the sequence:

1. I stated that we had problems with the public school
2. You stated that the only problems were due to bad parents.
3. I assured you that we were not bad parents.

I'm really not sure what the point of your "parenting" comment was, but obviously I grossly misunderstood the subtlety there. I apologize.

Spunky said...

Lastly I'm not fighting Prof. Reich he is just one very vocal proponent of regulation with a pretty loud megaphone for his thoughts. So when I reference him, it is because that is the point of this post not because I see him personally as threat to my ability to homeschool. But rest assured there are plenty of others who think in a similar way, therefore his public comments become useful at discussing and debating this issue.

And let me also clarify completely parents who send their children are NOT abusers. But your thougts make my point about tolerance very clearly. Since I dare say that public education is wrong, I'm being accused of thinking that parents who send their children to school are abusive. Your assertion creates an antagonistic atmosphere that shuts down further discusssion. I must admit to being a little disappointed in that comment. Why is it that a person who pays taxes but doesn't use the public schools cannot be critcal of them without others being threatened. I hope we can get back to the wondeful dialogue we were engage in, I was enjoying the exchange tremendously.

Steve Sensenig said...

Just curious, are any of you frustrated with the Bush administration's education policies? Or other stances on civil liberties?

Yeah, but don't get me started!! ;)

Spunky said...

Streak

About Bush, absolutely frustrated. I've blogged about it numerous times and dialogued with my legislators as well. His policies are not at all what I would have hoped from him. Very disappointed is how I would characterize my thoughts on his education policy. But to be fair, these policies of NCLB didn't originate with him. The Dept. of Ed has had the wheels in place for a lot longer than him. He's just put a new label on an old product.

Streak said...

Streak, somehow you have missed the fact that you stated it was "ok" with you if we homeschooled, but that you would like to know what curricula we were using (or at least to know some things about it).

Thanks for the condescension.

Ok, I apologize for daring to say that I didn't mind homeschooling. Wow, what an inconsiderate remark. I don't know what I was thinking. And thanks for the logic lesson.

1. I stated that we had problems with the public school
2. You stated that the only problems were due to bad parents.
3. I assured you that we were not bad parents.


Ok. Not what I intended to communicate. I have tried to clarify several times. But I was busy trying to effect a government conspiracy to inculcate liberal homosexual values in all Christian kids and got distracted.

Spunky, I don't think I made the jump you asserted regarding tolerance and the public schools. I was simply concluding that since public education couldn't work, then people who remained in public schools were abusive. Sorry for the lack of clarity. I am sure that i have not been as clear as I wanted. For example, when I talked about your universal right to believe what you want, that was poorly worded. Of course, you have the right to believe what you want. Though I am not sure that your model of dealing with racism is actually workable, nor do I think that what we have now is government censorship.

I am tired and starting to regret daring to disagree with homeschoolers.

ubub said...

I am still hoping for a response on the purpose of education question, but wanted to weigh in on some recent developments.

Spunky, do you see a danger in understanding evolution in terms of what evolutionists believe? Maybe you can help me to understand how "regurgitating" a series of statement about the scientific consensus is . . . I'm not even sure how you see it. I recognize it may be contrary to your faith, but is it inherently threatening to that faith, to integrity, to what?

Is it possible to say, 'I recognize that you believe x,y,z about thus and such.' Can a a scientist list the central tenets of Intelligent Design without becoming an ID proponent?

In any case, I am not sure how anyone can engage in dialogue if we are left to guess at what other's beliefs are.

I honor the right to refuse to answer these questions and sincerely hope merely asking is not itself offensive. I am new here, so thanks for having me.

Steve Sensenig said...

Streak, there was no condescension intended, but quite frankly, your jaded sarcasm has ended this discussion for me.

I am sorry that you felt attacked, and I'm sorry that you felt condescended to.

Have a great night, and go get some rest. I assure you, I hold no ill will toward you. The extended hand earlier was completely sincere, and is still offered.

Steve Sensenig said...

ubub, I saw your earlier question, but failed to acknowledge or answer it. I'm sorry.

From my perspective, the goal of education is equipping a student with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue learning as a lifestyle and ongoing pursuit. In that, it is a whole lot more than mere knowledge transfer and rote memorization.

With regard to your proposed dealing with beliefs such as evolution (even though you addressed to Spunky, I'd like to stab at it, if I could), I actually don't really have a problem with your ideas.

The idea of learning what some believe is not offensive to me. I think what some of us react against is...well, let me use an illustration from our own son's public school education last year (before we started homeschooling this year):

Dad (that would be me): Son, what did you learn today in science class?

Son: Well, we learned about evolution.

Dad: Oh? And what did you learn about it?

Son: My teacher said that evolution is not a theory, but a fact, and that anyone who believes in creation is stupid.

That conversation is not in the least made-up, and demonstrates the difference between teaching various beliefs as what "some" believe, and teaching them as facts that the student is expected to embrace for themselves.

Does that help any?

Spunky said...

Ubub,

Here is my answer to "Why We Educateh

ttp://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2005/08/why-do-we-educate.html"

I wrote it shortly after I began my blog because that is the central question that anyone involved with education should ask.

As an aside, I once asked the Michigan State Superintendant of Public Instruction that very question and his reply was telling. He first said that no one had ever asked him that question before and then he mumbled a reply that was so incoherent that the 200 principals and local superintendants were all squirming in their seats. I didn't intend to put him on the spot but anyone in his positon should have atleast thought a little about even if no one directly asked him before that particular evening.

I don't see any danger in learning anything whether it be evolution or like I said previously the writings of Confuscious in the Analects. My children have read and will continue to read a variety of material. But all with the critical filter of a biblical worldview. That doesn't mean they will accept the biblical worldview. (I hope and pray they do.) But as their teacher that is the lens I teach from regardless of whether they do or not. And I give my children the freedom to tell me if they don't believe what I believe about a particular subject. We are all seeking Truth. And if my children through their study of God's word presenting a convincing case that contradicts my arguments, I'd be a fool to reject their belief based on pride or anything else.

Unfortunately, that same luxury is not afforded the children in the public school. When asked a particualar question, if they have a convincing biblical argument they are not allowed to present it and have it discussed as a possible alternative to what the teacher presents. They are taught, tested, graded, and then they move on. Critical thinking is not always acceptable in the classroom. How do I know, I was a student myself at one time. I learned to play the game just like everyone else. The most often asked question was not is this true, but is this going to be on the test. I much prefer the former to the latter in my classrom and in my home.

Streak said...

Steve, I apologize for my sarcasm. I simply lost patience. I really did feel that you were twisting my words (unintentionally, I suspect). I never questioned your parenting and never attacked parents who homeschool or otherwise. Nor did I say that the only problems in the Public Schools were related to parents. Nor did I ever suggest that my approval for homeschooling meant anything. I tired of trying to defend myself on that.

That seems like twisting my words and changing my argument. I lost patience, and for that I apologize.

Spunky said...

One last point before bed Streak

You said, "We aren't in a socialist state, and to suggest otherwise is another falsehood."

I didn't suggest we are in a socialist state. Go back and read the comment and you will see that I said,

"Should we choose the liberal, domionionist, or Muslim definition? That is the fundamental reason public education is cannot work in a free society. A socialist state where the state has the final authority can offer public education to the masses because they are the final aribitors of what is taught. In our form of government, we have given the parents that right."

I was contrasted the socialist state with our form of government where the first recognizes the state as the final authority. I was NOT asserting that the United States is a socialist state. (At least not yet anyway.)

Tony said...

Everyone,

I hope that we can come to some kind of consensus where we can all respect one another's positions without being annoyed with those same positions.

ubub,

Welcome to my blog. I am glad you are here; I always enjoy your comments and insight at Streak's blog. I do not plan on ignoring you; I was very tired last night and went to bed (we are a time zone apart, if you are near Streak) and I have a lot of responsibilities today. I want to respond fairly and coherently and just don't have time today...I'll post later this evening.

My apologies, and I hope my purposeful tardiness does not keep you away.

Streak said...

Tony and all,

I really do apologize for my sarcasm last night. Sleep helped tremendously. Coffee is helping even more.

It strikes me that this is a particularly loaded conversation. Seems like there are a few land mines sitting around here. I realized that I set a few of those off yesterday, though mostly unintentional. For Steve, I think the entire discussion of the role parents play in the public schools was poorly presented on my part. Thinking back through that conversation, and thinking of how Christy responded, it finally dawned on me what you were objecting to. When I noted that parental involvement was a key issue, you both took that as criticism that you weren't involved enough in your kids education and that was why you ended up removing him from the public schools.

That was not my argument at all, and I apologize for any misunderstanding. To clarify, I meant to say that there are parents who are involved in their children and parents who are not. Those parents who are, homeschooled or public schooled, tend to have a much better result. Those involved parents who homeschool, it seems to me, do so for a variety of reasons, and some of that has to do with bad teachers, a bad administration, preference, school district policy, etc.

Those who are uninvolved in their kids, as I meant to suggest, present a huge obstacle to quality public education and no real option at homeschooling. I suspect you guys both inferred an insult I did not intend, and I think that the misunderstanding is a lack of clarity on my part.

Now, that said, I still think there are misunderstandings and land mines in this conversation.

While I didn't intend to criticize those who homeschool, I am nervous about a society that seems to be fragmenting before our eyes. Gated communities, private schools, and suburbanization all tend to lend themselves to this process. How do we forge a shared identity and even the ability to compromise and work together if we never have to see others? I expressed to Tony and ubub at my blog that my own school experience was mixed. I attended a small school in western Colorado where the education was so-so, and the peer pressures were intense. I had attentive parents and a good support system, and in retrospect that allowed me to forge relationships with Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and "unchurched" kids without much problem. Making those friendships with people outside my own value system taught me to work in a diverse world, and I value that. I still do, and worry that if kids are taught to only relate with those who already agree with them, that will not serve us well.

A few other points and I will go have pancakes with my wife. A) Steve, I am sorry, but I still don't see how me saying that I am "ok" with homeschooling is a threat to your freedoms, anymore than you extending me the right to disagree with you is a threat to mine.

B) Spunky, I still disagree with your take on "the government," or the public schools. The government is still us in our system, and not some entity external to our experience. In our democratic system, that government is how we work together to build roads, hospitals, communities, restrictions, etc. And I still contend that the public schools are no more "one thing" than suggesting that there is "one Biblical worldview."

Enough for this morning.

Steve Sensenig said...

Streak, I appreciate your comment today. I'm sure there were things I wasn't communicating well on, too, and misunderstandings on my part.

I have no interest in stirring up the tensions of last night, but I do want to answer what you just wrote, in the hopes of reaching a point of understanding in our disagreement.

You saying you were ok with homeschooling was not viewed as a problem. It was the addition of (and I'm open to clarification if I misunderstood the intent here!) "I would like some information on the curricula, but..." to your apparent acceptance of our homeschooling choice that I didn't understand.

It was specifically that portion of your comment that I saw as a possible indication that you did not think homeschooling should be the freedom that it currently is for us.

In other words, you said you were ok with us homeschooling. Cool. That's great! Thanks :)

But, if I showed you our curricula, and you thought that it somehow was more conservative than you would like for my son to be taught, then what? Would you decide that it wasn't ok, then?

That was all I was trying to get across last night. It was the "I'm ok, unless I find out you're teaching something less diverse than what I approve of" perception that I was getting.

Does that help any?

Streak said...

Steve, it does help, except I said repeatedly that I was never advocated any restrictions on homeschooling. I asked for the curricula because Tony and others keep telling me that the wackjob curricula that revels in the death of Indians did not reflect most homeschool situations. Remember, I teach American history, and that is where I was coming from there. Had you said, yep, I teach David Barton and he is the best ever, I would probably concede that I don't respect that. I don't think it is helpful for children, nor for our future. That is it.

Streak said...

Sorry, got distracted and ended my comment abruptly. If I found out that people taught David Barton, i would not respect it, just as I don't respect David Barton. But I have never, and I know of no one, who wants to take away David Barton's right to write his bad and incorrect history. That right is fundamental.

Hope that clarifies.

Tony said...

ubub,

Thanks for your patience. I have had a ridiculously busy day and have been unable until now to get back to the blog.

May I first ask, with respect to your blogging anonymity, are you an educator?

I think I will address your questions in reverse order, if I may:

First and foremost, what is the purpose of education? Wherever whatever services might be delivered, certainly not all means are equally adept at achieving the same ends. So, what are the ends being pursued?

The ends I seek are similar as Spunky outlined. Forgive me if I share Bible verses, but I am a pastor :)

I see my children as sacred trusts from God (Psalm 127:3). I have a responsibility before God to raise them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). This includes teaching them the Scriptures (Deut. 6:4, 2 Tim. 3:14-15) as well as how to provide for themselves and a family (1 Tim. 5:8, 2 Thess. 3:10). I have by no means been comprehensive in Scriptural support.

So, the ends we pursue are first and foremost, to see our children come to Christ in salvation. My oldest daughter accepted Christ as Savior and Lord at 8. My other children have yet to surrender their lives to Him.

Secondly, that they become adequate disciples, taking His yoke upon themselves (Matt. 11:29), and learning, ultimately, not from me or my wife, but from Him. As disciples, that means they love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds (Matt. 22:37).

It is from this framework then that we work outward toward acheiving other ends, such as responsible citizenship, socialization, engaging culture, thinking critically, and evaluating other ideas.

So, education, then for us, is to instill a basic knowledge first, of facts, whatever those facts may be; historical, geographical, mathematical, etc. Secondly, how these facts interrelate with one another, and then finally how to present those facts reasonably and logically, in the aforementioned framework.

I hope this answers your first set of questions. If not, I would be glad to talk further, or if I have raised additional concerns.

Tony said...

Streak,

Coffee does wonders, doesn't it?

I appreciate your interaction here, I always have. You always bring a perspective that often gets overlooked by most conservative Christians and for that I am grateful to you. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but we are talking and that is more than most do.

The Barton school of thought is not where we hail from, nor do I intend to.

I do think you were legitimately without caprice trying to get into some homeschoolers' heads here, trying to figure out where we are coming from, and I hope we didn't scare you half to death.

This comment thread is longer than I am used to, so if I have failed to address anything please let me know.

Tony said...

ubub,

I would like to try my hand at the second comment you made, even though it was addressed to Spunky...she did say she would be away today.

Truly though, I do not want to argue evolution vs. creation, because I do not think we will get anywhere. However, the presentation of these ideas is, I believe, our concern.

Suffice it to say, I am a creationist, but the presentation of the ideas of evolution does not threaten my faith, nor the impartation of that same faith to my children. I have taught them the theory and I answer their questions.

Nevertheless, it is an idea that conflicts with the framework from which we teach our children, and I teach from that perspective. Do I teach that someone who believes evolution is a moron?

Of course not. I believed it patently until I completed a BS in biology.

And if I may offer an illustration (please bear with me) of the travail of my soul while in college, a Christian majoring in science at a secular, public instituion, my first year of baby bot, the prof was lecturing on the primordial soup.

She outlined that all the necessary elements were there in the soup, C, H, N, O, and S, somehow the "soup" was energized, and the first cell was formed. There was no rationale for the formation of the cell, not to mention that her presentation was philosophically strained, but for her purposes, those were non-issues. She was simply lecturing on the idea.

I raised my hand and asked, "Where did the elements come from?" She replied that they had always been there. That answer did not wash with me and still doesn't.

However, it was her abject refusal to accept creation or even ID as a viable alternative to evolution that troubled me and still does. So, even though I questioned her to address creation in some way, she did not; would not.

Could it possibly have threatened her faith, that I, in her classroom, on her turf, made such a claim?

Inherently, there is no problem with discussing ideas; but to teach creation is necessarily followed by the simple fact that if God did create the world, then somehow, we as God's creation are accountable to God.

I think that is where the rub comes in. And I think that is why creation, even as a possibility, is disdained.

Streak said...

tony, i have two questions.

one, someone in this comment thread mentioned discipling their children. I completely understand why that is not the role of the state--which is why I support separation of church/state--but why is that incompatible with public education? How is it even connected? How does a child attending school interfere with that?

Second, with the hopes of not opening the evolution/creation box too widely, I am curious why you would think that a science prof would want to engage on creation or ID since they are not technically scientific questions. Evolution doesn't prove or disprove the existence of God nor, might I add, some kind of special creation. The question I have, and continue to have, is do we mix different "ways of knowing" when we combine these two questions?

Does God exist? Does he/she love me? Does the creator care about affairs on earth? Is there a heaven? Why are we here?

All legit questions and none of them answerable by science. Why would we want them to try?

Spunky said...

uSorry for the long absence from the discussion. Streak I don't understand what point you were trying to make in your "B" comment directed to me. If you have time I'd love to know what that was in reference to.

Also, I'd like to take a stab at why discipleship is related to education. Simply because education is a part of discipleship. Secular educators have done a great job convincing the average Christian that education can be neutral and that spending 6 or more hours a day in a public school will not affect a child's faith. But Scripture presents a very different case for the Christian parent. We are not called to educate but to teach our children wisdom and to gain understanding not "get an education." That will include academics but to many of us academics is inseparable from discipleship. Acdemics can teach and train us to become a doctor, wisdom tells us that we are not to use our knowledge to abort the unborn. Academics can teach us how to count. But wisdom will teach us not to cheat on our taxes. Secular schools teach "values" but without the fear of the Lord they neglect a Christian parents calling to teach "wisdom" founded in the fear of the Lord.

Rather than repeat a lot of my blog I encourage you to read a post I wrote a while back. It will give you an excellent idea of how disicpleship and education are related. Here's the link. I think there are over 170 comments from MANY supporters of public education as well as homeschoolers. Before reading the comments make sure you read the link in the post by Voddie Bauchan.

http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2006/11/lost-key-to-discipleship.html

I don't maintain that blog anymore so I'd love to hear your comments here after your done. (Is that okay Tony?)

Streak said...

Spunky,

I think I said it fairly plainly. referring to "government schools" hides the fact that the "government" is "us." "You" and "me" and "ubub" and "Tony" all make up the "government." At least in the system you referenced when you quoted the Declaration.

Same, btw, with the reference to "secular" educators who appear to be lying to everyone. No one is stopping you from discipling your children even if they attend public schools. I know way too many "secular" educators to be convinced by your generalizations.

And this: Acdemics can teach and train us to become a doctor, wisdom tells us that we are not to use our knowledge to abort the unborn. Academics can teach us how to count. But wisdom will teach us not to cheat on our taxes. is simply more generalization and more falsehoods. As if "secular" people don't care about values or wisdom or cheating on taxes. Secular people are not grappling with abortion? Secular people don't care about deep questions? Not sure who you hang around. But this is simply disparaging people. Look, you want to justify homeschooling? I don't care. No one here is going to advocate removing your right to homeschool. But disparaging people who are secular doesn't convince me. Some of the most honest, and most virtuous and, yes, most noble individuals I know are secularists.

I will leave you alone.

Tony said...

Spunky,

No, I do not mind you using my blog as a forum, not at all. It would be a privilege.

Streak,

(one) I do not see the separation of church/state as the undergirding issue in this case. It assumes that the state should have a role in the education of my children, when they are not entitled to it. It is based on my understanding of discipleship.

I do not share your skepticism of children being under the influence of their parents all day. Yes, the teacher does have a vested interest in each individual child, and I in no way mean to disparage the heart of any teacher toward their children, but frankly, I want my children's hearts.

I may be selfish, and even obstinate on this point, but I don't want my children to hold anyone in higher regard than their mother and I. I feel you may see that as problematic, but I do not, and it is genuinely out of love for the precious gifts God has given me. It isn't my intention to be elitist or even hegemonist.

My skepticism comes in not necessarily public education, though I do have numerous issues with it, but rather, the fact that my children are away from my wife and I the major portion five days out of the week, 7-8 hours a day; if they were to ride a bus, even longer. My wife and I want that quality time with our kids that homeschooling affords.

Neither do I want them under the influence of their peers everyday. As ubub and I have been discussing, there are ways to socialize without sending kids to school. As I was coming up, I was very influenced by peer pressure. My parents were not really there for me. I did not have the tools at my disposal to deal with rejection, hurt, loss, failure, hormones, screw-ups, and every other adolescent issue. Yes, my parents listened, but I did not have the necessary tools to deal with those issues.

My wife had a similar experience and we attribute it to being part of a public school system, and not really a family. I am not faulting my folks here, don't misunderstand. I do think that a lot of parents assume much more than just education out of the ps system. (Incidentally, I fell out with a friend in 7th grade. I asked my dad about it, and he said, "Have you talked to the guidance counselor?")

I don't know Streak, I feel almost like I'm pouring my heart out here and I'm rambling, so I'll stop. Enough for question one. I don't even know if I answered the question.

(two) Here is where we will significantly diverge. They are technically scientific questions, but they are the philosophy that drives science. I majored in biology and classes were not the impartation of sterile scientific facts.

You said, Evolution doesn't prove or disprove the existence of God nor, might I add, some kind of special creation. No, neither do. But evolution as scientific evidence or an explanatory mechanism for perceived changes in biological makeup really does not concern me; it is evolution as a philospophical system that troubles me.

I am currently reading, alongside Kuo's book I might add, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. He earnestly contends that evolution is scientifically feasible and more than adequate to explain the universe.

Without opening that box too wide, and I fear I am, he is yet to deal with irreducible complexity, transitionary fossils, the incompatibility of evolution with the second law of thermodynamics and entropy, etc., but argues purely from a philosophical standpoint. And he works very hard to refute all the historical, Scriptural, and philosophical proofs for the existence of God...and always falls back on the explanatory power of evolution.

do we mix different "ways of knowing" when we combine these two questions? Can epistemologies mix? Particularly if they are diametrically opposed to one another?

I think the questions you refer to are not answerable by science and shouldn't be; nevertheless, when addressed philosophically, they become keenly relevant.

When addressed from a Scriptural pov, they are all answerable in that philosophical framework. The very act of creation itself betrays God's great love for us, His continual care for His creation, the existence of heaven, and purpose.

I still would love to hear your thoughts, if you have not tired of this conversation. I think I have gone on too long, and could continue, but will hold back right now.

As always, I appreciate the interaction on my blog and your willingness to converse.

Streak said...

I don't want my children to hold anyone in higher regard than their mother and I. I feel you may see that as problematic,

I didn't mean that. In fact, what I was suggesting was that skepticism is a good thing and teachers are a nice target for that skepticism. When the teachers are the parents, then do the kids think that the knowledge is without flaws? (I am asking here, not being snide).

Let me say as well, that I respect that you want to be with your kids. I don't have a problem with that at all. I am merely asking some questions based on my flawed and singular experience. My parents, for all their flaws, provided enough (and sometimes too much) guidance in that I never felt like the Public Schools functioned as my parental figure. My teachers were my teachers. Period. I might respond from that perspective.

2) There is no way I can defend Richard Dawkins, who as scientist seems to have declared war on faith. But I am not sure he is the best example of what I am talking about.

Let me take my perspective in a different way. Say I teach American history. Say that there are historical explanations that are not measurable by historical methods, but are popular with a lot of people. Say they suggest that the Constitution was written out of the Bible. And that comes from a belief that the American system is divinely inspired, not just some system worked out by flawed human beings. Am I supposed to teach that? (Or perhaps I miss your point).

You wrote: Can epistemologies mix? Particularly if they are diametrically opposed to one another? I guess I am not sure why they have to mix, and that seems to be my point. If evolution explains speciation, let it explain that. But don't ask it to explain theological or philosophical questions. (To be fair, some will absolutely turn to that for those explanations because they are not religious people. They have that right as well).

I think the questions you refer to are not answerable by science and shouldn't be; nevertheless, when addressed philosophically, they become keenly relevant. Perhaps I am confused. I agree they are philosophical questions and questions that most humans grapple with at some point. It seems to me that asking scientists to answer ID or creation questions is actually demanding philosophical answers from the Scientist.

When addressed from a Scriptural pov, they are all answerable in that philosophical framework. The very act of creation itself betrays God's great love for us, His continual care for His creation, the existence of heaven, and purpose. Sure. I don't have a problem with that. But I still don't see what that has to do with our dilemma. I don't have a problem with belief in a creator, but I don't want my scientists or science teachers teaching it alongside issues that can be proven or tested.

Here is another example, and perhaps I really am missing the point. I apologize for rambling. My perspective is that it would be irresponsible for the science teacher to teach something other than evolution because that is the concensus explanation (always open to revision given new data) of the scientific community. No, it is not unanimous, but few ideas are. If the science teacher were to address the issue of special creation, which one should he/she use? What about the numerous mythogenisis stories out there? I read one to my class today that beautifully descrited one native tradition of the origins of life. Would we use that? Could we use that?

And again, I apologize for the rambling and quite possibly missing your point on evolution.

Tony said...

Streak,

OK...now I get it. I see your perspective now...neurological flatulence prohibited it before.

Teachers being the target of skepticism, and when parents are the teachers, then that does raise a new concern.

Honestly, I had not thought about that from that perspective. I do try to foster an atmosphere open to questions with my children. I hope they do not accept what I say carte blanche, nevertheless, they will simply because I am their father, and likewise with my wife as their mother. This brings an even greater level of humility into our homeschooling endeavor.

This would be a significant drawback of homeschooling and one I am yet to offer a significant counter for, if there is one.

This is where being part of a hs group or a cooperative would prove beneficial. But even then, the environment is controlled to such a level that open discussion may not be possible, nor that competing ideas would be offered regularly.

Streak, you stumped me, here.

With evolution, there is a disconnect, and not between you and I, but between our two schooling preferences.

Evolution may be the concensus view in the broader scientific community, but I don't think it necessarily is at all times and in all places. Creation scientists receive very little respect outside of their circle, and there is a significant group of people that do prescribe to creation or at least some form of ID.

Your example with the Constitution clarifies. My point was that the teaching of evolution as cold, sterile, factual information cannot be divorced from understanding it as a philosophical system that is used to explain the universe, and as Dawkins does, completely devoid of faith altogether.

I referred to Dawkins, mainly because I am in the midst of his book, and he is extreme.

What about the numerous mythogenisis stories out there? I read one to my class today that beautifully descrited one native tradition of the origins of life. Would we use that? Could we use that?

In a state-supported school, the concensus view, I assume, would have to be taught. There are many, many views of creation, as you know, so all could not (even should not) be taught, and I would not expect science teachers to really answer philosophical questions as we are talking about, but can those same facts be taught apart from their philosophical underpinnigs? My contention is that they cannot and those issues will surface at some point. This is why, as a college freshman, I asked my botany prof what I did (see above comment, somewhere, way up there^). She did not feel obligated to answer that question, which was obviously philosophical, but merely avoided it.

Let me say, if you interact with your students as you have with me, then you are a great college prof. I would be glad to take your classes.

Spunky said...

Streak since you didn't indicate whether or not you read the link, I will assume not. My comments were meant to be introductory to the link I gave you, not the sum total of my thoughts.

You said, "As if "secular" people don't care about values or wisdom or cheating on taxes."

That's a leap I didn't make. But a secular (defined as unbeliever) does not "fear the Lord." In my worldview, a man cannot possess wisdom without the "fear of the Lord." The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom the scriptures tell us. How are we to acquire wisdom? The scirpture also reveals that by walking with the wise. (Those that fear the Lord.) Does that mean the secularist doesn't have values? Not at all. I never asserted they lacked values only God's wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord.

A secularist has values but for what end. Self, good of others, but NOT to for the glory of a Divine Creator. Jesus said, "he who is not for me, is against me." The schools do NOT educate in Jesus name and for the glory of the Lord.

Are there Christian educators? Yes, but their hands are tied by a state system that recognizes MANY gods not the ONE true God. A teacher cannot teach the One true God to the exclusion of all others.

I don't disparage the secularists. Not at all, I know many atheists who are wonderful people who have a tremendous work eithic and discipline. But for what purpose and end?

Think of it this way, if a man is lead to Christ would you put him in a secular church that denies the existence of God for his discipleship? No. And that's only for a few hours a week. Our children are at best new believers and much more impressionable than a grown man or woman. Why would I put them in the care of one who would teach them plethora of "facts" but NOT the truth?

Rather, I would have them be around those that possess the Truth for their discipleship. Does that mean they are never in the ocmpany of secularists or atheists? Not at all. But their primary influencers will be those that "fear the Lord" and seek to bring glory to His name.

I'll now leave you alone. :)

Streak said...

A secularist has values but for what end. Self, good of others, but NOT to for the glory of a Divine Creator. Jesus said, "he who is not for me, is against me." The schools do NOT educate in Jesus name and for the glory of the Lord.

Oh, I love the "not for me is against me quote." I wonder where I have heard that before? Of course you are right, the public schools don't educate that way. And shouldn't.

But a secular (defined as unbeliever) does not "fear the Lord." In my worldview, a man cannot possess wisdom without the "fear of the Lord." The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom the scriptures tell us. How are we to acquire wisdom? The scirpture also reveals that by walking with the wise. (Those that fear the Lord.)

I have no idea what that means. I never have. Probably makes me a bad Christian, but I don't understand what the "fear of the lord" means. I also don't buy the "some of my best friends are secularists" line. And maybe it is just my experience. The people you set up as the wise have proven, in my church experience, to be the unwise. Oh, they could quote the same verses you do, but they were not wise. My so-called "secular" "unsaved" "not fearing god" friends have been ever so wise, and continue to be so. My frustration with you, Spunky, is that I do think you disparage these other people, and that is a side of the church that I have no interest in. It is why I don't attend any more. Take that for what you will.

Tony said...

Spunky,

I was in the midst of posting a response to your comment but found Streak posting at the same time plus it was late last night...after I got myelf going this morning, plus the kids I saw your new post...and so now I comment.

What I was going to say was that I agreed with Streak that the comment was generalized, but your link clarifies. I do agree with your return comment above.

Just because someone is moral, noble, or virtuous, does not imply regeneration, I don't think Streak would disagree (Streak, I hope I am not putting words into your mouth).

However, secularists, liberals, non-beleivers, etc. do all grapple with the tough questions, but for aforementioned reasons we all will not come to the same conclusions, and neither will all believers for that matter. Our foundations for ethics are all different.

My concern is that that my children respond biblically as best as possible to tough questions and be fair enough to dialogue with the secularist, non-believer, etc with humility and grace.

Everyone, I appreciate your interaction in this difficult topic. Many thanks.

Streak said...

Tony, thanks for the response. The merging of epistomologies is a really interesting issue. I have neighbors who are both zoologists and both teach evolutionary biology. For them, evolution is a settled issue, and their objection to creation science and ID is that, in their words, it isn't science, because it can't be tested.

But you are correct, these scientific theories and explanations have philosophical import. And, since you brought it up, I don't teach history as cold dispassionate facts. (In fact, perhaps some of my reaction to Spunky is that I see myself grappling with moral questions every day. And, when I applied to teach at a Christian school, they didn't think that was sufficient. )

Perhaps scientists should be able and willing to discuss the philosophy behind the science more readily. I don't know.

Spunky said...

Streak asked, "Oh, I love the "not for me is against me quote." I wonder where I have heard that before? Of course you are right, the public schools don't educate that way. And shouldn't."

I'm not sure where you may have heard that before, but I first read it in Jesus's words found in Luke 11:23 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters."

and also in Mathew 12:30.

I agree that the public schools shouldn't educate that way. As a pluralistic society they cannot teach one truth to the exclusion of all others. But as this scripture lays out, those that don't gather with the Lord - scatter. That means that actively work against the Lord. The public schools as a government institution (as opposed to individuals) work for the interest of the state, not the glory of the Lord and the discipleship of my children.

That's what makes comments like Robert Reich's statement a problem for homeschoolers and why Tony labeled his post "Another reason to homeschool." The purpose of public schools was clearly atriculated by him and it is in sharp contrast to the scriptural instruction of the Christian to grow in wisdom.

You also said, " My frustration with you, Spunky, is that I do think you disparage these other people, and that is a side of the church that I have no interest in."

I aplogize for frustrating you, I can truly understand how meeting someone with passionate ideas that oppose your own can be frustrating. But it needn't be. I enjoy discussing these issues with passion from differing perpsectives. It sharpens me. Like I said some of my friends are secular atheists and my immediate neighbor is a devout Muslim. We have incredibly intense but mutually enjoyable conversations because we don't take things personally. We both come away challenged and sharper for the discussion. The fact that I believe in absolutes and disagree does not disparage a person. What often frustrates others is the fact that I believe in absolutes in a world that doesn't want to believe in them. Jesus spoke in absolutes. If you're not for me your against me. Life is full of choices, what the secularist wants is to believe that all beliefs point to God, but that is in contrast to the teachings of Christ which states, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." The public schools teach the all paths lead to God approach, I seek to disciple in the latter truth. And as I said in a earlier comment, it is now a cultural norm and considered unacceptable to say that another's beliefs are wrong without being accused of disparaging another. The belief is wrong but just like with my Muslim neighbor I don't disparage or reject the person. I have enjoyed this conversation and hope that we have the chance to engage each other again. I do hope you take the opportunity to read the link. You may not agree, but it will give you some insight into this discussion.

Streak said...

I understand where the verse came from. I was referencing that our President likes to use that kind of language.

Yes, Jesus used that kind of language. But he also used inclusionary language, and he also challenged the religious leaders as much as he did those who were not believers.

I don't like the language of exclusion. That puts me, in your words, in the secular world. I don't like the assumption that those who are not actively working for the Lord are against him--which means that you think that the Public schools are actively working against the Lord. I don't see how that works, quite frankly, nor do I see it as a positive representation of Christ. And I particularly struggle with the language of "you aren't disagreeing with me, but with God."

I struggle with the generalizations that secularists don't believe in truth or absolutes, when most of the people I know believe strongly in both. But they don't necessarily believe the same truths and they don't necessarily assume that they have a handle on those truths. Just because someone doesn't accept your absolutes, does not mean they are some namby pamby (technical term) moral relativist.

I grew up in a SBC church and in a family where the Bible was quoted routinely. I attended church, SS, and even VBS (which may be why I swear so much). I understand the concepts. I am just no longer convinced. The language of the believer v. the unbeliever has its context, and it certainly has a long history, but it is not where I am.

Spunky said...

You said, "I struggle with the generalizations that secularists don't believe in truth or absolutes, when most of the people I know believe strongly in both."

Allow me to clarify my ideas. I was speaking from the perspective of secular -vs- Christian education which is the topic of this conversation. Of course, secularists have absolutes. The belief that there is no God is a commonly held absolute of the atheist. That is their truth and that puts them at odds with my belief. They are being as exclusionary as the Christian. But the schools teach from the perspective that all beliefs are valid. As you and I both agree they must do this. And that is what Robert Reich objects to in his statements. He wants the homeschooler regulated to ensure that the child is "well rounded" which means exposure to the idea that there is not one absolute Truth. I hope that clarifies the point.

I know that this isn't recognized by some as "positive" or popular with some. I can accept that. Our culture wants grace at the expense of Truth. But Jesus embodied both grace and truth. He was exclusionary in that He said I am the way, but then layed down his life and died to make that way possible for you and me.

You also said, "The language of the believer v. the unbeliever has its context, and it certainly has a long history, but it is not where I am."

I appreciate your candidness and honesty. It is refreshing. But in saying so your decision not to make a distinciton between belief and unbelief has consequences as all choices do. And perhaps that is the basis for why the Christian school would not hire you as a teacher. They, like all Christian parents, are charged with teaching their children Truth from a biblical worldview. To hire a person who admits that "this isn't where he is at" presents a conflict to the school and the parents who are paying for a Christian education. You are undoubtedly knowledgable in the subject of history (and I'm sure others) but they are seeking a teacher who is also a professing believer and willing to make the distinction between belief and unbelief. At this time you don't fit that profile. In the same way that a Muslim wouldn't hire me as a professing Christian to teach their classes.

That is actually one of the best things about homeschooling. In the context of our family, your lessons in history could be taught in our home with our whole family present and discussed from the your perspective and from our perspective. We could challenge, question, and agree or disagree as we travel through time and the thoughts you present.

That what makes homeschooling unique in education for us. We invite over a variety of people with strongly held beliefs that are directly opposite our own for just that reason. Our Muslim neighbor is one such example. I'm not threatened by opposing viewpoints but I will teach them in the context of biblical truth. To me that is learning at its best. We've discussed the Iraq and Lebanese conflict with the father who just lost 18 relatives in gun fire that destroyed their home. Interestly, as a Muslim, he sees the same conflict with his values and the secular schools that I do but doesn't homeschool. (Yet :) ) So as I said in a comment a while back that's why so many are moving toward homeschooling. And most likely why some want to regulate it.

Streak said...

The difference between your statement that a Muslim wouldn't hire you to teach, is that I am actually a Christian. Just not one that measures up, evidently.

I know that this isn't recognized by some as "positive" or popular with some. I can accept that. Our culture wants grace at the expense of Truth.

This is more of the generalizations that I object to. If I generalize about homeschooling (and I confess that I have) you and Steve have objected. For some reason, it is perfectly acceptable to generalize about this complex culture that includes a diversity (and I stress diversity) of public school experiences.

And I have to note this:

That is actually one of the best things about homeschooling. In the context of our family, your lessons in history could be taught in our home with our whole family present and discussed from the your perspective and from our perspective. We could challenge, question, and agree or disagree as we travel through time and the thoughts you present.

Except that I have three degrees and years spent studying this subject. Does that not matter? Or is your family's view and my view all up for debate? This feeds into my concern (which should sound ironic) that truth is subjective. Does it mean that you will pick and choose those explanations that you already like?

They, like all Christian parents, are charged with teaching their children Truth from a biblical worldview. To hire a person who admits that "this isn't where he is at" presents a conflict to the school and the parents who are paying for a Christian education.

Except it also appears that they simply want an "education" that is what they already believe. I would humbly submit that is not education, but rubber stamping. If they want that, that is their choice in our economic system. But calling it education is a bit of a misnomer. What it reflects, especially at the college level is an attempt to simply exclude alternative explanations from their children's lives. Oddly enough what liberals and "secularists" like myself are charged with. Yet, those who defend their children's Christian college education will say they are following the will of God?

I must say that I suspect we are not going to agree. But I do appreciate your willingness to talk about it. Thanks also to Tony.