Monday, October 04, 2010

Warnings for Homeschoolers Does Not Apply to All Homeschoolers

Ken over at Bible, Math, Politics and More! is writing a group of post on Warnings for Homeschoolers he starts with Warnings for Homeschoolers: Introduction. A better title would have been WARNINGS FOR FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN HOMESCHOOLERS as this is the Homeschool Group he is addressing. When these Fundamentalist Christian Bloggers write post like this they give non-homeschoolers the impression that we are ALL LIKE THIS. Nothing could be further from the truth. The introduction isn't to bad actually as he does encourage parents to research homeschooling before embarking on it.

On the other hand Warnings for Homeschoolers: Making the Decision is dreadful.
Here is what I believe is the key question around which the decision to homeschool centers:
  • What is, in the will of God, the best option for providing quality Christian education to my children?
"Quality," in line with a post I wrote several weeks ago, implies that the education is both thoroughly Christian (i.e., from a Christian, Bible-based worldview) and academically challenging.

Personally I think a lot more should factor into your decision.
  • Can your family afford to homeschool.
  • Do you enjoy learning and can you convey that enthusiasm to your children/students.
  • Are you willing to research and teach new scientific evidence and new historical evidence that overturns your cherished beliefs.
  • Do you embrace learning about new cultures and beliefs and exploring the world.
And how anyone can provide a decent education while insisting that everything be taught from a thoroughly Christian Bible-based worldview is beyond me.

  • Only 8 of the 27 books of the New Testament were actually written by the authors to whom they're attributed. Others are likely forgeries.
  • The gospels provide remarkably divergent portrayals of Jesus.
  • The message of the Apostle Paul and the message of gospel writer Matthew are completely at odds over the question of whether a follower of Jesus also had to observe the Jewish law.
  • The Nicene Creed and the Trinity were constructs of the later church and are not found in the pages of the Bible.
  • Traditional doctrines such as the suffering Messiah, the divinity of Christ, and the notion of heaven and hell are not based on the teachings of the historical Jesus.
  • The commonly told story of Jesus -- his birth, death, and resurrection is actually a composite of four vastly different gospel narratives.
  ~Professor Bart D. Ehrman
Basing the education of your children and your world view on a book that is riddled with inconsistencies and outright forgeries seems extremely foolish.

Many Homeschoolers use secular materials to educate their children, and are NOT interested in indoctrinating their children with a thoroughly Christian Bible-based worldview. Most homeschoolers make it a point to educate themselves on the newest scientific and historical findings. Ken does not speak for all homeschoolers and he should not pretend to do so.


  1. Given the name of the blog, I'm surprised you even clicked through to read the post. It's not like you didn't know what to expect :)

  2. :>) It was the Title Warnings for Homeschoolers that caught my eye, didn't even notice the title of the blog until after I had clicked.

  3. Good one... you managed to claim the need to "embrace learning about new cultures and beliefs and exploring the world" while offhandedly dismissing and even attacking the culture and beliefs of the Christian writing the blog post. Also you said "Personally I think a lot more should factor into your decision" and then listed several of the things the other blogger mentioned as important but less so than his main point.
    Seriously, you can and should do better than that. I've never read that blog you linked to before, but just a quick glance tells me that his audience is Christians. I am a Christian father and I am going to homeschool my children, and I followed your blog because it's about homeschooling but not necessarily from a Christian perspective (I wasn't sure before but now I am!), and I, like every other Christian and Christian homeschooler I know, am interested in engaging with other points of view, beliefs, and cultures. Look over his post again, and then yours. He's not even a homeschooler anymore. Please read carefully.

    BWT, Dr. Ehrman presents one view of the Bible and Christianity that is not generally accepted within Christianity. Actually read Ehrman's book (I saw you copied straight from his page) and then read this: and then you can call us foolish. Until then, just say you disagree. ;)

  4. I would have clicked on that title without noticing the blog name too. I agree the stereotypes that we are all Christians can be difficult, doesn't help when some talk like we all are. If I wrote an article about homeschooling where it sounded like al homeschoolers shared my religious beliefs, I bet I'd get several comments from Christians wanting people to know that there were many who didn't share my beliefs. The biggest thing is that the stereotype effects the curriculum that is published making it very hard to find scientifically accurate curriculum covering all scientific topics. But maybe our children are better off with us needing to create it ourselves. Means they get all the latest info. Anyway just wanted to add a friendly comment, but I am sure you expected some to beupset with you for sharing your point of view

  5. Thanks Ina's 5, I am glad you understood the intent of my post. Honestly from the title I was expecting a post on how Homeschoolers wouldn't be able to cope in the real world or some such nonsense as that written by a non homeschooler, who thought everyone should be forced to attend public school.

  6. Daniel I am sorry if you were offended by my post.

    Actually since Ken's blog is a public blog his audience is whoever stumbles upon it.

    While the vast majority of Christians are interested in engaging with other points of view, beliefs, and cultures. There is a LOUD minority of Fundamentalist Christians who have a very narrow world view and who wish to force their beliefs on everyone else.

    I have actually read God's Problem and Misquoting Jesus and am in the process of reading Jesus, Interrupted. Dr. Ehrman has the credentials and scholarship to be taken seriously.

    I remember a conversation I had with my pastor. We were discussing what our Sunday School class should study next and I had suggested theology. He said he would love to teach a class on theology but couldn't in good conscious because the vast majority of Christians would be upset to learn that their long cherished beliefs were not true and it would undermine their faith.

    Surprising that a pastor doesn't necessarily believe what he proclaims from the pulpit isn't it?

  7. Daniel, I take exception to the fact that Ken makes it sound as IF ALL homeschooler are going to be concerned with the will of God and providing a quality Christian education. Homeschoolers are a diverse bunch and I find it very arrogant of Ken and other Christian bloggers to act like the title homeschooler belongs only to them.

  8. Interesting discussion. Personally, I think the most pressing questions for parents who are thinking about home schooling are "Are we willing to learn more patience, do we like being with them 24-7 and are we willing to laugh more because when you bring all your children home these are the things that will impact them the most.Content for instruction is going to be as diverse as families themselves. But laughing at problems and spills, enjoying each others company and being patient with the learning process need to be part of every child's educational experience. That is why many of us homeschool - we want that for our children. Then we worry about content.

  9. Mary Ann, you must be a longtime homeschooler, because you really understand what is important! There is so much more to homeschooling than content. And the things you mention are not usually on the beginning homeschool family's radar until after they have discovered what it is REALLY like to be together 24-7 for a couple of months.

    Alesandra, I am disappointed, because you are an intelligent and reasonable person. Ken's introduction is actually very general, and only an irrationally anti-Christian person would interpret it as being for "fundamentalists only." Multitudes of people pray, to a variety of gods, from a place of various levels of commitment to those gods. Others receive "guidance from the universe," or meditate, or some other activity that they view kind of like Christians view praying. So saying that the decision to homeschool should be arrived at through prayer and research shouldn't cause offense to the vast majority of people likely to be reading a blog about homeschooling. (Far more controversial in some Christian homeschooling circles is that it might not be the will of God for all Christians to homeschool!)

    Ken's second post about making a decision is obviously aimed at Christians, though it could also apply to other people of faith. In any event, when you got to the part about the will of God, then you could have just clicked off and let him talk to his intended audience.

    Your post is clearly for a secular audience, and most Christians would have bailed in the middle of the first paragraph. But for those who wanted to hear your point of view, you mocked Christian homeschoolers and their beliefs, quoted a scholar to debunk the Bible and the Christian worldview, and pointed out that your pastor doesn't believe what he proclaims from the pulpit.

    I find the opinions of Dr. Ehrman and your pastor to be as incredible and foolish as you find my "cherished beliefs". So what? You aren't writing to me. I'm the one who chose to stick around after that first paragraph, and unsurprisingly, found some things with which I disagree.

    I believe that homeschooling was the will of God for my family. That belief was sometimes the only encouragement that kept me from throwing in the towel every couple of years during the 20 years I homeschooled two children from K-12. When I started homeschooling, it wasn't even legal in some states and almost nobody was doing it. You almost always faced opposition from just about everyone. You had to cobble together your own curriculum, science and otherwise, and there was no multi-million dollar homeschooling industry to support us, so I had to have a -ahem- "higher motivation." You would disagree. So what? You obviously care very much about your children's education and desire to teach them through the grid of your own non-religious worldview. None of my business!

    I think Daniel's point is that your post, which is written for your secular audience, seems just as exclusive and mean spirited to Christians as Ken's post, which was written for his Christian audience, does to you. Maybe intentionally, maybe not.

    Neither you nor Ken speak for all homeschoolers, but there is plenty of room in the homeschool world for both of you. Hopefully out of each of your articles, people are able to find the great nuggets that applied to them about what ought to go into one's decision to homeschool. Because however you go about making the decision, it is not for the faint of heart.

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  11. Great point Mary Ann ""Are we willing to learn more patience, do we like being with them 24-7 and are we willing to laugh more".

    Homeschoolers certainly need a surfeit of patience with themselves, with their children and with all those nosy people that insist there is something WRONG with people who homeschool.

    I loved the chance to spend more time with my kids, but I have to admit I was never with them 24/7. I and most of the homeschool Moms I hung out with made sure we had some "ME" time for ourselves, so we didn't get burned out.

  12. Susan, Yes, I could have just clicked off BUT I for one am tired of FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN BLOGGERS acting like the term homeschooler only applies to them. I am tired of people assuming I am a Fundamentalist Christian because I choose to homeschool. If Ken had merely used the term Christian Homeschoolers in his post I wouldn't have had a problem with it. Then people would at least realize not all homeschoolers are Fundamentalist Christians or homeschool for religious reasons. As it was Ken left the impression his post applied to all homeschoolers.

    I have never claimed to speak for all homeschoolers. In fact I have taken great pains in previous post to point out how diverse the homeschooling community truly is.

    I felt the need to address Ken's post as many people who know nothing about homeschooling form opinions based on what they read online. It's time they realize all homeschoolers DO NOT SHARE THE SAME BELIEFS or homeschool for the same reason.

    I will certainly defend your right to teach your child whatever you wish. But I reserve the right to state my beliefs and opinions and let the world know homeschoolers are NOT THE SAME.

  13. Alasandra, you have certainly generated a lot of interesting discussion here. It is true that my posts (and I expect to write at least three more) are aimed at the fundamentalist Christian audience who believe that the entire Bible is indeed the Word of God.

    It is also obvious, as I look at your blog, that you are aiming at a different audience.

    Certainly, homeschooling families are all of types of religious, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds; I did not in any way try to imply otherwise. But for those who wish to inculcate into their children the same worldview that I have, I trust my posts will be helpful. If they can be helpful to anyone else, so much the better.

    I wish you well in your homeschooling endeavors.

  14. I read Ken's posts, and I thought they made a lot of sense. Especially considering that he's obviously writing from a thoroughly Christian standpoint, is it really so shocking that he would find a Christian education important? I didn't find anything nasty or insulting about his article, as I found in yours. Should it really be surprising that most people associate homeschooling with Fundies when Christians do outnumber nonChristian homeschoolers? I understand venting and whatnot (I generally don't want to be associated with the stereotypical homeschooler - and it IS a stereotype), but do it with courtesy and respect if someone else is going to see it.

    Blessed Be

  15. Candy I am not sure why you ASSUME that Christian homeschoolers outnumber non-Christian homeschoolers.

    Trinity University did a study on why people homeschool. The reasons stated were:

    48.9 percent believe that they can provide a better education for their children at home

    38.4 percent cite religious reasons for home schooling

    So about 10% more people were homeshcooling for NON-religious reasons then religious.


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