Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
It was misty, moisty, and magical up in the clouds.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I was out on the patio the other day, checking vegetable starts and ‘outdoor tasking’ when Daniel launched into an explanation of a flawed proof for evolution, sighting a 1953 experiment conducted by a man named Stanley Miller. The information he was spontaneously sharing came from the book, It Couldn’t Just Happen, that he read this year for his Classical Conversations Rhetoric class. Although first published in 1987, this book remains an excellent resource for opening and maintaining a conversation about origins. For Daniel, some of these conversations took place during his Classical Conversations Rhetoric class, and it is for honest conversations about fundamental topics, such as origins, that I have maintained a deep interest and desire to see our kids schooled outside of the public education system.
I was a public educator prior to ‘retiring’ in 1998 to manage our home, raise, and school our two kids. I spent 11 years in the classroom teaching 1st and 2nd graders. Those years were busy, demanding, and stressful, and while I was ready to hang up my stick of chalk when the opportunity came to do so, those years were also full of sweetness and I had the privilege of working alongside some very well intended, loving, serving colleagues, many of whom were also Christians. Still, as our own two kids approached school age, the public school system wasn’t an option in my mind. Large class sizes, my children’s maturity issues, etc. were all part of my concerns but, ultimately, the heart of the issue of educating our children has been an issue of world view.
In September, Daniel had to write a science report on ‘amoebas’ for his Classical Conversations Biology class. Each week, the students in the middle school class, Challenge A, research a topic, write about the topic, hand draw an illustration, write a bibliography, and present all of these to their cohort (classmates). A quick check of our home library afforded very little information on ‘amoebas’, but we did have one book, John Holzmann’s (of Sonlight Curriculum) Biology. Excellent. Now, as the assignment required two or more references, we needed another book. I stopped at St. Vincent de Paul, ‘O Excellent Supplier Of So Many Of Our Books’, and grabbed a middle school biology textbook. $2.50 (which was less than my library fine). There was a whole section in this book on amoebas, complete with illustrations. As Daniel and I read over the section, however, we found that the information was so laced with evolutionary information that it seemed to be more like a tool of evolutionist indoctrination than an honest study of one-celled creatures. Ultimately, I recycled the book (in the ‘blue bin’, choosing not to regift the book to St. Vinnie’s), and discussed with Daniel how one of my frustrations with the school system is that materials, such as this book, are used to teach core subjects, and that the information is dedicated to a theory of origins that is taught authoritatively rather than acknowledging the status of ‘theory’. There are no disclaimers such as, ‘Some scientists believe.....’
Families have different reasons for choosing home education or home based education, and I have gleaned some great encouragement and wisdom on the subject from many sources, including an article written by Ron Julian of the McKenzie Study Center and Gutenberg College. (Read it for yourself here.) Written in 1993, seven years prior to our own foray into the waters of home education, the issues of shepherding our children’s hearts through their education rings true today. Home education was a growing movement in 1993, and the heart of the matter remains the same today.
For our family, joining Classical Conversations has been an unexpected mercy in our home education journey. It has been a financial sacrifice for us, but it has been well worth the cost. Granted, we could have combed through the book It Couldn’t Just Happen on our own, but the opportunity to discuss the information in a tutor-guided session with several other students has been valuable. Weekly accountability to get the readings done has kept Daniel on track. Daniel, who doesn’t *love* to read, loved this book and I am grateful that he had the opportunity to look at some of the arguments that evolutionists claim support their theory and to explore the huge, gaping holes in those very claims. Several months after reading about Stanley Miller’s 1953 experiment, Daniel is still chewing on the information. Home education has given us the opportunity to look at the holes in what our society, education system, and culture claim to be true in fundamental topics such as origins, and I am thankful.