real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

spunky on obama, holzmann on swanson

In case you haven’t been following Spunky’s recent articles on the future of education in America, particularly as it relates to homeschooling and President Obama’s agenda, you might want to do so. It is clearer all the time that the bureaucrats don’t think parents are qualified to be, well, parents, especially when it comes to educating our own children.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I would mention that I just paid the required $25.00 to my local school district’s office to renew my teaching certificate. Though I have no intention of teaching in any local school, I have kept it up to date in case the time comes when Illinois homeschoolers must have the oversight of someone with a teaching certificate. Call it my Titus 2 tax if you will.

But here is something else I haven’t spoken much about. I remember spending hours in teacher education courses, in child development classes, and student teaching in both a junior high and a high school. Though I was somewhat indoctrinated, I also didn’t buy most of what I was told. (This is where the 60’s adage “question authority” is a good thing.)

Fast forward to my first year of homeschooling and my first real understanding of education. Having read the Moore books, I then spent a couple afternoons listening to Inge Cannon explain basic principles of teaching and educational philosophy to a room full of homeschooling mothers and my real education and certification began. It was a tremendous experience for which I will ever be grateful. Oh, that young, wide-eyed university trained teachers today could sit at her feet for just a few hours.

President Obama’s goals may have some merit but no one should kid themselves, his methods and programs will serve the needs and wants of the teachers’ unions not our children and definitely not their parents, whom they all believe should leave education in the hands of those who know better.

Which brings me to the other one who seems to know so much better than homeschooling parents and who has some delusions of shaping education on a national scale: Kevin Swanson.

John Holzmann has some interesting insights in response to Kevin’s announcement a couple weeks ago that he will be stepping down as the head of Colorado Christian Home Educators. Don’t get too excited because John includes the letter Kevin sent out letting everyone in his state know that the CHEC agenda has been so successful that he will be taking it national, expanding their influence from coast to coast, and then some.

Kevin also has this insight, no doubt aimed at those of us who have been called the “Titus 2 lesbian bloggers.” Says Swanson “We have had more problems with attacks from the enemy than [at] any other time that I can remember in CHEC history, and many of my good friends from other ministries have witnessed similar all-out attack[s] as well. We must be doing something right! I would ask that you pray for increased attendance, and an unimpeded course for our wonderful speakers that have agreed to stand with us in the storms.”

It reminds me of a quote I heard last week that came out of a conference where one denomination’s leadership is concerned about all the discussions taking place on various blogs regarding theology and church polity, and one of the pastors stated that “dialogue is dangerous.” Indeed it is. Somehow disagreeing with the patriocentrists translates into being attacked and that God is on their side. Reminds me of another great quote, this time from Abraham Lincoln: ““Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”

Kevin also noted in his letter that he will be replaced in CHEC leadership by Mike Chapa. Lest anyone be concerned that the patriocentric agenda will not be moving forward, Chapa and his wife, Tonya, are members of Kevin’s church, Tonya is a moderator on Stacy McDonald’s Patriarch’s Wives Yahoo group and she shares a blog with other notable patriocentrists like Stacy McDonald, Carmen Friedrich, Jennie Chancey, and Kelly Crawford.



  Cally Tyrol wrote @

How do you think Kevin Swanson will go over on a national level? I’ve always found him to be rather hyperbolic… he always sounds like he’s trying to sell something.

I’d like to say that homeschoolers, as a whole, are savvy enough to pick up on the dangers of his agenda… but patriocentrists keynote speakers are becoming more and more common. Voddie is the keynote speaker for this years CHEA convention (in California). What the heck!??

Kevin on a national level is definitely a cause for concern. I think you are spot on.

  thatmom wrote @

Cally, maybe Voddie will explain to you Californians what he means about men needing the attention of young women. Maybe he will sing “I wish they all could BE California girls.” 🙂

  thatmom wrote @

As far as Kevin is concerned, I think that most people who like to listen to him are able to get past his hyperbole and sarcasm. (They would have to be able to do this to keep listening.) the real problem with him taking his CHEC agenda national is what he has already done in Colorado. He has so narrowly defined “Christian homeschooling” that many people there feel disenfranchised. Perhaps he will be attempting to get Sonlight or any other vendor he thinks isn’t Christian enough to be banned from conventions around the country. This isn’t the time for making the nonessentials the essentials.

  Cally Tyrol wrote @

I couldn’t agree more.

For my part, I’ll do what I can out here in Cali. First time homeschooling moms get a free day at the CHEA convention, so I am planning on going- if for no other reason then that I love to touch and feel books before I buy them… but I also have ulterior motives as well. Not sure I’ll be able to stand Voddie though. Thank goodness he’s not the only major speaker.

  ProntoLessons wrote @

Great summary on Obama’s thoughts on education reform as it relates to us homeschoolers.

Another comment/concern that I have that just supports this momentum for increased standardization is how European countries (U.K. and Sweden in particular) have reently announced plans to increase homeschooling regulations, partly to get closer to the regulations of other European countries AND our own Education Secretary Duncan’s comments about wanting to set up international benchmarks for measureing academic performance in our country.

I just hope this doesn’t mean that, somehow and sometime in the future, that homeschoolers on an INTERNATIONAL level will have additional regulations imposed on them.

  Savannah wrote @

I hesitate to post because the last thing I want to do is come off as argumentative, but I have a real question about your analysis of Arne Duncan’s outline. How does it change homeschooling under President Obama from how it was under President Bush?

One more thing, my husband is a public school teacher of 34 years, with two masters degrees and also national board certified (I realize that probably doesn’t mean much to the homeschool community, but I’m trying to set up the background with which I’m about to make my statement). Teachers’ unions are NOT happy about many, many of the things President Obama has outlined. He is making union leaders mad, not catering to them.

However, my husband and many other teachers we know welcome more accountability and tougher standards.

  ProntoLessons wrote @

Hi Savannah,

My analysis of Duncan’s comments and Obama’s doesn’t change anything for homeschoolers…yet.

My real concern (fear?) is that there is a building POTENTIAL for a United States that will impose greater restrictions on homeschooling based on what I’ve been hearing, both here and abroad.

I mentioned Duncan’s comments only to support the potentially gloomier future of homeschooling under a system of increased international regulations – as UK and Sweden cracks down on homeschooling to standardize to other European countries and Duncan’s remark that he wants U.S. education in general to compare to international benchmarks…since homeschooling is a small (but important) component of U.S. education, my concern was that homeschooling would be swept up and included in these benchmarks…not good for homeschoolers since that would mean that we lose some flexibility on how we want to teach our own kids.

As for my Obama comment – here’s how homeschooling may be affected:

Under Bush’s ed plan, there was no mention of national certification requirements for teachers – as you know, teachers who taught public school were required to be certified from their respective state.

Under Obama’s plan, there is a push for national certification for teachers. Since this is a new proposal that did not exist under Bush’s plan, my concern is that “teacher” may include all teachers, including homeschool teachers. If in fact, national certification means that ALL teachers (including homeschool teachers) must meet these standards, then again, I cringe because, that means at best, that homeschoolers will lose some flexibility and at worst, may even mean that some will no longer be qualified to teach their own kids.

To the best of my knowledge, “teacher” has not yet been defined under Obama’s plan…we’ll see what it means for homeschoolers, but my point is that there is potential that homeschoolers could get caught up in this proposal for national certification.

Last point regarding teachers that teach public schools – I really am happy that your husband and other teachers welcome Obama’s makes sense to really does..for public schools only though.

But once you start, advertantly or non-advertantly, changing rules in education, homeschoolers are a part of that equation, so when Obama et. al. starts making sweeping proposals about education reform…as a homeschooler, it just makes me worry a bit ’cause I don’t know whether he’s including homeschoolers in his views and statements.

Hope that helps.

  thatmom wrote @

I don’t have much to add to what Pronto said or to the analysis Spunky has made over the last few months regarding President Obama’s education agenda. I did want to say a couple things in general.

I really applaud anyone who seeks college degrees and beyond and would never minimize their achievements. I have dear friends who are public school teachers and who are determined to do the very best by their students. Some of them also homeschool their own children.

But my take on certification is this…you can graduate with honors from college with an education degree and hold certification and you can take continuing education courses and can even have students who score well on standardized tests and still not be a good teacher/mentor for young people. Some of the most outstanding teachers I know have graduated from high school and sought to learn alongside their children, being outstanding teachers and mentors as well.

There was a time when teachers were assumed to have upstanding moral character and that was one thing that made them excellent teachers. I am old enough to remember when that all changed. During my last year of college, part of one class was spent observing teachers in various settings. It was the early 1970’s in the Chicago suburbs and “open classrooms” where popular. Those pushing the “reforms” were 1960’s activists who saw the classroom as the vehicle for advancing radical feminism, gay rights, and their humanist agenda. Their personal lives drove their philosophies and slowly it became acceptable for teachers to openly live lifestyles of debauchery.

Today the NEA’s agenda is written and maintained by these same types of people who know that the classrooms still are the very best place to push an agenda. I am NOT saying that all teachers agree with this or practice these things. I AM saying that the agenda of the teacher’s unions is the same as Obama’s, to upload young people with a worldview that is anything but Christian.

And that is what poses a threat to Christian homeschoolers because national standards will require adherence to teaching things that we will not want to teach. Most of us would not, in good conscience, be able to sign off on the standards. And national standards would mean national curriculum as well. There may be disagreements between the unions and individual teachers but the core agenda will remain the same: a humanistic worldview.

Another thing that is missing in the equation for educational success is the issue of character training, which is a by-product of teaching from a Biblical worldview. As I alluded to before, personal choices will always shape our philosophies. Since situational ethics is a cornerstone of humanistic thinking, how can young people be prepared for the workplace when moral absolutes are absent? What real employer wants someone who is brilliant, articulate, and well degreed but who has no internal moral compass?

I recently heard an interesting story. A young man was in a class of 150 students who were told that there was a special project for which 12 students would be chosen. Each student was to write a 1 page essay saying why he or she ought to be chosen to work on this assignment. When the 12 were announced, this young man’s essay was chosen first of all 150. So what made it stand out from all the others? His paper explained how he, as a young person in training, would seek to learn from those who were heading up the project, making sure he could do everything possible to assure the success of both the project and those running it, even if it meant he would spend the day bringing the employers coffee or making copies. This young man had the same educational background at the university as the other students. In fact, he was at the top of his class academically. But they told him that what made him stand out was his willingness to serve others. It was all about character. This young man, by the way, was homeschooled. He had been taught a work ethic that reflected what the Bible teaches.

  Savannah wrote @

I appreciate both of your responses. Obviously, since we are committed public schooling [Christian] parents, we are coming from different places to begin with. If I thought homeschooling was a great idea for our kids, I would have homeschooled. If you thought public education was a great option for yours, you would have sent them to public schools. This is an area where we can agree to disagree, yet still respect the decisions of others.

But I do want to speak to the overall view of public schooling as this somewhat evil, meddling entity who, with but perhaps relatively few exceptions, is filled with people in a profession of low moral character who are “out” to bring down other people’s kids. That is not even in our horizon of experience. Our children have had much character education, and even more importantly, much support of the character education that we have provided at home, through their public school teachers. We believe that the home is the primary venue for character education, and despite our children being publically educated, they are widely seen as young men of ample strength of character. Our children have never been subjected to “situational ethics” in school, which I understand to mean that if one doesn’t adhere to an absolute authority, everything can more or less be justified. No teacher (and believe me, we have asked them, as this tends to be a very big concern in Christian circles) has ever told them that they should embrace anything of the kind. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I do think it is largely overblown by the homeschool and religious school community, who seem to seek an adversarial relationship with public schools. One has to admit, the fear of it does suit their purposes very well.

I know that I cannot convince anyone of the worth of public school teachers. Either one believes that they are valuable or not, and anything I say is not going to change anyone’s mind. But please understand that I personally know literally dozens of teachers, even a few union leader teachers. There are a few less-than-optimal ones in the bunch (do you know of any less-than-optimal homeschooling situations?), but the vast majority (including the two union leader teachers who have taught with Patrick for years) are highly moral people who take their jobs very seriously and seek to do the very best they can by their students, often under very trying circumstances. Most teachers I know have no “agenda” other than teaching their subject matter. It is easy to pull out a few accounts among the millions of public schoolchildren and millions of public school teachers and say, “Oh, look – this is how it is everywhere”. It would be equally unfair for me to look at the one homeschooling situation I know where the kids are barely literate in what is supposed to be the seventh and fifth grades, and cannot long divide, and say, “Oh, look – that is how homeschoolers are.” I know this goes without saying, but I think that it is easy to fall into that trap, as easy for me as it may be for you.

As far as national certification – are you talking about national BOARD certification?

President Obama is very supportive of National Board Certification for teachers, and rightly so. My own husband became an NBCT (National Board Certified Teacher) in 2002. It is a rigorous (only a small percentage of teachers even pass the first time around – [brag alert – my husband was one of them :-)] and many only pass over two-three years – not because they are dull, but because the processs is so arduous), year-long process of documentation and portfolio generation where one has to prove that they not only know their subject matter (his is Early Adolescent Social Studies – EA/SS), but they know how to teach (to convey, to transfer, to “make the lightbulb come on”) that information. No teacher who undertakes this process who is not meant to teach is going to have any confusion about that after they start or even complete the process.

Just as you can choose, as a physician, however, not to sit for the national board certification exam in your specialty and still practice medicine, so do many [most] teachers choose not to go through this strenuous process. It is their choice, and I have never heard President Obama state that he thinks this should be a mandatory step, just as we don’t hear the AMA demanding that all doctors are board certified. He is rightly supportive of the endeavor though, because like nothing else I’e ever seen in my long association with teaching, it separates the wheat from the chaff, if you know what I mean.

I cannot fathom how National Board Certification could, even from a logistical sense, apply to homeschoolers, and even if it was possible, you may consider that the teacher unions may be your closest ally here. They want NBCT to be a requirement like they want a poke in the eye. Remember, they haven’t earned their reputation of protecting less-than-optimal teachers by not doing just that. A NBCT requirement would kick those teachers to the curb.

I understand that homeschoolers might be vigilant about watching for things on the horizon that may undermine their ability to choose to educate their children at home, just as I, as an advocate for public schools, am vigilant about those who want to undermine the public school system in our country. Public schools are the deliberate choice of many responsible, caring, educated (and Christian) parents, but they are also the only choice for most families. It is in everyone’s best interest to want to strengthen public schools, as pillars of communities, and so ALL children can have a decent shot, if for no other reason.

You are probably wondering why I would even read a blog about homeschooling. The truth is that I enjoy your point of view, Karen, on many subjects, and even though homeschooling was not our choice, I recognize it as a very viable option in education and don’t consider it the antithesis of public education, or something I view as adversarial at all. However, if my participation offends in any way, I am glad to just visit.

  ProntoLessons wrote @

Hi Savannah,

I appreciate your comments – it’s what makes great forums like this one stir intelligent discussion and debate – and based on your comments, I think we are all working towards trying to undestand ways to make education better here in the U.S.

I didn’t mention this before, but I have twins – I send one to public school and I homeschool the other…I see the results of both so I guess you can say that I have both interests at heart.

My comments above were solely focused on defending homeschooling interests, but I hope you didn’t take it to mean that I was putting down public school – if I did, mea culpa.

You know, I don’t think it’s any well-kept secret to say that, whatever the educational approach, the key ingredient that makes children learning a success is parental involvement.

As you mentioned, it’s all about making sure that ALL kids have a shot at meeting their potential whatever learning method we, as parents, choose for them.

  thatmom wrote @

First of all, I am so glad that you are here and part of the discussions! Please don’t feel that your insights are not welcome!

I wanted to be sure that I reiterate this: I do not believe for a minute that all teachers or principles are advocates for situational ethics or humanism. There are many teachers who absolutely hold to their faith as Christians and who seek to influence by word and deed. Those people have my highest adoration and before we decided to homeschool our children, that was certainly what I had purposed to do.

My statements were in regards to those who are defining the agenda for public education. You can most certainly verify this, but doesn’t the NEA use union dollars to fund pro-abortion, pro-homosexual groups? I believe that it operates the way other unions do. A small minority has the agenda and union members have no say in how their membership dues are spent. It is a very political group whose number one priority is to keep teacher jobs.

You made this statement: “Our children have never been subjected to “situational ethics” in school, which I understand to mean that if one doesn’t adhere to an absolute authority, everything can more or less be justified.”

I guess I am confused by this. How can any school that doesn’t place the Word of God as the absolute authority operate any other way than by situational ethics? Who decides what is right or wrong? Who or what establishes the standard? How can something funded with tax dollars teach a Christian worldview and how is anything that is not a Christian worldview anything besides situational ethics? Could you explain further?

One reason I have been so vocal about recommending Summit Ministries is because their goal is to train young people how to discern the various worldviews, recognizing that yes, indeed, there are worldviews that stand in direct opposition to Christ and the Gospel message and then how to hold those views up to Scripture. Once a young person has done that, he can challenge those views when they come his direction. I know many Christian parents will not choose a Christian education for their children and Summit conferences and/or their curriculum is a great way to help their children wade through the various philosophies. But you have to begin by recognizing that the government school agenda and philosophy is not Christian, that there is a difference.

“It is in everyone’s best interest to want to strengthen public schools, as pillars of communities, and so ALL children can have a decent shot, if for no other reason.”

I would agree that most children will be in public schools. I also believe that school vouchers that could be used by homeschoolers would go a long way toward giving parents the options of Christian schools or homeschools. I also know that when we write out our property tax check every May, 90% of it goes into our local school system. Since we have no choice about our “donation” I feel like any decisions about how that is spent ought to remain local with a local school board. Mandates handed down from the national level would cause local districts to struggle financially and that would be passed along to the taxpayers.

But the reality is that school problems are multi-faceted and throwing money at those problems is not the solution. Teachers today, especially in the younger grades, are surrogate parents. One friend of mine told me not long ago that 25 years ago when she began teaching, she actually spent most of her time teaching. She took about 7 years off to have her own children and went back to work a few years ago. The difference, she said, was astounding and now she is mom to her group of 4th graders, many of them extremely emotionally needy. Money doesn’t help that crisis. Only the Gospel permeating the lives of their parents could do that. If more money and more training for teachers is the solution, why is it that my aunt who taught school for decades, beginning in a country school, had 100% of her students performing well? She had no certificate when she began and went back to college to become certified in the 70’s when it became required. Years before that, students were educated without the money it takes today. Why? (These are thoughts not just for Savannah but everyone.)

I have more thoughts on this….more later.

  thatmom wrote @

“whatever the educational approach, the key ingredient that makes children learning a success is parental involvement.”

This is absolutely correct! I believe that parents hold the key to so many things for the future success of their children. I am not saying that kids making mistakes are always the fault of bad parenting. But I do believe we have so much influence, even when they are grown, that we should learn how to use that for their benefit and for God’s glory.

  Savannah wrote @

Thatmom said:

“I guess I am confused by this. How can any school that doesn’t place the Word of God as the absolute authority operate any other way than by situational ethics? Who decides what is right or wrong? Who or what establishes the standard? How can something funded with tax dollars teach a Christian worldview and how is anything that is not a Christian worldview anything besides situational ethics? Could you explain further?”

I made the statement about situational ethics not being taught to our children, I really should have stated “overtly taught”, as there was never ever a “program” (and we are in a position to know in our particular district) that was adopted, as I was aware of in other districts. This is what seems to normally have the anti-public-school crowd in an uproar. Programs I have been aware of have had names like “Tribes” and others I can’t remember, which I would have considered situational ethics programs if they had been brought to our district.

For the many years and many days a week during those years that I spent volunteering in my children’s classrooms, the rules seemed pretty similar to what we had at our Bible-based home to me: “Be kind”, “Don’t be rude”, “Be encouraging”, “Don’t interrupt teacher or others”, “Raise your hand”, “Be polite”, “Share”, etc.

And yes, of course there has to be some basis to decide what is right and wrong in any place, whether it be a home, a school, a workplace, wherever. Just because it is not overtly Biblical, does that make it wrong? I just don’t think it does. As Christians (and Christian children), do we not have God’s Word in our hearts? (Or at least we should.) I realize you disagree, and respect your position, but I just don’t see it that way.

For instance, I DON’T WANT the Bible taught in public schools. I don’t want prayer or Bible reading in public schools. Certainly, as a Believer, I am not anti-Bible or anti-prayer, so why would I make such a statement? Is it because I think Madeline Murray O’Hair was a hero? Certainly not! I make that statement because I well realize that as long as Christians are the majority and we get to set the “agenda”, that’s all fine and well for us as long as that works out. But what if we cease to be the majority and someone else of another faith gets to set the agenda? Then it’s not going to work out so well for us. I know that more and more fundamentalists are denying the separation of church and state, but I am absolutely flummoxed on how they cannot see that that protects everyone, including CHRISTIANS, in a pluralistic society – which is what we have. Sorry, I digress.

Obviously, you believe your choice to be superior to mine or else you wouldn’t have chosen it – and the converse is absolutely true. So in that sense, we will not be able to agree. And obviously I do not personally believe that my children needed to be immersed in Bible education every minute of their lives to become men of God. We are not immersed in “Bible-based environments” most of our lives if we work outside the home, or if we volunteer on the library committee, or whatever our endeavors are in the community outside of church or home. Rather, in our view, we are to “be” or provide the Bible-based environment to others. To my husband and I, we did not see the long-term value in having our kids grow up that way, perhaps thinking that this was how real life in the world was, always expecting a Biblical view to reign in all environments all of the time. We were fairly confident that we could provide a Biblical base from home and our church was certainly a partner with us in that, and all of the peripheral things from VBS to Bible camp to AWANA.

Also, our kids learned early on how to be in a diverse environment with kids from no-belief homes and share their faith with them. We had many kids in our home over the years who we, as a family, were able to “be Christ” to who otherwise might have not had that benefit. For some, that was what led them the final step toward Christ (as I would not assume it was simply because of what we had to offer – obviously, it was the Holy Spirit who saved them in His way). All three of my sons have led school friends to the Lord (my eldest son more than I can remember – he appears to have the gift of evangelism) – in fact, many over the years.

As far as your friend’s experience in teaching, with now kids being so much needier, that is absolutely true. They are needier. Families have major issues, and kids do not have the support network that many people my age did growing up. Many don’t have dads or either parent at home. But is the answer, because there are more challenges (because public schools are really a microcosm of society), for we Believers to just abandon the schools? To say, I don’t want to pay my tax dollars for something that doesn’t benefit me ? Those kids, which are most kids in America, btw, will just have to figure it out for themselves? (Or should every school child in America just be given a low-rent enducation voucher so we can wash our hands of them?)

Imagine for just a moment what a tremendous difference all of the homeschooling and private schooling moms (and dads) could make if they could see their way clear to sending their kids to public schools and then spending a couple of hours a week in each child’s classroom, supporting that teacher, supporting those kids, supporting that community of learners, being Christ to them. I believe we could be used of God to change the country and maybe the world!

To those who argue that we are responsible for our own children first, I totally agree. Believe me, caring for other kids does not attenuate the sense of care and responsibility we have for our own. I always saw to my own children first, and met their needs first, with great passion, but I think we also showed them that life was more than just about them, too.

I know I’m getting a little excited , but please believe me when I say that none of this is directed at you specifically, Karen, or at anybody in particular. I just want it, if nothing else, understood that we who choose public schools do often have an utter passion for our own kids and for those of othes. Obviously, not everyone is going to abandon their position and come join with us Christian public-schooling moms. But despite that, I can’t help but think how great it would be :-).

And I am responding, I think, to a lot of these arguments I have heard for years, beginning in my childhood when my folks were pressured to send me to private school (which stunk, just educational-wise, and I freely admit has probably shaped my views to some extent – plus made me hate Beka books). My husband faired much better with a single-gender parochial prep school education. If every family only had $15-20,000 plus per year per child to provide their son(s) that education – LOL.

So to end this novella, Karen, while I respect the obvious great prayer and consideration you have given to homeschooling over the years, and have no doubt that you made the best decision for your family, I think ultimately, the proof is always in the pudding. We can argue theories and beliefs and philosophies all day long, but with our respective choices, what were the results? Yours sound excellent, as just from the bit I’ve read, your children all love and serve God. I’m sure our Lord would say, “Well done, faithful servant”.

But our sons love and serve God, too.

So children have “turned out” – praise God – from both situations. And I could name dozens of public schooling families with the same results, just as you could name dozens of homeschooling families.

I really don’t want to be a divisive element on a really lovely and thought-provoking (obviously it provoked some thoughts from me – LOL) homeschooling blog which so obviously ministers to many homeschooling moms and dads. I think your principals and arguments are largely very well thought out and laudable, even if I don’t completely share them – I mean that, truly. But I would just encourage people not to fall prey to the propaganda (it exists on both sides in probably similar amounts) that every public school is failing miserably and every public school teacher has a godless agenda for your kid, if they could only get their hands on them. While there are certainly failures and disappointments, nothing could be further from the truth.

  thatmom wrote @

“ To say, I don’t want to pay my tax dollars for something that doesn’t benefit me ? Those kids, which are most kids in America, btw, will just have to figure it out for themselves? (Or should every school child in America just be given a low-rent education voucher so we can wash our hands of them?) “

I probably shouldn’t have lumped all my thoughts together. I do think there is a place for public education and am in total disagreement with Doug Phillips that one goal of homeschoolers should be to destroy public education. That is ludicrous. But, when I do pay my tax dollars to educate other people’s children, I ought to have a say (ie through my local school board) as to how that money should be used. Let me give you an example. A few years ago our local school budget was really strained and it came down to choosing between rehiring a freshman football coach and rehiring a music teacher. Of course, the coach was rehired. But it burned me to no end that sports would, one again, take precedence over music or art. Many who opposed this had the opportunity to voice their opinions to the members of the school board. But if there were national mandates, there would be no voice.

And, again, I can’t for the life of me figure out why it costs so much to teach children. Why do they need new textbooks so often, for example? How were kids so well educated in my parents’ day with barely anything being spent? I don’t believe anyone has ever proven that more money equals a better education. So, all that to say that, of course, I am concerned about how my taxes are being used. It isn’t that they ARE being used it is HOW they are being used.

“I don’t want prayer or Bible reading in public schools. “

I understand this. At one time those things were ok in the schools but now I shudder to think how they would be approached and interpreted. The Bible is certainly more than literature. It is the living, breathing Word of God.

“I freely admit has probably shaped my views to some extent – plus made me hate Beka books “

I hate Abeka books too, for the most part! I like other “curriculum” a little better but prefer real books overall. (are Beka and Abeka the same thing?)

“But I would just encourage people not to fall prey to the propaganda (it exists on both sides in probably similar amounts) that every public school is failing miserably and every public school teacher has a godless agenda for your kid, if they could only get their hands on them.”

Again, just so we understand each other. I do not believe these things to be true either. I do believe, however, that those who run the system have an agenda that does not include a Biblical worldview. I also believe that there are teachers who don’t even realize this.

And if Christian parents opt for placing their children in a public school, they ought to at least be aware of this and combat it with everything they have.

Again, I hope everyone who reads here will watch the John Stonestreet youtube. It is about 90 minutes in length (9 parts, 10 minutes each) and he has so much to say that is really what parents of teens need to hear. He isn’t advocating one method of schooling, btw, only warning parents what factors are apt to lead kids away from their faith and how to prepare them to deal with it. The first step is recognizing the dangerous worldviews because they are often subtle. And then preparing kids to fight those views. It is good stuff.

  Savannah wrote @

Karen, I will take a look at the video when I get a little time.

And I understand totally what you’re saying about some people, even some Christians, not being aware of the pitfalls that exist. I think that one reason that some of this stuff hasn’t come into our particular district, although hubby is well aware of them (after all, the NEA Today magazine comes to our house every month and we both read it cover to cover), is because our school board understands what parents concerns are, and if they don’t, we remind them 🙂 I have personally gone out of my way to get to know school board members (one former one is one of my dearest friends), and I think parental involvement cannot be overstated in its importance. But I also guess this would be true no matter how one chooses to educate.

And I should hasten to add that we were always pretty tuned into our kids, and they to us, even during the teenage years. Constant communication is necessary. We’ve discussed and evaluated together all sorts of worldviews in our home together. Christian teens are pretty quick to be able to identify problems with those; at least our boys were.

And if there were concerns vis-a-vis school (and there certainly sometimes were), we addressed them with the respective teacher or administrator. If we had felt our children were in some way suffering in public schools, we would have done something else, just like any parent should if something is being harmful or even just decidedly unhelpful to their child.

So we definitely did not have our heads in the sand. As far as Christian teachers in public school, my husband has more frustrations than I can throw a stick at with stupid hoops to jump through with no real benefit and somebody who never taught a class in their life making decisions on educational issues. But the majority of his frustrations are not of a moral concern, and after 34 years, he’s got the ropes down pretty well, I think. I am proud of the man he is first and foremost, but we are also all very proud of the teacher he is. Maybe that’s why two of our boys plan to follow in his steps.

Also, I’m pretty sure I sounded like a total apologist for public schools, and the reality is that I am not. I have concerns just like any halfway concerned, educated parent would. We just choose to address them in that venue, however. I am also able to separate events that happen somewhere else with what actually happens in our school district. Everywhere does not necessarily equal local, as in Ohio, local schools are still controlled locally (good from a control POV, bad from a property tax POV – LOL).

And yes, I believe Abeka is the same as Beka curriculum. Ack! I was bored out of my mind by the third grade by that stuff. Thankfully, my folks were very interested in good literature and always encouraged me (not that I needed much encouragement – LOL). They finally let me escape in 9th grade.

  Kathleen wrote @

Well, Kevin Swanson has already been featured speaker at progressive Oregon’s own OCEAN homeschooler’s conference. I have never attended a homeschool conference, even through all the years of homeschooling. I’ve also never seen such a pointed push for patriocentric teachers to be featured speakers before. What next? Doug Phillips?

  thatmom wrote @

Kathleen, I was told yesterday that at one conference this year, one of the keynote speakers was unable to attend and was replaced by Voddie. When it was announced that this had happened, attendance nearly doubled.

I was also told that one of his announced workshops was billed as being on organization and he didn’t speak at all about organization but rather talked the whole time about fathers being in control of their families.

  thatmom wrote @

And Kathleen, I would agree. I have never before seen such a push either. That one line in Kevin’s letter where he says “I would ask that you pray for increased attendance, and an unimpeded course for our wonderful speakers that have agreed to stand with us in the storms.” confirms to me that there is very much an organized agenda among the patriocentrists to continue pushing ahead without listening to the concerns of others.

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