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Steve Likes to Curse
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Homeschoolers Who Don’t Learn Science Shouldn’t Receive a Diploma - UPDATED 
Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 | 05:44 pm [commentary, education, religion, writing]
There are many, many things I find dubious about the practice of parents homeschooling their children. I wonder how a mother or father who has not been educated as a teacher, who in many cases has not even been to college her/himself, can possibly provide their child with as good an education as students receive in our much-maligned public schools. And I can’t help but think that these homeschool students, of whom there are several million in the United States, are being robbed of a crucial formative experience by not attending school with other people their age and being forced to interact with a diverse group of peers.
Most disturbing is the virulent strain of religious fundamentalism that is found in the lessons being taught homeschooled children, especially in the United States. Not all American homeschooling is religious—that’s not what I’m saying. I’ve known people personally who were homeschooled from a secular curriculum, and there are many others like them throughout the country. I think I’m safe in saying, however, that the majority of homeschooling in the U.S. is religious—specifically, fundamentalist Christian—in nature. This is no big secret.

(UPDATE:  Thanks to a little belated research on my part, and the comments of a few homeschooling parents, I must now say that the percentage of fundamentalist Christians in homeschool in the U.S. is not as overwhelming as I state above.  The National Center for Education Statistics conducted a study in 2003 in which 72% of participating homeschool parents surveyed cited "To provide religious or moral instruction" as a reason for homeschooling their children, with 30% citing that as their most important reason.  So apparently the big secret is that the majority of homeschool families probably aren't fundamentalist Christians, and they resent the assumption, thank you very much.  I stand corrected.)
The area of study most affected by the Christian bent of homeschooling is science. The religion of the guy who wrote the textbook might not matter a whole lot when you’re studying geometry or reading Romeo and Juliet, but it comes into play in a big way when you hit high school-level biology. Homeschool parents who get their biology curriculum from sources like Apologia are not teaching their children science. They are giving them a Sunday School lesson.
Instead of evolutionary biology, which has been the keystone of the life sciences for over 150 years, homeschool students are taught creationism—that the God of the Bible personally created the universe more or less as described in the Book of Genesis. There are several varieties of creationism—Young Earth, Old Earth, Omphalosian, Neo—all thoroughly discredited. Increasingly, it is dressed in the pseudoscientific trappings of intelligent design. Whatever its proponents choose to call it, regardless of the intellectual contortions it performs to make the Biblical creation account plausible, it isn’t science and it should never be taught as such.
But it is taught as science to millions of children and teenagers all over the country. Worse yet, many overtly religious homeschool organizations are empowered by their state governments to grant high school diplomas to students who have completed the required courses, with more attention paid to the title of a given course than the content. How can the education of a student instructed in creationism possibly be considered equivalent to that of one taught legitimate science?
One such diploma-granting homeschool organization is the Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association (MDHSA), headquartered in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, not far from where I live. The MDHSA is an overtly fundamentalist Christian organization that uses the creationist Apologia Biology curriculum in its science courses. Its website contains a “Statement of Purpose” and excerpts from its bylaws, with which all members must agree if they wish to have full voting and office-holding privileges within the group. Among the bylaws excerpted on the website:
The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God and constitutes completed and final revelation. The Bible, in its original autograph, is without error in whole and in part, including theological concepts as well as geographical and historical details.
God has existed from all eternity in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God come in human flesh, being fully God and fully man except without sin.
Knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Bible is essential to proper spiritual, mental, social, and physical growth.
Moral standards and a value system consistent with the Bible best prepare a student for fulfilling his responsibilities as a citizen of our nation.[1]
“Biblical literalists” would be putting it mildly.
Also on the website, as a downloadable .pdf file, is a list of course descriptions for MDHSA’s Assisted Learning Program Service, which provides lesson plans for high school-level homeschool students. The description for the Biology course, with Apologia Biology as its source text, naturally, reads in part:
The course will include an introduction to the philosophy and history of biological science, introductory biochemistry, and a review of evolutionary theory and creation theory.[2]
Other materials offered by Apologia include the book Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation: The Explorer's Guide to the Awesome Works of God, and the DVD Icons of Evolution, described as “a hard-hitting examination of the major errors and omissions in evolutionary theory that are presented as ‘facts’ in today’s high school and college textbooks.” Something tells me the biology class’s review of evolutionary theory won’t be worth much.
There is also an ALPS course entitled Physical Science, again using an Apologia textbook, whose course description promises to “especially concentrate on the myths generated by the hysterical environmentalist movement.” Clearly, there are axes to grind here; clearly, the education of the students is not a paramount concern.
The description of the Physical Science course also claims “It is an excellent course for preparing the student to take a college prep high school science curriculum.” I can tell you as a firsthand eyewitness that this is total bullshit. When I took a basic college-level general biology course last year, one of my classmates was a girl who had attended a Christian private school. Instead of legitimate science, she had been taught creationism, and thus didn’t know the first thing about what actual biological theory tells us regarding the origins of the universe and the development of life on Earth. She was not a stupid person, but her religious fundamentalist teachers had prevented her from learning some of the most rudimentary scientific knowledge. She may have been prepared to continue her academic career at Liberty University, but a first-year community college course in real science was utterly beyond her grasp.
Parents who homeschool their children in this way might respond by invoking their constitutionally guaranteed religious liberties. I’m not suggesting their right to worship be infringed upon in the slightest. Freedom of religion is an elementary human right, as much as freedom of speech or the right to due process of law, and it must always be protected. I’m not nuts about homeschooling, be it religious or secular, but as long as it’s legal, I say parents should be allowed to teach their children whatever they see fit to teach them.
But here’s the catch—and I’m afraid I must insist: if a homeschool organization, such as the MDHSA, wants to be recognized by its state government as a diploma-granting institution, it must teach legitimate science, including evolutionary biology.
The religious beliefs of Christian parents are irrelevant to the issue. Creationism is not science, and neither is its gussied-up twin intelligent design. There is no serious scientific debate on this question. There has never been a single paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal demonstrating that creationism/intelligent design has the tiniest shred of credibility. It is the very definition of an exploded hypothesis. Biblical literalists are free to believe that the world came into being exactly as Genesis tells it, but their belief does not disprove the impartially observed, irrefutable facts.
To give this a bit more proportion, imagine that you have a student attending public school and you learn that he or she is being taught in history class that American Indians are the descendants of a lost tribe of Israelites migrating to the continent thousands of years ago, or that the Holocaust is a Zionist myth, or in math class that the precise value of π is 3. Would your judgment be that your child was receiving a suitable historical or mathematical education? I think most reasonable parents would say no. The same standards should apply to science as to history and math.
The education of children is essential to the survival and positive progress of human society. Children should be taught (ideally by qualified, credentialed instructors) to read and write, to understand the basic principles of mathematics, and to understand and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the natural world through science. If you also want to teach your child about salvation through Jesus Christ, or the flood of Noah, go for it. You have, and should always have, that freedom. It’s the birthright of every human being.
A high school diploma, on the other hand, isn’t a birthright. It’s something that must be earned. The states have the right and the responsibility to award those diplomas only to students who have adequately completed their education. That group should not include anyone whose science studies omit evolutionary biology and include a credulous literal reading of the Bible. Those students—be they homeschoolers or attendees of religious private schools—have been cheated, and before they get to graduate, their misguided teachers should have to make good. 
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 12:23 pm (UTC)
Hold on. Does the MDHSA want to be recognized by the state as an accredited diploma-granting institution? My guess is no and for precisely the reasons you've stated. Because involvment with the state means strings and if there's anything homeschoolers in general and conservative Christian homeschoolers in particular don't want, it's strings that tell them what they need to teach.

A bone to pick. I'm a Christian mom homeschooling my kids. They learn about evolution. ID and creationism only come up as examples of pseudo-science. Don't play into creationist hands by labeling creationism with the general term of Christian. It's a product of fundamentalism and literal inerrancy and mostly the concern of Evangelical Baptists. They're trying hard enough to redefine Christianity in their terms only. Don't help them.

As for some of your other concerns about homeschooling, I invite you to check out my blog and those linked to in my sidebar. I find a lot of people's initial worries about homeschooling come from unfamiliarity with it.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 01:49 pm (UTC)
Most of my problems with homeschooling are fundamental to the concept itself. It's nothing against you personally, I just think it's almost always better to send a child to school with other children than to teach them at home. I know that lots of brilliant men and women of history were homeschooled, and I know there are a million legitimate gripes people have about public education in the U.S., but I can't shake the fact that the kids are being denied an important part of their development by not attending school.

That being said, I'm very happy to hear that you, as a Christian homeschooling parent, are teaching your kids legitimate science instead of creationism. I know that there are many of you out there, in the U.S. and Canada, all over the world, presumably, and I did not mean to pick on you while I was picking on your more fundamentalist fellow homeschoolers. I only wish there were more of you, and that you all made a bigger noise, because the impression I get (especially in the specific area in which I live) is that the homeschooling community is overwhelmingly evangelical.

As for the MDHSA wanting to be a diploma-granting institution, they are one, empowered as such by the state of Pennsylvania, Section 1327.1 of the PA Public School Code (also known as Act 169-1988). That law specifies required courses, but only very generally. It requires "three years of science" for high school-level students, but does not specify (as unfortunately it must) that creationism in biology class does not count. I'm normally all for the government staying out of people's hair, but in this case a few more strings telling them what to teach would seem to be called for.

Thanks for the comment, and thanks to you and all those homeschoolers like you who are teaching their kids real science. I'll be sure to check out your blog. I'm glad people like you are out there.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 01:31 pm (UTC)
I don't think it really matters. Most Americans have a poor understanding of science. Even the ones that graduated high school.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 01:54 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with you about the shitty state of science education. Part of the reason for that is that some school districts and teachers are bashful about teaching evolution for fear of offending religious students and (moreso) parents. There is no reason scientifically disproven beliefs should be respected in a science class. If kids walk in believing creationism, they should have it demonstrated for them why they are mistaken.

You're right that science education in public school is inadequate, and I wish that would improve, but failing to teach good science is not quite as bad as successfully teaching bad science, which is what many Christian homeschoolers and private schools are doing.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 03:20 pm (UTC)
//but failing to teach good science is not quite as bad as successfully teaching bad science//

I've been thinking on that quite a bit and I'm not sure that's a given. I happen to know moms that are teaching bad science but they're also teaching very good logic and critical thinking skills (it's huge in the conservative homeschooling circles). So they're actually giving their kids the tools to figure out where their parents went wrong when they're older and confronted with real science.

The ones who've been failed in schools though...They aren't getting any education in thinking skills. They're being taught to believe what they're fed. I know I was. It took over a decade for me to start to learn how to critically examine what I'd been told in school about science and history.

One more thing though, I really don't think this is simply a problem with science. I also think there's a huge amount of ignorance about Christianity. People think the literalist model is somehow the proper model when in reality it's a very modern reaction and only one view in a sea of diverse Christian views. People don't know about the history of the religion, about how to read the Bible critically, etc. and so ultimately don't know how to challenge creationists or IDers. The Bible has been a huge influence on western culture and the US in particular. I really think some kind of secular approach to studying it should be required in your country.

I want to thank you for your tone in this discusson too. It's pleasant to talk with you!
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 04:23 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's so much that science education in public school is bad. I just think most Americans don't care about science. Look at the amount of general apathy associated with global climate change.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 02:58 pm (UTC) - homeschooling opponents who don't do any research
*Something tells me the biology class’s review of evolutionary theory won’t be worth much.*

Have you attended the class or discussed the content with the instructor? He happens to be a physician who graduated from F&M College and Hershey Medical School, well grounded in both creationism and evolutionary theory.

*When I took a basic college-level general biology course last year, one of my classmates was a girl who had attended a Christian private school.*

For the record, Christian schools do not submit their curriculum to the state for review and are free to teach any subject from their particular perspective; but when complaining about homeschoolers, you should stick to examples of homeschoolers.

*if a homeschool organization, such as the MDHSA, wants to be recognized by its state government as an accredited diploma-granting institution,*

Again, research here is lacking. Homeschooling organizations do not award "accredited" diplomas. Accredited diplomas are awarded by those institutions that have passed through a rigorous evaluation process. Homeschooling organizations in PA award "state recognized" diplomas which means that the PDE has agreed that the graduates have met the requirements in Section 1327.1 of the PA School Code for high school graduation. There are a number of benefits to homeschooling families to participate in diploma programs but the primary one for many PA families is the ability to bypass school district superintendents and obtain state aid for higher education such as college.

*The education of children is essential to the survival and positive progress of human society.*

And most of that progress, quite frankly, took place LONG before evolution as a theory was proposed. 150 years is a microcosm in the continuum of history and scientific progress.

Yes, parents are more than free to instruct their children, as they should be. The ability to learn does not end at the age of 18 or upon high school graduation so any lack in such education is certainly remediable.
Mary Hudzinski
Director, MDHSA diploma program
Director, MDHSA ALPS program
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 03:18 pm (UTC) - Re: homeschooling opponents who don't do any research
You made a few corrections, and I'm grateful for that. If I'm wrong in describing your diplomas as accredited, then I happily withdraw the term and replace it with "state recognized."

I don't think students should be given state recognized diplomas if they haven't learned real science. It doesn't matter if they attend private school, or homeschool, or public school, for that matter. If they are taught in science class that creationism is anything other than a disproven, thoroughly falsified theory, then they aren't being told the truth.

As for the credentials of the instructor, I'm not surprised. Quite a few of the leaders of the creationist movement are seemingly qualified scientists who have chosen to reject, for whatever reason, one of the fundamental principles of biology. Saying that the instructor is well grounded in creationism doesn't hold water; if he was truly well grounded in the theory, he'd know it was false. Instead, he teaches creationism in science class, from an Apologia textbook. This is just as ridiculous as if he were giving the students credulous instruction in phrenology or geocentrism.

Your suggestion that it's permissable for your organization to teach students creationism in the place of real science is interesting . . . should schools have no obligation to accuracy whatsoever, then? Why not teach children that the Earth is flat and that the stars are really angels, in that case? They'll have plenty of time to learn the truth once they graduate. What nonsense.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 04:37 pm (UTC)
Even if a kid is taught that evolution is a myth, eventually -- if they are smart -- they will realize evolution is real. Eventually it will dawn on them that they have to go and get a new flu shot every year because the influenza virus evolves. It isn't because God is "creating" a new influenza virus every year.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 04:43 pm (UTC)
Hey, evolution is self-evident to me, too. That doesn't excuse teaching kids religious mythology as fact in science class.

Evolution is real, it's scientifically verified, and it should be taught in science class. Creationism isn't real, it's completely discredited, and it shouldn't be taught in science class.
Friday, April 11th, 2008 | 05:47 am (UTC)
Friday, April 11th, 2008 | 07:31 pm (UTC)
Another common creationist argument, easily refuted. Again, I cheat by quoting from the invaluable TalkOrigins.org archive, specifically the Index of Creationist Claims, which is written and maintained by Mark Isaak, a far more intelligent fellow than I could ever hope to be.

Claim CB102:
Mutations are random noise; they do not add information. Evolution cannot cause an increase in information.
AIG, n.d. Creation Education Center. http://www.answersingenesis.org/cec/docs/CvE_report.asp

It is hard to understand how anyone could make this claim, since anything mutations can do, mutations can undo. Some mutations add information to a genome; some subtract it. Creationists get by with this claim only by leaving the term "information" undefined, impossibly vague, or constantly shifting. By any reasonable definition, increases in information have been observed to evolve. We have observed the evolution of increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

If these do not qualify as information, then nothing about information is relevant to evolution in the first place.

A mechanism that is likely to be particularly common for adding information is gene duplication, in which a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. Genetic sequencing has revealed several instances in which this is likely the origin of some proteins. For example:
Two enzymes in the histidine biosynthesis pathway that are barrel-shaped, structural and sequence evidence suggests, were formed via gene duplication and fusion of two half-barrel ancestors (Lang et al. 2000).
RNASE1, a gene for a pancreatic enzyme, was duplicated, and in langur monkeys one of the copies mutated into RNASE1B, which works better in the more acidic small intestine of the langur. (Zhang et al. 2002)
Yeast was put in a medium with very little sugar. After 450 generations, hexose transport genes had duplicated several times, and some of the duplicated versions had mutated further. (Brown et al. 1998)
The biological literature is full of additional examples. A PubMed search (at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi) on "gene duplication" gives more than 3000 references.

According to Shannon-Weaver information theory, random noise maximizes information. This is not just playing word games. The random variation that mutations add to populations is the variation on which selection acts. Mutation alone will not cause adaptive evolution, but by eliminating nonadaptive variation, natural selection communicates information about the environment to the organism so that the organism becomes better adapted to it. Natural selection is the process by which information about the environment is transferred to an organism's genome and thus to the organism (Adami et al. 2000).

The process of mutation and selection is observed to increase information and complexity in simulations (Adami et al. 2000; Schneider 2000).

Max, Edward E., 1999. The evolution of improved fitness by random mutation plus selection. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/fitness

Musgrave, Ian, 2001. The Period gene of Drosophila. http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr01.html
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | 09:51 pm (UTC) - Public school teachers often know little about the subjects they teach
"I wonder how a mother or father who has not been educated as a teacher, who in many cases has not even been to college her/himself, can possibly provide their child with as good an education as students receive in our much-maligned public schools."

I'd like you to consider a couple thoughts:

1) In general homeschooling parents are typical middle class parents who graduated from public high schools and most of them went to college. I am always surprised when people assert that parents who graduated from public high schools can't teach their children to read and other simple activities for K through 6th grade If the public high schools do such a poor job in preparing parents to teach basic subjects, then there is something wrong with public schools. Most parents use other resources to help their children with more advance topics. For example my 13-year-old is enrolled in a distance learning history course.

2) Most colleges and universities in the United States seek after homeschoolers. They have found that homeschoolers tend to have an above average education.

3) Study after study has found that many public school teachers are teaching subjects they know little about.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 12:03 pm (UTC) - Re: Public school teachers often know little about the subjects they teach
I found the following website:


Quite an impressive list of schools. Most of the colleges on this list have one or more of the following words or phrases in the school's title:

1. Bible
2. Evangelical
3. Community College
4. Christian
5. Faith
6. ITT

Why even go to college? Why not just continuing having mom do the teaching? I would think the only thing more impressive then having a high school diploma signed by your mother is to have a college diploma signed by mother as well.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 09:22 am (UTC)
There are many people home-educating for all sorts of reasons.
I do have to wonder how much research you did before writing this article. I see you have made a few corrections already.

I don't know about the MDHSA, but I do know lots of children learning without schools. You wrote, "I can’t help but think that these homeschool students, of whom there are several million in the United States, are being robbed of a crucial formative experience by not attending school with other people their age and being forced to interact with a diverse group of peers."

None of the children I know are robbed of interactions with a diverse group of people. Most home-educated children go to various groups and classes; sports, scouts, music etc. They also can have siblings, neighbours, cousins and other friends to hang out with. They are not locked in the house all day every day.

I agree that it's a shame that many children are denied the chance to learn about science properly. Like others have said, this is often the case is schools too. Have you a reason for singling out homeschoolers in particular? Is that any worse, to you, than sending your children to a private school with its own limited fundie based curriculum.

And finally, you might like to see the Evolved Homeschoolers Wiki.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 01:38 pm (UTC)
I wasn't under the impression that homeschool kids spend their formative years locked up in the house. They interact with other homeschoolers all the time. The reason I feel these kids are being cheated, and not being fully socialized, is that these interactions are taking place in places like homeschool co-op classes, scouts, etc., and not in a formal school where the kids are forced to get along not only with their friends, but with those whom they probably wouldn't choose to hang out with otherwise. You can choose your friends, you can choose whether or not to join the scouts or go to the art class; you can't choose your classmates in a public school (or even a private one to some extent, though I'm no big fan of private schools either). You must adjust to a diverse group of peers that you or your parents did not personally select.

Kids who go to school outside the home are also forced to adjust to a schedule, are evaluated by people who are not their parents, and generally have to get used to the idea that they are not always the center of attention.

I'm not saying that every homeschool kid is a spoiled brat, and I'm not assuming that your children are. Maybe you and the other homeschool parents you know are raising polite, disciplined kids who know how to conduct themselves in public and don't treat other people like employees. If so, good for you. But I have seen many examples of homeschooled children who misbehave in this way; many more, it seems to me, than children who attend public school. Don't think I'm idealizing public school — it's a mess, and plenty of public school kids turn out to be just as rude and ill-mannered as the most spoiled homeschool kid you could think of. But this is something I see from homeschooled children all the time.

Your point about private schools teaching religion in place of science is a great one, and I agree with you completely. I don't think the state should ever recognize a diploma handed out by ANYONE, be it a homeschool or a public school or a private school, if the science curriculum consists of credulous instruction in creationism. High school biology students should be taught the fundamentals of evolution as part of their studies — not as a "theory in crisis," not as "just a theory," not as "one of two possible theories" — as the theory that is the bedrock of modern science. If creationism is mentioned at all, it should only be to demonstrate its falsity. Any school that doesn't do that should not be allowed to hand out diplomas.

I singled out homeschools because, as you can tell, I have other concerns about them besides the science education issue, and also because I only recently learned about the MDHSA, and the fact that its non-science-educated students are given state-recognized diplomas. It kinda cheesed me off.

But, as I've said, I apologize for painting the homeschool community with such a broad brush. I'm glad to know there are so many of you out there who aren't using your homeschool lessons to indoctrinate your kids with Christian fundamentalism and deny them real science education. And thanks for the link to the wiki. I'm checking it out right now.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 03:01 pm (UTC)
**Any school that doesn't do that should not be allowed to hand out diplomas.**

I just read your post and this stuck out to me. What gives you the right to decide what constitutes a high school education?

Maybe I'm stuck on grammar and I think if you can't diagram a sentence six ways to Sunday you don't deserve a diploma.

Just because some chump on the internet - who is of such obvious superior intellect, I mean the name, come ON, - says we shouldn't pass out diplomas because we decide to teach something contrary to his beliefs, simply doesn't hold water for me.

This country takes all kinds of people....and just like I'm not going to teach my children about hinduism or satanism, I'm not teaching them I came from a monkey.

While that may not be so hard to believe in your case, as for me and mine - well, there are no baboons in my geneology...sorry, dude.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reply.
I didn't explain very well, that the vast majority of my children's friends go to school, and they meet up after school. The classed, sports and scouts groups are full of school children too. We do meet up with other home-educated friends, but almost always informally.

I live in Northern Ireland and can assure you that attending school here is not the best place to meet a diverse group of friends. The schools are split according to the 2 main religious tribes, whereas the home-ed lot we know is more mixed, as are the other friends our children have. We aren't religious at all ourselves.

Even children who don't normally adhere to a strict schedule can mange one when necessary. 2 of my children do martial arts on Saturdays and have to buck up and listen to the teachers. Messing about just isn't tolerated. They also go to summer schemes at the local sports centre with the school children every year and have made good friends there.
They prefer at this stage, to be home-educated. If that changes, then they can try school. But whatever way they learn as children and teenagers, they will hopefully opt to further their education at university when I expect their experience in self-directed learning will benefit them, whereas too many school children are taught to the test. (I don't blame teachers for that, they do the best they can, but the government keeps pushing new systems and schemes on them.)

Anyway, I've kinda got on my high horse again. Sorry about the other comments you got from the not-related-to-a-baboon folk, but there's as many kinds of people in home-education and as many kinds of children produced as there is in any diverse group. Keep swearing, it's good for the, uh, soul ;-)
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 01:43 pm (UTC) - Everyone believes something....
I have zero desire to debate the issue of homeschooling, because quite frankly it speaks for itself. You can look up statistics from ANYWHERE and it's plenty evident that homeschoolers far outrank their public school counterparts time and again. There is simply no reason to even discuss this.

As far as the social aspect goes, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS my children aren't "socialized" as you say, by their so-called peers. My oldest daughter's (12) so-called peers are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and pre-marital sex. They are getting pregnant and contracting STDs. My daughter on the other hand is busy feeding the hungry through a church mission, witnessing to the lost, completing her studies (with straight A's), participating in choir, drama, puppets, piano, and voice lessons.

My son is almost 14 and could tell you more about WWII and Ancient Civilizations than many history teachers, but he's never seen anyone do drugs or drink alcohol. However, the boy 2 streets over, who is the same age, is too busy smoking cigarettes and experimenting with pot to get to school most days, much less know what's going on. My son has a heart for other people, wants to start an animal rescue mission, and also works with the mission at our church.

Our children aren't about being like everybody else - and neither are we. We don't LOOK weird, dressing all in skirts and never cutting our hair - we look like your normal, average family - but the difference is our hearts. We are a family of 6 that loves the Lord and wants to share that with others.

Our children have so many opportunities by being homeschooled that they would never have if they were shoved off in a building where their learning styles were cramped and they were put in a box. Where their talents were crushed and their abilites were not able to blossom to their full potential.

Now, to the topic of science. There are actually those of us that BELIEVE creation (GASP!). That actually believe the proof that's been brought forward! It's not some "faith based" goobly goop - it's real and it's been proven! Take a day to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Visit Ken Hamm's website. Read any of his books. Or don't. Stick with your beliefs. But in that instance you are being as close-minded as you claim Christians are. And YES, I have heard (many, many times over) the argument for evolutionism. However, Creationism simply rings true.

As for the girl in your biology class - who knows - she wasn't, btw, homeschooled (lol). My sister (and several of her friends) were, and they were all able to clep biology when they got to college. I also have several friends whose children were able to clep biology when they got to college, and they all used - you guessed it - Apologia. Guess the guy knows more than you think, huh?

Btw, all these kids I'm talking about went to college for free on sweeping, awesome scholarships because they all aced the ACT - scoring 25 or above. So much for homeschoolers not reaching the bar....
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 02:02 pm (UTC) - Re: Everyone believes something....
Those of you who believe in creation as described in the Bible are wrong.

You claim that it isn't "faith based," yet in the very next sentence you recommend Ken Hamm and his ridiculous Creation Museum, which is not a science museum at all but an oversized sales pitch for Hamm's brand of Biblically literal fundamentalist Christianity. I'm very familiar with Ken Hamm and his beliefs, which are anything but scientific.

Creationism is always faith based. Its defenders sometimes try to claim that it isn't, that it's just an "alternative theory" to evolution. But if that's the case, why is it that creationists only advocate the teaching of a creation theory that is based on the Judeo-Christian Genesis account? If that theory deserves equal time, don't we owe the same to the origin myths of the Hindus, the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, the Ancient Romans, and the countless other religions past and present that have offered some explanation for where we came from? Curious that creationists only advocate the supposedly non-faith-based theory that exactly mirrors their own religious beliefs.

I'll assume you're the same Anonymous who chided Rick earlier for not doing his research and looking like an idiot. Let me offer you the same advice: The next time you feel obliged to defend the scientifically disproven claims of creationism on the grounds that it isn't faith based, don't mention Ken Hamm and his Creation Museum. Hamm and his museum are a joke, and have been disowned by much of his fellow creationists, not to mention the entire scientific community.

I'd recommend a more credible creationist for you to use as a source, but I don't know of any.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 02:26 pm (UTC) - Re: Everyone believes something....
Obviously the astute advice of a somewhat intelligent individual...or not.

Actually, exactly what I expected you to say. Close minded. Nothing more to say.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 02:54 pm (UTC) - Re: Everyone believes something....
Bernard d'Abrera
John F. Ashton
Thomas G. Barnes
Carl Baugh
John Baumgardner
Theodore Beale
Jerry Bergman
Leonard R. Brand
Walt Brown (creationist)
John Washington Butler
Kirk Cameron
Jack T. Chick
Paul Chien
Harold W. Clark
Ray Comfort
Jon Courson
Jack Cuozzo
Raymond Vahan Damadian
Bob Enyart
Carl Everett
Robert V. Gentry
Maciej Giertych
Roman Giertych
Duane Gish
Werner Gitt
Philip Henry Gosse
Franklin Graham
Ted Haggard
Ken Ham
Hank Hanegraaff
Harry Rimmer
Ed Hindson
Elizabeth Hope
Frank Houston
Kent Hovind
Mike Huckabee
Russell Humphreys
Dave Hunt
Cecil Andrews
David Jeremiah
Charles K. Johnson
Avrohom Katz
D. James Kennedy
John Kidd
Per Landgren
Greg Laurie
Dan Lietha
Frank Lewis Marsh
T. T. Martin
Andrew McIntosh (professor)
Stephen C. Meyer
Avigdor Miller
Forrest Mims
Wayman Mitchell
Russell D. Moore
Henry M. Morris
Anthony Nevard
Adnan Oktar
Joel Osteen
George McCready Price
Hugh Ross (creationist)
Marcus R. Ross
Rousas John Rushdoony
John C. Sanford
Jonathan Sarfati
Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Marcel-Paul Schützenberger
Barry Setterfield
Tuve Skånberg
Joseph Fielding Smith
Peter Stoner
John Roach Straton
Robert Sungenis
Peter Vardy (businessman)
Walter Veith
Cecil Wakeley
Harold Warner
David Watson (creationist)
Jonathan Wells (intelligent design advocate)
Wendell Bird
John C. Whitcomb
Carl Wieland
A. E. Wilder-Smith
Gerald Burton Winrod
Kurt Wise
John Woodmorappe
Cheri Yecke

Not sure which of these you'd like to choose from, but I thought I'd give you a few....have fun.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 04:18 pm (UTC) - Biology and Diplomas
There is not a single state that requires biology for a public high school diploma. Most homeschoolers take multiple years of high school science (chemistry, physics, etc.) that are untouched by the evolution/creation issue. So it is pretty ridiculous to demand a homeschooler be taught evolution in order to graduate.

And there really isn't a state process in granting diplomas. Diplomas are issued by the issuing public school/private school/homeschool. The requirements for graduation are up to each school. This is why colleges have their own requirements for admittance. And just as there isn't a single state that requires biology for a public high school diploma, *neither* is there a single college that requires it for admission.

At worst, these students have taken an incomplete biology course. But if you actually look at Apologia's biology book, you will see that the rest is quite good. And it and the Advanced Biology book *do* teach the theory; they just go on to discount it. And the proof is in the pudding: students who complete both books can go on to take the AP Biology exam and do quite well on it. This exam has a very strong evolution component.

And you need to remember that even in the college environment, biology is only required for a few majors. There are plenty of public school graduates with advanced university degrees that have NEVER taken biology.

Instead of attacking homeschoolers, what about the countless public schools that demand that students accept the global warming CO2 myth (or should I say religion)?

p.s. Watch the movie "Expelled" when it comes out.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 07:03 pm (UTC) - Re: Biology and Diplomas
I'm anxious to see "Expelled," actually. I've been so awash in the same old tired creationist/ID arguments that I'm hopeful someone will have something new or interesting to say on the subject.

I doubt it, but there is always hope. Besides, who doesn't love Ben Stein?
Thursday, April 10th, 2008 | 09:01 pm (UTC) - Who cares what you think?
I homeschool my children. They are socialized. They test far above average on standardized tests even though one has special needs. They learn science, in fact they know more about science topics than most Public School children their age.

That isn't the main point of my comment though. The main point I want to bring up is that people have a right to decide for themselves how to live. You have a right to be an @ss if that is what you want, and homeschoolers have a right to raise their children the way they believe is best.

The states do have a right to award state diplomas only to student who attend state run schools, homeschooled children don't get a state issued diploma... they get one issued by their parents or by a correspondence school. Colleges accept parent issued diplomas because colleges know that homeschoolers usually receive a higher quality education than Public school kids.

Well, I won't waste anymore of my time on you... if you were interested in facts you would not have written your article, you are obviously only interested in being an ignorant Jack@ss.
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