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Archive for the ‘Home Schooling’ Category

Pondering deep Christian thoughts, to be sure…

Maile and I currently have four kids. Calvin is coming up on 8, Anuhea 6, Anselm 4, and Ambrose 2. Needless to say, I’m interested in education. Being a Christian, I’m interested in Christian education. Being a Christian, I’m also interested in excellence. Put it together and I’m interested in excellent Christian education. So far, so good.

We’ve been homeschooling, of course, from the beginning. However, when it came down to moving beyond simple reading and arithmetic, we found it challenging to make sure that things were getting covered. By contrast, one thing a good school has going for it is that all areas of importance have been brought together and the scope and sequence of each have been planned out. It was the whole making-sure-everything’s-covered-and-covered-well thing that seemed to Maile and me to be a bit of a bugger.

There are various ways for homeschool parents to address this issue. The way we have found has been glorious. Classical Conversations is group that is engineered to empower and help homeschool parents by forming local communities committed to classical and Christian education. Calvin and Sissy took advantage of their stellar Foundations program this past academic year. Next year, we’ll add Anselm into the mix. That ought to be interesting: yeah, he’s pretty loud.

‘Round these parts, in Columbia County, Oregon, we have a wonderful little (and growing!), committed community. Please take a look at it. It you’re interested in talking about this wonderful aid to your homeschool labors (even if you’re just curious), please contact me. The CC website is quite informative, so be sure to check it out.

CC’s been a great blessing to us this year. We’d like to see it grow, thrive and become a greater blessing to more families. Come join us.

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One of my friends clued me into this news story about how a school district in New Jersey had a couple impressively vile books on their “required” summer reading list. (Here’s a link to NBC Philly that has a video.) Two of these books evidently include graphic descriptions of homosexual orgies and one of them has depictions of drug usage. This is all under the guise, according to the superintendent, of “just trying to get students to read.” Un. Be. Lie. Va. Ble. Why not have them study human anatomy by murdering their neighbor and examining his innards. That’d work. Wouldn’t it? (more…)

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I don’t claim any authority on the accuracy of what follows. OnlineEducation.net provides its own references at the bottom. The original can be seen here. HT: Robert Murphy – thanks, buddy!

How does the following info impact your view of home school and/or Christian day school? How does it impact your thinking on the importance of higher education?

The State of Education
Via: OnlineEducation.net

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Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Nota bene: It’s the father that God addresses and tells to raise up, bring up, nourish the kids. Fathers are to train their kids up in the “nurture” (meaning: the whole training and education) and “instruction” (meaning: admonition or exhortation) of the Lord (meaning: the Master, Jesus Christ, the one in whom all the fullness of the godhead dwells).

Let’s focus in on what’s actually required here. This means that dads take the reins in actively training up their kids in the whole of their education and training, but especially with regard to their spiritual nourishment. A father has to do this work: NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. Brothers, you can be members of and worship regularly at a wonderful church, you can put your kids in a stellar Sunday school program, you can pay through the nose to send your kids to a Christian school, and you can even home school your little one, but unless you, as fathers, are at the helm guiding and directing their training, then you are failing. And if the fathers are failing, then the church is failing. If the church is failing, then, as the church is light and salt, the world has no hope.

I know scores of home school families and there’s one (almost) universal truism: dad has almost NOTHING to do with the kids’ education. The dad simply abdicates his responsibility in this area, and the wife/mother takes up the slack and fills in where he’s checked out. So, what pans out is that the mom takes over what is not hers to take over, as the father pays it very little mind. This happens all the time, as was abundantly apparent from the response to my recent post on home schooling – to which ONLY women responded.

Now, I understand that fathers are generally out working and providing for the family, which is excellent. I also understand that, in most home school families, the mother his home and is quite willing to do the day-to-day work of home schooling, which is also excellent. Delegation of authority and responsibility is a real thing and quite necessary in most home schooling situations. However, there is a vast chasm between delegation and abdication. At very least, the husband ought to be leading his wife in the home school enterprise. He ought to set the pace and vision for what goes on everyday in his home. The wife ought to be able to lean upon her husband for laying out what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Also, once particular responsibilities are delegated to the wife, the husband ought not take up those responsibilities directly without very good reason. He needs to trust his wife, show the kids that their mother is worth of respect, and glory in her capabilities. As he’s able, he needs to make himself an active part of the daily/weekly goings on of the education process. Essentially, the father needs to lead his wife and family and be engaged directly in the education of his kids. The less he’s involved with the education of his children, the worse off his kids are for it.

I want this post to be an encouragement to fathers. After all, who is sufficient for these things? None of us. We need each other’s wisdom and encouragement. So, brother, let’s step up our game. Let’s love our wives enough to lead them, and let’s love our children enough to be leaders and active participants in their education and training. If God is gracious, we will thrive, succeed, and prosper. Our children will, indeed, stand on our shoulders and their children on theirs – to a thousand generations.

 

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So, I’m here to confess that I feel overwhelmed. Let me give you and update as to where we are and then voice my confusion and ask for some help.

Calvin will be six in April. Anuhea will be fabulously four in May. Anselm will be turning two next month. Baby “Schroeder” is expected in April. We’ve worked Calvin all the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He can read alright, so we have some graded reading books that he’s been reading. Part of the 100 Lessons is, of course, working on writing letters, so Calvin can do some of that, too. Calvin’s familiar with concepts of addition and subtraction (not to mention the hypostatic union). Further, we’ve worked with both Calvin and Anuhea on counting, coloring, and various little workbooks. That’s the lay of the academic land.

Now for the confusion and plea for help. I’ve been piecing through The Well-Trained Mind since well before Calvin was born, but I picked it up in earnest about 12 months ago to think through Calvin’s preschool and kindergarten stuff. Maile and I’ve been reading it a lot for the past couple days, planning on the transition into first grade work for Calvin. It’s very daunting. Here’s how I currently see the organization of subjects:

  • First and most important is obedience and godliness – this is the whole ball of wax, without which we have no wax.
  • Language – consisting of various sub-subjects (reading, grammar, spelling, writing)
  • Math
  • Science
  • History (following Susan Wise Bauer’s break down)
  • Arts

I know there are a lot of integration points, so that each subject can, at points, be mingled with its friends. My confusion stems from the overwhelming nature of laying out a thought-out vision for what we’re going to do. I’m not talking about the next 12 years, but only for the next year – first grade. So, anyone have some advice on moving forward? We know a lot of home schooling families… so I expect some good comments.

 

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Deadly Money

Now, remember, I’m not a crack pot or a wingnut. I am a Bible-believing, self-consciously Reformed dude. I make significant efforts to keep the “fun” in fundamentalism. Further, I’m a postmillennial happy guy.  I know Christ is King, that he’s Ruler of the Kings of Earth, and that he’s building his kingdom, against which nothing can stand, not even death. I’m the poster child for a Christocentric optimism. Finally, I’m not into conspiracy theories (except for the murder of JFK, but that’s a different post). I don’t even listen to Glenn Beck. So, that ought to give the reader some notion of where I’m coming from. The reason I mention these happy little ditties about myself is that I intend to answer Kris Kord’s question below. Whenever anyone turns down “free” money, one must needs defend one’s own sanity. Also, I don’t want anyone to think that the strategies and machinations of Satan will undue what Christ is doing in and through his church.

Okee dokee, so the question is why I think it’s a bad idea for Christian home schoolers to take government money for their home schooling enterprises. I’ve not studied this out, but I’ll give a brief assessment of the situation as I see it below. I’m interested in what some of my home schooling friends think about this, so I expect to hear a Holler, Yelp, Groan, and Rain Call from some folks on this. Here goes…

There are usually three reasons given by Christian home-schooling parents why it’s okay to take this money. First, it’s free money. Second, it’s money we’ve already paid out in taxes, so why not recoup some of it? Third, even though there are restrictions on how we may use the money, there are plenty of viable non-religious uses for the money.

I’ll take these in turn. First, ain’t no free nuthin, especially from the state. We shouldn’t be so naive as to think this money’s just being given away. Something’s being purchased with it. Are you willing to take that deal without knowing what you are or will be giving up for it? Second, it is tax money. Some people call this tax money toward social engineering. Some call it wealth redistribution. Some call it stealing. If you think that sort of thing is good, then this (standing alone) is a substantial reason to take the money. If, however, you’re like me and think that the government should not be taxing for education (especially lower education), then you need to refuse the benefit or your appeals for less government are empty. Not even to mention that you’ve lost any moral high ground in the contest. “I don’t want to be taxed for this and that, but I don’t have any problem taking the benefit.” Not a very impressive position.  Third, do you think that the restrictions and strings will increase or decrease? Don’t you think that “free” money is meant for eventual control and undermining of everything home schooling is geared to protect? This moves me into a brief assessment of what I think is going on.

Modern ideologues (statists, sexual deviants and perverts, egalitarians, collectivists, whatnot) attempt to train and control children, and the system of government-funded and government-controlled education is their preferred tool. Now, the idol of the state cannot actually control our children, as the state is not God. So while those that trust in the state are idolaters and will not achieve their final aims, they can certainly still achieve mitigated forms of their aims, and that through education. Ideas bear fruit. Ideas have consequences. The ideas that are taught to children will influence them and will, indeed, bear fruit in their lives. Most (if not all) home-schooling parents recognize that ideas (not to mention the context of education) will influence their children and prefer to provide that influence themselves. Thus, home schooling and thorough-going Christian schools are the two educational mainstays against the ideologues that have hijacked the modern educational system, especially the government one.

What weapons or tactics, then, do the ideologues have against Christian schools and home schooling? They seem to break down into two categories: direct and indirect. Direct opposition comes in the form of outlawing everything but government schools. We see this direct opposition in various places around the world, but it’s ineffectual here (so far) in these United States. In the U.S., indirect tactics seem to be more fruitful, especially economic ones. Since home schoolers have already given up the benefit of a “free” education down the block at the multi-, multi-million dollar government school, enemies of Christ and of freedom know that they can’t just set up shop and get all the kids, they’ll need to be a little more devious and cunning. What if they offered “free” money to home schoolers with just minimal strings? That way they could keep track of home schoolers and, eventually, increase the strings. For we all know that “free” extra money today will be budgeted money tomorrow. Once home schoolers begin to depend on that government money, then they’ll have much greater control over that segment of the population that is one of the greatest threats (if not the greatest threat) to their education dominance.  Personally, I can’t think of a more ingenious way to undermine home schooling than to buy it out with tax-payer money. They can buy their way in and Christian home schooler will *willingly let them do it.*

Some very important questions to answer before you take any “free” money: What’s being purchased with that money, and who’s buying it? Rest assured that something’s being bought by someone. What are you paying for “free” money? Or, better, what are you willing to pay for “free” money?

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Alright. Let’s just get it out there so I can own it: I’m a fan of baptism. But not just any baptism, the one that the Bible commands: baptism in the triune name by a lawfully ordained minister of the gospel. Baptism teaches us a great deal about all sorts of things, including education… that includes home schooling.

Now, I’m admittedly as a newbie to home schooling, and that to the point where I’m not sure if I’m to spell it “homeschooling” or “home schooling.” That’s right… I’m that new. Now, we have a five-year-old that we’re home schooling, and we have a three-y-o and an eighteen month-er that we’re preparing for heaven (and for school, too). From my brief glance around the academic landscape in our town, I don’t think we currently have a legitimate option other than home schooling. I like good Christian school, and I’m not even 100% opposed to government schools, but I am absolutely opposed to them until a child has enough wisdom and a solid enough walk with Christ to be able to navigate the secular schools. Godly discernment is key. From my vantage, sending younger kids (P to 7th or 8th grace) to government schools is right up there with voting for a Democrat: there just ain’t no damn way. Republicans maybe  worthless (and by analogy, Christian schools), but the Dems just are not a conceivable option (baby murdering, sodomy sanctioning, and all).

One weakness (among a significant handful) of home schooling is the bunker mentality. (This is, also, a great weakness with Christian fundamentalism.) “Honey,” Christian Carrie says, “you and me just gotts to keep our kids out of the way of any and all sorts of ungodly influence. I think home schooling is our only option.” To which the husband says, “Okay, baby, whatever you say.” (This hints at another weakness of Christian home schooling, or maybe just Christian men.) On this view, no school is really fit, as the parents want complete operational control over the lives of their kids. Now, I’m not opposed to parents having control over their own kids, nor am I opposed to them having control over the influences in their kids’ lives. The problem comes when parents want to insulate their kids from people, even the people of the church. i.e., God’s people. Now, admittedly, the church really is a messy place. But God engineered it that way. The church is a place where we learn to live in covenant community with people who are quite different from ourselves, but are united to us in Christ. Home schooling can be done in such a way as to avoid this, which is a problem. Our baptism is enough to show this. See Toby Sumpter on this… it’s a compelling article and worth your time.

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