Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Homeschooling Debate Goes On

The debate regarding homeschooling is still raging on my message boards. It is now 9 pages long, with 337 responses and 3574 viewings. Wow! It was the very first topic I've ever brought up. I really hit a nerve!

Our family definitely homeschools in part for religious reasons, as anyone looking at our site can tell. Our family is Catholic. We're proud Catholics, and we consider it our duty to teach our children the faith.

Our faith works it's way into almost every subject. We don't currently use a religious Math text, but I believe Math is a wonderful reflection of God's order. Our faith certainly works it's way into Science, as we see God reflected in all areas. This idea is apperantly abhorrent to some.

Here's one quote:

  • Intelligent Design is not science. If you are confusing the two belief systems, than you are UNQUALIFIED to teach science.
    Science has to back up it's theories with empiracle data. It isn't based on "faith".
    I'm not saying that one shouldn't teach Intelligent Design. But if you do so, you should teach it as part of philosophy or religion. It isn't science.

Now, I'm not planning on teaching ID, exactly. I mean, I will, but we will obviously know who the Designer is! I find the idea that Science is completely seperated from philosophy or theory odd. Scientists gather data. They then interpret the data, form theories, come up with ideas. Those theories are either proven, disproven by future data, or are still being researched. And teaching that what we see in the data is too complex to have occured naturally, thus pointing to a Creator, I don't see as being contrary to Scientific thought. But I wonder why there is so much hostility to the idea.

Another thing that some secularists expect from homeschoolers is a neutral education.


  • I wouldn't teach that any system is VALID or INVALID. That is true neutrality. Merely stating, "This is what some people believe" is enough.
    If you truly have respect for your child, you would allow them to weigh the evidence.
    If you are giving your child religious training in your religion, they will natural flow toward your religion anyway, at least for awhile. To invalidate others beliefs because you are afraid of "validating" something you do not believe is not giving your child respect and credit to think for themself. That can only be seen then, as complete and utter brainwashing, not learning.

Now, I do actually tell my kids, "This is what some people believe" but I wouldn't say at all that I'm neutral, nor do I believe my job is to be neutral. Not where our faith is concerned, not where morality is concerned. And I sincerely doubt that they're really teaching their children moral or religious neutrality either. I'm certain that they are teaching their children what their version of right and wrong is.

As for the validity of other faiths, well, if I thought that every faith was as valid as mine I certainly wouldn't have chosen to be something as difficult as a Christian! I believe that there is some truth in many faiths, as well as beauty, and I have a great amount of respect for my friends of other faiths. I hope that my children will learn a great deal about them. But I will also be teaching them that Christianity is the best way, just as my Muslim freind will be teaching her child that following the teachings of Mohammed is the best way.

I resent the idea that teaching your children your faith is brainwashing. If that's true then it crosses religious barriers. So, any of you homeschooling Muslim, Jewish, or Pagan mothers, you're in with me too! One's faith naturally affects one's world view. It will change how you view Science, Literature, Politics, etc. etc. and I see no reason to appologize for that. Anyone who says that their faith doesn't affect how they see the world is either really not a person of faith, or intellectually dishonest.

And here's my favorite quote of the day (from a public school teacher):

  • It's just so odd to me, kind of cult-ish. They are only taught what the elders want them to know and are discouraging any critical thinking skills. That way they are little molds or what the elders want.

I find the whole statement presumptive. Logic is a very important subject, and one that I intend my children to have. They simply must know how to construct and destruct an argument. They must have critical thinking skills. Yes, they will be molded, as it is my job to help mold them into adults. But that would be my job regardless of whether or not they are in a public school setting. And they're most certainly molded within the school setting, with cliques, popularity, pop culture, etc.

My children will always have secular sources available (unless the public library suddenly becomes a Christian one) and will be encouraged to read different materials, and decide whether or not the material has merit.

I see the chance to homeschool as a way to open up the world, not close it down. And I look forward to investigating in with my children. Never closing off that wonder that sparks real learning.

Yup. I'm an idealist!

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