2. Homeschooling and the Search for the ‘Perfect’ Curriculum
The small fellowship my husband and I were part of, in addition to espousing Young Earth Creationism (YEC), also strongly favoured homeschooling. I had never heard of anyone doing homeschooling in modern times. I thought it was something of the past – pictures of rich English children sitting at a table being taught by a tutor, that sort of thing. Or, country chidren sitting around a kitchen table being taught by Mother. Certainly, in this day and age with schools within close proximity homeschooling was, well…strange?
As my oldest turned 3, I began tentatively researching homeschooling. A friend from church told me about the curriculum she was using and that she could help me order the worktexts and that I could borrow her Teacher’s Guides. And so, in 2000, we began our first year of homeschooling.
The curriculum was not a good fit. I ended up ditching the Teacher’s Guide and just winging it. If my son wanted to do five pages instead of the scheduled three, I let him. If he found listening to stories featuring talking animals boring, I skipped it. (Honestly, I found some of those stories rather contrived and moral-driven.) At the end of that year, I decided that while I liked the idea of homeschooling very much, I could not continue with the same curriculum. I had to look for something else.
The internet was still fairly new to me at the time, but one day I decided to give it a try. I typed in “homeschool” into the search field (“I’m feeling lucky!”), and was overwhelmed when it came up with over a million hits! After a bit of searching, I found Sonlight Curriculum. I was immediately impressed with its position that homeschooling was not for every child, and that it may not even be right throughout a child’s education, ie, it may be right for one season, and not for another. They were also very comfortable with the fact their curriculum was not going to suit everybody. After reading several homeschool curriculum websites that basically said that if one were a Christian, then the only right thing to do was to homeschool and that one ‘had to’ use a Christian curriculum (and implying that theirs was the best), this was a total breath of fresh air. Who were these people at Sonlight?
It turns out that Sonlight is a Christian homeschooling company that aims to provide education through good literature. I won’t talk too much about it here, but rather, I will let Sonlight speak for itself. Below are some of the Reasons Families Love Sonlight:
7. Sonlight helps your children gain a balanced perspective on controversial issues.
8. Sonlight gives your children a broad and godly view of the world.
11. Sonlight trains students to listen to differing points of view with gracious humility.
The reasons above really resonated with me. As I read through the reasons for buying Sonlight, I kept thinking, “Yes! This is what I want!”
Now at this time, I was still very much leaning towards the Young Earth camp. The Science books that Sonlight provided were mostly from Usborne publishers, which are secular, but it was mostly straight science with little mention of ‘millions of years’ or evolution. The little mention that was contained in the science books and the history books were not scheduled to be read, so that was okay. Sonlight felt that the information contained in the books was good, solid information and therefore worthy to be read. Also, the idea of homeschooling was so that our children could be exposed to ‘different’ ideas and that we could be there to explain to them, “This is what some people believe.”
One thing that intrigued me greatly, however, was that John Holzmann (the founder of Sonlight Curriculum) wrote an article which was added to the Science K Instructor’s Guide Notes: Young-Earth Creationism, Old-Earth Creationism, and Biblical History: When Did It Occur? He started with the usual premise that one would expect from a Christian writer, ie, that the Bible is the final authority. But how one interprets the Bible is important, especially when confronted with physical evidence. I skimmed to the conclusion (it was a very long article!) and I will admit to being dismayed to see that he said that he was willing to be identified as someone who believed in an old earth. This feeling of dismay is what being exposed to and convinced of YECism does. I am not the only one to have been dismayed by his article. Many people on the Sonlight forums wanted to know exactly where Sonlight stood on the Young-Earth/Old-Earth debate.
YECists tell its adherents that anything that does not accept a young earth model (less than 10,000 years) is just plain wrong and anti-Biblical to boot. Yes, that’s right. Those scientists have it all wrong. Instead of looking at the Bible and making the the world fit what it says, Science, so goes the argument, ignores the Bible and makes the world fit what it wants to say. Ultimately, anything that is not YEC is seen as elevating man’s wisdom above God’s. There is no room for a dissenting opinion.
Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, in Church, Creation vs Evolution, Education, Home Schooling, Religion, Young Earth Creationism and tagged Sonlight Curriculum. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.