15 November 2012

Starting to Hate Christian Curriculum

I'd really like to homeschool a serious science student from the Christian perspective.  But I'm starting to think that I need a more secular program.

Take this LIFEPAC sheet, for example.  It's about five years old, so Pluto is still a planet.  Easily explained.  Cross out Pluto, and your textbooks are instantly updated!  Not a biggie.  But seriously.  This is an English assignment in which Emperor is to look at the diagram of the planets and answer the questions.

He got the question about which planet would be the hottest incorrect.  He answered Venus, and the correct answer is Mercury.  I marked it wrong. 

Emperor was unhappy.  Venus is warmer because it has an atmosphere which traps heat, he explained.  He shouldn't be marked wrong!

I suppose "according to the diagram," Emperor is wrong.  Mercury should be the warmest planet.  But it simply isn't.  I checked Mr. Google and confirmed that Emperor is factually correct.

Maddening.  Do I have to drop my Christian English curriculum because it doesn't check its science facts?

Our science curriculum is also a lovely, easy-to-use package.  Most of the information it contains is pretty timeless and factually correct.  Parts of a flower.  Simple machines.  That sort of thing.  But I'm not using this stuff next year because it groups humans in its own group apart from all animals.  The "scientific" reason being that Man has a soul and therefore is in an altogether different category by itself.

My kid would be laughed out of college if he seriously put that idea forth!

So I feel a bit stuck here.  Man DOES have a soul.  Our family DOES believe in God.  It doesn't follow that Mankind is in its own completely different scientific grouping because the textbook authors don't agree with the current methodology for classifying animals.



12 comments:

  1. I never used Christian curriculum, per-se... except for that one time. It was a language arts curriculum, by Stobaugh. It was ok, but very time consuming and doubled as a religion instruction program. Since my kids already had religious instruction it was redundant, as is most Christian curriculum.

    I'd rather teach them from the scientific viewpoints and if our religious beliefs don't jive with it, then have a discussion and debate about it. But they can't go into college ignorant of what the rest of the world believes.

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    1. It makes Christians look plain old stupid if the experts in the field of Christian home education cannot put out an accurate curriculum. If God is Truth, we shouldn't have to dance around scientific observation and classification.

      But theoretically... theoretically, I don't see where God need be separate from science. One person on the blogs said that science is "thinking God's thoughts after Him," in other words, seeing the intricacies of these systems/ animals/ whatever and knowing that God designed an order to the universe. And our understanding of these things can change at any given point in time.

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  2. I gave up on the science debate. I just don't care enough one way or another & most of what gets argued about is irrelevant to living life. I do,however, agree that Christians should get our facts right on any subject if we are going to enter the debating area just so we don't defame the word of God. Otherwise we look like ignorant idiots & people think God must be that dumb too. Wow. I hope that's not coming across as harsh as it seems to sound to me.

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    1. No, this is how I feel as well. What kind of God of Truth needs us to give Him PR with a bunch of half-baked and unscientific lies? :)

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  3. I don't use traditional curriculum, but I would be willing to bet that secular textbooks have mistakes too. I remember finding mistakes in the answer section of the math book in high school. Perhaps, you might talk to him about things like human fallibility and that whoever made the diagram was using outdated information. Also, you could turn it into something productive: make a list of errors and notify the textbook publishers.

    I live the same dichotomy you do. I look as cosmology as opinion, not fact. What science has developed is based on scientific models and models are only as good as their assumptions. Digging up one vital clue (okay, say an alien spaceship with an operating manual on how to create a planet and life and say it works) would change what everyone thinks. So, we read science facts as facts and we read understanding on how the universe came to be as opinion. Whether humans are mammals or something distinct, that is opinion. In fact, the whole classification system isn't as clear as we would like. Some animals have changed categories be because of a better understanding of genes (storks are a good example of that). Science fact changes depending on changes in understanding (can you say Pluto?).

    We are reading a modern science book on the big, bang theory, dark energy, and dark matter. One of the reasons why scientists are looking up to it is that there are aspects of the big bang theory that don't make sense. Time and time again science has believed a theory for years and it went away when more data came to light. So, it might help to student old theories that have been discounted to help him understand the difference between data (measurable things) and theory (which can change if there is an error of logic or missing data).



    Another thought would be to

    Not

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  4. We learned pure science in High School 40 years ago. There wasn't this dichotomy there is today...atheists (science) versus theists (creationists). I went to a Catholic high school!! Mr. Cordes prepared many a medical doctor, scientist, and mom. It wasn't even a consideration. There was science, you didn't have to be an atheist to believe it....and there was religion, that you just took for granted. I wonder now if we weren't in a very progressive school.

    Not all theists are creationists, and not all scientists are atheists. The lines are not cut and dried. VIVA LA MIDDLE GROUND for the Love of God! Walking's answer was good. ...What was the question?

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  5. Sad that a company touting relgious education can't handle basic facts.

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  6. I ran into the same problem with our boys. As much as I wanted to use it, "Trees are green because God made them that way" didn't quite cut it when they got past about first grade. I'm exaggerating it, but only slightly.

    The other thing that frustrated me was the constant none-too-hidden agenda that kept appearing in the middle of serious topics (like the time we were studying weather science and the author broke away from the discussion on climate to explain to my kids that there was no such thing as global warming. At all. It was not happening. It was a conspiracy by people who wanted to distract people from God's plan). It was easier to use secular curriculum and point out things like, "See how God organized it all? Isn't that amazing?"

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  7. Hmmm... I would say that choosing a curriculum simply because it's a Christian base may not be the best method. Secular curriculum may be a wiser choice with your own religious discussions thrown in at the end of each lesson. Then YOU are deciding the path of discussion instead of some book.

    That said, there may be something AWESOME learned from this example! I mean, he just learned that not all books are correct! That sometimes, HE knows more than the curriculum! How awesome is that?!? Not always taking what he reads at face value is an important skill, especially in today's fluid society.

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  8. This is what I love about homeschooling! We are teaching our kids to 'think', not just to take every word in a book or web site as fact or Truth. I have used bible-based curriculum only in the past. I have since added Time4Learning. It's a more fun way for them to learn online, since my kids love online programs and games. Whenever something comes up that doesn't line up with what they've learned in reading God's word or our bible-based curriculum, we talk about it. Good practice for what they will have to do in college. ;)

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  9. I'm a secular homeschooler, that does not mean I don't believe, it just means I want the subject matter I use to be based on the subject matter, not on religion. My dad was the most religious man I ever met, he was also a scientist. He always said the more he learned about science the more he believed in God because some stuff was just too complicated to be random!
    If you really are looking for a diffent currculum check out SecularHomeschool.com, I've found that they have a good curriculum resource list. Happy homeschooling!

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  10. Have you looked into Apologia. Much more up-to-date and a more balanced curriculum. It is still Christian curriculum, but I hope that won't turn you off from looking at it. http://www.apologia.com/index.asp?proc=pg&pg=87

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)