A discouraging word on “religion” in the public schools


Wayne Walker with another note from the Jan., 2006, issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter:


 


     According to USA Today on Dec. 20, 2005, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that teaching “intelligent design” to public school science classes is unconstitutional, calling the concept that parts of the universe are the result of an intelligent designer “a religious view.” This was the result of the case in Dover, PA, where the school board had mandated teaching intelligent design then was ousted in the November elections. These kinds of statement absolutely infuriate me. Why are people, including judges who you might think would be intelligent, unable to see that teaching that the universe came from nothing and man evolved through purely natural processes, as is commonly taught in public schools, is also “a religious view.” I hate to sound pessimistic, and I still encourage people to fight, but I am quickly reaching the conclusion that Bible believers have lost the culture war, especially in the public schools. And that is one reason why I am homeschooling!

Christmas and public schools


Wayne Walker here with another item adaptd from a note that appears in the Jan., 2006, issue of my free, e-mail monthly homeschooling newsletter.


 


     American Family Association reported the following information. In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Ridgeway Elementary School's “winter program” has changed the name of “Silent Night” to “Cold in the Night.” Sung to the tune of “Silent Night,” the lyrics include: “Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.” The “winter program” included decorating classrooms with Santa Claus, Kwanza symbols, Menorahs, and Labafana–a Christmas witch! Also in Wisconsin, the Glendale-River Hills School District has banned every Christmas song which has any Christian “motive or theme.” But while banning Christian Christmas songs, the district permits secular holiday songs as well as songs celebrating Hanukkah. In defending this policy, Frances Smith, the district administrator, says that the Hanukkah songs are more cultural than spiritual. What these schools are doing to our children is not educating, but indoctrinating! And they are using Christmas as an excuse. Following the lead of the National Educational Association, Wisconsin educational leaders preach tolerance and diversity while being highly intolerant! Most of the residents of Wisconsin are tolerant, but not their educational leaders. Banning nativity scenes. Banning Christmas songs in school. Banning Christmas in advertising. Calling a Christmas tree a “holiday” tree. Calling a Christmas parade a holiday parade….It is time to take a stand for our children, our families, our faith and our freedom! Educational leaders in your state could be the next officials to join this anti-Christian bigotry parade. Note–I do not cite this information necessarily to promote or encourage the religious celebration of Christmas. As I have stated in other places, my family and I, as well as many other New Testament Christians, do not observe Christmas as the birthday of Christ. However, many people do and such has become a part of our nation's cultural heritage. What I do oppose is the systematic attempt to remove all reference to anything seen as “Christian” because it is “religious” (whether I happen to agree with it personally or not) yet allow pagan (Wicca) symbols, Hannukah celebrations, and the religion of secular humanism. Even though we do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, it does not offend me in the least that others do.  Truly this is intolerance in the name of tolerance!

Homeschooling on television


I watch very little television.  First, I do not have a whole lot of free time, and second there is just not much on network or even local broadcast stations that is worth watching.  I will not have cable because I do not want my money going to a business that basically makes its profit off of what I consider pornographic.  However, with the success of homeschooling, it is inevitable that it will become the focus of more and more television shows.  Therefore, it was with interest that I read the following information that I included as a note in the Jan., 2006, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter.


 


I do not–repeat DO NOT–watch the fairly new ABC television show “Wifeswap,” so the only way I know about this is what I read on a homeschooling e-mail list where some homeschooling mother indicated that her husband watches the show and she wanted some information to help show him how wrong this kind of thinking is. Apparently what had happened on the show is that one of the women who agreed to swap families was a homeschooling mother. Most people simply pointed out that the whole idea of “wife-swapping” is unbiblical, but someone else wondered if the woman started homeschooling the children in the new family! Still another said that since the show's whole premise is sinful she was not surprised that homeschooling would be portrayed negatively. Then on 12/15/2005, I received the following information from our local support group leader, Cathy Mullins, who had received it from someone else. “We were watching the program 'Nanny 911' on Monday night (8pm) on Channel 2 [our local Fox Network affiliate, WSW]. The preview for next week's program features a home-schooling family with 6 kids. The preview didn't sound at all positive and portrayed the mom as home-schooling because she's over-protective and dealing with constant interruptions.”

homeschooler wins science competition

     Wayne Walker here with a note from the Jan., 06, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter.  You may have already seen this item elsewhere, but it is certainly interesting.


     Our children don't all have to win such competitions to benefit from homeschooling, but it is nice to know that homeschooling certainly did not keep this young man back, as critics often claim, and we do want to rejoice with him in his accomplishments.


     Homeschooled California boy wins science competition: The following information, posted 12/5/2005 at 9:49 AM by USA Today, was sent to a local homeschooling list that same day. “A 16-year-old, homeschooled California boy won a premier high school science competition Monday for his innovative approach to an old math problem that could help in the design of airplane wings. Michael Viscardi, a senior from San Diego, won a $100,000 college scholarship, the top individual prize in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Viscardi tackled a 19th century math problem and his new method of solving it has potential applications in the fields of engineering and physics. 'He is a super-duper mathematics student,' said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. 'It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he's only 16 years old,' she said.”

Chew on this for a while


     In an article “Securing Hearts While We Have Time,” Scott LaMascus, editor of The Christian Chronicle (Dec., 2005; Vol. 62, No. 12, pp. 4-5), quoted from George Barna's book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions (Regal, 2003), in which Barna says, “Having devoted more than two decades of my life and all of my professional skills to studying and working with ministries of all types, I am now convinced that the greatest hope for the local church lies in raising godly children….Social scientists have known for years that the moral foundations of children are generally determined by the time the individual reaches 9. Our research confirms a parallel outcome in the spiritual dimension: by age 9, most children have their spiritual moorings in place.” I hope that such a quotation helps to explain to many of our fellow church-goers why we feel that homeschooling is so important.

random thoughts

     I don't know how many people read these blogs.  I know that there are a lot of blogs on this website–TOS volunteer state coordinators (both individual blogs and state blogs), other TOS staff people, plus a whole lot of others.  I am not much into blogging, simply because I do not have the time to write or read them.  As a result I have not posted very much.  However, I am going to try to be a little more diligent in adding to this blog, perhaps every day and if not then every few days.


     In my free monthly e-mail newsletter for homeschooling Christians, intended primarily for people associated with churches of Christ but available to anyone who wants it, I do book reviews.  I also carry reviews by other people of books that I have not read, some to recommend and some to warn against.  Here is some information about a popular set of books for young people that came across my desk recently.  I thought that readers might be interested in it, especially with the new Narnia movie out in the theaters.


     The Nov., 2005, issue of my newsletter contained a review by Kathy Davis of Philip Pullman's book The Golden Compass, which is book one of “His Dark Materials” series, in which she gave a “Parental Advisory” warning against this book. Karen Chason sent me the following information. “I was just made aware of the author Philip Pullman and thought I would pass this info along. I have not personally read any of his materials. I was given a long list of reading materials from a wonderful sister that pre-reads her children's books, so I use that primarily. Just something to be aware of. Here's a quote below: Please note what Charles McGrath writes to illuminate Pullman's trilogy in the Magazine section of the New York Times, November 13, 2005: 'Lewis's greatest influence, though, is on the British fantasy writer Philip Pullman, whose “His Dark Materials” trilogy is both a homage of sorts (it begins with a girl in a wardrobe) and also a kind of anti-Narnia, a negation of everything Lewis stood for. God in these books turns out to be a senile impostor and Christianity merely a “very powerful and convincing mistake.” Pullman is an atheist and, not coincidentally, one of Lewis's fiercest critics. He has said of the Narnia cycle that “it is one of the most ugly and poisonous things I've ever read” and has called Lewis a bigot and his fans “unhinged.”'” Note–the Magazine section of the New York Times is NOT part of any “right wing” conspiracy!

The beauty of homeschooling


Wayne Walker here with a note that will appear in the Jan., 2006, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter.  I thought that you might like a sneak preview.


 


      The beauty of homeschooling: Opponents of homeschooling have tried many tactics to destroy it. They said that parents just could not provide an adequate education for their own children. Standardized test scores and homeschool college scholarships have proven this view wrong. Then they asked, “What about socialization?”, implying that homeschooled children would be unprepared for life in society, as if their parents locked them in closets. Studies by Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute, have shown that homeschoolers are actually better “socialized” (in the good sense of the word) than public school students. More recent claims have been that children have some kind of “right” to receive input in their lives different from that of their parents so they need to be in schools, and that taking children out of the public schools to educate them at home will destroy the public school system. I say, let it be destroyed. This nation had the highest literacy rate on earth in days before mandatory public schools existed. However, given our government's claim to support “education” (which actually means supporting public schools, and there is a big difference between education and schools), I doubt that the public education system will go down the tubes, although it is quite plain that we are throwing good money after bad down a never-ending rat hole.


     Having said all that, the point I want to make is that another criticism of homeschooling is that even if the kids are well educated and socialized, there is just so much that they will miss out on by not being in public schools. Yeah, drugs, sex, situation ethics, evolution taught as fact, promotion of homosexuality. But that is not what people usually mean. They mean music, sports, and other “extra curricular” activities. Well, homeschool parents have been notoriously famous for providing such needs. My sons have played roller hockey, volleyball, bowling, and baseball on homeschool teams. Mark is taking private drum lessons (from a homeschooled student, no less)–and I just spent nearly $700 to buy a drum set for him! Jeremy may start taking homeschool recorder lessons. Which brings me to my main point. On Dec. 14, 2005, we attended a recorder recital for homeschooled students who were taught by our good friend, homeschooling mother, and music teacher Trisch Breed. Some fourteen homeschooled young people of various ages and degrees of ability performed together and as soloists. They are learning music and how to perform in public. The recital was delightful, and we had a wonderful time.


     In most states, there are homeschooling parents who are fighting for the right to participate in public school programs such as music, sports, drama, etc. Here in Missouri, the state law has been amended to require that schools allow such “dual enrollment.” In other states, it is a mixed bag–some authorities have said yes, others have said no, and courts have ruled on both sides of the issue. I cannot say that this is necessarily wrong and for some families in certain situations this may be the best that they can do, but I believe that a word of warning is in order. Yes, I know, we pay taxes. However, the more homeschoolers appeal to the government school bureaucracy for “goodies,” the more such homeschoolers will be drawn under its control. And the more it is seen that homeschoolers need to appeal for these “goodies,” the more attempts will be made to exercise public school control over homeschoolers in general, even the ones who do not want the “goodies.” As for me and my house, we shall remain independent homeschoolers and make our own arrangements to provide for all the needs of our children.