Day: December 31, 2011

Saturday, 31 December 2011

08:25 – From xkcd.

09:15 – Although I joined only a month or two ago, I’ve been reading the Well-Trained Minds forums for years to keep up with the homeschooling community. The woman who wrote the WTM book and runs the forums is an evangelical Christian, as are many of the forum members. But nationwide, only roughly a third of homeschoolers do so for religious reasons, with the remainder doing so for other reasons. (Some of those 2/3 are religious, but do not homeschool primarily for religious reasons.)

So I was surprised yesterday to come across this poll and thread: Do you use religious or secular science curriculum? I expected a large majority of responders to favor religious science curricula, or at best be evenly divided. Instead, the responders overwhelmingly favor secular science curricula, apparently including many who use religious curricula for other subjects. In other words, even many religious home schoolers largely recognize that “religious science” curricula aren’t science at all, and aren’t worth using. Even some of those who are using the religious curricula aren’t using them because they include religious content, but because they can’t find suitable secular curricula. And even many of those who are religious homeschoolers and are using religious curricula because they’re religious still recognize that those curricula are lying to their kids. That’s encouraging.

Fundie homeschoolers face a real conundrum in choosing science curricula. If they teach real science, they’re teaching their kids to be skeptical and to demand evidence to support claims, and many of those kids (60% according to one recent study done by a religious think-tank) will abandon their parents’ religion by the time they’re 15 years old. And learning real science is one of the leading reasons that happens. Conversely, if the parents use religious curricula from Bob Jones, Apologia, A Beka, or one of the other religious curriculum providers, they know they’ll be teaching their kids “science” that bears little resemblance to real science as defined by society at large and particularly by the secular universities that many want their kids to attend. Some religious homeschoolers simply give up and ignore science, which obviously isn’t an acceptable solution. The radical religionists teach their kids that the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark, thereby destroying their kids future prospects. The smarter ones recognize that science is true and try to teach real science with perhaps some side discussion of how to fit their religious beliefs into the framework of science. And the smartest ones just teach real science and let the chips fall where they may.

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