General Question

Kayak8's avatar

What kind of future citizens are being created as a result of home schooling?

Asked by Kayak8 (16395 points ) November 23rd, 2010

I have a friend who, when recounting tales of having been confronted with socially awkward individuals, then says, “Jeesh, what is her problem? Was she home schooled or what?”

I have read some of the advantages of home schooling and understand that some parents allow their children to socialize, albeit with selected individuals only. I also understand that parents home school for a wide variety of reasons. I have met some less-than-bright parents who home school and I have concerns for the education their children might be receiving.

What are the potential long term effects on society when parents with strong “values” send their home schooled children out into the world (e.g., to college, to the workplace, etc.)? I want to hear thoughts about the potential outcomes of contemporary society (not about historic times when home schooling was the norm rather than the exception). What happens when home schooled children who are raised in a protected world have to face the real world?

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77 Answers

theichibun's avatar

The same kind of citizens we have now that were home schooled. Slightly off socially people who don’t know all the intricacies of how to function in society mixed with people who knew that was a threat and made a point to be in groups where they’d have to learn those skills.

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t know what the home schooling rules are, but I am of the firm belief that education should be a right, not a privilege. Therefore, it is one of the few rights that the government should be able to enforce against the parents.

I hope, and believe there should be, some form of testing each year for the parent to be ensure that they are qualified to ensure the child will make the grade, and the child should be tested to make sure that they are keeping up.

Aside from that, I think that there’s no reason for home schooled children should be socially awkward, as there are plenty of ways to get your kids to interact with other children. The way schools are now, I’ve considered home schooling myself. And one of my good friends was home schooled and is kind of the most amazing person ever. As the trend increases, if it does so in a responsible manner, home schooling parents also can, and have already I believe, form networks where they can get together and discuss lessons, etc.

I fear, though, and this is based on limited information, that the people home schooling now are doing it because they are fundamentally religious, and they are doing so to “protect” their children from information, rather than give them an education.

tigress3681's avatar

You know, my uncle’s family is the epitome of why I fear homeschooling. Their family is deeply religious, and as great as that may be, my cousins seem to be brainwashed and closed minded about things, like biology, politics, etc. I feel unable to relate to them on so many levels.

JilltheTooth's avatar

This thread deals quite intelligently with the issue of homeschooling. I suggest you read all the way through it, as Tranquilsea and a few others explain about the benefits. It’s no longer the bastion of fundamental Christians, and children are not isolated, nor do they lack the opportuniy to acquire social skills. Unfortunately, so many of the old impressions remain. Most states require some sort of testing, groups of homeschoolers work together in many communities, and the choice of curricula that are not Christian-based has expanded.

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth – Awesome! Thank you so much.

marinelife's avatar

I have had experience with home-schooled kids in the workplace. They are awkward socially and seem to have weird gaps in their education.

iamthemob's avatar

@marinelife – I’ve found a significant amount of people, regardless of whether home schooled, that seem to have a gap in their education. ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

I think we must be wary of broad generalizations about people who have been home schooled. There are many reasons for home schooling, from religious reasons, to academic reasons, to bullying reasons and more. There are many different types of home schooling; some of which look like private schooling. And of course, there are teachers (presumably parents) and students.

The idea that there will be a lack of socialization seems to me to not be supported by any evidence I know of. You have to remember that kids who have tried public schools may not have done very well due to poor socialization skills, and that may be why they are home schooled. In other words, even if there is a correlation, we don’t know if there is any causal relationship.

A lot of kids in my neighborhood (an extremely liberal neighborhood) have been home schooled. They have almost universally gotten into excellent colleges and been socially involved and generally done well, as most people would consider it. So if you’re looking social activists that were home schooled, you could do a lot worse than come here.

One could make a theoretical argument that because kids are home schooled they will be smarter. Then again, you could say they do well because their fathers are highly educated. We know that educational attainment is highly correlated with the educational attainment of the father.

Cause and effect is very unclear in this area. I would be very leery of any generalization about home schooled kids.

john65pennington's avatar

My neighbor lives up the street from me and has a 15 year old daughter, she is homeschooling. i had a 20 minute conversation with her and here are the highlights of our talk:

“I love homeschooling. i am making really good grades. my mother sees to this. i have a social life. i am connected to the outside world with my social skills. in other words, i may be schooled at home, but my outside world is still my world.”

I was amazed at some of her comments. she is a very bright young girl and appears to be thriving from homeschooling.

Summum's avatar

Home schooling is going to grow more and more. People are not satisfied with the violence and/or the curriculum in the current school system. I know of many that were home schooled and have done really well in the colleges. Here in my state the school system has you present a curriculum and then checks up on the progress. There are many places to get help and materials for teaching from the home.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m guessing a variety of individuals and I am not at all ‘worried’ about it – what kind of individuals is our public school system churning out? Yeh, thought so.

squirbel's avatar

One must not be concerned with such a small thing. Having people from different walks of life is not a bad thing. Those who come from a walk of life different from your own are still capable of being good citizens.

I do not believe in having the entire nation brainwashed (because even the public school system brainwashes) in the same ethos. Everyone who teaches is brainwashing.

TexasDude's avatar

I’ve been exposed to tons of homeschooled kids, and in my experiences, they were usually much more advanced than public schooled kids. Reading 4th grade books by kindergarten age, understanding more advanced math, and so on. I really think the instances of socially awkward homeschooled kids who don’t believe in dinosaurs are up-played in a kind of selection bias. They stick out more sharply against the legions of homeschooled kids who are perfectly well-adjusted. I also think that a lot of people, for whatever reason, thumb their noses at homeschooled kids because they see them as “poor dumb Christian kids who will grow up never being exposed to other cultures” or whatever. It just seems like a huge generalization to me that people don’t actually bother to investigate for themselves.

Besides, most public schools are nothing to write home about.

I’m with @Simone_De_Beauvoir and @squirbel on this one. Nothing to wring your hands about here…. Move along.

crazyivan's avatar

Wow, am I the first person on the thread that actually was homeschooled? I thought I could throw out my own experience although I’m sure it’s not remotely indicative of “average” home-school experiences.

When I was in 4th grade the local teachers went on strike and my mother was a vocal opponent of that action. She rallied a number of parents to protest the strike, which meant, among other things, I was not particularly beloved in the school afterwards. After a few run-ins with vindictive teachers my mother took me out of school and home-schooled mysel, my 2 sisters and my brother.

Years later we moved to another state and I went back into public schools in the 10th grade. My education was leaps and bounds ahead of my class. The books they were reading and math they were learning was several years behind my home curriculum. I was (and remain) socially awkward but that was the case long before I started home-schooling.

My brother started college at the age of 15 and graduated with a degree in computer science (after studying in Japan for 2 years) at the age of 20. I got a 1480 on my SAT and went through college with a 4.0 GPA. My older sister earned her degree while raising 4 kids and my younger sister just earned her PhD and recently took a position as an instructor at West Point.

The blanket assumption that home-schooling is a poor method of education are predicated on the false belief that the majority of home-schooled students are home schooled because of religious practices. The advantages of having hours and hours of one on one time with your teacher and the fact that virtually every day can be a field trip far outweighs the modicum of advantage realized by having “certified” teachers.

The key to home-schooling is the teacher. In Michigan we were still required to take and pass standardized tests (this was 1988–1993 so I have no idea what the requirements are now). I can say definitively, though, that I received a primary education better than at least 95% of the nation (judging by test scores).

It should also be noted that religious based pseudo-education is not the sole bastion of home schooling. Private schools often offer ridiculous faith-based curriculum and actively seek to teach demonstrably false things to their student body. I feel like these schools pose a far greater threat (in that they are institutionalized) than a few whacky parents that want to teach their kids that Darwin was in league with the devil.

My assessment is that the vast majority of us would have received a better education if we’d received it at home.

Harold's avatar

My wife home schooled our two children for the first two years, and then sent them to school. They had a huge advantage academically over their classmates, so much so that they both skipped a year in primary school because they were getting bored. It was a good basis for teaching them to read and write properly, which generally does not happen in schools (You would be amazed how many of my university students can’t write properly). My wife put a huge amount of work into teaching them properly, and had a structured program for them, which included out door activities. They were ready for school when they started, and settled in easily. They have become well adjusted young adults now, and still talk of the fun they had learning with their mother.

Kayak8's avatar

This is very helpful information. But as @crazyivan said, “the key to homeschooling is the teacher.” I completely agree and this is the source of my concern. It seems that when bright people homeschool their offspring, they perpetuate more bright people with a great diversity of interests and a depth of scholarship. I think this bodes well for our collective future!

What about the offspring of parents who are homeschooled by teachers who aren’t exactly mental giants? I am not worried about the fundamentalist parents or others who use homeschooling to indoctrinate their youth, but continue to have reservations about those students (children) who are taught by parents who weren’t particularly good students themselves. These parents never have to pass any tests to make sure they are competent enough to serve as teachers. While the kids may be tested in some states/locales, what is the insurance that the parents are qualified to serve as teachers?

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth pointed out another thread on home schooling. States seem to have legal standards available to measure home school progress.

YARNLADY's avatar

My children and grandchildren had both home schooling and classroom schooling. The only time they actually learned anything was at home, with their homework. No schooling took place in the classroom, but they did learn how to hit, swear and be made fun of in school.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Kayak8 : The majority of parents that were homeschooling at the same time that I was were not “mental giants”. Some had no higher education than high school. The difference is that they are concerned with the education of only a few children, as opposed to the 25 or 30 per class in the school systems. These parents have a personal vested interest in each child in their charge, and are in a position to monitor progress more closely than teachers in a traditional classroom environment.. Most of the curricula available cover very clearly what is expected of the teacher (parent) and are geared to people with a high school diploma. A dedicated parent of average intelligence is more than capable of effectively home schooling. With more and more community resources available, extra help for parents and students can be provided, if needed.
I have nothing but the highest admiration for anyone who goes into teaching, but because of discipline issues and sheer numbers of children, they aren’t usually able to provide the same level of attention per child as a homeschooling parent can.

jerv's avatar

It varies widely based on why their parents chose to home-school, but many of those that are home-schooled wind up either naive due to isolation and/or bigoted due to being programmed by parents who have some beliefs that normal society would consider unacceptable.

Of course, as @crazyivan points out and my own experience confirms, there are enough home-schooled kids that turn out decent, wise, and actually educated, so it would be unfair to automatically assume that home-schooled kids will become fucked-up adults.

So I think that home-schooling turns out about the same type of future citizens that regular schooling does. Look how many fucked up people went to public school and I think that you’ll quickly see that it depends more on how a kid is educated than it does where they were educated.
Great public school plus fucked up parents will get you a fucked up future citizen.
Bad teachers whether at home or in a regular classroom will get you a stupid future citizen.
Homeschooling with a smart but weird teacher/parent will get you a smart but weird future citizen.

That said, homeschooling has it’s limits in some situations. For instance, my mother may be able to stumble her way through a physics or engineering curriculum, but I already knew more about electricity and mechanical engineering by age 8 than she ever did. She isn’t stupid, merely out of her element. So, schooling (home or otherwise) only really works if there isn’t a severe mismatch in intellect or aptitude between teacher and student, but odds are that the average parent, even when armed with all sorts of home-schooling course books, won’t be able to educate a kid as well as a group of specialists.
If you decide to home-school and can have somebody else help you out in certain subjects then you can make your kid smarter than you are in certain areas, but trying to home-school all alone will be a handicap if your kid actually is smarter than you.

mattbrowne's avatar

Depends on whether home schooling involves creationism or not.

crazyivan's avatar

@Kayak8 I think it should also be pointed out that (and no offense to this noble proffesion) most grade school teachers aren’t “mental giants” either. The ability to teach is more about your attention than your intellect.

Very often in my schooling I would ask my mother something she didn’t know. We would pack up the next day and head to a natural history museum, a planetarium or whatever would be appropriate given the question. I also learned the most valuable lesson one can learn in school: How to find information when there’s no teacher around.

Harold's avatar

@mattbrowne – are you suggesting that teaching creationism creates the type of people implicated in the question? If so, you are way off track. Teaching ANY one world view without reference to the other is indoctrination, regardless of what that world view may be.

iamthemob's avatar

Creationism is indoctrination. Evolution is science.

One is a worldview – the other is based on the study of the world.

Home schooling and religion can go hand in hand – but I think it’s dangerous to suggest that teaching creationism only and evolution only are equally “indocrinating” approaches.

crazyivan's avatar

@Harold Wait… are you saying that teaching the actual scientific origin of the universe without also teaching creationism would lead to indoctrinization? I might be misreading you, but if that’s the case, then wouldn’t you also be required to teach every creation myth from every religion ever known to man, wouldn’t you?

JilltheTooth's avatar

and here we go.

jerv's avatar

I would think that is would be sufficient to say, “Here are two theories about how we came to be…” and leave them as examples. As far as Creationism/Evolution goes, I feel that the real lessons there are the scientific method and critical thinking. Regardless of which side of that fence you are on (or if you have another belief entirely) you have to be able to take facts and apply sound logic to them in many facets of life.

Some who teach Creationism are more than happy to leave gaping holes to be filled by blind faith and teach their pupils to accept authority without question, and by extension to never question anything. No logic there. By the same token, many who cling solely to Evolution also leave a lot of unanswered questions, but at least they admit that they are a theory and attempt to fill in the blanks. The main problem there is that you may raise the kid to think that religion is outdated and only followed by simpletons.

But where the Universe and humanity came from is really more of a sidenote; which way you go and how you go about it will also affect how curious, inquisitive, and blindly obedient a child turns out to be as an adult. If you think blind obedience is a good thing, then you should know that obeying the wrong people unquestioningly can lead to serious problems. A lack of curiosity will make you boring, and in today’s technology-driven society, may be a severe handicap. If you disagree, find me some brand new 8-track tapes. The world moves on, and the incurious do not move with it; they fall behind and get left in the dust.

So ignore the theology and look at how the debate affects a child’s academic development. Look at how it affects how they think. Look at how it affects their ability to reason, how gullible or stubborn they grow up to be, how flexible their mind is when they face a new concept. Just look at it that way.

mattbrowne's avatar

I believe in oversight of school curricula and the quality of teachers for this very reason: the children are the future of our societies. In South Africa for example there is a widespread belief that sex with a virgin will cure men from AIDS. Without oversight the chances such “knowledge” will be taught in home schools are high. For the same reason we have to make absolutely sure that creationism is not part of the biology curriculum. I’m very much in favor of talking about ethics, religions, world views in non-science classes. Creationism should actually be part of one of these curricula with explanations why it isn’t science, together with general knowledge about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism as well as world views such as Agnosticism and Atheism. Lack of knowledge about other views is one of the reasons there is so much prejudice and mistrust.

But countries needs to think about their future. We cannot afford to go back to the dark ages, not when 6.7 billion people want to survive on our small planet. Without scientific method as one of the most fundamental principles we got no future. Having pre-science and pre-technology societies only on Earth means that our Earth can sustain a few hundred million people only.

In Germany like in some other European countries home schooling is illegal, because the vast majority of politicians and voters think that oversight is extremely difficult, see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_schooling#Germany

Now, of course this is debatable and we all know that there are very positive examples of home schooling in the US as well.

You might have heard of this story earlier this year (the family mentioned are indeed German young earth creationists)

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/0302/US-grants-German-homeschoolers-asylum.-Will-others-follow

“A US judge granted German homeschoolers asylum in January after ruling they faced persecution in Germany, where the practice is punishable with fines or imprisonment. The US Home School Legal Defense Association says other German families are exploring political asylum in the US. Children can be removed by German social services if parents insist on homeschooling.

The official German reaction to the decision was muted. The German Consulate in Atlanta released a statement that parents in Germany have a broad range of educational options and that mandatory attendance guarantees high standards.

But German media have portrayed the case as an insult to the German system. Many Germans are shocked to learn that 1.5 million children in the US are home schooled and that the practice is legal in countries like France, Italy, and Ireland.”

TexasDude's avatar

So it seems like the big fear here is that homeschool kids are more likely to wind up being creationists because they are less likely to be exposed to evolution?

That makes it sound like everyone who graduates public highschool has a firm grounding in science and no creationists ever come out of public school. When I was still in highschool, most of my peers didn’t believe in evolution or even understand it, and we had some stellar biology teachers. The bottom line is that kids are more likely going to believe or be influenced by what their parents instill in them whether they are educated publicly or privately, regardless of what kind of exposure they have. Sure, some homeschooled kids (like the ones that run conservapedia) may not believe in evolution or whatever, but I still don’t think it’s anything to lose sleep over.

jerv's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I don’t think that is quite it. I think that the big fear is more that home-school kids will be total fanatics, and unlike the hardcore ideologue bunch that comes out of public school, the home-school will automatically assume that the rest of the world is wrong. They will have less respect for alternative viewpoints, and often little/no ability to think critically. At least that is how I see it.

And I can understand how someone would not believe anything they don’t understand. That is why I cannot follow any religion; I do not understand blind faith nor how someone can ignore what their eyes and ears tell them in favor of what some possibly power-hungry person says that a translation of a translation of a translation of a book written over 2000 says.

It doesn’t help that most of the people you hear about being home-schooled are rather outspoken nut-jobs who loudly proclaim that they are home-schooling their kids because they don’t want their little Aryan to be brainwashed by a Socialist Muslim or some such nonsense. That really makes things hard on the quieter, more rational home-schoolers like @crazyivan‘s folks.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard – Good high schools lay the foundation for applying critical thinking and pursuing a scientific career. The poor kids having been brainwashed with creationism most likely won’t pick a science major in college, because either the kid or the parents fear coming into contact with “dangerous” world views.

Evolution gets very complex, for sure. But the basic principles are actually very simple:

Random mutations + selective mating + natural selection

My wife is a biology teacher in Germany. Evolution is part of 7th and 8th grade already, but a more in-depth understanding happens in 10th grade and beyond. Students really love Mendel when they talk about fornicating rabbits or how the various blood types are inherited.

I still remember my teacher when she opened with the question: How did the giraffe get its long neck? And of course we talked about Lamarck’s views as well. At first it actually made more sense to many of us.

Creationism doesn’t stop at messing with biology. It’s also about physics and chemistry.

How can Earth have cooled down so quickly when it’s only 6000 years old? The potential energy released by the accumulating small chunks of rock hitting the proto-Earth is enormous. We know the formulas and can actually measure this. The ground under our feet should be in a liquid state and our oceans would still be boiling.

Creationism is a full-fledged assault on science as a whole. To be honest I find it totally absurd that creationists are actually using web browsers, which were only created because of scientific discoveries. If parents choose to live in caves without electricity and cars and the world wide web teaching creationism to their kids, they would at least be authentic. Everything else is hypocritical.

Maybe it should be named caveschooling instead of homeschooling. Sorry, but I have to be this blunt. Too much is at stake here.

tranquilsea's avatar

There are a wide variety of home schoolers. As I have stated in other threads my experience is that the fundamentalist Christian home schoolers are the minority in my Province. Many of the home schoolers I know are Christian and are teaching their kids a broad science based education.

There are many supports available for home schooling families. Many of them free.
Take for example when I was uber concerned about my daughter’s reading ability. She’s very right brained and reading does not come easily for her. She was in the school system until grade 3. They kept insisting that she was reading when she really was not. She was a great guesser. If I had left her in the school system she would have fallen further and further behind even though her math skills are above grade level. After posting to three different home schooling groups I had many moms who had great suggestions as to how I could help her get beyond that block. Their suggestions were bang on.

When my kids get close to the point when they are thinking about university I will have many people that I will be able to reach out to who will help stream line that process: the ones that have BTDT.

Of the home schoolers I know that have sprung off into their own lives: one owns her own business and is doing exceptionally well, three others I know are in the Provincial university, and yet another was hired by my husband’s company because she is so great with customer service.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, non-fundamentalist homeschooling can work.

crazyivan's avatar

Even if public school kids are indoctrinated with a creationist worldview, they will at least know that it is a minority view. In most parts of the country they can’t avoid running into the alternate POV unless they are home-schooled. I liken it to my friend that grew up in Utah and never knew that the Mormon religion was considered unconventional until he moved away at 18.

I do think it’s worth losing sleep over, though. These people will be governing our nation eventually if just by the influence of their vote/dollar. The fewer ignorant voters we have, the better a democracy works.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Yes, but it’s a bit tricky since most of the home-school curriculum (I’ve heard ~85%) are written by/for Fundies.

@crazyivan I agree. I would go a step further and say that kids, whether home-schooled or not, need to learn more diversity. For instance, my wife and I were raised in small New England towns and went to public schools. However, Cheshire County is whiter than Wonder bread (97.75% White as of the 2000 census) so she is a bit lost here in Seattle where we have Ethiopian neighbors, Hispanic co-workers, etcetera, because t=she was never exposed to that sort of diversity whereas I spent enough time with the rest of my family in Boston to be used to it.
Of course, we both are (apparently) more tolerant of religious, political, sexual, and other diversity since we come from an area with a lot of Pagans, gays, hippies, intellectuals, and other types that a lot of mainstream America seems to stigmatize.
It seems to me that the ones that wind up the most screwed up are the ones that have the least exposure to diversity in their youth.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – In this case, we should fight against caveschooling, because these kids when they finish cave school are at a disadvantage. I’d say equal opportunities for all.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Agreed. That is why I made that comment earlier about how the outspoken nutjob homeschoolers who seek to isolate their kids from non-Christian religions (or Christianity that isn’t Christian enough for them), anti-American ideology (like Democrats), etcetera.

GracieT's avatar

@jerv, well said! I am Christian, but I believe in
exposing people to everything and letting them make a
choice.

PLEASE, everyone, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say do not expose your kids to Christianity . I said instead to show your children what you believe, and why, but expose them to other faiths as well, and let them decide. I do not believe that you should not allow them to not see anything else, and expect them to believe what you do simply because they know no other.

iamthemob's avatar

@GracieT – I think that we all can agree that allowing children to learn about a variety of different belief systems isn’t “exposing” them to anything but knowledge about how people think about the world. That’s not exposing…that’s just learning. ;-)

And I think sheltering your child from a faith because you don’t agree with it would qualify as much the same indoctrination as people fear is taking place when very religious people home school. The entire point is to raise your child to think critically – and if you do that right, no information is dangerous.

GracieT's avatar

@iamthemob, another good point. ;0)

jerv's avatar

@GracieT Personally, I would object just as strongly to a parent trying to keep their kid from being exposed to Christianity. Sure, there are some batshit-crazy Bible-thumpers out there, but most Christians are decent people and the Bible does have some good life lessons in it.

I regret that I have but one lurve to give for your answer.

mattbrowne's avatar

I totally support the idea to expose children to the full range of science and the full range of religious and non-religious world views. I reject the idea to remove key elements of biology, chemistry, physics and geology from science and to discourage critical thinking. I support the fight against creationists and their methods to indoctrinate our children. Without well-educated children the 9 billion people in 2050 have no future. There would be chaos and starvation.

I greatly value modern Christianity and I appreciate all other tolerant forms of religion and other tolerant world views.

Harold's avatar

As I mentioned above, my two sons were educated at home for the first two years. They were taught creation, but told that evolution was what some people believed, and encouraged to weigh the evidence and make up their own minds. One has gone one way, and one the other.

Creationism does not necessarily equal indoctrination, and teaching evolution does not necessarily equal science. It is all in the way it is done. I agree that teaching critical thinking is essential, but strongly disagree that only evolution should be taught as a basis of origins. If children are to be truly free in their thinking, they should be given access to ALL world views, and not in a derogatory way.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Harold – And one gone the other. That’s the problem. We can’t afford to lose 50% of our talent. We can’t solve the resource and energy crisis if half of the people think the Earth was created in 7 days 6000 years ago. No way. Yes, creationism does equal indoctrination. It is complete nonsense and violates all principles of scientific method. Evolution is science. Creationism isn’t. Science is not about world views. We can teach competing hypotheses. We can teach how scientists refute existing scientific theories. We can teach how people can attempt to refute evolution using scientific method. We can teach competing scientific hypotheses about the origin of life. This isn’t settled. There is a knowledge gap between chemical evolution and biological evolution. There is research dealing with this very gap.

Creationism is a world view and part of a particular form of religion. Kids should learn about all forms of religions, philosophies, world views. That’s not the issue.

The issue is this.

There are two competing scientific hypotheses:

Evolution and creationism.

And this is nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense.

And nonsense CANNOT be part of the science curriculum.

If we do this billions of people will not survive the next 50 years.

We will get a first feeling of this when the gallon of gas costs $6 in the near future. And the ton of copper costs $15000 a ton.

Our population is still growing. They all want running water and food and electricity and shelter and cars and air conditioners and medicine and furniture and computers.

We need megatons of new ideas. We need gigatons of innovative products.

Most people still don’t realize what we are facing here.

And don’t realize what is at stake here.

Kids go to cave schools.

And their parents

think everything

is fine.

RINGGGGGGGGGG. RINGGGGGGGGGG.WAKE UP.

IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP. AND STOP THIS.

NOW.

Harold's avatar

@mattbrowne – I happen to think that evolution is nonsense, so we’ll have to agree to disagree.

iamthemob's avatar

@Harold – The difference, however, is that your disagreement is a refusal to accept the most likely scientific (profoundly most likely) explanation, and to ignore most of the evidence before you.

You cannot teach creationism, and then that evolution is what some people think, as if they are on equal footing. Creationism is not a neutral theory from which predictions can be made – it is a religious explanation.

Further, when you teach young children that God created the world, and then some people don’t believe it, and they are exposed to anything about the threat of hell, well…fear is a good way to ensure that they will not address questions openly and with proper critical processes.

Therefore, inevitably, when you teach it as a lesson, it is indoctrination. Fear and apologetics are the classic tools of indoctrination, and those are the only tools creationism has.

crazyivan's avatar

@Harold unfortunately, scientific fact doesn’t bend to your opinion. That’s the crux of the problem. People think that disagreeing with evolution somehow stops in from existing. It doesn’t. Evolution is a fact determined by observation. Creationism is a myth supported by people setting out to prove a particular world view. One of those methods yields worthwhile results and the other doesn’t.

Harold's avatar

@crazyivan & @iamthemob – needless to say, I disagree with your assertions, but respect your opinion and your right to hold it. Nevertheless, it is just your opinion. Creationism is not necessarily taught by fear and indoctrination, but I know that in the university setting, students who disagree are often ridiculed and made pariahs. There is fault on both sides.

iamthemob's avatar

@Harold – This is one of the few times that I will say the assertions aren’t assertions, they are facts.

If the claim is “god is in the gaps” that’s very different than creationism. That doesn’t prevent one from realizing that evolution is the best scientific explanation.

Creationism though is not a scientific theory. If that’s what you’re saying, and that it is equivalent to evolution, you are wrong. If you can show me how creationism fits into the definition of a proper scientific theory in and of itself, please do so. Otherwise, it is not teaching through critical thinking, it is a request to believe one thing on faith over something demonstrated through evidence.

jerv's avatar

Okay guys, let’s not turn this into a flame war!

I feel that strict Creationism tends to flout all common sense and piss all over the scientific method for two reasons;
1) Faith is often defined as “belief without proof”, and some let their faith trump provable facts under the notion that an old book is more reliable than repeatable experiments or personal observation. One instance of faith trumping fact is that Galileo was a heretic for suggesting that the Earth was not the *physical *center of the Universe, as many claimed it to be “according to the Bible”. Do you believe that the Sun (and the rest of the Universe revolves around the Earth, or are you a heretic too?
2) They start with a conclusion and then try to find “facts” to fit said preconceived notion, whereas science analyzes evidence and then draws a conclusion.

That said, Creationism and Evolution are not mutually exclusive. Is it not possible that God made an organism that eventually evolved into something we now call Home Sapien? Is it not possible that the Bible is not literal truth no creating the first woman by ripping the ribs out of the first man but allegory? There are quite a few devout Christians who manage to resolve that conflict and find ways to reconcile Creationism and Evolution, who keep their faith while not pissing all over the scientific method. You can believe in Evolution without straying from God.

Strict Creationism teaches the suppression of critical thinking and free will in favor of dogma.
Strict Evolutionism often (but not always) leads to Agnosticism or Atheism, and a derisive attitude towards religion.
Strict anything-ism leads to a closed mind.

@Harold You presented both sides, allowed your kids to decide for themselves. Personally, I think you did the right thing there, and commend you for that. Sure, one of your kids chose a path that most of us here would not (and may find foolish) but such is the price of free will, eh?

Harold's avatar

@jerv- yes, a good balanced reply, even though I don’t entirely agree. Thanks.
@iamthemob – well I think you are wrong, so let’s leave it at a friendly, mutually acceptable disagreement, shall we?

mattbrowne's avatar

@Harold – What is wrong with the religious view that God is the origin of our natural laws, a wonderful set of laws which led to the creation of stars and molecules and planets and DNA and animals and human beings? A thousand years ago people thought that thunder is the result of God getting angry. I’m pretty sure that people today don’t see it this way anymore. And this is no different on how we have to understand evolution which operates within the set of our natural laws.

Are you not concerned about the future of our growing human population? Don’t you want to find scientists cures for children who suffer from cancer? If scientists reject evolution and don’t understand it anymore the chances of finding these cures are very slim. And this applies to other diseases as well, whether it’s influenza or drug-resisting superbugs.

Evolution happens every day. It does happen within your own body, @Harold. All of our bodies are full of bacteria and viruses. We need to understand how this works to save people.

Don’t we all want to save people? The best way we can?

I believe in Jesus. He is my savior too.

Jesus reminded us that we make ourselves very unhappy when we hate other people. This reminder saves us from living a miserable life. To me that’s the most important aspect of being saved.

I sincerely hope that you are the first creationist that we as a community are able to convince. I’ve been trying this for 3 years now. First on wis.dm and now on Fluther. And I haven’t succeeded once, despite my trying the best. But I don’t want to give up. This would totally frustrate me. Some people actually told me that convincing a creationist isn’t possible at all. Well, let’s see.

Harold's avatar

@mattbrowne – the man who discovered penicillin was a creationist. There is no connection between holding to the biblical view of creation, and scientific discovery. I cannot accept that just because viruses etc change in our bodies, that God did not create it that way. Just because it happens on that level, which I have no problem with, does not mean that God set a chain of events in place which concluded in us. The premise that God can do anything is fundamental, and that includes that He can make the world in seven days.

I am pleased that you accept Jesus. I would never say that you are condemned for your beliefs (although I know that many would). I am not beyond convincing, but I’ve yet to see proof. To be honest, at the moment I am up to my eyeballs in PhD, and probably wouldn’t take the time to read materials on it right now. That does not mean that I never will.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yay, @jerv ! I have always believed that Evolution and Creationism need not be mutually exclusive. Well said.

jerv's avatar

@Harold By “seven days”, do you believe that to mean the period of time us humans would call 168 hours? I have heard some redefine “day” in this instance so as to keep that “seven days” thing while not claiming that the universe is only 6000 years old in contradiction of scientific evidence. Again, faith and science can coexist.

crazyivan's avatar

Evolution and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. Evolution and creationism are.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@crazyivan : I respectfully stand by my previous statement, and refer back to @jerv ‘s hypothesis that maybe a “day” for a human does not define a “day” for God. The Bible is re-interpreted by fallible humans every time a new edition or translation is published. Unless one if familiar with the original (Aramaic? Not sure, just a guess) version and can read it fluently, it is all about interpretation.

jerv's avatar

@crazyivan There are some that believe that you are not a Christian unless you take the Bible literally when it says “seven days”, so you opened a door for a No true Scotsman argument. Besides, there are Creationists who do meld their beliefs with Evolutionists, so it’s really a matter of degrees; how much of a Creationist are you?

bkcunningham1's avatar

Famous homeschooled people:
Presidents
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Abraham Lincoln
William Henry Harrison
Theodore F. Roosevelt

Governors
Patrick Henry [VA]
Charles Pickney III [SC]
Richard D. Spaight [NC]
William Livingston [NJ]
Richard Bassett [DE]

U.S. Senators and Congressmen
William S. Johnson [CT]
George Clymer [PA]
John Francis Mercer [MD]
William Blout [TN]
William Few [GA]

Scientists/Businessmen
Blaise Pascal
Booker T. Washington
Thomas Edison
Benjamin Franklin
Andrew Carnegie
John Stuart Mill

Elias Howe
invented sewing machine

William Lear
airplane creator

Cyrus McCormick
invented grain reaper

Guglielmo Marconi
developed radio

Eli Whitney
invented the cotton gin

Sir Frank Whittle
invented turbo jet engine

Orville and Wilbur Wright
brothers who built the first successful airplane

Chief Justices of U.S. Supreme Court
John Rutledge
John Jay
John Marshall

College Presidents
John Witherspoon—Yale
Timothy Dwight—Princeton
William S. Johnson—Columbia

Preachers / Missionaries
John & Charles Wesley
John Owen
Johnathon Edwards
William Carey
Dwight D. Moody
John Newton
Hudson Taylor

Authors
Mark Twain
George Bernard Shaw
Irving Berlin
Charles Dickens
C.S. Lewis

Philosopher
Charles Montesquieu

Famous Women
Abigail Adams
Mercy Warren
Martha Washington
Florence Nightingale
Phyllis Wheatley
Agatha Christie
Pearl S. Buck

Generals
“Stonewall” Jackson
Robert E. Lee
Douglas MacArthur
George Patton

Artists
John Singleton Copley
Andrew Wyeth
Rembrandt Peale
Claude Money
Ansel Adams

Composers
Anton Bruckner
Felix Mendelssohn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Francis Poulenc

Athletes
Ben Agosto
Olympic silver medalist ice dancer
Maria Anisimova
tennis player
Mike Beasley
basketball player
Tanith Belbin
Olympic silver medalist ice dancer
Julia Boserup
junior tennis player, 2008 Orange Bowl Champion
David Boudia
Olympic diver
Gail Brodsky
teen tennis champion
Julia Cohen
selected as Rookie of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
Chad Compton
Top Junior Surfer in the U.S.
Jordan Cox
professional tennis player
Kellen Damico
Wimbledon Junior Doubles Champion
Alanna & Gennelle Dedek
identical twin sisters, two-times National Dance Champions in tap
Amanda Fink
tennis player who won a Pac-10 Team Championship, Pac-10 Singles Championship, and Pac-10 Doubles Championship all in the same year (2009)
Alexa Glatch
professional American tennis player
Chelsey Gullickson
one of the top American junior tennis players
Katie Hoff
Olympic swimmer
Madison and Keiffer Hubbell
sibling ice dancers
Austin Krajicek
Texas A&M tennis star
Michelle Kwan
Olympic medalist figureskater
Kwan “left public school to be homeschooled starting at the age of 13.”
Todd Lodwick
U.S. ski team member
Tamara McKinney
World Cup skier
Bode Miller
American alpine skier
Asia Muhammed
junior tennis player
Katie Orscher
award-winning figure skater who competed as a single skater and pair skater
Carly Patterson
Olympic gymnast
Dane Reynolds
professional surfer known for his acrobatic free-surf style punctuated by cartoonish twists, turns, and aerial maneuvers
Ariel Rittenhouse
Olympic diver
Nathaniel Schnugg
tennis player; he and Kellen Damico won the junior boys doubles title at Wimbledon in 2006
Maria Sharapova
tennis player
Shayna Syken
figure skater
Carla Tamborini
International Junior Singles and Doubles Tennis Champion
Jason Taylor
NFL football player
Timothy “Tim” Tebow
football player, Heisman Trophy winner
Sam Warren
basketball player
Kaitlyn Weaver
American-Canadian ice dancer; winner of the 2010 Four Continents Figure Skating Championship
Venus and Serena Williams
tennis star sisters

JilltheTooth's avatar

@bkcunningham1 : Great list, thank you.

crazyivan's avatar

@bkcunningham1 As much as I appreciate the list it would be more useful if it were reduced to include only people born after 1930 or so. Before that “home schooling” was much more of a norm and didn’t compare itself with the vibrant public education system we have today.

Also, many athletes (especially Olympic athletes) are home-schooled by necessity and don’t really reflect the value of a home-based education. In other words, an Olympic gymnast is home school because he/she is an Olympic gymnast. He/she is not an Olympic gymnast because they were home-schooled.

That being said, thanks for the list.

bkcunningham1's avatar

Do you really believe home schooling was more of a norm prior to 1930? Tell that to my 91 year old father who was born in 1919 in rural Virginia, graduated high school and then attended business college. Or to his deceased father who was born in 1893 and rode on horseback for several days to catch a train to get a job teaching school instead of being a farmer.

The greatest institutes of higher education in the world were established prior to the arbitrary date of 1930. Seven of the eight Ivy League schools in America were established during the colonial period.

In the US, public education was mandatory in all states at the elementary level in 1918. Have you ever heard of Common Schools?

To achieve what most people born in the first part of the 20th century considered the American dream meant assuring that your children had a good education. A good education use to mean a public education. Before the unionization of the US educational system and the take over of the TEA by special interests, a public education in America was a tremendous accomplishment.

Also, many Olympic athletes are tutored and many are schooled at independent study schools like Laurel Springs School. So to dismiss the list of Olympic athletes on the incorrect belief that they are all home schooled is entirely wrong.

crazyivan's avatar

Wow… interesting that you take such an argumentative tone while proving my points one by one. More than 50% of US citizens did not attend public schools prior to 1930. That makes home-schooling the norm.

Also the fact that every Olympic athlete is not home-schooled hardly diminishes the point. I guess we’ll just have to agree to agree.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Harold – Copernicus who (re)discovered heliocentrism believed in the Aristotelian tradition of the classical elements and medieval Alchemy. And I’m also not sure whether Alexander Fleming was a creationist. Since then, the confirmation for evolution was given again and again. Yes, God created it this way, as you say. I believe this too. His natural laws are at work. They are the basis for evolution. And evolution is creation in progress. But arguing that God requires a magic wand, because the natural laws are not powerful enough is an insult to the greatness of God. He’s far more powerful. He’s not a micro manager. And Earth did not suddenly appear 6000 years ago like a rabbit getting pulled out of a hat. Our planet needed billions of years to evolve to the present stage. Satellites can watch the continents move and mountains grow. We can measure how long it takes flowing water to create pebbles or sand. There are so many independent hints why Earth must be so much older.

Harold's avatar

@mattbrowne – well, you say that believing that the natural laws are not powerful enough is an insult to the greatness of God- fair enough. But I believe that saying that He is not powerful enough to create instantaneously is an insult to His greatness. You see, there is a philosophical divide there between your viewpoint and mine.

The biblical account of creation does not say that earth itself is young. It says that in the beginning it was “without form and void”. There is no implication how old it was. However, in creation week, God took it and made it something special.

Nevertheless, like everyone else, you are entitled to believe as you do, and I respect that.

bkcunningham1's avatar

This is off the main subject, but I wanted to share something very insightful my brother told me. My brother and I were talking today. He said he believes the Bible is God’s word. God told us how he created man and the earth in Genesis. My brother said, if God had created us through evolution, He would have said that is what happened.

crazyivan's avatar

@Harold While I’ve never done it myself, it’s my understanding that if you trace the generations and ages beginning at Adam you come to 6000 years old. That’s where the idea of a “young” earth comes from.

tranquilsea's avatar

These responses have gone pretty off topic. Perhaps another thread can be started to address what is at issue (creationism vs. evolution).

jerv's avatar

I agree that this is a rather large digression.

As per request, here is a thread I started to address Creationism versus Evolution

Now, let us return to our regularly scheduled topic, and I hope that all those who wish to continue this side discussion do so in the space I provided.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – Agreed. Good homeschooling creates good future citizens. Maybe everyone can live with this.

jerv's avatar

The way I see it, children are a reflection of their upbringing, including their education. Those that go to public school are a reflection of society, of the government (acting through the school system), and of their parents, melding all of these influences into a whole and that amalgam then goes on to shape the world for their children.

Home-schooled children are more of a reflection of their parents/teachers and less a reflection of society at large. Sometimes that is good, and sometimes not.

Regardless of where a child is schooled, good schooling creates good future citizens while bad schooling creates a future full of the cast of Jersey Shore and people who think Sarah Palin would make an excellent President.

Harold's avatar

@jerv- Yes, I agree with your answer regarding home schooling entirely.

iamthemob's avatar

worse – it makes more Sarah Palins…

HungryGuy's avatar

Like so many things, there’s probably a bell curve coming out of home schooling.

Some, near one end, get a far superior eduction to public schools.

Others, near the other end, are home-schooled merely to give them those “values” that the OP spoke of and/or to withhold some knowledge in areas of science, and so get a far inferior education.

The rest, that we don’t hear horror stories or success stories about in the media, probably come away with about the same level of education.

LostInParadise's avatar

Technology will change the nature of education. A greater portion of education is going to be online. This will have an impact on all types of education – public schools, private schools and home schooling.

Online education may affect home schooling by increasing contacts between students. All students, including home schoolers, taking common online courses would be able to interact online and perhaps meet in person if they live close by. I do not think that technology will eliminate the need for teachers, but it will open up opportunities for people to customize their education. Hopefully, the stupidity known as No Child Left Behind will be terminated to truly take advantage of the possibilities.

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