Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A link you should check out if you are a homeschooling parent

I want to draw your attention to a review by Rachel Miller of a homeschooling curriculum posted at the blog of Wes White (the same place that posted the defense of the institutional church and why house churches need to grow up or become cults!): A Review of Peter Enns’ Bible Curriculum. This particular post is a review of a new homeschool curriculum put out by Peter Enns. If that name sounds familiar, it has been in the news, especially in homeschooling circles, quite a bit recently due to a huge blow-up over Answers in Genesis.

The Peter Enns/Susan Wise Bauer/Answers in Genesis thing came to a head a while ago when Answers in Genesis was “disinvited” from a couple of homeschooling conventions because Ken Hamm was critical of Peter Enns. I saw that a number of attendees at the conferences where AiG was disinvited wore badges quietly announcing their support for AiG. The reason this is an issue is that Peter Enns has published a homeschooling curriculum but he is also associated with a group called BioLogos that promotes evolution alongside the Bible. I know that not everyone is as twitchy about that as I am but I hold a firm line on the issue of literal creationism and as such I would be very hesitant to purchase any homeschooling materials that approached Genesis 1-11 in a non-literal or allegorical fashion.

The reason I reposted this….I have a sneaking suspicion that many of my fellow homeschoolers (and I would point this at myself as well) are not as discerning as we ought to be when it comes to the material we buy for our kids. Having the “homeschooling” imprimatur on a product conveys that it is something we can trust but that is not necessarily true. Just as not everything in a Christian book store is trustworthy (and depending on the store a lot of it certainly is not!), not everything that bears the label “homeschool” is something we should be actually using without question in educating our kids. Buying material from a reputable dealer that has carefully screened and vetted materials is a good first step but when you are at conferences or used books sales it requires a little more care be taken. Give the review a read and if you are a homeschooling parent keep in mind that not all homeschool materials are created (pun intended) equally.


Chad said...

Hey, thanks for posting this. My wife and I went the Cincinnati convention and saw all the AiG buttons, but we had no idea what the flap was all about. I went to sessions by Peter Enns, Susan WB, and Jonathan Sarfati (Sarfati was a dead ringer for a mad scientist, btw) Sarfati's sessions were in the junior ball room where Ken Ham was supposed to be. My wife, who had printed her schedule a while ago, actually still had all the Ham sessions listed. And the conference program still had AiG listed prominently on the back, though they were nowhere to be seen.

The Enns session was sparsely attended, and perhaps now I know why.

Not knowing any of this background, I can't say that I was terribly put off by Enns approach. The session I went to was his description of the curriculum, exactly as the review that you linked to described it. I thought he had some good points about "starting with Jesus" when teaching children about the bible. He talked about introducing children to Jesus the same way Jesus introduced himself to the ancient world, i.e. by performing miracles, telling parables, etc. He described much of the old testament as tough sledding, better for study in the later years when kids have already fallen in love with Jesus and what he has done for us. Then kids can be taught how all of the old testament points forward to Jesus and how amazing it is that all 66 books of the bible written over many hundreds of years point to a single person in history, Jesus.

He made one interesting point that I had not considered before. He said, "The story of David and Goliath is not about you. Your boss is not Goliath and you are not David and cancer is not Goliath and you are not David." "The story of David and Goliath is about kingship and about God raising up the least to become the greatest." "The bible is not about us." I thought this was an interesting approach and a good reminder to read the bible carefully, and to consider context when studying it. How many people have as their life verse Jer. 29:11? Many I suspect. But how many know that it would be 400 years until God's promise for "a hope and a future" would be fulfilled with Israel's return from exile. The people who heard that promise from Jeremiah were long dead by then. When we buy that coffee mug with Jer. 29:11 screen printed on the side, do we think of God's promise being 400 years away, or are we thinking that there's something great right around the corner? (I apologize if my explanation of this passage is off. I myself have not studied it as closely as I should have. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.)

He mentioned nothing at all about Genesis and his views of the creation account. Understandable considering all the controversy surrounding Ham's "dis-invitation".

Arthur Sido said...

Chad, I am jealous you went to the Cinci convention!n The Enns thing and BioLogos has been a hot topic. Guys like Al Mohler and John MacArthur have addressed BioLogos along with Answers in Genesis.