Last update: December 2003
E-mail: Doug A firstname.lastname@example.org
Our family entered into homeschooling at a great time. In the 1970's and 1980's, there were few materials to be found, the Internet had not yet blossomed, and there were not many support groups available. I really commend those pioneers who promoted homeschooling even when it wasn't popular.
Starting in the 1990's and beyond, however, homeschooling has taken on a life of its own. A simple Internet search will uncover hundreds of sites dedicated to homeschooling and of course thousands of books, curriculum, and other materials for the homeschooling family. Homeschool support groups abound, and around-the-clock legal assistance can be obtained through Home School Legal Defense (www.hslda.org).
However, while the increase in materials has given us greater choices, it has also meant that there will be many homeschool materials available that will not be appropriate for your family. You need to determine if the teaching style is correct, if the material is of good quality, and most importantly, if the material is Biblically correct. Just as with church denominations, you will be able to find homeschool materials covering a wide variety of beliefs.While even many Bible-oriented homeschool programs try to remain non-denominational, caution should be used in selecting material.
For example, I recently came across the website for Heart of Wisdom. They offer downloadable curriculum that is Bible-based and Internet interactive. Each unit includes links to outside resources and recommended books, and also provides links on the World Wide Web (WWW) to articles that can be read immediately. However, the view of the Bible that some of the Heart of Wisdom materials promotes is certainly not what we will be teaching our children. For example, a referenced article by Mr. Dennis Bratcher seemed to conclude that the so-called "contradictions" in the Bible are so insurmountable that we cannot take the Word of God as infallible, but rather as human-influenced reflections of history providing us with the faith-messages that God wants us to know. He states, "what we have access to in Scripture is not directly historical event, but the testimony of the community of faith to the ongoing significance and importance for Faith of that event." In another referenced article, a different author states, "I am convinced that our well meaning teachers do our children a great disservice by such teaching." The "such teaching" referred to is "that God made the universe in six literal days"! The website www.answersingenesis.org provides some excellent reasons why teaching 6 literal days is certainly not a disservice.
This article is not meant to pick on one particular curriculum. In fact, some of the other Heart of Wisdom materials looked good, such as the series on Bible Holidays, and they have a good resource on making timelines. Even the Heart of Wisdom samples that pointed to the above Internet links also recommended the excellent Diana Waring "History Alive" tapes, and pointed to an article by the Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org) that does promote 6 literal days. Finally, you might even want your children to read contrary opinions once they have reached the later rhetorical stage so they can better understand what they must defend. Rather, my point is that we need to cautious in what we are purchasing to be sure it is consistent with our own worldviews and our approach to homeschooling.
This is where the Internet has been a wonderful resourse. You can find reviews of many of the materials available. Some catalogs, such as The Book Peddler (no longer around), Keepers of the Faith (www.keepersofthefaith.com), and Grace & Truth Books (www.graceandtruthbooks.com) provide excellent commentary on almost everything they sell. There are also interactive bulletin boards and chat rooms where you can discuss particular resources. Finally, many sites such as the Heart of Wisdom site offer samples you can download and check out for yourself.