I happened to run into a post on homeschooling that involved what are apparently yearly conventions held in states each year. I have no clue who sponsors these things, but if you back track on the one offered in Texas, called the THSC Southwest Convention and Family Conference, you find that it at least is “sponsored” by the Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank. I would be surprised if you don’t find similar (if not the same) sponsors around the country.

Now, homeschooling in theory is not a bad thing necessarily. There are people who live so far off the grid that it is their only choice. There are others who live far enough from local schools that the transporting times and costs become prohibitive.  There are school systems that most anyone would agree are so lacking in quality that a well-trained parent can surely do better.

The downsides are also obvious and ones that can be fairly overcome I think by a bit of ingenuity. Children can be involved in all kinds of sports and other activities that gives them the socialization skills that homeschooling lacks. It may not be as good as regular schools offer, but the limitations are just that, limits, not barriers.

Unfortunately, most people today it seems are not homeschooling out of necessity, but rather out of a desire to teach their children differently, and by differently, I don’t mean by a different educational model. They simply want to infuse religion in the curriculum. They disguise it with talking about the failures of public schools.

It is well documented that our public schools are not doing a good job. That is not a reason to remove children but a reason to supplement their education with side trips to museums, cultural events, and more reading lists.

While this is the main reason stated for homeschooling, the real reason, as I said, is to inculcate a certain religious view onto education. Homeschooling parents call it “giving their children all sides of the issue”. In reality it is nothing more than introducing myths and fantasy into education and calling it “alternative” theories.

Such is surely the case with evolution, which most Christian homeschoolers claim is only one of “several” theories about how our world was created. They claim that schools are “close-minded” by refusing to explore these other alternatives. Of course, there are no “several” theories at all. There is one that is factual, evolutionary biology and one that is based on faith in the interpretation of a religious text. One is based on fact, one is based on belief. One has a place in  plain education, one has a place in religious education.

Similar changes are occurring when it comes to history. The right-wingers have been churning out right-wing based revisionist history books that are designed exactly for this crop of consumers. (Funny how that happens) We have all read about these texts, which downplay the contributions of African-Americans, and glorify the theme of American Exceptionalism to the detriment of Native Peoples and other not Anglo-saxon individuals. Periods when the US exhibited immoral behavior are notoriously downplayed in these “histories.”

Even more alarming to me is the fact that most states offer little or in some case no supervision to homeschooling. In many, one must prove that the “teacher” has a HIGH SCHOOL diploma, and provide a “curriculum” covering the basic areas of learning, along with a list of books to be used. That’s it.

Nobody of course is going to check to see what books are actually being used, and what is being taught.

If you doubt the dangers here, take a look at some of the presentations offered at this 2-day convention:

9:30 AM: David Gibbs ~ What’s Next for America?
Description: “What kind of world will your child inherit? In this thought-provoking workshop, Attorney David Gibbs discusses trends in the law that could determine the world of tomorrow and what you can do to make a difference.”

* Following his workshop last year Jeff and I purchased the Understanding the Constitution text and workbook authored by David Gibbs, Jr. & David Gibbs III. This year Jeff is using this text in a U.S. Government course he is teaching at our co-op.

10:45 AM: Jean Burk ~ How to Ace the SAT and Get Free College
Description: “Test-prep Guru, Jean Burk, will share her secrets of SAT success that have helped hundreds of students raise their scores as much as 600 points! Learn how to find shortcuts in test patterns and save time on all types of questions. Math, writing, and verbal sections are all covered in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you have kids in high school, you can’t miss this seminar about preparing them for the SAT and getting FREE College!”

1:45 PM: Tim Lambert ~ Courtship – A Father’s Perspective
Description: “In this workshop Tim explains the basics of courtship. This method of choosing a life-partner is enjoying a resurgence, as young people and their families return to a more scriptural and positive approach. He discusses this issue from the perspective of a father whose role differs with sons and with daughters.”

3:00 PM: Dr. Jobe Martin ~ Raising Defenders of the Faith, Not Defector
Description: “This workshop is about raising children in our culture so that they know biblical truth in their innermost beings. Dr. Martin challenges parents to show their children how to glorify the Lord in what they say and do, and to fear the Lord above all else. He ends with a challenge to parents to train their children to have biblical discernment.”

4:15 PM: Tim Lambert ~ These Uncertain Times
Description: “With daily disturbing news out of Washington, D.C., and concerns about threats to our freedoms at the state level as well, what must we do? Tim will share his thoughts on some of the areas of concern for Texas home schoolers and ways we can have an impact and protect our children’s future.”


9:30 AM: Susan Wise Bauer ~ The Well-Prepared Student (High School): How to Get Ready for College
Description: “In this session, learn what and how to teach your child in grades 9-12—before they fill out those applications and head off for the freshman year. What expectations should you have for high school? How can you teach those subjects that stump you? How should you personalize the high school curriculum for your student, while still making sure that the basics are covered? What skills will your student need to develop in order to thrive in college? As a college instructor, Susan Wise Bauer has taught scores of college freshmen and knows what they should have learned before the freshman year; as a home educating parent, she has graduated one high school student (now at UVA) and is in the thicket of high school with two more.”

10:45 AM:Dr. Jobe Martin ~ Why Should the Christian Worldview be Grounded in Creation?
Description: “This talk includes many of the evidences for creation that the Lord used to bring Dr. Martin from being an agnostic, zen-Buddhist, evolutionist to a young earth creationist. Dr. Martin uses statistics and current studies to vividly demonstrate how our Christian school kids are following the same downward path into secular humanism that the public school kids are taking and that it is only the homeschoolers who are “stemming the tide,” though they are also sloping off into moderate Christianity instead of staying solidly Biblical. This talk will enable young people to stand strong against the attacks of evolution and secular humanism in the academic arena and today’s culture.”

1:45 PM:Voddie Baucham ~ Culture Wars: How They Affect the Home School Family and How We Respond
Description: “There is a mighty clash of worldviews going on all around us, and there is no way to escape. Educating our children at home will only postpone the inevitable. Our children will engage the culture. The only question is, will they do so as lambs going off to slaughter, or will they be sheep among wolves who are “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”? (Matthew 10:16)”

3:30 PM: Susan Wise Bauer ~ Educating Our Own Minds: How to Teach Ourselves as We Teach Our Kids
Description: “Educating our children involves educating ourselves. And that means gaining confidence in our own intellectual abilities—rather than relying solely on “experts.” Come discover a plan for self-education in the classical tradition, including scheduling for busy adults; setting up a reading plan that involves understanding, analyzing, and discussing literature; and mastering the skills needed for reading classic fiction and nonfiction.”

If this list doesn’t frighten you, then I suspect you are not on the right blog. This list of speakers and topics is right out of the right-wing playbook on how to create good Republican stooges.

Such is my take. Yours?

NOTE: the agenda for the conference came from OMSH who contributes regularly to Pioneer Woman. I have no idea if Ree Drummond endorses this kind of stuff or not. The link is to the post wherein OMSH expresses her utter joy at the wonderful conference this will be.

** Please note that I think virtually all public education needs to be supplemented by parents with outside sources.