Ed. note (Oh, boy… it’s never good when we start with an editorial note): Please read the whole blog post before gathering the pitch-forks and torches. I promise, I will be even-handed and it really won’t take you much extra time. Who knows, you might even find more ammo against me!
One more challenge before you read on – Remember: Only cowards don’t click on links that they’re afraid of.
As I was preparing an interactive stock markets course for this fall, I started to wonder who would represent the majority of the class. Would it be the Christian Homeschoolers or the Secular Homeschoolers? Obviously, as homeschoolers, we defy traditional categorization – we don’t fit neatly into any box. However, I had some guesses, based on traditional notions of where we all fall on the sociopolitical spectrum. I suspected that this class would see higher enrollment from the conservative side of things, since they are more often affiliated with free markets and all that. I further imagined that a number of those on the secular side, would be more likely to view bankers, and markets, as evil, due to the fact that this is a liberal ideology and the secular crowd tends to be more liberal. However, the fact that I even had these guesses made me start to think about the significance of teaching material with which we disagree – and not from the perspective of, see why those people are evil? The “see why those people are evil” approach is not teaching, it’s brainwashing. Unless we are teaching all information outside of math with the critical analysis and an even hand, we aren’t actually teaching. Allow me to explain.
So, stock markets are incredibly complex, although, they can be broken down and explained to any high school student, and plenty of middle school students, by someone who has a solid understanding of them. I understand that some of love them and some of you hate them – and I can equally understand the reasons for both, as well. What I cannot understand, is how one can support or reject something that they don’t understand. In light of how much of an impact the markets have on our lives – consider that the market crash of 2008 wiped out millions of jobs and lead to a nationwide foreclosure crisis. It comes up in politics, it comes up in investment and retirement planning and it is a significant part of our society. If you don’t know what an option is, or what it means to short a stock, let alone knowing what a credit default swap is, then how can you possibly know which parts you oppose, or why? Unless we are outsourcing our decision-making authority to politicians and talking heads on tv, in which case, we are really in trouble.
Here comes the even-handed part: Christian Homeschoolers, are you engaged in the sciences? I don’t just mean teaching creation as fact and “teaching” evolution by making it seem like something that is patently absurd and false. There are many extremely intelligent Christians that believe in Evolution. I also don’t mean accepting evolution as a proven, objective fact – “strong evidence,” is not the same thing as objective fact. What I do mean to ask is: are you showing the science behind the theories. Showing it from a secular perspective, then showing from a competing perspective – both secular and religious. Yes, there are secular scientists that challenge the theory evolution. Few things are as settled as we choose to believe they are. In fact, it is only arrogance and misinformation that cause us to believe otherwise. The early church took over three hundred years to settle the question of whether they believed that Jesus was fully God. Beyond that, even with Roman Emperors killing people for so much as possessing a different viewpoint of Christianity than the officially sanctioned government view, we still end up with many different interpretations of the bible (as evidenced by the sheer number of denominations). Meanwhile, in far less time than it took for Rome to force the church to decide whether Jesus was equal to God, science has come up with myriad explanations – and changed almost all of them, as to how and why we are here, along with incalculable proclamations – many groundbreaking and many turning out to be completely wrong (1)(2). With that being said, we owe it to our kids to equip them with all the information available, teach them how to think critically, and allow them to figure out what they believe. As I am sure (almost) any Christian will tell you – one cannot receive salvation on the coattails of the faith of one’s parents. I would argue that the same is true of Atheists and those embracing the cult of scientism – your belief cannot sustain your child into adulthood. If they are told what to think, instead of how to think, they will have a weak mental framework, or foundation. It will eventually collapse under the weight of scrutiny. It is this belief that allows RealSchooling.com to honestly and unequivocally say that we are not hostile to religion or science – nor do we endorse atheism or any particular faith. We endorse the great search for objective truth and understanding, with the firm belief that the better we all understand one another, the better off we are.
Jeffrey D. Hoffmann, Esq., Founder of RealSchooling.com and RealSchooling.blog