Introductions Thread (Come say hi.)


(Christy Hemphill) #1

Anyone care to introduce themselves?

What brought you to homeschooling? What brought you to BioLogos? How many kids do you have and what grades?
What is your “homeschool community” like?


Science Curriculum
(Christy Hemphill) #2

Hi!

I have three children (5th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd grade) that I have homeschooled for almost five years. (Six weeks until summer break, but whose counting? :heart_eyes:) Before homeschooling, I was a public school and adult education teacher. I taught high school Spanish and French and community college ESL.

We homeschool because my husband and I work on a minority language Scripture translation project in rural Mexico. (We have been in the States for the last nine months on academic furlough, but we will be going back this summer.) My husband does some of the day to day teaching too, though I am the one who picks curriculum and does all of the planning. There aren’t really any viable educational options where we normally live, so even though I never really wanted to homeschool through high school, it looks like it will probably be my lot in life. Sometimes I say I homeschool by obligation not vocation. I have found this puts me somewhat at odds with a contingent of the homeschooling world, because in many ways I see my job as trying to provide an education equitable and similar to one you could get in a good public school, not provide an alternative, counter-culture experience.

Most of the other homeschoolers I interact with in real life are ex-pat missionary families. Twice a year my kids do three-week educational programs with these kids. I also ‘know’ other homeschool moms from Sonlight’s homeschool forum, which has been a great connection place for me, since I am somewhat isolated most of the time.

I have been reading what BioLogos publishes since I first heard the announcement about the website getting started in Christianity Today. Back then it was mostly a collection of white papers and draft chapters of yet to be published books. It has been fun to watch the organization morph into its present state. And the website is much more user-friendly these days.


(Robin) #3

Hello,

I’m excited to see a forum that welcomes homeschoolers that accept evolution.

I homeschool because I want to and it fits for our family right now. I have a 5th grader and 3rd grader currently. The 3rd grader is going to transition to public school this fall. I would love to keep them both at home, but we’re considering what’s best for each child on a year by year basis, so next year will be new and different adventure for all of us.

I stumbled on Biologos as I searched for answers over the past five years or so. I always felt skeptical when I was told I had to reject evolution to be a Christian. I was relieved to find there were others like me who had doubts about creationism, but didn’t want to throw away our faith. I like to read about evolution and science and basically make up for the education I didn’t receive in this particular area.

My homeschool community is very into Apologia and defending creationism and I feel like I’m hiding, because I don’t want to alienate friends I’ve made. I know the ones that are truly my friends wouldn’t care, but I know that it would make potential waves with the co-op we’re apart of, so I often don’t share with my real-life friends about what I believe.

I hope to see more people join here and for some robust discussions!


(Chris Stump) #4

Welcome, Robin! And thanks for sharing some of your background. I’ve communicated via email over the past several months with a few other homeschooling moms that have similar challenges of sharing openly about their evolution acceptance within their faith or homeschool communities. So glad you stumbled upon us!


#5

I’m excited to see a forum that is geared toward home schooling at Biologos!

I am homeschooling two middle school boys.
I was actually brought to homeschooling originally because I was a public school teacher and knew one of mine wouldn’t do well with the K and 1st grade teachers in our system.

Quite a number of years ago, one of my sons asked some really pointed questions about evolution while reading a library book. I came from an old earth creation perspective, and started researching so I could answer his questions. To abbreviate, I came to recognize evolution and discovered Biologos while trying to meld my faith with this new understanding of evolution. It was kind of a hard time for me spiritually, and I want my kids to avoid that kind of trauma!

Our homeschool community, and community generally I’m afraid, is predominantly young earth. That belief system is assumed to be part of being a Christian here unfortunately, at least in our circles. People love the creation museum, predominantly use Apologia, and even host videos and speakers to “prove” young earth. People assume I am young earth when talking with me, and I don’t correct them because I am certain my kids would be ostracized in the homeschool community and I don’t think it would be helpful or kind to the person speaking anyway!

My son stepped into problems about a month after we moved here. He was third grade I think at the time, and was confused when a hs teacher/adult told the class that death didn’t happen until after the fall of Adam. He kept asking her about the dinosaurs and other things that died before Adam and Eve. He was confused and upset. This was before I had taught him anything outside of old earth, and I never thought to prep him for that/never expected it to be an issue.

So now I teach my kids about evolution but tell them we can’t talk about it to people outside the home because some people who don’t understand it could find it upsetting. Blech.

The thing that makes me saddest is that a lot of the people I know here really think the truth of the bible and existence of God stand or fall with a literal reading of the 7 day creation. I hate that their kids so unnecessarily walk out into the world with that kind of burden.


(Lisa) #6

I homeschool our three children who are in PreK, 2nd and 5th grades.

My experience has been similar to others here in that we seem to be surrounded by those who affirm a YEC view and assume all homeschoolers do the same. In my experience, their position often has not been arrived at through careful consideration of different views (though I’m sure some have).

The first co-op that we were in used AiG materials for elementary science and though at the time I didn’t have any position on the age of the earth whatsoever, I found the curriculum unnecessarily snarky about other views. Our current co-op, which would be considered slightly less conservative and uniform, uses Apologia materials for science (elementary through high school). I think most of the moms get their view of origins from their kids curriculum and they choose the curriculum because it’s what everyone else seems to be using.

In the past few years, I’ve moved away from using Christian curriculum for science because it tends to overemphasize the areas of science related to origins and neglect to show the range of views that Christians hold. I use an assortment of different books for elementary level (not textbooks) and Prentice Hall Science Explorers for middle school level science. Once we made that switch, I found that I loved teaching science again and my enthusiasm has rubbed off on the kids :slight_smile:


(Robin) #7

Yes, I’ve learned to do the same. As I’ve taught my kids about evolution, I’ve felt the need to explain to them that many of our friends at co-op and church believe that Christians can’t believe in evolution. It’s hard to try to explain to your kids that this issue can be divisive, even though it doesn’t need to be!


(Cordelia Tomasino) #8

Hello!

3 children–2 in college & one entering high school next year. They have been mainly home educated with some electives taken at the local high school and many dual enrollment credits from colleges during high school.

Relevant for this forum, I think: I have a PhD in Organismal Biology & Anatomy from The University of Chicago (the department that specializes in paleontology even though my focus was cancer biology). My husband also has a PhD from The U of Chicago in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations with a specialization in Jewish Studies; and, in addition, he has an MDiv with a specialization in Biblical Studies.

Our journey into home education was based on several family needs:
–my eldest has Asperger’s issues and being in a classroom would have been pure misery for all involved,
–many moves in the early years of schooling–home education just made sense for continuity,
–even though my husband and I did very well in traditional schools, the experiences made us feel like we were good at playing the game of getting good grades but not necessarily embracing the love of learning (that changed in graduate school when we could really pursue our passions)–so home education could help our kids have time to develop their interests and find their passions,
–I felt like one of the biggest holes in my elementary & secondary public school education was science. Teachers neglected or avoided the controversial areas in geology and evolutionary biology so as not to upset the community (strongly conservative Christian in several childhood towns) and watered down much of the rest. I felt so unprepared at the university level. So, I wanted to make sure that my children received accurate science with the whole story.
–I don’t like to get up early in the morning and I don’t mind everyone wearing pajamas all day if they want to.

My “community” for support has mainly been online forums that are welcoming and the participants know how to handle diversity and conflict graciously. The in-real-life groups I have participated in have been inclusive, Catholic (even though I am not), “crunchy,” and/or willing to interact with the public school–different groups in different locations and at different life stages. I move again in a few months and it will be interesting to find my tribe in new place.


(Deanna J Pennock) #9

Thank you so much for this post. Like mmytoboys, we, too, have a “don’t go there” policy when it comes to topics like “before there were people” and “millions of years” etc., when in conversation with my parents or at church. Blech indeed.

Our son is eight, and we unschool for now. Our daughter is 18 months old. The homeschooling community around here is largely YEC, so we choose to be part of a little, more or less secular co-op because we don’t want to be lectured, judged or proselytized. It works well, as that group is very respectful of individual faith practice in general, we just acknowledge science, too.

I am thankful for this forum. About six months ago, I came across Biologos while researching theistic evolution. What a Godsend, having come from a conservative evangelical background that condemns evolutionary theory and endorses young-Earth creationism and an obstinately literal Genesis. What a relief to no longer feel alone.


#10

I home school my 2 children who are 5th grade and 1st grade. Most of the home schoolers I know are YEC but I just don’t talk about our views much. We belong to a Christian co-op where I teach 1st-3rd grade science;) The book we are using is by Jay Wile called Science in the Ancient World and I’ve really enjoyed it. We will be using his next book in the series to somewhat line up with history in the middle ages.

We homeschool because I feel I can provide a better education for my children. I enjoy the freedom of teaching to their strengths and giving them a more classical education. It can be difficult to find science that doesn’t focus too much on YEC but we’ve used Sonlight in the past as well as Apologia. My kids understand what my husband and I believe and have had some really good discussions about why we believe what we believe.

My husband and I found BioLogos a few years ago after reading The Language of God. It was nice to read a book that made it okay to believe in an old earth and evolution and still be a Christian. I really helped me be more comfortable with my beliefs.


#11

Hello! I’m so excited for this forum. We have three kids (ages 6, 4, and 2). I never intended to homeschool, but when our oldest was ready for preschool, it just didn’t seem like a good fit for her. I’ve come to appreciate the flexibility of a homeschooling lifestyle (we don’t need to bend to a school calendar); the low teacher-to-student ratio that lets me tailor school to their interests and abilities; and the opportunity to choose a more rigorous path than is locally available.

There is an active local co-op here, and while I am thankful for the activities they sponsor, I also feel like I’m hiding. Everyone I know uses Apologia and is YEC, and the co-op is planning a 1000-mile field trip to the Creation Museum this summer. While I absolutely understand choosing to keep non-YEC views under wraps and the many good reasons for doing so, for me my silence has been based on fear of rejection, and I don’t believe that that’s a healthy reason for me to be silent. I’m working on gathering up the courage to be more transparent, knowing what an encouragement it’s been to me to find Biologos and other believers who find the evidence for an old earth and evolution compelling. If nothing else, maybe seeing someone who engages with biblical and scientific scholarship AND loves Jesus might complicate some of the binaries advocated by groups like AiG. It’s comforting to know that other readers have struggled with how to broach this conversation, too.


Broaching "the subject" in your homeschool community
#12

I’ve had the discussion with a few fellow home schoolers. Actually it went well each time. The first time it was something my daughter said, she said “in the time of the dinosaurs” and the mom asked me. I was honest and we really haven’t discussed it since. One of the mom’s actually passed on a science book that someone gave her because she thought it lined up with what we believe better than what she believes. Each of these moms and I were friends and knew each other well before so maybe that helps too. It is harder to make generalizations about someone you know well.

In my experience most people may not understand why you believe what you believe, I don’t really understand why they believe what they believe, but they aren’t mean or judgemental. I can think of a couple moms I know that might not be very understanding. I don’t hide what I believe but I don’t go around shouting from the roof tops either;) I won’t lie about it but sometimes it just seems best to keep quiet.


(Brad Kramer) #13

#14

Welcome, Robin! It sounds like we live in the same area, lol.


(Bruce Holt) #15

I’m thrilled that this online community is developing and that many are finding it helpful to discover others who are seeking to teach good science within a homeschool setting. One additional request I’d make is if people can tell generally where they have lived. Partly that’s because I’m a total geo-nerd and I always like learning that about people, but I’m also curious to see if there are geographic patterns in the locations of people who participate in this forum.

I gave a good amount of personal background previously on another thread, so I won’t repeat that here, but I will address the question of “What brought you to homeschooling?”

I have a degree in Secondary Education, and I spent nine years teaching high school Computer Science in the DC area. Despite my decision to leave professional teaching, I remain a teacher at heart. So from the beginning of my interactions with my son, I was continually seeking out teachable moments in the everyday course of life. Living around DC gave us access to many wonderful (and often free) cultural attractions—museums, embassies, gardens, etc.—and we spent many Saturday mornings at Borders perusing books for a few hours. I’ve remarked before that I was homeschooling well before my son was of “school age”, so the early elementary years seemed in many ways just an extension of what we had been doing all along.

Still, my wife and I weren’t a couple that always knew we’d be homeschooling parents, and if you had asked me when our son was a toddler, I don’t know if I would have predicted this is the road we’d be on. There wasn’t a single moment when we knew this is the choice for us. Rather, a series of observations coalesced into a compelling picture as we considered the homeschooling option—and particularly as we observed and conversed with homeschooling families—over a year or two.

A few of those observations stand out:

  • Almost without fail, the kids in homeschooling families seemed well-adjusted and socially adept. We particularly recall discussing how they seemed much more comfortable talking to adults or kids of different ages than other kids we knew were. We started asking questions like, “Does it really prepare kids well for life to have them spend seven hours a day interacting almost exclusively with kids their own age?” We were aware of the old stereotype of the sheltered and socially inept homeschooled kid, but we came to conclude that things had come full circle; we wanted our son to develop the relational and conversational maturity that we were observing in our homeschooling friends’ kids.

  • Several of the parents in our neighborhood who had kids in the public school would tell us how much homework their kids were coming home with—even in kindergarten and first grade. Some of this may have been a product of living in hyper-competitive Montgomery County, MD, but I don’t remember my early-elementary years (also in MoCo) being like that. Though I was very eager to remain involved in my son’s education, trying to help him complete worksheets after dinner when we’re all exhausted wasn’t what I had in mind. We were resolved that our son have ample time for rest and play and slow meals and impromptu adventures and unhurried discussions, and we were convinced that we could provide him an excellent education in far fewer hours per day than would be required if he were in the public school.

We also are quite “out the mainstream” in a lot areas, particularly in regards to matters of health and wellness. So, for example, when we’d think about our commitment to acquiring, preparing, and consuming natural foods and how that commitment would work for our son in the school cafeteria, well… it was hard to even imagine.

The early years were often difficult for my wife. She’s had persistent health challenges since I’ve known her, and sometimes my son’s “boy energy” was almost more than she could bear. That’s one reason CC has been so great for us; in addition to the overall excellent educational program, the community of parents and students has been a godsend. Of course, this also makes the decision about possibly leaving CC more stressful. I really don’t want to abandon such a wonderful community of friends; I hope we can find a way to remain part of the program without the specter of constant YEC indoctrination. But I’ll continue the conversation on that topic on the other thread.


(Christy Hemphill) #16

@cartophile
Geography: I grew up (and was homeschooled myself K-5) near Chicago, I lived and taught for four years in Virginia, moved back to Chicago and lived and taught there for eight years, moved to Texas for a year and started homeschooling, moved to Mexico for three years, moved back to Texas for this current school year, and this summer, I’m moving back to Mexico where I will be indefinitely.


(Nathan Creitz) #17

Hi everyone, my name is Nathan Creitz. My wife and I homeschool our two oldest children (the youngest is 8 months old). Our daughter is a 6yo and our son is a 4yo. We live in New York City and I am the church planting pastor of City Life Church in Queens. Almost everything we do goes against majority culture in some way. Our decision to homeschool is often greeted with polite curiosity from neighbors. But, strangely enough, our belief that God created the world and the science seems clear that He used evolutionary creation as the process meets with more pushback from brothers and sisters in Christ.

My wife and I have found BioLogos to be very helpful in providing resources for homeschoolers. I recently showed my children the video about the Grand Story of Creation from BioLogos and they loved it. We were excited to discover this new forum. We want our children to be classically educated and to be familiar with modern scientific theory of origins and also be intimately acquainted with God’s sovereign work of creation.

We would love to hear what other homeschool parents are using to teach science in the early years.


(Christy Hemphill) #18

These threads have some discussion of people’s experience with various materials, if you haven’t found them already:

https://discourse.biologos.org/t/the-deal-with-homeschool-science-materials/?source_topic_id=4764 https://discourse.biologos.org/t/discussion-of-experiences-related-to-homeschooling-and-science-education?source_topic_id=4764

(Rydona Te) #19

Hello everyone :slight_smile:

Thread is a bit old I know, sorry for resurrecting it.

I heard of BioLogos a long time ago from /r/Christianity. My faith hinges on Jesus Christ, and I used to live in Vancouver BC which is pretty liberal, so I never really faced rejection and the need to staunchly defend my views on creation. I felt like if I’m wrong I’m wrong, okay, I’ll get you a coffee in heaven. It really doesn’t matter. I just want to know how things work out of curiosity and reverance for the Creator: if tomorrow they find a completely different explaination of evolution, then I’ll go with what’s the most reasonable.

Well, having recently moved to Ontario Canada, apparently “live and let live” doesnt work.

I applied to be part of a HomeSchooling group that I thought happened to be Christian. Cool. But before I can even apply they need my husband and I to sign a document that reads “we reject any notion of evolution”. Right beneath " we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

I sent the form back, truthfully denying to agree to it. If pretty sure we’ll be rejected. Which sucks. Because there are no other groups in my region for homeschoolers, secular or Christian. It really really sucks.

Anyway I’m going to have to start my own group I think. Even if this one group allows me in I feel pretty conflicted about potentially being treated as a leper, or having to keep proving myself to be Christian to them. I don’t know I hope I’m just being too hard on them and hopefully they’re actually cool and have a range of views they accept.

Anyone in Oshawa ON?


(Christy Hemphill) #20

People post on old threads all the time, no problem. Welcome to the forum!

My daughter was in a co-op this year to take one class and although they did not ask about origins views, the application process was more involved than it is for some colleges. In addition to the long and detailed application form which asked some silly questions like “does your child ever misbehave,” we had to have three references (one from a pastor), samples of student writing (so she could take a musical theater class) and a family interview. It was over the top. So my sympathies to you as you try to find a group. I bet if you started your own group, you’d find you weren’t the only disaffected one, you should go for it.