Continuing the discussion from 5 Common Objections to Evolutionary Creationism:
(For other people, the “board” refers to the Well Trained Mind forum)
Yeah, home schooling is pretty popular these days.
The vast majority of materials marketed to homeschoolers are from the YEC perspective. Many of the Christian curriculum fairs and homeschool conventions do not even allow vendors who sell things that promote something other than YEC.
Reasons to Believe has a list of recommendations for OEC here.
A Beka, Bob Jones University Press, and Apologia publish science textbooks. My impression is that Apologia is the most widely used. Many of the original “Exploring Creation with …” materials were written by Dr. Jay Wile, but he has since left the enterprise and this is an enlightening blog post explaining why. He says he prefers not to have people think of his name when they think of Apologia now. He says, “The really troubling aspect of the Apologia worldview curriculum is that based on what it says, the vast majority of evangelicals do not have a Biblical worldview. As I read the text, in order to have a Biblical worldview, you have to be a young-earth Calvinist…More importantly, however, there is no discussion about the fact that there are many different kinds of Biblical worldviews among orthodox Christians.”
AIG also publishes science curriculum for elementary and middle school, as well Bible curriculum that pushes YEC pretty hard, as you might imagine.
The Christian homeschool curriculum providers, My Father’s World, Hearts of Dakota, and Timberdoodle use YEC materials or secular materials that do not touch on origins or age of the earth. The homeschool market is so big now that My Father’s World and Sonlight have both got Usborne (a major UK educational publisher) to publish special versions of encyclopedias and science books that eliminated the 100+ pages of prehistoric history in one and changed all references to “millions/billions of years” to “a long time ago” in another.
Sonlight is an interesting case. The owners/original developers John and Sarita Holzmann were devoted young earth folks, though John publicly urged Christians not to take a hard line on it. There was a forum similar to the one I linked for users of their curriculum. On their forum there was this big thing that happened about five years ago or so where a lot of people started asking questions and some people de-converted and there was a lot of arguing and discussing and John Holzmann was in the middle of these discussions, and he changed his mind about the young earth stuff. There was a big shakeup and they booted a bunch of people off their boards, because the whole thing had gotten out of control. It was sort of a PR nightmare for them.
Since then, John stepped down from his involvement in the company to develop a secular version called Book Shark that is marketed to charter schools and homeschoolers who can apply for tax refund money for non-religious curricula. (It does not have a science component, it’s just history/LA/literature) [ETA: 4/16, Bookshark offers Science packages for K-8 now.] The Sonlight instructor guides edited by Robert Valerde now reflect that Christians have different perspectives on the issue and encourage parents to teach their kids according to their conscience and to be aware that people think differently. (See for example this post by Valerde). Most of the materials used in the curriculum are published by secular companies and there are a few YEC and ID books and videos thrown in for “balance.”
The fact that Sonlight is not militantly young earth has led to some public sparring between Ken Ham and John Holzmann and has gotten them banned from the Colorado state level Christian Homeschool convention.
The Well Trained Mind is a book by Jessie Wise who was a pioneer of Christian homeschooling in the 80s before it was a big thing. She developed an alternative to the only other stuff that was out there that was really fundamentalist (Bill Gothard and Bob Jones stuff) based on a classical education model. Her daughter Susan Wise Bauer, a professor at William and Mary, took over the reigns and has a huge following among both secular and Christian homeschoolers. If homeschooling has a guru, she’s it. Until very recently they did not really sell full-fledged curriculum so much as guides and book lists to plan and execute your own plans based on four-year history cycles. She sells a very widely used writing curriculum and she wrote The Story of the World, which is incorporated by many different Christian curriculum providers.
A few years ago she publicly quit her involvement in homeschool conferences over a bruhaha with Peter Enns and Ken Ham. Her Peace Hill Press publishes and distributes Peter Enn’s children’s Bible curriculum Telling God’s Story (he wrote the first two years, and then Rachel Marie Stone took over the third year. They have plans to do eight books I think.) Ken Ham kicked up such a fuss about Peter Enns speaking at a convention that he got himself disinvited. Then Susan Wise Bauer told the Washington Post she was sick and tired of the whole scene and she was stepping out.
Many of the supposedly secular options for homeschoolers are written by Christians and are faith “neutral,” which is to say they avoid commentary on the subject of origins and age of the earth. Science 4 Kids would be an example. Several of the writers are very publicly aligned with ID.
Noeo is a Christian company, but one used by secular homschoolers too. They say “Evolution and other secular ideas are occasionally presented in the books that we provide. However, we do not include books that are overly dogmatic in their presentation of these ideas. We think it is important for children to learn differing views and to have meaningful discussions about these topics with their parents. Covering up or hiding these ideas in the home school only creates confusion for the child who hears and sees this information presented elsewhere (e.g. television, radio, magazines, bumper stickers, college,…). We also think it is more important for children to hear what their own parents believe about these issues than what we believe. For this reason, we have not included commentary for these discussions.”
Christian Schools International (affiliated with the CRC) has science curriculum that supposedly accommodates YEC, OEC and TE, but I’m not that familiar with it.
John Mays’ Novare textbooks are not young earth. They are really pretty new. They are being marketed mostly to Christian classical schools and online homeschool course providers (Like Wilson Hill Academy, which also uses the Miller Levine book for Biology), but some individual homeschoolers use them. You have to have a pretty strong background in science to teach them at home though.
So that is probably way more than anyone wanted to know, but it’s been kind of a hobby of mine to follow the science/faith drama in the wild and wacky world of homeschooling, so now you have the inside scoop.