Public Education & Academic Freedom Today
Please watch this entertaining and highly educational documentary.
Ben Stein shows the problems with academic freedom against God in this great documentary.
Sadly public schools and public school text books have become an increasingly used TOOL for politically correct (government sponsored) propaganda; propaganda which is looked at as irrelevant whether it is truth or lies… This is why for the future generations of parents (especially Christians) one needs to really consider Home School or even private school but definitely not public school – if you feel you have no choice at least be VERY involved in the public school brainwashing techniques so that you can oppose it and help correct for your children. Just to look at a few examples of such areas of blatant falsities, please review these handful of examples from the public schools top text book providers:
And these are only THREE good sites that the average parent normally will not even look over before sending their children to, to hope they are being educated and not indoctrinated. As I have outlined in my own work (published MA thesis):The Philosophy of History: Naturalism and Religion, adults and children are losing the ability to simply think and reason on their own and when I have taken such issues to the debate field with various specialists and professors they seem to be unable to answer, justify or defend their position which I then ask: “Then why force a set of various indoctrinated theories that you yourselves cannot even justify or defend onto our children and young adults?” Their usual answer is “You just don’t understand!” Well I guess I do not, but until you can give me solid/grounded reasons for your own theories then I feel I must encourage parents to look at other means of education outside of the Public School spectrum.
*Please note that I attended K-12 in public schools and my undergraduates and masters have all been in a secular university setting so I am not talking about these issues as one “outside” of them.
Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps
Homeschooling has some surprising benefits. Here's how to start enjoying them!
Are you thinking about homeschooling but:
- Aren't sure it's for you?
- Don't know where to start?
- Then you're in the right place!
"Is Homeschooling the Right Choice for My Child?"
The short answer: yes, it is, as long as you're a committed and involved parent with normal intelligence and no history of serious mental illness!
You don't need an impressive educational background or lots of money to succeed at homeschooling. Research has shown that parents with only a high school education or less can do about as good a job as those with advanced degrees, or education degrees.1 It has also shown that those who spend less than $200 per child per year on homeschool curriculum can get as good results as those who spend $400-$599 per child per year.
The Unsung Benefits of Homeschooling
Homeschooling yields positive academic, social, emotional, and spiritual benefits for any family that gives it an honest chance. By now it's no secret that all the research shows homeschooled children outstrip both their public- and private-school peers in every academic area. Less well known are these benefits:
Safety Benefits. Years ago, strangers used to ask me, "What about socialization?" Now, when I tell them I homeschool, they say, "I don't blame you. The schools have become so dangerous!"
As a homeschooler, you won't have to worry about who is taking guns and knives to your local school. Your child also won't have to fear school bullies. According to a press release we received early this year:
Six out of ten American teenagers witness bullying in school once a day or even more frequently, reported John A. Calhoun, President and CEO of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). The national group... released findings from a survey conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide that show that bullying is the terrorist threat that most frightens America's teenagers and interferes with their education. Young people are far less concerned about external terrorist attacks on their schools and communities than they are about the bully terrorizing them and their classmates in the hallways and classrooms of their schools.
Less Exposure to Alcohol and Drugs. Most kids don't get their drugs at home. They get them at or near school. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Substance Abuse, and reported in Family Research Council's Washington Update online newsletter, "5 million high schoolers - 31% - say they "binge drink" at least once a month... A teenager who starts drinking at 15 is four times more likely to become alcohol dependent than one who waits until the legal age to drink." Add to this the huge numbers of kids abusing inhalants, street drugs, and even their classmates' Ritalin, and it's a problem many of us would just as soon avoid.
Emotional Benefits. Emotional bullying-name calling, mockery, and humiliation-can be just as devastating as physical bullying. Smart kids, special-needs kids, and anyone unlucky enough to appear "different" can expect a steady diet of this negative emotional input in a typical school. Since research has shown that kids need to feel safe in order to learn, simply removing a child from the emotional pressure cooker of peer pressure, gangs, and cliques may produce enormous learning gains all by itself.
Ritalin-Free Kids. Boys get a double dose of labeling, as schools increasingly label typical male behavior as "ADD" or "ADHD." In fact, any child with low body fat (making it uncomfortable to sit still for long periods in a hard chair) is at risk of being labeled "ADD" or "ADHD," which in turn leads to pressure put on parents to medicate perfectly normal children with psychoactive drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, or even Prozac. At home, kids can sit on a nice soft couch, lie on the rug, or run around when they need to burn off energy. Homeschool parents also tend to learn child training methods that work, if only for self preservation! Instead of blaming the kids' behavior on invisible "disorders" that are undetectable by any medical test3, homeschoolers learn to accept a wider range of normal behavior. Kid still misbehaving? Don't pay big bucks to a psychiatrist or open a self-help book. Ask any veteran homeschool mom with a big family. She'll tell you what works!
Removes Sexual Pressure. According to a recent survey from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 81 percent of kids aged 12-14 - including those who have lost their chastity - believe that kids today are pressured to have sex too early. Younger and younger kids are trying to dress and act sexy as well. Both school culture and sex-ed classes promote the idea that "everyone is doing it" and that this is OK. And don't assume this is not true in your local Christian or Catholic school, unless the administration is making a real effort to keep things simple and sweet. In homeschool, parents can wait until their children are of a reasonable age to learn the facts of life. At home, parents are also free to add morals and Scriptural teaching to the mix.
Builds Family Bonds. Homeschooling brings families closer together. Kids thrive under parental attention, and parents get to really know their kids. Homeschooled siblings tend to be more kind and helpful to each other, also.
Better Preparation for the Real World. Modern schools only seem normal to us because we have been brought up from birth to accept them. Actually, they are highly unnatural environments. Where else in your life will you have to spend all day with a group of 15 to 35 people of your same age, doing activities that never yield any usable result? In the real world, you are with people of different ages, working together on real projects. Families are more like this than schools are. And it's easier to give homeschooled kids real-world adventures, such as participating in community theatre, volunteering in a hospital, etc.
The Best Environment for Spiritual Training.
In the New Testament, the followers of Christ are called "disciples," not "students." There's a reason for that! Disciples observe and model their teacher's behavior. Students merely study; the word implies they receive information, not application. At home, your children can see you apply your beliefs, and hear what you think about life's various experiences, if they have the chance to be around you enough.
"So, Where Do I Start?"
In my book, Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling, I list steps to getting started with a successful homeschool. While the book has lots more information than I can provide here, at least the 10 steps below will clue you in to your best next moves.
- Locate your state homeschool group. Just click on the word "Groups" on the black menu bar at the top of this page (and at the top of every page on this website!). Then go to your state listing. The group(s) at the top of the page are state groups. Those below are regional and local groups. We have provided phone numbers and addresses as well as web links to as many state groups as possible, so it should be easy for you to contact them.
- Locate your local support group. For most states, you'll find it right on the "Groups" page you were just looking at! If you can't find one listed on our website, just ask your state group. They'll know where your nearest support group is.
- Join other homeschoolers online. I recommend you start with our Forum area, not just because it's our website, but because we have a boatload of great forums on all sorts of homeschool topics, including a "Getting Started" forum. Post your questions here!
- Subscribe to a homeschool magazine. Naturally, we'd like it to be Practical Homeschooling. Nothing gets you "in the swim" as quickly in a new professional area as reading a magazine on that topic. Homeschooling is no exception. The ads are an education all by themselves. You'll find yourself saying, "I had no idea there was a product that taught that!" Even articles on topics you think you will never need often turn out to be useful later on. There's a lot to be said for mentally preparing for high school while your child's still in preschool!
- Read "how to" books about homeschooling. Carefully read the author's biography (if one is supplied) to see if he or she is a veteran homeschooler who has demonstrated success, or just a professional writer whose publisher assigned the job of creating a book about homeschooling. Anyone can homeschool one child for a few months, but that does not make them a homeschool expert.
- Locate curriculum providers. To do so, just go to the "Mall" area of this website, where you'll find all kinds of resources organized by type (software, online, or print curriculum), school subject, and more.
- Go to your local teacher's store. They have great workbooks, educational toys and games, and school supplies.
- Attend your first curriculum fair. Plan to buy, not just to browse. Go to the Events page on this site to find upcoming homeschool conventions and curriculum fairs.
- Now that you've picked out your curriculum and have a plan, you're ready to join HSLDA. That stands for "Home School Legal Defense Association." The cost is $100 per year for your entire family, and well worth it in protecting your (and everybody else's) right to homeschool.
- Like the Practical Homeschooling page on Facebook. While our Forum is the place to ask specific questions, buy and sell used curriculum, follow threads on academic topics, and so forth, our Facebook page provides inspiration, current news, homeschool humor, and lots more! Visit us and hit the "Like" button. This final step will welcome you into the full nationwide (and worldwide!) homeschool community. Join us!
You can skip a few of these steps, but for best success, try to do them all. The best homeschool teacher is a prepared parent. Think of it this way: the time and money you spend on your education as a homeschool teacher could save thousands of dollars more in college scholarships some day!
|What's The Big Deal About Small Study Groups & Education?
Why was a small group such an important part of Jesus' ministry?
|by Neal F. McBride
|Issue #59 September/October 1990
Your pastor could preach the most profound sermons this side of Heaven. The worship service might bring all who attend into the presence of God weekly. Your Christian education program could give your members enough ammunition to win a Bible quiz against any congregation in the country, hands down.
Yet even if all these things were true, something could still be missing in your church. That element, woven throughout the fabric of the New Testament, is an integral part of life in Christ: relationships with other believers.
Close relationships among the members of God's family provide a context for applying biblical truth, promote unity and caring among the members, meet spiritual and emotional needs, furnish a setting for lifestyle evangelism, and in short, demonstrate the Body of Christ in action. Every church needs a ministry format that will intentionally promote these kind of relationships.
I'm convinced that small groups provide the ideal format to accomplish these requirements.
Small groups are not just a sociological fad. Neither are they a clever gimmick to pump up church attendance, nor a panacea for all the ills that confront the church. Small groups are a ministry format with a solid biblical foundation.
While a rationale for small groups is found throughout the Bible, I'd like to focus on two lines of thought depicted in the New Testament: Jesus as a small group leader and what I'll call our New Testament mandate. Let's start with Jesus' example.
JESUS AS A SMALL GROUP LEADER
For me, Jesus' involvement in a small group is the most convincing argument for including such groups in the life of the local church. Jesus Christ is pictured in the New Testament as the greatest small group leader in history. As a group leader or participant you are walking in His footsteps. What can we learn from Jesus about the ministry of small groups?
Jesus began His earthly ministry by establishing His "small group," the apostles. When Jesus began His public ministry, one of His first acts was to form His small group (Mt. 4:18–22 , Lk. 6:13 ). The Son of God certainly didn't need the companionship or assistance of the apostles. Yet from the very beginning He elected to establish and minister within a framework of interpersonal relationships.
Jesus ministered in both large and small group contexts. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom to large crowds. Likewise, He met with small groups in homes (Mt. 26:6 ) and spent considerable time with His special group, the apostles. Both forms of ministry were important.
Jesus' ministry to large groups was preceded by and proceeded out of His small group context. Which came first, the chicken (large group) or the egg (small group)? In Jesus' case, small group emphasis preceded His large group involvement. Furthermore, it was the small group that provided the platform for Jesus' ministry to large groups of people. The apostles accompanied Jesus as He proclaimed the Good News to the multitudes. Yet He always withdrew to the familiarity and support of His select small group (Mk. 3:7 ).
Jesus spent the majority of His time with His small group. If we could add up the amount of time Jesus spent with the apostles, we would likely find that this group consumed the majority of His time. They were together constantly: They traveled together, shared meals, experienced mutual hardship, and literally lived together. As Jesus' crucifixion drew closer, He spent more and more time with His small group and less time with the multitudes that sought Him out.
Relationships, not organizations, were central in Jesus' method. The Kingdom Jesus sought to proclaim was not an earthly organization, but a heavenly realm (Lk. 17:20–21 ). Christ could easily have remained aloof from any relationships that entangled Him in human needs and suffering. Yet, as a practical demonstration of the gospel, He chose to spend His time with people—caring, healing, listening, forgiving, encouraging, teaching, and preaching. Because of His emphasis on people, not programs, the only "organization" that merited Jesus' continuing time and attention was His small group.
Jesus used the small group context to teach and model spiritual knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Having formed His group, Jesus taught and modeled spiritual truth by drawing them close to Himself. It was not a formal or academic experience; the small group members simply participated with Christ in whatever He did. They saw and experienced the attitudes and actions He was admonishing others to adopt. It was through this intimate association that the apostles were granted "the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God" (Lk. 8:10 ). The apostles' small group was their living-learning laboratory.
The small group was Jesus' method for leadership training. Jesus devoted Himself primarily to the task of developing a select group of men, the apostles. His goal was to equip this small group of disciples to carry on the work of the gospel after He returned to the Father. Jesus selected common men, "unschooled, ordinary men" by worldly standards (Acts 4:13 ), who were ready to follow Him and were teachable. In turn, Jesus poured His life into these men and thrust the future of His whole ministry upon them. It would be "through their message" (Jn. 17:20 ) that the world would come to believe.
THE NEW TESTAMENT MANDATE
Much of the New Testament deals with the types of attitudes and actions God wants to characterize the members of His household, the community of believers. A quick review of some of the "one another" verses will give you a good idea of what I am talking about:
The list above provides only a brief taste of the standards that should govern the household of God. But what is the best setting to pursue these biblical attitudes and actions? Based on the biblical evidence, the most logical answer is small groups meeting in homes. This ideal context stresses relationships in an informal setting, which in turn facilitates understanding and obeying the New Testament mandate. This was true for the early church (Acts 2:42–47 ) and it is still true for us today.
Hebrews 10:24–25 provides us with further insight. Here we are instructed "not to give up meeting together." Our usual response to this verse is to assume we are being urged to attend "church," a Sunday morning worship service held in a church building. Certainly this application is legitimate, but it is not inherent in the author's intent. Specifically, we are told "to spur one another on toward love and good deeds" and to "encourage one another." This type of activity is possible in a large group service, but it is not likely to occur. On the other hand, the small group's relational dynamic provides the ideal setting.
Jesus said, "where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Mt. 18:20 ). Hundreds of people aren't required. The vertical relationship the two or three Christians enjoy individually with Jesus is enhanced by the horizontal relationships among them. Thus, two Christians are the bare minimum needed to constitute a Christian community. "Church" is not limited to large meetings, but can also be a legitimate function of small groups.
SMALL GROUPS AND THE GREAT COMMISSION
Our mandate is not limited to an internal focus, a secret society for believers only. Jesus opens membership in the household of God to everyone when He commands us to "make disciples of all nations" (Mt. 28:19 ). Here again, small groups can play a significant role. Paul understood this. His efforts in mass evangelism and instruction (Acts 19:8–10 ) were augmented by "house to house" (literally "in the various private homes") personal evangelism and teaching (Acts 20:20 ). The conversion of Cornelius and his whole household is a good example (Acts 16:32–34 ).
Evangelism and discipleship are greatly enhanced in the context of a small group. Groups provide a person-to-person setting rather than a program-to-person agenda. This more natural, interpersonal context readily lends itself to sharing the gospel. A 1988 study on religion in America by the Princeton Religion Research Center, under the direction of George Gallup, Jr., cites small groups as "the outreach tool of the '90s."
BECOMING LIKE JESUS
Jesus is our model. By striving to become more like Him we will grow in character. As we apply His principles for ministry our lives, too, will bear fruit. What kind of structure will provide us with the instruction, support, and challenge we need to become Christlike—as well as enable us to follow His pattern for personal ministry? When we closely examine the life and ministry of Jesus, it becomes clear that one key method is small groups.
We've only tapped the surface of the biblical rationale for small groups, but the biblical evidence is clear. Small groups are a necessity—not an option—in the local church. Can we afford not to experience the opportunities for growth they offer?