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Feb
4

Homeschooling and Public School Partnership Programs

Homeschooling and Public School Partnership Programs Homeschooling and Public School Partnership Programs by Kenneth Knott   For many homeschoolers, August represents a time of final planning for the upcoming academic year.  In doing so, wise parents naturally ask themselves if they are employing the most effective methods of instruction possible.  While some parents are content with implementing only minor adjustments to their routines, other parents are desperate for solutions for the various challenges they perceive.  It is not surprising, then, to witness a growing number of homeschoolers joining the various “partnership” programs offered by the public school system. There are a number of reasons why public school partnerships generally represent less-than-ideal approaches for most homeschoolers.   Before we discuss some of these reasons, it may be useful to review the historical context in which these partnerships have emerged.  While doing so, I’ll occasionally share certain firsthand experiences to help illustrate the shortcomings of these approaches. From Grassroots to Mainstream to Partnerships Homeschooling as commonly expressed today began as a grassroots movement in the mid-‘70s to early-‘80s.  Back then, the pioneers that initiated the movement didn’t call what they were doing “homeschooling.”  They simply schooled their children at home, intuitively knowing they were providing a better way for their children than the one offered through the public school system or through private education. As homeschooling gained initial momentum, a number of public school systems challenged its legality.  Many school districts did not recognize nor respect the God-given right for parents to be directly involved with their children’s education.  The arrogance of certain districts was so extreme that lawsuits were sometimes filed against parents for allegedly refusing to abide by certain compulsory attendance laws.  As providence would have it, virtually none of those lawsuits were successful.  By the mid-‘90s, essentially every state in the union formally recognized homeschooling as a viable and legal option.  Thankfully, Michigan emerged as one of the more “homeschool friendly” states. By the end of the millennium, homeschooling became essentially mainstream and, for the last couple of decades, has enjoyed certain reputable notoriety.  However, many educational professionals remained uneasy, most notably those in charge of budgets who resented the fact that thousands of dollars were no longer being received for every homeschooler who was no longer enrolled in the system.  Also at play was a general “the experts know best” attitude on behalf of many professionals; they were just sure homeschoolers were somehow neglecting their children.  Conversely, certain homeschoolers expressed their own resentments, sour...
Mar
5

Classical Education: Is it a Good Idea?

Classical Education: Is it a Good Idea? This is a guest post by David & Shirley Quine (founders of Cornerstone Curriculum) on Classical Education: The Three Pillars of Classical Education Some time ago Shirley and I were in a conversation regarding Classical Education with a small group of Christian educators. We were told that this was the growing trend among Christian home school educators and that we should consider embracing it as well. Although we mostly listened, we asked a few questions in the discussion — especially, regarding the notion of Truth. We were shocked to be introduced to the three pillars of “truth” being embraced by Classical educators: Christianity – the Spiritual Pillar Greece – the Philosophical Pillar Rome – the Governmental Pillar We were told that the union of Greek and Roman thought with Christian truth is the basis of Classical Education and that it actually yields a much broader and more comprehensive understanding of truth. However, this wasn’t the Protestant Reformation idea of Truth Shirley and I had been taught by Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his writings and lectures. Rather, this was exactly the opposite. Dr Schaeffer wrote extensively that Protestant Christianity provides good and sufficient answers in all three spheres: Spiritual, Philosophical, and Governmental. He warned us of the dangers of mixing Greek and Roman ideas with Christian Truth. A person must ask “where does this mixing lead?” I continue seeking greater understanding of the goals and objectives of Classical Education. Just recently I found a graphic from a Catholic web site showing the three pillars of Classical Education which we were encouraged to embrace years before. I was shocked to see the close connection between Classical Education and Catholic teaching. Protestant Reformation teaching does not mix Greco-Roman thinking with Christian Truth. Paul, writing to Christians living in the city of Colossae which would have been under the influence of Greek and Roman thinking, states: Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:6-8 PS. Teaching involves both curriculum (content) and instruction (the delivery). My greatest concern is not over the Trivium per se (although I do not...
Apr
19

Distance from God?

The only thing that terrified Jesus was being out of fellowship with His Father. “My God, My God, why have you abandoned Me?” He cried from the cross.  (Mark 15:34 NLT) We’ve grown accustomed to being out of touch with God; the things that terrify us are the thought of losing our job, the price of gas, where’s the world headed…. Jesus, on the other hand, had faith concerning that which frightens us, yet was terrorized by that which we barely notice, distance from God. What if the greatest thing we feared was being distanced from God? How would our lives then look? What changes would we make? Richard Grom serves as the Pastor of Calvary Chapel Sunset Coast in Benton Harbor,...
Nov
27

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation [New York, 3 October 1789]

From George Washington: By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion...
Jun
3

Should Christian Ministries Seek 501-C-3 Status with IRS?

Athanatos Christian Ministries, an apologetics ministry based out of Wisconsin, is one of the few Christian ministries that not only does not have tax exempt status, but deliberately refused to pursue it. In light of revelations that the IRS has been targeting conservative organizations based on their beliefs, ACM’s decision, made in 2008, now seems prescient. On the ‘donation’ section of ACM’s website, there is this simple statement: “In order to operate unmuzzled, ACM is NOT tax exempt.” ACM’s Executive Director, Anthony Horvath, explains, “While it does not appear that tax-exempt status was originally meant to stifle free speech, it is evident that it has become a way to silence the opposition while hiding behind and inside a bureaucracy.” However, Horvath believes the real harm has come from the self-censoring that organizations have engaged in long before the Obama administration decided to turn the bureaucratic machinery against his “enemies list.” Horvath says, “Churches and other tax-exempt organizations have refrained from aggressively stating their beliefs on important issues in order to retain their tax status. Has it been worth it?” According to Horvath, ACM chose not to pursue tax-exempt status to ensure that it would never have to make such a “devil’s bargain.” Horvath believes that 501c3 status would have forced him to be silent on issues he believes are extremely important, or tip-toe around a topic instead of being direct. “I did not want my tax status held as a club over my head, just waiting for the day when some atheist or pro-choice organization decides I had gone over the line. ACM pays its taxes, therefore ACM speaks its mind,” Horvath says. Horvath urges Christians to think carefully about the practical implications of tax policies. In 2010, Worldnetdaily.com published one of his columns urging Christians to develop a theology of taxation, warning that “Christians should carefully test their attitudes about taxation” or risk participating in tyranny. ACM is presently engaged in its annual funding drive, reminding potential donors that operating ‘unmuzzled’ allows Horvath to advocate for pro-life issues and “connect the dots” between one’s worldview and the implications of that worldview. Horvath is available for interviews and may be reached atdirector@athanatosministries.org or 202-697-4623. ACM’s website is www.athanatosministries.org.   Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and Site Editor for...

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© Israel Wayne.