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Archive for May 10th, 2012

12 Days With Dr. Ruth Beechick – Science to Match Scripture

Science to Match the Bible

Chapter three of Dr. Beechick’s A Biblical Home Education deals with the teaching of science and the foundation upon which we teach that particular subject.  In the first few pages of this chapter, Dr. Beechick makes two comments that really resonated with me.  I have quoted them below.

“The public schools have not earned an A in science teaching, or even a C.  Goals 2000, with a lot of federal money, had as one goal that our high school graduates would be first in the world in science.  But by 2000 they scored nineteenth out of the twenty-one nations that participated in testing.  Something is terribly wrong with our school science teaching.  A look at the textbook system shows a lot of what is wrong and that the same time indicates what we can do differently.”

“Betrand Russel, though not a Christian himself, wrote that ‘Christianity is the mother of science.’ He understood that the revolution came about through belief in a rational God who would make a unified, orderly universe that man can observe and discover laws of cause and effect.”

I do not mean to get in a pulpit and preach, but this subject has been a thorn in my side for years.  I am a proponent for excellence in academics.  In fact, I have spent a great deal of my adult life striving for this in our own home and in the education of students within Artios Academies.  However, it troubles me that parents, when considering student involvement in academic home school programs, often seemingly demand that the approach we used for the teaching of science be the same as that which is currently failing within the public school system.  That makes no sense to me.  It’s like getting the cart before the horse.  It is starting with a false security and faulty paradigm in our approach to science.  It was encouraging to see Dr. Beechick say the same thing.

It is also fascinating to see what Dr. Beechick describes as textbook problems. She based this list on a large committee of teachers involved in rating science textbooks.

1.   A distortion of the importance of contributors and contributions to the study of science.

2.  The weakness in teaching important concepts and an unnecessary emphasis on the teaching of technical terms and trivial details that are easy to test.

3.   The failure of illustrations that were planned for helpfulness and instead designed for color and layout appearance.

4.   The failure of student activities being connected with the science concept being learned.

Dr. Beechick encourages us to choose materials that teach important science concepts and not just vocabulary and details that can be tested.  She suggests choosing materials that contain activities that encourage thinking and not just giving the student cookbook-style directions.

There is no way that I can do justice to Dr. Beechick’s topics of:  The Long Roots of Science, Something for Everybody, and Creation Science.  These are “hot” topics these days and although I have my own beliefs and convictions, I think it best for you to read Dr. Beechick’s own words on these topics in Chapter Three.  She is much more eloquent and knowledgeable in these areas.

National Science Education Standards

I love the way Dr. Beechick explains these standards.  “The National Science Education Standards for curriculum specifically state that there is no arbitrary sequence of content.  When you see a listing of what to learn in fourth grade, what to learn in fifth and so on, that list is made for graded schools so the fifth grade teacher will not repeat what the fourth grade teacher taught.  As a homeschooler, you are free from that arbitrariness.”  The best part about this chapter is that she goes on to give us practical and logistical ways to teach science at home all the way through the twelfth grade.  She is adamant about beginning with Scripture as the lens through which we see the world and through which we study science.  This is very different from current trends that view Scripture through the lens of science.

Although I know some of what Dr. Beechick writes within this chapter will rattle some people’s thinking, it is my opinion that if we want to provide a truly Biblical home education for our children, we must make sure that what we teach as science matches Scripture.

 

Archive Article from February 26, 2008

I don’t know of any other time in history when the arts and the media have had a stronger influence people of all ages than they do today.  It has always been true that the arts influence history and of course, history influences the arts, however, during this day and age, that influence is so strong and so powerful it is hard to avoid its affects on our lives.  Think for a moment about how much the political campaigning strategy has changed just in the past ten years.  Today politicians aren’t just using television and print ads, phone calls and mass mailings, but they have also begun to use You-tube, email, websites, mini-movies and more.  It’s not just the politicians though,  it’s everyone and everything.  We are bombarded by media and the arts in some form or fashion almost EVERYWHERE we go.

I’m reading a book by Michael D. O’Brien entitled “A Landscape With Dragons”.  Listen to how he describes our world today.  “If I had to choose an image to sum up our times, I would not choose from among the usual ones, such as the Nuclear Age, the Technological Society, the Age of Anxiety, the Computer Generation, the Affluent Society, or the Space Era.  I would call it the Age of Noise.  In the entire history of mankind, there has never been such a continuous battering of the human brain.  The ever present background throb of machinery, the roar of traffic, the high-pitched buzz of fluorescent lights and computers, Musak in elevators and supermarkets, herds of joggers wearing Walkmans, a gaggle of talk shows.  A world drowning in chatter!  Words, words, words!  A thousand voices competing for our attention every day:  the communications media, junk mail, candidates for political office, telephone solicitations, and so on and so on…the long, sustained roar (and sometimes screech) of our century.  Exterior noise and interior noise.  The clamor of our anxieties and our skirmishes with the seven deadly sins and a host of lesser evils.  The endless inner debates we conduct against real or imagined enemies, and the sweet, rotten allure of the soap operas of the fallen imagination…..”

Many of you know that I’ve been traveling quite a bit this past five or six weeks.  It has been a blessing and a reminder to me that there are many mothers and fathers out there who take their responsibility of raising their children to be light in a dark world very seriously.  I’m so burdened about our responsibility to raise children that are educated, spiritually discerning, culturally literate servants of God’s kingdom.  We can’t JUST do academics…we must include academics, the arts, and more all wrapped up and intertwined with God’s worldview of each and every subject we study and each and every area of the lives that we live.

Obviously, because the media and the arts have such a strong influence on today’s culture and society, and because God has called me to work with students in the area of the arts and to train and help parents to do the same thing, I’m very focused on what we can do to prepare our children to make a difference in the media and the arts.  Today in my RSS feed file I found an article that was featured in a blog called Christians and the Arts.  I’m including the link for you below.  You MUST read this article.  I would love to hear your feedback on the information and content that it presents.

In the meantime, “Do not be weary in well-doing, for in due time, you will reap if you faint not.”  That’s what I am repeating to myself as I’ve been traveling and talking with parents about the child’s overall homeschooling experience and their experience and training in the arts in particular.  God has called us to raise up the next generation in a way that will make a difference in this world.  That is done by inspiring them through our knowledge of God and by our becoming more like Christ. If we raise children who KNOW GOD and are growing more like Christ, their lives cannot help but be effective and productive….no matter what area in which God has them serve Him.

Enjoy this article!      http://opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110010352

Faith and Courage,

Lori Lane