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.