Homeschooling is the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century

Alison Davis doesn’t see homeschooling as some strange alternative to traditional school.

If anything, says the mom from Williamstown, New Jersey, when it comes to raising her two children, she’s doing the sensible thing.

“You’re not going to be put in a work environment where everybody came from the same school and everybody is the same age,” she tells Business Insider. “In my opinion, the traditional school atmosphere is not the real world at all.”

Homeschooling, she says, that’s the real world.

Davis’ satisfaction with keeping her kids out of local public and private schools is one shared by a growing pool of parents around the US. Recent data collected by the Department of Education reveals homeschooling has grown by 61.8% over the last 10 years to the point where two million kids — 4% of the total youth population — now learn from the comfort of their own home.

Continue reading

What is our state of freedom?

FDFNY.org President makes the local news

Ayesha Kreutz takes advantage of the good weather to lead her homeschooling lessons on the front lawn of her Carling Street house. She works with, from left, Kezia Latin, 14, a ninth-grader at Charles Finney School and her children Leviticus, 9 and Shalom Kreutz, 8.
Ayesha Kreutz takes advantage of the good weather to lead her homeschooling lessons on the front lawn of her Carling Street house. She works with, from left, Kezia Latin, 14, a ninth-grader at Charles Finney School and her children Leviticus, 9 and Shalom Kreutz, 8. / Jamie Germano Staff Photographer
What is your mood about America these days? Let me know at the end of this post – Thanks Ayesha

There is a lot of talk these days about freedom.

Almost daily, the headlines and airwaves are abuzz with folks decrying another assault on our freedom, vigorously defending it or cheering its evolution.

Freedom is an inherent part of the state and national debate on guns, the U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding same-sex marriage and the Voting Rights Act, the response to the Boston Marathon bombings. There is talk of freedom in the National Security Agency monitoring of emails and phone calls, the Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative groups, in the battles we wage at home and abroad.

Ultimately, any discussion of American identity and the Fourth of July is about freedom, its many forms and viewpoints. These are just a few:

“We have the freedom to travel across the country or across the street … We have the freedom to question our government, where many countries don’t …. I am willing to sacrifice my life to protect those freedoms.”

Retired Master Sgt. Luann Van Peursem served 33 years in the military. She was in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

She received the Air Force Medal of Commendation with Valor in 2007 for saving two male soldiers seriously wounded when they came under attack in Baghdad.

Van Peursem is not one to share her political beliefs publicly, only to say that, in her opinion, not all decisions that were unpopular were bad, and not all decisions were “favorable.”

Freedom is the ability to make choices, she says. “It gets one thinking — about certain things we take for granted.” As far as where things stand today: “I think we can do much better.”

On this Fourth of July, as the night sky fills with booms, cascading firelight and patriotic hymns, Van Peursem will do as she always does.

“I celebrate it on an individual basis. It’s very personal. I can’t handle fireworks. They are triggers for me. I wouldn’t want to take that away from citizens of our country. It is our tradition. I used to love fireworks, the bigger the better.”

Page

BDSHARP@DemocratandChronicle.com
http://twitter.com/sharproc

 

But now it is an “overwhelming trigger.”

“I go home and pretty much isolate during that time frame.”

“Freedom to me means my son, who also happens to be gay, won’t live with the same constraints in the second half of his life that I have had to live with in mine.”

That is the optimism of Tom Privitere, a Pittsford man who spent his career in labor relations — working to secure or protect benefits that he often was denied.

He also marched, rode buses, went to rallies. He negotiated the first domestic partner benefits in New York state in the 1990s. In 2006, the Rochester Labor Council became the first such council in the state to pass a resolution in favor of marriage equality.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it law in 2011.

Then, last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

“For the first time in my almost 65 years, I felt like a whole citizen in my country. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but the Supreme Court decision did something visceral for me that, actually, the marriage vote didn’t.”

The difference, he said, was the recognition that the federal government had, in DOMA, instituted discrimination.

Privitere turns 65 this month and plans to retire as director of field services for Western New York with the New York state Public Employees Federation.

“Until last week, I still felt … less than, and not as free as, and not as entitled as my next-door neighbor.”

“I suppose it depends on somebody’s definition of free. I think we are a lot more free to be foolish … (but the politicians) they don’t seem to be afraid of ‘We the people’ anymore. It is almost like we don’t have any power to control our government.”

She is a stay-at-home, home-schooling mother of three living in the city, an African-American, a volunteer, a conservative Republican, strong in her convictions about limited government, gun rights and wary about the future.

Ayesha Kreutz, 40, worries that high taxes, which already limit her ability to see family out of state, or help her neighbors in need, are only going to be more restricting on her children. She is concerned about the expanding reach of government, and what might happen down the road.

oo many seem complacent, “until we get the wrong person in office, and you are not equally applying the Constitution, you just let someone use the Constitution any way they want,” and then there is no stopping it because it has happened for several administrations.

She believes there is no more free press. She doesn’t think colleges are preparing the next generation to think critically. She sees a breakdown of families, the role of churches.

The news brings word of a constant push against individual freedoms, and it has been going on for three or four generations. “Liberty,” she said, “is a two-way street. You have to be willing to think through these things and say, ‘Hold on.’ ” And in those moments, she sees that what she wants and what her neighbors want are the same things.

“In the truest sense, I believe that being able to be free means that we have the ability to be successful. We have the ability to make mistakes. We have every opportunity before us to do whatever it is that makes us be in pursuit of happiness.”

“Freedom is how a community has an appreciation of one another, of cultures or religions living together in peace and harmony. That is the real freedom — if we can have it.”

Those are the words of Muhammad Shafiq, former imam of the Islamic Center of Rochester, who works as executive director of the Brian and Jean Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College.

He teaches Islamic and religious studies.

The United States has been his home since 1976, and, in that time, has become much more diverse as advances in technology and globalization brought the world to its doorstep. Yet education, awareness and understanding of other cultures and religions has not kept pace.

Islamophobia is increasing, he says.

A recent example came in Boston. In the aftermath, one man was attacked and two others falsely identified as the search for “dark skinned” suspects played out in media reports. With an arrest, attention focused on the suspects being Muslim, though they violated many tenets of the faith.

BDSHARP@DemocratandChronicle.com
http://twitter.com/sharproc

Similar things have happened, in fact bigger than this in our country, in other countries also,” Shafiq says. “We never associated religion with that. We took it as an individual doing a horrendous act.”

On the global stage, there are the drone attacks and Guantanamo Bay. The standing of America — which he calls great, honorable and high civilization — is slipping, he says: “I think our model of freedom for human rights is getting sort of oblique, or darker. … It is diminishing, that role, if you look into the world.”

In the years before and immediately after 9/11, Shafiq would return to his native Pakistan and be greeted with press conferences and television appearances. Now, he goes back quietly, secretly.

“Now I go there, I hide — so people don’t know. I’m not talking anything about America. … I am fearful of my life. I am just saying to you, this is very, very true. … I come from that part of the world. They should respect me. But that is gone now.”

“What I cherish most about this country is that I can stand up, and I can speak my mind. … We have opportunities within this country that no other group of people have on the globe. We have been very fortunate.“

In her 85 years, Constance Mitchell has witnessed riots, welcomed civil rights leaders including Malcom X into her home, and made history as the first African-American elected to public office in Monroe County. She was, at that time in the 1960s, as a member of the Monroe County Legislature and the highest-serving black woman in the nation.

“I look at Rochester as a whole. Here is a community that certainly has been through, well, we have been through it all within this community. And yet we still have people that find they cannot get along with each other because of race. They can’t get along with each other because of someone’s skin.

“It doesn’t mean we aren’t moving forward.“

That her experience would be here, in a city that was home to Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, makes voting rights that much more significant.

BDSHARP@DemocratandChronicle.com
http://twitter.com/sharproc

“Test of FAITH”—Well Named? A Warning!

Published on August 31, 2012 in Current Issues in the World. In Answers in genesis blog 

As time goes on, I notice that it’s not just secularists who are trying to win the hearts and minds of our children to their unbiblical beliefs. Sadly, even professing Christians who have compromised with evolution and millions of years are also trying to instill a mistrust of God’s Word in our kids, particularly through curricula that claim to teach our children to think critically—but in reality, they indoctrinate them into evolutionary ideas. And the Test of FAITH’s new homeschool curriculum is no exception.

I’ve mentioned the Test of FAITH in a prior blog post, but I thought it would be important to warn you about the curriculum they’ve released. Available as a free PDF download fromthe organization’s website, their homeschool curriculum claims that it will help students strengthen their critical thinking skills and their faith in God.

And in a way, it is a “test of faith.” This is because this curriculum would certainly test the faith of your children in relation to God’s Word. The curriculum undermines the authority of the Bible! Please don’t subject your children to such a Bible undermining program. Teach them the Word of God without compromise.

The introduction to the curriculum makes the position of the authors clear: “The Test of FAITH DVD and the related Introductory Course for Homeschoolers aim to complement these materials by exploring Theistic Evolution, which is the most commonly held view among Christians working in the sciences” (p. 4). Just because theistic evolution is the most commonly held view doesn’t mean that it’s in line with God’s Word. Majority opinion does not determine truth!

The authors base their conclusions about theistic evolution on the faulty assumption that the Bible is not trustworthy.

The Bible was written in a pre-scientific time and does not speak directly to all the issues that new technologies and scientific ideas raise. (p. 4)

The authors use the term “pre-scientific time” in a derogatory manner (i.e., they likely believe that God told them only what they could understand about the creation, and therefore none of the account can be trusted). They also don’t distinguish between observational and historical science.

One of the featured interviews in the accompanying DVD is with John Polkinghorne, a former professor of mathematical physics and an ordained Anglican priest. In the DVD, he is touted as an “authority” on science and religion. He divides the Bible and science, saying, “I think science tells us how the world works, but religion tells us there is a meaning and purpose, something being fulfilled in the unfolding of the history of the world. So I need both those perspectives if I am truly to understand the really rich and remarkable world in which we live” (p. 16).

Polkinghorne and the other academics interviewed for this curriculum do not believe that Genesis is accurate in its account of creation. For them, Genesis only teaches theological concepts about God and man—not literal history as it actually does!

As is usual with such compromising material, the whole curriculum confuses observational and historical science. But here we even have a scientist mixing observational science (testable and repeatable) with historical science—beliefs about the past and origins (not testable or repeatable).

When it comes to the origin of the universe (historical science), we must look to God’s Word for answers—from the eyewitness account of the Creator. Unproven, untestable conjecture based on man’s fallible ideas won’t do. We need the Word of the only 100% reliable witness—the Creator God.

The introduction closes, “Above all, the goal of Test of FAITH is to encourage and reassure you that Christian belief has what it takes to pass modern science’s ‘test of faith’” (p. 4). Since when does God’s Word have to pass any of science’s “tests”? Professing Christians should be looking at observational science to see if this confirms man’s beliefs such as evolution (which it does not) or God’s Word concerning Genesis (which it most certainly does).

All this error I discussed above is in just the one-page introduction of the curriculum! Imagine what the rest is like.

The Devil is out to win over our children, and we must prepare them for the “tests of faith” that secularists and believers who have compromised with evolutionary ideas will bring their way. This curriculum does not pass the “test of faith.” It is a curriculum that fails the test, as it fails to stand on the authority of the Word of God beginning in Genesis.

Really, I think the curriculum should be named “Question Your Faith.” I believe it will cause many children and adults to stumble as they will end up questioning their faith in God’s Word!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken

(Steve Golden assisted with the research for this blog post.)