TEXTBOOKS: suggestions for homeschooling?

From: <douglas.hayworth@perbio.com>
Date: Wed Aug 10 2005 - 12:54:32 EDT

Hello friends,

I'm back on the asa list after a long absence while I was busy with other
things.

As some of you may know, my wife and I homeschool our three kids (ages 7,
10, 12). We use SonLight Curriculum, which is extremely good in being
history- and literature-based, evangelically-oriented but fairly ecumenical
and "non-protectionist". They do not author and publish very much of their
own books, but instead use general (and not exclusively Christian)
literature and texts based on quality, their world history emphasis, and
conduciveness to homeschooling. For example, they have used many Usbourne
books for elementary school science.

SonLight has recently adopted use of Jay L. Wile's "Exploring Creation"
textbook series for grades 7-12 (see www.apologia.com). I just received the
7th grade text "Exploring Creation With General Science". The text is very,
very good in many ways (style of presentation, proper description of what
science is and how it works, good questions for thought, many experiments
that can be done at home). Unfortunately, Wile is a staunch YEC who is
convinced that the evidence for an old earth and evolution is poor and the
evidence for a young earth is substantial. As a consequence, he presents
Darwin and Lyell as examples of a scientists whose theories served to
advanced science in some ways but were fundamentally wrong. Evolution is
not a big component of the 7th grade content, but geology is; although Wile
presents basic geological concepts and terminology, he goes on to present
catastrophism as an equal (superior) competing theory with
uniformitarianism. He emphasizes YEC research about the canyons and rock
layering that occurred catastrophically in the Mt. St. Helens eruptions,
attempting to show that long time periods are not necessary for geological
structures. He also presents YEC examples that show calcification
(fossilization) of modern tools and man-made structures known to be less
than 100 years old, attempting to show that fossilization does not require
long time periods.

So here are my options:
1) Use Wile's text and supplement the YEC-biased discussions with my own.
2) Find an alternative homeschooling-oriented textbook series that does not
have a YEC bias.
3) Find a secular textbook series and then work hard to adapt the
experiments, etc. for homeschooling.

SonLight is not really YEC (the Usbourne books are secular and present
classic geological timescales and evolution), and I'm sure they chose
Wile's books for the reasons I mentioned above as being very good, and in
spite of his YEC bias (SonLight even makes a disclaimer in the description
of the highschool biology text that the book is very good except for the
lame discussion of evolution). For that reason, I doubt that option 2
exists (if it did, SonLight would use it).

Option three is also not likely to be workable. I've done some reading
online about science textbooks. Comissions from the AAAS
(www.project2061.org) and other places (e.g., www.scienceagogo.com/news/
20010004223346data_trunc_sys.shtml) indicate that there just aren't any
good middleschool science textbooks, period.

I'm inclined to take up option 1, and then offer my supplementary materials
for SonLight to suggest with Wile's books. In many ways, this will be most
effective in reaching the broadest audience (in homeschooling) with the
balanced perspective.

The best option would be to write my own textbook (Is anyone interested in
doing that with me?), but I'm not sure that I'm up to the task, and it
certainly isn't a solution for the upcoming school year.

Does anyone have recommendations for alternative options? Terry Gray, what
do you use to homeschool your kids?

Looking forward to your replies,
Douglas
Received on Wed Aug 10 12:55:33 2005

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