Ask The Principal

Monday, June 12, 2006

Textbooks, the teacher substitute

Before you think I'm wanting everyone to burn their textbooks I should make a point: I am not against textbooks. They are a helpful tool. They have also become a vehicle to determine what information is shared, or not shared. They have also become a tool to determine how information is shared. In fact, the textbook series in the public arena is so comprehensive that it almost makes training teachers obsolete.

Ok, not entirely, to be fair. It just makes it really easy to just copy the masters, pass out questions, speak out to the class what to discuss and what the answers should be solicited from the students (even though we have heard that there are no right or wrong answers sometimes....the teacher always has a direction the discussion will go in) and packaged tests that ask questions on what information was thought to be important enough to remember for the week.

Modern textbooks will have all sorts of resources to use. Even in homeschooling there are a lot of varieties of programs to choose from. We can become overwhelmed in trying to choose the best for our kids. So can the public educator. So what do we do?

We do what's best for our kids! The public educator does that too! Except with his/her values, worldview, opinions, biases, prejudices, sinful pre-dispositions, etc. Question is, who's values, worldview, opinions, biases, prejudices, and sinful pre-dispositions do you want influencing your child for 7 hours a day, plus afterschool homework club, etc.? Hmmmmmm. That just may make the textbook issue a little moot right now....something to think about...because just as some of you don't really use texts for all subjects, many public educators don't either. They supplement, add, subtract, modify....all according to what seems right to them.

Yes they are supposed to use approved resources and to varying degrees these resources are used. But don't think that just because a resource lines up with state adopted standards for a particular grade level, and that book is in the classroom, or in your child's backpack that that is exactly what your children are getting.

So we, as homeschool parents need to care about textbooks. But we need to care more about the spiritual state of our child, the heart attitudes that need correction that would flourish in the public school environment. It is a challenge, a really hard challenge sometimes, to find the right materials for our kids. Doggonit! Don't we want this to be easier? Yes, we want the perfect package for the perfect price. But we work hard and trust in the sovereignty of God that we are by His Grace providing the education our child needs.

The state, however, is really concerned about textbooks because that is the primary way those with influence can market their ideology the quickest. California still cannot adopt a social studies book because they can't decide how to treat certain 'religious' topics in the 6th grade text.

The next best way is influence in the universities and colleges putting out credentialed teachers and administrators. By the way, just because a teacher went to a Christian school doesn't mean that they were trained to teach in a Christian worldview. The Christian college or university was accredited by the state because it taught statist methodologies approved in that state's department of education.

Well, that wraps up my textbook series. I didn't want to get too technical...frankly because I didn't want to feel like I was in college again. But that brings up a point I alluded to earlier...that is with all the jargon and technical methods taught in universities to the teacher it is really easy for the teacher to discount homeschooling as "unprofessional" and second rate. All I can say to that, besides "humbug" is that as Christian homeschooling families we cherish what the world despises, that is, "the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God". (I Corinthians 1:18)

Finally, please stop by OneWayPurpose: Why Homeschool Part I and Part II to read an interview with me by David Boskovic. Some of the dialog in the comments would be very interesting to read. I (along with David's brother) made somebody a little cranky. We principals are wont to bring out the ugly sarcastic side in people from time to time :-)


  • This is a little scary. I'm a public educator whose children are homeschooled too. Wow. You can visit my family site at or a group blog in which I post at

    By Anonymous swamphopper, at Tuesday, June 13, 2006 9:30:00 PM  

  • I just found your blog thanks to Spunky. My question -- why is it okay to take money from public education to support your family but public education is not good enough for your children. Seems hypocritical to me. I want to understand. Thanks -- if you have already written about this please point me to that entry.

    One of the biggest problems (I fear) public schools have today is there are too many people who feel it is okay to earn a living off the taxpayers but are not engaged enough in the system (i.e. their children are not in public schools) and they are part of the problem when it comes to making massive change to a broken system. If one of the major stakeholders is not truly 100% involved (teachers and adminstrators) how can the system ever be fixed or done away with and replaced.

    The really good companies understand they operate successfully only when all stakeholders (clients, associates and shareholders) feel good about what they do, where they work, etc. To me, this is education's greatest weakness. Dis-engaged or unengaged educators are weak and the weak link in the process of reform.

    I look forward to your response. I will bookmark your blog and explore it more fully.

    Thank you --

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, June 14, 2006 6:32:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the link Swamphopper, I'll be checking it out. Anonymous, you bring up some good points that I may have already partially addressed in a previous post, that I don't know how to link from here, under "Why I'm a public school principal" I'll put togeter another post to address some of your questions more thouroughly. The next series after that will be on school safety.

    By Blogger The Principal, at Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:35:00 PM  

  • Anon, Re: 100% involved

    If the teachers/administrators aren't parents of children currently in the system they operate, it could be argued they are not 100% involved - whether their kids are taught at home, private school, they are not of compulsory attendance age, or have completed their K-12 education. What about teachers who have never raised children? Is it hypocritical for them to advise actual parents on child rearing or school choice? The only adult parties that can always (albeit potentially) qualify for 100% involvement are the parents of the children. They have the vested interest in the education of the child and nothing monetary to gain. They will spend money regardless of which education option is chosen.

    The homeschooler is 100% involved. They organize, select curriculum, teach and pay for 100% of the education of their child. Their work is not subsidized through the forced taxation of their fellow man, his goods and his real property. In addition, they pay into the local/state/federal tax systems to support others who chose to involve outside contractors in the education of their children via the public school system (as we all do). In addition to that, Bill has taken upon himself to participate in that process as a contractor. If anything, I see Bill as putting his money where his mouth is. He has "been involved" with the public system on a daily basis, sees a better way to educate and desires to encourage others to see that total reliance on the outside contractor isn't the best way.

    By Anonymous Eric Holcombe, at Friday, June 16, 2006 11:19:00 AM  

  • Nicely put Eric,

    I alluded to some of whay you said in my hyporcrite post, but you have a great way of bringing it right back to the homeschooler. Thanks for your comments.


    By Blogger The Principal, at Friday, June 16, 2006 1:42:00 PM  

  • "Except with his/her values, worldview, opinions, biases, prejudices, sinful pre-dispositions, etc. Question is, who's values, worldview, opinions, biases, prejudices, and sinful pre-dispositions do you want influencing your child for 7 hours a day, plus afterschool homework club, etc.? Hmmmmmm. "

    I am a public school educator. I love my job and the school in which I work. I adore my students (they’re in high school) and the opportunity to educate them. I even *gasp* believe in public school. Our classroom is a place where diversity is celebrated, and beliefs are not stomped upon. I am also a follower of Christ. Because of my firm scriptural foundation, I can hear "opinions, beliefs, etc." that don't jive with mine and understand more of the world in which I am called to make disciples.

    If we provide a firm foundation at home, why are we to fear public school? Is pulling every Christian child from the schools the answer? Perhaps our children can be beacons of light, as well!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, June 18, 2006 2:07:00 AM  

  • Dear Anonymous,

    I plan to do a little blurb on the childrens crusade of 1212. There are many similarities between what happened to them and what happens to our kids sent on their own crusade w/out their parents into a foreign land of public education. Stay tuned.

    By Blogger The Principal, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 1:28:00 PM  

  • One of the biggest problems (I fear) public schools have today is there are too many people who feel it is okay to earn a living off the taxpayers but are not engaged enough in the system...

    Don't you know the Real top of the food chain is The Parasite?

    Ask any drooling fanboy.

    Ask any arrogant welfare bum getting in-your-face to "all you stupid suckers who actually WORK for a living".

    Ask any Big Name Netizen posting from his mommy's basement ("MOMMMM! I NEED TO 'BORROW' MORE MONEYYYYYY!!!")

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, August 21, 2006 1:00:00 PM  

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