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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Educate, Not Indoctrinate

Sorry this post is so late today.

Throughout this busy/packed day, I have been thinking about a few ideas and beliefs that I do no agree with. The problem is that I don't have a particularly good way of disagreeing.

See, these purported truths are part of these people's internal... "doctrines"--personal beliefs?--that are founded on little more than the fact that others whom they trust have told them the idea is true.

And how do we challenge such a thing?

How should we?

With education.

And I don't mean: Let's educate them with the opposite bias.

That's for the "scientific" community, the religious cults, and totalitarian governments. That is not where we, as seekers of reality and truth, begin when we approach topics with which we disagree or find implausible.

Rather, we seek out as much information as possible. We try to see all sides. We ask for the best arguments, the most informed reasoning, and the clearest explanations. In essence we look for the truth by asking questions and trying to learn.

Because what is true should eventually surface.

And that is why Sonlight has long held a focus on trying to educate, not indoctrinate.

Not that doctrine, or a belief held because they are considered true by trustworthy people, is a bad thing. But doctrine should be accepted with a constant eye on the detractors. What do those who hold differently say?

They may never come up with anything convincing themselves, but the more educated we are about the arguments, the firmer we can be in our beliefs.

And that's one of the many reasons why Sonlight continues to encourage questions. You can read more about these kinds of thoughts in reasons 11, 12, and 15 in Sonlight's reasons not to buy from Sonlight.

I do my best to ask questions, especially when I disagree with someone, and not just write them off as stupid, deluded, or an &*$!@%# retard... all of which I have heard very "intelligent" people use as reasons for another's dissension.

May you be more winsome and wise in your rebuttals and remarks.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Craig and Heather said...

Luke, this is a great observation.

There seems to be a strong belief among more liberal-minded (meaning pro-public school, "open minded", anti-Christian sorts) that homeschooled children of Christian families are simply being "indoctrinated" with religious dogma.

And while I agree that this can be true in some instances, I think that any believer who understands the nature of salvation will realize that it is not something that *we* as parents can force on our children. I don't want my kids to just be good at mimicking the "right" way. Or have them be able to follow a given party line so well that they even fool themselves into thinking they are a new creation in Christ.

Personally, I think that as we train our children academically, we need to share our faith, live our beliefs and (judiciously) expose our children to "the world" so that they are not completely ignorant when we finally turn them loose.

Parents should take seriously our responsibility but only God can truly change a heart.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Well, I think there's a line there that is different for everyone.

I have heard grave WARNINGS from people on the MOMYs board that Sonlight has nudity in some of its books. I think this was solved by some of the moms with extensive stickers or doodling long dresses on the ladies, and there were discussions as to which types of pen works best for this.

(Which doesn't give that authenticity to the time period studied LOL! I'm thinking I'd rather not buy it at all if I have to doctor it like that... Imagine, those Greek ladies with dresses below their knee, looking all Prairie Muffin, would ya?)

I'm having a hard time with this very concept because I see certain kids who don't quite get that line between fantasy and reality. I mean, I'll be reading a Greek myth where Hermes is popping out and Neptune is stirring up the water, and the winds are being let out of bags, etc. and one of the kids will go, "Mom, is this a true story?"

Luke Holzmann said...

Heather, you said it better than I could <smile>. Thank you so much!

Mrs. C, your concerns are very valid, but not exactly what I was talking about. And actually--I'm assuming you're talking about The Usborne Time Traveler book--has been modified by the publisher. They have done the work for you and painted on some clothes in the Egyptian section.

That actually bothered me. Partially because they didn't actually try to make their edits artistic, they just slapped some colored shapes over the offending areas.

Definitely modify everything for your children and their needs. Absolutely. That's part of what being a parent is all about... and one more reason why homeschooling is such a beautiful and effective thing. But I'm fairly confident that you also would rather educate your children--with materials appropriate for them--instead of indoctrinating them. Yes? <smile>


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Oh, I dunno. I kind of like indoctrinating them. :]

All riiiight. Seriously? I present the Christian viewpoint (or what I believe it to be) at this age and tell them that other people think (whatever) because (whatever reason) but don't go very far into it.

I don't know if I mentioned before, but we're taking a year off of Bob Jones next year for Social Studies. Your "27 reasons" actually got me doing a fair bit of thinking and we are going to go around the world so to speak and learn about other places and cultures. But I'm just not ready to "steep" them in another viewpoint, does that make sense?

I keep looking at the big markable map. I'm thinking about that when we get ready to take off on our "travels."

Do you know what got me interested in the map? Someone talking about how unnecessary it was on the choosing forums. Then I looked at it and now I'm not sure I can live without it for another week. :]

Luke Holzmann said...

Mrs. C, there will always be some form of indoctrination going on. It's impossible to escape. But by at least providing some semblance of the other side, we do open it up for more understanding and, hopefully, more truth.

And I wouldn't say that Sonlight steeps students in a non-Christian worldview. I feel like I was adequately exposed to other worldviews/perspectives/questions, but I wasn't steeped in anything but orthodox Christianity. But what you say totally makes sense. I'm totally behind you doing what you feel is right for your kids.

That story about the Markable Map is hilarious! Good stuff.

Thanks so much for sharing. <smile>


Ps. Sometimes this feels like email between us. I'm sorry there isn't an easier way to get this message to you and still keep it as a comment for others to read <smile>.


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Luke Holzmann
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