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Monday, February 2, 2009

Tekel and Other Writing on Walls

"You have been ... found wanting." ~ Daniel 5:27

If I ever see the phrase "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin" scratched into a public bathroom stall's wall, I will laugh. It would be just ironic enough to tickle my funny bone. But there are other times when people express a similar sentiment that isn't nearly so funny. Like the times people say, "You're not man enough to [insert important and manly ability here]." That isn't nice at all.

Of course, the majority of my readers are moms, so that example is not as personally applicable. Let me think.

...Oh! How about:

"You're not old enough to come with us!"

Shortly thereafter you will likely have a sobbing younger sibling to console.

Well, my dad has been lancing a boil of this nature recently on his blog. The claim he has been dealing with is that "Sonlight isn't Christian enough to be counted among the Christian Home Educators of Colorado."

And the overwhelming response?

"I'm so glad Sonlight isn't 'Christian' enough to be part of this group."

It all depends on whose scale you are using. If you are found wanting by someone with whom you disagree, that's not really a big deal. That would be the equivalent of caring about the judgment of the kid sitting in the bathroom stall and defacing public property. On the other hand, if you are found wanting by a group of well-respected people who have a lot of clout when it comes to your future... that's another thing entirely. If the finger of God wrote that, we'd better pay attention.

And so this issue revolves around the question of "What is Christian enough?" Clearly for some people in the homeschooling world, you must have a "metaphysic" that deluges everything you do with an overtly "Christian" message. And I would say that is writing on the other wall. Sonlight isn't like that--check out reasons 15 and 21, for example.

I wouldn't want to be part of a company that is truly found wanting. And while there is always room for improvement, Sonlight Curriculum is still the best* Christian home education supplier both in Colorado and the world. We're not for everyone, but that's okay.

Sorry, I'm really close to this subject and I felt I needed to toss in my two cents.

I hope tomorrow I don't come in to a bunch of emails and comments telling me how much this post has been found wanting. <smile> Until then!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

* Just because I'm biased does not mean I'm wrong <smile>.

16 comments:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I'm with you about Sonlight being the best, at least for us. Of course I also am one that immediately put everything for Core 3 into my wish list as soon as I ordered Core 2 lol

I must say, though, that I find it odd that there is a "Christian-enough" scale. My definition of Christian is one who follows Christ and having done all of Core K, most of Core 1, and looked at Core 2 I have no doubt that your parents have created a Christian curriculum.

But, really, I guess my definition can be ignored because I'm Mormon and so certainly don't measure up on the "Christian-enough" scale.

Melonie said...

Great post - and Heather left an AWESOME comment as well. I have loved Sonlight ever since I first visited the website years ago about it. Last year I wanted to buy it for this year, but the problem I now have is that it's "too" Christian (my husband and I do not share denomination). Being LDS I run into a lot of companies that tell me flat out I'M not Christian enough. Welcome to the fold. ;-)

PS if it's any consolation, I couldn't resist asking a friend in CO about that particular group - she said that's just one of many "issues" that have come up with the group. Again, you're apparently not the only ones. Bummer. Last I heard the homeschooling community was very diverse and could use access to any and all resources. Bah humbug.

Kimmie said...

Hi Luke;

I think you and your dad handled the situation very well. Honestly, I would be very surprised if no one contacted you in regards to your dad's query to the group's leader.

Praying for God to give you opportunity and then for wisdom of how to move within it.

bless you and continue to do what God has called you to. Knowing that this is what your doing will keep your heart and minds at peace. May He bless you and increase you (and your business which I find to be very Christian.)

Kimmie
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Rose said...

Just wanted to add my kudos to Sonlight. As a lover of Christ, of course I want my children to grow into people who live to honor God, but to do that properly they have to live in this world. To be salt, they most be mixed in amongst that which they are seasoning. They cannot do this if they stay in the salt shaker. Is that a bad metaphor? It may be, but I think it fits. :) Thank you, Sonlight, for helping my husband and me prepare my children to to be seasoning in the world.

Kim & Dave said...

Yep....part of why we like SL is because it teaches about many differenbt ideas/beliefs!

One of the things we (my hubby & I) want to avoid as a homeschooling family is sheltering our kids TOO much!

SL helps expose them to ideas we may not agree with, but we can discuss them in our own home & on our terms!!

Meg_L said...

Amazing. You know I'm not a big fan of Sonlight, but talk about taking nit-picking to extreme.

I really enjoyed the irony that you were okay for the take home bags and such, but they wouldn't take your $$ to have a booth.

I have to say it doesn't improve my opinion of the run of the mill fundies' organizations. I'm guessing they will get some complaints from attendees.

OTH, your dad handled it with style.

Deanna in CO said...

I don't blame you a bit for being upset about this issue - it upsets me as well. I would define myself as a "Christian home educator in Colorado," and I've attended the CHEC convention for years. Not only that, I'm pretty much of a "fundamentalist" - I'm a conservative, Republican, young-earth, Bible-believing, evangelical Christian, and I DO think it's important that my Christianity be well and thoroughly integrated into my children's education - that's one of the reasons I homeschool. I even moved away from SL to another curriculum the last couple of years because I wanted deeper questions in the junior-high years than SL provided. (I'm back to stay, though, after this year - the other curriculum is BORING!)

But I was horrified and angry when I discovered Sonlight was excluded from the CHEC convention last year - angry enough that I'm seriously debating whether I want to continue to be associated with CHEC. They are becoming more and more exclusive, and I find myself less and less interested in participating. After having used Sonlight every year from Pre-K through Core 5, I simply cannot see why they believe Sonlight "isn't Christian enough." Exactly how do they define "Christian" that it excludes Sonlight? It certainly can't be on the basis of the beliefs of the founders (except of course for the young-earth/old-earth thing - but while they may believe old-earth creationism to be in error, it hardly makes you unbelievers - and anyway, SL tries to be even-handed and primarily presents young-earth creation).

It seems to me that these folks WANT to exclude SL because of the science issue, or because SL uses some books they disagree with, and so they are using the excuse that you are "not Christian enough." Anybody who looks carefully (and objectively) at SL will see that Christianity permeates the whole curriculum. I've actually recommended SL to unbelievers, but I always caution them that SL is overtly Christian and they will have to put in some work to filter that if they don't want to teach it. In my opinion, SL is the best CHRISTIAN curriculum available - it is interesting, it is balanced, and it faces our kids with the reality of the world they will confront as adults (in measured doses, along with plenty of solid doctrine and apologetics so they'll know the truth as well).

As for CHEC, in my opinion they are marginalizing themselves, alienating even solid Christian homeschoolers like me by insisting that everyone must agree - about young-earth science, about large families, about long hair and dresses, about never sending a child to any school or school district program, and so on. I wish we had another option here in Colorado - hey, do you think your parents would be interested in starting one? :)

Thanks, and keep up the good work!

onfire in PNG said...

this curriculum has led us to do more soul searching, opened more discussion about heady things and helped us all to breathe the proverbial sigh of contented relief than anything else I have ever put together for us ... perhaps my own study guides being the exception (which could have been written by Sonlight, to my glee)because, well, because they ended up being exactly what we wanted.
I am telling all my friends about how much fun we are having learning

~ Angi :) said...

I *so* value Sonlight's approach, particularly in light of our exodus from the institutional church some years ago [pre-SL].

I feel that the questions that SL causes a student to probe only serves to strengthen ones' ability to engage with the subject matter of Christ, and effectively interact with other religious viewpoints.

"My way or the highway" thoughts, like the one pronounced on SL leaves a sour taste in my mouth these days . . .

I'd therefore liken SL to Jesus, as He sat on the well, speaking with the woman of Samaria.

Jesus was willing to speak to those the [religious] weren't. Jesus was successful in winning the faith of the entire town.

Go Jesus! :D

Luke said...

Heather, I love the "immediately put everything for Core 3 into my wish list as soon as I ordered Core 2" bit. Fantastic [smile].

Melonie, I agree: Bah humbug!

Now, I found it very fun that both of you--my first two comments--are from the Mormon view. That's really encouraging to me personally. I love talking with Mormon missionaries whenever they come by, and we try to feed them lunch <smile>. I'm fairly vocal--on a personal level--about my convictions when it comes to LDS teachings, and I'm glad I haven't offended you or run you off. Please keep coming back! I love you both and am honored to have you as friends <smile>.

Kimmie, thank you so much for your blessing! We are still hoping for this to lead to God's glory and the strengthening of the Body of Christ.

Rose, I think the metaphor totally works <smile>.

"SL helps expose [our children] to ideas we may not agree with, but we can discuss them in our own home & on our terms!!" Amen, Kim. And may that always been true as that is one of the many great reasons to homeschool! <smile>

Meg, I'm so glad you stop by here now and again even though you aren't a fan of Sonlight. I firmly believe we often learn the most from the harshest critics <smile>. And I'm with you: Get too fundie and things go wonky; I love irony as well. <smile>

Deanna, I've been thinking about the possibility of starting up another homeschool support group/convention thing... but I don't know how feasible that would be. But I know I've been considering it after recent events <smile>. Thank you for your encouragement!

Kristina, thank you! Thank you for your support and "sharing the love" of Sonlight. May you continue to find incredible joy in your homeschooling journey.

"Go Jesus! :D" Amen, Angi. Amen. <smile>

I don't feel like I can say this enough: Thank you all for your kind comments and support. It really brightens my day to hear from all of you <smile>.

~Luke

A Touch of Tabitha said...

Megan,

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. You are entered in our Spring Fling Giveaway. You have a chance to win a free small tote bag (mom bag). You can read about the sweepstakes on my blog under "spring fling". Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the law about the stay on the crafting business is awesome! Good news!

Thanks again!
Crystal

Amanda said...

Don't worry, Sonlight will rise above this and still find its way into Colorado homeschooling homes.

I love Sonlight!

BTW, thank you for stopping by my blog the other day. I am definitely a mom learning more history now with her elementary age children than she did in all her days in school.

Mrs. C said...

Honestly?

I can be friendly with just about anybody. But I want my curriculum to reflect my own values and beliefs, which are at odds with Mormonism or even Catholicism. I can be "ok" with a science curriculum that teaches about electricity or whatever, but the very second you wander off into the idea that the earth could be billions of years old, well, I'm not spending my money on that. We could get that for free at the public school. Maybe I'll change my mind on that when my homeschoolers are older, but that's where I am now.

That being said, I'm not Jesus and just make these decisions for my own family. I'm afraid that there is quite the polarization thing happening out in the homeschool world, and I don't like it. I think there is a difference between making good judgments for your own family, giving wise advice to others you know personally... and wandering into judgmentalism and Phariseeism when everyone else doesn't measure up to your own standards.

I enjoy our math curriculum from Sonlight. It would bother me immensely if someone were to tell me that it couldn't be sold at a convention because there isn't a Bible verse after each equation.

Even though most of my curriculum is from Bob Jones, I appreciate the Sonlight website and the idea that every family should decide for itself. Too bad everyone can't at least agree on that!

God bless you. :]

Luke said...

Crystal, I'm not Megan <smile>. Blogger must have gone wonky on you there and somehow dropped your comment off with me. Since this was a fluke, I'm not sure you'll be back to see that... but I hope Megan gets her prize if she wins <smile>.

Amanda, thanks so much for the support! I really appreciate it. And, hey, I grew up with Sonlight and I still expect to learn more this time around <smile>.

Mrs. C, Sonlight's science program is Young Earth. My dad, however, includes, and looks like will continue to push for more, titles that offer the evidence for the other side. He believes that we should be informed about the arguments and ideas of both sides so we can interact more knowledgeably with others. But I completely agree with you: Stick with what is right for your family! And thanks for adding your thoughts. I always love reading them <smile>.

~Luke

Cheryl said...

So - I'm actually a Sonlighter GOING to the CHEC convention - reluctantly, but I have another good friend who is speaking, and so I'm attending to support her. Where can I buy a few SL TShirt with the lovely new logo to wear for the 3 days we are there? Or would that be too inflamatory? Tee Hee!

Luke said...

Cheryl, you crack me up! <smile> Please don't be inflammatory and have a great time.

Re-pre-sent! <smile>

~Luke


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