Talk:Homeschooling

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I would dispute saying Patton was a Christian as he believed in reincarnation (show me where this is in line with scripture) Brigham Young was a Mormon, not a christian.

Mormons consider themselves to be Christians.
The official name of their church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("LDS Church" for short).
See material I've just moved to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#Mormons' relationship to Christianity.
One dictionary definition of "Christian" is "Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus." It seems to me that Mormons meet that definition.
Who ought to make the judgement, among all the denominations that regard themselves as Christian, which are "really Christian?" Dpbsmith 20:10, 18 January 2007 (EST)
P. S. The question of what Mormons believe is sure to receive a lot of discussion in a year or so, since Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is running for President. Dpbsmith 20:14, 18 January 2007 (EST)

Are you a Mormon? Not to be prejudiced against you if you are but just wondering. Will N.

  • No, I'm not a Mormon. Dpbsmith 21:37, 18 January 2007 (EST)
I probably should explain more. I did react to the phrase "a Mormon not a Christian." What went through my mind, and what I knew off the top of my head was: "Whoa! That's not right. Mormons consider themselves to be Christians, and the church is even called Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints." I also got just a little bit of steam up, because there is some discrimination against Mormons—assuming Mitt Romney runs I think we'll have plenty of chance to see this soon—and saying that Mormons aren't Christians sounds a little like an attack.
So, after I wrote what I knew off the top of my head, from my experience with Wikipedia and with college, etc. I've found that if you want to convince other people, instead of just telling them what you think, it helps if you can show them why you think that. So I decided to do a bit of very quick research. I figured that Mormons probably get asked this question a lot and that the official LDS church website would probably have something to say about it.
First I found the passage I put in quotation marks above, the one that begins "Jesus Christ is the Son of God." I probably should have stopped there, but when I saw that they actually have a "Frequently Asked Questions" page with answers to the questions "Are you Christians" and "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a Christian church?" I couldn't resist putting that in, too. I probably put in too much. Dpbsmith 05:45, 19 January 2007 (EST)

Ben Franklin was a Deist --TimSvendsen 22:58, 18 January 2007 (EST)

Yes, that's right... no time to look further but I'm pretty sure Franklin did not believe in the divinity of Jesus and did not belong to an organized Christian church. Guess the whole list needs checking? Dpbsmith 05:45, 19 January 2007 (EST)

Homeschooled or not?

I made a minor edit to the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart entry today reflecting the fact that he was homeschooled. This was almost immediateley changed back by dpbsmith, with the explanation that "he wasn't homeschooled as we know the term today"

Now, this is all well and good, except that in the article for omeschooling, his name is on the list of famous people who were homeschooled, with an internal link to theMozart article!

So which is it? Was he homeschooled or not? And please, this is isn't an attempt to start a big discussion of the meaning of homeschooling etc. I'm just asking for some consistency between articles here. Either a person was homeschooled, in which case their entries should be amended to reflect that fact, or they should be removed from the list of "Famous people who were homeschooled."

I'll wait a bit to see what the consensus is, but if their names are still on that list in a few days, I'm going to fix those articles to reflect that fact. --TrueReaganConservative 13:40, 27 February 2007 (EST)

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds—Emerson.
The thing is that this article is sort of a hash. I haven't wanted to take this sorry article entire, shatter it to bits and remould it nearer to my heart's desire because I think it's here as a sort of inspiration to the students who use the site. It looks to me like one of those "X pride" lists where X is any group that is a little out of the mainstream and wants to encourage its members that it's OK.
The quickest way to fix this article would be retitle the actual list something like "High-achieving Christians who were educated at home."
This isn't really a factual article about homeschooling, it's a point-of-view piece that says that being educated at home not only does not put you at a disadvantage vis-a-vis public or private schools, it can be an advantage. This is very arguably true and the list is evidence in support of it.
What the list is not is a list of people who have undergone "Christian homeschooling."
Homeschooling is a sort of movement, mostly in the U. S. I think, that began more or less in the 1970s. Around that time there was a noticable drop in public confidence in the public schools. Maybe I remember it had something to do with John Holt? How Children Fail?
"Homeschooling" to me does not mean simply being educated at home. It means that parents have actively opted out of an existing system of compulsory public schooling, and educate their children at home in order to assert direct personal supervision of the content and values that their children are being taught.
Calling Mozart (say) "homeschooled" is like calling Thomas Jefferson "a Republican" or William Gladstone "a Liberal" or asserting "Jimmy Carter and Joseph Stalin were both Georgians." Technically true, but confusing at best. Dpbsmith 18:08, 27 February 2007 (EST)
I'll defer to the consensus view, but I don't see why Mozart should be eliminated. He was homeschooled in a Christian manner. What's the big deal about observing that fact? I don't think there has to have been compulsory education in his day to make this observation meaningful. At a minimum, Mozart is an example of someone who learned at home and excelled afterwards. Probably his home education has something to do with his work. This is information worth preserving, and let readers debate as they wish. As Fox News says, "We report. You decide."--Aschlafly 18:35, 27 February 2007 (EST)

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw... hmmm... I don't think he would have cared for being labelled as a Christian. You can make out a case that he did accept some of the moral teachings of Jesus as Shaw, personally interpreted them. But in his will, he wrote:

My religious convictions and scientific views cannot at present be more specifically defined than as those of a believer in creative revolution. I desire that no public monument or work of art or inscription or sermon or ritual service commemorating me shall suggest that I accepted the tenets peculiar to any established church or denomination nor take the form of a cross or any other instrument of torture or symbol of blood sacrifice.[1]

If he was a Christian, he was an awfully complicated and unusual Christian. He certainly did not belong to any organized denomination. He wrote that there was “not a single established religion in the world in which an intelligent or educated man could believe."

He did write that "Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it." And he wrote that "Christianity as a specific doctrine was slain with Jesus, suddenly and utterly." That is, he did not think any organized Christian religions actually practiced the teachings of Jesus.

He wrote a lot about Christianity in his Preface to Androcles and the Lion. I'm not going to try to summarize it, partly because I haven't read it through in a long time, but also because Shaw's ideas are so very original and unorthodox that they are really hard to pigeonhole.

He dealt with religious themes in his plays Saint Joan, Major Barbara, and Androcles and the Lion, and in their prefaces, but if you can tell "which side" he's on after reading those plays, you're better than I am.

He also dealt with evolution, in the play Back to Methuselah and the Preface to it—in a way which will not please either evolutionists or creationists. Dpbsmith 11:10, 20 January 2007 (EST)

I question the inclusion of Mark Twain, similarly. Dpbsmith 12:32, 20 January 2007 (EST)

Recent additions

Harpie Snark recently added John Walker Lindh, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, Charles Fletcher Lummis, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Christopher Paolini to the list. I deleted them when reverting some vandalism.

I'm restoring Charles Fletcher Lummis and Christopher Paolini on his say-so.

Franklin D. Roosevelt attended Groton, an elite private prep school.

John Walker Lindh is a Taliban member and Adam Yahiye Gadahn is an Al-Qaeda member. I don't think they should go onto the list without a pretty good source citation, on the grounds that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," or, in this case, surprising claims require good evidence. Dpbsmith 18:37, 23 February 2007 (EST)

Christopher Paolini is the author of the Inheritance Trilogy (Eragon, Eldest, and a third book yet unreleased). I know he was home schooled, but have never seen anything about his beliefs. I asked to judge by his writing, I would tend to think he is not a Christian based on some elements of his books such as the atheism of the elves. So if anyone has a source for this, please post it. ~ SharonS 19:45, 23 February 2007 (EST)
Raw results:
There's a source for his being home-schooled, anyway: A profile of Christopher Paolini, "He was home-schooled by his parents, Kenneth Paolini and Talita Hodgkinson, through an accredited correspondence course at American School, Chicago, Illinois from which he graduated with his high school diploma at 15 years of age." Dpbsmith 20:16, 23 February 2007 (EST)
Gadahn apparently was home-schooled: 'Average American boy' accused as terrorist, Adam was the oldest of four children, all of whom were home-schooled.
A lot of Google hits on Lindh being home-schooled, but it's all blogs... Some stuff about in Google Books about Lindh "beginning life as a Christian" but turning to Islam "in high school."
This page credits Lummis as begin home-schooled but does not itself cite its sources... No clear whether or not this is supposed to be a list of home-schooled Christians... FDR listed, Groton not explained... She also lists Paolini... Dpbsmith 20:27, 23 February 2007 (EST)

Sources: Adam Yahiye Gadahn: New Yorker John Walker Lindh: blessedcause.org Franklin D. Roosevelt: National Park Service Harpie snark 14:30, 26 February 2007 (EST)

Good. Thanks. I appreciate it. I'm removing the Wikipedia references because Wikipedia itself does not consider Wikipedia articles reliable sources that can be cited in other articles.
FDR: I'm adding a note to the FDR entry, because it seems to me to be a borderline case; I don't think private tutors and Groton would be everyone's idea of what is meant by "Christian homeschooling."
Lindh: I don't really know what to make of the blessedcause.org BlessedCause reference, both because I don't understand what the site is about... but in any case, I do not see where it identifies Lindh as being Christian homeschooled. In fact if I understand the article it says there's a dispute about where he went to school, and says that according to Houghton Mifflin, he went to a public middle school in Marin County—an assertion which the site attacks. The Wikipedia article says he was homeschooled starting at age 12, but does not say he was Christian homeschooled. Wikipedia's own source for that item (wrongly formatted in the article) is a web page entitled The Making of John Walker Lindh. I read it as saying that he was in and out of public schools, and I do not see anything to suggest that his homeschooling resembles what is meant by "Christian homeschooling."
Gadahn: The source you cite says, pretty clearly I think, "Adam also joined several Christian homeschool support groups. (At the time, nearly all such groups in the region were Christian," so I don't see any question that he was "Christian homeschooled." Dpbsmith 19:13, 26 February 2007 (EST)
Actually, there's a problem of definition here... this article has never defined exactly what the criterion is for inclusion in the list. Gadahn would be a good example of someone who clearly did undergo "Christian homeschooling," and certainly was "homeschooled," but surely was not "a Christian" and therefore not a "homeschooled Christian." I think this could use some discussion. Dpbsmith 19:36, 26 February 2007 (EST)
That strikes me as what will be viewed by our critics as pretty obvious nitpicking and cherrypicking of sources. Reading the sources I provided, it's clear that all three had Christian upbringings and were homeschooled, despite their subsequent failings. As for Adam Gadahn, "The Gadahns homeschooled Adam" and "Adam also joined several Christian homeschool support groups" are clear and explicit. There's no ambiguity there; Adam Gadahn was Christian homeschooled. And the source, The New Yorker, is as good as they get. [2] If we'd rather not have in the list those who were homeschooled but may be viewed as casting it in a poor light, then let's just come out and say that and not pretend that sources say something other than they do or rely on turns of semantics to contrive justifications for an incomplete list. If our ideas are indeed that strong and compelling, then they can easily withstand being scrutinized in full light of all facts, and to act otherwise by ignoring or dismissing unfavorable facts only undermines our position and claims and invites greater scrutiny. Better to just put all the cards on the table, deal with them and let the chips fall where they may. As I've said before on my talk page, either CP is going to have an accurate and complete article on homeschooling or it's going to have to censor information from it's articles which may be considered unfavorable to its stated orientation, it can't always have both. This is as good an article as any to choose which it's going be, right here, right now. Harpie snark 13:07, 27 February 2007 (EST)
I agree that it is hard given this evidence not to list Gadahn. The others are less persuasive. We need to resolve whether this is a list of Christians who were homeschooled, people who were Christian homeschooled, people who are Christian who happen to have been homeschooled, or Christians who were Christian homseschooled (I think that covers the 4 obvious possibilities). JoshuaZ 16:30, 27 February 2007 (EST)
I commented on Harpie's talk page but now realize that the debate is here. I'll only respond here now about this issue.
As anyone familiar with homeschool support groups knows, simply hanging around a loosely affiliated group does not make one a "Christian homeschooler" any more than living in a neighborhood makes one a member of the majority religion. The description of Gadahn is clear that he attended Christian homeschooling groups out of necessity, not by choice. This does not make him a Christian homeschooler any more than attending Georgetown Univ. made Bill Clinton a Catholic college student. As to Lindh, there is nothing Christian about his homeschooling or his own religion, so that's not even close.--Aschlafly 18:44, 27 February 2007 (EST)
Notice that if we can agree to let the title of the actual list be "High-achieving Christians who were educated at home," that includes Mozart and excludes Lindh and Gadahn. Dpbsmith 19:07, 27 February 2007 (EST)
Frankly the only thing necessary for a run-of-the-mill homeschooler to be a Christian homeschooler is intent on the part of the parents to provide a proper Christian education and action by them to keep them out of school and deliver a superior quality education at home themselves. Reading the New Yorker article it seems clear that this was the intent of the Gadahn's for young Azzam Adam, no matter how terribly they failed: [3] Now arguing that Adam Gadahn was not Christian homeschooled because he didn't chose to but rather was compelled to is a red herring; many Christian homeschooled children would prefer to be playing Left Behind: Eternal Forces rather than studying math, so by that standard not many Christian homeschooled children would qualify as being Christian homeschooled. Meaning this rationale again opens us up to the lefty criticism that we exclude unfavorable facts from our articles, in other words, engaging in partisan, ideologically-motivated censorship. So if Aschlafly as the owner of this site really wants to exclude Gadahn as he seems to, we'd better set to work coming up with a reasonable-appearing justification for doing so that has at least a veneer of scholary fairness; regardless of what our motivations are, I'd think we'd want to avoid appearing to be censoring unfavorable facts in order to further our agenda. Thoughts? Harpie snark 19:58, 27 February 2007 (EST)
Harpie, there's no "censorship" or "exclu[sion]" here. The New Yorker article simply does not support the claim that Gadahn was a Christian homeschooler. The article says that, out of necessity, Gadahn was forced to associate with homeschool "support groups" for some of his teenage years. That association not necessarily even education. Every indication is that Gadahn was not Christian then, and is not now either.
Also, I might add, nearly 99% of Christian homeschoolers start early. It seems to me that both Gadahn and Lindh were latecomers to homeschooling long after their personalities and attitudes had formed. Often the latecomers are just passing through and are not influenced much by homeschooling. Contrast that with Mozart.
I think Dpbsmith has proposed an ideal solution. Certainly he captures the intent of the list.--Aschlafly 21:28, 27 February 2007 (EST)
Kind of like a book about "Famous Irish That Don't Drink". This is a brilliant solution! Now I understand how to handle situations like this. Since we don't engage in censorship or exclusion, we just need to find the right way to frame the issue that by necessity keeps any unfavorable facts out. Harpie snark 12:25, 1 March 2007 (EST)


I love your sarcastic enthusiasm-- it really strengthens your points more than talking straight could ever hope to. Even so, Ashlafly has a good point; Dpbsmith accurately capptured the intent of the list.

--BenjaminS 12:43, 1 March 2007 (EST)

Well, they say a little bit of honey makes the medicine go down better. Look, I've been in conservative political PR now for nearly 20 years and know a little something about crafting credible, effective messages, and we'd be a lot more credible and better off in the long term were we to follow the rationale I provided above. Our goal should not be to just get out the message, but to get out a credible and compelling one, and this subject and article is just one of many that will face this same issue. If we go around trumpeting our own version of reality while ignoring the one that is shared by all we run the risk of being caricatures of our own cause and ultimately all too easily dismissed by those we hope to convince. Harpie snark 13:34, 1 March 2007 (EST)

Expand this article

I'm not the person to do it. I know nothing about homeschooling, sent both of my kids to public schools (and state universities), hope I've got stuff sorta-kinda right, hope I haven't stepped on any toes, but, this should be an article where there's lots of expertise available. Dpbsmith 20:12, 28 February 2007 (EST)

Let me be more emphatic. There could be a lot more factual material about homeschooling here. Resources. Books. Tips on dealing with the authorities and how to jump through the legal hoops (I assume there are still some to jump through). There's an obvious opportunity here for people to add encyclopedic material that is informed by their personal experience and expertise. Say someone wants to homeschool in New Jersey or whereever. What office do you go to? What forms do you fill out? etc. Dpbsmith 15:39, 1 March 2007 (EST)

I don't think this is a good place to try to compile info about state homeschooling laws. There are other places that specialize in that. On the other hand, I agree that the article needs some serious work. Some thoughts:

Parents take a more active role in the education of their children when they homeschool. I'm uncomfortable with this general statement - while in some (many) cases it is true, there are lots of active parents with kids in public or private school (especially small church schools, I'm guessing), and there are homeschooling parents who simply hire a tutor (or several) and let them have at it.

The primary reason for homeschooling is to give the child a better education. A close second in reasons, however, is to avoid the culture of public school and its many adverse effects of hostility to Christianity and parental control, political bias, boredom, confusion, depression, etc. In fact, different families have different reasons for homeschooling, usually more than one. Religion may (or may not) be a factor; so might the quality of education. But there are other reasons - a child who is not being well-served by the public schools, a child who has a special talent or interest they wish to focus on, a family who wants to travel with dad on business, a family who lives in a very rural area far from schools (or who is sailing around the world, etc.), and so on. Various surveys have been done trying to rank the reasons, but I think we'd be better off with a list of possible reasons rather than trying to rank them. Homeschoolers are notoriously hard to count or survey.

In the United States, opting out of public schools is not new. When Thomas Edison's public school teacher said he was "addled," Edison's mother took him out of public school and taught him at home. But because of compulsory education laws—the first was passed in Massachusetts in 1852, and by 1918 every state had them—schooling at home was a violation of truancy laws, and was rare until the 1970s. On the other hand, *lots* of kids were educated at home in earlier centuries, and certain cultures (Native American?) may not have had "schools" at all back then. Also, the 1852 date sounds too late to me, though I could be wrong - can we get a cite there?

Also - is there a reason for listing Christian homeschoolers? Why not just list people who were educated at home (in one form or another), and then give a brief explaination of their situation - e.g. Sandra Day OConnor, educated at home when she was young as the ranch she lived on was very remote, or whatever.

A lot of thoughts - hope they are helpful. --Hsmom 23:49, 11 March 2007 (EDT)

Prominent homeschooled Christians?

By your own definition, you have to "opt out" of formal education to be considered "homeschooled." Thus, I'm curious what system DaVinci, Washington, et al, opted out of.-AmesG 13:25, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

That's why, some time ago, I changed the title of the list to "High-achieving Christians who were educated at home." Homeschooling as we know it in the United States essentially began in the 1970s. This very interesting article on Homeschoolers: Estimating Numbers and Growth suggests that there were about a million homeschoolers circa 1998. However, in the "late 1970s and early 1980s" it says "about 10,000 to 15,000" children received their education at home. At a very rough guess, today's U. S. adult population probably includes less than 100,000 people over 21, probably less than 25,000 people over 30, and practically none over 40. Not a large population, and not enough time to become spectacularly high achievers... yet. Dpbsmith 17:34, 24 March 2007 (EDT)
I changed the definition part to remove the "opt out" wording - it is somewhat an attempt to address your concern above, and also an attempt to put the emphasis on what homeschoolers *do* (learn outside of school), than what they *don't do* (go to school). Not perfect, but a step in the right direction, I think. --Hsmom 21:35, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

I agree. I think that this kind of simplistic list can be a bit meaningless. Better would be a list of people with unconventional educations or minimal formal education with a brief explanation of their circumstances. For example, you could say something like "Benjamin Franklin - had one year of formal schooling, apprenticed with his brother as a printer." (Or whatever - not sure of the details on Franklin, but you get the idea.) I also think that whether the person was Christian could be handled similarly in the brief note, rather than in the heading. In addition, I don't think *anyone* should be on the list unless there is a *citation* to a source explaining their education. See my addition of Andrew Wyeth as an example. --Hsmom 15:57, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

The nature of the list just boggles my mind. It ignores the point raised by AmesG (which I still read into it despite the "educated at home" part) that "homeschooling" needs a formal alternative to have a meaningful definition. Also, why only Christians? I'm still boggled... Human 22:40, 3 May 2007 (EDT)

Drawbacks

I'm moving this here for discussion. As it stands, it seems to me to be pure, unsupported personal opinion:

Homeschooling is not without its drawbacks. Studies have noted that children who are schooled at home tend to enter the collegiate and working words less socialized than their public and private schooled counterparts. [4] This lack of legitimate socialization can produce difficulties in homsechooled childred engaging in meaningful relationships with individuals outside of their family. Additionally, while the public school playground can be seen as a barbaric atmosphere to most kids who are schooled at home, it is important to note that these exigent circumstances can produce valuable conflict prevention skills that pay dividends in all facets of life.

No doubt there are drawbacks to homeschooling. The claim that "children who are schooled at home tend to enter the collegiate and working words less socialized than their public and private schooled counterparts" is, however, referenced only to a blog entry by someone identified only as "Tammy," no other identification or credentials—and it does not support the statement. The title of the entry is "Homeschoolers are indeed weird," but she does not say homeschoolers are less socialized—that's apparently User:Huey gunna getcha's interpretation. She means "weird" in a good way: tolerant of different opinions and not afraid to express individuality.

The sentence about the "public school playground" providing "valuable conflict prevention skills" is plausible but unsupported. (By the way: are parochial school playgrounds, or non-school playgrounds very different?)

A friend once remarked that he was astonished whenever anyone made reference to "the happy sounds of children at play." "Haven't they actually paid attention when they pass a playground?" Dpbsmith 17:19, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

Good catch! I had read that article earlier today and put removing that section on my "to do" list - you beat me to it! FWIW, when looking at homeschoolers and socialization, it's also important to consider that some children are not odd because they are homeschooled, rather, they are homeschooled because they are odd. Homeschooling can be an understanding "safe haven" for those odd kids for whom school may be "barbaric" indeed. --Hsmom 20:48, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

i was almost kicked off my baseball team cause i was homeschooled and i was playing for the middle school. i was fortunate to be kept on. --Will N. 20:09, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

Snipping George Bernard Shaw and Mark Twain

I'm removing

Both men had complex opinions that varied during the course of their lives, but calling them "Christian" is a stretch. My reasons for excluding Shaw are given above. As for Mark Twain, he did write a sympathetic book about Joan of Arc. However, his writings are replete with sarcastic and dismissive remarks about organized religion. He refused to let "Letters from the Earth" be published until after his death. In Mark Twain's Letters, we read:

From a gentleman in Buffalo Clemens one day received a letter inclosing an incompleted list of the world's "One Hundred Greatest Men," men who had exerted "the largest visible influence on the life and activities of the race." The writer asked that Mark Twain examine the list and suggest names, adding "would you include Jesus, as the founder of Christianity, in the list?" To the list of statesmen Clemens added the name of Thomas Paine; to the list of inventors, Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. The question he answered in detail.

Twain's answer was that if the compiler of the list added Jesus, he should also add Satan: "From A.D. 350 to A.D. 1850 these gentlemen exercised a vaster influence over a fifth part of the human race than was exercised over that fraction of the race by all other influences combined. Ninety-nine hundredths of this influence proceeded from Satan, the remaining fraction of it from Jesus."

Twain has been labelled "deist," "agnostic," and "atheist." Gary Sloan suggests (Mark Twain's Covert War with his Maker) that he believed in a malignant God, and says "Viewing Satan as a heroic rebel against the real Archfiend, Twain came to identify with the fallen cherub and often used him as a mouthpiece." Perhaps his views were so complex that he was all of these things and a Christian at the same time, but he was certainly not a Christian as the term is ordinarily meant. Dpbsmith 20:03, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

But if they were homeschooled, shouldn't they be in the "other" section of the list? Human 18:21, 4 May 2007 (EDT)