Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Biblical Home Education according to Beechick

I've just purchased a heap of books from my "I'd like to read..." list from a variety of suppliers who will post them to me but yesterday I took advantage of a 15% off sale at a local major Christian bookstore to purchase A Biblical Home Education by Ruth Beechick. It wasn't a hard read, and Jeff's on holidays now, so I've already plowed through it.

I was surprised at how annoyed I was with this book, because I was expecting to agree with much of what the author had to write. One of my main problems with the book had little to do with its content and argument, however. It read like a set of notes that had not been well crafted into sentences. It was badly edited and some of the sentences were woefully - and confusingly - constructed. This is not a good promotion for an author who is advocating a given approach to teaching at home, including with regard to grammar instruction. For example, some sentences referred to "Internet" (as in, "On Internet...") and others referred to "the Internet" (as in, "On the Internet..."). A simple error which was repeated several times.

Secondly, and this caused me a great deal of angst and annoyance, within the chapter on Using the Bible in homeschooling, Beechick included a section on the history of the Bible which was very badly explained if not completely erroneous. I got really frustrated over this, not so much because of what she was arguing (although I completely disagree with her thesis), but because she later argued against teaching children specific knowledge and skills which would allow them to see the flaws in her argument. I have encountered this same flawed argument before in other Christian homeschooling materials (Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn) and did some background reading at that time. I've since researched a little more, and I would like to work at providing a rebuttal to circulate among Christian homeschoolers.  I am going to quote an extended passage (pp 18-20 from my copy) in Courier and comment on it in my usual Georgia font. It is getting long however, so I will post the rebuttal separately.

I am also going to continue this critique with a third post, I hope, considering other issues which Beechick addressed and my thoughts on her ideas. (Just so you know!)

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