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Homeschoolers Embracing Evolution?

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  • rlbaty50
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/03/old-earth-young-minds-evangelical-homeschoolers-embrace-evolution/273844/ Old Earth, Young Minds:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2013
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      http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/03/old-earth-young-minds-evangelical-homeschoolers-embrace-evolution/273844/

      Old Earth, Young Minds:
      Evangelical Homeschoolers Embrace Evolution

      By David R. Wheeler
      March 8, 2013, 10:27 AM ET

      (excerpts)

      More Christian parents are asking for mainstream science in their children's curricula. Will religious textbook companies deliver?

      For homeschooling parents who want to teach their children that the earth is only a few thousand years old, the theory of evolution is a lie, and dinosaurs coexisted with humans, there is no shortage of materials.

      Kids can start with the Answers in Genesis curriculum, which features books such as Dinosaurs of Eden, written by Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. As the publisher's description states,

      > "This exciting book for the entire family
      > uses the Bible as a 'time machine' to
      > journey through the events of the past and
      > future."

      It's no secret that the majority of homeschooled children in America belong to evangelical Christian families.

      What's less known is that a growing number of their parents are dismayed by these textbooks.

      Take Erinn Cameron Warton, an evangelical Christian who homeschools her children.

      Warton, a scientist, says she was horrified when she opened a homeschool science textbook and found a picture of Adam and Eve putting a saddle on a dinosaur.

      > "I nearly choked,"

      says the mother of three.

      > "When researching homeschooling curricula, I
      > found that the majority of Christian homeschool
      > textbooks are written from this ridiculous
      > perspective. Once I saw this, I vowed never to
      > use them."

      Instead, Warton has pulled together a curriculum inspired partly by homeschool pioneer Susan Wise Bauer and partly by the Waldorf holistic educational movement.

      For many evangelical families, the rationale for homeschooling has nothing to do with a belief in Young Earth Creationism or a rejection of evolutionary theory. Some parents choose to homeschool because they're disenchanted with the values taught in the public school system. Others want to incorporate more travel into their children's education. Still others want to implement specific learning techniques they believe are more suitable for their children.

      But whatever their reason for homeschooling, evangelical families who embrace modern science are becoming more vocal about it -- and are facing the inevitable criticism that comes with that choice.

      > "We get a lot of flak from others for
      > not using Christian textbooks,"

      Warton says.

      The assertion that anyone who believes in evolution "disregards" the Bible offends many evangelicals who want their children to be well-versed in modern science.

      Jen Baird Seurkamp, an evangelical who homeschools her children, avoids textbooks that discredit evolution.

      > "Our science curriculum is one currently
      > used in public schools,"

      she says.

      > "We want our children to be educated, not
      > sheltered from things we are afraid of them
      > learning."

      Dorothy Boorse, a biology professor at Gordon College, a Christian college in Massachusetts, applauds these underdog homeschool textbooks.

      > "I believe that the best evidence is that
      > the earth is very old and that God used
      > and continues to use the biological process
      > of evolution,"

      she says.

      > "Many Christians in the sciences believe
      > such a position is consistent with several
      > possible interpretations of Scripture,
      > including some that go way back in Christian
      > history, and several from the Jewish tradition."

      Other Christian organizations that believe in evolution are beginning to put money and resources into their efforts to reframe the conversation.

      In 2012, the BioLogos organization received a multimillion-dollar grant from the John Templeton Foundation to fund its Evolution and Christian Faith project, which disburses money to Christians who reconcile theology with evolutionary biology.

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