A public school teacher assists the homeschooling mom
We have a friend of the family who we’ve known, but not closely, for more than five years (my mom has known him for even longer). This past year, though, he and his wife hosted a Bible study to which my husband and I went. They have a dog who will bark endlessly unless someone is with him, so they hired my 10yo son Ethan for the easiest job ever: $5 to sit with the dog in the back bedroom for the 2 hours or so of the weekly Bible study.
This man, Doug, has a degree in geology, and a Masters in education, and five years ago, retired from teaching high school science. He has kept up an interest in archaeology, earth sciences, and in particular, geology. He is a native Arizonan, and from his childhood, would comb the hills surrounding Phoenix for artifacts. Most of the laws have changed now, and he can’t add much to his collection. But what he does have is highly impressive. Part of his house is like a Native American museum, and his garage is full of geologic samples.
When I found out that he was a retired public school teacher, I was a little hesitant to let on that I homeschool, as many teachers take a rather dim view of homeschooling. But, eventually, it came up in conversation, and to my surprise, he proclaimed his full support of our family’s choice to educate our kids in this way. In fact, I had to be careful, because it turned out that one of his favorite topics is All the Things Wrong with the Public School System, and he could get quite animated expressing his consternation and displeasure. I really enjoy talking with Doug on this topic, and appreciate his been-there perspective, but I really don’t want to get him riled up more than necessary.
Doug became a good science ally for us this past school year, encouraging us both in our nature outings/field trips, and Ethan’s interest in archaeology, rocks and minerals. In fact, every week, Doug would lay out 5-10 rock samples and an identification book, and whatever Ethan could identify (sometimes assisted by Doug’s hints), he could keep. Ethan ended the year with 28 mineral samples of which he is immensely proud. He keeps them in display cases, showing them off to whoever visits our home, rattling off the names of each, along with some facts about the rocks.
I recently decided to tailor Ethan’s coming 5th grade year science curriculum to encourage his interest in geology. That post had some heated comments on the issue of old earth creationism vs. young earth creationism, which led to another post of mine on the topic. In light of the situation, I decided to ask Doug to review the texts that I select for his scientific insight. I am a recently-decided young-earther, and a committed Christian, but I never want it to be (accurately) said of me that I softened our science to promote either. (BTW, I think I’ve decided what I’m going to purchase, but I haven’t gotten them yet.)
Now, I had assumed that Doug was an old-earther; I knew that topic was a “hot button” kind of issue, and I didn’t want to potentially damage our relationship with a needless dispute, so I never brought it up. However, I recently — very carefully — broached the topic with the motive to ask him to review our (half young-earth, half “standard” evolutionary) texts from a viewpoint opposing to mine. Well, imagine my surprise when Doug animatedly started going off on old-earth science, stating that it was his contention — based on years of professional and personal study — that there is no way that the earth could be billions of years old, and that the only reasonable stance was that it was some-thousands of years old, and “obviously” created by God. 😛 Ha!
He did say that he has seen some material that is pro-creation, but with soft science. He said, “If all they’re doing is quoting scripture verses as support for creation, well, that’s a waste of time.” I agree. But, he also said that too many standard texts present the theory of evolution as if it was a universally agreed-upon fact, and that’s not right, either. I agree with that, too.
So, even though he and I are pretty much on the same page, I still want him to review our materials, which he is more than willing to do. Yay!!!!
NOTE: In my OEC/YEC post, there are several evolutionists/OECs who posed questions that I never did answer. I’m rather weary of the topic, and, for now at least, need to move my brain power on to other things. However, I will continue to visit the topic throughout the year, especially as we study more from a young-earth perspective in this coming year.