Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Either/or? What about all?

In 2007, Bob Compton, a filmmaker from Indiana, released the documentary “2 Million Minutes,” comparing high school education in the United States, China, and India. His conclusion, recently echoed by one of the American students he interviewed, was that Americans are falling dangerously behind, especially in math and science.

Critics of the film argue that American students gain skills that their international counterparts do not. They are innovative, “well-rounded” and “socially aware,” according to a school newspaper.

But why is the issue always framed with "either/or"? Why are we so sure it's impossible to have both? I firmly believe it is possible to say, "I want more for my children’s education. I want them to know a lot, think about a lot of things, and interact with all kinds of people."

So, to reach that higher standard, how do we disciple students to be well-rounded, innovative, AND proficient in technology and science?

If children are taught, in relationship with parents and mentors, how to learn any subject, whether they are asked to learn a new technology or read Jane Eyre, they will be prepared to do it.

Instead of offering students survey courses on the history of movies or philosophy of gender neutrality, C.S. Lewis (Letters to Children, 1958) suggests we teach students to read, research, and write about any subject and argue a point within any subject.

The Bible doesn't tell parents to teach their children algebra or science, so you may argue that home-centered education as a Biblical mandate is a stretch. But if you are going to teach words, you need to teach language arts. If you want to be without excuse and read God's invisible qualities in the visible world, you must study science and math. If you are going to be ready with an answer for your faith, you need to study people and cultures and arts.

John 13:3 relates Jesus' knowledge that the Father gave Him all things under His power. Satan tried to negotiate all kingdoms with Jesus in the wilderness. We cannot spiritualize 'all' to mean only our prayer life and character traits. All means all, not either/or.


Heathershomescool said...


What is your URL so that I can post it on my blog to blogs I keep up with?

<>< Heather TOmberlin

Classical Conversations said...


It's Thanks! (I'll post this on your blog as well, to make sure you get it.)