Creation Science in South Korea

I am on my way home from an incredible tour of New Zealand, South Korea, and Australia. I had great experiences in each country, and they will lead to several more blog posts. Even though I was most recently in Australia, I am not done reporting on my experiences in South Korea. I first want to finish my report on that country, and then I will discuss my wonderful time in Australia.

After speaking at the DCTY homeschooling convention in Seoul (which was fantastic) I spoke at KAIST church. To fully appreciate my experience there, you have to understand that KAIST is the main science and technology university in South Korea. Well before I knew I was going to travel to South Korea, I had heard of KAIST. It has an international reputation for producing not only good science, but also excellent graduates. It is not surprising, then, that KAIST is sometimes referred to as the MIT of South Korea.

The church service was held on the third floor of the student center, a building that sits on the university campus and was built by the university for its students. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the room in which the church service was held and saw this:

A creation science display on the KAIST campus

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Homeschooling In South Korea

Take a look at the Korean versions of two of my books.

I am now at the fourth annual South Korean Homeschooling Convention. It is at an excellent conference facility that is roughly an hour and a half outside of Seoul. The conference is organized by a company that has taken a lot of interest in homeschooling, DCTY. Although its main focus is children’s clothing, the company has been at the forefront of translating books from English to Korean to help the homeschooling community here. The picture above shows you the Korean editions of two of my books, Exploring Creation with General Science and Exploring Creation with Physical Science. I must admit that it is a bit surreal looking at a book that I wrote but cannot read!

My first talk at the conference was at 10:00 AM, and I was actually nervous about it. I haven’t gotten nervous about a talk for a long time, so it was quite an interesting feeling! Why was I nervous? Because I had to speak through a translator. Most South Koreans know at least some English. They certainly know English better than I know Korean! Some of them even use the English editions of my books. Nevertheless, for them to get the most out of a talk, it should be in their own language. So I worked with an excellent translator, whose name is June. She was so good that it took no time at all for us to develop a rhythm to our interaction. Once we developed that rhythm, it almost seemed natural to speak a thought, pause, and wait for June to translate it.

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More on Homeschooling in New Zealand

A spotted shag, which is a species of cormorant endemic to New Zealand.
Over the past nine days, I have been speaking at homeschooling conferences in New Zealand. The previous post discussed what went on in Palmerston North, but since then, I have had the privilege of speaking to homeschooling groups in Auckland, Nelson, and Christchurch. In between, I have been seeing more of this lovely country, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it! While in Nelson, for example, I got to visit Abel Tasman National Park. Although it is New Zealand’s smallest national park, it is a real treasure. The spotted shag pictured on the left was there, along with New Zealand fur seals, spectacular beaches, and lots of beautiful scenery.

The three conferences were as different as the cities in which they were held. The conference in Auckland was the largest, and it began with a variety show put on by the homeschooled students there. It was a lot of fun, and there were some seriously talented performers. For example, one of the students did a ballet number, and while she was performing, all I could think was, “This young lady could be a professional.” Well, after her performance, the audience was informed that she has won scholarships to study ballet in France and the U.S. I wasn’t surprised at all. That wasn’t the only excellent act, however. There was a very young girl who gave precious readings of two poems, there was a talented clarinetist who played a great number that I later learned was completely improvised, the daughter of the conference organizer sang a song that showed she has a stellar voice, and so on. The show ended with a rousing rendition of The Gumboot Song. Then I had to get up and speak. Talk about a letdown for the audience!

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Homeschooling in New Zealand

This is typical of the lush scenery that exists all over New Zealand!

I am currently in New Zealand on a homeschooling tour arranged by the Firelight Foundation. This is not my first visit to this lovely country, and it most certainly won’t be my last. In 2006, my wife (Kathleen) and I traveled here to do our first “Kiwi” homeschooling tour, and in 2009, we came back here to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Each time I am here, I am struck by two things. First, this has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. The plant life is lush, the air smells amazing, and the landscape is truly breathtaking. Second, the people are incredible. Everyone is particularly friendly and helpful. They really give you the impression that they want to help you enjoy your stay here. Of course, working with homeschoolers in New Zealand is a double blessing, because I get to see how home education produces such stellar students regardless of the country in which it is taking place.

My first stop on this New Zealand homeschooling tour was the lovely town of Palmerston North. Situated in the Southern part of the North Island, it is New Zealand’s seventh largest city, and the venue at which I spoke was packed. I gave a total of six talks (two in one evening and four during the next day), and as you would expect from an audience of homeschoolers, there were some excellent questions. I want to discuss two of them.

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Advice on How To Succeed In College from a Homeschool Graduate

A colleague of mine passed on an E-MAIL she received from a homeschool graduate who is now in college. As is typical for homeschooled students, this young man did very well in his first year, receiving a grade point average (GPA) of 3.95 out of a possible 4.00. My first-year GPA was quite a bit lower than that! What I found really fascinating about the E-MAIL, however, was that he gave a list of 14 “tips” on how a person should approach college life. The tips are insightful and full of an enormous amount of wisdom.

For example, his first tip compared home education to college:

College is very similar to homeschooling, in that they expect you to put in a significant amount of effort and will not spoon-feed you material…

This is one of the many reasons homeschoolers are so successful at the college level. They have been forced to develop the ability to learn on their own.

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Homeschooling and Creationism: A Recipe for Stellar Students

I saw this story on The GeoChristian some time ago, but then I got distracted (probably by something shiny) and forgot to post about it. However, I had occasion to remember it because I got an E-MAIL from a homeschooled student regarding his first year at college. I hope to turn that E-MAIL into a separate blog post. For right now, however, I want to concentrate on the story that was originally posted at The GeoChristian.

The story is based on the most recent results of the ETS Proficiency Profile. It is a test given on 261 college campuses nationwide, and it supposedly measures the abilities of students when it comes to critical thinking, writing, reading, the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and mathematics. Colleges and universities participate in the test strictly on a volunteer basis. The elite schools don’t see themselves as benefiting from the test, so Harvard, Yale, etc., do not participate. Other less rigorous schools are concerned about what the results might be, so they don’t participate, either. Nevertheless, there are enough colleges and universities participating that it allows for some reasonable gauge of the academic prowess of students on any participating campus.

I haven’t seriously looked at ETS Proficiency Profile results for quite some time, having left my university faculty position in 1996. Nevertheless, my recollection is that in general, an institution whose students have the highest overall score on the test rarely captures first place in every subcategory. Thus, a college’s students might score well enough in math, the natural sciences, and critical thinking to get first overall, but other colleges will take first prize when it comes to their students’ abilities in writing, the humanities, or the social sciences.

This year’s results, however, were a clean sweep. One college received the highest score in all categories. That college was Patrick Henry College.

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