Why Sacrifice? After All, She’s Just Our Daughter!

A Facebook friend of mine linked an opinion piece from the Denver Post, and I think it illustrates why so many children today are messed up. The author (Daniel Brigham) writes that he and his wife are expecting their first child. They already call her “Lucy,” and their friends have been asking them how they will educate their child. His response is very troubling.

He says he used to teach at the University of Colorado Boulder for more than a decade, so unlike many, he knows about the benefits of homeschooling. He acknowledges (as anyone with intellectual honesty must) that homeschooled students are academically advanced compared to students from public and private schools. Studies clearly demonstrate this, and his experience with one homeschool graduate while he was teaching at the university level is consistent with those studies. He also acknowledges that homeschooled students are not at any social disadvantage compared to their peers.

At this point, he reminds me a lot of myself more than 15 years ago. While I was on the faculty at Ball State University, my best students were the homeschool graduates. My experience with them caused me to look at the studies that had been done on homeschooled students, and those studies confirmed that homeschooled students are, indeed, academically superior to their peers and suffer no social disadvantages compared to their peers.

I took such information to heart and began homeschooling my daughter once we had adopted her. Mr. Brigham, however, has decided against homeschooling his daughter. If he knows that homeschooling offers academic advantages with no social disadvantages, why has he decided not to homeschool her?

Continue reading “Why Sacrifice? After All, She’s Just Our Daughter!”

I No Longer Work for Apologia Educational Ministries

In June of 2008, I sold Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. to Davis Carman. Since then, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the new direction Apologia is taking, as well as the vision of its new owner. As a result, I resigned from Apologia today.

I did not make this decision lightly. It involved many, many hours of prayer, deep discussions with Kathleen (my wife), lots of consultation with homeschooling leaders I respect and admire, and several discussions with my Christian role models. In the end, it truly boiled down to the fact that I cannot continue to work for a company that is opposed to many of the Christian values that I hold dear.

Please don’t take this as a blanket denunciation of Apologia. Obviously, I still like a lot of their products, including the books that I wrote (surprise, surprise). I just cannot support its new direction or the vision of its new owner.

Please note that while I am leaving Apologia for good, I am certainly not leaving the home education community. I will continue to speak at conferences and other homeschooling venues, and I will blog about homeschooling from time to time. I will also be working on a product line that will hopefully make the lives of homeschooling parents a bit easier. I hope to launch that product line in three years.

Homeschool Version of “I Will Survive”

I am a big fan of homeschooling, which I knew nothing about until I was on the faculty at Ball State University. As I taught there, I started encountering students who were truly head and shoulders above their peers. When I asked them where they went to school, they said, “at home.” I had no idea what that meant or how it was legal. Furthermore, I couldn’t begin to fathom how an untrained mother could teach her children physics and chemistry well enough to allow them to come to university and ace all my tests. Nevertheless, the longer I taught at Ball State, the more amazing homeschool graduates I encountered.

I decided to look at the academic literature to see if studies had been done on home educated students, and the studies I found agreed with my experience: on average, homeschooled students simply are academically and socially superior compared to their publicly- and privately-schooled counterparts. That’s the reason I started working with homeschoolers. I simply wanted to be a part of what is clearly the best kind of secondary education available in the United States.

Since I have been working with homeschooled students, I have come to learn that the real heroes of homeschooling are the parents. They face adversity, anxiety, strife, and financial hardships, yet they survive. Not only do they survive, they produce some amazing students. This video clip is for all the homeschooling parents out there!

The Wisdom of Galileo

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Justus Sustermans
Image in the Public Domain
I am reading a fascinating book entitled Galileo’s Daughter (Penguin Books, 2000). The author discusses Galileo’s life in the light of letters from one of his daughters, who lived most of her life as a nun. Her convent name was Suor Maria Celeste. While I have read a lot about the life of Galileo, this book has given me some new insights. It does a great job of blending the science that he worked on with the personal joys, sorrows, and difficulties that he experienced.

Currently, my favorite book on Galielo is Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible by Dr. Richard Blackwell. Published by The University of Notre Dame Press, it gives an unvarnished account of how poorly Galileo was treated by the Roman Catholic Church. In the end, however, this new book might end up becoming my favorite resource regarding this great man of science and faith. Of course, once I am completely finished, I will give it a thorough review.

The purpose of this post is to discuss an amazingly insightful thing written by Galileo way back in 1623. In a work that was meant to refute an interpretation of comets by Orazio Grassi, Galileo wanted to make it clear how little he cared about the opinion of the majority of scientists. He said:

The testimony of many has little more value than that of few, since the number of people who reason well in complicated matters is much smaller than that of those who reason badly. If reasoning were like hauling I should agree that several reasoners would be worth more than one, just as several horses can haul more sacks of grain than one can. But reasoning is like racing and not like hauling, and a single Arabian steed can outrun a hundred plowhorses. (p. 93)

Interestingly enough, Galileo was wrong about comets. He thought they were an atmospheric phenomenon, but we now know they are “dirty snowballs” that orbit the sun.

Continue reading “The Wisdom of Galileo”

One reason a Young-Earth-Creationist Education Is Superior To Other Kinds of Science Education

Image licensed from www.clipart.com
In several other posts (here, here, here, here, here, and here) I have discussed the spectacular scientific success of students who were fortunate enough to have a young-earth-creationist science education in high school. Simply put, those who learn science from a young-earth-creationist perspective are way ahead of their peers when it comes to university-level science. There are many reasons for this, and a recent article in the journal Science discusses what is probably the most important one: A young-earth creationist science education teaches students how to analyze scientific claims critically. Unfortunately, most evolutionary-based science programs simply do not.

As the article says:

Critique is not, therefore, some peripheral feature of science, but rather it is core to its practice, and without argument and evaluation, the construction of reliable knowledge would be impossible…Science education, in contrast, is notable for the absence of argument 1

The author of the article (Jonathan Osborne) marshals several lines of evidence to indicate that in order to achieve success in science education, teachers and textbooks must emphasize the argumentation involved in science. I couldn’t agree more.

Continue reading “One reason a Young-Earth-Creationist Education Is Superior To Other Kinds of Science Education”

I Get E-MAIL

As I have mentioned previously, I get lots of E-MAIL (and a few letters) from students who have used my courses and are now at university. They generally report that they are significantly better prepared for university-level science than their peers, and they often say that my courses are what inspired them to continue to study the sciences at the university level. This is not surprising, as a young-earth-creationist education is not only the best science education you can have, but it also tends to inspire a true love for science.

I got another one of those wonderful E-MAILs yesterday, and I want to post some excerpts from it because they illustrate an important point about the nature of home education.

I am a freshman at Ohio University Eastern (OUE). I was home-schooled kindergarten through 12th grade, and in high school I used [your] Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics…My mom has no formal training in the sciences; so I relied solely on the books and help line to instruct me…Tonight at the campus’s commencement ceremony, I was awarded the “Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year” award. One student receives this award if the chemistry professor, Dr. Zachariah, thinks that there is an eligible student. Last year, Dr. Zachariah did not give out the award. (emphasis mine)

First, let me congratulate this student publicly. It is one thing to win an award that is given out every year, but that simply means you are the best student that year. While it is an accomplishment, it might not mean much, depending on the other students taking chemistry that year. To win an award that is given out only if the professor thinks someone deserves it shows that you are truly an outstanding student. Well done!

Continue reading “I Get E-MAIL”

Others Get E-MAIL

In my “Links to Investigate” section, I recently added Red Wagon Tutorials. This is a business set up by the most talented teacher with whom I have ever worked. Not surprisingly, he is a young-earth creationist, and he recently forwarded me an E-MAIL that demonstrates what happens when a great young-earth creationist teacher uses great young-earth creationist materials in class. Here is the E-MAIL:

Dear Mr. Rosenoff,

I was in your 2006-2007 TPS highschool Biology class and then in your 2007-2008 TPS highschool Marine Biology class. I am currently in my second year of college/senior year of highschool. I wanted to let you know how much taking your classes has helped me and shaped my career path. In my first year of college I took BI143, Marine Biology. I learned more in your class than I did in the college class. Also, without everything you
taught me about marine biology, lab procedures, and note taking, I wouldn’t have received one of the few A’s in the class. Currently I am taking BI102, cellular biology. So far everything has been review. The time you took to explain all the concepts, especially genetics, has really helped me excel in this class. My teacher is constantly shocked that I always know the answers or am one step ahead of the class because of what I remember from your biology class 3 years ago.

Also, because of how amazing your classes were, in the fall of 2011, I will be transferring to OSU to major in biology with a premed emphasis. I am also hoping to attend a medical school that has a joint M.D. / Ph.D. program so I can continue in biology. If all goes as planned, I will have my Ph.D. in biology by the time I am 28. Thank you so much for all the time you took to make biology fun and interesting to me. Your classes were the first time I had actually enjoyed science.

Note that this student is in her second year of college and her senior year of high school. Not only is she well ahead of most of her peers, she is clearly excelling in her college-level courses. While her own hard work and the fact that she is being homeschooled both play a large part in her success, note who SHE credits. She credits Mr. Rosenoff. That’s the power of an excellent teacher.

Of course, this kind of E-MAIL also shows how ignorant some evolutionists are when it comes to education. Remember that not too long ago, an AP news article discussed young-earth creationist science texts, including those that I wrote. Remember what Dr. Jerry Coyne said in that article:

“If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they’re being shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology,” Coyne said. He argued that the books may steer students away from careers in biology or the study of the history of the earth.

This E-MAIL clearly shows just how wrong Dr. Coyne is. This young lady was definitely not shortchanged when it comes to her science education. She is way ahead of her peers when it comes to science. In addition, far from steering clear of a career in biology, she is going for her MD/PhD.

It’s really too bad that people like Dr. Coyne are more committed to dogma than to science. If Dr. Coyne were really interested in producing excellent students who are excited about science, he would not make such ignorant comments about quality science textbooks!

I Get E-MAIL

It is always wonderful to hear from students who use my courses and then experience spectacular success in university-level science courses. As readers of my blog already know, this happens a lot, and it is a nice reminder of how effective a young-earth creationist education can be.

However, every now and again I get a report about how effective a young-earth creationist education can be for pursuits other than university. Here is an example:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my profound appreciation for your stellar science products. My wife and I homeschooled our daughter through high school and used your biology, chemistry, advanced chemistry, and physics courses. Our daughter graduated last May and is now in paramedic school. Though all of the other 22 students ranging in age from recent high school graduates, to adults/post high school and college, etc. are struggling with patho-physiology and pharmacology, our daughter is not….as a matter of fact, she is excelling and earning the highest grades the instructor has ever given! She is able to converse with the medical director on a very high level having never taken any college courses prior to beginning these classes. She is affectionately known as “the overachiever”, the “guru”, and the “brain” who tutors everyone else. Thankfully, the other students do not see her as a threat, but as an asset. She feels that [your books were] wonderful preparation for the intensity of these classes, and we feel the same way.

It’s great to know that this person’s daughter is going to be out there saving lives. In addition, because of her commitment to sharing her expertise with others, there will probably be a few other paramedics out there who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to pass their training. This is all thanks to a young-earth creationist education and a student who took it seriously. It turns out young-earth creationism is not only good for science, it is good for public health!

I Get Mail

I get all sorts of E-MAIL and snail mail from students who have used one or more of my books and are now excelling at university. However, I thought this one was worthy of a post.

Bethany B. wrote (a real letter!) to tell me that she used four of my books in high school (at home) and then read another “for fun” over the summer after her senior year. When she went to Winthrop University, she decided to study music and nutrition. She noticed, however, that she was not only incredibly well prepared for her science courses, but those courses were also much more interesting than the courses related to her major.

In the end, she changed to a double major in biology and chemistry. She ended up graduating cum laude and was accepted into a biological and biomedical sciences PhD program at Harvard. It is students like Bethany – those who get serious training in high school, university, and graduate school – who will shape what science becomes in the future.

God Bless you Bethany, and I hope Harvard is ready for you!