Fundy Love Day 3: Literacy

There is a tendency to view fundamentalists as anti-intellectuals and it’s true to a point that they do tend to like their facts and figures hand-picked and of a certain slant (then again have you seen what they’re teaching in public schools these days?). However, I’ve yet to meet a fundamentalist who’s children were illiterate when it comes to reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic.

In fact, fundamentalists put a great deal of stock in school. Most fundy churches over a few hundred members have at least an elementary school, with some going so far as to have a high school, college, seminary, and school of home economics all housed withing their walls. Fundamentalists publishers such as A Beka Book and BJU Press make millions of dollars each year selling to both church schools and more home schools than you can shake a McGuffey Reader at.

Fundamentalist kids may not be able to tell you who Immanuel Kant was or why the Beatles were important to musical history when they graduate but most can diagram the living daylights out of a compound-complex sentence and calculate a tithe plus three percent offering on their gross income without picking up a calculator. If they’re like I was they’re also likely to have read more books in the last month than the average kid will have done in the last year.

Anti-intellectual? Perhaps “selectively-intellectual” would be a better term. My mom and dad who sacrificed so much to give their seven children the best fundamentalist education they could afford have my heartfelt thanks.

86 thoughts on “Fundy Love Day 3: Literacy”

  1. Sorry to disagree with you, but I definitely disagree with you, Darrell. Fundamentalists are literate because America is literate. Because they are in a terrain that requires an education for each child, they have tried to control how that education is administered. But Christian Fundamentalism dumbs down education. And the reason for this is that Christian Fundamentalism turns education into propaganda. There is no such thing as “selectively intellectual.” That’s an incredible euphemism for “propagandistic.”

    I worked at BJU Press for three years and managed the Sixth grade reading textbook. We certainly were conscientious about teaching that *skill* to children. But I recall the history book, on which I worked briefly, was nothing other than a rehashing of the same material I had learned 20 years earlier. When I pointed out that America had a far more pluralistic beginning than the English landing at Jamestown, I was told that this was what the book would teach: the traditional point of view. Fundamentalists restrict the Bible to one version. They do not encourage scholarship. They don’t read the Church Fathers or the chief dissenters. They suspect Asian cultures. I’ve been accused of paganism by fundy preachers because I read Sun tzu. We don’t see fundy school kids building foot bridges in parks to exercise cross disciplinary skills of engineering, math, woodworking, etc. We don’t see them forming debate teams that compete statewide. They memorize Bible verses and a small percentage of them see Shakespeare plays at BJU.

    Fundamentalism pushes *skills*. It teaches how to read (but it has to, by law), how to sew, how to sing, how to drive, even how to do grunt work, but it does not truly educate. It does not teach students to think. It warns them against exploring with intellectual honesty. It frowns upon curiosity. It calls even academic dissent “rebellion.”

    Your post could not be more inaccurate. Fundamentalism is dumb and is getting dumber. Many kids from its many high schools are not suitable for college. Many kids from its many colleges have worthless degrees and do not know how ignorant they are. The robbery of education from an entire culture of young people who could have had such great educations is, in fact, one of the great sins of Fundamentalism.

    1. You know, I just read today a study which showed that liberals and those who are not devout are quite a bit more intelligent than conservatives and especially fundamentalist religion conservatives. It is just a fact, and one demonstrated repeatedly. It is not surprising that they would be afraid of Asian culture, a non-intelligent brain is far more suspicious of novel sources of information since it doesn’t trust that it will be able to discern what is true from what is false.

  2. Fundamentalists encourage reading, yes. Unfortunately, their other beliefs dictate that their children will be reading utter dung! Exhibit A: Darrell’s posts on fundy literature. Let me know when fundy teens are reading stuff like uncensored Shakespeare, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other great literature of this time and of times past.

  3. Gotta go with Bassenco on this one. My experience demonstrated fundamentalism to be incredibly anti-intellectual and borderline illiterate. Education is shunned and ignorance is considered a virtue. Of course that may have just been the nature of the particular brand of fundamentalism that I grew up in.

  4. One other thing: if you want to see a perfect example of a straw man argument, look at how fundies teach evolution (well, at least the ones who don’t ignore it completely).

  5. I’ve been a big fan of this week so far. I don’t know that I’m in on this one. That education comes w/ a lot more poison pill that I’m willing to accept. I definitely learned to read & write (although I’ve always been & always will be a SLOW SLOW reader). And I’d like to see the reading rate splits on public/private/fundy graduates before conceding that they read more quantitatively to say nothing of the variety or quality. (see 🙂 ). Hate to dissent, but I don’t think I’d be able to concur w/ this one w/o some kind of statistical verification that fundies come out more literate or mathematically taught, and if they do I’d say it comes more from having an involved & caring parents more than the quality of the fundy schoool edcuation. Looking forward to tomorrow! 🙂

  6. Kenneth Cmiel would, too, agree that this is an American thing. Or a Protestant thing. We Americans/Protestants were stickin’ it to the “Man” when we carried our own Bible written in our own vernacular and learned to read from it. That is a wonderfully powerful thing.

    But I think, to be honest, the drive toward KJVO is a move in the opposite direction. Only the few can get it and even those are simply reading their own culture back into the Text. It’s an aristocratic illiteracy. And that’s sad, imo.

    I must admit that I took great satisfaction when my religious history professor at Indiana U asked little ol’ fundy *me* about some Biblical literacy question. He, a Lutheran seminary grad, knew that my Sunday School knowledge was worth something. And don’t we all get every question right on the Jeopardy Bible sections? 😀

    I explained it this way in my book: fundamentalists are like the busy body who wants to find the exact identity from the DNA of the Unknown Soldier. In doing so, we miss the point. We’re factually literate and culturally illiterate.

    And btw, the BJU press is in sorry financial shape these days. The literacy they are selling, no one’s buying. . . .

  7. Biblical literacy is the only thing I gleaned from Fundyland. And, now, I’m older, and realize that, while they know the minutiae, they miss the big picture. And, if I never see another Grace Livingston Hill or Sugar Creek Gang book, I’ll be quite content.

  8. I’ve been a big fan of this week so far. I don’t know that I’m in on this one.

    Ditto. I’d come down somewhere in the middle of this debate, leaning somewhat toward BASSENCO’s opening volley. It just hasn’t been my experience that fundies are “more” literate or care more about education than non-fundies. They certainly do encourage reading, which is more than you can say for a lot of groups today, but the material fundies find appropriate for casual reading is so exclusionary as to achieve the opposite effect.

    And @Rob, don’t feel bad–I’m a terribly slow reader myself. But in the speed/comprehension dichotomy, it’s comprehension that counts.

  9. I knew this was going to be unpopular when I wrote it. 🙂

    I’d simply ask the question: have you seen the average kid coming out of a public school education these days? I used to tutor them and it isn’t pretty.

    I’m not talking about those who manage to go on to higher education, I’m talking about the ones who leave the doors of a high school unable to locate the verb in a sentence, find Vietnam on a map, or tell you what the three branches of government are.

    I would also opine that fundamentalists would be educated (in their own narrow fashion) whether America at large was or not. If you’ll notice they don’t exactly use mainstream educational systems or really seem to fall in lock step with the culture at large.

  10. have you seen the average kid coming out of a public school education these days? I used to tutor them and it isn’t pretty.

    Are you tutoring “average kids”? Or is that why they are needing your services — because they aren’t average?

    I would probably be more likely to argue that every complaint we (former) fundies lob at public education has everything to do with the fact that the salt has stayed in its shaker for too long. The economy seems to be fixing that for us, however.

    I would also opine that fundamentalists would be educated (in their own narrow fashion) whether America at large was or not. If you’ll notice they don’t exactly use mainstream educational systems or really seem to fall in lock step with the culture at large.

    Fundamentalism is a product of Americanism. It wouldn’t exist as we know it if it weren’t for this giant experiment in which we live.

  11. Darrell wrote: I would also opine that fundamentalists would be educated (in their own narrow fashion) whether America at large was or not.

    With respect, Darrell, I disagree. Fundies would keep their people illiterate, especially women, if they could get away with it.

  12. I’d still like to see some statistical comparison before I buy it. If the disparity exists, I’d attribute it to parental involvement more than teacher/systemic failure of public schools.

  13. BASSENCO: I’m not sure if you can demonstrate that fundies would keep their women uneducated if possible. I went to a very fundamentalist college where a whole lot of women attended. A fair number were even Computer Science majors with me. Seems like if keeping women ignorant was the goal, it would be fairly easily accomplished by simply denying them the right to be in certain programs. They already do that with ministerial degrees after all.

  14. My 2 cents:

    I’m about to graduate from a state college. I can say from my experiences that people (in general) really are as illiterate as Darrell says. They don’t read anything old, they don’t read anything hard, and they’re very unaware of anything that’s been written before they were born. You don’t see them with an old book unless it’s assigned for a class.

    They are, however, extremely on top of all the current animes, tv shows, reality shows, etc.

    I’d also like to point out that not all Fundamentalists are BOJOs. My parents despised the BJU curriculum. We used Sonlight, which uses literature as part of the curruculum to teach the other subjects. I was encouraged to read REAL books.

  15. I can say from my experiences that people (in general) really are as illiterate as Darrell says. They don’t read anything old, they don’t read anything hard, and they’re very unaware of anything that’s been written before they were born. You don’t see them with an old book unless it’s assigned for a class.

    Exactly. I’ve just finished a two-year teaching assistantship at at big public university. Some of the kids I babysat are just sad.

  16. I think some are missing the point of the post – Fundies like literacy. They like learning. They like books (and not just to lick the glue). The problem is that the stereotypical fundy that this blog lampoons tends to like books that focus on his/her narrow interp of, well, just about everything. While those who disagree with Darrell make excellent points about the level and quality of scholarship, Darrell’s point is valid.

  17. I’m going to have to disagree.

    “but most can diagram the living daylights out of a compound-complex sentence and calculate a tithe plus three percent offering on their gross income without picking up a calculator. ”

    Yeah, that’s an accomplishment until about age 12.

    And those textbooks they publish? You mean the ones where they selectively re-write history and/or science?

  18. Man whats is up with all the hate in here for fundamentals? Just because a different denomination teaches a different way, or restricts certain things, does that mean we have a right to look down on them? I’ve been in BJU for 4 yrs. yes they have rules that some gawk at, but hey grown up and be mature.

    @ Bassenco: when was the last time you were at BJU, I’m not defending them, but it sure it sad to see some “christian” vent his hate about a certain college on a blog. So what if they teach students to “think” as you say, but it is up to them to take or reject what they teach. Are you really sure that the fundi college student is really “dumb” cause I for one have seen a few who double majored, one in particular was a friend brother who doubled in Pre-Med and Music. In the end are you really glorifying God in this rant? Or are you doing this to increase your ego? Also BJU has always let students use different translations ever since I’ve been there. BJU has had debate teams always traveling, they have Res. Con. and engineering, they do have math majors, they have a lot of different plays, why so specific about shakespear? Besides we were always forced to attend plays, so you argument on being cultured in plays (besides shakespear) is moot. So what is wrong with memorizing verses? Is it a sin to not memorize verses? I hated memorizing a boat load of verses for Bible Doctrine, but after it all, it does help to recall verse in time of need and to dwell on them.

    As for me, I am not a perfect christian, but at least I have the sense to respect others view of the bible. It made me sick when I met a preacher from a southern baptist church and he started bad mouthing BJU when I said I was going to school there. Is this what Christians are really like, Is this how we represent God and Christ? Do we call ourselves Christians so we can have that “feel good” feeling? What will be your answer to God when you meet him and he asks, “So whats up with your hatred towards your brother?” THIS is the reason why I have a dislike for christianty, cause all we do is argue over what kind of music, clothes, education, etc.

  19. I will have to respectfully disagree with the general trend of opinions expressed here. I do agree that fundamentalists often censor what they teach, they have a point of view when it comes to everything they teach and often that does not give the full story, but many of those who graduate from fundamentalist universities are well educated. When I was in college many,. many years ago, the big national accounting firms went to BJU to recruit before they went to other major universities. The gentleman who mentioned working at BJU Press must have spent all his time in the Press because he is slightly mistaken about a few things at BJU. Both the Bob Jones Academy and the University have stellar debate teams that compete state-wide and place at or near the top in each competition. BJU students are active in the community, not just in “preaching” but in physical labor like building a bridge in the park. BJU, while using the KJV on a regular basis, they also use other translations. All the students see Shakespeare plays, 2 a year. It is true that in some of their productions, they tone down the bawdy aspects of some of the plays. I studied the Church fathers and I am not sure in what way they are suspect of Asian culture.

    Now, before anyone assumes I am a shill for BJU, I have issues with some of the aspects of the school and I will agree that the school does not encourage students to question, critical thinking is not encouraged, so there is room for improvement there.

    I will conclude by saying that while fundies are selective in what they teach, most students end up being well-educated.

  20. Fundies, especially the BOJO variety like literacy up to a point. They hate it when their sermons, books and other writings are held up to a critical. Several of us critiqued the opening services in January and I’m here to tell you **they** do not like it. Not. at. all. The Fundyland colleges and universities have been treading the “we’re educated, but not too educated” board for a century now, and it’s not working anymore. There were empty seats at the BJU graduation Saturday. That’s a sign of the future, unless they change. I suggest they go down the Wheaton College path – obtain regional accreditation, pay the faculty a living wage and encourage real learning, not just busy work.

  21. @ Dan I do hope that they get accreditation cause I have a friend that recently left, and sadly not a single class transferred to a college he was going to attend. I think BJU is slowly changing, I was disappointing when guys can wear jeans and girls can wear pants off campus the year after I left….lol all the good changes happens when I leave.

  22. The issue is not literacy, the issue is control. Fundementalism requires control in the church, family, and culture. Fundies willfully filter their environment to keep themselves pure, e.g. holy. These filters include government laws and regulations, church laws and pastoral dictates, reading lists, dress codes, and a long list of “thou shalt nots”. Everyone, even non-fundies filter their environment. The Fundy standard confuses the intellectual knowledge of sin with sin.

    Fundy parent involvement is about control. In some cases, it is even about love. As children of fundies grow up and eventually leave fundyland, they are forced to reflect on their experience of growing up in a fundy family. Was it really love? or were they just their parents ministry. If they did something bad, did their parents correct them because they were embarassing their parents or were their parents correcting them for the child’s benefit? I consider myself fortunate because my memories are of truly loving parents. I can only hope my children’s memories will be the same.

    @BASSENCO I own a copy of the “Art of War” from my military days. Excellent book. Hardly paganism. I see more paganism in fundyland’s love of country doctrine.

    @all A movie recomendation: The Village (2004) directed by M. Night Shyamalan

  23. As someone who attended a Christian private school (BJU & PCC curriculum), as well as a state college, and currently enrolled in a phd program at a private university, I can say without hesitation that the fundy education I received was subpar.

    There was no emphasis on higher education in my fundy high school; that is, unless someone planed on attending PCC or BJU. When I enrolled in college at age 25, I had never take the SAT or met the minimum required foreign language credits for a NC-system university. I simply had never been told that these things were important.

    I minored in classical latin and greek in college and Darrell is right, I could out-diagram anyone in my class. However, this is where my advantage ended.

  24. Darrell: I’m not sure if you can demonstrate that fundies would keep their women uneducated if possible.

    True brother. Remember, you also cannot demonstrate that, if the terrain of American life were different, that Fundamentalists would advocate literacy. We have both made unprovable points.

  25. I think the difference is critical thinking. Some people can go to schools like BJU and PCC, retain their critical thinking skills while filtering their results. Some of us need all options laid out before we make a choice – that’s what Fundyland education hates most. However, it is possible to get through BJU and PCC without developing critical thinking skills – and that is sad. The best advice I ever received was a BJU professor who told me to leave – “The administration won’t like your thinking, Dan,” was exactly what he told me. I can still hear it resounding in my ears as if it were yesterday.

  26. eric wood, again *respectfully* disagreeing here. Accounting is a skill. And fundies ARE very good at teaching skills. Their programming skills are unbelievable, and Fundamentalism ALWAYS has grasped the technology of mass media: ALWAYS. Their production values were hokey, but Fundamentalists were among the first to harness radio and then television technologies for their own use.

    But education is something beyond skill. It’s how to reason, how to investigate, how to document, how to express.

    As for parental involvement, again Darrell, you are my brother in Christ and I think this site is terrific. We disagree on this but I recognize that you are drawing from a body of both evidence and experience. But I will point out, in terms of parental involvement, Fundamentalism is the ONLY Christian sect that advocates that parents send their children away for other people to raise (ie, to propagandize, usually with beatings as part of the training). That’s why we have Roloff Homes and Hephzibah House, and New Bethany and a score of others. *SOME* Fundamental parents are involved. But the culture is there that invites and supports parents who abdicate their role in their children’s lives.

  27. <>

    Darrell it is the scale of things. How many millions of kids+ are there graduating from public schools. And how many more is that compared to fundamentalist schools? It is an unfair comparison. Fundamentalists hand pick their children and I’d say they do them well by basic literacy and basic computation/science skills, but beyond that that is it. Your comparison would be like saying compare the average public school grad from harlem (which by the way other than anecdote what is truly the average public school grad) to the average private school grad from the Hamptons it just isn’t even fair. See in Fundy circles what they get right is parental involvement. Those kid’s parents are deeply involved and that is why they tend to succeed in education, and I’d say that is a fair thing to take out of Fundamentalism. But that doesn’t make the education good only the fact that parents are so deeply involved. If there is something I’m thankful for in Fundamentalism about this topic it would be that my parents felt it necessary to be deeply involved in my education. For that I am thankful because it allowed me to succeed.

    As to the post. I have to say I strongly disagree. First and foremost Fundamentalism is absolutely anti-intellectual. There is no such thing as “selectively-intellectual.” the moment education becomes selective it ceases to be education and becomes anti-intellectual. In fact selectivity is the antithesis of education. That is why I don’t call BJU a true academic institution. Academia does not and cannot happen there, they don’t allow it (even though they think they are). Also most of those kids in the absence of a Fundy school would still be literate. Our country is #1 for educating the masses. The reason there are still plenty of people who fall through the cracks is because the number of people they have to educate is orders of magnitude larger. Plus you could be including immigrants or special needs with the “average” public school grad. If the immigrant has been here less than a year he may well be within his means to graduate HS (IOW he has all of the needed knowledge) and not be completely literate…believe me I know my wife teaches in the public schools ESL.

    Further you have to look at both BJU press and A Beka Books. A Beka was barely recognized even at BJU. Its success does equate to merit. Those books do a disservice. It isn’t that people can’t learn from them…of course they can, but as far as standards go and credibility there aren’t any (which fits well the the Fundy)…BJU is better, but laughable outside of Fundy circles. Success does not equal (!=) good.

  28. I have to disagree with you on this one Darrell. I had had my twins in an IFB Christian School Bunker for 10 years. I will agree that the teaching there strove to be adequate and while not leaving them illiterate certainly kept them locked in the IFB ideological box. Case in point: Last year I thought that maybe things were looking up when they were to read “Cyrano de Bergerac” at school. It ended up being a heavily condensed version. I was somewhat surprised when they got to choose a book to read on their own for a book report (of course they had to bring in their book for approval) and “The Hobbit” was approved.

    Then I woke up from my stupor and realized college was just around the corner for them and began to look at the academics in the education they were getting. I realized that they were the proverbialy “big fish in a little pond.” They both were 4.0 and by their own admission they did not have to work for that. The were not challenged and indeed could not be in that setting. Fundy education is a one-size fits all approach. They have no options (or staff, ability or resources) for dealing with slower learners nor do they have the ability to challenge the more advanced learners.

    My awakening began with their Freshman math class. It was taught by a H/A grad. He spent more time sermonizing than he did on Algebra I and they did not get halfway through the curriculum that year. I realized I might as well have flushed that part of the year’s tuition down the drain for all the good it did. (btw: that “teacher” is now the “Dean” of the Basement Bible College they have started. Anyone see the pattern? Even in Fundyland the Peter Principle rules.) I was paying and riding the IFB train to financial ruin in order to make sure my children got a good education, and to keep them out of the “evil” public school system.

    I don’t know, maybe I missed my turn at the kool-aid a few times too often, but I awoke with a start. I had actually cheated my children out of a good education. This past year I put them in public school. (I also have one that started first grade this year.) At first the social issues outweighed the academic ones for them. But now here at the end of this year I am being thanked for bringing them out and allowing them to be challenged. They may not be 4.0 but the grades they are getting are honest and hard won. They are being prepared for college and I am here for support. (An aside: The twins came out to the Public School with a classmate from the bunker system. The classmate could not handle the academics in the public system took her failing grades and ran back to the Fundy bunker after the first semister.) This year they have read: “The Scarlet Letter,” “The Great Gatsby,” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and are now reading “Raisin in the Sun.” they have also read Poe, Frost, Flannery, and Bierce.

    The first grader is reading above grade level because the system they use evaluates their reading skills monthly and has the ability to help the ones struggling and challenge the ones advancing.

    In conclusion I have to give the public school system here locally the WIN. I am not saying “ALL” public schools are better, nor am I saying “ALL” private schools are bad. The decisions about where to send one’s children and what type of education they get is up to the parents. The parents are the primary educators and they are the ones that need to be making “educated” choices. I personally believe we do our children a diservice when we hustle them off to the Fundy School Bunker believing they will get a good “Christian” education. It is better to teach the children “how” to think, and think critically, and think well, than it is to merely teach them “what” to think. I would rather my children be exposed to the issues that face us and question truth, rather than be brainwashed and not be able to give true and rational reasons for their beliefs. Follow Truth where ever it leads. If Truth can’t stand up to questioning and scrutiny then it is not “Truth.”

  29. I think I agree with the Original post. I haven’t read all the comments here but speaking from personal experience, I went to a fundy high school. It was the first year that the provincial government was requiring tenth grade students to pass a literacy test. We were the only fundy school in the district, and we outperformed all other schools on that test.
    I also took philosophy in my senior year and although a lot of it was oversimplified propaganda, when I went to a secular university to take a course in logic, I was bored because I already knew all of it from the first unit of my philosophy course at my fundy high school. Moreover, I also took a philosophy course there and for some reason a situation came up where I had the opportunity to mention and explain the principle of conservation of belief. When I explained it the seminar leader was very impressed and said that what I had given was very advanced philosophy. I got it from a fundy high school.
    Are fundamentalists wrong? Absolutely! Are they stupid? Not necessarily. And that is what makes them so dangerous.
    But then again, maybe we just breed a different crop of fundies up here in the Great White North. 🙂

  30. @Don

    You said: “I personally believe we do our children a diservice when we hustle them off to the Fundy School Bunker believing they will get a good “Christian” education. It is better to teach the children “how” to think, and think critically, and think well, than it is to merely teach them “what” to think. I would rather my children be exposed to the issues that face us and question truth, rather than be brainwashed and not be able to give true and rational reasons for their beliefs. Follow Truth where ever it leads. If Truth can’t stand up to questioning and scrutiny then it is not “Truth.””

    Yes, yes a *billion* times yes! We need to train our children to think and think for themselves. For any Christian school grad there comes a day, sometime, of reckoning. For me it was after 12 years of Christian school and 6 years (BS and MA) in Christian school. I left BJU and was suddenly faced with, “Now what?’ Or “Who is going to tell me what I can and cannot do.” I found myself woefully unprepared not just for my degree, BJU did horribly, but for life. All the sheltering did was put off the inevitable. And that is what started my journey away from Fundy land. I finally had the ability to think for myself and make my own decisions. I started to weed through what was my convictions vs what was the tradition. And I kept finding more and more that wasn’t a conviction, but mindless following. That *isn’t* and never will be education. It isn’t enough just to teach the equations or basic phonics. That is great stuff, but it isn’t academia. Or let me say it this way…that is only the beginning a good first start to academia. And by the time you get to college level it is just insulting. Kids need to be taught critical thinking…I’m thankful for the few BJU teachers who fostered such thinking…it was they who started me down the path away from fundy land. They taught me it was ok to disagree with the establishment and to think for myself. What always confused me was how they could remain where they were thinking the way they did, but I”m thankful for them. Maybe they remain as missionaries to save the wandering mindless children out of the fold. It worked for me 🙂

  31. Wow. I really appreciate all the extended comments from everybody. Having the ability to have your thinking challenged in a place where everyone can speak their mind is definitely _not_ stuff fundies like — but it is stuff that I like and I’m glad for it.

  32. Education is all about the parents, regardless of the school. Have parents put their kids on a bus and stopped thinking of them while they’re in public school? You betcha. Have parent dropped their kids off at the local Christian school and stopped thinking of them while they’re there? You betcha. The big things are reading comprehension and critical thinking. I grew up on phonics and wasn’t comprehending what I was reading and my parents would hear me read and think I was doing great. I’ve found, through the years, public education does an overall better job at educating everyone than most Fundyland schools.

  33. We had an 18 year old boy living at our house for a time. He had been homeschooled for the past six years. He is currently “enrolled” at the alternative high school in our town.

    I asked him why he liked being homeschooled and he said “I have the freedom to do what I want”.

    This kid is not only woefully uneducated in every aspect, but his social skills are terrible.

    I don’t know what the poor kid is going to do when he has to support himself, let alone a family. My daughter is the same age and will be graduating from the local public school this year. Her education is far superior than anything this kid ever dreamed of.

    In my opinion – and you can jump all over me if you want – homeschooling is a joke. It’s over-protective parents putting a fence around their families and children and not preparing them for real life. Sure there are statistics that say homeshool kids do better in reading and spelling bees. I think those are cherry picked statistics. And what relation to real life does a spelling bee have?

    I went to a Fundy parochial school from 2nd grade to 8th. I did learn Bible, math, reading, spelling and those kind of basics. I did great in reading and pretty so-so in math. However, I was horribly prepared for public high school, especially in the social aspect. I still struggle to this day to improve my social skills.

  34. @Darrell I’ve found education is a VERY passionate subject for everyone, and often not a *civilly* passionate. I don’t detect any uncivility even in all the passion of these comments, and congrats on getting such a debate.

    I second @Dan Keller I think.

  35. I forgot to say was what this kid wants is the freedom to not go to school. He is not in the least interested in broadening his mind. He had no idea where Vancouver, Canada was when I asked him about the Olympics. And we live 2 hours away from Vancouver!

  36. homeschooling is a joke.

    I was home-schooled. I graduated with honors, work a highly technical job, and support a family in addition to writing this silly blog.

    Homeschooling is jut like anything else. It depends on your parents, your aptitudes, and your opportunities.

  37. Sorry, Darrell, I’m respectfully disagreeing as well.

    It’s been my experience that fundamentalist parents are involved because of control. The whole fundie lifestyle is all about control and parents and children are no different. I did Christian school all the way through and there was no room for growth as a person, you had to read what they allowed and nothing else and we were never taught how to reason or critically think. I was also a victim of the Alexis De Toqcueville myth, as it was contained in more than one of my history books and I had to know it for more than one test and it leaves me to wonder what other garbage was I fed that was actually false. I don’t think “selective education” can possibly exist.

    I’ve had to spend a great deal of time actually educating myself now that I am totally outside of fundamentalist Christianity and it’s amazing what I’m learning that I was never taught.

    Totally agree with JoshJ, maybe I was higher in the grammar and diagramming department when I got to college, but that is it. I was a little better off because my parents had put me in a slightly better Christian School in my Junior year, but secular college was still rough. Particularly my argument based research class, taught by a grad of the local Bible College and had gone on to get a Ph. D. and had given up religion and while sympathetic to my fundie ideals, he could’ve ripped me to shreds when he wanted to and I would’ve had to sit there defenseless because I was never taught any kind of real intellectual argument or critical thinking skills to counter him. We were just always given the impression that the world was stupid and we Christians already had all the answers, only to realize when we emerged from a Plato’s Theory of the Cave-like existence that we were viewing mere shadows of what the intellect of the secular world is capable of and our flimsy defenses against those shadows crumble to dust the moment we try to engage in any kind of reasonable discussion of ideals.

    My dad came to get my kids recently, and they had Leonardo Da Vinci action figures that they were playing with. My dad asked who the long- haired man was and I said who it was and added we like to give them smart stuff to play with, to which my father responded, Well the Bible says Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

    Unfortunately, I think that is a more accurate representation of the fundie ideal toward any kind of education, including literacy.

    Sorry if this was a little jumbled, hard to maintain a consistent train of thought with a 2 year old running around 🙂

  38. I was excited that the principal of the IFB school I taught at agreed to let me teach “Lord of the Flies” the next year to the seniors in Brit. Lit. I thought the theme of where evil is – outside us or within us – would really resonate with a Christian worldview. Unfortunately, the school closed before the next school year, but I was really glad that he was willing to allow a book that a lot of other schools would probably have banned.

  39. The most pathetic aspect of my fundy education is probably A Beka science. When I took biology in college, I realized how little of the critical information A Beka covered. I learned nil about genetics from my highschool biology textbook & next to nothing about cell biology. I suspect that A Beka limits the info on these topics, because the deeper one studies them (esp. genetics) the more likely that he/she will uncover evidence for evolution.

    In a previous comment JimE recommended a movie: The Village. I’d definitely agree that The Village is a great movie for former fundies to watch.

  40. Darrell says: I think this officially gets the award for “most unpopular post ever” 🙂

    Gosh do you think so? Everybody’s being polite and you’ve got a trunkload of comments after only a few hours. I WISH I could be this unpopular on my blog….

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