From Luke's Inbox: Can I Trust Sonlight?

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Most Christian homeschooling curriculum present evolution as a sham. I cannot in good faith provide that explanation as the only one. Can you show me some examples of where you present both sides? My underlying concern is that if these topics where I personally know a great deal are not presented honestly and completely, how am I to trust other topics where I am less knowledgeable?

Evolution is a topic for which we get flak from people on all sides of the issue <smile>.

I agree that most curriculum providers -- and many "big names" in the homeschooling movement -- do a very poor job of presenting evolution. But, as I hint in my post on Random Chance, I don't think it's just the Young Earth crowd who is at fault. My limited experience in public school clearly demonstrated that "evolution" is an idea bandied about, rarely defined, and poorly understood by most of us, regardless of our educational background.

The Blindfolded Leading the Blindfolded

But there are those, like yourself, for whom this is a subject of more fascination. I, a film major by background, would have little to offer you in this regard. Similarly, our notes on evolution are not going to present both sides completely. We do our best to be fair, but there's no way we could ever be complete. Nor would we want to.

Why not deal with a topic completely?

  1. That'd be impossible. There's always more to learn. For example, Google revealed that someone recently wrote a dissertation on "The Genetics of Speciation and Colouration in Carrion and Hooded Crows." There is no way to teach anything "completely." We must choose the foundational bits to share and allow parents and students to expand on this foundation as desired.
  2. It's not that important. We must pick our battles. Some people have taken positions on evolution (either for or against) as one of the matters of most importance. I disagree. Aspects of evolution definitely shape things like medicine, but those areas of the idea are not really under scrutiny. What you and I believe about the age of the earth can have impacts on us, but is it really more important than, I don't know, making sure "Johnny" can read? Because, once Johnny can read, he can continue to learn and may discover that the impacts of animal captivity ignite his passions.

And that leads us back again to the idea of "Education, not Indoctrination." We want to give you tools so you can teach your children what you believe and why. As you look through our materials, you will notice that we present largely from an Young Earth perspective. As you know, some of the books we carry contain presentations of evolution. I feel it balances out sufficiently. Others, of course, disagree <smile>.

This brings us to your underlying question: Can you trust Sonlight to present truth?

In many ways, no. Not because what we offer is untrue. We seek to educate so we choose not to make statements that indoctrinate. Neither you nor I want a curriculum that says, "This is how it is, reject all else." What I believe best helps students to learn is more along the lines of, "This is what we believe and why." As students are ready, we can then move on to share what others believe and why and why we do not agree.

So can you trust Sonlight's presentations on topics with which you are less familiar?

Absolutely. We seek to learn and help you learn with your students. We do our best to present things honestly. And where we are incomplete and you want to learn more, you are encouraged to dive deeper into the many facets of that area of study. It's one of the many advantages of homeschooling.

Sonlight's approach is rather unique. I have found it incredibly helpful throughout my life-long journey of learning.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

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