Over at HE&OS Daryl has posted an excerpt and link to an article on homeschooling from Chemical & Engineering News. The article he quotes is here and what a relief it is to read.
The article is not about the dangers of homeschooling, not about the creatonism and fundamental christianity that's supposedly rampant in the homeschooling community. It's about developing secular science curriculum for homeschoolers who need and want it. It's not a slap, it's an embrace. And it feels so good.
It's not uncommon to find that people in science are suspicious of homeschooling or have negative views. Greg Laden got a bunch of us annoyed with a post ages ago that seemed to label us all fundie creationists. Thankfully he's a curious and respectful guy and let the discussion continue. But he's not the only one with that impression and many seem content to let that impression shape their view of homeschooling in general so that they would be happy to see it deemed illeagal.
But the homeschooling isn't the issue. Homeschooling acts like a feint to draw critics. The critics see the homeschooling banner, rush it with swords drawn and the creationists simply creep past while people who should be natural allies of those critics, like secular or religious liberals, take up arms to beat them off.
The real issue is what is taught. The real issue is how a certain brand of christianity has monopolized homeschooling curriculum to the point where often the best those of us who aren't creationists can hope for is something that excludes mention of creationism as well as evolution. Something that mentions God but omits the scripture quotes.
(My conspiracy-minded self sees a huge resevoir of fundamentalist christian curriculum being built up at the same time as attacks are being launched on public schools in the name of religion. I sometimes wonder if homeschooling isn't simply a wedge for bringing religion back to public schools much like ID is a wedge for creationism)
Thankfully, there's the Chemical & Engineering News. Instead of condemning homeschooling they embrace it and work to keep us informed of what's being done to help us in our journey to raise kids with a firm grasp and love of science. They recognize we're out there on the front lines and support us. And we really are on the front lines. We're the ones countering the creationist views of other homeschoolers in homeschooling circles, speaking out against the HSLDA, building networks for those who don't support creationism, boycotting certain blogs and trying to offer up advice and alternatives so other parents don't have to compromise with their science texts. Sacrifice us and a whole front has been given up to those who would like to see science simply fade away.
So thank you Chemical & Engineering News and here's hoping more people in the scientific community will reach a hand out to us in the future.