There Are Homeschooling Christian Parents Who Accept Evolution, Too

Not surprising: The majority of home-schooling families are Christian.

Surprising: Many of those families are scientifically literate and embarrassed by Ken Ham and the Young Earth Creationism he espouses.

David Wheeler has the story at The Atlantic:

For many evangelical families, the rationale for homeschooling has nothing to do with a belief in Young Earth Creationism or a rejection of evolutionary theory. Some parents choose to homeschool because they’re disenchanted with the values taught in the public school system. Others want to incorporate more travel into their children’s education. Still others want to implement specific learning techniques they believe are more suitable for their children.

But whatever their reason for homeschooling, evangelical families who embrace modern science are becoming more vocal about it — and are facing the inevitable criticism that comes with that choice. “We get a lot of flak from others for not using Christian textbooks,” Warton says.

The best line in the piece comes from one mother who supports the teaching of real science: “We want our children to be educated, not sheltered from things we are afraid of them learning.”

It’s possible many of these parents teach God-guided evolution, but it’s certainly better than the alternative.

Keep in mind there are no numbers or statistics here. This is a story purely comprised of anecdotes. If this catches on, though, Ken Ham could see a drop in his customer base: Parents willing to sacrifice their children’s education for the sake of the Lord.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Keep in mind there are no numbers or statistics here.

    Yeah, I noticed.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    My wife and I home schooled our daughter. She now has a PhD in genetics and is employed as a research scientist. She finds the young earth idea laughable but finds it difficult to debate because young earthers start from a belief and try to fit the facts around that. If the facts do not fit a literal reading of Genesis they are thrown out.

  • Holytape

    Is the picture representing the controversy between the Gregorian calendar and
    Ethiopian calendar? The world created 4004 BC, which would make it, 6016 almost 6017. However, in Ethiopian calendar it is still 2005, which means that the Earth is just about to turn 6001.

    (P.s The correct time is 1362691676.)

  • Rain

    Maybe they are beginning to realize that using their holy book as a science book makes about as much sense as using their holy book for morality on slavery or for tips on animal sacrifice. Maybe monkeys will fly out of Donald Trumps hair. Maybe the moon is made out of cheese.

  • SecularPatriot

    Don’t shatter my stereotypes. I cling to them.

  • Kengi

    I don’t know. These Christian parents need to be careful. Teaching reality is a dangerous thing to do to children. It can lead to unintended consequences like enlightenment.

  • Holytape

    There is actually a statically significant chance that monkeys will, in fact, fly out of Donald Trumps hair.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    You figure it’s static electricity that keeps his hair in that position? Could be, I suppose. It’s not wrong to laugh at someone as rich as he is who makes himself appear foolish, is it?

  • Compuholic

    While I am delighted to hear that most of them are not teaching YEC I still remain sceptical of homeschooling. It requires much more to be scientifically literate than not to believe in YEC and I have serious doubts that the average parent could teach at a level comparable to a professional teacher.

  • Bad_homonym

    The static electricity in fact keeps the monkeys from flying out!

  • anniewhoo

    No statistics here either, but if you visit a homeschooling convention, you will still see that most of the science texts being sold subscribe to young earth creationism. From the article, it sounds that scientifically literate Christian parents go to other sources for their textbooks. I wonder where?

  • Sven2547

    “Some parents choose to homeschool because they’re disenchanted with the values taught in the public school system.”

    I’m dying to know what “values” they reject from public schools. I am impulsively and perhaps unfairly pigeon-holing them when I speculate what those horrible public school “values” may be. Racial desegregation? Gender equality? Religious pluralism?

  • Rich Wilson

    Could be a lot of things including fervent religion

    (I agree that’s not exactly “values” but there can be a lot of reasons to want to home school)

  • Tiffany Young

    There are many acceptable science curriculums that are purely secular. I have personally used and pulled from 4 different ones. If you look hard enough, there are resources made for secular people who choose to homeschool. Namely: Intellego Unit Studies, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, Real Science Odyssey, Science Fusion, etc.

  • Tiffany Young

    There are many acceptable science curriculums that are purely secular. I have personally used and pulled from 4 different ones. If you look hard enough, there are resources made for secular people who choose to homeschool. Namely: Intellego Unit Studies, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, Real Science Odyssey, Science Fusion, etc.

  • onamission5

    Two dear friends of mine are religious homeschoolers, but they do not home school for any of the reasons one might think! They are both trained educators who live in GA, US and were appalled by the state of the school system there, so decided that one parent would stay home with the kids to give them a science and reality based education (complete with accurate sex ed) rather than one heavy on the conservative christian exceptionalism with which their GA schools are rife. So in their case their kids are homeschooled in part because the public schools are too religious, not too liberal, and don’t teach enough science, not because they teach too much.

  • Fractal Heretic

    Homeschooling can be incredibly effective when used properly. The student learns at their own pace, never left behind nor held back by the rest of the class. But for every overachiever spelling bee champion there are probably countless children who had lazier parents. The thing about homeschooling is that results vary greatly depending on the parents. They aren’t held to any standards. On the other hand, how much better is public school? Many parents homeschool their children simply because the public schools are full of lazy underpaid teachers, because kids do better with one-on-one attention, and because of the rampant bullying. Maybe we should fix our education system before we criticize people for looking for alternatives.

  • DougI

    My sister-in-law homeschooled her kids and taught them evolution. Then again, she’s Catholic so she didn’t have a problem with teaching some scientific reality to her kids. The sad thing is, if the kids went to public school they probably wouldn’t have learned anything about evolution.

  • LesterBallard

    So . . . they believe “God” directed the process of evolution in order to arrive at us? Would that really be evolution? Why would a all powerful being use evolution when it could just wiggle its nose and voila, homo sapiens? What would be the point of going through those billions of years when you know you’ll just tweak things along the way to get the results that you want?

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Strangely enough Kengi that is what happened. I quoted and posted the bible verse 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth” enough times that they took me seriously. The little rascals starting thinking and asking questions. I felt an obligation to answer honestly and we studied and questioned together. Their grandmother will never forgive me that they don’t speak in tongues and they believe in the devils lie evolution. Oh well, if you chase truth no matter where it goes you may end up with very different beliefs than grandma, and that’s evolution

  • Tardis_blue

    As an atheist parent homeschooling my kid, I can tell you some of the ones I wanted to avoid. Kids in school are taught to conform, not to ask (too many) questions, boys are better than girls, reading is a punishable offense, both by teachers and by peers, you must have all the coolest new material goods or be shunned, all children should be fluent in disrespectful language and currently popular media of all ratings levels, or risk being shunned, shutting up, sitting quietly, standing in line quietly, taking what you’re given and no more, accepting that bullying just happens and nobody can do a thing to help you, gay kids are evil and should kill themselves, foreign people are evil, atheists are evil…ok, I’m tapped. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I’ve got atm.
    It’s laughable that you mentioned racial desgregation, gender equality and religious pluralism as positive values gotten in schools, when it’s actually quite the opposite. Even in schools where there are similar numbers of kids of different colors, they often end up segregating themselves, and sorry, but gender equality in schools?? That’s like saying there’s air on Mars. Yeah, there might be a little, but what little there is is mostly toxic. Religious pluralism? Do you actually read this blog? Do you not see the multitude of times Christians are allowed to push their agenda in schools, but the minute Muslims or atheists try to suggest one of their activities, the whole community comes down on them with death threats and such? This is the stuff I wanted to avoid. My kid is growing up in a feminist household, being raised among feminist friends, and while his father and I are atheist, we are teaching him about all the major religions and teaching him to make his own mind up, and he has at least equal opportunity to mix with kids of other races homeschooling as he would in school.

  • Sven2547

    As someone who went through public schools, I’m wondering what planet you attended school on, to generate a first paragraph such as that.

  • Georgina

    Actually: fascism, inverse-racism, socialism, dependence, Orwellian world view.

  • Sindigo

    Ineffective troll is ineffective.

  • Michael

    “Many of those families are scientifically literate”

    And in a couple of weeks they’ll be telling their children that 2,000 years ago the graves opened and dead people walked around Jerusalem. [Matthew 27, right between the bit where the temple curtain is torn and the Roman soldier recognizes Jesus as the son of god.]

    Scientifically literate until it interferes with their religion – and then it’s back to the Dark Ages quick smart.

  • Anna

    Well, evangelicals who believe in evolution are still evangelicals. It’s probably got something to do with gays.

  • Anna

    Agreed. I have no problem with homeschooling, but I dislike the over-the-top accusations that come from some proponents. School can be a wonderful, nurturing, and stimulating place. I don’t see why it’s necessary to claim that homeschooling is better. The two provide different social and cultural experiences, and it’s up to parents to decide which would be more effective for their child.

  • timberwraith

    You’re first paragraph sounds a lot like the public school system I attended. I grew up in a very, very backward suburb of Baltimore… tons of verbal abuse, bullying, racism, mindless conformity, you name it.

    I don’t blame you for home schooling. US culture is by no means a monolith. The school district in one county might be somewhat progressive and pluralistic while the school district two counties over is complete shit.