Monday, April 11, 2011

Switching Gears

This year has been one of our hardest in home schooling. It started with us looking into another curriculum and being convinced via their website that this was the way to go. We were originally using ABEKA Academy DVD's which I still feel are great. ABEKA has great curriculum. We felt the kids weren't doing their best so we decided to look in to BJU which is another well known Christian curriculum. Their distance learning curriculum had the kids interest because of the video clips they had online. I thought the videos looked quite appealing too. We bought the curriculum and then it arrived late August. The kids were quite excited to see their books for the school year.

We found ourselves unpacking and checking to see if we got all of our books. We did. The Spanish/English dictionary did come with some torn pages but we didn't make a fuss. That was nothing a little tape couldn't fix. I was a bit confused on where certain books and manuals where. We did a mix of DVDs for the girls and online distant learning for our son. Some things were online for my son, others were in books. The DVDs were packaged separately, for example, all of the science DVDs were in one box, the math in another, the literature in another and so on. So with each subject you have to switch out DVDs. They also have Teachers Tips on the same DVDs that the students watch. So the parents are suggested to watch these tips before each lesson the student watches. ABEKA did theirs differently. There are no teachers tips, all that is needed is in the lesson manual. Their DVDs are not separated by subject. They divided their DVDs via days. 1 DVD has 2 days of work on it. So you only use 1 DVD a day, not several. All of the lessons for that day are on one single DVD (no switching to each subject) and each day corresponds with the lesson manual. ABEKA got this one right. They made it simple for us.

We had to get used to the way BJU does their lesson plans. I have to admit I wasn't pleased. Compared to ABEKA, BJU missed the mark on making it easy on us. We found ourselves printing enough papers to have to buy another printer cartridge. We had to buy big 3 ring binders to hole punch and assemble the kids papers and my teachers papers. We spent a full weekend assembling printed lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes, challenge tests, tests, etc etc in these 3 ring binders. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm thinking, if we have paid a lot of money for this curriculum these things papers should have been done for us. There again, I'm comparing this to ABEKA. With ABEKA all of this is printed for you. The lessons plans for all of the subjects are in one big book. No printing at all. I was spoiled. We where hoping at this point that the school year was going to be good well worth all of this time spent in preparing.

Well it started out ok. I do like the way BJU has one instructor to teach directly to the student instead of ABEKA's teacher in a class room view. I do like the way BJU has different ways of teaching via experiments on screen, little skits and interviews with various people. What I don't like is how bland BJU did their videos. Of course on the website they put the more appealing videos as clips. I have to admit I even got bored watching the guest Astronomer talk in a mono toned voice about Space and Earth Science with his blue shirt, on a blue background with a fake plant next to him. His information was important however to keep the students attention it was a miss. Now I'm not saying that we should "entertain" students all the time, but lets not make it so easy to tune out teachers. I do wish I could help them with their videos. I don't think I could due to their "rules". In fact I was curious about BJU and google search. Their Wikipedia page had some some very disappointing news. As an interracial family I was quite disappointed at this part of their history, All of this information is found here:



Although BJU admitted Asians and other minorities from its inception, it did not enroll black students until 1971, eight years after the University of South Carolina and Clemson Universityhad been integrated by court order. From 1971 to 1975, BJU admitted only married blacks, although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had already determined in 1970 that "private schools with racially discriminatory admissions policies" were not entitled to federal tax exemption. Late in 1971, BJU filed suit to prevent the IRS from taking its tax exemption, but in 1974, in Bob Jones University v. Simon, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the university did not have standing to sue until the IRS actually assessed taxes. Four months later, on May 29, 1975, the University Board of Trustees authorized a change in policy to admit "students of any race," a move that occurred shortly before the announcement of the Supreme Court decision in Runyon v. McCrary (427 U.S. 160 [1976]), which prohibited racial exclusion in private schools.[93]
In May 1975, as it prepared to allow unmarried blacks to enroll, BJU adopted more detailed rules prohibiting interracial dating and marriage—threatening expulsion for any student who dated or married interracially, who advocated interracial marriage, who was "affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage," or "who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the university's dating rules and regulations."[94] In a 2000 interview, the then-president, Bob Jones III, said that interracial dating had been prohibited since the 1950s and that the policy had originated in a complaint by parents of a male Asian student who believed that their son had "nearly married" a white girl.[95]

Bob Jones University v. United States (1983)

Main article: Bob Jones University v. United States
On January 19, 1976, the Internal Revenue Service notified the university that its tax exemption had been revoked retroactively to December 1, 1970. The school appealed the IRS decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the University met all other criteria for tax-exempt status and that the school's racial discrimination was based on sincerely held religious beliefs, that "God intended segregation of the races and that the Scriptures forbid interracial marriage." [96] The university was not challenged about the origin of its interracial dating policy, and the District Court accepted "on the basis of a full evidentiary record" BJU's argument that the rule was a sincerely held religious conviction, a finding affirmed by all subsequent courts.[97] In December 1978, the federal district court ruled in the university's favor; two years later, that decision was overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
 On January 8, 1982, just before the case was to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, President Ronald Reagan authorized his Treasury and Justice Departments to ask that the BJU case be dropped and that the previous court decisions be vacated. Political pressure quickly brought the Reagan administration to reverse itself and to ask the Court to reinstate the case. Then, in a virtually unprecedented move, the Court invited William T. Coleman, Jr. to argue the government's position in an amicus curiae brief, thus ensuring that the prosecution's position would be the one the Court wished to hear.[98] The case was heard on October 12, 1982, and on May 24, 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Bob Jones University in Bob Jones University v. United States (461 U.S. 574). The university refused to reverse its interracial dating policy and (with difficulty) paid a million dollars in back taxes. Also, in the year following the Court decision, contributions to the university declined by 13 percent.[99]

Dropping the no-interracial-dating rule (2000)

In 2000, following a media uproar prompted by the visit of presidential candidate George W. Bush to the university, Bob Jones III abruptly dropped the interracial dating rule, announcing the change on CNN's "Larry King Live".[100] Five years later when asked for his view of the rule change, the current president, Stephen Jones, replied, "I've never been more proud of my dad than the night he...lifted that policy."[101]

Apology for "racially hurtful" policies (2008)

In November 2008, the university declared itself "profoundly sorry" for having allowed "institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful."[102] That year BJU enrolled students from fifty states and nearly fifty countries, representing diverse ethnicities and cultures, and the BJU administration declared itself "committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world."[103]
By 2005, the university had established two 501(c)(3) charitable organizations to provide scholarship assistance solely for minority students.[104] Although BJU never reapplied for federal tax-exempt status, and it continues to pay federal taxes, a number of its ancillaries, including Bob Jones Academy and the BJU Museum & Gallery, are tax-exempt entities.[105]

Wow... I was quite disappointed we were giving our hard earned money to this school. I do understand that we all make mistakes but this type of view of our lifestyle is flat out disturbing.  Yes hey did issue an apology but I don't feel this decision was one of their very own. This was prompted via media uproar. So I'm not fully convinced that they are truly sorry for the rules they had so late after the Civil Rights movement. We noticed certain tones in the teachers voices when they speak about African Americans. There aren't any diversity in their videos other than the Spanish teacher that we have seen. Wait, I stand corrected they used an African American man in an interview to tell how he learned to read as an adult after he was illiterate for years.  Thanks BJU for that example! I'm sure they are making changes, for example their Spanish teacher, a Hispanic man was allowed to show a picture of his Caucasian wife. That was a brow lift to hope for a better  BJU but I find it funny that no other instructors have shown pictures of their spouses hmmm...

Although they are making rule changes I do wonder if everyone in their company believes in their rule changes. I had a representative call the house for the last payment, I asked the lady to call my husband instead. I gave her his cell phone number. She then says, "Oh he is some where else." I was confused at this comment. I said, "Well that is his cell phone number, he is at work."  What did she mean by that comment?? I don't know. Maybe she felt since the area code as different he was out of the home?? Separated?? I don't know. I figured she made a comment she should have just kept as a thought.  Maybe I should have asked but that might have just fueled my frustration with BJU. I left it alone and figured we'd never buy their curriculum again.

Christians who use the Bible to segregate by race out right or sneaky don't have my support. There is no support for race segregation in the Bible. People have twisted the Word to fit their own racial agendas. God told people to stay away from certain groups of people because of their ungodly lifestyles, not skin color.
Galatians 3:28 ESV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are surely switching gears. Next year it might be out with the new and in with the old. I did learn to research more than relying on the company's website. So as we finish this year out, I'm looking into curriculum more than I had before. I'm looking forward to ending this school year!


HShornet said...

Nice job tracking the truth Tawanna. I didnt realize the case went all the way to the supreme court and William Coleman argued the case. How did I miss that? I wouldnt want to give them my money either. Shiver)))

J said...

Wow T! That is a very interesting history lesson there.

You and Richard are such an inspiration to me. I hope that someday I'll be able to home school my child(ren). I will look to you for advice for sure.