Topic | So Undecided – can I do this?


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  • suzukimom

    Ok, so I’ve been using AO modified for the last year, and have been planning to continue using it…  the modifications were to remove the American History, and put in Canadian History… and I’ve figured out a lot of the Canadian History resources for the next few years to line up with the AO history timeline…

    However, recently there has been a controversy about one of the books used by AO.  It was an issue that I already knew about, but doesn’t directly affect my family as it is in the American History book… but has always had me concerned for other people.  But now with the controversy being raised, I am very concerned about the attitudes of the AO advisory and how they appear to view my religion.  And it is making me uncomfortable.   

    Please note that I am not trying to start the controversy here… just that I’m trying to figure out what to do and I need a sounding board while I try to figure it out!  

    I have to admit that when I started to think about not using AO, there is a part of me imagining not having the schedule to (even loosely) adhear to.  But then I think that we would end up us not getting nearly as much done (I appear to want it both ways…?)  and I also think of the books and that that we have used in AO that I never would have thought to use.  I also worry that I’d start putting in too much…  (ie, let’s do Apologia science, read our childcraft books AND Burgess animal books…. or something like that….)    And then I think of how much difficulty I have had finding good resources for Canadian History… and wonder if I could manage to do it with the whole thing….

    Then I think, hey, we could take a short period, say 9 weeks at a time, and make goals and work on it a bit at a time….  and hey, for history we could use our Child’s History of the World and start right at the beginning…. then I think… hey my poor “guinea pig” son who we have jumped around in history so much already… then I wonder what about all that work I have put in to align Canadian History with AO, and if we start with ancients, it’ll be a couple of years at least before starting Canadian History…. 

    And I wonder if I should be trying to do more subjects as a family if I redesign our homeschool…. (well, at least the older 2) – but then what about my goal to have the children become independent learners….     

    And a bunch of other thoughts going through my head.   And even a “am I throwing the baby out with the bathwater” thought…

    (And yes, I do own the Planning your CM education)… it just seems to me that I need to figure out a few of these answers! 

    oh, and my dh’s take is always that whatever I do with the homeschool is fine…..

    Sara B.

    I have been following this recently on the AO boards.  Now, I don’t want to start any controversies, either – I haven’t even seen the book in question, much less owned it – but to me, if your view of history is different, then just use your own source.  As far as I have seen, AO is a Christian curriculum/site, correct?  And the vast majority of Christians do not adhere to the history of the LDS church.  Which is not a problem.  Every person has the right to their own opinions, and to practice their religion how they see fit.  So I guess I don’t really see the problem?

    So to me, the answer is just substitute where you need to substitute, and keep the rest – in reference to your throwing the baby out with the bathwater comment.  🙂

    HTH, and God’s blessings as you work through this difficulty.

    Sara  🙂

    In my time of homeschooling I have come across quite a few books that have a spin to them in favor of one religion or in some cases denigrating a religion.  It does not totally put me off the book if the book is worthwhile, but I do explain to my children that there are people with differing views and that sometimes people can be rather strident in their opinions and their views.  So for example if we are reading a book with something rather disturbing about Cathololicism then we will discuss it and say, that it is being written by someone who has a rather narrow minded view point and that really we should be loving one another and not tearing each other down.  I am not Catholic, but I have seen some pretty horrrific and untrue things written about that particular religion among others.  We have taught our girls to be respectful of all religions and faiths and it is important to me that they do not get into the habit of thinking they are better than anyone else.   It is a controversial subject, but I think that if you are strong in your own faith then you can move forward with any book and correct any injustice you come across.  In England in my school years we have religious instruction where we studied all the faiths, what they believed, customs and so on – I found that immensely valuable and fascinating and as such have grown up with a broad view of religion.  I base my own faith on the ten commandments from a Protestant worldview – and the actual denomination is less important to me – though I cannot bring myself to attend a church where other faiths are denigrated.    We are all different and I think it is important to recognise that we are all entitled to believe what we want and not to believe at all if that is our wish.  The world would be a far nicer place if everyone could respect each other and not tear each other down.  So Suzukimom, do not worry about what others write, say or think – be strong in your own belief, raise your children in the way you see fit, and correct the things that you read that may be false in your mind.  The world is big enough for all – and tolerance is what we should be aiming for, not playing the unpleasant game of my faith is better than yours – that is unbecoming of anyone in any faith.  I admire all people who have the courage to walk with God, no matter what denomination and I take what I like from all books, and I am also not afraid to look at my own beliefs and see that it is not perfect either – there is no perfect religion or faith, or people – there are just believers and we all are entitled to respect.   So do not worry, or be upset by people who do not agree with you or your faith – there is room for everyone – I respect your faith as much as any other, all have merit.  Linda


    One of the concerns I have about reading books with negative religious bias is that I’m not sure if what they are teaching is true or not.  I don’t know enough about the history of other churches to know if someone is being biased or outright lying.  So my personal preference is to avoid books that I know (or hear from good sources) is markedly biased one way or another.

    As to your other questions….I’m all for having the family study as much as possible together.  You can still have independent learners and learn as a family.  In the SCM guides you all study the same period in history and have the family read-aloud.  Then the older kids read additional books based on their learning level.  Family discussions are more vibrant because all can contribute at their own levels.  This applies to other subjects like science and literature.  You study a main topic together, then everyone branches out into their own level.  Your older kids are still learning how to read through a book on their own, report on it, whatever, and your younger ones are involved with the family and you all learn and grow together.

    I’ve often heard from people using curriculum like Sonlight or AO that it gets hard to coordinate all the various levels.  It would drive me bonkers, but that’s ME and not necessarily someone else.  I have looked through their booklists (and other curriculum as well) and chosen books that I thought looked interesting or added to the SCM guide.  I use the SCM guide as my starting place and add other books/topics that I know my boys would like.  Then I don’t worry about it!

    I can’t help for Canadian history.  I think someone here on the forum had a study all planned for it.  Maybe it was you!  I’m sure there are resources online because you know that somewhere, some homeschool mom has already planned it and put it on her blog and you could use that to start with and add to or take away what doesn’t work for you.



    You have a lot of great advice here already.  I really second what Linda has written – every last bit of it. 

    We have a Mennonite background, although we are not practicing Mennonites, and we do attend a biblical Protestant church.  Knowing more about the history of the Mennonites that many, I have been slightly disturbed by their misrepresentation at times, sometimes in history, sometimes by people face to face, but it usually stems from ignorance or narrow mindedness (or both).

    I really think it’s just how it is when you follow a minority belief system.  And the majority of general history resources are not going to cater to that belief system.  You could just leave out the chapter(s) in question, and deal with majority viewpoints versus your viewpoint when they’re old enough to understand. 

    Obviously if the entire book is bad, throw it out.  But if it is mostly good with an off chapter or two, is it really worth the trouble of trying to find something new?  Perhaps yes, perhaps no.  I haven’t read the book in question, so I can’t comment. 

    Blessings and God’s wisdom be upon you as you seek the path He has for your homeschool,



    You know, it wasn’t so much that the book was ‘bad’, but I don’t always know enough about other religions to “correct” the bias feel …there are other choices out there that are just as good and maybe better for my needs…I am with Heather on that!   (BTW, LDS are Christians too.)

    However, I agree that we should always respect each other.  We all have much to contribute in many ways!!!

    Reading things like this makes me grateful that someone in the school system in my day in the UK thought that Religious Instruction was a valid subject – not only did we study the Bible but we studied the other faiths and were exposed to their books too.  I remember having different religious leaders coming and talking to us and it was very interesting and without that, I may not perhaps have had such an open mind about other view points.  I think we can teach our children about other faiths and denominations without sacrificing our own beliefs and I certainly think we can and should teach respect for others no matter what they believe.  Do unto others rings true here as much as anything else.  I do not believe we can be Christ like if we are hateful or dismissive of others who have differing views.  Respect and  tolerance are two of the most important words in the dictionary.  Religion can be very polarising, and that should never be, sadly man makes it so.  Linda


    I hope my last post didn’t come across that I don’t think LDS are Christians – that was not my intent at all.  I am aware that they are, and by “minority belief system” I only meant that it differs slightly from the mainstream Christian beliefs.  My heartfelt apologies if that caused any bad feelings.

    Although it wasn’t taught in my school, I personally have a great love for learning the beliefs of others – it helps so much with communicating effectively and respectfully. 


    Gaeleen I did not find anything wrong with what you wrote, I think everything has been written very politely and that is good, it is the way it should be.  Blessings, Linda


    Goodness!  I wasn’t offended or upset, or anything!  I was just making sure that anyone else reading understood that we believe in Christ.  =)  I happen to value anything that you, Gaeleen and Linda, both write because you have a valuable balance that we need =)  All us newbies to this CM thing, whew!  I have to add that in another post I told Rachel that I wished she lived down the street…same goes here with you both too.  I could learn so much from you all.  =) 

    I did take a couple of religion classes when I was in college – that was WAY too many years ago to figure up, and I never dreamed then that it would ever even be something to retain as immediate recall information – heeheehee  But that reminds me, I do have the book still on my very tallest shelf of my tallest bookcase…thnk it is time to bring it down =)

    You guys are awesome!  Sheila


    I’m not over on the AO boards so I’ll just give my 2 cents on what I gather are your worries.

    First, if you are uncomfortable on the AO boards, but like using many of the curricula recommendations then just stop using their message boards.  I’ve had a few boards I’ve dropped in the past because of the “feel”. 

    Second, you can totally teach children to be independent learners while still keeping everyone in the same time period!  We keep all the kids (ages 9 down to baby) together for history and everything we can.  My plan this year for history, for an example, will have a family read aloud in the time period, books I will read to my middle ones at their level in the time period, and my 5th grader will have her own extra books in the time period to read and report back to me on.  She’ll be encouraged to choose topics to go deeper on that catch her interest and I’ll facilitate that but put her in charge of the learning.  I’m using the SCM Middle Ages Handbook for the book lists and schedule by the way – Module 4.  I’ll tweak a bit and add some more books here and there, but that’s my spine.



    Thank you everyone for the responses, both publically and privately.

    This has been something that has been hard to explain exactly.  I am thinking it is time for my family for me to make our own plans, working with various resources that are around.  It is time for me to sit down with the Planning CM Education book again, and work through things.


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