An Inside Look at Homeschooling/Public Schooling


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I've noticed here at TOL that there are many different views of homeschooling and public schooling, including some very dim views of both. So in order to try to provide some insight about both homeschooling and public schooling, Christine and I will both be posting a sort of blog entry, every day for the next week, about what our day of homeschooling or public schooling was like.

I'd like to thank Christine for participating in this project, and I hope that it will provide some insight as to what homeschooling and public schooling are really like, for those that might not otherwise have the opportunity to gain any insight into either.

I would greatly appreciate it if only Christine and I were to post in this thread. I've started another thread for those who want to discuss this thread. Thank you.


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Christine's Entry 10-04-04

Christine's Entry 10-04-04

I started off today by doing some of my math (I'm working through Saxon's Calculus book). After I had gotten some of the lesson done, I ate breakfast and got ready for the day. It wasn't long until everyone (my Dad, Mom, and sister Elaine) were up and starting their day.

As soon as everyone was ready, we started the school day with our Bible Study time. We read and discussed James chapter five. Also, Dad read a couple of articles to us that he had found on-line. The first article, which I found quite interesting, was "The Homeschooled Girl" by Chris Davis. The second article was "Math and the Bible" by J.C. Keister from the Trinity Foundation. "Math and the Bible" debunked the myth, that so many believe, that math is a "neutral" subject. When Dad was finished reading those two articles, he read a section out of the book "Van Til's Apologetics" by Greg Bahnsen. Van Til can be dry at times, but I have learned alot about defending the faith from him.

By the time I was finished with Bible Study time, it was already 10:00 A.M and time for logic. I'm working through "Introductory Logic" by Douglas Wilson and James Nance, with today's lesson being "Consistencies and Disagreements." I learned about the three types of logical disagreements; #1. real disagreements, #2. apparent disagreements, and #3. verbal disagreements. When Dad was done going over the lesson with me, and I had done the exercise, I watched the portion of the video tape that went along with today's lesson.

When I finished logic, I started on my introductory philosophy course entitled "Thales to Dewey" by Gordon Clark. Today's lesson was on the Presocratics, namely, the Pluralists.

The morning had just flown by! We took an hour break (from noon until one) for lunch and laundry related chores.

After lunch, I worked on my foriegn languages. I'm taking Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. It's slow going and hard work, but I know it will be worth it in the long run. In my "Homeschool Greek" course by Harvey Bluedorn, I parsed four Greek verbs and read two verses from Matthew. In Hebrew, I just practiced reading, keying in on the vowels (they don't have vowel letters like the English alphabet, instead, they have vowel markings). In my "Artes Latinae" course, which I actually do on the computer, I practiced pronunciations, looked at verb forms, and answered questions in Latin.

With foreign languages out of the way, I took a little break. Coming back from my break, I studied for, and took, my advanced physics test that goes along with "Advanced Physics in Creation" by Dr. Jay Wile.

That's it! By now it was time for supper. For my other subjects (English and American Government), I can work on those while Dad's at work or not around to help me. While he's around, I need his help with subjects like calculus and advanced physics. You'll probably see entries from English and American Goverment subjects later in the week
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Entry 1 - Monday, 10/4/04

Entry 1 - Monday, 10/4/04

Before I begin, it's probably best to say a little about the structure of my school day. My school uses block scheduling, which means that a normal day consists of 4 90 minute classes a day. I am also currently taking an additional "7:00 Class", as they're called.

I arrived at school at 6:45 AM, in time for my first class of the day, "Software Design". We are currently learning Visual Basic 4 and today's lesson was on controlling picture boxes in the programs. The teacher first told us about a better way to do animations using picture boxes that wouldn't cause so much blurring between frames. She then taught us how to allow the user to draw directly into a picture box, similar to the free form tool in MS Paint. She then spent a few minutes on making shapes in VB and then went on to discuss our upcoming individual projects. She told us that some of the other teachers may have requests for programs that they wanted, that we could possibly use for our individual projects. Because, in the spirit of the rationale of the principle that gave the go ahead for the creation of a programming class at my school "Why pay for software when you have students that can program?" :chuckle:. The class then went to the math lab where we got to experiment in VB until class was over.

My next class was Chemistry II (a sort of mediary between Chemistry I and AP Chemistry), where we are currently do the thermochemistry unit. The teacher started out by notifying us of some changes that she had made to the schedule. A few students had questions about the previous night's reading and she went around and answered them. We then had a short discussion on the importance of Hess's Law (the focus of today's lesson). She then gave a lecture on how the conditions in which a reaction takes place and the quantity of the reactants affect the change in enthalpy of the reaction. She then put some some problems dealing with Hess's Law on the board for us to work and then went over them. We then reviewed methods that we had learned to measure the change in elthalpy during a reaction and review heat curves. She passed out our the lab procedure for tommorrow's lab and returned our lab notebooks to us.

The next class was Spanish III Acclerated. Today was very uneventful as the teacher was gone today and we had a substitute teacher. We did a new unit in our work books, about making a telephone call, which I can now walk anyone through in great detail in Spanish, and did a worksheet one the uses of the preterite tense vs. the imperfect tense (two versions of the past tense in Spanish).

Next, and my personal favorite of the day, was Precalculus BC*. Before I talk about this class, I'd like to say a bit about the teacher for you to keep in mind as you read this. This teacher is particularly... exuberant, I'll say. Often attending his class seems to be half late night variety show and half math class, but he still manages to cover at least as much material as any other teacher I've ever met, and he does a great job of keeping the class's interest throughout it. We started off by playing "The Game" where he uses his calculator to randomly select people in the class to go up to one of the whiteboards and work one or two of the homework problems. He went over the homework problems, and then gave us a run down of what to expect to see on the upcoming test. I then had a half-hour break for lunch which I spent getting ahead on my Physics homework. After lunch, we had a lesson on inverse functions which included many problems for us to work. He then spent the last few minutes of class assigning the homework.

My last class of the day is Honors Physics. Today we were reviewing for tommorow's test. He collected the problem set that we had been assigned for homework and redistrubuted them among the students for grading. After that, our homework was returned to us and we broke into small groups of about 3-5 people to discuss the conceptual questions, get solutions from other students for any problems that we might have had problems with, and to make a list of "stumpers" (problems that noone in the group could solve). He then had student volunteers who had gotten the "stumpers" put them on the board while he put up the rest. He then walked through all of them and answered any questions. In the last ten minutes of class we did a neat demo (or tried to anyway). Unfortunately, the monkey outsmarted us and stayed in the tree. :chuckle:.

I stayed after school for math team. A small group of students get together after school with the same teacher I have for Precalculus and work a couple of "big dog" problems as he calls them. The main problem de jour for those who are interested was:
Determine all pairs (p,q) of prime numbers such that the equation x^4-px^3+q=0 has an integer solution.

(5 Bonus Points for the first person to solve it. :D )


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Christine's Blog Entry 10-05-04

Christine's Blog Entry 10-05-04

I started off today by doing a little calculus before breakfast. After breakfast, I did some Advanced Physics until it was time for Bible. I was reviewing all three of Newton's Laws. This was ironic since these very concepts came up during my philosophy class.

During Bible, or Apologetics class, we read some more of Van Ti'ls Apologetic by Greg Bahnsen after reading the first chapter of First Peter. The following three verses from that chapter really "stood out." "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Peter 1: 19-21). These verses imply that God had planned the death, burial, and ressurection of Christ before man had yet fallen.

In Van Til's Apologetic, I noted the following three points made about unbelievers:
1. All men know God.
2. Men can gain rational and imperial knowledge.
3. Because unbelievers oppose the Christian faith, they cannot offer an adequate epistomological theory.

The agnostic and the atheist say that Christianity is absurd. Consider two challanges from published representatives:

David Hume (18th century Socttish philosopher):
" Is (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent.
Is God able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Whence is evil?"

George Smith (1979 from the book Atheism: The Case Against God):
"If God knows there is evil but cannot prevent it, he is not omnipotent.
If God knows there is evil and can prevent it but desires not to,
he is not omnibenevolent."

Do they close the "case against God" even thogh God, whom they must presuppose, calls them liars ("For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged"--Romans 3:3-4) and says that these "fools" know He exists ("For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools"---Romans 1: 18-22)

No bonus points ;) , just greater peace of mind to each who can solve "The Problem of Evil:"

Greg Bahnsen (1996, Always Ready):
1. God is all-good.
2. God is all powerful.
3. Evil exists.
4. ??????

In History of Philosophy, I studied some more from Thales to Dewey by Gordon Clark. I finished studying the Presocratics, through the eyes of Zeno. Zeno showed that Pluralism (contrasted to Monism), space,and especially motion are all absurd. An infinite series makes it absolutely impossible for Achilles to overtake the tortoise, traveling half the distance before you get there means you'll never get there. Then there's the flying arrow, at any moment, is coincident with two points of space and, therefore, at rest. Motion is an absurdity.

Therefore, my courses in Calculus and Physics are absurdities! Anyway, the Eleatics with their Monistic hylozoism had the last word over the Pluralists.

During Apologetics, Dad said that someone from TOL sees the God of Calvinism as being found in Greek philosophy (the monistic, unchanging Being). Dad said that was outrageous and absurd! Dad said some of the attributes of the God of the Bible are: omniscience (John 18:4; 2:25), omnipotence (God can do all He wills, but may may not will to do all he can, Eph 1:11), veracity (Psalm 12:6; 100:5) immutibility (Num 23:19), omnipresence (Jer .23:23-24), as well as others. Dad says the believer operates with empiricism, rationalism, and faith.

Dad said that he sees the god of the Open (Chaos, Chance) View as being found in Greek mythology. The Greek gods were fallable, ignorant, impotent, fickle, deceitful, etc. The followers of Open (D)eism operate with impiricism, rationalism, and little or no faith.

After History of Philosophy, I studied for and took my logic test. One of the questions on the test was about a statement that is false by definition. "The triangle is a square." Someone asked me if God knows what this looks like. God "knows" that it looks like nothing. It doesn't exist.

Instead of doing more schoolwork after lunch, I went with my parents into town to do our weekly errands.


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Today again started off with Software Design. We had been sitting around chatting before class began and a couple of the kids who were in the same math class mentioned that they had a math test on logarithms and exponential functions coming up soon, so the teacher showed them a program she had that they could practice those with. (It's probably worth mentioning that the Software Design teacher is also the teacher in charge of the Math Lab, and wrote most of the programs that we use in there.) As part of looking at the program, she also briefly taught us how to display exponents in a program. After that we had a "clone test" for those who wanted to take it. (A clone test is a follow up to a real test for those who didn't do as well as they might have liked on the first test.) I took the clone test (only got a 90 on the first test because I can't count to 43 :doh: ) with about five other kids in the class while the rest of the class went to the Math Lab to experiment in VB. After I finished the clone test, I went to math lab to experiment with VB untill the period was over.

Today was a lab day in Chemistry II. The teacher made a few last minute changes to the lab and gave us a few reminders. We then worked a quick Hess's Law problem and went to the lab. Today's lab was a pretty simple one. Working with a partner, we mixed various 2.0M acids and bases and measured the change in temperature in order to calculate the change in enthalpy. After we finished we could return to the room to start working on our lab notebooks.

In Spanish III Accelerated about a fifth of the class was gone at a "Leadership Conference". (I'm not entirely sure what that is, but I think that it is part of TSA (Technology Students Association), a club at the school.) In Spanish, the teacher tries to get us to talk, and talk herself, in Spanish as much as possible. She started out by telling us about the substitute's report from the previous day and asking us what we had done the previous day (all in Spanish). She then returned our drawings from the previous week (we had to illustrate a scene from the story that we had just finished) and we all had fun poking fun at each other's drawings as she passed them back :chuckle:. After that she passed back our quiz from the previous week and we went over it. Then we checked the work that we did yesterday with telephone vocabulary. She then told us about our upcoming test and midterm dates, and passed out a blank vocabulary list. We filled out the vocabulary list (which was considerably more extensive than the vocabulary in the workbook) and we filled it out while she gave us some explanation as to why some of the words were like they were and when it would be appropriate to use which varieties of certain words, etc. We then paired up with another student and pretended to have a phone conversation in Spanish, and she had a few of the groups go up in front of the class and act out their pretend phone conversation.

In Precalculus we started out with two "drill problems" and had the two from last week returned to us. We then did a quick review of inverse functions and their graphs before lunch. During lunch I helped a friend of mine study for the physics test next block. After lunch, the teacher demonstrated how to solve linear systems of equations by using matrices and how to determine the upper and lower bounds of polynomial equations. We then went over the homework from the previous night untill the end of class.

In Physics we had a test on Newton's Laws of Motion today, which pretty much consumed the entire period. I finished in about an hour and spent the last half hour "chatting" with my friend on spare pieces of notebook paper.


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Christine's Entry 10-06-04

Christine's Entry 10-06-04

In Bible/Apologetics, I read chapter two of 1 Peter. Then, Dad read aloud some from Van Til's Apologetic". The section in today's reading was about total depravity. Van Til defined total depravity as being "opposed to God," which is what all unbelievers are. Fortunately, despite man's total depravity, things aren't as bad as they could be because God is restraining man's evil nature ("For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness"---Romans 1:18)

After Bible/Apologetics, I read the rest of the chapter in physics. I was reading further on Newton's second and third laws.

After lunch I went onto logic, where I studied "being verbs." I learned that when writing syllogisms, you should write it with a being verb (, was, etc) instead of an action verb (ie, running, bringing, etc). Using being verbs makes it easiers to analyze the syllogism.

On to Gordon Clark's Thales to Dewey. Today, I began learning about the Sophists, Socrates, and Plato. I read about how the democray was set up in Athens by a struggle between the rich and the poor led to victory for democracy and ruin for the state. Draco (621 B.C.) and Solon (592 B.C) established fixed written laws in Athens. Draco were more severe, nevetheless, they were a help. Solon aided the poor by giving them some civil rights. This act of Solon's helped prepare for democracy. In Sparta, on the other hand, a military state existed where it reduced it's western neighbors to slavery and ruled cruely.

In Greek, I looked at four Greek preposistions and read some of Matthew from the Greek. In Hebrew, I read some more words. In Latin, I looked at second conjugation verbs. Facis de necessitate virtutem

After Dad left for work, I did some "book work" on my own. I did some more physics problems, finished my logic worksheet, and read some of my grammar book Handbook of Grammar and Composition.


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We got to spend all of Software Design in the lab today, where we experimented with VB even more.

In chemistry, we turned in our lab write-ups from the lab yesterday and then did a few problems dealing with Hess's Law. We then started on heat of formation and worked some problems dealing with that topic. She then assigned us a worksheet of heat of formation problems for homework at the end of the period.

In Spanish we checked our homework from the previous night and then did some more review with the preterite tense vs. the imperfect tense. The teacher reminded us about our upcoming tests and we then reviewed our phone vocabulary some more. We then played Hollywood Squares using the phone vocabulary. We then had some time to study the vocabulary with a partner before we play Snake (another game) until the end of class.

In math we had a test over functions, their roots, and their graphs, which took up the entire period.

Today in physics we began a new unit, periodic motion. We defined learned the mathematical definition and the standard notation for a few relative "units" and the spent the rest of the period working on problems involving orbital motion.


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Christine's Entry for 10-07-04

Christine's Entry for 10-07-04

I had an orthodontist's appointment this morning, so I didn't get much work done in the morning, though I did read some of my Handbook of Grammar and Compositin while waiting.

Prior to leaving for my appointment, I did take Bible/apologetics. I read the third chapter of 1 Peter, which dealt alot on the marriage relationship as well as continuing in Van Ti's Apologetic. In "Van Til's" I'm still reading about total depravity, and that fallen man seeks, in principle, to be a law unto himself. Fallen men's minds our darkened, yet they can still discover truth in spite of the fact that in principle fallen man is wholly evil. Fallen man is not partially evil, but wholly evil and spiritually dead. In spite of man's being dead in his sins, he can, by God's grace, discover Truth. Fallen man knows thuth and does "morally good" things (ie keeps man's laws) despite, in principle, being set against God.

After getting home from my orthodontist's appointment, I spent most of the afternoon working on Calculus. Later, in history of philosophy, I learned about the Greek educators, they educated prospective politicians. Socrates was a contemperary of this time and he questioned these educators. This is the time period from whence the saying "Man is the measure of all things," came from. The Greeks, at this time, decided the person who did premeditated murder was better than the person who commited aggravated murder. Why? The latter had accidentally killed someone, and therefore wasn't smart enough to have not done so. The murderer that had commited premeditated murder was better and smarter because he had thought out his crime and had intentionally killed someone. If he was smart enough to intentionally kill someone, he was smart enough to avoid murder altogether, they reasoned, thus making the person who did wrong on purpose the better of two evils.

In my Greek studies, I analyzed six Greek nouns and adjectives. I also read some from Matthew in the Greek.

In logic, I studied standard categorical statements, and learned the difference between universal and particular quantity statements as well as the difference between affirmative and negative quality statements.


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In Software Design we started out the class by going over how to use check boxes, option boxes, frames, and font styles in VB. We then spent the rest of the day in the lab where we also learned how to make screensavers, and how to detect whether or not previous instances of a program were running.

In Chemistry she started out class with a board riddle (which, as usual, was so bad that it would have made BillyBob's puns look good :p ). She then read us a joke that she had gotten in her e-mail (inserted below for your reading pleasure)

A major research institution (MRI) has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been tentatively named Governmentium.

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

She then took volunteers for people to put the homework problems on the board and went over them. After that she quickly explained the difference betweeen complete combustion and incomplete combustion before beginning the main lesson for the day, bond energies and how to use them to calculate the change in enthalpy of a reaction. After the lesson, we did a few bond energy problems and were assigned our homework.

In Spanish she started out by telling us what we would be doing in class that day (in Spanish) and also told us about the "Hispanic Festival" happening this weekend. After that we checked our homework and then did some listening activities. Next we did sentence practice in groups and then had our homework assigned to us at the end of the class.

Math started out with us getting our tests back and going over them. The rest of the period was spent on introducing e and logarithmic functions.

In physics we continued with periodic motion and learned about the forces acted upon an object undergoing orbital motion and worked a few problems related to that. The teacher then did a cool demonstration at the end of class.


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Christine's Entry 10-08-04

Christine's Entry 10-08-04

In Apologetics, what I started the day off with, I read the fourth chapter of 1 Peter as well as continuing in Van Til's Apologetic. Believers and unbelievers have common ground, that being all reality. Therefore, all men are image bearers of God and because the facts and laws of his world are what they are, as relelatory of God's acts of revelation in and through them, that the natural man remains accessible to God. No man can escape the call of God which confronts him in his own constitution as well as in every fact of the world that surrounds him. The unbeliever does not believe that he is a spiritually blind creature of God, instead, the unbeliever assumes his non-createdness, his autonomy. The unbeliever assumes the existence of the laws of logic and causality as having no reference to the Creator God of Scripture. The unbelieve is like a person wearing rose colored glasses who sees everything through those rose colored glasses. The unbleivers interpertation of himself and of every fact in the universe relating to himself, is, unavoidable, a false interpertation. The question is not whether or not the unbeliever can do trivial jobs such as read, typing, etc. The question is is whether the unbeliever, on his own principle can account for his own or any knowledge.

I did some math prior to Dad's leaving for work. After he left, I did some vocabulary excercises and read some in my American Government text. I read about what each of the constitutional ammendments did, what freedoms we have, and what role each branch of government has. I had a brief overview of all three branches of government before starting to read about the legislative branch in detail. The legislative branch is made of of Congress, which is made of of the Senate which has one hundred members and the House of Representatives which has four hundred thirty-five members. Both branches of Congress meet in the Capitol building. The role of the legislative branch is to make laws, impose taxes, appropriate money, and approve treaties and appointments.

In English literature, I read some poems from the Elizibethian Age (1485-1625). The selections I read were from Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Southwell, Thomas Campion, and Ben Johnson.


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In Software Design we got to spend the whole day in the lab again, working with VB. I've been working on a small program that's basically notepad with buttons on the side that allow you to insert "special characters" not found on english keyboards into text, so you don't have to memorize the unicode values or have to consult the character map.

We started out Chemistry today by trying to get a thermite reaction started, which is supposed to be very neat to watch. Unfortunately we couldn't get the thermite to react despite our numerous attempts to. (The lab's probably completely out of potassium permanganate and glycerol now :chuckle: ) After that, we spent the rest of the class going over our homework from the previous night.

In Spanish, we had a test today over orthographic verbs, preterite tense vs. imperfect tense, and telephone vocabulary. After everyone was done with the test we spent the rest of the class doing more review of preterite tense vs. imperfect tense, and then had our homework assigned to us.

In math we did the second math section of the practice PSAT (waste of classtime IMO), and then checked it. The teacher then randomly selected people to do the homework problems on the board which we then went over. The rest of the class was spent learning about logarithms and logarithmic functions, and we had our homework assigned to us.

In Physics we learned about centrifugal "force" (since there isn't really such a thing) and did some neat demonstrations. We then spent the rest of class working some problems related to centrifugal force.