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Textbooks: Marks of a Second Rate Homeschool Curriculum

Written by Gary North on December 3, 2016

The typical homeschool mom has been told this: “Beware of online education. Computers are bad!”

This is the sales pitch of homeschool curriculum producers that did not see what the Khan Academy would do to education. They do not know how to respond. They have “bet the farm” on Gutenberg, not video-based education. They are going to lose this bet.

So are the children of the mothers who stick with textbooks.

Homeschool moms are as blind to what makes for advanced education as are the members of the public school teachers’ union. They also use textbooks.


Here is what homeschool moms never do. They do not look at the reading lists of any upper-division college course in the social sciences and humanities. They would find that there are no textbooks. There are monographs. There are primary source documents. There are journal articles. There are classic modern books in the discipline. But there are no textbooks.

Why not? Because upper division courses are taught by senior professors, not low-paid assistant professors who are assigned the freshman courses. Textbooks are for freshmen, not upper division students. Upper division courses are designed for students who have gone through the grunt-work, “weed-them-out” freshman course. They are ready for serious work.

The same is true in high school. Textbooks are written for the lowest-common denominator students. They are written for students who are not expected to attend college. They are written, in short, for academic losers.

The sad fact is this: textbooks are used in Christian school curricula. The textbooks are imitations of public school textbooks. They are designed for slow-track classroom education, just as public school textbooks are.

Textbooks are deadly dull. Have you ever gone back to re-read a textbook from college? No. Why not? Because they were deadly dull. You knew it then. You know it now. Yet there are homeschool mothers who search in vain for interesting textbooks. The might as well search for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Textbooks are dumbed down. They have to be in order to sell enough copies to repay their publication costs. They must meet a mass audience to generate sales. Yet mothers all live in Lake Woebegone, where the kids are all above average.

A textbook is incredibly expensive to revise. The book must be re-typeset. This is why textbooks are several years old — or more.

A teacher can revise an online lesson in a few minutes. Videos are easy to revise.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

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