Thursday, January 22, 2009

CHEC says "no" to Sonlight

John Holzmann, co-owner of Sonlight, has a very revealing post up about how his company was banned from participating in the Colorado Christian Home Educators Convention.
"Shortly after I resigned, I received news that the company had been banned from displaying its materials at the homeschool convention sponsored by CHEC, the Christian Home Educators of Colorado, our local Christian homeschool association. The letter that informed us of our having been banned was strangely uninformative. Happily, I have enough of a relationship with the president of CHEC (not much, but enough!) that I wrote to ask what was going on, what insight he might be able to shed on the subject. . . . I mean: It's not as if Sonlight had changed in any fundamental way over the 13 years it had been in attendance at the CHEC convention. . . .

Ultimately, Sonlight received no written or full "official" explanation, but got the message: the convention committee was of the opinion that the company isn't Christian enough . . . primarily because it isn't strict enough in its young-earth teaching.
Sonlight was a significant factor in the early days of Christian homeschooling and remains a major curriculum provider today. It was our curriculum of choice for the elementary years. As with any literature-based curriculum, I didn't always agree with their choices or their positions on some historical events, but the fact that they were "not Christian enough" never occurred to me. If I didn't like a book selection, I just substituted my own choice or moved on to the next book. The additional commentary Sonlight provided was challenging and often educated me as I was educating my children.

Holzmann goes on to say,
"CHEC, apparently, can't trust Christian homeschoolers in Colorado to do their own research, read what "the other side" is saying, and/or come to their own conclusions in these matters. CHEC feels the need to protect homeschool families from themselves."
There is likely another side to this story, but given that Holzmann thought it necessary to issue a public statement, I hope that CHEC will be just as transparent and provide any necessary clarification of their position. Homeschool conventions are not churches, is doctrinal agreement a necessary prerequisite to participation? (See Conventional Wisdom for more thoughts and discussion.)

It is also worth noting that the Executive Director of CHEC, Kevin Swanson, is a speaker at the upcoming Mens Homeschool Leadership Summit in March. The purpose of the summit is to lay out a vision and a standard for home education in the 21st Century. I wonder if their vision includes a place for Sonlight? And if not, I'm curious to know which curriculums do receive their approval?

(HT: Karen Campbell)

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