Balanced Homeschool Curriculum

As I’ve mentioned before, my family homeschools.

I’ve done a lot of research and planning to ensure that I give my children the best education I can, but with the passage in the Utah State House of Representative Draxler’s Mining literacy bill today, I’m concerned that there might be a major gap in my kids’ education. The bill allocates money (from a fund paid for by the oil and gas industry for reclaiming abandoned wells) to develop curriculum explaining the positive side of the oil and gas industry.

From the article linked above:

“The critical reason [for the bill] is balance,” Draxler told TPM in an interview. “I believe that the development of natural resources sometimes gets an unjust black eye.”

“They are being taught a lot about recycling and conservation and global warming,” he said, adding that he did not oppose students learning about those things. “But very few of them know about the petroleum industry and the mining industry.”

Shoot, I teach my kids about recycling and the benefits of car-light travel, but what about the relatively tiny environmental impact of drilling an oil well or mining coal through mountaintop removal? They’re only hearing the bad parts, especially with the media going on and on about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (not to mention the two oil spills we’ve had here in Salt Lake in the past year). Where’s the balance?

I’m going to try to get some industry-funded curriculum about the environmental impacts of mining for our homeschool. Maybe I can even attend a workshop to help me better teach the subject, like Draxler wants to have available for public school teachers.

While I’m at it, I’m going to have Nestle USA give us information about fighting childhood obesity for our nutrition curriculum. With products ranging from artificial baby milk to frozen pizza to non-dairy creamer, Nestle is a company that knows about obesity.

I wonder if I can get someone in the auto industry to develop curriculum about the benefits of individual automobile travel compared to taking public transportation.

Choosing to homeschool my children has put them at a decided disadvantage academically, but with a little effort, I think I can give them the same high-quality education they would otherwise receive from our public schools.

Now to order the Coke machine for in our kitchen.

5 comments

  1. Lea · March 22, 2011

    CJ – if you would like to teach the kids, every state geological survey, the EPA, and of course education web sites have all that stuff. I’ve send a friend of mine some of the 1st grade stuff from the EPA web site, and the Ohio DNR has particularly good stuff for kids. Maybe ExxonMobil and BP have the other stuff you’re looking for 😉

    Like

    • CJ · March 22, 2011

      Thank you so much for this information, Lea! So far we’re just working on life sciences, but it’s great to know where to go when questions come up.

      Like

  2. timbra wiist · January 26, 2011

    my comment is. . . i can not even comment 🙂

    Like

  3. Paul · January 26, 2011

    That’s a liberal slip if ever i heard one: it’s the *pro-obesity* curriculum that needs Nestle funding. Actually, I’d almost agree with the oil and mining folks if they didn’t pitch it as a political, us and them issue: kids don’t learn enough about the extractive industries, from which we all benefit and which are by definition not about conserving but consuming.

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    • CJ · January 26, 2011

      I agree about teaching kids about the way that so many products come to us from the earth. Draxler’s point that kids don’t know where the materials come from for their iPods and their toothbrushes and many, many other items in their lives is a good one. I’m not sure it makes sense that this curriculum should be legislated or that the money comes from the mining industry.

      That’s what was passed in the Utah House yesterday. Today they agreed on a Browning semi-automatic as the “state firearm.” Good news: things are going so well here in Utah, these are our top issues.

      Like

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