One of the most popular textbooks for homeschoolers, particularly in Christian families, radically whitewashes history, according to an article by D.L. Mayfield in Sojourners.
Because when you believe all the information anyone ever needs is contained in one textbook, why put effort into writing other ones?
When Trump ascended into office, riding in on the phrase “Make America Great Again,” my memory was pricked. I had heard all this before.
When I was homeschooled, there were three prominent curriculum producers for Christian homeschooling: Abeka Press, Bob Jones University Press, and Accelerated Christian Education. Abeka remains the most popular…
… In rereading my textbooks, I was shocked at the blatant distortions. According to these texts, America was a wilderness until discovered by white European Protestants. The “Natives” rejected God and therefore weren’t blessed. The Constitution and Founding Fathers were all but sacred. The Civil War was unfortunate because it splintered our once great nation, taking God’s blessing away. Slavery was wrong, yes, but it wasn’t that bad because it helped make America what it was. The modern age is rife with problems (including public housing, welfare, and more), most of them stemming from “humanists” and “liberals.”
If you were to ask the publishers of these books when it was that America was so “great” (since Trump longs to make it great “again”), chances are, they would point to those times of systemic oppression: when white Christians were in charge of educating lesser “heathen” groups.
Which… sounds remarkably similar to how white evangelicals are acting these days, too.
In light of the U.S. political landscape today, the twisting of history in my textbooks is glaring. The way the texts praise Confederate generals for holding Bible studies for their slaves. The way they blame Martin Luther King Jr. for his own death. The setting up for a culture war where conservative Christians are battling to reclaim what was once theirs. Thanks to textbooks like those I was raised on, many people continue to believe the United States is on the right track.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for children whose young minds are being molded in such a harmful way. But growing up in ignorance is no excuse to remain ignorant as an adult, especially in the digital age when accurate information is well within reach. Mayfield, who describes herself as a “failed missionary” in her book, is proof that breaking out of the conservative bubble is possible.
These books don’t just rewrite history. They are miseducating or not educating students on racism, science, and… more science. Which could explain why so many conservatives think bringing a snowball to the Senate floor somehow disproves climate change.
If you’re looking for a great resource on the troubling content in these Christian homeschooling materials, check out Samantha Field, who is currently in the middle of reviewing a history textbook published by Abeka.
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