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Grieving Over

Grammar?

by

Earl & Diane Rodd






This booklet contains an expose of modern methods of teaching grammar. These methods are compared against Biblical methods of education. The reader is lead to apply Biblical methods to the teaching of English grammar. Modern methods fail students who are left without the understanding of their native language which is necessary for clear, concise written and oral communication or the foundation necessary to learn a foreign language. Students are left frustrated by their failures with no instruction in how to improve. These failed methods are widely taught in colleges and universities (even Christian ones) and therefore heavily influence many curricula.







Grieving Over Grammar?




Families Honoring Christ

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Earl & Diane Rodd
6044 Pine Creek St. N.W. North Canton, OH 44720

Phone: (330) 305-9318

1st edition - April, 1996

2nd edition - April 1998

3rd edition - June 2001

Permission is granted to copy this article for personal sharing
but not for sale or other commercial purposes.



FHC is an Ohio based ministry providing information, encouragement
and fellowship to Christian families, natural and spiritual.




Unless otherwise noted, All Scripture quotations are from the

New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1988,

The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.



Additional copies of this booklet may be ordered from FHC by writing to the above address. The price is on the back cover of this booklet. Please add $1.50 for shipping regardless of the number of copies. A full listing of other books and booklets on related topics is also available from FHC at the above address.

Grieving Over Grammar?



Introduction

When we returned to the US after nine years in Australia, we were bombarded by the myriad of voices crying for the paltry dollars of home educators. No matter what subject was being offered on this plate of tantalizing promises of Christian character training and foolproof academic success, one evil snare was and still is discernible: most advertising depends on the insecurities that all home educators face. This snare is only dangerous if it remains hidden. If we are not aware how our motives can be twisted by our emotions, then we can easily be deceived by curricula providers whose main interest is to make money. We believe, however, that the inadequacies that most home educators encounter are designed by the Lord as His way of keeping us humbly dependent upon him. Once we accept God's training in this process of choosing curricula and we recognize the snare of unprincipled men, how do we consistently choose curricula correctly and avoid the temptation to go for the bait? We trust the following principles will help.

In this booklet, we will begin by contrasting modern methods of teaching from unknown to known with the Biblical method of teaching from the known to the unknown. We will use "modern math" as an illustration of the problem, and then apply what we see in that illustration to the teaching of English grammar and composition. We will note the effects of evolutionary thinking on language instruction. We will provide extensive information on the differences in language instruction in some modern books. Finally we will discuss the positive aspects of helping to teach English in the home and consider modern evolutionary techniques to avoid. We conclude with an exhortation to refuse to compromise.

As we have prayed for home educators and sought "to bear one another's burdens," we have been overwhelmed continually by the incomplete and perhaps incompetent curricula that have been served to those who fulfilled their twelve years of compulsory attendance in public school. (It sounds like a jail sentence doesn't it?) Many home educators have to overcome these deficiencies while teaching their own children. Many of these "gaps" in learning occurred while attending public school but were never detected or corrected. Some were caused by untested theories of teaching methods and curricula generated to indoctrinate the masses and to fill the coffers of textbook publishers. This essay will address two of those theories which occurred in math instruction and in English instruction in the public schools. The Bible eloquently but simply reminds us of these kinds of snares.

I Timothy 6:9
9. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.

Colossians 2:8
8. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Diane remembers the painful parental insecurities and children's tears that she saw in her home town when "New Math" was introduced to her younger cousins in public school in the early sixties. The seeds of suspicion that public education could actually cause, foster and maintain a generation gap were being planted in her at the very time she was studying to be a high school English teacher! Now we have numerous math curricula designed to appeal to those parents who were schooled in "New Math" disorder. A simple rule about learning may be helpful for parents to ponder. To understand the abstract: first understand the concrete; teach from the known to the unknown. For example: a week is easier to grasp if a 24 hour day is first understood. The distances portrayed on a road map will be easier to grasp if imperial measurements (inches, feet and yards) and metric measurements (centimeters and meters) are understood.

Teaching From Known to Unknown

Teaching what is known to the unknown is a very simple concept of education that Jesus used continually. Many of Jesus' teachings are contained in simple parables. A parable is not a fictional story that teaches a moral lesson, but is "something real in life or nature from which a moral is drawn for instruction" (Noah Webster, Preface to the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language Foundation for American Christian Education, San Francisco, CA). Every parent used to be able to teach the basic concepts of many different subject areas using "the known to the unknown" because that was how they had learned within their own family and neighborhood network. A century ago children spent more time with their own parents, and many skills were easily passed down from one generation simply by observation and practice. Not only were the practical skills of an ordered home, farm or business transferred from parent to child, but also the educational basics of phonics, spelling and math were taught by the parent to the child. However, with the installation of state compulsory attendance laws parents no longer had the responsibility or motivation to remain excellent teachers. Thus the ability to teach following Jesus' superior method as exemplified in the parables was lost when mandatory attendance at public schools was legally enforced.

MATH - Teaching Known to Unknown

The new math theory (unknown before the known) dismally failed, and no one has apologized to the generation of parents and students that were traumatized by it when it was first introduced. It did not produce a 75% population of Einsteins as was promised. It did produce a continuing population who doesn't understand the national deficit and doesn't care! We have a government and a people who cannot add and subtract the numbers in their checking account or figure out that spending cannot exceed earnings. We have a citizenry who does not understand that continual increases in tax rates cannot go on forever. This is just a small but very significant taste of the evil fruit of the rotten tree called "New Math."

SOLUTION:

TEACH KNOWN TO UNKNOWN;

CONCRETE TO ABSTRACT

We urge parents: do not be intimated, cajoled, coerced or seduced by "fancy" new ways to teach math. Look for the math curriculum that begins with the known and progresses to the unknown. God gave us the concept of 10 when he gave us 10 fingers and 10 toes, and these manipulatives are free!! Work with what you have in your home and what you and your child can see and feel and then move to the abstract. Collect 5 pennies until you can trade them in for a nickel; collect 10 pennies until you can trade them in for a dime. These things aren't hard to teach. Workbooks and games that teach such things can be unnecessarily expensive and time wasters. They are not evil, but they may not be necessary. We recommend a simple guideline: Buy what you know helps you; Do not buy because you feel insecure. Many of us feel insecure about teaching from the known to the unknown because our parents were unable to teach us. Be free to forgive your parents, your public school teachers, and yourself. We Christians must be very careful that we don't continually blame others or make excuses for our own inadequacies; we just must be willing to chop down the bad tree at its roots. A child who is gifted in abstract math will "see" things that his parents may never understand. Trust the Lord to provide for each student at each level in which he is progressing. Those students who need to see the concrete first will move into abstract levels of thinking and understanding one step at a time. Those parents who "skipped" that slow concrete process will be also learning at the same time, and that is the beauty of home schooling. Parents get "fixed" too. As long as God preserves our homes, we will be learning and growing in grace as well as in understanding the complexities of mathematics, biology, physics, verbs, conjugations, motors, electronics, computers, sewing machines, past civilizations etc. May frustration and insecurity become a thing of the past for all, parents and children.

ENGLISH

Parental deficiencies in understanding and using their own native language are beginning to surface within home educators as well. We have seen the curricula offered to help parents teach grammar and writing entangle parents in perplexity, confusion, despair and hundreds of dollars. From the teaching of phonics to the achievement of higher test scores on standardized tests the marketing techniques of the world are flooding the Christian home school market with incredible velocity and force. We find this extremely sad since most parents teach their own children how to speak. The "expert" mentality robs them of the joy and excitement of learning the truth and beauty about our native American language because most parents today were taught what we now call "New English."

Being trained as an English teacher, Diane was baffled by the inability of so many home schoolers to adequately teach their children the basics of grammar and composition. It may have some obvious bad roots in the way they were taught to read with "look-say" rather than phonics, but we have discovered that even those parents who have successfully mastered phonics and have effectively taught their children to spell and read seem to have difficulty teaching grammar and composition. We now believe that even though the "New English" was never as obvious as was New Math when it was first introduced, the subtle effect of incorrect theories of teaching English grammar and composition which began over thirty years ago have finally trickled down and out to open exposure in the confusion concerning our native language that we see today.

For example, we now have businesses and government offices that are unable to communicate effectively and efficiently because their script must always be "politically correct and gender-free."

Major corporations, government agencies, and national education associations have approved the use of inclusive language. This means that gender-specific language is no longer appropriate for our society. Outdated terms include "mailman," "fireman," "mankind," and the exclusive use of the pronoun "he" (Patricia C. Borne and Robert T. Rhode, Speak No Evil! A Grammar Guide , p13, 1995, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York.)

When you box people in or put them down just because of their sex, that is called "sexism." When you identify all human virtues with only one sex, or when you identify one sex with the whole human race, that, too, is sexism. And when you bring in sexual distinctions where they don't belong, that, too, is sexism. Sexism is unfair. And it hurts. Ask anyone who has been a victim of it. (Patricia Sebranek, Verne Meyer, Dave Kemper, Writers Inc., p. 312, 1992, Educational Publishing, Wisconson.)

To change our centuries-old habit of sexist thinking, we must try to change our language, for our traditional ways of speaking and writing have sexist patterns deeply imprinted in them. The assumptions built into our language teach even little children who they are and how they relate to others. For their sakes and our own we must seek a language which implies equal value, equal potential and equal opportunity for people of either sex (Sebranek et al.,312).

Some of us defiantly refuse to be coerced into this kind of propaganda and confusion. We are not antiquated barbaric people who refuse to change our language to fit modern society; we are simply sane. Gender-free is a an impossible state to achieve. As long as God is Father and He has eternity under His control, we will always have the gender of male, female and neuter expressed in our thinking and in our language. As long as Jesus is the Eternal Son of God born of a virgin, we will have the concept of masculine, feminine and true family expressed in our language. We are not so naive to believe that a language will not change with time, new inventions and usage. Meanings of words (vocabulary) pronunciation (diction) and even spelling often go through changes depending upon the way in which a people use words. However, every student of linguistics and the history of the English language used to learn that it is the people, the common people, who cause a language to undergo changes. However, when a government attempts to express its rebellion against its Divine Authority through its control of its native language, we have tyranny that is obviously demonic. When a government can not achieve its anti-God agenda with hidden methods of propaganda and seeks to rule the thinking, verbal, and written communication of a people by legal force and threat of monetary loss, we are dangerously close to "thought control" and slavery.

Because the purpose of language is to communicate , forced, abrupt changes in language disrupt communication and generate false "generation gaps" disrupting God's plan for children to be trained by their parents and elders.

Furthermore, the purveyors of "New English" try to convince us that English is chaotic and so devoid of order that it cannot be taught or understood. The English language does have complex aspects due to its rich history of drawing from a variety of other languages; however, the language does have order and structure which can be understood if it is taught. We need to be thankful to the Lord for His sovereign choice to use the English language as He once used the Greek language.

THEORY OF EVOLUTION

The concept of the need for a scientific approach to the English language was designed by "visionary" language moguls whose desire to sell new textbooks matched their ability to convince thousands of school systems that the old way of teaching our mother tongue was antiquated, unscientific and incorrect. Many of these linguistic designers were filled with anxiety and insecurity because the traditional Language Arts instruction did not fit the humanistic trend of scientific evolution that promised that man could and would solve his own problems and progress upward towards deity as human beings developed on the evolutionary scale. As was seen with New Math, no theory of these "New English" curricula was correctly tested or assessed; the theories of higher academia made their way into "practical" English curricula through which public school teachers and students all over America had to muddle.

When Diane first saw this type of curricula, she refused to take part in it. At that time she was not seeking God or his wisdom. She just knew that what she was reading was confusing, unclear, vague, unnecessary and unproductive. Thus she refused to teach it. The rhetoric of the peddlers of this curricula eventually convinced hundreds of thousands of educators that the purchase of their products would surpass Shakespeare in moving the "evolution" of the English language up its scale to new divine heights. The new grammarians paraded their goals, their objectives, their methods before educators and parents as the "Modern English Curriculum" that would solve all of America's illiteracy problems that were beginning to surface because phonics had been abandoned thirty years earlier, and parents no longer taught their children to read before they attended age-segregated classrooms.

Simultaneously during the early seventies Diane was also taught that "Black" Americans, now called "Afro-Americans" were to be taught "Black English." This meant that their vocabulary and spelling of words was not be challenged or corrected. She was taught to allow them to continue to be a "sub culture" in our society. At that time, Diane saw this "multiculturalistic approach" to the black people of America as racism of the worst degree. While everyone else was being given the option to progress up the scale of evolution, blacks were to stay in the ghetto by being told their language was acceptable and "correct." It was not acceptable then nor is it now. Would Judge Thomas have made it to the Supreme Court if he wrote and spoke in ghetto Black English? This is the evil fruit of racist evolution - when the education of a people is intentionally inferior and made to look as though it is caring and helping.

If man has moved up the evolutionary scale from monkey to the white race, the theoretical pictures of evolving man contained in biology books are extreme forms of racism. Any child who looks at those pictures can tell you that an Afro-American looks more like the alleged missing links (artist's impressions) between apes and man than a white person. Thus the error of evolution continually reinforces the hidden agenda that black people are not as superior as white people. This is the truth of racism that evolutionary linguistic theories and evolutionary science have perpetrated upon the whole human race. The Bible clearly says

Acts 17:26
26. and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined {their} appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation,

According to Biblical revelation there is only one race of mankind. We may come from many different nations, but there is only one race. Evolution and racism continually try to force us to notice the color of one's skin as a way to deny our common ancestry. We have all been created in the image of God.

Rebellious people attempting to become God often cause a decline in the comprehension and use of language. The Biblical story of Babel records the first time in human history when God intervened in "language education" to prevent a unity of evil. It was at this precise moment when mankind began to be separated from each other. The separation came, not by the color of one's skin, but by the language that one spoke. God separated mankind into nations based on the various languages He placed within those who were attempting to build a "Tower to Heaven." Mankind has had a problem with communication ever since God's intervention. Since Babel, man doesn't need God's help to confuse his own native language. He is quite capable of not only confusing it, but also of destroying it at alarming speed.

What do we have as we are about to move into the 21st century? What has been the bad fruit of this evil tree of language educational theories based on evolution and fostered through public education? We have TV soap operas that make Chaucer's bawdy writings look like an innocent family travel diary. We have videos and movies that make the pornographic plays of some of the ancient Greeks look virtuous. We have accelerated the viewing of live actual murders on TV to make the titillations of the lions eating Christians pale in insignificance. We now have millions, not thousands, of people soaking themselves in "media communication presentations" (erroneously called literature or art) whose basic language skills are graphic expletives (swear words). We now have a slave population whose critical thinking skills and logic have been purposely confused by their twelve years of language instruction in public schools. Some are now home educators and are desperate to teach their own children and themselves properly, but do not know where to begin. One desperate father (GED) recently said, "I dropped out of school in the third grade. I just sat in the seat but didn't learn anything."

FORGIVENESS, FREEDOM AND HOPE

Contrary to three decades of faulty untested educational theories and the incorporation of incorrect methods of language instruction, we now have home educating parents who are very insecure and tentative concerning their own ability to correctly use and teach their own native language. If that describes anyone who is reading this, be free now to forgive those who have despitefully misused their authority as your educators and determine to reeducate yourself and your children correctly.

KNOWN TO UNKNOWN;

CONCRETE TO ABSTRACT

Language instruction works very similarly to what we have suggested for mathematics. Work from the known to the unknown. Don't ask anyone to compose an essay on "hopelessness" (an abstract concept) when that person can't define or even spell hope! Don't ask a person to give a speech when that individual doesn't know how to change the position of his tongue to pronounce "that" rather than "sat." Don't ask a student to write a creative story about an outer space voyage when that person hasn't learned to write a three sentence postcard to the relatives back home describing the family's first airplane ride.

Look for an English curriculum that teaches the truth about our English language in progressive steps. Our language follows a basic structure or rules for pronunciation, spelling, syntax, paragraph development, and progression into higher levels of composition. Teaching and learning should be in incremental steps which begin from the known and proceed to the unknown until correct, orderly logical use of the language culminates in personal letters, essays, research papers, and speeches that accurately and concisely convey abstract ideas (forgiveness, integrity, loyalty) as well as concrete descriptions (a trip to the zoo).

Simple concepts that are true, honest and pure can be put in a simple, but abstract sentence like, "God is love" (I John 4 :8) or in a more complicated concrete sentence like, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5 :8). A simple sentence structure can communicate an abstract concept with no concrete details, and a complicated sentence structure can communicate a concrete concept. It is not the size of a sentence that makes it concrete or abstract. Remember the Biblical method of education that we see in Jesus' parables is to teach the concrete example from the visible world first and then to move on to the abstract. Thus an effective English curriculum would teach the concreteness of our language first and then move into the abstract parts of it.

Concrete instruction in language begins with sounds, syllables, words, sentences, paragraphs, essays, books. Concrete instruction in grammar begins with parts of speech--nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections. Concrete instruction in usage begins with word order--subject, verb, direct object, modifiers (adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases,), clauses (main, subordinate), verbals (gerunds, infinitives, participles), and appositives. These traditional terms work very well to explain, understand and use our language. Confusion comes when simple terms and simple definitions are replaced with vague, less accurate terms.

When language instruction stresses abstract thinking before concrete understanding, confusion and insecurity abound. For example: abstract language instruction would ask a 6 year old student to write a story describing how he would feel if his pet or his grandmother died suddenly. A six year old child may have no personal knowledge of death. It is an abstract idea that he may have only seen on television or in a movie. A child asked to do this may exhibit extreme turmoil and insecurity over such an abstract assignment. He may not know how to spell "death" and may have much difficulty in trying to put anything on paper. The whole process may leave him with fear and anxiety because he is at a stage in his life when he best relates to concrete details.

The language contained in the Biblical record of Genesis is very concrete. A child of 6-7 can easily handle the specific details of the stories contained in the Old Testament. Dictating those words to a child and allowing him to learn to spell the words and read the words in sentences is an example of teaching language from the concrete. However, the book of Romans which teaches impeccable logic is very abstract. It is best left for the 12-13 year old who is ready to learn abstract concepts.

Language Instruction Differences

The following is an explanation and comparison of the differences in language instruction.

When the scientific theory of observation and discovery is applied to the English language, the study of definitions and rules are no longer taught and thus probably aren't "caught" (learned). The proponents of the new approach to language instruction said definitions were obsolete and not necessary. A 1967 Modern Grammar and Composition 2 Teacher's Edition instructed teachers this way

Learning then becomes a process of observation and discovery instead of a study of definitions and rules along with the endless application of these rules and the detailed analysis of their various exceptions....The older subjective definition {of a sentence} ("a statement of complete thought" is thus replaced by the application of objective criteria. (David Conlin and George Herman, p. G4, 1967, American Book Company, New York.)

At first reading "observation and discovery" may seem the same as Jesus' parables, but it is not. Jesus' teachings always presupposed a Creator who sets the rules. Conlin and Herman do not want rules. A nation's language always needs definitions of words, terms, concepts and ideas so that meaning is understood, clarified and possibly scrutinized to insure clear communication. However, the following quotations reveal the "modern" approach to language instruction.

By "language" we mean primarily the system of rules that exist in the minds of the speakers as a result of acquiring English in the first 6 to 10 years of their lives and largely independent of their schooling. (Gerald Delahunty and James Garvey, Language, Grammar, and Communication, A Course for Teachers of English , p. xvii, 1994, McGraw-Hill, New York.)

As parents can "expertly" observe, some children not only will make up their own rules concerning language ("I feeled the kitty cat.") but also may try to maintain their own words for certain objects or ideas ("I call 'water.' 'wawa.'") Parents who do not "correct" a child's innate erroneous attempt to construct his own grammar and diction will discover that child may be labeled "learning deficient."

Diane grew up in south eastern Ohio in the foothills of the Appalachia mountains. When she attended high school, her spoken grammar did not match her written understanding of the language. She spoke exactly as she heard her parents speak. She had an English teacher who "cared" enough to help Diane change her vocabulary to match the "rules of standard grammar usage." Every time Diane used incorrect grammar in class the teacher had a signal so Diane would know it was incorrect usage. No one else in the class knew about this signal. Diane was able in a very short time to change her native "dialect" to match the grammar rules that she had mastered for written composition. It was not innate. The correct grammar rules were never inside her head because she learned her spoken grammar from observing her parents. She needed someone to help her practically apply the rules. All parents have observed this phenomena about language, and yet modern language theorists continually can try to convince us otherwise.

Students will discover independently exactly what many textbooks present as facts or as appropriate analyses. This situation is not only inevitable, it's desirable. One who reinvents the wheel is as much a genius as the original inventor (Delahunty & Garvey, xvii).

This quote from a 1994 language course for college students who wish to be teachers of English is a prime example of the illogic of language theorists. If I allowed my son to spend years reinventing the wheel and allowed him to try to patent his invention, the patent office would label him "observation deficient"; they would not see him as a "genius." Why would I allow my child to spend years developing something that Goodyear has developed into a multi-billion dollar corporation? Wouldn't it be a better use of time and energy to show him all the development of tires that Goodyear has achieved and then see if he could improve on what has already been invented? Did the space shuttle engineers reinvent the airplane before they modified it to handle space flight?

The English language has rules that other people have already figured out. Homeschooling parents do not need to waste time and money using English curricula that "reinvents the rules!" What we need to do is to find better ways to utilize what has already been discovered. One of those rules which English teachers used to teach was, "Two sentences that are closely related should be separated by a semicolon (;) not a comma (,). If a comma is inserted between two closely related sentences, a run-on sentence has been created." If the reader will look closely at the last quote from Delahunty & Garvey, a run-on sentence can be found. These two men both have PhD's, but their "new invention" of language instruction hasn't helped them learn their grammar rules! Amazing! A first grader using the Rod and Staff Reading Series will learn this rule when he is six. He will learn it by being taught it. He will not learn it because evolution has placed it within his genes. Human beings learn language by example, not by "reinventing" it.

When language instruction that claims to be teaching language denies the use of definitions and rules to understand and clarify itself, we have disintegration and disorder of the highest degree. Definitions and rules that govern a language are the concrete details of that language. If a person can only arrive at language rules one way, and that way is only through observation, discovery, or "reinvention" who will determine what and if there will be an objective set of rules and definitions? We well have precisely what we have today: the government will be forced to decide and define what words mean and how they should be used or spelled. What we have seen now that this approach to language instruction has been around for more than thirty years is the "whole language approach" which says a student can spell his words any way he wishes as long as he adheres to the theory of "discovery and reinvention." By contrast, a Christian child who spells "womyn" as "women" may have to be remediated for his "sexist" tendencies. A child who spells elephant as "ellafant" will be honored and applauded. Thus "peer pressure" used incorrectly will continue to "dumb down" the population. In 1987,

"schools of education in California (and elsewhere) simply stopped teaching skills development, trusting to the WL(Whole Language) promise that children are naturally predisposed to learn written language and therefore, learn to read best "by experience in reading" ("Whole Language Approach Triggers Crisis in California", Spalding Education Foundation News , Volume 10, Issue 4, 1996, Glendale, AZ).

Communication is facilitated when we spell and define words the same. However teachers of English are now taught this concept.

Just as every child has a right to expect teachers to respect his or her sex, ethnicity, social class, color, and creed, so every child has the right to expect teachers to respect his or her language (Delahunty & Garvey, p12).

Does this mean a child who uses fowl, inappropriate expletives is to be encouraged in anti-social language?

"Whole language" instructors tell English-speaking parents that a student taught this "new" way will eventually "read" the correct spelling and adjust his errors and make the appropriate changes when he discovers that other people do not spell or think the way he does. The use of peer pressure will conform him into the "correct" spellings, definitions and usage. Now ten years later California, who often validates Jesus' teaching concerning the "blind leading the blind," has just acknowledged to the rest of the educational bureaucrats the defeat of the WL approach.

"According to the recent national publications, Education Week, disastrous test scores are forcing a change in the way reading is taught. The California Education Department is now drafting new guidelines to replace the state's 1987 literature-based (Whole Language) framework for teaching language arts.( Spalding Education Foundation News , op cit.)

Thus it took ten years for the "experts" to figure out what most parents were trying to tell them from the time the WL experiment began. We may be tempted to be encouraged by this repentant attitude of the California educators, but what about those students who suffered through the experiment and cannot not read, write or think clearly. Who will reeducate them? At what cost will they have to be reeducated? Do we honestly believe that these same educators will come up with a viable Language Arts program? We think not, for humanistic educators have another goal in mind. This is what the textbook for English teachers actually says the goal of language instruction is.

Transformational-Genitive grammar, the dominant paradigm in linguistics in the latter half of the twentieth century, establishes language study (grammar and composition) as a quest for an understanding of the human mind. While losing none of the rigor of structualism, it raises issues that would concern Plato and Aristotle were they reincarnated as contemporary philosophers (Delahunty & Garvey, xvii).

Man will always devise rules for himself because our Creator has designed us to work best with guidelines and rules. Humanists who believe in evolution and reincarnation will enforce their terms, their rules, their definitions on others.

To help you deal with the abundance of new terminology, we have indicated key terms in bold type, often in the context that contains their definitions. Also, a glossary of terms appears at the end of each chapter. Read these definitions carefully and try to resist the temptation to memorize them into casual language, which may destroy their precision. You don't have to memorize them, for as you work with the concepts, they should become ingrained in your consciousness....More importantly, language study may challenge your personal values....This book will show you again and again that even the most "ordinary" sentence realizes a marvelously--even miraculously--complex system that defines in large part what it means to be human (Delahunty & Garvey, xviii).

The authors knew that what they are "reinventing" creates confusion. Read what they write to those who are feeling confused by what they are reading :

Like your future students, you may be puzzled by some of the material that you find here. But you can safely assume that any gaps in your understanding will be shared by many others in the class. Finally, you should open your mind to the study of language in its myriad forms as an infinite resource for meeting human needs...(Delahunty & Garvey, .xvii).

In chapter 1 Delahunty and Garvey further explain their agenda for studying the English language. Those of us who believe that English teachers and English curricula are supposed to be helping us learn to be able to communicate more effectively do not fully understand how English curricula has changed over the past thirty years. For example,

When we study language from a linguistic perspective, then, we actually explore our unconscious mind. The motivation for stating rules and devising terminology isn't to improve our writing or to allow us to pass a test. It leads to the innermost core of our mind, that part of us that makes us distinctively human (Delahunty & Garvey, 17).

A person's native language is not the way to "know" his unconscious mind. If this were a true statement, every person on earth would automatically "know" himself because he knows his own language. This is not what "New English" curricula are doing. These curricula are attempting to use the study of English as a way to indoctrinate the student with their philosophy of life. It is the written word of God, the Bible, that tells the reader about his "inner unconscious mind." Hebrews say,

Hebrews 4:12
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy and us,

I Timothy 6:20
20. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly {and} empty chatter {and} the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"--
21. which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.

Many Christian home schoolers were subjected to this kind of "confusion" by the English teachers they had in school. Scientific evolution applied to English curricula not only incorporates the "reinvention" of understanding the human mind and instilling the ideas of reincarnation, but it also implies a "false Messiah" agenda that this kind of language instruction will meet "human need" and help us better understand ourselves. The humanistic writers of these kinds of curricula do not understand themselves because they do not wish to repent and believe or acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the only One who can save mankind. Thus they have to "reinvent" ways to discover who they are and why they do what they do. They have to "reinvent" terms, rules, ideas and concepts so that they can help English students better understand themselves. It is the blind leading the blind. The written word of God makes it very clear,

Romans 3 :21.
21. But now apart from the Law {the} righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22. even {the} righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Christian parents and educators must be encouraged to always prefer God's rules to man's rules. Thus we are constantly at odds with curricula designers who prefer human beings and human methods as their false god. Do not be fooled by "Christian" curriculum that utilizes the scientific evolutionary theory to teaching English.

Romans 12:2
2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Christian home educators need to be aware that the problems we describe here will confront them in two ways. First, many non-Christian publishers are beginning to advertise to Christian home educators. Their advertisements look impressive, and they use buzzwords which sound good. Second, even Christian publishers are under subtle pressures to conform to the world because some Christian schools want to appease parents and government educators, and the publishers want to sell to these schools. Furthermore, those who develop materials for Christian publishers often are continuing their own studies and are subjected to university courses which teach the new, corrupt methods. We believe that it is important to pray for Christians who must confront the academic environment that they will have God's strength and courage and wisdom day by day.

Thirty years ago public school instructors removed the definition of a sentence (Conlin & Herman, 1967). You will notice the deterioration of this erroneous philosophy in the quotation from Writers Inc, 1992. Note how sentences begin with "and." The traditional use of "and" in the English language is a conjunction joining two thoughts together in the same sentence. However, if "and" begins a sentence, how can it be "joining" two thoughts together? There is no thought preceding it.

Today the same educational philosophy teaches that words do not have to be spelled correctly to convey clear communication. How long will it take before the words that I am typing deteriorate into hou lawng wil yt taik beefoour thu werdz that i aym tipen deetearyeight entoo this confusion. This is why dictionaries and spellers were first introduced into this country.

It is not only important, but, in a degree necessary, the people of this country, should have an American Dictionary of the English Language ; for, although the body of the language is the same as in England, and it is desirable to perpetuate that sameness, yet some differences must exist. Language is the expression of ideas; and if the people of one country cannot preserve an identity of ideas, they cannot retain an identity of language. Now an identity of ideas depends materially upon a sameness of things or objects with which the people of the two countries are conversant (Noah Webster, Preface to the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language , Foundation for American Christian Education, San Francisco, CA.)

The population of early America needed a standard for the spelling and usage of new words which were coined to explain the new form of government that God wished to establish here. Throughout his lifetime Noah Webster maintained, "No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people ..." .(p 9). However, he also said,

This county must in some future time, be as distinguished by the superiority of her literary improvements, as she is already by the liberality of her civil and ecclesiastical constitutions. Europe is grown old in folly, corruption and tyranny --in that country laws are perverted, manners are licentious, literature is declining and human nature debased. (p. 11)

At the close of the twentieth century Webster's description of England aptly describes all the governments of the world. We are now told that all nations must use "politically correct" ideas, vocabulary and definitions. Thus we are told to spell "woman" as "womyn" so that our language isn't sexist. The educational philosophy of the world is illogical and inconsistent to its own "standard." "We must not teach rules, but you must all follow our rules."

This attempt to eliminate rules and definitions under the guise of the "scientific method" has now evolved thirty years later into "politically correct and gender-free" language rules! True science uses exact measurements which others have discovered in very controlled experiments. Exact rules and procedures must be maintained. Very few scientists spend time "reinventing" the measurement system although that idea may be next in the "evolutionary" theories of education. However, language theorists insist that language instruction must fit evolutionary science not true science. The theory of evolution is finally destroying the "scientific" approach to science. Scientists previously used only animals in experiments because humans were too sacred to harm because "Man was created in the image of God." Now that the teaching of evolution has almost obliterated the truth of man being made in the image of God, we have scientific experiments done on human beings rather than on animals. Animals are now considered too sacred to harm! A quote from the Rain Forest in the Cleveland Zoo said, "We would rather put the humans in cages and allow the animals to roam free." Thus whether it is curricula in math, language or science the theory of evolution underlies it all.

In the summer of 1995 a former high school student of Diane's called to tell her that he was dedicating an English grammar textbook to her because she had inspired him to pursue the field of English and communication. He now has a PhD in English and shared that he is appalled at the level of English incompetency that he found in English honor students in the university where he taught the honors program. He finally resigned the honors program after eleven years because he felt he had a better chance of helping average students learn the use of English language correctly. The average students weren't programmed to think they were superior when they knew they weren't. The honor students were impossible to teach!! Intellectual pride is an interesting stronghold. This discussion after 20 years of not knowing whether she did the right thing by refusing to teach her high school students the "untested modern theories" concerning grammar and composition was the perfect timing of the Lord. Having a PhD who has come through the system, who does not claim to know the Lord yet, verify what she has believed in her heart has been thrilling and convicting. We had asked ourselves, "How can we help homeschooling parents who were taught so incorrectly during their public school years and are now struggling to teach their own children?" He was asking her the same question concerning the college freshmen he wishes so desperately to help. However, with textbooks that we have quoted, we see little hope for those in educational institutions who cannot discern the error that they contain.

HELP FOR TEACHING

ENGLISH IN THE HOME

We must be sure that the rules we parents learn and teach about our language are true to Christian or Biblical standards of logic and order. It is chaos to say we no longer need to teach rules or definitions and then subtly substitute new rules. If rules and definitions are not important why are "old definitions" of words always being challenged to change? Why do we need to change the definitions of family, male, female, homosexual, etc. if definitions are not important. As previously stated, we maintain that definitions and rules are important for one reason: God sets down rules, and He determines definitions. He sets down a rule like, "Do not steal." Then He defines stealing so that we know exactly what He means by the term. Thus when Christians teach the truth about language, we must be consistent with what we see reflected in the character of God and not just what we observe with our five senses. If a person makes judgments only by what is observed as the Modern English Curricula first taught thirty years ago the commands of Jesus will be disobeyed.

John 7:24
24. "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

If I only rely upon my five senses, I am not open to true revelation and discovery which comes from God.

I Corinthians 2:9
9. but just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And {which} have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him."

If home educators begin with the Biblical definition of a word or a concept, we place the feet of a student on a sure foundation from which he can judge all ideas and concept. We should choose dictionaries that define words so that we have a Biblical understanding of the meaning of a word first. We may have to choose to be different from the dictates of the world in pronunciation, spelling and grammar to "declare the excellencies of Christ."

MODERN EVOLUTIONARY

TECHNIQUES

OF LEARNING ENGLISH TO AVOID

The "modern scientific approach" to definitions of words would be to show a word to the student and allow him to decide what that word means. The "scientific" approach to grammar instruction is to ask each student to observe a set of words until he can figure out himself what is a sentence and what is not a sentence. In humanistic English curricula a student is asked to work in a group to examine words, ideas, concepts, principles, sentences etc. and come up with a group consensus to determine what that group thinks or feels about these words or concepts. Five groups can have five different opinions, and that contradictory consensus will be acceptable as long as each group arrived at a politically correct consensus and not a Christian one!

Students thirty years ago were asked to analyze their own writing to find their own errors. They were trained to be a consensus of one, with no rules or standards. Some of this may have been an acceptable teaching method for one exercise, but if that was the only way a student learned what a sentence is, it would take years to come up with all the generalizations he or she needs to make to become an accomplished speaker and writer. This may be one reason why so many home educators are unable to correct the writing of their own children: there was no standard to use as a comparison. No one ever taught them what was correct usage and why it was correct. No one took the time to show them incorrect usage and show them why it was incorrect. Those parents who did not have a teacher who cared enough to "establish" a "logical standard" may be floundering now in a sea of confusion when they try to choose curriula.

The bad fruit of this evil tree can be seen today as businesses and colleges decry the unskilled work force they are forced to retrain because many are unable to do simple math and construct simple sentences with no spelling or grammar errors. Consensus in a classroom environment does not fit the real world of work. Consensus of airplane pilots in an airplane cockpit would cause the death of the passengers. I am thankful that most airplane pilots still fly by established rules and standards. We would propose that when abstraction is taught before definition, when individual or group assessment is encouraged more than standards, when "no absolutes" replace "absolutes", nothing is really being taught or caught, and all descends into a spiraling mass of confusion.

If home educators do not realize their own deficiencies in the simple educational method (teach from the known to the unknown; concrete to the abstract) and are not able to discern which curricula are steeped in the incorrect usage of the scientific method, they will continue to spend hundreds of dollars on fruitless books, games (board and video) and computer programs because the root of most of the modern curricula is rotten.

Concrete definitions are necessary no matter what subject area is being taught. A person who doesn't know the difference between an oven and a refrigerator, a cup or a teaspoon may not be able to make Jello! The need for definitions and standards in practical reality is so blatantly obvious that the example of Jello-making or the airplane pilots seems absurd. However it is the "expert mentality" that has made the practical reality of teaching math and language skills seem impossible, daunting, confusing, and expensive. To look like "experts" the definitions have to be changed, so the "experts" can appear to be smart, educated, successful and right. We encourage all parents to look for curricula that are simple, uncomplicated, easy to understand, procedural, true to Biblical teaching, and comparatively inexpensive. Expensive may mean unnecessarily complicated. Teachers' manuals should have all the answers to text questions and tests easily available, and information should be logically presented in incremental steps. Teacher's manuals should be easy to understand. If the parent can't understand the Teachers Manuals, how can the parent explain the subject to the student? Be free to forgive all the years of wasted effort that sinful man may have perpetrated against you and be willing to reeducate yourself simply and slowly - one step at a time. You will be amazed at how "proficient" you will become. We recently helped an adult person go through a 4th and 5th grade traditional grammar and composition Christian textbook in less than one year. That person is now writing excellent compositions in college and helping others! Some Christian English curricula are more successful in teaching our language than others. We recommend that parents face all insecurities and incompetencies honestly, seek the Lord desperately, and allow Him to set you free to discern what is a true, lovely, pure, and successful curricula for your family. Paul said,

I Corinthians 2:6
6. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

I Corinthians 7:31
31. and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

Educational theories will continue to come and go, and if untested, will continue to produce chaos and the inability to communicate and learn effectively. However, there is one standard, one absolute that transcends every language, every theory, every hypothesis and every age.

John 1:1
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. He was in the beginning with God.

Language instruction can safely begin with God and His written word, and so can every other subject.

Matthew 23:8
8. "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.
9. "And do not call {anyone} on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
10. "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, {that is,} Christ.

Proverbs 28:5
5. Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the \Lord\ understand all things.

Allow the Lord to give you His understanding into all things. Whether it is math, English, electronics, scrubbing the floor, etc., God's ways are perfect, and He loves to reveal His ways to His people. We do not have to depend on the scientific method of greedy curricula peddlers whose underlying presuppositions deny the existence of a loving, caring and just God.

REFUSE TO COMPROMISE

The desire to be abstract as somehow indicating a superior method of teaching has produced the "politically correct" lingo that we are all supposed to blindly mimic. We are very disheartened when we see Christian writers refer to "she" when the generic "he" should be used to clarify the general inclusion of all of humanity -- male and female.

Genesis 1:27
27. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

When a "she" is used instead of "he," the feminine pronoun is exclusive and implies only one part of mankind, the female. The "modern" language that we are being forced to accept is not gender-free; it is attempting to be "masculine-free" which is a denial of Biblical reality and revelation. We seriously question the compromise that Christians have made in this area of language usage. We don't even like the he/she, him/her compromise. When a few people in a society have insecurity and ambiguity about their own human sexuality, those of us who do not have this problem do not need to accommodate our language to assuage the pain of their confusion. Instead we need to obey the scripture and do everything in word (spoken and written) and in deed (attitude and actions) to share the truth in love.

II Timothy 2:24
24. And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
25. with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
26. and they may come to their senses {and escape} from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd