Friday, December 19, 2008

this is officially Duggar Day at the last refuge of the persecuted crack smoker.

Taryn is a naughty, naughty Taryn. she sent me a link to the duggar family website, which i started reading out of a horrific sense of train wreck syndrome. sure, i have been on that website before, but not in a year or two...so, it's probably time go go back on there and see what sorts of things i had forgotten, or what sorts of things had been added.

i clicked on the FAQ and started reading. in the section discussing what the family does every day, it mentions some of their homeschooling rituals:

"Momma & older children gather around the table at 2:00PM for Wisdom Booklet group studies - science, history, law, medicine - part of our ATIA curriculm."

[yes. curriculum is misspelled just like that. clearly they've been spending so much time studying science, history, law, and medicine that they forgot to study spelling.]

i had never heard of the ATIA, although i could only assume that it was some kind of fundamentalist christian homeschooling organization. i started poking around the ATIA website, and found out i was right. i clicked a few links to see what sorts of information they had on their curriculum, and i found the mother lode: one of their wisdom booklets, posted online for all to read.

the whole thing is priceless, but it gets REALLY good at page 43--when they start discussing the rules of cross-examination. some of the rules themselves are actually things you would learn in a trial advocacy class--such as always knowing the answers to the questions that you ask before you ask them, or never making the questions more complicated than necessary. but others? like never cross-examining a witness unless you can prove he is wrong? i never remember learning that one, and in fact i remember learning how effective it is to cross-examine a witness about facts favourable to you--things they aren't wrong about, but just so happen to agree with your side on. however, the reason the cross-examination rules are total gold is not because of what the rules actually "are." it's the explanations that are given, and the suggestions for how you should repeatedly cross-examine your heart.

the "medicine" lesson, which discusses a rather pained analogy between anorexia and getting addicted to mourning, is also brilliant.

if that book is not enough, you can poke around here and see even more exciting "features" of these wisdom booklets. they're all hilarious.

***

but, amusement is not my only response--half of me is cracking up, and half of me is PISSED OFF. they're hilarious in the abstract, and infuriating when taken into the context in which they're actually used.

it's just so cloying--these books just can't present a kernel of knowledge without building some strained analogy to tie it into something biblical. it's such an educational disservice to these children, who have no control over the education they're getting, to be "educated" in an environment where every piece of knowledge has to be so carefully rationed off and so couched in analogies to religion. it doesn't lead to breadth of knowledge at all--it leads to tunnel vision, and leads to the anti-intellectual idea that any knowledge that doesn't fit into the nice little box is not worth knowing.

1 comment:

Taryn said...

What are you talking about?! Everything in life worth learning can be traced back to Jesus. Like vaccinations to prevent diseases and the pilgrims at plymouth rock and...oh, wait.