Thursday, August 05, 2010

Beka books?

I'm on vacation. Yesterday, riding a train in Pennsylvania, a woman struck up a conversation with me. I was wearing a t-shirt my daughter designed for a conference for Native students at Ivy League schools. Once I told her what I teach, she wanted a couple of book recommendations. I told her about Jingle Dancer right off, because she had two early-elementary-aged children with her.  I gave her a quick overview of what to choose and why. I really enjoyed telling her about Jingle Dancer!

She homeschooled her own children (the two with her are grandchildren) and asked if I'd ever seen the Beka books. She said they portray Indians as heathens, and that the one she'd read one so awful, she didn't use it.

I don't know the Beka books, but my experience is that the materials provided for homeschool education are deeply patriotic. Or maybe I should say blindly patriotic. I will see if I can find a Beka book and if I do, I'll write about it.


Robin said...

I do know that the A Beka Book company is evangelical Christian. I recall hearing about them before in the context of publishing "science" textbooks that promote Young Earth Creationism (that the story of Genesis is literal and the Earth is only six thousand years old).

Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian said...

While there are some things we like about the A Beka curriculum, their literature selections are just plain awful all the way around. Everyone is a stereotype, not just Native Americans, and the situations are extremely whitewashed. For some reason, many Christian publishers seem to think moral value and realistic, quality writing cannot exist together.

Kate said...

My mother used to use these, as they were the required curriculum for her Christian school. I was surprised by how simple they were compared to my textbooks, but this was when I was a kid, so don't have an adult perspective to share. I'm glad to say that she did supplement with reading aloud from real children's literature.

Anonymous said...

25 years ago I reviewed a Beka textbook on American history. The timeline in the book of early America showed the European settlers BEFORE native Americans. Seriously. At that point I marked notes thru out the whole book, those things that were fact and those things which were opinion!!! What a shame.