News & Views
Issue 127, August 23, 2009
From Homeschool Helpers
In association with Pass It On Ministries
By Dan L. White
Right when the American Family Association is working on introducing a homeschool channel on internet TV, their founder Don Wildmon has been sidelined with a very serious case of meningitis. AFA has done much to oppose the evil overcoming America. Their effort to establish a homeschool channel is typical of the type of effort they put forth. Nobody else has started a homeschool TV channel.
A number of people had a fast day this weekend to ask God to be with Don Wildmon in his bed of afflicition. His case is still very serious, with him barely able to communicate with others, although he is said to have improved somewhat.
What does the AFA homeschool internet TV channel mean for you?
This is what AFA says about their new channel.
"Our mission is to help re-establish the home as the center of instruction and discipleship by providing high-quality, biblically-based resources. We are committed to assisting fathers as family leaders and encouraging mothers as caretakers of the home. In short, our vision is to bring glory to God by equipping families to change the world."
That's a wonderful statement. They are not saying that they intend to take over the teaching and parenting role, but want to help re-establish the home as the center of instruction. That means the parents have to be encouraged to reassume their responsibility, which they have abdicated to the public schools, and to a lesser degree, to their churches. Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series of novels, said in an interview in World Magazine, "We need to get over this stupid idea that educators are more intelligent than parents."
We passed an office of Parents As Teachers the other day, and a sign out front said they had been going for twenty-five years. That's a program for pre-kindergarden age students, where government workers come in and tell the parents how to parent their children. That's just another example of the continually expanding role of government in controlling the lives of its citizens cradle to grave. As LaHaye says, it's a stupid idea to think that educators are more intelligent than parents.
AFA's purpose to re-establish the home as the center of instruction is totally commendable. Their homeschool internet TV channel is to help do that.
How will the homeschool internet TV channel work?
AFA will partner with Sky Angel, a subscription Christian television service. Formerly Sky Angel was available as a satellite service, where you bought a dish and a receiver to get all their channels. A few years ago their satellite quit working and they switched delivery methods. Now Sky Angel is available through fast internet and that is how the AFA homeschool channel will be available. That means you have to have an internet service of at least 1500kb to be able to watch Sky Angel. Our internet service is DSL, which is ten times faster than dial up, but it still has a speed of only about 500kb so we could not watch Sky Angel. A receiver box costs about a hundred dollars and the Sky Angel service runs a minimum of $15 per month. An internet service with a speed of 1500kb would probably run about $40 a month.
AFA plans to offer a subscription service on its Sky Angel homeschool channel that will offer homeschool lessons. Families will be able to pick the specific subjects they want. That subscription lesson service will have a charge. For families that don't want the specific lessons, AFA says that they "will be able to see programming that will keep them motivated and informed on what's going on in the homeschool world. We will highlight families who are in the trenches every day, and share their stories with you." AFA says they intend to offer "resources to assist you throughout your journey through homeschooling."
My personal opinion is that only a small percentage of Christian homeschool families will choose to use AFA's TV curriculum. Homeschool families are extremely diverse in their choice of curriculum. That may be one of the greatest problems a beginning homeschool family faces, choosing a curriculum out of the many available. If the parents try to wade through them all before making a decision, they may never get around to actually homeschooling. Of course, that's not really a problem, and that diversity is one of the great strengths of homeschooling. There is no homeschool Google or WalMart that controls most of the homeschool market. It is controlled by no one other than Christ Himself. So I think most homeschool families will choose some other curriculum other than that offered by AFA. Having that curriculum made available by such a well known source, though, may be a motivating factor in getting new families to try homeschooling. I think that will be its biggest impact, getting new families to take the first step forward.
AFA also says that on a non-subscription basis they will offer programs about homeschooling. If a family is on the Sky Angel service, they will be able to see these positive programs about homeschooling without further charge.
Already AFA is offering a blog about homeschooling and video interviews about homeschooling on Facebook. So they are making a bit of a start in their homeschool offerings that way. They say they will begin offering the internet TV homeschool channel this fall of 2009. With the illness of Don Wildmon, I am sure they are under quite a load right now. We certainly wish them the best on their efforts to set up the world's first homeschool channel.