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Worldviews in Conflict Review by Jeniffer Do Nascimento and Lisa McClanahan

Kevin Swanson
Master Books
1 (800) 999-3777
3142 Highway 103 N
Green Forest, AR 72638

Like many homeschool parents, exposing my children to the great works in literature is important through the middle and high school years. Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Homer, Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and many others make up the “required” reading material in our homeschool. I have always waited until the children are older and have a firm foundation in their faith before exposing them to authors with anything other than biblical worldviews. Why? Because I don’t want my children’s faith molded by anything other than the Word of God.

Recently, we were given Worldviews in Conflict: A Study in Western Philosophy, Literature, and Culture to review. This book set has completely validated my thoughts about holding off on some of the authors with less than ideal belief systems. The set includes the hardback student text and paperback, perforated teacher guide. The teacher guide comes with weekly lesson schedules, student worksheets, quizzes and tests, and the answers to everything. The set is available for $55.49 on the Master Books website. Worldviews in Conflict is recommended for grades 10-12, and upon completion it gives your student one year of cultural philosophy credit.

This course introduces your student to the thinkers, writers, and ideas that formed our modern world. Right up front author Kevin Swanson gives the warning that this course is not for those with feeble faith. Students should have a firm grasp of right and wrong, good and evil. While this is not a required course in any school, it is definitely one I recommend. I completely agree with Swanson when he says, “They [students] need to understand the lay of the land on the battlefield in the war of the worldviews.

With my oldest completing his junior year this summer and heading to college next fall, this is a very timely course for him to take. While all the schools we have looked at have been Christian colleges and universities, that’s not a guarantee that his faith won’t be challenged during that season of his life. “Over the last two centuries, millions of Christian parents have been disappointed by the outcome of their children's education after giving them over to Christian schools and colleges that gave undue, uncritical support for the classics.”

I don’t know about you, but that scares me. Our children are given both pagan and Christian works and often times just told to sort it out on their own. Sometimes that is an easy thing to do, but I suspect that often times it’s not so simple.

Within the pages of Worldviews in Conflict the following lives and works are examined: Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jeremy Bentham, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, John Dewey, Jean-Paul Sartre, William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. Along with these classical thinkers and writers are some very modern names like Eminem, Beyonce, and other actors and musicians are briefly examined.

I’ve been working through the text with my son and to be honest, I am beyond impressed. I’ve learned a lot from the book while sitting alongside my son as he reads aloud or we work through the vocabulary, study questions, and application questions at the end of each chapter. I have also seen his mind begin to work in new ways as he develops a lens with which to examine philosophies and literature. We have had in-depth conversations about his friends’ beliefs or circumstances that have been brought up during youth group and how those very ideas or problems came from a less than critical ear/eye on behalf of his friend.

This cultural philosophy course has literally changed the way my son thinks. It has curated within him a critical thought process that he now filters everything through. When considering college prep, this may be the single most important course he will complete in his high school years.

-Product review by Jeniffer Do Nascimento, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2016

Another Reviewer's Perspective:

Worldviews in Conflict: A Study in Western Philosophy, Literature, & Culture
Kevin Swanson
Generations with a Vision

As a Christian homeschool family, we have wanted to instill in our children a Godly Worldview. We want them to be able to discern right from wrong and not fall into the beliefs of whatever is popular in the world at the moment. God's word is unchanging and we can remain steadfast in his word if understand the conflicts within the world.

Worldviews in Conflict introduces the high school student to the thinkers, writers, and ideas of the last three hundred years that have formed the modern world and undermined the Christian foundations in the West. It is a two-volume set that includes a hardbound textbook and a softcover teacher guide and can be purchased $74.95.

The 632-page hardbound textbook was written by Kevin Swanson and is divided into twenty-one chapters covering worldviews in philosophy, in literature, and our culture. It explains why there is a war of the worldviews and who will be God while looking at well-known people like Karl Marx, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and more. Civilization cannot change overnight and this course shows how prominent people can change the way we think and how much damage can happen in as little as fifty years by using mass media to reach people of all ages. There is a brief biography about each individual that is studied and are shown what kind of influence they were and their philosophy. The author then uses a Godly worldview and scripture to look at these people and includes sample prayers that will help the students engage in the war. Each chapter includes vocabulary assignments and reading excerpts with study questions.

The teacher guide is a 298-page workbook. It contains the worksheets, exams, essay assignments, the answer key, and there is also a course description including how it was developed. A daily schedule and grading options make school planning easy. The course includes readings, study questions, vocabulary words, application questions, popular music/movie reviews, looking at philosophers and their trajectory, exams, and essay assignments. Permission to copy the reproducible pages has been granted to use within your own homeschool or classrooms of 10 or fewer students.

I was originally planning on using this course with my almost 15-year-old and my 16-year-old daughters together so that we could have a better discussion time. After perusing the material I decided that the younger one may not be ready for this course and so my oldest daughter is using it on her own. She knows her bible, is a critical thinker, and can view things as a whole rather than one aspect at a time. She has been reading the text and completing the vocabulary and questions on her own. Then we discuss what she has learned and even if we agree with the author.

This course is for high school students and every student may not be ready for this kind of course. It is recommended that the student know the scripture inside and out before undertaking this study. The students must have discernment and engage their mind instead of passively accepting what this world would call “great” writers and entertainers.

-Product review by Lisa McClanahan, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017