Did Bill Nye Just Insult The Homeschool Community? And We Aren’t Talking About The Recent Debate

Did Bill Nye Insult The Homeschool Community

Photo credit: blacklemag.com

On February 10, 2014, Bill Nye (The Science Guy) called for a question and answer session on his Facebook page.

He wrote the following:

Bill Nye (the Science Guy) here, sitting by ready to take your questions (your good questions)…

A member of a private Facebook group I belong to posted her question to Bill Nye that sparked heated debate.

Here is Michelle Pippin’s question:

The homeschool community is severely lacking in real science curricula. Will you give thought to creating a science curriculum for the ever-growing number of secular homeschoolers?

Here is Mr. Nye’s response:

Use your judgment. The rest of us out here, want your kids to appreciate society and the importance of working together in school and in life. A person working alone will probably not build the future 797 airplane, for example. It takes people who can work with and around people. Carry on.

First, he didn’t answer the question. Second, he segregated our homeschoolers.

When I read the response, I was irked. Here is a guy worshipped by the homeschool community. Well, maybe worship is a strong word. But many adore him.

I like Bill Nye. He offers fun activities and engages audiences. I realize he is an entertainer and not credentialed, as a university professor would be, but really? I did not think he would stereotype homeschoolers as isolated learners unable to work in teams. I did not think he would insult our homeschoolers. Here is a man who believes in the education of children, but is misinformed or uninformed about home education.

His response was on-the-fly. After all, it was a lightning-speed Q&A session that had his fingers flying. And, he did take time to answer Michelle’s question. But, I’m saddened by his response.

Michelle didn’t tuck tail and run. She posted a reply to Bill Nye.

Wow. Did Bill Nye just insult homeschoolers? I thought you were smarter than that. A very narrow-minded view if you think homeschoolers don’t work well together. How unfortunate. 

Can you blame her? She was looking for answers to a large problem in the homeschool community. There are not enough secular science materials to serve secular homeschool families. She was hoping Mr. Nye would consider her question, more thoughtfully.

I’m working on a letter to Mr. Nye. One with lots of facts and statistics that our fun-loving entertainer might appreciate. I want to enlighten Mr. Nye on homeschooling and how teamwork makes the dream work.

Let’s hear it? What do you think about Bill Nye’s response?

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About the Author: Brenda K. Rufener is an award-winning, internationally published writer and homeschool parent of two daughters. Follow Brenda on: Facebook TwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.

Further reading:

Why Homeschool Is The Better Choice

12 Things Homeschool Moms Need To Remember

The Little Things No One Tells You About Homeschooling

Do You Regret Your Homeschool Decision?

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  1. 1

    Nicole says

    Wow! Has he forgotten the many technological advances that homeschoolers have made throughout history? Now here is real question…was it really him? A lot of celebrities have people to tend the pages for them. This answer seems out of character from other interviews and quotes made by him that I have read.

    • 2

      Brenda Rufener says

      That was my initial thought, Nicole. At the top of his page, he says it’s him. I guess that’s what we have to go by – his words. And, if it is staff, his stamp of approval is given.

      • 3

        Nicole says

        I agree. If he didn’t say it, he needs to come forward and fix it. If he did he may have just lost his biggest following.

    • 4

      DP says

      It is consistent with the statements he’s made about people who don’t have mainstream beliefs about evolution. This one is a little less vague in that he connects more dots about why he came to his conclusion, but it’s a similar sentiment. In both cases, he seems to believe that not only should people who disagree with him be excluded from endeavors they already successfully participate in, but that it’s a foregone conclusion that they will be. It’s that or he doesn’t believe that at all, but is using the appearance of it to insult people.

      • 5

        Adam says

        If you don’t believe in evolution, you probably shouldn’t be participating in scientific endeavor.

        • 6

          Kleonike says

          Why? Is all science based on the theory of evolution? Is it your contention that we should all believe in vaccines and western medicine to participate in scientific endeavor?

          I happen to see that evolution and creationism are not mutually exclusive, but I don’t belittle those who strictly believe in either one.

        • 7

          Tracey says

          There are many scientist who do not believe completely in the theory of evolution.

          • 8

            craig says

            No there aren’t

          • 9

            Skwerl says

            That evolution occurs is a fact, supported by science. The manner in which evolution occurs is a theory. Science 101.

            One does not “believe” in facts. One “believes” in things for which there is no evidence.

            Carry on.

          • 10

            Homeschool supporter says

            John Clayton and Stephen C. Meyer are both credited scientists who have an abundance of verifiable material available to dismantle the evolution myth.

        • 11

          Holly says

          You are dead wrong on that. I’m a published researcher, veterinarian and cell biologist, but I think the Theory of Evolution is starting to fall apart. Starting with cells, biology needs a nice visit from some math geniuses. Most scientists assume a level of quality to research which is failing to be upheld by the life sciences. To be clear: there are plenty who do uphold a respectable level of quality, but review is falling behind for the mass of publishing.

          • 12

            Joe says

            I’d like to read some of your papers. Any of your papers. In any journal.

        • 13

          Homeschool supporter says

          Science is not exclusive to the theory of evolution. It may be presented as fact, however, there is abundant evidence that contradicts the evolutionist’s theory, which interestingly, isn’t presented in any textbook you read. The view of evolution is based on many assumptions and logical fallacies. It seems to appeal to emotion more often than it does to fact.

          Read The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski. Don’t let the title fool you. “{Berlinski is] acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions [to the scientific community].

          • 14

            Debbie says

            Thought we were talking about Bill Nye!

    • 15

      steve says

      First your completely missing the point. Studies show that home schooled children aren’t as socially well adapted as other children. Anyone who went to public schools knows a kid who was home schooled then entered public schools. Most of the time they don’t adapt well socially, and have problems working in groups. Now, I didn’t need a study to tell me this. I just used the eyeball test, I’ve seen it. Thus Bills point, we need all fields of science to work together. All fields of science from theoretical physics to microbiology are linked. There all part of the same system. That’s why cooperation between scientists is crutal. Second if your going to teach your children science. You need to teach them the difference between theory and hypothesis. Theory doesn’t mean untrue or unproven. It was once a hypothesis that has made accurate predictions based on the evidence, and was then upgraded to theory based on fact and results. Therefore, when you say the “theory” of evolution in a derogatory sence to imply it’s false, your displaying your ignorance of science and it’s methods. When you say theory your actually saying “proven”. Now, if this is the case you aren’t preparing you children for higher education. Last, yes one can poke holes in “the origin of species”. However, to expect Darwin to unravel billions of years of evolution in a few decades is ridiculous! Thats like saying Newton should have formulated the theory of relatively (another “theroy”) because an apple fell on his head. It took over 200 years to get from Newton to Einstein. The modern modle of evolution is supported by millions of pieces of evidence, and accurate predictions. The evidence is overwhelming and spans all fields of natural science. In closing, don’t deny scintific fact because of belief in bronze age mythology. In the end it will hurt innocent children.

      • 16

        Simmonsmommy says

        While I disagree with much of what you have said (as a public school alumnus and mother of four public school students), I’m not going to bother refuting it because your most immediate need is literacy. Your post is so riddled with atrocious spelling that it is actually hard to understand. If you want people to take you seriously in a conversation ABOUT EDUCATION, you are going to have to do better at presenting yourself as an educated person.

        • 17

          Jenn says

          Well said, Simmonsmommy. The piece was thick with irony, and even more glaring is the misunderstanding of theory as applied versus the literal meaning of theory. Fact was never mentioned in this limited and misunderstood continuum, and, how does one qualify proof from observation of an unstated sample size with an obvious bias against homeschoolers? Oh, well. He’s actually disproving his own argument.

      • 18

        Daniel Macintyre says

        Actually, studies show that homeschooled children are better socialized than public schooled children see, for example, here:


        This may be why some of the most famous scientists and inventors in the world were homeschooled. Here’s a quick list of those:
        Alexander Graham Bell
        Benjamin Franklin
        Cyrus McCormick
        Eli Whitney
        Thomas Edison
        Orville Wright
        Wilbur Wright

        Albert Einstein
        Blaise Pascal
        Booker T. Washington
        George Washington Carver
        Pierre Curie

        This list only includes scientists and inventors, not mathemeticians, presidents (including the only president to hold a patent for one of his inventions), supreme court judges, congressmen, military generals or any of the other fields of endeavor where people can excel.

        • 19

          Joe says

          It doesn’t help your point when you count people who attended school but didn’t finish or autodidacts who simply taught themselves among your list of people who were homeschooled.

          • 20

            Jenn says

            Those of this list who attended public school did so only briefly. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, attended school officially for only two years; you seem to be missing the point.

      • 21

        Linda H says

        Could you please show your sources that homeschoolers are not as socially adapted as those publically schooled. Studies show is not scientic enough for me to accept.

        • 22

          Linda H says

          I was in a rush. scientic should read scientific.

        • 23

          Simmonsmommy says

          He told you, he doesn’t need a study. He “eyeballed” it. And, as everyone knows, the most definitive criterion you can apply to an idea is Steve’s Eyeball.

          • 24

            Laura says

            Well, I don’t know who’s eyeball is more definitive, but my eyeball tells me the opposite. I went to public school in the 80s and 90s when homeschooling wasn’t common. In my Spanish class was a homeschooler who only came to public school for Spanish. She was one of the most popular kids in our school. She also came to pep rallies and prom. A couple other homeschool kids played football and basketball. Very social kids, and one of them was even busted drinking at a party! Seems pretty social to me – even more social than I was, a full fledged public school “geek.” Kids are NOT socialized in public school, unless you count 20 minute silent lunch and recess 90 minutes per week socialization. They are constantly told to hush! My kids became much more social once they started homeschooling and could let their creativity and true personality flow in the co-ops we belong to. That’s what my eyeball sees. :)

      • 25

        ROLLNSONG says

        Well, I can say, as a homeschooler who was forced to transfer to public school after some uncontrollable circumstances: “Yes, I had trouble fitting in with my new peers.” I did not have trouble working on group projects, or communicating with the teachers and other adults I was around. And I did have a handful of friends, albeit they were other misfits, as well.
        See, what you fail to recognize, is that the traditional school scenario is the only place and time in life that a person will be surrounded with a large number of peers that are basically the same age and background as said individual. Most homeschool graduates adapt better to the real world than public school graduates. We do better in college, on average. And we have no problem carrying on friendships and business relationships with people of any age or back ground. Why? Because while public school kids were socializing in their cliques and picking friends by who wore the latest styles, we were socializing in the real world. We were learning how to negotiate deals, start businesses, make friends with the old ladies at the nursing home.

      • 26

        Nicole says

        I was public schooled, and was always “the kid out”. No matter how education is received some kids will be “socially awkward” and others will be “socially acceptable”.

      • 27

        vforba says

        Steve, I don’t know what you have seen, because in my experience both in the public school and homeschooling sectors the socially inept are primarily in the Public school. Now if you mean homeschoolers have a hard time lining up, yeah that is typical but that is because we don’t usually treat our kids as if they are in the army. They listen well and get just as excited as public school kids. I just graduated my oldest last year from homeschooling and unless she told someone she was homeschooled most of the time they had no idea, other than the fact that she was normally the hardest worker, could work well by herself or within groups. She played varsity softball for 4 yrs in highschool as a completely homeschooled child. She had no issue relating with her teammates and was elected co-captain her senior year. In fact in recent years Colleges have been seeking out homeschoolers because of their ability to learn independently and are more responsible than their public school peers. So perhaps you need to get of your box and do some real research.

    • 28

      vforba says

      Actually if you watched the debate between him and Ken Ham, this not out of character at all. He constantly kept referring to himself and “regular” people as “outsiders”. And as you mentioned, are you sure his other posts were really written by him and not somebody else?

    • 30

      Brenda Rufener says

      It was interesting, and a bit shocking. I expected more tact and a firm answer. 😉

  2. 31

    Darcy says

    Wow. I don’t homeschool (yet), but I am searching for secular curriculum and there really isn’t anything that I like. I am so disappointed in his narrow minded view of homeschooling.

    • 32

      Brenda Rufener says

      I’ve been directed to Steve Spangler Science, but don’t know a great deal yet. We piece a variety of resources together to create science each year – it’s a job. Still searching for the perfect resource. Yes, Darcy, his comment is disappointing. Thanks for sharing.

    • 34

      Heather says

      Do you really need a curriculum for elementary kids? Experiments and explanations of what is going on is tons better than most school kids get. Young kids are hardwired to explore their world, which is science. There are many, many books of science projects aimed at the younger set out there. If you facilitate that, you’ll be fine. Life of Fred covers some of the more advanced science along with math.

    • 35

      Kim says

      Neither Spangler nor Nye have complete curricula at this point, however, both have great projects that can be used. If you are still looking for a complete curriculum that is secular (not as easy as one would think in the homeschooling world), look into Supercharged Science with Aurora Lipper. Also, be sure to check out http://www.secularhomeschool.com which has a forum and a list of curriculum ideas. For the record, I am not affiliated with either site. I am just new (less than a year) to homeschooling and have been on a quest to find quality science material myself. Good luck.
      Oh and yes…I am insulted by Bill Nye’s comment. I am hoping it was an off the cuff reply from someone who clearly doesn’t realize that a large portion of his followers are homeschoolers!

    • 36


      If you would like w truly top-notch science curriculum that is world-view neutral – then you need to seriously check out Real Science-4-Kids!!! Real Science-4-Kids is an award-winning science curriculum that has helped children unlock their inner Einstein for over 10 years (who was also homeschooled!). Real Science-4-Kids was developed with the idea that real science is about working on the edge of what we do know to discover what we don’t know. By making real science concepts easy for young children to understand, Real Science-4-Kids delivers the essential building blocks kids need for understanding chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and geology. Our expanding K-12 line of worldview neutral curriculum, written by Rebecca W. Keller (a homeschool mom and PhD scientist) is easy to teach and fun to use!
      Our texts are all full-color and brimming with appealing graphics. Our laboratory workbooks lead students through experimentation, while our teacher’s manuals and lesson plans provide clear guidance to parents regardless of their previous science background. We also offer digital quizzes and full-color study folders with creative activities, puzzles and games in a lapbook format to reinforce content.

      • 37

        Rose says

        I have also used that for my 3 homeschooled girls :)….however, I prefer the term unschooling because every lesson is hands on and integrated as part of everyday life…we couldn’t be happier and all I get are raves about the intelligence of my children :)

    • 38

      Debbie says

      check global student network

    • 39

      Jenn says

      Precisely! This goes to show how congruently intertwined the discipline of Science IS with the worldview of Creationism.

    • 40

      Brenda says

      You might want to check out MS Nucleus. For Elementary, you start at Applied Science and then work your way around clockwise. It’s free and is complete through 6th grade. As it gets funded, Secondary will get completed. My husband and I are blown away by what my 6 year old twins are getting exposed to and learning through this program. We do science 3 days a week and it is so easy for me to do even though science is not my strong point. I also want to mention that I am not affiliated in any way either. :)


    • 41

      vforba says

      Darcy, have you looked to your local school district. More than likely their curriculum is secular and many schools can lend books.

  3. 42

    Debby says

    He obviously has had no experience with homeschoolers. I think he would be surprised!

  4. 43

    jen says

    My first reaction… what a douche. OK now grown up me wants to smack him. I loved this dude until I read those words. I don’t care if he’s answering on the fly he just showed a complete disregard for my community. How ignorant and archaic of him. I was IN LOVE with him when I was a kid. I might actually be sad enough to squeeze a tear out.

    • 44

      Adam says

      Your ‘adult’ response is violence?

      • 45

        Jenn says

        She more than likely means that as a figure of speech.

        • 46

          Adam says

          Nevertheless, it is a violent figure of speech. One hopes she isn’t raising her children to respond to things they dislike with the thought ‘I would like to hurt that person’.

  5. 47

    WiLl says

    It certainly wasn’t a great answer. However, the great thing about science minded people is that when when faced with new evidence….they can change their mind.

    Bill clearly needs some evidence to help him reevaluate his position. Let’s give it to him.

    • 48

      CAnder says

      I grew up Homeschooled and I still have a lot of amazing friends in that community, but the trends I saw rising as I left homeschooling and the reception I saw given to Bill Nye at the recent debate leave me absolutely unsurprised that this would be his response to such a question. When it comes to science, homeschool kids (especially those who have been raised with YEC teachings) are neither prepared nor often willing to “work well” with others because they have been taught to answer every fact with, “Well I have this book….” .Thats not working with someone. Thats called stonewalling. And it may be a stereotype but we gave it to ourselves.

      • 49

        JOY says

        I find your comment very unfairly blanketed. I was homeschooled my entire pre-college education and am now homeschooling my children. I have known MANY MANY past and present homeschoolers over the years. I have YET to hear the ‘stonewall’ response you say is so common. Let’s refrain from answering ignorant generalization with ignorant generalization.

        • 50

          Adam says

          To be fair you are relying on the same sort of anecdata on which CAnder is basing their point.
          If I knew a lot of homeschoolers who liked unicorns, I wouldn’t have a great case to insist that all homeschoolers like unicorns.

          • 51

            BBeam says

            Stereotyping homeschoolers is the same as stereotyping any other section of society whether by race, culture, or educational preference. There are public school students who are antisocial and ignorant as well as public school students who are well adjusted and intelligent. The same holds true for private school and homeschool. Blanket judgements and stereotypes are rarely fair or accurate.

          • 52

            JOY says

            No. Providing balance. There are stereotypes for a reason. But to use one example of a scenario that DOES exist to describe a much larger picture is like talking about a one inch square of a much larger painting and expecting your discussion to apply to the whole thing. Just because CAnder knows of people who use the “book” answer does not mean that we all do. Nor does my retort of never having met someone who’s said that mean that they don’t exist. You cannot generalize, in any situation. We are too diverse a world to EVER use blanket statements simply because that’s what you have majority experience with. Your unicorn comment only supports both CAnder’s comment and mine.

      • 53

        WendyLadie says

        I have worked in home education for nearly 25 years, locally, statewide, and nationally. Mostly, it has been with Christian home educators, but not exclusively. I also homeschooled all my own children from birth through high school graduation.

        I have not ever heard the comment (or any comment even close) to “I have this book…” But the kids I work with all know how to find information should they need to… and I began homeschooling before reliable World Wide Web access! It was way old school!

        And yet… my children were always sought after in their college classes as group leaders and many actively sought to be in their groups even if they weren’t leaders. They knew how to do, and they knew when to delegate. They worked on teams for things like debate, and in community groups.

        I’ve seen home education young people rise to the tops of their fields in many pursuits… business, mathematics, sports, arts, music, and, gasp! yes!, even science. I’ve seen my own children, as adults, brainstorm with colleagues to solve complex mechanical engineering problems. I’ve seen other’s adult children excel in orchestras, sports teams, leadership teams in churches, working in homeless shelters, and so much more.

        Just because home educated children often are not in peer-segregated groups for 8 hours a day, does not have any real-world reflection on how they can contribute to their community at large. Sure, some homeschooled kids-turned-adults will be reclusive, awkward, socially inept, shy… and so forth. So will some publicly or privately educated students. Some home educated students will not fare well on standardized tests, and will not be at the top of the learning curve. Neither will some publicly educated students.

        Sweeping generalities, unbacked by fact, help no one at all. I have seen and known literally thousands of home educated students, watching them go from elementary age through graduation from high school, to college, and successful career. I’ve seen some not do so well. But lack of ability to work in groups or as part of a team is one thing I have seen very little of… I’ve seen it, but I think it was the child’s own predilection, and not the result of their education. Be fair, and we’ve all known people who don’t “play well with others,” and they come out of all sorts of educational options including public school, private secular school, private religious school, and both secular and religious home education.

        • 54

          PENNIE says

          The “I have this book” comment referenced earlier was the go-to response Bill Nye was given in his recent debate with Ken Ham and not something people hear regularly by hs’ers. I believe that’s what the original commenter meant.

    • 55

      Sg says

      @ WiLl -After watching the debate, I think that Bill already knows exactly how things should be and he is not going to change his mind about anything based on any facts that he receives from any class of people he has already decided is wrong.

    • 56

      Thomas Watts says

      ‘Science advances one funeral at a time.’

      “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” -Max Planck

    • 57

      Thomas Watts says

      Given Nye’s comments on climate science, I regard him more as a fanatic than an open mind. You may be casting your seed upon the rocks.

    • 58

      KATHRYN says

      “[T]he great thing about science minded people is that when when faced with new evidence….they can change their mind.”
      Can, but unfortunately, sometimes don’t. My father was a scientist and worked with both scientists and engineers and business people, etc. His observation was this: when you have spent your life time, your life’s work, in the pursuit of an idea, it is very, very difficult to give it up. For many people, it is psychologically easier than massage the raw data to fit one’s desired conclusion.

      • 59

        Holly says

        Yes! Best comment so far. We are all human, even the scientists. I think one of the biggest challenges to science these days is reliance on outside funds. It is a bit easier to fight for the validity of new data and conclusions when there aren’t any funding issues to be faced if the result makes you unpopular.
        I was just reading an article about one of the most recent Nobel Laureate who announced he was no longer submitting research to three of the most respected publications for exactly the “popularity contest’ issue. If I can find it again, I’ll put it up here.

  6. 60

    JenRay says

    Sad. I mean, he is just coming off that interview with Ken Ham, right? So I suppose his attitude about homeschoolers could be colored by that recent experience. He needs to be enlightened, (or reminded) about secular homeschoolers and our science needs. And he also needs to wise up about the socialization myth – which he apparently bought into. It makes me sad, but I hope he will be open minded enough to get educated about it, instead of arrogantly dismissing homeschooling. I don’t think I will be surprised if he chooses the latter though.

  7. 61

    Megan M. says

    It’s funny that he would say that because William Lear, who founder Lear Developments (LearJet) was homeschooled. Also, Sir Frank Whittle who invented the jet engine was homeschooled, as were Wilbur and Orville Wright.

    I haven’t checked this list out myself, but it is a place to start.

    • 62

      Sg says

      That is very funny that he chose that example of what a homeschooler could not do. Thanks for sharing those facts.

      • 63

        Adam says

        He chose that example because he was a mechanical engineer at Boeing.

    • 64

      Adam says

      And actually Lear and the Wright brothers did go to school. Lear was kicked out and the Wright brothers moved before they got their diplomas, but being self-taught isn’t the same thing as home schooling.

      • 65

        Jack says

        Self-teaching and homeschooling go hand-in-hand. Do you honestly think parents of homeschoolers spend every minute teaching their kids? I got a stack of books and could ask for help when I was stuck, Beyond that, I participating in fun activities that I didn’t even realize were educational.
        How is that different from these self-taught people who learned by persuing their interests?

  8. 66

    Elizabeth says

    Surprising reaction but not unexpected. He could benefit from, you know, some actual research showing how well homeschoolers actually do in groups, not just stereotypes. Since I unschool for most subjects it’s easier to teach science in a relevent way without depending on a cookie cutter science curriculum. There are tons of resources including science journals, videos, documentaries and khan academy that can help supplement without depending on curriculum. I actually cringed at the question posed asking for curriculum. But that’s just my own philosophy. In any case, Bill could use some more education on homeschoolers.

  9. 67


    Thank you for broadening this discussion, Brenda. I’ve linked my own blog to this comment so people can see a screenshot of the interaction and my take on it. I implore the homeschooling community to help educate Mr. Nye. Get on his Facebook, his twitter, whatever. Give the man facts. He likes proof. Let’s overwhelm him with data. After all, his recent debate remark said that evidence would change his mind.
    Michelle Pippin recently posted…Bill Nye Insults HomeschoolersMy Profile

    • 68

      Brenda Rufener says

      Thank you again, Michelle, for allowing me to quote your discussion. No matter what our backgrounds and beliefs, the homeschooling community gathers together to offer support for our kids.

      You are correct, evidence changes minds. That’s what we can offer – evidence that our own children don’t fit his stereotype.

      Will I lose sleep over the remarks? Not likely. There are greater things in the world to concern ourselves with than an ‘entertainer’ offering his opinion on an area he knows little about. What’s important is that we come together and support you, as well as the homeschool community as a whole.

  10. 69

    Amy Wilson says

    Bill Nye should chat with Robert Krampf, aka The Happy Scientist. Mr. Krampf has been a speaker and has performed wonderful science demos for The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (www.vahomeschoolers.org), and all of VaHomeschoolers members have a membership to thehappyscientist.com website. The Happy Scientist has seen homeschoolers’ passion for science, and understands the wonderful freedoms that homeschooling gives for inquiry-based learning (which is what science is). The Happy Scientist gets homeschooling (his services are used by public schools as well, by the way). Mr. Nye could learn a great deal from him.

      • 71

        Amy Wilson says

        Awesome! My kids and I did The Happy Scientist’s cloud chamber experiment, and saw evidence of subatomic particles hurtling through our house. It was amazing! You do have to be a Happy Scientist member to see the video for that experiment, though.

        (You don’t have to be in Virginia to enjoy membership in VaHomeschoolers, though — they have a wonderful magazine that comes with membership, along with the complimentary Happy Scientist membership. VaHomeschoolers membership costs $29, and the Happy Scientist membership that is included is a $20 value — soon to become a $29 value!)

        I’m very enthused about both. :)

  11. 72

    Becky says

    I think Mr. Nye fell for the stereotypes we get from those who don’t know homeschoolers. It saddens me to think he thinks this way. The homeschoolers i know do not fit in that box. Mr. Nye needs to spend a day or two with homeschoolers and then form an opinion. I’m surprised he hasn’t already.

  12. 73

    HappyBunch6 says

    The man has a B.S. in Astronomy. He has no expertise in many of the fields that people credit him with. He worked as a team that developed a part for Boeing. He is just another celebrity and I value his opinion with no more weight than Madonna or Sporty Spice. Barney & Captain Kangaroo are considered experts why is Bill Nye?

    • 74

      Adam says

      He has a BS from Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

  13. 75

    Lil says

    I have not “lost respect” for Bill Nye over this, and welcome the opportunity to educate Bill and others about why some of us homeschool. There does seem to be a generally held misconception that only far right xitan fundies do home schooling.

  14. 76


    Its interesting that this particular question is coming at this juncture. I am a high school sciencd teacher currently involved in a large scale project to provide curriculm for homeschoolers. Though I teach in public schools, my three children are homeschooled. So this is of double importance to me. Currently I’m working on a 1 year Physics class for teens.

  15. 78


    He’s a has been.. looking for publicity and to get his name back out there and it looks like he got what he wanted. He makes a stupid statement and people are talking about him and sharing this all over.

  16. 79


    Bill Maher and others have shared similar stereotypical reactions to the topic of homeschooling. And yet many celebrities do it–both child actors and children of famous actors. I don’t know. I suspect that in Nye’s head homeschoolers are all of one, narrow variety with a narrow worldview. Might be better to worry less about his “insult” and focus more on changing public perception by being the ordinary, thoughtful, and well-socalized people we are.
    Pamela recently posted…A Study in Hope: BBC Sherlock, Parents, & Gifted/2E KidsMy Profile

  17. 80


    Wow. It would have been so easy to just say that he isn’t really familiar with the particular challenges of homeschooling. Maybe even put a plug in for his DVDs. Nobody upset and he isnt held to something he has no experience with.

    We have great teamwork. It’s the only reason we still enjoy the freedom we do despite more and more suspicion cast on us by government and media.

  18. 81

    Catherine says

    It is interesting that Bill Nye would make such a comment but at the same it is not surprising, he is an entertainer more than he is a scientist. Many great thinkers, inventors, scientists, and philosophers in history were independent learners. They did not follow the crowd and try to appease authority but broke through the zeitgeist and paved new ways and inspired others to do the same. When it comes to education we have to ask ourselves; how will what our children learn make a difference in creating a sustainable and peaceful planet? Success is how well we relate to our environment. Human survival depends on people who are able to think critically and solve problems outside of the institutions and thinking that created those problems. I believe, and from what I have researched, anti-social behavior comes from the suppression of creativity and pressure to conform to social norms. We see a lot of anti-social behavior and violence in our schools, it is more of an epidemic than it is a phenomenon. My son is the most ‘social’ person I know. The context in which we we are using the term ‘social’ is very arbitrary when we consider that everyone has their own unique way in which they relate to the world and to others. Culture tells us many things about ourselves but it is important to realize we are culture and we have the ability to change it.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

  19. 82

    Michelle Harrison says

    It is a little sad that he said that, but as he said in the debate, I’m sure he’d be willing to change his mind with evidence. To us it might be obvious that homeschooling works, but that’s because we’re familiar with homeschool and we’ve done the research.

  20. 83

    Bookworm says

    How disrespectful! Clearly, he has no idea how big yet how close the homeschool community really is. This will not bode well for his reputation.

  21. 84

    Julie mackenzie says

    I was quite annoyed by his comment and told him do on Facebook. With that’s said. I laughed about his Boeing 797 comment. Currently I have 3 nephews in college at university if washington. 2 graduating with Engineering degrees this year and the other in 2 more. Quite social and normal kids and quite brilliant. Completely homeschooled and their father actually was the subcontractor who designed and built a portion of the fuselage on the Dreamliner.

    How many true gear headed Engineers have you met that are really that great socially. I have met tons that are not and they were all educated in public schools!!

    • 85

      Karen Smith says

      I am so grateful for all of the opportunities my home schooled children have had as home educated children. Opportunities to learn to relate and interact with all ages of people as well as those with disabilities and love watching them. They have had opportunities to shadow professionals in their workplace and learn to serve others. Most recently my boys participated on a Robotics team where they competed in a competition through the BEST Robotics organization sponsored locally through the engineering department at Wichita State University. ( http://best.eng.auburn.edu/ ) BEST stands for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology. I was amazed witnessing the innovation and leadership skills that our home school team demonstrated on a daily basis. Our team performed well at the Kansas state level. They received several awards and placed 2nd in the BEST category and 3rd in the Robotics competition and moved on to Regionals along with another home school team and 3 public school teams. At Regionals in Fort Smith, Arkansas our team ended taking 1st in BEST and 1st in Robotics (along with other special awards). ( http://uafs.edu/ftbest/2013-competition-results ) Out of the top 8 places (4 in BEST and 4 in Robot) 5 places were achieved by home school teams. Many of the students who have graduated from this program have continued on in many different fields as well as various forms of engineering. I know that you need no convincing but just if you would like to cite some examples to support your letter. I will also attach a link to an article that was written about our team and published in several local newspapers just before they went to their state competition in November. ( http://www.arkvalleynews.com/web/isite.dll?1383226936671 )

    • 86

      Debbie says

      AWESOME! Bet he needed a diaper change after reading your response! I feel better now and can’t add anything more than you stated so well. Thank you, now I can sleep well.

  22. 87

    Holly says

    For a good secular science curriculum check out Real Science 4 Kids, and also Joy Hakim’s science series, which is based off the story of science & for the middle school & up crowd.

  23. 88

    paige says

    It is probably a better idea to ask a Real Scientist to write a curriculum for homeschoolers and not an Entertainer. His credentials are not ones that impress one very much.

  24. 89

    Dan Overmitten says

    I agree with both of your points. 1) We need more secular science curriculum. There is some but we could always have more. 2) Many of us do think highly of Bill Nye. In your letter I suggest a helpful, almost paternal approach. Mr. Nye, like so many others who homeschoolers ASSUME know us, don’t. Their default answers will be the socially accepted ones until we interact more with each other. So, don’t throw indignation at him. Keep the facts to bare bones (he’s not stupid). Offer up the positive outcomes that homeschoolers have had in society. Suggest that inventors, entrepreneurs and general everyday folks benefit from personal and meaningful education. Allow for the fact that he made a mistake.

  25. 90


    I think he just misspoke. He was very supportive of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum when we were getting off the ground 9 years ago. He publicly thanked us for our work just a year or two ago, when I was surprised he even remembered us. I don’t think he has a problem with all homeschoolers, just some concerns about some subgroups. I think that’s fair enough; most large populations will have subgroups of concern in just about anything.

    • 91

      Brenda Rufener says

      Comforting to know, Corin. Thank you. My opinion is that he lumped homeschoolers into one pile, perhaps filtered through his experience with the ‘subgroup’ you mention. Unfortunately when in the public eye we are responsible for our words. I’m happy to hear of his support with Gifted Homeschoolers Forum.

  26. 92

    Jay Kay says

    First of all Bill Nye is a champion for public education and the public dole. After all, he made an incredibly lucrative living on Public Television, funded by you and I and he also champions public education as it’s the driving force behind Public Television. Did you really expect anything less from a shill for the public education system?

  27. 93

    Tammy says

    I think you got it right. He insulted homeschoolers. He’s just as uninformed about homeschooling as he is about origins science. If he was actually, really concerned about his idea of real science being taught to all children he would have jumped on that band wagon instead of trying to dump everyone off.

  28. 94

    Chelsea says

    We love Bill Nye.. but I am not impressed with his books – more entertainment than science. For secular science we use Singapore Science…. Way above the american version of science even at the elementary level. At elementary level we used the library and Singapore. Now it is Singapore middle school and documentaries as appropriate including Bill Nye ….

    • 95

      Brenda Rufener says

      So true, Chelsea. His credentials have not warranted use of his resources in our home. But, there are many homeschoolers who support him. It’s a shame to alienate a group of learners.

  29. 96

    Kiersten says

    E=MCQ offers secular science materials. The Life Sciences curriculum is provided free of charge as separate downloads for students and parents. Earth Science, Physical Science, and Chemistry are available for $50 each. http://eequalsmcq.com/

  30. 97

    Rebekah O'Brien says

    Perhaps Bill Nye should brush up on his history. After all, President Abraham Lincoln was home-schooled. Lincoln did lead our country. Today, I have a friend who has been home-schooled all through the years until college. Now he’s working on his PHD. My home-schooled nephew has many talents, academically, musically, and recently poetry. I am a big fan of home-school obviously. Isn’t the public schools always asking the parents to take more interest in their children academically? Perhaps if we took the time to bond with our children there would be more creativity and less crime.

  31. 98


    As a former public school science specialist and now a homeschool science educator – I am surprised. I’ve always loved Bill Nye and like Lil, have not “lost respect” for him. Perhaps he spoke too hastily particularly not long after the Ham debate. I, too, would love the opportunity to educate Bill and others about why some of us homeschool.

    For those interested, I write a secular science curriculum targeted for upper elementary homeschoolers. :)
    Eva Varga recently posted…Citizen Science Opportunities AboundMy Profile

  32. 99

    Jackie mac says

    Here’s a few names to throw at Mr. Nye – C. S. Lewis, Albert Einstein, Wolfgang A Mozart, F. D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Alexander Bell, Thomas Edison.

    I rest my case :)

    • 100

      Adam says

      Unrest your case. Einstein wasn’t homeschooled. CS Lewis went to the same boarding school as his brother and then attended grammar school in Belfast. FDR attended a Massachusetts boarding school. Alexander Graham bell went to school from 12 to 15, then dropped out.

      Dropped out isn’t homeschooled. Self-taught isn’t homeschooled.

      • 101

        Jack says

        “Self-taught isn’t homeschooled”

        If you think homeschooling doesn’t involve a great deal of self-teaching, you really should educate yourself more on the subject of home education.
        On the of the reasons many people homeschool is because it allows children more time to persue their interests. Persuing their interests is another way of self-teaching. For instance, as a homeschooler, I practically haunted the library, and read and read and read. When I took my first English class, I had trouble labeling the parts of speech (pointless anyway, in university I had to learn all new terms for them anyway) but in my writing, I had very good grammar. I could look at a sentance and tell you it was wrong and how to correct it and why. Learned it all simply from reading. Self-taught. And that was a major part of my home education.

  33. 102

    Jackie mac says

    And, I would like to add the following from Mark Twain (also homeschooled):

    “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”

    • 103

      Adam says

      Mark Twain, not homeschooled.

      I appreciate the point you guys are trying to make, but dropped out and self-taught aren’t the same as homeschooled.

  34. 104

    Alison says

    well, as i understand it, ‘secular’ homeschool is a form of homeschooling that isnt instigated for religious purposes? perhaps he misinterpreted what she said and assumed that the question was pertaining to those who were homeschooling for religious reasons – ie teaching creationism etc?

    Wishful thinking perhaps, because he really did sound uninformed about homeschooling … but its a long way up to where we are, all alone in our ivory tower….

  35. 106

    Dante says

    Ask an authoritarian liberal statist a question, get an authoritarian liberal statist answer.

  36. 107


    Wonder if he knows how many homeschoolers have won science fair projects, lego league competitions and debate. How many thrive in 4H and how many Eagle Scouts ans Senior Girl Scouts? The vast number of food bank and community volunteers. Ignorant. He really is ignorant.
    angie wright recently posted…Winter Snow TracksMy Profile

    • 108

      Brenda Rufener says

      Good point, Angie. We are involved in a talented and gifted youth program that provides competitions, team building exercises, and project-based learning opportunities with 80% of the children homeschooled. They are in the top 1% in the nation. His statement is unfounded. Thanks for sharing.

  37. 109


    Wow is right. First, let me pick my jaw off the floor. He is completely ignorant of the homeschool culture altogether. IGNORANT. Someone should educate him.

    He has a real opportunity to reach a VAST group of people and he completely missed it. EPIC FAIL. tsk tsk

    Where’s his capitalist drive? Come on Bill I’m sure you have one.

  38. 110

    CATHERINE says

    I can’t understand for the life of me why anyone gives this man any credibility.

    True he is smart and he has a good show.

    But he is not a professor or doctor of science. He’s an engineer. He is not a biologist or a physicist and not even a master in engineering. I wouldn’t want his books for teaching. No thank you.

    He also seems very intolerant of those who view life differently than he does, even renowned scientists who don’t share his view.

    He seems to think the Bible says the earth is flat when the Bible says in the book of Job (the first book of the Bible ever written) that the earth is a sphere. Yes Genesis was not the first book written in the Bible though is was placed in the canon that way.

    He seems to think Creation Scientists have made no contribution to science. But Louis Pasture is one who disproved spontaneous generation. Rocket scientist vonBraun was a creationist and brought America to the moon, and in so doing his science team invented computers, long before the PC was created. The US going to the moon made us the greatest nation in the world and also made way for some great technology, such as kidney dialysis machines. I know all of this about vonBraun because I wrote many newspaper articles about his science team when I worked as a journalist.

    Homeschoolers are not isolated. They join co ops and play groups and clubs and end up being active in their community as adults.

    • 111

      Brenda Rufener says

      Correct, Catherine. His credentials include a BS in mechanical engineering from Cornell. He is an entertainer, first and foremost.

    • 112

      Adam says

      I hope your homeschooling program doesn’t includ Biblical scholarship. There is no reason to believe that the book of Job was written before the 5th century BCE, however most of the books of prophets (the navi’ im in the tanakh) were thought to have been written in the 8th to 6th centuries BCE. Job isn’t even thought to be the oldest of the ketuvim. That honor goes to Ruth.

      • 113

        Adam says

        Oddly enough, I can admit when I’m wrong. While Job is certainly not the oldest book in the modern Bible (that is probably Amos or Hosea) it is likely older than Ruth. Both have widely varying estimates, but Job was probably written in the 6th century BCE while Ruth was likely written in the 5th.

        • 114

          CATHERINE says

          Adam, even I were wrong about the dates it would be no one else’s business whether or not I taught my children Biblical studies, even if I did not have a PhD in Biblical studies or graduate Summa cum Laude from seminary.

          There are several views on the events surrounding the dating of the writing of Job: 1.) It was written shortly after the events occured, by Job or Elihu 2.) It was written by Moses in Midian about 1485 to 1445 BC, which is the view I agree with, 3.) It was written at the time of Solomon about 950BC, 4.)It was written during or after the Babylonian captivity.

          All of these views pre-date Columbus’ theory that the earth was not flat and therefore are proof that the writing of Job was prophetic in that it pre-dated our discovery that the earth was not flat. Yet Bill Nye thinks creation scientists and or Christians believe the earth is flat. That is just silly to think. In a modern post reformation society Christians do not believe the earth is flat. He apparently also thinks God knows nothing about His own creation because he still believes in spontaneous generation a Greek myth that was refuted by creation scientists like Pasteur and Redi long before it was taken up with another title by the naturalists again then force fed to the public under the guise that one could be a Christian and still believe in evolution in order the get the pubilc and scientific realm to receive it as valid. Now we all go along with the program being in our schools knowing that the fossil record and all valid science disproved it years ago.

      • 115

        CATHERINE says

        Besides Biblical studies I also teach my children about creation vs. evolution and allowed my kids to attend a class on the subject at our local seminary. And there is nothing Bill Nye can do about the fact that they now know the real life story of Mr. Darwin.

        • 116

          Adam says

          I’m not sure how to begin to engage with someone who is willing to entertain the possibility that Job may have written the book of Job. No one who isn’t, and I am going to use a very technical term here, ‘kookoo bananas’ believes that the book of Job was written by Job.

          I don’t wonder why Bill Nye chose to discount homeschooling as a whole. People like you are probably who he was thinking of when homeschooling was mentioned.

          • 117

            CATHERINE says


            Notice in my quote below I clearly did NOT say that I believed Job wrote the book of Job, so I’m not sure where you got that Idea. I was stating the views that scholars believe and that I agreed with the second view in the list of the four views, that Moses probably wrote it. I also am not sure why you would turn such a subtopic into an argument. That’s just kind of, well, silly, and rather un-Christ-like.

            Here is my previous comment, I quote,” There are several views on the events surrounding the dating of the writing of Job: 1.) It was written shortly after the events occured, by Job or Elihu 2.) It was written by Moses in Midian about 1485 to 1445 BC, which is the view I agree with, 3.) It was written at the time of Solomon about 950BC, 4.)It was written during or after the Babylonian captivity. ”

            I am sorry that, because I stated all of the views that various scholars take on the topic of who wrote Job, but you obviously did not read it properly, you assume that I must be “koo koo,” as you state it.

            Perhaps rather than going off the topic of homeschooling and Bill Nye, as you did here, you ought to consider writing a blog all about the Bible and who wrote its books since you seem to know all about it and even more than apparently most scholars or PhDs on the subject.

  39. 118

    Kerridwen says

    We’ll always have people talking as if they know something about subjects they know nothing about. Homeschooling – like religion – seems to hit a nerve.

    If you want a positive role popular-culture role model, look at Mayim Bialik: formerly star of Blossom, now a co-star on The Big Bang Theory. She plays a neuroscientist – and she actually has a PhD in neuroscience! – and she homeschools her kids.

    If you are looking for secular science curriculum here are some ideas:
    – follow your children’s interests with experiments… but encourage them by expanding in directions they would not have thought of, but that interest YOU (you will be much better at inspiring their interest if you are also interested)
    – use the HomeScienceTools (homeschool oriented site hometrainingtools.com) or eNasco.com (more stuff) to buy your kits.
    – if you can split costs with another family, go for it and buy the cooler kits. Maybe with a family with younger kids planning to buy it from it later?
    – get the DK books (the ones with the awesome picture spreads) out of the library for overviews and understanding… but hunt the Internet for easy home-experiments.
    – if you know a scientist/engineer/programmer/mathematician see if they can do a 2-hour workshop for your kid/s.
    – call up your local university in the appropriate department (or email professors, they should all have addresses on the web) to ask if they could talk to your kid/s for an hour on Topic X (be specific). All professors have to do outreach activities, and that counts! If they are hesitant, offer to rustle up a handful of other homeschoolers for a 2-hr class. (Tell them the kids are of variable age, but attentive – chances are they won’t talk down more than they do to their undergrads.) Or the department may have activities for homeschoolers – here we have an annual Engineering Expo (University of Louisville, 3/1 this year) with lots of activities.
    – The Khan Academy (online) has free classes in all sorts of stuff… I’m just getting my 12yo into that – she’s learning a programming language I don’t know (Python) and who has time to learn with a baby, toddler, Kindy…? They also have math, and lots more! Cool story of how it got started, too!

    – or… you can email me. I’ll be happy to consult. I was homeschooled 2nd-12th. Ihomeschool my 6 kids (8mo – 12yo). I have a BS in Biology, an MS in Bacterial Genetics, and was close to a PhD in Genetics. I have a minors in Electrical Engineering, Biochemistry, Political Science, and Computer Science. DH is a professor of Electrical Engineering (he consults for me!) I’ve tutored and taught Middle Schoolers, High Schoolers, and undergraduates Math (Algebra through DiffEQ), Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Engineering, Computer Science. I wanted to be a professor so I could write curricula! (someday…. when the kids aren’t so small….)
    MangalaDancer AT yahoo DOT com (I don’t check this address regularly, so be patient, please – but I’m okay with having it on the net)

    Best wishes,

  40. 119

    kori says

    I’ve been pretty disappointed with Nye for a while. I don’t know why he has to be such a bigot, and generally so rude. Obviously public school didn’t do that much for him in terms of manners, or “working in groups” as all he does is go around insulting people. As a kid I was a huge fan of his, and still would be, but he’s clearly gotten “too big for his britches” as my grandma would say. There’s a lot of other resources for science curriculum and projects. Nye is entertaining and informative, but he’s not the end-all, be-all of the subject. I wouldn’t give him my money, even if he were to make a homeschool curriculum at this point.

  41. 120

    Rachel Betts says

    Could it be that he simply meant that science is best studied and learned in a group setting??? Just trying to give the benefit of the doubt.

  42. 121

    Jonna says

    When you get your letter done, maybe you could have all of us sign it. Strength in numbers!

  43. 122

    Susanna says

    Oh yes, my poor poor neglected socially inept homeschool children could never excel in society and science. Um. Bill Nye, get a clue of what MODERN homeschool looks like. My two children are in a 90 minute science class with other homeschoolers on Wednesdays and another 90 minute Engineering class on Fridays with other homeschoolers. How ridiculous to assume that our children are sitting at home in a corner making spit bubbles and have brains just turning to rot. I’m offended. My kids get far more science and math than most (if not all) public school children and here’s a shocker – they’re HAPPIER, too.

  44. 123

    Melissa says

    How sad that a man who thinks himself to be so intelligent can live his life in such ignorance!

  45. 124


    I’ve never enjoyed watching or listening to him and as a Christian homeschooler I do see it as an offense how he said it – my children work better with others than their cousins who spend 8+ hours in their public schools. That said I also don’t like the implication given that those of us who use Christian worldview science as not using real science – I’ve learned way more from my children’s science studies than I ever did when I was in public school.
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  46. 125

    JOY says

    I agree with everyone who said that Nye is not an educator but an entertainer. I would never expect a ‘curriculum’ by him and if there were one it likely would not be one I would use. I think we need to be careful about ‘admiring’ an entertainer too much with this as a beautiful example. Entertainers on tv have contracts to abide by. Those contracts do not always reflect their own opinion but the opinion of those they get paid by. What we’re hearing from Nye recently could very well be him speaking from his own podium instead of another’s or vice versa. I don’t like to assume but healthy speculation could help avoid situations like this one. The best we as homeschoolers can do is to prove stereotypes like this one wrong by producing well rounded, well socialized, intelligent, self-motivated, unbiased, non-judgmental members of society. Yes, there are those homeschoolers who are the reason for the stereotypes. But, seriously. The only way to undo them is to live opposite them. Complaining on a public internet forum isn’t going to accomplish anything positive … unless of course it makes you feel better to vent.
    Please be thoughtful and remember that proving someone wrong can only be done by showing them. And, even then, repentance is never guaranteed. Let’s live for our children and be the homeschoolers that break molds and set standards.

  47. 126

    Beth says

    The person who designs the 797 (or whichever new aircraft) will likely not be sitting in a room with 28 other people all exactly the same age as s/he is, waiting to be told to “turn to page 2”, either!

  48. 127

    Pam says

    Aurora Lipper LOVES homeschoolers and has a curriculum available. She’s VERY expensive and is the worlds biggest salesperson. However, her stuff can be fun. We get her emails for her free events but can’t afford to actually buy her stuff. I emailed her about it and got a response, but nothing sustainable in the money area.

    I’ve heard good things about Noeo Science, though I believe it’s Christian so doesn’t do evolution.

    Obviously Bill Nye is rather ignorant about what homeschooling is. My goodness we are so busy with our local homeschooling group that we barely get time at home: Science Club, History Club, Classic Book Club, Nature Club, plus all the other social and academic activities.

  49. 128

    Rdjax says

    I was trying to comment of the Bill Bye science guy Facebook page, but unable to… We homeschool as well… I wanted to know that the Scientist who help start the Human Genome Project was homeschooled and the following people were homeschooled and seem to work well with others. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_homeschooled_people

  50. 129


    I think that the answer to her question is evident in Mr. Nye’s response. No. He is not interested. He is not interested in the development of appropriate secular homeschool science curriculum OR in even discussing the need for such a thing. It is surprising only because we think of Bill Nye as THE voice of reason in science education. It is disappointing because we think of him as someone to look up to and admire. His vews were both narrow minded and unfounded. It is iunfortunate for him as a scientist to form an opinion on such bias rather than evidence. But everyone has an agenda. Every celebrity has their cause. Bill Nye made it clear that this will not be his. It doesn’t make him any less of a hero. What he did for scientific advancement for children is no small matter. It’s embarrassing but not a deal breaker.

  51. 130

    Ben Venable says

    It feels like it should be okay for Bill Nye not to be a fan of homeschooling. It is disappointing, tho’, that he took an opportunity to put more science in the hands of kids (by pointing their hometeachers at it), and waste it on stating his opinion instead. I don’t homeschool, but I would have loved to have heard his answer (always on the lookout for fun and informative projects for the family!).

  52. 131


    I’m a homeschooling mom. I am not offended and here’s why: 1) He was doing a chat and maybe wasn’t prepared for the question; 2) Plenty of people don’t understand and/or know homeschoolers in real life, and may have misconceptions. (I know I’m preaching to the choir here.) I just think he might fall into this category, particularly if he’s been meeting a bunch of homeschooling families who do segregate their kids (And let’s be honest, it does happen, even if it’s not the majority. This also includes only talking to like minded people IMHO.) It’s a fair point to say he didn’t answer the question, but to quickly jump to that being an insult? I think that’s a bit far. That said, I wish he would have answered the question! (And that’s my biggest problem with the whole issue.)
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  53. 132


    In my experiences, group work is never what teachers and managers dream it will be. It usually comes in the form of one person doing the work and the others tagging on their names. Most of the scientists and engineers that I know work best alone and find groups tedious and counterproductive. They only get together to collaborate when they have to. Bill Nye is an entertainer and I am sure he envisions group work as some scientific utopia where the more ideas there are the better things get, but the reality is quite different. I am sure it has also been a while since he has had to work in an actual group of peers. His comment reminds me of those made by well intentioned relatives who think we are ruining our kids. Hopefully, this errant comment of his will provide him with the opportunity to educate himself as to the reality of homeschooling. If not, well, he missed a great opportunity and a growing market for his products.
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  54. 133

    Rebecca Emmons says

    Francis Collins, one of the mappers of the human genome, was homeschooled through 6th grade. I remember hearing that he said his mother let him run wild, and that the school board, if they knew how little formal instruction she provided, would have thrown a conniption. Obviously, being homeschooled during his formative years severely hampered his ability to understand scientific concepts, advance scientific knowledge, or work well with others. (/sarcasm off)

    I loved Bill Nye when I was pre-teen/teen, when I saw his programs. I homeschool and have shown many of his videos to my older two children (starting when they were ages 4 and 3). His programs are excellent, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept his every philosophical belief as gospel truth. (Some people hold Faith in Science up as a religious belief, and are very hostile to infidels and heretics. Just because they don’t meet in buildings called churches or call each other priests, doesn’t mean people don’t imbue these figures with religious significance, feeling, or loyalty.) Nye seems to assume that homeschoolers are pretty much just anti-science Christian fundamentalists living in compounds where they can isolate themselves from the contagion of rational thinking.

    His views don’t surprise me. It IS surprising that when he encountered someone asking for a *secular* homeschool science curriculum, he basically told them to “wake up” and not bother homeschooling, because that’s theoretically the anti-social, anti-community thing to do. It’s like with so many other people, they’re so accustomed to conceiving of school as children sitting in desks for hours straight, that they cannot conceive how homeschooling is anything other than a child sitting alone at home, for hours a day, quietly working. That’s where a failure of imagination causes their “factual” and “open-minded” self-image to fall down.

  55. 134

    Rebekah (in Alaska) says

    Ignorant and historically inaccurate. I think his wording indicates that ignorance and lack of education more than any else. It’s not enough to make me stop borrowing Bill Nye DVD’s from the library. I think Jennifer Castro is correct about his false ideas re: group work. It also seems he envisions homeschooling as something where children go off to their very own bedrooms to work quietly by themselves for hours a day. That may be true for some families, but in families like mine, it’s work in a group with numerous distractions, sometimes cooperatively, sometimes independently, almost all the time.

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    Dana says

    Until I had cause to pull my son from school, I always felt homeschooling was a horrible idea. I thought that these teachers had gone to college to learn how to teach y kid and I was perfectly happy to back them up as they did their job. But then I saw my kid being run down and coming home hating life and hating school. Lets face it, I really don’t care if he designs the next airplane, I just want him to know he IS capable of learning and he CAN do it. I started him on a curriculum I love, and I work through it with him. I don’t know if he will remain a homeschooler for the rest of his school life, or will return to public school with his older brother. I will say though, that 2 weeks in, when my son looked at me and said, “Wow,I’m smart!” Like it was something he had never considered possible before, I knew it was completely worth it, and I had done the right thing.
    So yes, I get where Bill Nye is coming from. However, I generally don’t get too fussy about what others think of me. Your opinion is really just not that important to my life Bill. But thank you for the show about electricity. It made it so much easier to teach that concept.

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    After reading your post, I ranted about this for an hour yesterday my husband told me I needed to blog about it. I think it was his way of telling me he was done talking about it. LOL. Anyway, I took his advice. Here’s the link, if you’d like to read it. I hope it’s ok that I share it here. If not, please feel free to delete it. Thanks for opening up this discussion. I think it’s super important on many levels! http://lazyhippiemama.com/2014/02/12/does-homeschooling-need-to-be-re-branded/

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    Bill Nye should be ashamed of himself for bad mouthing homeschoolers. The mom didn’t ask him his opinion on homeschooling. She asked him about curriculum. And instead of answering that question he insults homeschoolers. How rude!

  59. 139

    Tracy says

    My opinion is the only way you can be insulted by a comment someone makes is if you care. I have way to many other things to worry about then what someone says or thinks of me (or my kids) just because we are a home schooling family. This includes, but not limited to…the nosey neighbor, the bank teller or cashier that asks my kids “why aren’t you in school” and yes, even Bill Nye the Science guy.

    If I gave a damn about what everyone else thought about the decisions I make for myself and my family, I’d never accomplish anything. Mr. Nye sounds as if he’s like 90% of the population and is uneducated about home schoolers. Enough about Bill Nye the uninformed guy….I’m off to plan our Science field trip that we will be conducting while in the rainforest of Belize. (Never forget that the perks of being a home schooling family far outweigh what anyone else thinks!)

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    Glenna says

    I remember Bill Nye from when my adult children were really children. He was so cool. We didn’t homeschool then. Now that we homeschool (with a grandchild), I am glad that he is not our go-to science expert. He sounds so narrow-minded! I am not interested in teaching that kind of thinking to my grandchild. He obviously is ignorant (used correctly to mean unaware or uneducated) as to how homeschooling works. We get together for classes and activities, academic and recreational. We spend time with other people working together toward a common goal in so many areas that it is impossible to explain them here. Bill Nye may have just alienated many of his followers, but it is okay. He won’t care or even notice the difference since homeschoolers work alone and therefore cannot contribute significantly to society (his opinion, not mine).

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    Sheri says

    All my children have been completely homeschooled. The first four are graduated now. I think they have the best friends! They have life long friends. They have been on winning teams. One aspect of homeschool socialization I have seen is how much better they relate to people of ANY age, not only their peers. When they were school age, I heard very often how well they spoke with adults and held their own in adult conversation. They are respectful to their elders and are quick to help with little ones.

    In college, my first two knew all the students on campus. Their college had 700 students. Hmmm… Can’t make that many friends if you are socially awkward…

    That socialization statement has been around since I started homeschooling 29 years ago. It still isn’t true.

    I would say that self-taught does count as homeschool. Were they in a school when they were teaching themselves? No, they were in a less restrictive environment that allowed them to explore. Were they at home? Maybe.

    I would agree, exploring is a more scientific way to learn than reading a book and doing exactly the same experiments that are in the book with the same predictable results. Just because they don’t write up their experiments, doesn’t mean they are not using the scientific method! They are using the results of the experiments to move on to the next experiment to find the solutions they need.

    Many colleges seek out homeschoolers. They recognize that many homeschoolers are taught how to think, rather than what to think. They are more independent thinkers. This leads to innovation!

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    ah, Bill Nye. Some years ago, he was the guest speaker at a BEST Robotics National Competition. Most of the students and many of the adults were thrilled to see and possibly meet Bill Nye. (I personally have never watched him and had no opinion of him before this.) I observed a student approach Bill Nye on the concourse of the arena, just to meet him. Bill Nye would not even give him the time of day. He was very rude.

    That evening he gave a talk and then the floor was opened for the students (high school and middle school) to ask questions. Some very thoughtful questions were asked and often the answers were similar to the one you talked about in your post. Didn’t answer the question or was very rude and flippant. That was the only guest speaker my team walked out on; we couldn’t stand to listen to him any longer.

    I will also say, that many homeschool teams were at this national robotics competition. They did not have any problems working together to solve a problem and be creative.

    My opinion of Billy Nye was formed at that robotics competition.

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    I’m a Christian homeschooler that bridges the gap (or at least tries to) between the circular secular and religious-based materials. I do so by creating my own curriculums that include the recommended subjects as stated by the state of Illinois. I am offended by Mr. Nye’s comment because it’s extremely short sighted and narrow minded. Him, and many others that comment against homeschool don’t really know what it’s about. And to suggest that homeschoolers don’t know how to work in groups is unfair. I was not homeschooled. But, I’m am introvert and I don’t do well in groups. Never have. I have to force myself to be around others….I don’t care for socializing….but I do it for my babies. I think Mr. Nye and many others need to take a real “scientific” logical look at home based education before making comments like that.

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    Leslie S Kelly says

    I have 5 children, ages 30, 28, 22, 17, 13. I have been homeschooling for 24 years, and it has been a grand adventure. What a privilege to be able to have them around all day, and to be able to travel, learn and grow together. I did not read all of the comments, but those I did read were looking for a science curriculum that was not religious. I have found one that we love called “Supercharged Science” and it is fantastic. There is so much there that you could not possibly exhaust your resources in 12 years of homeschooling. Aurora Lipper is a real live rocket scientist, and loves teaching kids. It is expensive, but it is wonderful. We love it. And if you cannot afford it, sign up for the wonderful free videos she sends out all the time. Those alone are worth a visit to the website. Hope this helps.

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