There are as many reasons and ways to homeschool as there are homeschooled kids. Traditionally these reasons have often been for religious education purposes, but the tide is changing.
Today a family is just as likely to homeschool for non-religious reasons! It’s been a neat change to watch over the last decade and a half. Some people may believe that secular homeschooling means teaching atheism, or teaching children to hate religion, but that is absolutely not true! I’d like to invite you into our home for a spell to see…
What It Means to Be a Secular Homeschooler!
A quick word about labels: I’m not into defining what someone else’s homeschool should look like, I’m really not. I am an expert in defining ours (eclectic, secular, quirky, relaxed, child-led, unradical unschooling, whole child…) but I cannot define your homeschool therefore our definitions may differ.
To my family secular homeschooling means we teach religious instruction from a bystander’s point of view. Teaching world religions is a very big part of our plan, our children become better world citizens when they are able to understand other people’s beliefs. We don’t teach them that one religion is better than another or that only one religion is true.
Read more posts from secular homeschoolers by clicking here!
As a secular homeschooling family we actively seek out curriculum choices that do not promote religion. They can be a little tricky to find though, and much of it is very expensive because secular curriculum companies tend to be smaller and printing is EXPENSIVE! While the secular market is growing quickly, most of us find that we have to cobble together our own curriculum. In our case most of what we use is online! We make heavy use of Netflix, The Great Courses, CTC Math, YouTube, as well as actual online curriculum suppliers. One of our favorite tools is the Kindle Fire (a full tablet starting at only $39!!), with our Amazon Prime account (get a FREE 30 day trial here) we can stream educational movies, listen to music (included with Prime or get a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon Music here), play educational apps, and read so many books for free (get a FREE 30 day trial of Kindle Unlimited here)! We can even borrow library books with our Kindle Fires!
You can see a long list of secular homeschool curriculum options at SecularHomeschool!
To us homeschooling is a cooperative venture, meaning we like to meet friends and share resources. We greatly prefer to join secular or inclusive support groups, both local and national. This one can get a little tricky and is largely dependent on where you live. When we couldn’t find the support we needed, we created it!
Being a secular homeschooler means that we skip the local homeschool conventions, or walk in with a big dose of patience. The convention we used to attend in Florida was HUGE but the word “inclusive” wasn’t more than a catchphrase they used on their advertising. In reality this “inclusive” convention was anything but, however, there were some secular and unaffiliated vendors to visit and it is really neat being in the same room with thousands of homeschoolers. The patience is key though, because there are A LOT of things sold and advocated at the convention that we found hard to stomach…so go in with patience or skip it 😉
And the biggie….being secular homeschoolers means we teach science that supports evolution. To us evolution isn’t a theory or belief; it’s fact, it’s science. That is a non-negotiable for us and if something teaches evolution as anything other than fact, it’s not a resource/group/lecture/convention for us. (That doesn’t mean all of our friends feel the same, they don’t, I’m speaking just from a finding resources and “this is what secular homeschooling is for us!” perspective.)
That’s it. Secular homeschooling doesn’t mean that we teach atheism, that we neglect religious studies, or that we’re any different from anyone else. We still want healthy, happy, well-adjusted, and properly social children who know how to learn and value education as a lifelong pursuit.
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.