What It Means to Be a Secular Homeschooler


What it means to be a secular homeschooler, secular homeschooling

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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.

What it means to be a secular homeschooler, secular homeschooling

Homeschooling gives us flexibility!

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!

What it means to be a secular homeschooler, secular homeschooling

STEM education is a big part of our secular homeschooling

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.

What it means to be a secular homeschooler, secular homeschooling

Homeschooling allows my kids to follow their interests!

What it means to be a secular homeschooler, secular homeschooling

 


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8 thoughts on “What It Means to Be a Secular Homeschooler

  • Amanda - Raising da Vinci

    “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.”

    I couldn’t agree more. This is exactly how we feel. Also, I love that you mentioned that as secular homeschoolers we all kinda make our own curriculum. So true! 🙂

    • Eilene

      Well said…religious outlooks as well as cultural traditions can be so interesting, even exciting. We have taken part in many because we are not anti-religious, we are just not closed minded snobs. Families that teach their children segregation (which I’ve seen over and over again) are not only NOT practicing their religion, there are also teaching judgement (something they pride themselves on not doing…a little hypocrisy there) and division. Teaching children tolerance of others is another form of division…one that imparts a sense of superiority. Finally, if I need to fear my Creator in order to behave, maybe intrinsically I’m not such a nice person after all. Frankly, I’m the one having to tolerate such insane, closed minded thinking. I think karma is the great, silent neutralizer…as when some “other” religion gets my Jewish blood in a transfusion lol. A truly religious person loves everyone, but that’s not something I’ve witnessed. Closing a child off to science is a huge disservice. On the same token, learning about religions and cultural differences has worth as well.

  • Alice

    I love this post! My oldest is 4, but we consider ourselves secular unschoolers. We teach all the world religions and belief systems, including nonreligious belief systems like humanism and atheism because I want my kids to know that lack of religious belief does not equal lack of moral/ethical code. I’m having so much fun with it. This year, we’re celebrating Hanukah with friends, winter solstice, and participating in a Mexican posada. We’re big science geeks, and we’re taking my oldest to the Omni theater to see a show about space as well. This is how we celebrate the holiday season. 🙂

    We have joined a secular homeschool group in our city, which I’m very grateful for. One of my biggest worries as a homeschooling mom is that my kids will be left out of homeschool events if religious friends learn that we do not practice a religion. My kids are free to choose whatever religion they want, of course, or no religion at all, and we attend a Universal Unitarian congregation that teaches moral lessons from many belief systems, but for many people this is not enough.

  • Holly

    I’m curious as to why you don’t teach about atheism? I was nodding my head the whole way, especially about the convention here in Florida! and then I got to that part about not covering atheism and was confused. I guess I would assume it would be a part of religious studies.

    • Meg Post author

      I appreciate this comment! As an atheist I don’t see the need to teach atheism because it’s literally no belief system at all, whereas religious belief (of any sort) is the on button, atheism is the off button. That said, your comment got me thinking that I should update this a bit 🙂 Thanks!