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quabbin

We're registering as "religious"?!?

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by , 03-05-2013 at 05:04 PM (693 Views)
I consider myself a secular homeschooler, in that religion is not our reason for homeschooling.
However, our state requires us to register as either a secular or religious homeschool--and gives no guidance whatsoever about its intended meaning in those terms.
My husband and I have interpreted that to mean that if we ever want to include any religious topics or materials that would not fly at the public school down the street, that means we are not a secular homeschool. And since I plan to include some religious stuff with ancient history in first grade (after we start with the Big Bang, evolution, and prehistory)... I guess I can't declare our homeschool secular and tell the story of Moses a month later.
So legally, we are going to be a religious homeschool, I guess.
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  1. SnowyRow's Avatar
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    That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Will you be teaching only about the Christian religion? I guess I could see it then. But in general, I see no reason why "teaching about religions" = a religious homeschool. I'd do more research on this "checkbox" they made you pick. What EXACTLY were they looking for here?

    I would imagine that (in higher-level education, at least) plenty of schools/universities that have no religious affiliation teach plenty of religions courses. That doesn't mean that they're religious schools. Even the "religion associated" schools that I went to didn't consider themselves "religious", despite their religions courses.

    I intend to teach religions as part of our homeschooling curriculum. I don't intend to label ourselves "religious" because of it. That's just ridiculous.
  2. SnowyRow's Avatar
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    I don't mean to sound as though people homeschooling for religious reasons are only Christian there. I should have said: "Will you be teaching your students from the point of view of a single religious world-view?" Rather than "teaching only about the Christian religion". That statement more correctly indicates my meaning when I see "religious homeschool" vs. "teaching religion".
  3. MrsJadeDragon's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound like you're a religious homeschool. In the Moses example, are you planning on using the story of Moses as part of a religious curriculum or are you looking at telling the story of Moses for academic purposes.
  4. mseward's Avatar
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    I am confused: Why is the state even asking this question? This seems suspect to me, even in a state that wants to know your curriculum. If you decide to teach "religious" topics or not, they shouldn't be able to ask if you are homeschooling from a secular or religious perspective.
    crunchynerd and mntnmom like this.
  5. Shelli Pabis's Avatar
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    I would join some local homeschooling e-mail lists & ask what others are doing about that. That seems very strange to me too that the state would be asking that question. And make sure it's the law that you have to declare whether you are religious or secular. Sometimes those forms throw in other information that might not actually be required. In my state when that happens, the homeschoolers usually pounce on it and try to get it removed from the form.
    crunchynerd and mntnmom like this.
  6. crunchynerd's Avatar
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    Ick, do they even really have the right to demand a statement from you on your religious status? I would love to know whether that violates something on the Federal level.
    Something tells me that you shouldn't be required to answer questions about your religion or lack thereof.

    I'm no lawyer, and I have no love of frivolous lawsuits, but something about this seems really wrong. It's the same category of question, as what "color" you are, or whether you're gay or straight. I'd love to eat popcorn and watch, if someone did take this up with a legal expert, and it did turn out that the State was in violation of applicable federal law in this case.
  7. RachelC's Avatar
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    Couldn't any religious material just be considered part of your home life and not part of 'homeschooling'? Just thinking, if you didn't want to register as a religious homeschool. I think it all sounds weird and suspect as well- like, what do they want this info for? What are they going to do with it? Is it going to come back to bite you in the butt? I would worry that registering as a religious homeschool might result in closer scrutiny later.
  8. quabbin's Avatar
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    The state keeps a record of what percentage register as religious vs. secular, and yes, it's required in the statute (Article 39, you have to pick Part 1 or Part 2) although they don't inspect our curriculum or make us show a portfolio like some states do.
    I will teach *about* world religions but I can't say in good faith that my instruction will be balanced--my husband is Catholic and I'm Unitarian Universalist. We're not likely to spend a whole lot of time on, say, Hinduism, while I plan to use Superheroes: Bible People in first grade. My character education/service learning component is beyond what non-religious schools ever make time for. And I do plan to do this during our school time on weekdays. So while it won't look like most religious homeschoolers' stuff, I think that what I do will constitute religious homeschooling (meaning it wouldn't pass a court's test to qualify as secular) even as I choose secular materials for science, math, art, and most other subjects.
    In NC, if anything, DH and I suspect that registering as religious will be easier politically. This is a republican-run Bible Belt state, and "religious" is assumed to be "Christian" which equates to "nobody dares to mess with it."
    Updated 03-06-2013 at 03:25 PM by quabbin