• The Elephant In The Room

    It would be fine to start out my first article for SecularHomeschool.com with a nondescript article about homeschooling styles, curriculum choices, or choices for homeschooling high school, but that would feel like a cop-out. The fact is that this site is called SecularHomeschool.com because it differentiates it from other homeschool sites on the web. I don't know the exact percentage of homeschoolers who consider themselves faith-based, but I'm guessing it is in the high double digits. And resources and websites for non-faith-based homeschoolers on the web are scarce, to say the least. So I'm coming right out with the issue at hand - - this is a site for SECULAR homeschoolers.

    What does that mean? Wow. That is a loaded question. It probably depends on who you ask. Here are some explanations I have come across over the past couple years. According to different opinions, a secular homeschooler is:

    • all homeschoolers except evangelical Christians
    • athiests who homeschool
    • Pagans who homeschool
    • someone who uses secular curriculum
    • a homeschooler who believes in evolution
    • an anti-religious homeschooler

    I'm going to step out on a limb and say that there are probably a little of each of those within the secular homeschool community, but that they still don't give us a complete definition of what a secular homeschooler is. So how about I provide my own? You can take it, or leave it, of course, but here it is:

    A secular homeschooler is a person who, whether or not they ascribe to any particular religious faith, is not homeschooling for religious reasons, but because it is the best choice for themselves and their child(ren).

    Now within that definition, there are room for all KINDS of sub-groups. Athiests, Pagans, Unschoolers, Jews, Agnostics, Deists, Buddhists, and of course unschoolers, eclectic schoolers, Sonlight aficianados, lapbookers, creationists, evolutionists, attachment parenting advocates, vegetarians, special needs, and maybe even a few evangelical Christians!!

    The unfortunate thing about the name "Secular Homeschoolers" is that it can tend to be defined more by what it isn't than by what it is. That is why I appreciate the above definition...it says that we are simply a group of people who understand that educating our children at home is the best option for our families, and that everything else is just beside the point. By that definition, a lot of people can find room at this table.

    And, it also leaves wide lots of room for discussion on the finer points. Oh, this is going to be FUN!!!
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