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  1. #11

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    BYL does use elemental science for the upper grades, so you still need to find another science if using her upper grades. I used time4learning with my son for 2 years and I used their science only in 6th grade and didn't find anything that was religious, they had a whole section on evolution. We stopped using it for other reasons, but it definitely was secular.
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

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  3. #12

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    There are people who have a much greater tolerance for and/or willingness to edit religious materials out than I do. I have thus far also avoided making purchases of secular materials from religious-skewed publishers and retailers. My son is in 7th grade, and so far it has not been a problem for me. That said, I use a lot of materials that are not pitched specifically to people who home school and are used in public, secular schools.

    Much of what you do will depend on why you are thinking about home school in the first place. I am doing it mainly to avoid the environment of public school as opposed to being philosophically opposed to the curriculum or teaching methods. Being able to customize curriculum specifically for my son's aptitudes and interests had become more important to me, but at the beginning it really was not much of an issue because at the time we were not having issues with it. (My son is autistic and the relevance of that to the curriculum has increased grade by grade.) Given the direction my school district has gone, I think I am probably significantly more secular than they are at this point, as another side bonus.

  4. #13

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    There are many resources out there that claim to be secular, many, many more than there were even five years ago, but I think the disconnect may be that there is no set in stone definition for what makes a curriculum "secular" so what may be secular to one person, may not be secular to someone else.

    For some people to consider a curriculum secular, all they require is that steers clear of religion completely, others only consider a curriculum secular if it includes evolution and other origin theories, still others will only consider a program secular if it vehemently presents evolution as hard fact and chastises the very idea of any other origin theory the way many Christian curricula treat evolution. There is so much room for interpretation for what makes a program "secular" that it would really be impossible to create an ultimate list of entirely secular curriculum. Just as there are many flavors of Christian out there and what would be an acceptable representation of Christianity in their chosen curricula will vary, there are also many different flavors of secular homeschoolers and their needs in a secular curriculum will vary.

    Even with the wider variety of secular curricula out there now, there are still programs and resources for which there are not counterparts that fit even the strictest definition of secular. Story of the World, for example, is not considered to be secular by many people, especially the first volume that includes a lot of bible stories as fact. Yet, it is fairly easy to make it secular by picking and choosing which chapters to use and supplementing with books and conversations about your families beliefs. But I could definitely see how a new homeschool parent could be put off by the fact that they cannot use SOTW as is if they want to use only secular materials. Sure there are other history read alouds out there but SOTW is so ubiquitous and touted by many homeschoolers, secular and religious alike, to be THE way to teach history to elementary children, if SOTW doesn't fit your idea of what is secular, it can seem like there are not many options out there.

    Calvert, Oak Meadow, K12, Moving Beyond the Page, RR secular packages and others like them come across as very "school at home" but if that is not the style you are going for, you will probably have to adapt a religious curriculum to your needs at some point or at the very least make a neutral curriculum fit your particular beliefs. If you like the idea of Charlotte Mason education, you will likely have to adapt and edit curricula. If you want to provide a classical education, you will have to adapt curricula. There are tons of literature based curricula out there but chances are, you will have to adapt some of them at some point or at the very least white out the bible verse at the bottom of every page of the instructor's manual, lol!

    Just because a curriculum has a religious bent doesn't make it unusable if you want to have a secular homeschool. Sometimes it is ten times easier to edit out religious content in a curriculum designed for homeschoolers than it is to adapt a curriculum meant for a classroom full of kids to use with just one student. The Writing Road To Read is 100% secular in that it is not in any way religious. But it is written with a classroom teacher in mind, not a homeschool parent teaching just one child. You can definitely adapt and use it to homeschool but there are WRTR based programs out there just for homeschoolers. Why re-invent the wheel? The catch is, however, that you will have to buy new levels each year or wade through activities that might not be right for your child in All About Spelling, or deal with an author's interpretation of rules and phonograms that you might not agree with in Logic of English. Spell To Write and Read is a pretty pure Spalding program with very little interpretation by the author that you only have to buy once for all of your children and doesn't require you to do activities that don't work for you or your child, but you are going to have to edit out religious content. It's not hard to do, but if that bothers you then again it will seem as if there is no program out there that doesn't have to be edited in some way to make it work for you.

    It seems like secular homeschoolers have to tweak everything to meet their needs and there is no true open and go resources for them but even religious homeschoolers have to tweak religious curricula to fit their particular flavor of beliefs. Classroom teachers have to tweak curricula to fit their particular students or their school's requirements. Unless you have a custom curriculum written by you or for you, it is impossible for any curriculum to fit every homeschooler. Rejecting every curriculum that does not 100% fit your beliefs or needs as a homeschooler would be akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water.

  5. #14

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    Eric,

    There is no clearinghouse program that will verify secular curriculum for you. The SEA Homeschoolers are trying to do that, but there list is incomplete.

    The best way to do that is to ask the right questions, particularly about science and history, which are the ones that are mostly manipulated.

    There are secular curricula out there. You just have to be careful of the neutral curriculum, that eliminates the problem issues, such as evolution.
    Choosing Our Own Adventure with DS 9
    Global Village School - Supporting our desire to teach social justice and global awareness
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

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