• Secular Homeschooling

    by Published on 05-25-2015 08:42 AM
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    (Note: to participate in the discussion thread for this topic, click here.)

    We’ve had plenty of discussions here at SHS about teaching religion - - and a few of them have gotten quite er...intense. (come on...you know you had fun, though!) But I’m going to come at it from a slightly different angle in this featured From Soup to Nuts post this week. I’d like to talk about teaching religion to our kids in the context of STORYTELLING.

    Truth is, the history of religion is a history of stories. Not just the teachings of the religions themselves - - which truly are rife with fables, parables, allegories, and myths - - but even the very timeline of events tied to religion over the course of human existence includes narratives that are more than just a little interesting to study in detail. And is there any more engaging way to get kids excited about learning than storytelling?!

    This whole topic came front and center for me a couple weeks ago when I was listening to a video interview with Laura Gibbs about Teaching Humanities Online. Laura, who teaches online courses at University of Oklahoma, and has a unique non-lecture approach. Her approach is to have students create semester-long storytelling projects called “Storybooks” along with their reading assignments. And as if this weren’t cool enough, the reading content that students use in Laura’s courses that she calls “UN-TEXTBOOKS” is completely Open Source, free, and available to anyone. Yes, I said, ANYONE.

    So, let me introduce you to my favorite new resource for teaching religion via storytelling, care of Laura Gibbs…”The Myth-Folklore Un-Textbook.”

    Now, I could go on and on telling you how amazing I think this resource that Laura has created is, but let me share a little bit of what one of Laura’s former students, Beth Hobson, had to say about it…

    "I was driven to take Laura's Mythology and Folklore class because I have always thought that mythology and folklore was an interesting topic. I guess you could say that I naturally gravitated towards learning stories about other cultures and the stories that existed in them.Laura's class styling is unique and in a very good way. It was creative, more in depth, allowed me to use my creative skills as a student/artist, it fit into
    ...
    by Published on 05-18-2015 10:54 AM
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    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. General Homeschooling,
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    NOTE FROM THE ADMINS: Karen will be hanging out with us at SecularHomeschool.com all this week to talk about homeschooling with a chronic illness. You can ask her any questions or comment on her story here in the original forum post!

    When we started homeschooling, I didn't think much about being a leader… The president's a leader. Heads of big corporations are leaders. At the time, I mostly thought about saving my then seven-year-old from the child-eating machine that he was caught in.

    I'm sure that many of you have similar stories: he was diagnosed with migraine at age 6, lost 20% of his body weight in first grade, screamed like he was being murdered in his bed with night terrors most nights of the week. My little Max, formerly a happy, confident, friendly guy, reacted with these symptoms to the stress of too much academic pressure at too young an age. Meanwhile, his teachers were advising a psychological evaluation and hinting at medicine to help control his "distracted" behavior.

    Have you ever heard of the 4C's of leadership? They are:

    • calm
    • courageous
    • confident
    • consistent


    At the time I didn't know it, but the process of learning about homeschooling, bringing my husband Ben on board, figuring out how we were going to do it, and actually getting our Max out of school took a huge dose of ...
    by Published on 05-18-2015 02:06 AM
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    2. Secular Homeschooling

    by Published on 04-29-2015 11:26 AM
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    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. General Homeschooling,
    4. Parenting
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    Would you believe we've NEVER done a blog hop at SecularHomeschool.com? I'm not sure why, because it truly sounds like fun. So let's give it a shot, eh??

    We're all about the positive around here, so let's make this first ever blog hop a brag-board of what's gone RIGHT this homeschool year. You may have had 160 bad days this year, but we know there were at least a few that reminded you why you got into this adventure in the first place. Those are the ones to tell us about on your blog.

    • What did your kiddo(s) accomplish that surprised you?'
    • What change to your routine or schedule fixed some underlying aggravations?
    • What did your outside family members notice and take time to compliment you on?
    ...
    by Published on 04-27-2015 02:26 PM
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    Wouldn’t it be lovely if every single town had a secular homeschooling support group, or at least one so inclusive that the issue of religion really wasn’t even an issue? ((Pause for deep and longing sighs)) I know. For years our local area had one large homeschool support group which required a statement of faith to join. Having been a fundamentalist Christian up through my mid-20’s I actually did the funniest thing. I’ve always had a difficult time bold-face lying about anything, so when it came time to sign the statement of faith, I would post-date it. In other words, I made sure that the date next to my signature was something like 05/04/93 (a year when I knew I still believed in each of the tenants listed there). Funnier still was that no one ever even noticed, as far as I know!

    Maybe that’s a little extreme, and definitely wouldn’t work for everyone, but I was determined that my kids were going to experience some “socialization” and if that meant joining a faith-based homeschooling support group, then I was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. And sacrifice we did.

    Our experience with that support group lasted about four years - - four of the most discouraging years of our entire homeschooling experience. Eventually the stress of trying to fit our family into the square peg of a group that was extremely faith-focused and politically charged became too much for us and we left to become “free-agents.” As you might expect, our socialization shrank sharply, but I felt it was the trade-off for not being tied to a peer group with so much judgment and so few positive experiences.

    Looking back six or seven years later, I still feel like we made the right choice - - at least for us. However, for many secular homeschoolers, that isn’t a trade-off they are willing to make. They feel strongly that their homeschooled children need a peer group - - even if it is a peer group of families homeschooling for religious reasons. So, for these parents, I’ve thought long and hard about what I might have done to improve our experience had we not thrown in the towel. The following suggestions are based on that hindsight, and I hope they will at least give you some starting points for exploration if you are in a similar situation.

    1) Be true to yourself
    Growing up as a true southern gal, I can tell you that nothing comes easier than acquiescing for the sake of politeness. I’m pretty sure it’s written in my DNA. But nothing put me in more awkward situations in our support group than when people assumed things about me or my kids that they shouldn’t have...simply because I didn’t have the wherewithal to answer questions directly and truthfully. I think if I could have found the delicate balance between honestly answering questions ...
    Published on 03-08-2015 12:08 AM
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    We're excited to share this great blog post reprint from SHS member Queenbee. Thank you, Queenbee, for allowing us to share this at SHS!

    Queenbee, mom to four daughters ages 10 to 14, is currently in her tenth year of homeschooling. In addition to wrangling and educating the children, she enjoys writing, painting, reading good books, spending time with friends, and lounging in the sun (it may never happen, but she enjoys it!). Please enjoy her blog post reprint here on SHS and if you want to check out her blog, you can visit it here: Lost Persons Homeschool.


    March is Women's History Month



    Yes, March is the month of St. Patrick's Day and all things Irish-American, the first day of spring, and National Nutrition Month... but it's also Women's History Month! If you're like me, you probably already try to incorporate women's history into history. But because of the long-standing disservice done to women (and especially women of color) ...
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