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karen loe
02-01-2016, 02:55 AM
Welcome to this week’s Soup to Nuts subject:
Atheist Homeschooling, Being a Minority Within a Minority

3972


I’m Karen, homeschool mom to two kids: Elizabeth is 18 and John is 15. Yes, I’m in the final stretch. My daughter is already attending the local community college and my son will join her this time next year. I have a blog called My Own Mind (http://taytayhser.blogspot.com) where I focus mainly on parenting as an atheist, as a first-generation atheist, and homeschooling as an atheist. Of course being an atheist homeschooler is a major part of my journey; our homeschool lifestyle is a huge part of my blog.
If you’d like to check it out: taytayhser.blogspot.com (http://taytayhser.blogspot.com)



I Wish More Homeschoolers were Secular: A Minority Within a Minority

I've been reading around the blogosphere just this afternoon (HEY, I've been cleaning and THAT gets boring!) and I found myself reading some blogs that aren't exactly secular...if you know what I mean. Blogs that show other families how to avoid science and evolution entirely, blogs that misrepresent history, blogs that encourage prayer as a part of each day, blogs that suggest Bible Study for long periods of time each day.
While I, on the other hand, seek to be an openly atheist homeschooler on my blog and I try to hard to remind readers and homeschool critics that homeschoolers are not all Christian and are not all teaching non-science.

But...I'm feeling very discouraged right now.

It's true. Isn't it? Most homeschoolers are fundamental Christian and tend to skew science and history. It makes me sad and discouraged and annoyed and upset about all of those kids out there who are not getting genuine science or genuine history.



3971

DARN.
All of those people out there who are disparaging homeschool for the way people can hide in it and avoid learning real knowledge instead of of teaching other than a small world view are right. I find it terribly upsetting that parents who want to do the best for their children are convinced that raising their kids in the church the best that they can offer. The propaganda of the church is probably the best in the world, ever.

People actually ignore, discount, or treat as mysterious the truly corrupt, unsavory, destructive parts of religion and the holy books in order to live in the saccharine, cloying falseness of the facade of religion. I honestly can't understand a preference like that.

Now take that disservice of parenting in a religious framework and up the ante by about 100 when a family homeschools. There is no doubt about it that most of us know a family or two who do fit the unsavory stereotype that the general public associate with homeschooling. And there is no doubt that the Christian families far outnumber us and that makes it hard to navigate the waters. How open should we be as atheist homeschoolers? How will that openness affect our relationships in the homeschool community?

Homeschooling is gaining in popularity quite rapidly. I’ve been homeschooling for over twelve years and the communities out there have grown so much that it’s almost unrecognizable from when our family first entered homeschooling. But even with this massive growth, secular homeschoolers still find themselves crawling into crevices for information. Not to mention curriculum. Homeschoolers are still in the minority and atheist homeschoolers are a smaller minority within that minority.

I’m DELIGHTED to represent the atheist homeschoolers among us.
Let’s chat!


Do you have thoughts on the matter?What are you struggling with?How are you addressing being a minority among a minority?

muddylilly
02-01-2016, 12:45 PM
Hi Karen! It's really nice to meet you :) I've browsed through your blog and watched a good portion of your youtube discussion with Dale McGowan (one of my favorites!).....I enjoyed it all.

We are an atheist homeschool family as well, that has been at it for about 10 years. I live in a rather rural, and xtian, area, so this (SHS) has been been my only oasis to discuss hsing with out creationism. And if I have something to whine or worry about that is (or isn't) related to hsing, I can come here and not have to be told, "I will pray for you!"

Over the years we have gone through, what I am witnessing here as a pretty common course for those like me. Early on, you are desperate for others IRL to bounce ideas (hsing) off of.....so you play along and let others assume, because they always do, that your are a bible thumper like them. Even our local public school/co-op hybrid had a VERY xtian culture to it....that's why I left.

Eventually, you get tired of the BS, become more confident in your hsing choice, and ability, and come out gradually. You go through the difficult transition of letting go and accept that you are a minority and run with it. Music lessons, Parks and Rec. art classes, library programs and tons of other things and then what is unique is your homeschooling, not your lack of religion. Luckily, hsing is becoming more common these days.

Now, a ways into this journey, the dynamic changes again.....the kids are more interested in finding friends that are interested in the same things.....which ironically, turns out to be with older, public school kids they meet at non-homeschooling activities. In fact, I don't remember the last hsing function we were at. Public schooled kids, I've found, tend to be more secular in our area. I've said before in another thread......public schooled families/kids tend to care less that you are homeschooled; homeschooled families/kids tend to care more that you are atheist.

I think it's an evolution. When you're starting out, you want it to make sense.....when your perspective gets a bit of distance, ahhhh clarity.

hippiebutterfly
02-01-2016, 01:01 PM
I agree with you 100%. It does frustrate me. When we left religion, although we were not homeschooling for religious reasons, we had a very hard time finding not only other secular homeschool families, but curriculum! Seems most of the curriculum out there is bible-based. We had used a bible-based curriculum for a couple years because it was recommended as one of the best on the market - LIE. It was filled with such lies, bigotry, and misogyny. I couldn't stomach it. Yet when I went to try and find 100% secular, I really struggled. We did find some through Homeschool Supercenter and are happy with it. They have choices for both secular and christian.

I belonged to a homeschool group that was part of the aforementioned church. One of the moms was new to homeschooling and she told us she couldn't believe how much she was learning along with her kids. We asked her to give examples and she told us that she'd never learned the the earth revolves around the sun. She'd always been taught, growing up, that according to the bible, the sun revolved around the earth. I could not believe what I was hearing. I was appalled.

I've had a very hard time coming out as free-thinking homeschoolers - atheists. There is such a stigma around here. When people ask me if we are homeschooling for religious reasons, I say no, for educational. But to take it further that we are atheists is like holding a loaded gun. We can't get comfortable with it. We have a small group of secular friends - SMALL - and we are fine with that. It leads to meeting other people and other secular activities.

P.S. I've been reading your blog for a while now. Good stuff!

alexsmom
02-01-2016, 01:27 PM
Secular homeschoolers! I just wish there were more secular Americans!

And like ML said, it does seem that new homeschoolers feel there is this imperative to congregate in groups with other homeschoolers or else their kids will be social misfits.... and good luck finding one that is secular friendly. (Im believing *inclusive* means "we will let you in as long as you put up with our christian-assholier-than-thou stuff".)

Sometimes I wonder if Im really as anti-religion as I am anti-christian-fundamentalists. And how can I teach my kids to be tolerant of different peoples beliefs when railing against the latest xtian antics we have come across? "Religion is a way to provide comfort to ourselves, and to help us live better lives... unless youre an american christian, in which case it makes you into a bigoted, judgmental jerk who thinks you should believe things literally in their holy book even if all evidence indicates that its wrong." Just doesnt make sense.

skrink
02-01-2016, 05:42 PM
I think there are a lot of us (secular folks, not just homeschoolers) out here, but so many are closeted. The shunning is real, the loss of opportunities is real. Dh sees it at work where he HAS to be closeted or he would likely lose his job. For me & dd it's a big part of the hs community. There is a very active co-op near me but it requires a statement of faith. To go roller skating, or take drawing classes, or visit the state capitol, or tour local businesses, 'cause you know, god is apparently into skating & drawing & all. :( I don't get why it has to be an issue. I know families who swallow their identities in order to participate. I tried, briefly, and I just can't. It's really not worth it to me, and I won't ask dd to lie about her beliefs (or lack thereof) in order to make "friends" with people she can never be herself around. What would be the point?

skrink
02-01-2016, 05:46 PM
Just re-reading the original post, and as to the non-science? It's EVERYWHERE - I understand how homeschoolers got tagged with that label, but wow, it's certainly not limited to the hs population. Look at what so many public schools are teaching (or not). Anti-intellectualism is rampant in this country. It's very hard not to get discouraged.

karen loe
02-01-2016, 09:48 PM
Muddylilly, it's so nice to hear that you are familiar with my blog. I confess, it's always nice hearing that my writing is getting to people who appreciate it. :o And Dale McGowan...I'm a huge fan too. My cohosts and I were totally fangirling with him before the show. LOL

It sounds that you and I have had a very similar journey into this homeschool lifestyle in that we have gotten very comfortable with our own identities and our kids have joined us in that. One of the best things that I know of is the utter bliss of being open and living in the reality of life!

Karen

karen loe
02-01-2016, 09:50 PM
Homeschooling Mamarama, THANKS!
Since you and I have both experience the complete absence of secular science and history curriculum, we have had to create our own materials or use atypical materials. Would you mind talking a bit about what you use? :)

farrarwilliams
02-01-2016, 09:59 PM
Can I say that I feel a little funny about using the terms secular and atheist so interchangeably in this post? I didn't disagree with anything... I just think they have clearly different meanings. Not all secular homeschoolers are atheists by a long shot. Which is fine, I just wasn't sure if "secular" homeschooling was being addressed here or "atheist" homeschooling. I rather think they're overlapping, but different concerns.

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:00 PM
Alexsmom, Oh YES, I do understand! That is why I posted what I did here. I try so hard to be "above it all" or to maintain my own peace of mind but sometimes even I get angry and frustrated with the absolute incongruity of Christianity and hatemongering that can be experienced in some cases.

Do you hear any anti-Christian-Speak in your kids?
I heard it several years ago and I was mortified because, clearly those words or that frame came from my husband and I. :p Once we started hearing it from the kids we talked with them about it and set out, ourselves, to be far more clear about our thoughts and far more deliberate about what we said about Christianity, religion, belief, and believers. It took awhile, but it really helped in terms of what came out of their mouths.
Now I see them struggling to be clear about their own thoughts without resorting to simple insults or name calling. And that's GOOD because, although most of our friends are, admittedly, atheists and freethinkers, some beloved people in our lives are still believers and we have learned, at last, how to feel proud of our interactions and to make them intentional and kind.

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:06 PM
Yes, I get that. We have, at times, revisited the idea of being out and open with our atheism.
The kids have both had experiences with believers that have been hurtful to them...

In the end, after we lay low for awhile due to the needs or requests of the kids, they always say that they prefer being honest and open. My daughter has even pretended, at times, to be a Christian in order to maintain relationships... Whew, that was painful to watch as she struggled to hard to figure out all of the facets of that deceptions. In the end, she decided that who she is is far more important to be faithful to than any rules required by an external institution. Yep, she's an amazing kid! <3

With a 14 year old, Skrink, I'm sure you have had some wonderful conversations about this issue...care to share some of them????? :)

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:12 PM
farrarwilliams, no, you are correct. I often do interchange the words in some contexts, even with a clear understanding of their different meanings. But that is because most of what I have said is applicable to both atheist homeschoolers and secular homeschoolers: the frustration that it is a fact that most homeschoolers are Christian and are truly giving the lifestyle of homeschooling a bad name. We all carry a bit of a bad reputation in the world because of the fundamental Christian homeschoolers.

The existence of high-profile families like the Duggars really effects the public's understanding of what homeschooling is like.

However, if you prefer to use one word over another, I understand that word choices are very personal and meaningful and I absolutely respect that.

Mariam
02-01-2016, 10:14 PM
I agree with muddylily. I have really gotten over the needed to connect with homeschoolers. We have one homeschooling family that our kids meet up and our families get together occasionally and another we see occasionally, but in general I am not necessarily finding more compatible people in the secular community either. I consider myself pretty tolerant, as long as religion is not the focus of discussions.

We are in our third year homeschooling and there are lots of divisions, based on homeschooling / parenting philosophy, kids and family personality and finding school-aged kids. Non-secular homeschooling is not only non-belief in science, there are discussions on letting girls have more than a jr. high or high school education and how to prepare them as wives. Or the "Training up your Child" philosophy of parenting. These are certainly discussions I don't want any part of.

So right now just want DS to find nice kids, around his age, who have one or two interests in common so they can do things together. DS sometimes says he wants to but he goes back and forth with that.

Mariam
02-01-2016, 10:18 PM
However, if you prefer to use one word over another, I understand that word choices are very personal and meaningful and I absolutely respect that.

Maybe it would be helpful if we have some clear use of terms here. I consider us to be secular homeschoolers, but we do not identify as atheist.

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:24 PM
Mariam, Yes!
This past year we have moved completely away from our homeschool co op. It is "secular and inclusive", so that is great. But we simply couldn't maintain connections with people there. And too bad because there are some very nice folks in that group.
Instead we have our group of friends and we have been making friends outside of the local HS community. It's been really nice.

Parenting philosophies...did these various schools of thought always exist, like during our parents' time or are publishers just capitalizing on our general parenting open stress on social media and "offering" these so-called answers to parenting approaches?????? LOL

I remember as a kid (in the 70s) there were a few authors for parents, "authorities", Dr. Spock and the like. But today I have this feeling that parents are longing for things to belong to and the various schools of parenting approaches are getting rich off of that. I'm completely free of that, but several years ago I had some friends who were doing Love and Logic and just raving about it. When I checked it out I was completely appalled!


Maybe that need to belong is why so many parents are actually buying in to those totally unpalatable practices offered by To Train Up a Child and whatnot.

In the meantime, Mariam, your son's decision to focus on his own interests and to create his own group of friends...I just know that he is going to far prefer that to even a co op group. :)

Karen

aselvarial
02-01-2016, 10:25 PM
I am what I see referred to as "recovering religious". I grew up die-hard Christian. Private schools, church 3 times a week, daily bible class in school (plus bible meetings BEFORE school), chapel in school (yes, on top of the bible classes, and bible meetings, AND church). Then there were church volunteer opportunities, youth group, children's ministry, puppet ministry, bus ministry, etc (and yes, I was involved in ALL of that for several years, simultaneously). I've had over 20,000 hours of biblical indoctrination before I turned 18.

I said all that to say this. I can't fake it. Or rather, I can. I CAN fake it beautifully. I just refuse to. I left religion and over the last 15 years have slowly become an atheist. So I won't let my son be involved in that. In the whole religion thing. My family is religious, I have friends who are religious, and that's quite enough exposure for him. I WISH there were more secular groups. I know there are. We are moving in large part to be closer to them.

It's disappointing though when you see a great new group for fieldtrips, and then they go off on "how god is great". And you just suddenly lose all interest in ever meeting them. But then I live in the Bible Belt so that's not surprising.

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:36 PM
Aselvarial, I can fake it too. But I refuse to anymore! :)
That's why I'm so happy. LOL

That's also why I'm so deliberate, as are you, about things I was willing to expose them to when they were younger. Today, everything is game! But I was very aware of all indoctrination attempts back in the day. OH YES, I was accused of protecting them and sheltering them. In my mind, I WAS protecting them, from the brainwashing directed at children.
It means that we've opted out, as have you, of really interesting opportunities too. The Christian co ops around here are tremendously organized and are able to offer wonderful classes and experiences. We miss all of that. And that's a bummer. But the price is simply too high.

Our hometown has several fairly-sized homeschool groups, only one secular group. In our secular group are people who are Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Wiccan, Hindi, others I don't know. About a third of our co op was openly and out about being atheist. Though 100% of the families were secular.
:)

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:44 PM
We've been homeschooling for over 12 years now and we continue to change and evolve; I guess we always will. :)

These days we haven't been involved with a co op for over a year. As far as curriculum goes, I haven't used a homeschool curriculum in yeeeeeeears. I prefer to use textbooks, my own self-made materials, or just books and public materials. We've gotten this far with that and I've been very happy not opening the "Reading Rainbow" catalog in years! :)

I feel that we are in our final days of homeschooling. At this time next year my son will start dual-enrollment at the local community college...this week he got his driver's permit... The things, they are a'changing. :)

karen loe
02-01-2016, 10:50 PM
Our family also lived outside of the country for eighteen months. We homeschooled in Australia for 18 months...it's far different where we lived, Brisbane, Queensland, in that the entire STATE is secular. Homeschooling is all secular there, except for small groups and pockets of Christian homeschoolers who create their own learning co ops.

So every single person that we met who homeschooled, bar none, was secular in their approach to homeschooling. :)

Has anyone else homeschooled outside of the US? What was your experience?

TFZ
02-01-2016, 11:19 PM
Hmmm I don't know, you guys, I'm kinda on the fence. I was thinking about this today and following along before posting.

It doesn't bother me that religious zealots are homeschooling to indoctrinate their children. I don't think people should be forced to teach real science If their state law doesn't require it. Don't we all want to live in a state that gives you a bucket of money and doesn't want any documentation in return? If you want to go all fundy crazy with sweaty prayer fests, go on and enjoy yourselves.

I would like religious people as individuals and a as group to be more tolerant and respectful of atheists (and the rest who get bulked in with us). Particularly not trying to convert us. But I can't say that I wish more homeschoolers were secular. Mainly because I don't care how other people are raising their children. Also because religious freedom and the right to educate our own children are probably intertwined for all of us - whether you are encouraging free-thinking or indoctrinating them with your atheist ideas, like I do.

And as far as secular curriculum - oh my. It's overwhelming going through everything that's out there. I think that may have changed recently. Not that there isn't much more Christian stuff - but that's just supply and demand. I'd venture to say that a lot of the super duper Christian stuff is more Christian than most Christians can handle. Of course, most Christians are in public school using the same texts that your kids might be using, KL. Which some people will debate are still too Christian to be called secular.

Avalon
02-02-2016, 02:27 AM
So, being Canadian, I find that most people don't bring up religion very much. We honestly don't. It's not polite. The ONLY people who have asked me about my religion in recent memory were a couple of Americans we met in Mexico. (They seemed a little taken aback when we said we were atheist.) I really feel sympathetic to all of you trying to live in divisively "christian" areas. At least the Christians here are trying to welcome you into the fold, not shut you out for not believing.

There have been a few mega-churches built in my city in the last few years, which is alarming to me, because I feel they are American-style evangelical places. Frankly, I'd rather have 50,000 Syrian refugees in town than 50,000 evangelicals.

I know there are a lot of Christian homeschoolers in my city, and they seem to be able to find each other. There is a huge spectrum of secular, wiccan, pagan, "church on Sunday people," serious true believers (Purity, creationism, etc...) Come to think of it, if we're making a continuum, do pagans belong on the left or right of secular? I guess this isn't really a straight line, because the Muslims and Buddhists don't fit on it, either.

Anyway, people in my homeschooling community are more likely to get worked up about the environment than they are about religion (did you make those snacks from scratch, or buy them in a nasty plastic package?)

karen loe
02-02-2016, 03:24 AM
So, being Canadian, I find that most people don't bring up religion very much. We honestly don't. It's not polite. The ONLY people who have asked me about my religion in recent memory were a couple of Americans we met in Mexico. (They seemed a little taken aback when we said we were atheist.) I really feel sympathetic to all of you trying to live in divisively "christian" areas. At least the Christians here are trying to welcome you into the fold, not shut you out for not believing.

I'll never forget the first time we went to meet a group of homeschoolers in Brisbane. I sat there with anxiety wondering when The Question of Religion would come up. ;)
Eventually I just blurted out "We're atheists!"

Everyone looked at me awkwardly. "We really don't talk about that here."
LOL :D:

After my initial embarrassment, it was WONDERFUL! :o

hippiebutterfly
02-02-2016, 08:56 AM
Homeschooling Mamarama, THANKS!
Since you and I have both experience the complete absence of secular science and history curriculum, we have had to create our own materials or use atypical materials. Would you mind talking a bit about what you use? :)

I'm going to assume you mean me, hippiebutterfly, since my tagline says "homeschooling mamarama" :D

The first year we got rid of the christian curriculum, I didn't know where to look, so we used a lot of online resources for homeschooling, watched documentaries, took field trips, and just recovered a bit. I paid $0 for all of it. For world history, we used Khan Academy. John Green has a really funny video series for world history and although many would argue it isn't really "schooling", we enjoyed every moment of it. We also used Khan Academy for science and math. One of my girls started US history online and we found this website: www.ushistory.org

This year, I bought complete grade level curriculum packages from Homeschool Supercenter. I found them accidentally. They have secular bundles, as well as faith-based. Their return policy was fantastic. I had an issue with the wrong English grammar book being sent and I got a human on the phone and he was very polite and helpful. In their packages they have all subjects, plus lesson plans, calendar pages for planning the week, transcript pages, grade book and attendance (if you need those) and so far the texts have been completely secular in focus. I have been really pleased.

In reply to Farrarwilliams: I agree with you that not all secular families are atheist. I think this post is specific to atheists within the secular community.

skrink
02-02-2016, 10:32 AM
Can I say that I feel a little funny about using the terms secular and atheist so interchangeably in this post? I didn't disagree with anything... I just think they have clearly different meanings. Not all secular homeschoolers are atheists by a long shot. Which is fine, I just wasn't sure if "secular" homeschooling was being addressed here or "atheist" homeschooling. I rather think they're overlapping, but different concerns.

I agree they are not interchangeable terms, but when you live in community like mine, they may as well be. A few weeks ago dh told me about a coworker's angry rant. This man wants everyone in America to be *forced* - that was his word - to be xtian. A number of folks agreed with him. I'm trying to imagine what dh said/did as he is the world's worst liar and has a terrible poker face. Anyway... Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist - it's all the same to a certain segment of the population. There's xtian, and then there's everyone else (candidates for hell dog chow) and it is jaw dropping to hear.

muddylilly
02-02-2016, 02:24 PM
Aww here we go.....I'll bite. Secular means non-religious.....without belief of supernatural beings, entities, or realms...... not engaging in religious behaviors.... not identifying as religious and.....not a member of a religious community. This is how I live, this is how my sons are taught. I am a Secular Homeschooler, I am an Atheist Homeschooler.

Atheism is a word that makes others uncomfortable.....it is the word that is misunderstood with connotations of evil, malice and anger. But it means the same thing as secular.

Merriam Webster's definition: Atheism
1
archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
2
a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity


It's just that in our heavily xtian country (USA) a large portion of our country can't utter the word Atheist without having bile in their throat, or an irrational fear of lightening striking. Note: the above #1 definition (archaic).......Secular, on the other hand, is a word that has been branded...A OKAY :) I think some like to use the word Secular as some sort of cushion.....that type of wink-wink nudge-nudge.....or secret handshake.

I will also argue (cause I like to do that) if a person homeschools with evolution taught, and the earth being older than 6,000 years old (or the opposite of whatever the fundies believe) yet teaches religious beliefs.....even though it is considered "not school time".....you are not really secular.

Now before the angry replies come....I'm not making the "You're not doing it right!" argument. REPEAT! I'm not making the "You're not doing it right!" argument. I believe....like TFZ.....folks should be able to teach whatever they want. That's what makes this country fantastic!

I'm only arguing that the two are the same, and we, as homeschoolers, don't get to decide when we are teaching/hsing and when we are not only when it benefits us. Mowing the lawn = life skills/hsing, Creating a Graphic Novel = art class, writing/hsing, Baking a cake = life skills, chemistry/hsing Church on Sunday = not hsing????? KWIM?

Mariam
02-02-2016, 02:44 PM
Sematics! I love discussing semantics! :D

But if you look at the Oxford American Dictionary "secular" is defined as
-denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis

Where as "atheism" is defined as
-disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

Though I would argue that the term atheism is now changing meaning to be not religious, not strictly believe in a deity. (According to popular usage.) And I am using this meaning. (Which does nothing to help my argument, and is a whole different argument!)

So, someone could easily have a secular curriculum and follow all of the scientific theories including Big Bang and evolution and teach it in a secular way, believing in the science but still believing in god.

Now I must dash off, but I will be back tonight. :)

firefly77
02-02-2016, 02:55 PM
Just re-reading the original post, and as to the non-science? It's EVERYWHERE - I understand how homeschoolers got tagged with that label, but wow, it's certainly not limited to the hs population. Look at what so many public schools are teaching (or not). Anti-intellectualism is rampant in this country. It's very hard not to get discouraged.

This is spot on. I taught for almost a decade in an urban high school (NOT rural, where people are assumed to be churchy). So many of my students did not believe in evolution in particular and science in general. They understood that they needed to learn about it, take tests, on it, or whatever, but they were NOT taking it to heart. They were good kids, very smart kids. So it's not limited to denim-jumpsuit-rapture-tote-wearing homeschool moms and their spawn, at least not in my experience.

muddylilly
02-02-2016, 04:43 PM
So Mariam.......are you arguing that one is a substantive definition, while the other one is functional??? If so, you're right. And boy, does that muddy the waters for us homeschool parents :)

But what we do, is a function, right? Education....is an action. When does the clock start and stop? That's where I'm trying to understand the distinction. How can we have it both ways?

When I "teach" about world religions, no matter what time of day the discussion happens.......I teach from a standpoint that they (the world's religions) are important historically, but every bit as much mythology (and important historically) as the beliefs in Zeus and Odin. We are just in a different time with different perspective. End of story.

This is also how I encourage my boys to be kind, and to help them understand how others can have the beliefs in god(s) that they have. Religious people in our time are not that much different than believers in Ancient Greece or Scandinavia. And they (the current believers) should be treated respectfully, while expecting the same respectful treatment of their (my boys) disbelief. That's all.

I am an Atheist and Secular homeschool parent.

karen loe
02-03-2016, 05:48 AM
[QUOTE=hippiebutterfly;206916]I'm going to assume you mean me, hippiebutterfly, since my tagline says "homeschooling mamarama" :D

I did, Hippiebutterfly! Sorry!
Also.....just to check it. I was MIA this evening because I had to take one child to the ER. He is in a play at the local community college and he went down on a knee and shin, falling off of a piece of set that was about four feet off of the stage this evening. The great news is that there was no broken bone; he will be on crutches with a knee wrap for awhile. :p

skrink
02-03-2016, 10:57 AM
Interesting discussion, muddylilly. :)

I could, in theory, believe in a god but not practice any kind of religion. I think that was actually how my mother lived a big chunk of her life. We never went to church outside of weddings and funerals. She for sure wasn't an atheist. She almost never talked about anything pertaining to religion, but once in a blue moon she'd mention god, like it was something she had on her mind at the moment. She didn't raise us to believe or not to believe. I think she just assumed that everyone DID believe, but it wasn't ever an issue or big talking point. So, was I raised secularly? I'd say I was.

Then there are all of the Easter/Christmas xtians. If personal religion (as opposed to world religion studies) is mentioned twice a year, but not practiced outside of those times, and those families homeschool, can they be called secular homeschoolers?

Riceball_Mommy
02-03-2016, 11:09 AM
Reading this I may be a bit lost. Has the question become, in order to be a secular homeschooler do you have to also be an Atheist?
Now if that is the question, I would side on the "of course not" side of this purely because being a Pagan, I'm not an Athiest but I still consider myself a secular homeschooler. I think you can have a religion, but if you are using secular materials then you are a secular homeschooler.

muddylilly
02-03-2016, 11:29 AM
Again, I'm not arguing the "You're not doing it right." point. I do think there is nuance and a spectrum. And folks have every right to call themselves what they would like......like a preschooler can be called a homeschooler, which I agree with....KWIM?

I was simply confused by Farrar's post early on, and still haven't figured out the quote feature. :) LOL!!!! I think the two words should be interchangeable in the homeschooling context.

That lead me to ponder the "having it both ways" discussion. Public Schools have hours, and it's an easy distinction for them to be secular. But we ALL talk about one of the benefits to hsing being that learning happens all the time. So therefore, technically, shouldn't we count everything taught/parented?

Maybe I should start a different thread.....or maybe even in DEB.....cause I don't wanna run this one off the rails, but it has everything to do with finding more secular hsers and wishing there were more.

Because it is easy for someone that is xtian, (or other religion) that just happens to homeschool without intelligent design, to find other hsers on their end of the spectrum. Not so much for an out Atheist. And this tends to be an underlying issue around here from time to time.

Riceball_Mommy
02-03-2016, 12:07 PM
I tend to stick to the secular groups because I can't quite find my place in the few online Pagan homeschool groups. Many are inactive but the ones that are never seem to focus much on homeschooling, so getting an option about a curriculum just goes no where. If I want some information on crystals (that I don't use) or oils (that I don't like), then they're great places.
I feel lucky that I have a couple of secular options to choose from in the area. I've been a member of three, including the new one that I'm a member of now. It's nice to be able to go to event and know that no one's going to start a prayer, or try to push their religion on me. I still have the fear of being judged if someone notices my jewelry, but I've tried to get over that and no one has openly avoided me because of it. Of course I don't go off announcing that I'm Pagan and no one else announces their religion either. You can still tell though when they talk about curriculum among themselves, or by their jewelry or embroidery on their sweaters. The worst I encountered was a horrible discussion from some very conservative young boys at homeschool event hosted by the library. I felt rather uncomfortable, but was able to move tables.
After explaining all that I do see that labeling something as secular has clearly set up different expectations for me in different settings. At secular co-op and groups. I expect events and classes that are secular but I don't necessarily expect everyone participating to use secular curriculum at home. Here I have come to expect everyone participating to use secular curriculum, but I also don't expect everyone on here to be an Atheist. Though I do expect some Atheist humor and view points to pop up.
I think at the end of it all we're all on the same page. There are a bunch of Atheists here on the board, and there are some here with religion finding common ground on the topic of curriculum. And we're all just looking for a sense of community and belonging based on that commonality. None of wants to feel left out and none of wants to feel likes our safe space has been ruptured.

Mariam
02-03-2016, 02:29 PM
So Mariam.......are you arguing that one is a substantive definition, while the other one is functional??? If so, you're right. And boy, does that muddy the waters for us homeschool parents :)

But what we do, is a function, right? Education....is an action. When does the clock start and stop? That's where I'm trying to understand the distinction. How can we have it both ways?

When I "teach" about world religions, no matter what time of day the discussion happens.......I teach from a standpoint that they (the world's religions) are important historically, but every bit as much mythology (and important historically) as the beliefs in Zeus and Odin. We are just in a different time with different perspective. End of story.

This is also how I encourage my boys to be kind, and to help them understand how others can have the beliefs in god(s) that they have. Religious people in our time are not that much different than believers in Ancient Greece or Scandinavia. And they (the current believers) should be treated respectfully, while expecting the same respectful treatment of their (my boys) disbelief. That's all.

I am an Atheist and Secular homeschool parent.


Yes, I supposed that is what I am talking about.

I'm editing this since I am thinking this through. I don't see the conflict, at least in our family. We are probably more secular than religious, but I still think that using the terms necessitates the distinct uses of each word.

Mariam
02-03-2016, 02:43 PM
I think the two words should be interchangeable in the homeschooling context.

That lead me to ponder the "having it both ways" discussion. Public Schools have hours, and it's an easy distinction for them to be secular. But we ALL talk about one of the benefits to hsing being that learning happens all the time. So therefore, technically, shouldn't we count everything taught/parented?

I think this is the one time I really disagree here. I really don't see the two words are being interchangeable in any context, including homeschooling.

MrsB
02-03-2016, 03:41 PM
My grandparents are atheist, my mom is an often holiday xtian but not every year, but she believes in a god figure. My sister and I raised non-denominational, religion has never been a big issue or part of my life... until we started hs in a very conservative area. Wow. I never realized I guess how, sorry, but how nuts people get about religion. We are in the middle of year one of hopefully many and I am really starting to understand how being non-religious can be frustrating as a hs. Just now starting to slowly find people like us. So far writing my own curriculum, I am a science major so we do have a lot of science curriculum, but I am thinking next year or perhaps the year after we will have to buy some. I am capable of being polite, but will never pretend to be something we aren't just for the sake of getting a long easier. With so many different lifestyles its impossible to just be around one. I want my kids to be as open to change and new experiences and people as I am. I will certainly be reading more of your blog, thanks for the post!

muddylilly
02-03-2016, 04:49 PM
Don't get me wrong, this here (SHS) is the only place for homeschooling that I've found to really be inclusive for someone like me. I'm ABSOLUTELY not implying that anyone is not secular enough and shouldn't be here or part of the discussion.....it is just that....a discussion. AND I am definitely aware that we are just splitting hairs at this point. I just wonder if anyone else has considered this connection or am I alone? Which is fine, too :)

I have friends and family that are religious, with varying degrees of belief. But none of them are homeschoolers. In the area that I live, it's near impossible to root them (hsers not teaching religion) out.

alexsmom
02-03-2016, 05:04 PM
I think people could be secular for homeschooling events and curriculum, even if theyre not athiest at home. There is a lot more to religions, philosophies, and spirituality than anti-intellectualism and anti-science.
Its when people bring their woodoo into the curriculum and events that make the homeschooling not secular.
Christians seem to be the only group of people who do this - Ive never had problems or felt my allerjesus kicking up when talking to homeschoolers of other religions. They have the social skills, apparently, to be able to keep their religion out of conversation with a stranger for more than 10 minutes. (Not all christians, Im sure. But when it happens, its them.)

Mariam
02-03-2016, 06:46 PM
AM - I think that this is it. No other group of people seems to have to talk about it as much as fundamentalists. But this is also moving into the social/political climate of the nation. Who has the right to speak publicly about this? Anyone else would be silenced.

aselvarial
02-03-2016, 10:22 PM
Having been raised religious, and in school highly religious, I don't actually understand how ppl can homeschool (or school in general) secularly, especially with science, and still be Christian. Because the two teach two different things. Secular science teaches about a world that developed in direct opposition of how Christianity teaches the world developed. So I don't get how the two can be believed simultaneously without having issues with one or the other (science is where I started having my first issues with christianity and eventually led to me leaving the religion entirely).

Yes, I wish there were more atheist (or non religious homeschoolers). It would be nice not to be a minority within a minority. But, what I truly want, and I think what most of us really want, is actually inclusive and accepting homeschoolers, regardless of their belief and religion. Ones who taught a non-religious centered curriculum or even just accepted that everyone else didn't have to believe their way and could STILL be good ppl. Homeschoolers we didn't have to worry about telling our kids they'd go to hell, or requiring a statement of faith to join a co-op, or even just the stigma of being crazy religious merely because we homeschool. Mostly, I'd just like ppl to judge me on who I am, not on what god I believe, or don't believe in.

karen loe
02-03-2016, 10:57 PM
It has been quite awhile for me to post here on Secularhomeschool.com and I had forgotten that the term "secular" is far preferred to "atheist" here. The conversation on the topic is quite interesting and very friendly.

I am an atheist homeschooler and I write as such.
I'm absolutely fine with using the term "secular" in order to be more inclusive and to fit into the mores of this website. :)

Many THANKS for the good vibes with regards to this conversation. :o

Does anyone follow any Christian homeschooling blogs?
I have a few friends who are Christian homeschoolers and I find it very difficult to read the woo. Sometimes, ALOT LATELY, I feel very intolerant of the woo. In the past month or two I have noticed myself getting very angry and upset with the Christian, Conservative, and Evangelical homeschoolers. That is why I wrote the original post.

It's not like me to be an angry person. I'm nice! ;)
I'm a very peaceful person.
But lately I'm just so angry that these people have such a large audience, I guess. I'm angry that these parents are patting themselves on the back for eschewing reality and public knowledge and ...fricking SCIENCE and passing along such brainwashing muck on to the kids in their care.

SO, yeah, that's where I am.

Karen

muddylilly
02-03-2016, 11:24 PM
Nope, if there is any bible talk on a hsing blog.....I'm out. Too many other interesting educational resources to spend my screen time on. :)

This semantics discussion......well, I'm not sure you have really offended anyone by using the two words interchangeably. Possibly only those with an aversion to being assumed atheist? Which I get.....I don't want to be assumed xtian. :)

TFZ
02-04-2016, 07:06 AM
Christian homeschooling bloggers are hard to avoid! I'd say I follow some homeschool blogs where the author is Christian but not Christian homeschooling blogs because the material/activities/ideas I'm searching/downloading/using are secular. There's some picking through involved.

I've recently been watching YouTube videos on how to organize a lesson planner. The range is so funny. Some are like, "the lord this, the lord that" and they must really talk like that. Others are like, "maybe you could use this space for a bible quote or prayer" and that's it. The former can get very annoying very quickly. The rest doesn't bother me.

I prefer the blogs that are all about the activity and then I see at the bottom "blessings" over the ones that have "He has called us to homeschool" listed in the first three sentences. My guess is that a lot of these bloggers are holiday-religious but throw in a Jesus reference every once in a while to appeal to a wider homeschooling audience.

fastweedpuller
02-04-2016, 12:33 PM
I think people could be secular for homeschooling events and curriculum, even if theyre not athiest at home. There is a lot more to religions, philosophies, and spirituality than anti-intellectualism and anti-science.
Its when people bring their woodoo into the curriculum and events that make the homeschooling not secular.
Christians seem to be the only group of people who do this - Ive never had problems or felt my allerjesus kicking up when talking to homeschoolers of other religions. They have the social skills, apparently, to be able to keep their religion out of conversation with a stranger for more than 10 minutes. (Not all christians, Im sure. But when it happens, its them.)

AM, I am curious about your experiences with Mosdos Press. As you know, it comes from a Jewish girls' school. I did the 5th grade with my DD and we loved it...it was definitely more "be nice" than "yahweh 24/7" for sure. So I don't think it tweaked your Allerjesus did it?

ElizabethK
02-04-2016, 02:05 PM
It has been quite awhile for me to post here on Secularhomeschool.com and I had forgotten that the term "secular" is far preferred to "atheist" here. The conversation on the topic is quite interesting and very friendly.

I am an atheist homeschooler and I write as such.
I'm absolutely fine with using the term "secular" in order to be more inclusive and to fit into the mores of this website. :)

Many THANKS for the good vibes with regards to this conversation. :o

Does anyone follow any Christian homeschooling blogs?
I have a few friends who are Christian homeschoolers and I find it very difficult to read the woo. Sometimes, ALOT LATELY, I feel very intolerant of the woo. In the past month or two I have noticed myself getting very angry and upset with the Christian, Conservative, and Evangelical homeschoolers. That is why I wrote the original post.

It's not like me to be an angry person. I'm nice! ;)
I'm a very peaceful person.
But lately I'm just so angry that these people have such a large audience, I guess. I'm angry that these parents are patting themselves on the back for eschewing reality and public knowledge and ...fricking SCIENCE and passing along such brainwashing muck on to the kids in their care.

SO, yeah, that's where I am.

Karen

I'm jumping into this pretty late in the conversation, but I see secular and atheist as two very different things, especially in the homeschool community. We are not religious, but I know a variety of Christian families who ARE educating secularly. They still go to church on Sundays and all that, but they don't treat the Bible as an infallible resource for all things homeschooling and they use similar materials to what I use and would use.

I don't follow many blogs. I'm not a blog follower, but I have noticed in the few I have looked at that online homeschool chatter seems very different than real life homeschool chatter. Maybe that's just my little bubble. Online, it seems like non-secular homeschoolers are young earth creationists and that everyone schools with Bible verses. Maybe those are just the ones who write things online. In person, among the homeschoolers I know (combination of non-religious and religious families) only one family that I know of is a young earth creationist. And we don't really socialize with that family, they are former friends who have drifted to the periphery of our acquaintances.

We live in Texas, bastion of all things religious, and I have found a nice group of secular, inclusive, religious and non-religious homeschoolers, none of whom are anti-science. Of course, there is the high possibility that I have willingly removed myself from meeting any of the really fundamentalist homeschoolers. I am in Texas, after all, and based on online chatter, they MUST be out there.

All that to say that even in Texas, there are rational, pro-science, secular homeschoolers from all backgrounds, even religious families. I KNOW the hard core, fundamentalist religious homeschoolers are out there, but hopefully mainstream homeschoolers are increasing so that their chatter won't be as loud.

alexsmom
02-04-2016, 02:30 PM
FWP, we did 3rd and part of 4th with Mosdos, nothing triggered my allerjesus reactions (allerjews?), and I consider myself pretty sensitive to it. Comparing the first story in the 3rd grade book with the original, it seems they even scrubbed religious reference from it. (It was one about a Pueblo girl who broke her pottery to save the life of another girl.)
Theres definitely a strong morality component to each of the stories, sometimes cheezily so. Even when I disagree, though, its not a matter of woo. It makes for good discussions with DS. Way better than the readers we tried before which every story was vapid and annoying.

BethK
02-04-2016, 03:40 PM
I just wanted to introduce myself & say thank you! I recently found Secular Homeschooling.com and have loved the last two weekly discussions. My hubby & I very recently de-converted from fundamental xtianity, July of 2015. So this was our first yr of secular hs, the prior yr we hs our son for his kinder year through a classical conversations community. When I saw last week's discussion, I let out a sigh of relief, "We are not alone!" I echo that this week!

Hi! I'm Beth, a secular homeschooling momma and I'm an atheist!

CrazyGooseLady
02-04-2016, 10:53 PM
I too wish that there were more secular homeschoolers as it would make finding curriculum easier. And I must say, the public school/ homeschool hybrids HAVE helped with that some - they can't pay for religious stuff and some companies have done secular versions in the last few years.

I am pretty open if people ask me - we are secular. My husband is an atheist. I am more of a former raised as religious person. I want my kids to know about various religions and belief systems and have no problems with some of the curriculum that talks about various religions...I do make sure my kids know that they are belief systems, backed up by faith, not fact. We compare the things that they have in common and their differences to gain insight into how other people operate daily.

One time we were at the park on a Monday morning, about 8:30 in the morning. (I had dropped my husband off at an airport and we stopped at the park on the way home.) Another woman with kids about the same age as mine showed up. She walked over and started saying that she could tell I was a homeschooler, as who would have their school age kids at the park that early on a Monday? We both laughed, talked a little about how nice it was to be free of schedules and stuff that the kids did. We kind of talked about schooling so that we could use quality curriculum...the public schools in CA at that time especially were cutting everything they could.

Then came the bombshell. She asked what curriculum I used. I told her K12. She about flipped. She was SO sure that I was a religious home schooler! "Oh, that is just heathen? How can you have your kids not learn about religion? And the reporting that you have to do? And science???" I explained that I LIKED the quality secular material it offered at the time, and that as my husband was a scientist, I liked that it taught evolution and that it covered religions of different parts of the world so my kids could learn about them. She tried to argue some...but I am happy with who I am, how my marriage is going and am not going to change things for some random woman at the park. (Yes, I told her basically that.) She gathered up her kids and left.

I found the whole thing rather amusing....couldn't have been in a more liberal area of the country than where I was....and I get harangued by someone about religion.

CrazyGooseLady
02-04-2016, 11:11 PM
What bothers me more than religion in my area is the Woo. The lack of understanding of basic science.

Where I am now, I don't have the religious stuff much. What I do have is Woo. And people who talk about Sheeple. And people who don't vaccinate and who look down on me for doing vaccinations. People who can cure EVERYTHING with essential oils (even if it gives ME a headache sitting next to them.) And the "oh, I could never give my kid a cake with sugar for his first birthday!" And homeopathy, Hymalayan salt lamps and fermented, organic food for their free range chickens. These people...some of them are LDS (a lot of essential oils and vitamin supplements) but the vast majority...no particular religion.....just a lack of science.

And it drives me totally F'ing nuts. Like..."Lemon essential oil is good for the gut. It is antiseptic." Me: "Wouldn't that mean it kills off your gut flora?" Them:"Only the BAD stuff." No, sorry, it doesn't work that way. And please don't tell me kids have ADHD because of the bad food they eat. No, that is not true...we don't eat junk and my son has ADHD. It IS more than food. Oh, and when it comes to curriculum...the woo that is there too. Brain Gym, Diane Craft...sure those all have some things that can help some kids....but they are not the end all cure all for all kids and every problem. My "consultant teacher" at the school that tells me my son "must try!" the newest thing that she has found to cure everything...no, sorry, what we have is working, we will keep on keeping on.

It is all just blind faith. Faith that Abraham Lincoln told them so on the internet, so it MUST be true. They have no real science to back up their claims that babies in the same room with mom when she smokes pot is a good thing because they cry less. Well, what if babies are SUPPOSED to cry some...to learn to develop relationships and trust? I trust evolution has a reason and pot is not a big factor in that. Oh, and "what can I give my kid for strep throat because I don't want to give antibiotics?" "How about a stay in their bedroom for 30 days until they are not contagious so that my kids who get everything don't get it? Which is WHY we vaccinate...we get everything!"

Okay...I should probably stop now. But those people on the FB page who give talks for kids about how the Lake Missoula Floods were Biblical....they don't bother me near as much as the "enlightened, green living" people talking the woo-woo stuff and have no sense of science.

aselvarial
02-05-2016, 12:38 AM
CrazyGooseLady, how, exactly does an antiseptic decide what is "bad" and what is "good" bacteria? Do they wear signs that it can read? Also, most bacteria isn't BAD. It's just not supposed to be where it winds up. Why can't free range chickens eat bugs, like chickens are supposed to? Isn't that the POINT of "free range"?

My mom and sister love essential oils. I, mostly, hate the smell of them. Lavender gives me a headache, tea tree oil smells only marginally less horrific than 3 day old diaper, and I guess most citrus ones would be ok in very teeeny tiny amounts. (although tea tree oil got rid of Tech's ringworm from pre-k faster than the OTC medicine crap said it would take, so I'm not totally against "natural")

I live with a scientist. He gives me the craziest looks when I tell him all about the newest homeopathic craze. It's fun to keep up with them just for the look of horror on his face. :-)

MamaBeany
02-05-2016, 09:47 AM
I am joining this late and have, admittedly, not read all of the comments...
Religion is such a meaningless divisor. I wish that more people would put things like religios beliefs on a little shelf in their heart when interacting with others in the world. Not that I ask them to stop being who they are; but please respect the fact that others might have different--but just as valid--views and may not subscribe to your perspective of the world.
True story -- We live in the Bible Belt and have no secular homeschooling groups in our area. Zero. None. Zilch. The ONE group that existed has apparently gone bust. I'm always looking for ways to encourage interaction with other kids (and, ya know, maybe some friendships!) because we don't have a lot of money to spend on lots of lessons/clubs/ etc. Recently, out of desperation due to the total lack of any secular homeschooling groups in our area, I actually contacted a local group that is more religious-based right here in our town (ummm... more religous--they have a cross in their logo!). I explained that while we're not at all religious, we believe in love, compassion, family, nature, and learning from others (and so on). I asked if they'd be open to a family such as ours joining their group. And you know what? They've completely ignored my attempt to contact them. (I guess their answer is "No" lol) Really, very disappointing. And not very "Christian", in my opinion. ;)

CrazyGooseLady
02-05-2016, 09:51 AM
Aselvarial, exactly! Very selective understanding of science! Sure, essential oils work for some things, but they are not the cure all for everything! And what really scares me is the friend who is a nurse at a prenatal care unit...no vaccinations and lots of essential oils for her and her family. We recently went on an two day trip that involved about 6 hours in the van together. Everyone else got the flu because she had it...except my son and I. We had the flu shots. My kid still got to go to the really cool class that the others missed.

skrink
02-05-2016, 04:12 PM
CrazyGooseLady, you've described my world. The woo can be overehelming, along with the judgement that comes with our being sheeple in regard to many of their most cherished topics. Still, I have dealt with vicious xtians. Seriously ugly stuff. So, lesser of two evils. Some of the woo folks avoid me but no one has been out and out nasty like in the fundie group in my town. So, for dd's sake I grin and bear it. And see the dr for abx, and turn down offers of crystals and EOs. What you don't do for your kids, eh?

karen loe
02-05-2016, 05:01 PM
I just wanted to introduce myself & say thank you! I recently found Secular Homeschooling.com and have loved the last two weekly discussions. My hubby & I very recently de-converted from fundamental xtianity, July of 2015. So this was our first yr of secular hs, the prior yr we hs our son for his kinder year through a classical conversations community. When I saw last week's discussion, I let out a sigh of relief, "We are not alone!" I echo that this week!

Hi! I'm Beth, a secular homeschooling momma and I'm an atheist!

BETH! You are SO very welcome!

alexsmom
02-05-2016, 05:06 PM
In the workplace, people are supposed to leave religion and politics elsewhere. These manners dont seem to extend to homeschool events, though.

With oil woo and the *excessive crunchy* crowd, even if you think its silly, I havent had the impression I would be shunned for vaccinating my kids, or for not partaking in their particular aromatherapy / homeopathy ritual. Or even if I let my kids eat Twinkies (which I dont). They, at least, dont seem to be worried that the residual aura of high fructose corn syrup is going to taint their kids.
Id take woo any day, especially if it smelled nice.

karen loe
02-05-2016, 05:27 PM
Woo is EVERYWHERE.
UGH. I am very happy, maybe even living in a little secular cave with my selected friends, but I do have some very beloved friends who have such woo-ey beliefs that I sometimes don't even know what to say.
The belief in the essential oils (are there non-essential oils... :;)::;): ), sage and cleansing, found pennies, nearby butterflies...I barely know how to respond to these claims. I think I'm a little grumpy about it lately, maybe because it's an election year. :;):

karen loe
02-08-2016, 05:38 PM
THANKS TO ALL FOR THE CONVERSATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was nice to see a friend of mine, MamaBeany join! :o

karen loe
02-08-2016, 05:43 PM
Make sure you check out my blog My Own Mind blog for more posts on Atheist Homeschooling and atheist parenting. taytayhser.blogspot.com
(http://taytayhser.blogspot.com)
THANK YOU, Secularhomeschool.com for having me.

Bham Gal
02-19-2016, 01:04 AM
We are new to homeschooling (started this month!), and while not self-identified atheists, we are certainly non-religious. Christianity and other religions simply have no role in our lives. I absolutely have no intention of exposing my kids to anti-science texts or anything with a biblical reference, so thank goodness this site exists and we can research secular curricula! I am flabbergasted by some of the religious views towards homeschooling and had no idea many consider it to be a Christian mother's mandate to stay at home and school her kids. Until recently, I had no idea homeschooling was primarily in the cultural domain of the non-secular. I am very thankful you people exist!