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  1. #11

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    I grew up extremely religious. To such an extent that for years the church friends were my only friends. I went to school with them (private religious school), I went to church with them, we did the same activities together, we all kind of existed together. When I left that, it was amazingly freeing. For a while. I'm a massive introvert so not talking to ppl outside my family for months doesn't bother me at all. But, every now and then, I miss the social aspect, for a few minutes.

    My husband grew up in the same tiny town where his parents had grown up. EVERYONE knew him. Socializing pretty much consisted of walking out the front door. He's an introvert, perhaps even more so than I am. Marry two introverts and what do they produce? Unsurprisingly, an introvert.

    For years, we've dealt with the social void by going to geek cons. It's usually only 2-3 weekends a year, but it's so overwhelming that it takes months sometimes to recover. And you see a lot of the same ppl at every con.

    But, now Tech is 6. And while he'd be perfectly happy playing at home with his hammer, or chasing the pig around grandpa's yard, my in-laws worry he's not "socialized" enough, so we are trying to find more things for him to do. Living in the Bible Belt as non-religious is difficult. Add in that I have no interest in "play dates" or "mommy groups" (a thing my sister is crazy about) nor do I feel a need to socialize with ppl who the only thing I have in common with them is we both have children, and it becomes odd. we will probably wind up socializing with non-homeschoolers, simply because we are secular in the Bible Belt. Volunteering is our most probable route of socialization.

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  3. #12

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    One obvious source of isolation for kids is the religious/nonreligious divide itself. But I've been hearing much more frequently in the past few years of kids discovering unexpected secularity among their peers, even in very religious areas.

    My son was an example. We live in the conservative suburbs of Atlanta, so he had always assumed his friends were uniformly religious, even though they never talked about it. Once someone finally broke the ice, he learned that 7 of the 8 kids in his immediate circle were not believers, even though all of their parents were religious (except us). I don't think most people realize just how dramatic this generational shift is going to be. And that of course will raise these questions of identity and belonging all the more urgently.

  4. #13

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    Muddylilly: Yes, "secular" is one of those terms.

    The original meaning of the word (from Latin saecularis) means "of this world" and did not imply a stand one way or another on the supernatural. That's still a good general usage today -- secular government, for example, is concerned with issues of this world and takes no stand either way on questions that are not of this world.

    When I call myself a secular parent, I'm saying religion has no role in my parenting. I'm also an atheist, but that's one step more specific. Not only am I a secular person (i.e. religion has no role in my life), but I specifically reject its major claim.

    As for "secular homeschooler," then, I suppose it depends on whether the adjective refers to the homeschooler or the homeschooling. At that point, I'd ask the pragmatic question: Is there a specific negative result that comes from religious families using the term in the way you describe -- for example, does the religiosity have a negative effect on the homeschooling? Growing up, my family was nominally Christian. We went to a liberal UCC, but it didn't have any tangible effect on the rest of the week. If I had been homeschooled, there's almost zero chance of any religious influence on it. So would it have been accurate to say I was homeschooled secularly, despite the Sunday ritual? I tend to think so.

    If there is reason to believe these families are doing something significantly different in their homeschooling, it might be worth parsing the term and possibly going with the more precise descriptor you suggest. Otherwise, I'm a fan of concision, then clarification as needed.
    Last edited by Dale McGowan; 03-08-2016 at 09:36 AM.

  5. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale McGowan View Post
    One obvious source of isolation for kids is the religious/nonreligious divide itself. But I've been hearing much more frequently in the past few years of kids discovering unexpected secularity among their peers, even in very religious areas.

    My son was an example. We live in the conservative suburbs of Atlanta, so he had always assumed his friends were uniformly religious, even though they never talked about it. Once someone finally broke the ice, he learned that 7 of the 8 kids in his immediate circle were not believers, even though all of their parents were religious (except us). I don't think most people realize just how dramatic this generational shift is going to be. And that of course will raise these questions of identity and belonging all the more urgently.
    Do you think kids today are less religious, even if theyre more churchy? Growing up, I dont think I ever had religion be an issue with my peers, even when one of my best friends was an evangelical ministers daughter. I feel like I see more and more religiosity (and intolerance of nonchristians) as time goes on. It also seems to creep into supposedly secular institutions.

    Is it really getting better, and Im just surrounded in fundamentalism because Im homeschooling?
    Then again, there is Trump.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #15

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    Since I came from the religious world, the term "secular" means not religious. When I come to a forum such as this, I assume that religion will not be forced down my throat and that the materials suggested or reviewed are going to be non-faith based. Whether a family is religious and secularly homeschooling makes no difference to me as long as said family does not start preaching their beliefs in this forum.

    It's been very hard to find secular homeschooling groups here in Idaho. Many homeschoolers in our town are quite conservatively religious and we have a large number of Duggar-esque families. I did find a couple groups claiming to be secular and we attended a few social gatherings, but when talking to the moms, I found myself in the midst of a mission field. "Oh I'm sorry you're an atheist! Perhaps you just haven't found the right church! Now my church...blah blah blah." We did find a nice group of non-believing friends and we get together a few times a year, but not enough to keep my girls happy. They want to see their friends every week. All the co-ops I've found are faith-based or put on by the online schools.

    Le sigh.
    Homeschooling Mamarama
    Native Idahoan Atheist
    Eclectically homeschooling since 2006.

    Son (20) - Class of 2014
    Daughter (17) - Class of 2016
    Daughter (15) - Class of 2019

  7. #16
    Senior Member Enlightened Soulhammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    I feel like I see more and more religiosity (and intolerance of nonchristians) as time goes on. It also seems to creep into supposedly secular institutions.
    This. This is the hill on which our "secular" co-op died, btw.
    Now it's "inclusive," which means we don't take science or history there anymore (can't see putting my kid in a class for 6 months with teachers who are ok with "teaching the debate" with regards to evolution and think providential history in textbooks should be tolerated). When I tried to explain why this was a problem if the co-op was supposed to be secular, that was glossed as intolerant. I've secularized curriculum before (SOTW) and even allowed my teenager to do limited-duration educational activities in Christian settings, so it wasn't that at all.

    It's about expectations. If it says "secular," I don't expect to have to fight battles over the exclusion of religious stuff, and I may be less vigilant about what my kids consume in such a setting. We can relax more.

    If it says "inclusive," I know to be on guard and to push for a definition of inclusion that allows ample space for lots of faiths, my faith included, not just Christianity.

    If it says "faith-based," I know to be on guard, prepare my kids to deal with Christian privilege politely but with integrity, and be ready to bail if it gets to be too much.

  8. #17

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    Just playing a bit of devil's advocate here.

    I totally understand both children and parents needing to feel a sense of belonging, at least in certain points in life. However, as I've gotten older, I've found the need to be independent and go my own way far more strong than the need to belong. I think we've also instilled in our two kids a sense of wanting to strike out, perhaps against the norm at times. I guess in some ways "belonging" for me sometimes equates with "fitting in" or conformity, at least to a small group. We've tried to use homeschooling to give our kids experience in questioning the norms for themselves. Be individuals--being part of a group is great, but not necessary.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  9. #18

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    Dale, Thank you for answering

    It is very much the difference between "homeschooler" vs "homeschooling". Maybe I just get baffled by folks that can compartmentalize like that. Just like any parent (HSing or PSing), we teach our kids, and discuss life matters with our kids, at any time of day. Homeschooling, for most, happens not just from 8 to 3.

    Frankly, I don't make decisions about whether to socialize with someone depending on their "label" that they choose....it just makes it easier to not step on toes. Some seem to get offended that they might get lumped in with the atheist's, while atheist's like myself, don't want to get lumped in with xtian homeschoolers! Talk about "belonging"
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  10. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    Do you think kids today are less religious, even if theyre more churchy? Is it really getting better, and Im just surrounded in fundamentalism because Im homeschooling?
    There are all sorts of fundamentalist bubbles, geographic and otherwise, and from inside the bubbles, it can look hopeless. But the upcoming generation has two well-confirmed trends going: They are the least religious generation by every measure (by far), and a much greater % of those who remain religious are progressive. The future is very promising.
    Last edited by Dale McGowan; 03-08-2016 at 07:44 PM.

  11. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale McGowan View Post

    My son was an example. We live in the conservative suburbs of Atlanta, so he had always assumed his friends were uniformly religious, even though they never talked about it. Once someone finally broke the ice, he learned that 7 of the 8 kids in his immediate circle were not believers, even though all of their parents were religious (except us). I don't think most people realize just how dramatic this generational shift is going to be. And that of course will raise these questions of identity and belonging all the more urgently.
    Oh gods, the suburbs of Atlanta. SOOO much more conservative than the city, for reasons that completely elude me! It's one of the main reasons we are in the process of moving to the city. While the kids may be more secular, I have to deal with those parents, and the look of horror on their faces when they find out we aren't in church, aren't interested in visiting theirs, and will NOT be having our son visit their church either, is unbelievably annoying. The "but how will you teach him morals if you aren't religious!?!" questions have nearly driven me to violence (and I'm a pacifist). We've also discovered that in the suburbs, if ppl find out you homeschool, they AUTOMATICALLY assume you are religious. It's just not as automatic in the city. Who knows why? Maybe because APS is so terrible.

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