Secular homeshool. In some ways it feels like a double negative. So much of the homeschooling community, and perceptions of the homeschooling community, are focused on religion. Being non-religious in this world makes it hard to fit in and find our place, but our tribe of secular homeschoolers is starting to grow and make ourselves, and the needs of our families, known.
It took a long time for our family to finally take the leap into homeschooling. No matter how badly those boxes fit our kids, I kept trying to make it work. Although I knew some homeschooling families, I didn’t feel I fit in with their group. They were large families, families with some intense special needs, and religious. And by religious I mean of the Christian vein.
Not a single Pagan, Buddhist, or Hindu could be found among their ranks either. There is almost no diversity in religion in our homeschooling community. Homeschooling is dominated by Christian ideologies, and it made it hard to feel like we could ever fit in, find our place, or excel in that kind of community. We would love to be surrounded by people of all religions. We are not anti-religion, we simply love diversity.
Where we live we need to register with a board that oversees our homeschooling to ensure we are meeting the requirements of education in our jurisdiction. Less than 5% of the boards available are secular.
Which makes ZERO sense when you consider that over 60% of our schools are secular and only 16% Christian. But that is not reflected at all in our homeschooling world. In fact our “ruling body” for the area is strongly religious, which is partly what is leading to so many of the issues present for secular homeschool.
I went to one board that came highly recommended. They had a section on science and technology that I excitedly clicked to, only to discover it was all about how to protect your children from the dangers of evolution teachings.
Ummm, Houston, we really have a problem here.
For various reasons the small selection of secular homeschool boards did not work for us and we had to register with a Christian board (although not the anti-evolution one).
But we did sign on and start homeschooling because I discovered a growing movement of secular homeschoolers. These are families that are teaching evolution, embracing science, and providing their children with lessons in history that are not colored by the bible.
We are coming together and sharing our knowledge. Finding teaching tools for homeschoolers that are not religious is not easy. History materials and science texts in particular are extremely hard to find, but they are out there, and myself and my fellow secular homeschoolers are spreading the word when we discover great new secular teaching tools, resources and textbooks.
There is a growing movement of families looking into homeschooling because our school system is not working for whatever reason for their families. It is not about religion, but about finding an educational solution that will work for their children. And simply by the statistics, with over 60% of our schools being secular, a large portion of those families are looking for secular options.
For those that fall into that category, know that secular homeschool is out there. We are out there. It may be a little harder to find at the moment, but it’s worth the effort. And slowly we are gaining a voice in this world and with time I expect there will be more and more options available for secular homeschool.
Diversity is a good thing, and I truly hope the future is going to bring more diversity to the homeschool community.
In our community we still don’t fit in. We are the odd ducks but slowly I’m finding other secular homeschoolers in our local community. Maybe one day we will create our own tribe and do some studies of evolution.