Thursday, June 22, 2006

Finding Support For A Secular Homeschooler

As a homeschooler who isn’t homeschooling for “religious reasons” I felt very lonely when I first started homeschooling.

A large number of homeschool support groups in my area are of a religious nature and insist you sign a statement of faith before joining. While I consider myself a Christian I found it slightly insulting to be required to sign a statement of faith. I also found it upsetting that my friends of other faiths wouldn’t be allowed to join. Then there were the meetings 10-20 minutes were spent on prayer request, at least 15 minutes was spent in prayer, and a measly 10 minutes were allocated to answering homeschool questions, and as a new homeschooler I had plenty of questions. And of course there were all the topics I had to warn my children not to discuss; things like evolution and theology (You would be surprised how many Christians don’t know who Lilith is).

So I set out to find an inclusive group. Why as a Christian did I want an inclusive group those of you who are perfectly happy in exclusive Christian groups might ask? First we don’t exist in a vacuum. It is very important to be able to discuss in a respectful manner other people’s viewpoints. One day our children will go to college or join the workforce, where they will meet people with views and values different then their parents, they need to know how to interact with them in a respectful manner. Secondly an inclusive group offers a chance to broaden your horizons and discover new things. So I was thrilled when I discovered PEAK. And while we are an inclusive group we do expect our members to exhibit good manners and behave in a civilized manner. Since we all have different religious backgrounds and beliefs our discussions mainly center on homeschooling.

Of course finding a support group wasn’t the only hurdle someone who isn’t homeschooling for “religious reasons” faces. Finding secular textbooks was a challenge. I finally found the HomeSchool Supercenter, which carries both religious and secular textbooks. It’s not that I am anti-religious, but I want my children to have a science and history background that will prepare them for university courses in the future. I still remember struggling in 7th grade with a real science class in public school after having been “taught” in a Christian Private School K-6th grade. My children won’t have to deal with being the only one in the class who doesn’t have a clue what the teacher is talking about when they bring up evolution.

So why do I homeschool, if it’s not for "religious reasons"? Because I believe my children deserve the best education available and the local public schools failed to deliver.

4 comments:

Molly S. said...

Oh I can so relate! We are in a small city of 70,000 with a large conservative Christian HSing community and not much else. So, I started my own group a few years ago! We are inclusive and relaxed and I love it!

BigNut said...

Boy, are you ever on the mark about this!

I wrote an entry on our blog about this same issue recently. What I see is that most Christian HS'ers are simply being used by the Christian Right Wing.

Whatever the political reason, what we need is support, not ideology.

Jessica Regele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Darla said...

This is so true. Our group is all inclusive and it has been great getting to know people from all walks of life.

I used an article from Home Education Magazine as our guide. It has truly been the inspiration that makes it work.
http://www.homeedmag.com/INF/NET/n.ol_ndspg.html

Thanks for your post.