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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Jesus Papers

Most of you know by now that The Da Vinci Code was based at least in part on the book Holy Blood Holy Grail. Now the co-author of the book Holy Blood Holy Grail, Michael Baigent , has written The Jesus Papers .

What We Will Be Learning

Sean will be in the 10th grade. Actually we don't really do grades. I use advance placement high school textbooks.

Since Sean expressed an interest in learning Spanish we will be doing that for his elective. We had a good experience with Power Glide when we learned Japanese so I will probably use it again.

The rest are textbooks I used previously with Jonathan.
Saxon 1st Semester Algebra II , second semester Advanced Mathematics.
AMSCO Economics and Institutions and Analysis
The EMC Masterpiece Series Literature and the Language Arts - World Literature
AMSCO Global Studies civilizations of the Past and Present (I will supplement this with the National Geographic as well as the textbook I used in college)
Conceptual Physical Science Second Edition by Hewitt, Suchocki, Hewitt
I ordered all these books thru the Homeschool Supercenter.

For Physical Education Sean usually plays soccer for OSSO, but I was very disappointed in several decisions the OSSO Board made last year. Mainly their plan to delay the start of OSSO's season until the end of FOOTBALL, and not providing uniforms for all our players until after we had played several games. Unless I see a different attitude regarding the U16 team, I think Sean will play for West River or D'Iberville if he still wants to play soccer. If not we will find some other activity for him to be involved in.