Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Secular Thursday, Defined

There’s a thread on SecularHomeschool.com that asks what makes you a secular homeschooler. Since I’ve been browsing the SecThurs blogs, I’ve also noticed a bit of a division between what one defines as ‘secular’ and the next.  Apparently, there are many schools of thought on the subject.

For example, one person might define secular homechooling as completely a-religious. Another might use religious material but edit out the religious stuff, or be fine with a modicum of religious content but refraining from letting that be the focus. Some secular homeschoolers atheist or agnostic and others are Christian, but do not define themselves as “Christian Homeschoolers”. Still others are decidedly anti-Christian in bias and seem to get a little miffed when the Christian set use ‘secular’ to define themselves.

While I understand and can identify with many facets of the ‘secular’ arguments, I thought that rather than debating the seemingly endless possibilities and nuances that secular homeschoolers encompass with the term, I thought that I would define what ‘Secular Thursday’ means to me so that when you come to my blog looking for a SecThurs post, you’ll know what flavor of ‘secular homeschooling’ you’re getting into.

Though I think Smrt Mama left a pretty open discussion guideline for SecThurs, most of my SecThurs posts will have to do specifically with religion and how it relates to homeschooling in some way. I am not a particularly religious person though I was raised in a very conservative religion. My Loverly Husband and I do not attend church and we don’t allow our children to attend church either. We live in the ‘Bible Belt’ so the main religion we’re exposed to in our area is Conservative Christianity (CC). I am intrigued by the message of love and forgiveness that CC seems to preach and baffled at the many ways in which CC’s members cast judgement, belittle, criticize, ostracize and make utterly unwelcome anyone who makes it clear that they are unwilling to follow that line of belief. This attitude is especially apparent in the homeschooling community here as there are 7 Christian-based co-op/support groups in this area. To my knowledge, none of these groups even allows anyone who is not CC to become a member.  They are not inclusive, they are not welcoming or tolerant of other faiths and the juxtaposition of message vs. works is quite perplexing to me… so I write about that a lot.

In our homeschooling, I do not seek out religious material and I rarely use anything with a religious slant unless the lesson we’re studying is on that particular religion. I don’t care for bible verses listed on everything, or opening messages that talk overmuch about faith or related subjects. While I am not ‘anti-religion’, I vastly prefer secular materials and prefer that science be the foundation for my children’s education rather than faith/belief. I do try to be respectful (mostly) in my portrayal of other religions, though when faced with outright non-Christ-like behavior from CC’s, I reserve the right to point and sneer mockingly while making snide remarks.

Overall, I think my blog carries a secular tone. The resources I recommend are overwhelmingly secular, though if I find something I like I won’t ‘not’ use it just because it’s got a bit of religious content. While I wouldn’t want CC’s to be uncomfortable reading here, they’re not my primary audience and as such I won’t censor my posts with that audience in mind. There isn’t a large secular homeschooling community though it is growing by leaps and bounds, and I cherish my little corner of the blogosphere where I can talk about things that interest me (and hopefully, you).

In conclusion, that’s what you can expect from my SecThurs posts – a great deal of rumination about the climate of homeschooling without religion in a very religious area, and a few posts on how we do things without a faith-based slant. If you’re a secular homeschooler and haven’t checked into writing with Smrt Lernin’s Secular Thursday bloggers, let this be your invitation. Click the icon below for more info.

Warmly,

~h

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10 responses

  1. Hi I just love your post. I am sending you a blog award, see my blog:) NOt sure if you do this kind of thing:)

    September 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

    • Oh, wow – I’m honored! Thank you, Anna-Marie!
      ~h

      September 18, 2010 at 11:57 am

  2. I have trouble with the anti-Christian slant of some secular homeschoolers. On the other hand, I live in a very liberal area and don’t have to deal with fundamentalists very often. If I did, I might get bitter too.

    September 16, 2010 at 11:47 am

    • It’s really a fine line for me. I’m not intolerant of Christianity as a movement and lifestyle, provided the adherents actually do live what they profess to believe. It’s when there is a lot of talk about ‘being’ Christian and actions that belie that course that I feel it falls into a gray area for me.

      ~h

      September 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  3. As a very “Liberal” Christian living smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, I so feel you on this. We stopped attending church because we simply could not find a church that didn’t preach with a political agenda. We dig Jesus. Not so much the Christians 😉

    I tend to call myself a Secular Homeschooler, even though we are Christian, because the overwhelming majority of Christian material out there is far too Conservative for our taste. Plus, I believe in evolution/old Earth and I refuse to tell my kids that dinosaurs were on the Ark with Noah, so that pretty much kicks me out of the Christian homeschool club! Ha!

    September 16, 2010 at 11:49 am

    • LOL – that must be a very difficult spot to be in – one that I was sort of in a long time ago. Now, I fit the general definition of ‘secular’ better than I did back then.

      I love this:
      ” We dig Jesus. Not so much the Christians.”
      Thanks for commenting, Tiffany!
      ~h

      September 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm

  4. Been thinking a lot about your post today. We attend Church but do not include a particular bible program in our schooling, this is due to our stance on evolution. However I don’t see the need to completely wipe it out either. We discuss religion as it arises. I believe you really can’t fully study and understand world history without considering the religious components of that time period.

    September 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  5. I was going to add something about that in this post, too, but took it out. I agree that knowledge of religion and the not insignificant role it plays throughout history is key to seeing the overall shape of today’s world – so we also cover religion, just from a more academic standpoint.

    That’s a great point, Anna-Marie 🙂
    ~h

    September 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

  6. Great post! I posted about this a month or so ago after I “liked” Secular Homeschool on facebook. You are so right. We’re Christian, but I have seen far more Christ-like behavior from my secular friends than the Fundamentalists I’ve met. We call ourselves Secular because that’s the crowd we jive with. As Ghandi said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    September 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm

  7. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I always find ti interesting with all of the variations of ‘secular’.

    We as a family do not ‘do’ religion, but I feel it is extremely important to teach, both in regards to history and how it has shaped the various nations of the world and how it affects people’s overall outlook on life.

    I enjoy reading secular thursday posts but as yet have not partaken, something in me is uncomfortable about the anti religion feelings it stirs in me. Whilst I realize that this is not the intention of sec Thursday, it is just how the whole concept of it makes me feel IYKWIM!

    September 27, 2010 at 11:18 pm

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