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.