Why is there a need for a secular homeschool group? Why would you join a secular homeschool group?
This seems to have come up in response to an inquiry I made of some of the other homeschooling groups in the area. There is a free class for teachers and homeschooling parents through the TX Parks & Wildlife called Project Wild that we’re about to participate in, and since we need to have X number of people to set up a local class, I contacted some of the groups in the area to see if they might have an interest in this as well. Somehow, that ‘good intention’ has morphed into widespread fear that I might be trying to ‘bring the homeschooling groups together’ for some strange and scary ‘interfaith’ activities that may or may not be designed to subvert their kids away from the church.
I love the picture above, because it is the personification of what is wrong with faith-based groups. They don’t understand, and they don’t want to understand. I am reminded of Chris Tse’s words in his amazing poem, “I’m Sorry I’m a Christian“:
…so confident of my own beliefs that I would never even think to think about thinking about yours.
Why ‘secular’? Mainly… because I am not ‘one of you’. I don’t feel comfortable in your groups because everything you say (esp. re: history and science and Biblical ‘truth’) is presented as fact with no room for discussion. I don’t share your convictions on those points; why would I subject myself to an environment where there is only room for one truth and not even respect for anything else? That is why we both need, and have, and have joined, a secular group.
My question to you is, ‘Why can’t you do anything without it being steeped in your faith? Do you not derive strength and fortitude from any other source? What would you/will you do if ever your faith is proven to be false? Will you cease to have a reason to live and give up all hope or will you still find that you are the same, concerned, loving parent intent on doing the best you can for your kids? That sounds sarcastic; I know it does, and yet it is an honest question.
I have long left the faith I was raised in and have remained constant. I am still the same person I have always been and I manage do so on the sole merit of my own authority, not because of faith or belief or religious dictates. I have not changed. What I believe and believe in has. I refuse to allow adherents of any religion to dictate how I feel about things, what I can see, what I can listen to, who I can be friends with or grant them authority over any other aspect of my life and lifestyle. I’m both capable of and interested in doing those things for myself.
All that said, I really do think that the Christian homeschooling community at large gets a bad rap a lot of the time. I think that the vast majority of homeschoolers are probably ‘normal’ people. They laugh at funny jokes, they watch TV, they like music – you know, normal. It’s that vocal few who have the drive (or narcissistic personality disorder?) to start and successfully run a homeschooling group who end up speaking for the group because that’s what group leaders do – whether or not all the members of a group feel that way, simply by being associated with XYZ group, people assume that you feel that way, too. For example, in my group, there are several moms who are deeply religious. I know, right? I’ll wait a minute while you reconcile that shocking thought in your head…
… Yes. DEEPLY religious. As in, their religion defines them as people and dictates their behavior and response in any given situation. I’d definitely call that deeply religious… and yet they are in a secular homeschooling group. Why? Well, because the tenets of their faith do not jive with the tenets of the already-established faith-based groups in this area. Or maybe because their main goal in homeschooling is to educate, not indoctrinate. Or maybe it’s because we have a planned group activity every week. Or maybe it’s because our motto is “Triangle Homeschoolers – This is the place where people are awesome to each other.” Either way, association and participation in a secular group does not offer commentary on the state of our members’ faith or religious convictions. Just because the group as a whole does not lean in any one particular religious direction does not mean that the members are not zealous in their own beliefs. Think ‘separation of church and state’.
Bottom line is that I (and by extension, my group) am in no way as influential as you seem to think. While it would totally rock if that were so, it’s simply not true. If a secular group is not for you, then don’t join it. We are no threat to you or your children or your beliefs or your faith-based group. My advice would be to simply ignore what doesn’t apply or appeal to you. Better yet, why don’t you come see what we’re all about before you make up your mind?
(Sorry for the 3-days late SecThurs post… I am back-dating it though, which is cheating, I admit, but this post needed a LOT of editing.)
This entry was posted on October 14, 2010 by HT. It was filed under Classes, Rambling Thoughts, Secular Thursday, She said WHAT?, Socialization and was tagged with balance, commentary, common sense, homeschooling, homeschooling support, life-lessons, secular homeschooling, Secular Thursday.