What do you mean Secular Homeschooling?

So when people find out we homeschool we get a lot of different reactions.  And I’m always a bit surprised because the people who I think would be super against homeschooling are always the ones who literally cheer us on.  I mean standing in front of us clapping their hands.  (Yes, very awkward).

 

If I’m being completely 100% honest…I don’t advertise that we homeschool.  I don’t want to open us up for criticism in that way.  I know why I homeschool.  That’s good enough for me…and my husband.

The boys have other plans though.  I swear this is a typical conversation:

Random stranger “Why aren’t you boys in school?”
Me: “Oh it’s just so nice outs…”
Boy 1: “We homeschool!”
Boy 2: “We actually just sit at home and play video games all day!”
Boy 1: “No, we watch youtube videos all day
Boy 3: :Picking his nose:

And that’s probably why people often react in a not so enthusiastic manner.  And why I do my best to curb the flow of thought before it all comes spilling out. (For the record, they do not play video games OR watch youtube all day.  They get about 30-45 minutes in the evening to do one of those things)

I’m not embarrassed that we homeschool.  Not at all.  But I’m really not into small talk with strangers especially when it has the potential for them to start telling me how awful I am.  Call me crazy!

Anyway, back on topic, it almost always comes back around to the fact that we’re secular homeschoolers.  Can I ask a question?  Is the definition of the word “secular” not common knowledge?  Because I’ve met about 3 people who already knew what it was (not counting the secular homeschool group folks).

What is secular homeschooling and why would you do that?

Well, what IS secular homeschooling?  And why would anyone choose to do that?

Secular homeschooling is basically teaching a child without a religious undertone.  This does not mean that no religion is taught. However, a secular curricula would not have bible stories mixed in with math.  A separate world religions course would be considered secular.

 

So why would someone want to choose secular homeschooling?  Many reasons!  Primarily, I’d wager a guess that most secular homeschoolers are simply not religious.  Whether that means they are non-practicing in their religion, agnostic, atheist, or something else, I cannot say.

Another subset ARE religious but feel that they don’t want to teach their kids with religious curricula.  I would go into their motivation, but that would take too long.  These type of people have many many different reasons for why they want secular curricula.  Bookshark has a post here on it!

 

So I’ll go through a few of the common questions and comments we get about this.

  1.  Why would you homeschool your child if you’re not religious?

We feel that public schools are not up to our standards, that our children can learn with a curriculum tailored to their needs, and that at home they can explore topics that appeal to them more often.  By homeschooling, we can focus on their strengths and weaknesses in a way that public school does not afford.

2.  But you should try to improve the schools instead of selfishly just teaching your own children.

I’d love to help the schools improve.  And I do my best.  Unfortunately, our school system needs a national overhaul to be even close to a standard I would feel comfortable with.  And by standard, I don’t mean like common core.  Our system is broken, not sprained.  It is beyond repair.  We need something completely new.

I can help improve the schools and have my kids at home at the same time.  Long story short – I’m not going to sacrifice them and their education for any reason.

 

3.  If 2/3 of homeschoolers are Christian, how do you find anyone to socialize with?

Yes, the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers are Christian.  That doesn’t mean we can’t talk and play with them.  Plus, the remaining 1/3 is a pretty large number.  We actually have multiple local groups that are secular.  There are parks full of kids to play with many days.  Plus sports and other activities.  Really, socializing is the least of our problem.

 

4.  Well I’m glad you’re not one of those homeschoolers.

I appreciate the backhanded, passive-aggressive compliment…I think.  But I don’t appreciate that you’re stigmatizing an entire group of people.  Religious homeschoolers have the stereotype of parents trying to shelter their child from the world.  They don’t teach real science!  Oh my!!  Let me just say, I know a lot of amazing religious homeschooling parents.  And let us not forget, homeschoolers out perform their peers…and most homeschoolers are those homeschoolers.

 

5.  But you don’t have any teaching experience.

Not completely true, what besides the point.  No, I have not spent a decade in the classroom teaching 20-30 children at a time.  I do not feel this is a disservice to me or my children.  First, we have well drawn out curriculum.  It tells me what I need to know.  When they get into advanced high school stuff that I’m not familiar with, we will figure it out.  Videos online, tutors, professors, I don’t know!  Second, I know my kids.  I know what will resonate with them and what won’t.  Third, Google, Pinterest, Khan Academy…I think that sums it up.

 

6.  Your children will turn out to be weird outcasts in society.

Oh, I didn’t realize I was talking to a fortune teller!

In a world where we are taught to be unique cookie cutters…I can’t help but think weird might be a good thing.  When we’re all proud of how unique we are when we shop at Gap and drink Starbucks I can’t help but wonder…how will being different hurt them?  (Side note: I totally drink Starbucks and love it.  You do you, I’ll do me.  Starbucks is me about once a week.)

 

7.  Don’t you want to get be away from your kids?

Honestly?  No, I really don’t.  Sometimes I need a few minutes alone, but no, I LOVE being around my kids.  I love talking and playing with them.  I love seeing them learning something knew.  I love being a part of their interests.

Those times when I feel like I need to escape (because they do happen sometimes) we might go for a hike or go swimming.

 

8. Your kids will miss out on things like riding a bus.

Actually one of my friends owns a bus.  Plus there is public transportation.  And seriously, that’s what you’re worried about?  A bus??

 

 

All in all, we get pretty positive feedback when it comes to homeschooling.  Some of the comments are really weird and a few of downright mean.

 

To check out responses to more homeschool questions, check out iHomeschoolNetwork!

 

10 thoughts on “What do you mean Secular Homeschooling?”

  1. Erin, I’m nodding and laughing along here. Great post! (I can really identify with the kids’ response to the stranger question, too……..)

    1. I swear they do it on purpose! It’s like ever stranger, ever question, it has to be some weird answer. lol

  2. Why is the bus thing always a comment?? Ive gotten that a couple of times. You send your child to school just so they can ride the bus? Im so confused.

    1. I know, right? I’ve had a few about prom too. Prom? My oldest is 9…and that’s just a glorified dance!

    2. I don’t get it either. Once, when asked that, I responded that even if we’d chosen differently and sent our daughter to public school, she wouldn’t be riding the bus. I’m in a rural area. There are kids, depending on where they are on the route, that spend over an hour each morning and afternoon on the bus. Yeah, no. And what is the big deal with the bus?!?!

  3. LOVE, love, love your responses! These are some of the same replies I give. We use Bookshark and have really enjoyed it, but keep fending off questions about why we don’t use a religious curricula. It drives me crazy. We just prefer our subjects separately! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I actually haven’t look into Bookshark. I just happened upon their article when I was writing this one up and thought I’d include it. I’ll have to look at it more.

  4. We are Christian homeschoolers, and we didn’t use religious curriculum because we didn’t use curriculum! Well, we used ALEKS for math and Jensen’s grammar, but otherwise we used real books.

    When someone claims that my kids will be weird because they’ve homeschooled, I point out that jails and mental institutions are full of people who graduated from public school – are we supposed to draw conclusions about public school from that fact?

  5. I just stumbled across your blog as I was talking to the Google about how in the world can I homeschool while working full time, and I am so glad I did! I love the humor in your writing, and I’m hope that I learn a lot about homeschooling from you!

    1. Thank you!!

      And you can do it!! Homeschooling is never an easy path but adding in things like working full time brings an interesting challenge. There are many who do it well though!

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