What Is A Secular Homeschooler?

This week I was invited by Mom #1 over at Two Moms Homeschool to join the Secular Homeschoolers Ning network.  It was a ton of fun over there (until I got locked out – – but that’s a whole other story).  I felt completely at home and like I had found my “peeps.”  You know when a thread on the discussion board is titled “Made It To The Top Level on World of Warcraft – – Aren’t you Mommies Jealous!”  that you simply aren’t in Kansas anymore.

So it got me thinking.  I have never put a label on myself as a homeschooler because goodness knows it is hard to pin me down.  But am I a secular homeschooler?  What exactly is a secular homeschooler??

I have faith.  By denomination, I am an Episcopalian.  I am a transplant from the Baptist denomination, because the more conservative the Baptist movement became, the more out of place I felt.  But I definitely would be considered a Christian by any theological or even biblical standard. 

However, I don’t homeschool for religious reasons.  I’m not trying to guard my kids from any corrupting worldly influence.  I’m not frustrated with the lack of prayer in schools.  In fact, I have big issues with the separation of church and state, and would very much like to keep prayer out of schools.  I don’t feel the need to use a Christian curriculum, although at times, throughout the years, I have done just that.

Other than having morning prayer together out of the Book of Common Prayer each morning, our faith isn’t something I feel the need to “school.”  We live it.  We discuss it.  We disagree on it sometimes.  But it is just part of who we are.  We don’t have to school it, because we ARE it. 

We homeschool because of specific disabilities that we can address better at home.  We homeschool because we can learn what we want when we want.  We homeschool because we LOVE spending time together.  We homeschool simply because it works for us.

So I am a person of faith, not homeschooling for religious reasons, using a secular curriculum.  Does that make me a secular homeschooler? 

What do you think is the definition of a secular homeschooler?  How about sharing your thoughts in the comments section. Remember, every comment on Topsy-Techie this month gets you an automatic entry into the HP Printer giveaway!!


15 Responses

  1. I think we’re very similar.

    We too have faith, but don’t wield it around like a Billy Stick smacking people over the head with it all day and all night.

    We too have disabilities in our household that made public or even private school an impossible task.

    We too use an eclectic mix of secular, Christain, and homemade miscellaneous curriculum.

    Oh, and I was born into/chosen/blessed with/cursed with a sexuality that gotten me kicked out of nearly every church I’ve tried to attend. But I’m not bitter, LOL.

    So . . . I’d say that I’m a secular homeschooler. 😉

    Tell me if that website doesn’t fix for you. I’ll email the site owner for you.

  2. That’s an interesting question that we ask ourselves a lot. Your website has always been so encouraging to us. Like you we have faith, but that’s not why we are homeschooling. Speacial needs made us realize it was a wise choice for our child. And finding a good fit for a group to socialize with is tough. I like Mom #1’s comment about billy smacking people over the head with faith. I run and hide when I see that coming out. There’s no way I’m living up to the unrealistic expection that goes with that. We pick and choose curriculum that works for us and it’s not based on religion. It’s based on is it a good curriculum, will it work for my child and will it drive me insane or not. So I guess I’ve come to the realization that I’m more comfortable with the secular side as long as they don’t toss me out if Newsboys are playing in the background. 😀

  3. You got locked out, like, for a reason, or randomly? Anyway, to me a secular homeschooler is someone who keeps religion seperate from their schooling. But, I’m not one whose going to arugue with someone who calls themself a secular homechooler, unless they happen to be preaching to me at the time.

  4. Secular is just one more way of defining homeschoolers and I guess it fits us in a lopsided sort of way. We do not homeschool for religious reasons, we homeschool because the public school system could not meet the academic needs of our son. We homeschool because we have a child whose learning style runs against the grain of left-brained sequential teachers. We homeschool so that Owen can follow his interests, without artificial timetables and constraints. We do however explore all faiths in our homeschooling. Last Year Owen and I did a unit on Hanukkah and the Jewish faith and this year we will explore Buddhism. I want him to have a cursory knowledge of all religions so that he can make an informed choice as an adult.

  5. “Other than having morning prayer together out of the Book of Common Prayer each morning, our faith isn’t something I feel the need to “school.” We live it. We discuss it. We disagree on it sometimes. But it is just part of who we are. We don’t have to school it, because we ARE it.

    Wow that is so me and i never even looked at it like that. Thank you for posting this and now when people ask i can say We live it so i don’t have feel i need to school it.

  6. As far as I’m concerned you are a secular homeschooler – your reasons have nothing to do with your religion and your reasons for homeschooling is not an effort to keep your kids from the materials that public schools use.

  7. Mom #1 – I knew we were kindred spirits (unfortunately, I’m the annoying one that you call the priest in for)

    Jan – the whole “finding a group to socialize with” is a real kicker for us as well. We march to such a different beat that both groups start holding their ears when we come around

    HJdong – I’m hoping it was random, or else I can add one more notch into my “nobody accepts me” belt of paranoia

    Tara – – Amen sister! I have a right-brained visual learner who would have such a hard time in the left-brained school environment!

    Micki – Homeschooling is such an organic way of life for us that everything we DO is homeschooling in some way or other, so our faith can’t help but fall in place as well

    Meg – Well, if someone disagrees with me if I call myself that, is it ok to send them to you to back me up then??? 😉

  8. Well, let’s just say that I don’t differentiate between secular or non-secular homeschooling. Bottom line, I’ve found, is that folks who homeschool do it for a wide variety of reasons–mostly that the schools just didn’t offer what they wanted or needed. Having said that, lots of folks think that to homeschool you must have some strong ideological reasons (like religious beliefs or an anti-public school sentiment). We homeschool because our son has so many competing neurological issues that he can’t survive in a classroom right now. We maintain a healthy working relationship with the school district (& an IEP). Why do we homeschool? Because it’s the best option right now. Who can say what the future will bring. To be honest, if he could get to a point of being able to do well in a school environment, I’d say “hooray” for us!

  9. Thank you for verbalizing this issue. I must be a secular homeschooler too because my faith is not the driving force behind our homeschool. We do it for the freedom to educate according to our interests. And like you, we just don’t fit into the typical homeschool groups–they usually are completely faith-based or antifaith-based.

    But I do think the tide is turning. I think there are a lot more people out there like us than we realize. Educating children according to their unique makeup is the only way to educate–even the professionals will tell you that–but in the big box educational system, it’s impossible. We are very fortunate to have the freedom to create the best educational environments for our kids.

    I love how you have done just that for your family.

  10. Definitely a secular homeschooler here. My faith isn’t on stable ground right now but even back when I was a church-going Anglican I couldn’t call myself a Christian homeschooler. I never homeschooled for religious reasons and could never buy any of the “Christian” curriculum that so many Christian homeschoolers seemed to love.

  11. Another secular homeschooler here. Your definition pretty much nailed it on the head. Being a secular homeschooler doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an atheist or non-religious (although it can). We are Jewish and we homeschool but we are not “Jewish homeschoolers” per se. We do discuss and celebrate our religion, but we don’t have religious study as part of our homeschooling. Our reasons for homeschooling have nothing to do with religion, and I am a big-time supporter of the separation of church and state. I strongly believe there is no place for sanctioned prayer in public school, or the teaching of creationism as science. I do use a Christian curriculum, but I secularize it. I chose it *in spite of* the fact that it is a religious curriculum, not *because of* that fact.

  12. I would love to home school just to keep my daughter safer (my youngest that is), the world is so cruel and the kids in the Big Schools, just keep getting worst.

  13. I loved all the responses on this post! This is a subject I will definitely have to return to at some point in the near future. Oh, and where’smyangels – – I now appoint you as position of vicarious homeschooler. Come over and hang with us h-schoolers anytime!!

  14. […] In Print…So It Must Be True Earlier this month, I asked the question “What is a secular homeschooler?”  I wanted to see if I fit in with that classification of homeschoolers based on our […]

  15. We are secular homeschoolers. We chose to homeschool to keep our children away from the violence, the bullying, the peer pressure, the lack of well rounded education, the FCAT test. I have a great all inclusive homeschool support group. The only active one in my area. The other active group is religious and it is HUGE.

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