Homeschooling is rough, some days its knock down drag out rough. Some days its hard because you found a curriculum you think you love, and then there it is, a bible reference. If you are a secular homeschooler I am guessing this has happened to you. I’m also guessing you have spent hours and hours pouring over social media to find secular groups near you (seriously, pretty sure my google just automatically puts that in for me).
The honest truth is, sometimes there might not be one, and this is especially true if you live anywhere in the Bible Belt. Now technically we don’t live IN the bible belt, we are supposedly too far north; looking at the 7 churches in my town of 3000 makes that a little harder to believe. It’s not that there aren’t secular groups close by, its just that the TWO within 2 hours are both more of a “let your kid run free and gossip” kind of groups, and that really isn’t our style. I’m not even really sure I know what our style is, but if I ever figure that out you guys will be the first to know.
When I first had Kali her dad and I decided we wouldn’t raise her in any religion. When Damian and I got married and had Izzy and Eva we chose to do the same for them, but we added a twist that Kali’s dad agreed with and loved: we want you to STUDY religion, we want you to understand the moral and social implications of as many religions as you can. If you choose to pick one, when you are 18 and have had time to study and understand them, then we will be behind you 100%. I guess I didn’t realize, and maybe especially with Kali here as I was 19, what implications raising our kids without religion would have.
In some cases it means nothing, but in quite a few, it makes for some awkward silences when we had to explain to little Timmy that Kali and Izzy don’t go to church on Sunday….ever, and then Timmy ran and told his parents right in front of Paster Bob that he wants to be like Kali and Izzy because church is boring. When it really hit me though was the other day at our Aldi’s (if you have one, go there and thank me later, if you don’t find out how to get one!). I had finished my shopping, when ahead of me the person checking out handed the cashier a business card and said something about free sign language.
Acting as any sane homeschool mom would, I JUMPED on that and asked her for a card, we talked a bit and I explained this came at a perfect time because I was setting up next years stuff and was wondering how to add sign language in for Izzy. We talked a bit more about homeschool and its trials and everything was going SO well you guys. I was STOKED. I had a new friend, one who understood my struggle.
And then she said it.
“Evolutionism is becoming a religion. Its such a problem, there is no proof in evolution. There is SOUND proof in Creationism though.”
I tried to back out then guys, I really did. I started dropping hints about our recent trip to The Field Museum, and how much we enjoyed our time looking at fossils, and I probably talked too much about that because eventually she said:
“People who aren’t Christian shouldn’t be allowed to homeschool.”
I almost threw up a little, but then came back with
“I’m Liz, a secular homeschooling Pagan. It was great to chat with you but I’m going to get beat my head off this wall instead.”
What the fuck do you say there? I couldn’t even brain. My neurotransmitters actually had to CEASE function for a solid 45 seconds for me to get my composure. What makes this sad is that this is COMMON among the homeschool community everywhere. Why is there an assumption that to homeschool it must be for religious reasons? Can’t there be just a general issue with how public education works? Why do I instantly become a conservative Christian because I homeschool? I think it’s time the world caught up with what is really happening in this community. More and more people are choosing to homeschool for reasons pertaining directly to their child/children’s needs and completely leaving religion out of the decision. More people are unschooling and free range learning, and learning skills for LIFE not for tests.
Being a secular homeschooler where a large section of the homeschool population is religious means we often times have to deal with only being able to find a religious group in our area, which automatically means we are going to hear a prayer AND a list of reasons the bible says this field trip is wrong because science is evil.
Here is my suggestion to you, first find some generalized groups on Facebook, just search ‘Secular Homeschool Groups’ add ‘in (enter your city or cities near you here)’ and that will show events too, so even if you can’t find a group, you might be able to find their events and therefore a person to message and ask for an add. If you can’t find anything you’re willing to travel to, in the general secular groups you find, post and ask if anyone is near you. You might be surprised, in fact I just had coffee Saturday with a lovely woman I met through a general secular group. If you can’t find anyone, make a group yourself!! Chances are, if you are looking, someone else is too and is probably suffering their way through a field trip to the planetarium with 15 uber religious moms complaining about how they cant believe they have to include this “junk” in their curriculum.
That’s all for now, thanks for hanging out!!