Searching for Alternatives

Yesterday, I was doing some research online about secular homeschooling.  You see, we aren’t a religious family and I have, at times, found it challenging to find curriculum that isn’t religious in nature.  A lot of what I find is laced in some way with scripture.  Yes, my friends, even math can be related somehow with the glory of God.  This is generally fine.  I am not anti-God or anything and we can choose to read the scripture or not.  I do, however, have to be careful when it comes to science.  We come from an evolutionist’s perspective while the Christian perspective is, of course, Creation. 

I don’t know the actual statistics on this (and don’t care enough to check it out) but in my own personal experience the majority of homeschoolers are religious, though it may not be their motivating reason.  So it makes sense that much of the curricula designed for homeschoolers is Christian based. 

Okay, I just realized that I totally put homeschoolers in a big fat stereotypical box.  Yikes – didn’t meant to do that.  Because, well, I don’t fit into that box.  And if I don’t fit in it that must mean there are others that don’t either, right?  I should say, instead, that most homeschool curriculum I find is religious.  And most of the homeschool support groups are religious.  And most of the school boards for homeschoolers are religious.  And most of the conferences are religious.  And this ultimately means that the families I meet and associate with are religious.  And that’s okay!  They’re actually nice people when you get to know them.  😉 LOL  And they can take a joke, which is why we can be friends.  And those that are my friends are lovely open-minded people.  At least to my face.  He he he. Yes, that was another joke.  (I hope I still have some friends left at the end of this post)

What I’ve discovered at this point is that I’m going to have to piece together and build my own course of studies for Science.  I was kind of planning something along these lines anyway.  Instead of purchasing something for the entire year, I’ll find projects and books relating specifically to what the kids are interested in at the time.  For example, R is currently asking questions about the weather so I think we’ll do a unit about that in the upcoming weeks.  But when we get to the topic of geology I’ll just have to be more discerning about where I get my materials.

By the way, I’m sure I don’t have to write this but I will anyway:  I am respectful of the fact that everyone has their own views.  I know that a couple of you who read my blog are Christian and teach Creationism.  This post was not meant as a slight in any way to your beliefs.  I’m just writing about my own homeschool experience and don’t presume to be an expert on any of this.  Okay?  Okay.

During my search I found this list through this site.  I think it’s humerous.  It could perhaps, possibly, may be, come off as a teeny, weeny, puny, just slighly bit defensive.  I’m posting it because I think it’s FUNNY.  I welcome any and all questions about homeschooling so don’t let it scare ya off.  😀 There are similar lists out there but this one is pretty thorough.

The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List

By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it’s legal. If it is — and it is — it’s insulting to imply that we’re criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words “socialize” and “socialization” mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you’re talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we’ve got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don’t assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a “reality” show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You’re probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you’ve ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don’t look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they’re in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we’re doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we’re religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

PS – added by me – Stop assuming that if we’re not religious we can’t teach our children how to be people of good morals and character.

10 We didn’t go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn’t have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don’t need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can’t teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there’s a reason I’m so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid’s only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he’d learn in school, please understand that you’re calling me an idiot. Don’t act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word “home” is right there in “homeschool,” we never leave the house. We’re the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it’s crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word “school” is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we’re into the “school” side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don’t have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, “But what about the Prom?” Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don’t get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I’m one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don’t ask my kid if she wouldn’t rather go to school unless you don’t mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn’t rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, “Oh, I could never homeschool!” Even if you think it’s some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you’re horrified. One of these days, I won’t bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you’re allowed to ask how we’ll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can’t, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn’t possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child’s teacher as well as her parent. I don’t see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he’s homeschooled. It’s not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she’s homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won’t get because they don’t go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here’s a thought: If you can’t say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!


About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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8 Responses to Searching for Alternatives

  1. Hi there! I’m a secular homeschooling mom, too. I know what you mean about finding good, secular curriculum in the scientific area. Thankfully, there seems to be more and more of it every year. Love the list. I had forgotten about it.

  2. Heidi says:

    Yikes! I think I broke LOTS of those rules on that list. But only to educate myself. Really!!

    I’m sure it must be frustrating to see such a lack of curriculum out there that would suit your needs. I think you are right, there are many people out there who homeschool for religious reasons, thus the stereotype. As it becomes more common, perhaps that stereotype will end.

    Opend mind – we all just need to keep an open mind. (My new mantra)

  3. robinellablog says:

    Debbie, I’m with you. I tend to go on boards for unschoolers. Not so many religious folks in there. Lots of great resources. We are using NOEO Chem I this year. I’m not really following their schedule because we like to read books in one sitting rather than 3 pages today, 5 tomorrow, etc. But lots and lots of hands on experiments and notebooking. No bible references so far. They talk about that in the FAQS.

    Also R.E.A.L Science 4 kids is secular. The course are only 10 weeks each, but they could give you jumping off points to fill with unit studies and observations.

  4. Dawn says:

    I love that list. I think it is hilarious and it would be interesting to one day use one of those lines in real life. I wouldn’t do it you know, because I am just one of those really nice people who has an open mind and I try to keep my mouth shut when people ask annoying questions about socialization.

  5. Melanie says:

    Hia Debs, oh la I think I broke a good half of the list! There are no depths to which my ignorance doesn’t plunge! 🙂

    Here in the UK all science teaching is evolutionary based -think it has been since “Origin of Species” (published 1859) by Darwin was accepted. Would any English based homeschooling science site help? To a UK mind, not teaching science this way is doing your child a dis-service in the wider world. I’m stopping now before I get in deep trouble with stereo types. LOL

  6. Joy T. says:

    I hope you find what you’re looking for. I bet it can be tough. That list cracks me up. I’d say who ever made it up needs to get the stick out of their….well never mind.

    All I’ll say on this subject is since meeting you? I say you give homeschoolers a fantastic name.

  7. Emma says:

    I`m pretty sure I`ve said 17 to both you and Dawn. I don`t think I say Ì could never homeschool` in a horror filled way, but to me it is just a reality that one or both of my older children would be murdered and I would be in jail.

    Since both of my kids are in Catholic school, I find I do have issues with some of the things they are taught. When they did sex ed, in which we were told they would be taught according to Catholic values, I had to call the school and make sure they wouldn`t be told it was wrong to be gay.

    As for the evolution vs. creation, Grade 7 science this year taught evolution.

  8. Amanda says:

    I was homeschooled for 5 years, and went into a public school system in highschool. We were taught Creation instead of evolution but once I got to highschool they taught evolution. All of our curriculum was religous based so I can’t help you much with the curriculum you’re looking for, sorry. Wish I could be of more help! Everyone is different and has the freedom to believe in whatever they want, whether it be evolution or creation, so no hard feelings here 🙂

    #3 is so true. I remember how people would always ask if we ever got out of the house and how we could possibly have friends and social activities as homeschoolers. They were wrong. We were constantly doing things. Field trips, neighborhood activities, sports, church functions, etc…I think people have the wrong view of homeschooling.

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