Full disclosure: I am a Christian and I do believe that I need to expose my children to Christian ideals, etc., but I am not a big fan of Christian textbooks. I personally prefer to use secular textbooks and insert any religous information that I feel necessary as I teach. Most Christian based textbooks tend to lean heavily on the traditions of one or more of the mainline denominations and as we are non-denominational, they don’t really apply to our worldview. However, each family should do as it sees fit.
I really hesitated to write this post. I don’t talk about my religon online much. I also don’t talk politics online much. I just don’t see the point of arguing about things and that seems to be exactly what happens with either of these subjects. Like most parents, I teach my children what my husband and I believe. Unlike some parents, we DO tend to discuss other points of views and other cultures. We have decided to present all of the information to our kids and allow them to make their own decisions. Our decision to homeschool wasn’t based primarily on religion. We tended to look at academic rigor and proper socialization as the primary factors that brought us to homeschool. But, for other families, this was a primary consideration and it is for these families that I decided to include this topic.
Our youngest son is really interested in philosophy and politics and world events so this is easy to digest for him. When world events involve different countries, we can discuss the major religons and philosophies of the area and how they might be affecting the events that are unfolding. We also discuss how our beliefs (our personal bias) might affect how we view them also. However, our oldest son is special needs and while he understands some of the information, he isn’t interested and he balks at the discussions. His world is very black and white. There is no room for nuance in his understanding. So we give him as much as he can handle. Wish we could do more, but all we can do is expose him to the information and hope it sinks in.
But, our personal beliefs aside, many families have chosen to homeschool for religous reasons. In fact, during the 1980s one of the first families to formally homeschool did so because they wanted to include religous education in their children’s school day. They were Muslim. Many families, representing a myriad of religous and non-religous groups have chosen the homeschooling lifestyle. Honestly, I can’t criticize any of them. They are following their own consciences and doing what they feel is best for their families. More power to ’em!
The media may portray homeschoolers as slack-jawed, ignorant, inbred fools, but truthfully, there are literally thousands of families from every socio-economic group and demographic homeschooling these days. You are almost as likely to find a college educated teacher at home teaching her own children or holding a class or two weekly through a homeschool co-op situation as you will find teaching in a private school.
If you are considering homeschooling and religion is a strong factor for you, remember to evaluate curriculums for both academic rigor as well as religious adherence. There are some out there that can do both, but you have to be picky and persistent to find them. Or, you can use secular textbooks (check for textbook depositories in the White Pages) and discuss applicable religious views when they come up. Either way, be sure to create balance in your child’s studies through including religon, academics, problem solving, time out of doors, socialization, and creativity minded opportunities.
Is religon a primary reason that your famly homeschools?
For more articles in this series:
Why Homeschool? Life Long Learning
Till next time,