Monday, May 10, 2010

Secular Homeschooling

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
- Dalai Lama

When we made the decision to homeschool, we instantly knew we would be secular homeschoolers. We are spiritual individuals, but religion was not the sole reason for our decision.  I teach my children about matters of faith as they come up in regular teachable moments, when answering their questions, and whenever else we feel it is appropriate. I don't feel the need to buy designated Christian materials for academic subjects, nor do I believe my kids need to see a Bible verse on every page of their spelling book to understand spelling or the Bible. After all, if I need to find the answer to a sewing question, I'm not going to limit myself to tracking down a sewing book or website that quotes the Bible before answering my question. Instead, I'll look for my answer in the easiest and most accurate source I can find. We learn about the Bible from the Bible, and we learn other subjects from the best possible sources I can find.

Please don't think this means I am opposed to all Christian materials.  I do think there are some wonderful ones out there that maybe don't fit our needs at the moment, and I have had great success in teaching with them in classrooms in the past.  In fact, we may add some to our studies later as the kids get older and our needs change.  As always, we ask "What's best for my kids, right now?"

We do specifically address religion in our history lessons for a couple of reasons. First, I don't see how you can teach history without addressing world religions. Second, I believe knowledge and understanding facilitate kindness and compassion, values you can't teach in a vacuum.  So maybe instead of telling people we are secular homeschoolers, we should instead address the issue by answering that we are Kindness Homeschoolers.