This was supposed to go out for Secular Thursday but it's late as I forgot to hit publish...
I was recently asked advice on curriculum from a potential homeschooler. As I thought about what products I could recommend (either to use or to stay away from - I give annotated advice in great detail, which will not surprise anyone reading this blog), I wondered about the ages of the kids, grade levels, whether or not there were any learning differences... all the things that would make a big difference in terms of effectiveness for the child. But I also found myself wondering if the homeschooler prefers secular or Christian materials. This is not to be mistaken with whether or not the homeschooler is religious or non-religious. I know Christians and Jews that are secular homeschoolers, and I know atheists that use materials with heavy religious content. And in wondering about this, I began to ponder how much my attitude about finding secular curriculum has changed. I used to feel aggravated and annoyed by the lack of secular options. I'm pleased to say, however, that in recent years, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the amount of choice I've found.
So what has caused this change for me?
I think much of this has to do with my circle of homeschoolers. When I started homeschooling, the majority of people I knew and spent time with, the people I talked over curriculum choices and homeschooling dilemmas, were Christian-content homeschoolers. I felt like every option seemed to be bible-based. Now that I've changed my circle, I no longer even consider options that don't mesh with my homeschool philosophy - and it's opened my eyes to a huge world of choices and options. Despite the fact that I live in an area that is by nature both heavily conservative and Christian, and thus most homeschoolers are as well, I've managed to create an atmosphere of learning in our home that reflects our lifestyle and our beliefs. Now, finding a support group that mirrors that has yet to happen. I still find it challenging to find extra-curricular homeschool activities that don't involve religion. However, I believe that if I embrace this arena as I did homeschool curriculum and focus my energy on options that do work rather than wasting time being angry over options that don't, I may find that there is more out there than I realized.
It's kind of nice - being an optimistic secular homeschooler for a change. :)