Thursday, August 5, 2010

Secular Thursday

I just found out about a terrific program in my area:  a performing arts school specifically designed for home school families. The school offers dance, music, voice and theater. Their mission is to develop students not just artistically but holistically - working with the whole person rather than just learning a dance move.  The school even offers lyrical dance, something quite hard to find in my (rural) area. The director is waiving registration for the month of August, and the sibling discount is amazing (key factor for a mom of four).

And it is totally faith-based.

I have no problem with faith. But integrating Christianity into the dance program just won't work for my family. I had been holding out hope that maybe the school was like the YMCA - a Christian organization, but no dogma in the aerobics classes. I was so disappointed. For myself. I am actually quite impressed that such a school exists in my area. And I give the founders and teachers loads of credit for starting a performing arts school for homeschoolers. I'm sure that they are caring people and that the classes are wonderful. If you are a conservative Christian.

If I lived in an urban setting, I know finding programs that are (a) for homeschoolers and (b) secular wouldn't be as much of a challenge, and lately I've been lamenting our choice to leave an area full of both (a) and (b).  But where I currently live, homeschool offerings exist, but are not (by comparison to our previous location) exactly plentiful. And finding a secular homeschool group or program or park day is very rare. The programs through the "local" nature center are secular (it takes me 45 - 60 minutes to get there - is that local?). As are the classes at the community college (though having personally taken some classes there, I can say firsthand that depending on the instructor, this assertion may not be true).  My experiences with local park days started out fairly secular, but as the group grew so did the amount of witnessing and religious intolerance.  We stopped going.

The point of my post is to simply say that life as a homeschooler in a rural community would be much simpler if I were not a secular homeschooler. I can't change who I am, and I certainly don't want to change others. But man, that performing arts school looked so good!!

4 comments:

  1. I feel your pain. We are conservative non-Christian home schoolers.

    ..somtimes I wonder how it was we ended up on opposite ends of BOTH spectrum - but then again we tend to be a bit chaotic - so I guess it kind of makes sense.

    Regardless people try to change us from BOTH sides this way - the conservatives try to make us Christian and the non-Christians say we are too conservative! Fun Fun FUN!

    Regardless I really wish people would be more tolerant of religions AND political beliefs. "Disagreeing" is what makes life what it is! It'd be boring if we were all the same!

    Good luck with the dance lessons though.

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  2. We are a liberal Christian family and also live in a very rural area. We started homeschooling this past year and one reason I waited so long was exactly what your post addresses and what we are experiencing...where do we turn for connections with other like minded souls? Where can I meet moms who are considering curriculum I might actually use and not look at me as if I am a heathen? It is a daily struggle and I have yet to find any real buddies we can hang with or programs we can enroll in that would work well for us.

    I guess we just keep trying...

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  3. Ugh - that stinks. We combat the faith-based groups with our own (very small - very, very small) secular group. There's only a handful of us, but we're growing! Still, we're not enough of the majority to be able to offer something like that. I hate that my kids have to miss out on fun and/or educational 'extras' because of the faith thing. Sorry yours do, too :(
    ~h

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  4. Thank you all!! I guess it's like my dad always said - life is hard. ;) I appreciate your comments and your empathy, and I extend mine to you as well!! I think being on the fringe is hard no matter what. Thanks guys!!

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