I am a secular homeschooler. That being said, religion is all over our homeschool - we discuss all different religions, non-religions, points of view, etc. This happens when we do history, literature, social studies, poetry, art, and so on. This week we've been reading myths the book An Illustrated Treasury of Read-Aloud Myths and Legends. I don't have a separate subject called "religion." But I still thought we covered it pretty well.
Until last night when my 6-year-old came to me with her bedtime reading and needed help with a few words. She is reading a biography of Sojourner Truth and came to the words "Methodist" and "religion." She could read Methodist, but had no idea what it meant. Not surprising. I told her it was a type of Christian. She raised and eyebrow and said, "Oh. Which gods do those Christians believe in again?"
Yikes. Okay, okay. She is six and we have been reading a LOT of mythology. No biggie. I reminded her they believe in one god. To which she replied, "Oooohhh! Okay - like the Jewish people." Good girl! She remembered.
Then she goes, "What is that word again?" (pointing to "religion"). "Religion," I answer. She then says, to my disbelief, "Hmmm. What is religion? What is that"
Doesn't this come up in our house all the time? Oh boy. I feel like we talk about religion, religious views, religious beliefs and such every day. For Pete's sake we go to a UU fellowship and I know that R.E. covers many, many religions because I am one of the teachers! I felt a bit of relief that she didn't ask me this question in front of the moms at our next homeschool event (although it almost would have been worth it for the reactions).
Obviously I didn't say any of this to her. I answered her question and she went on her way. And then I thought about it: (A) she is six; (B) "religion" is a big concept and a strange word; (C) learning about religion doesn't mean learning the word religion; and (D) I know many adults that I'm pretty sure don't understand what religion is - they believe it means Christian.
Than again, maybe we're just more secular than I realized...