Secular Thursday: From the other side — a religious homeschooler weighs in
[Note from Smrt Mama: My dear friend The Mama from Concordia Classical Academy is doing me a very special Secular Thursday favor by guest blogging this wonderful post about how religious homeschoolers view secular homeschooling. I hope you'll appreciate her unique insight into the differences between our worlds as much as I do.]
Most of you regular Smrt Mama readers don’t know me, so let me first introduce myself. I’m the Mama, mother of three children: Sweet Pea, 6, Little Bird, almost 3, and Moose, 7 weeks. My elder two are girls and the baby is our first boy.
I live in the northern part of Minnesota in a little town that isn’t near very much. Except woods. Remember reading Little House in the Big Woods where Laura Ingalls Wilder talks about woods that go for days without end? It’s like that, only not in Wisconsin. Anyway, besides the children which quasi-qualify me to blather on about homeschooling, I am part of a family that fits neatly into the religious category: I’m married to a conservative pastor, we lead a pretty traditional family life, we dress modestly, and we teach religion as part of our day. I’m probably the stereotype that you now can picture in your mind! Smrt Mama told me that it’d be interesting to see how religious homeschoolers view the others–the seculars. I decided to take it upon myself to speak for a diverse, divergent community, so here it goes!*
Since the most common question homeschoolers seem to get pounded with by others is about the s-word (socialization, or the lack thereof) I thought I’d start with how we religious folk view this. You may have noticed the plethora of religious homeschooling groups and co-ops, many of which require a member to sign a belief statement to get into the club. Why? Why keep out people who don’t agree? There’s some differing viewpoints here, and I’ll try to hit on those that come to mind:
When it comes to science, there are three main groups: Those who believe the world was created in about a week, roughly 6,000 years ago, those who believe evolution and creation co-exist in intelligent design, and those who believed this all evolved over a massive amount of time. There’s even debate, from all sides, if all of these views are science, so it’s no surprise that this is an area that there’s some big disagreements. Most religious homeschoolers kind of shake their heads at secular science and how prevalent it is. Some even have apologetics–defense of the faith–as a part of science class or its own subject.
Relaxation and rigor: it’s probably untrue, but there’s a big feeling that some seculars are way too loosey goosey with academics. And that eventually this’ll negatively impact homeschooling for everybody.
Goods news, though: despite the worries about your kids cohabiting and living free and easy, I do think most religious homeschoolers think secularly homeschooled kids will shake out better then their publically schooled peers.
I will say that most of my current homeschool chattering is with secular folks who’ve chosen a similar academic path for their schooling. By circumstance, most of my friends are of a reiligious bent similar to my own. I think both groups could have a lot to share…if we could all just play nice in the sand box. And, you know, do things my way.
*I know there are religious homeschoolers who share none of my viewpoints or are deeply offended by my sentiments here. To you: I am deeply, sincerely sorry!