Secular Homeschool

Chat about a topic supported by books, TED Talks, podcasts, personal experience, philosophies of mankind mingled with humor (shout out to IOT), and maybe we’ll even do a google hangout or conference call once a month.
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Snowdrop
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Secular Homeschool

Post by Snowdrop » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:29 pm

Does anyone on this board homeschool? I'm starting this fall and have been struggling to find a truly secular method that fits my family. I don't believe that children need to have religion in their everyday studies in order to become moral, happy, contributing members of society. I also don't believe that a system of education that emphasizes memorization for test taking breeds a love for learning.

A few of the methods that I find attractive but are just not quite a fit for me are Five in a Row(fiar), Classical Conversations, and the Charlotte Mason approach. The thing that detracts from all of these is that they emphasize incorporating the Bible into the rest of the curriculum. I'm not okay with that, nor am I entirely convinced that using one method is the way to go.

I do think that memorization in some subjects is good. I like the idea of all of the subjects building on each other (fiar). I also like the idea of making learning personal and incorporating literature as a way to facilitate this (Mason). Above all, I believe that my children are humans who need to know how to ask and answer their own questions. I want them to feel a deep connection to humanity and the world around them as a result of their schooling.

What have homeschoolers here found works for them? Do you know of any good non-religious homeschool boards?

Thanks!
I don't believe we were born to be sheep in a flock
To pantomime prayers with the hands of a clock
- Paul Simon

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BriansThoughtMirror
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by BriansThoughtMirror » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:17 pm

I want to hear about whatever you try! My kid is too young for school still, so I have time to watch experiments play out.
Reflections From Brian's Brain
https://briansthoughtmirror.wordpress.com/

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Emower
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by Emower » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:59 pm

I was homeschooled my whole life. First classroom experience was in college. Mom just bought the christian produced stuff and told us to ignore the religious stuff in them. Granted she told us that we knew better...

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Snowdrop
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by Snowdrop » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:18 pm

Sorry for being slow in logging back in! I think I've figured out (most of) my curriculum for this coming semester. My local Classical Conversations group is unofficial, meaning I won't have to sign a statement of belief in order to participate, so I'm giving that a shot. Otherwise, I have a math series that I should be able to keep using all the way through high school as well as a few reading methods that have sound science behind their teaching methods. I'll be putting together my own curriculum using multiple sources. Feel free to message me if you'd like specifics!

Emower, is there anything that stands out to you that you either loved or hated about having been homeschooled? I was homeschooled for high school which is an entirely different experience from having that be the standard from day one. I'm planning to treat the memorized biblical verses in Classical Conversations as studying local culture, however, my main concern with Christian based curriculum is the subtle misogyny and sense of cultural superiority that permeates most texts. Though I could be judging overly harshly.
I don't believe we were born to be sheep in a flock
To pantomime prayers with the hands of a clock
- Paul Simon

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MerrieMiss
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by MerrieMiss » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:01 pm

I never noticed this post before. I’m homeschooling my kids and I’m not using any curriculum at all. To me, life is about learning, and particularly at young ages, I don’t see any reason to tie myself to one particular kind of philosophy or curriculum, and most parents I know drop their curriculum or modify it eventually. I consider myself a very eclectic homeschooler, with leanings toward unschooling (although I like unschooling better in theory than in practice from my experiences meeting actual unschoolers). In fact, my desire to homeschool was in some ways a result of my faith crisis.

So far as reading goes I use the phonogram chart from the Spalding method (Or Riggs) and it’s worked so far. I tried the 100 Easy Lessons, and while my kid liked it, it was annoying in many ways and unhelpful. I felt like it complicated something that really isn't that hard. That was my only venture into actual curriculum.

While I haven’t been bothered with finding curriculum, I’ve had difficulty finding others in the community. I live in a very diverse city where homeschooling isn’t uncommon and is done for many different people and for various reasons. I joined facebook so I could meet up with different homeschoolers. I belong to a secular homeschooling group (with hundreds of members), among others.

My difficulty in finding other people who homeschool is met by the fact that so many people homeschool for so many different reasons, and I don’t seem to be able to find who the moderate homeschoolers are. Many of the secular homeschoolers I know are all math and science (no literature or history) and are very anti-religion, not just non-religious. I know a lot of very religious homeschoolers, various religions. Right wing homeschoolers. Anti-vaxxer homeschoolers. Social Justice Warrior homeschoolers. People who homeschool because of severe learning disabilities and illnesses. The religious groups seem the most organized. I may try a religious group this fall that says it is Christian, but secular learners are welcome (whatever that means).

I find it is very difficult to find another mom I get along with personality-wise, with kids similar ages and interests, close by (20-30 minutes) who isn’t a nut job. Of course, maybe they all think I’m crazy!

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MerrieMiss
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by MerrieMiss » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:04 pm

Emower wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:59 pm
I was homeschooled my whole life. First classroom experience was in college. Mom just bought the christian produced stuff and told us to ignore the religious stuff in them. Granted she told us that we knew better...
I'd be interested to hear more about your experience, and anyone else who has experience either homeschooling or being homeschooled. I'm extremely worried I'm harming my kids socially - mostly because I was raised by two parents who are socially odd, and while I don't think public school does a great job with sociability, I worry I'm going to transfer my social anxiety to my kids. All in all though, I think homeschool is the best choice for my kids.

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Emower
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by Emower » Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:53 pm

I have some mixed feelings on homeschooling. Mom did it as a response to horrible New Mexico schools. Gang violence, poor academics, drugs, sex etc. I definitely had 0 opportunity to be involved in any of that. I grew up quite sheltered and naive, and frankly for that I am grateful. It made my entry into the young adult world pretty awkward and strewn with weird interactions, but all in all it was worth it I think. BUT, there are three reasons that I was not as weird as all the other homeschoolers I knew.
1. Mom and Dad were not weird. They homeschooled because they didnt like the alternative, and it was 20 minutes to the bus stop and thats when the road was not muddy.
2. I had 2 brothers who were also homeschooled. The oldest brother had gone through 5th or 6th grade and was firmly entrenched in the "being cool" culture. So he was the leaven in the bread so to speak. We modeled ourselves after him, and he wanted to be with it socially, so we got a little by default.
3. I hate to say it but the church provided a ton of social development opportunities. Not to say you cannot get it elsewhere, but its going to require some more effort. Church gave me public speaking opportunities, leadership opportunities, taking direction/orders opportunities, conflict resolution at Wednesday night mutual opportunities, doing things you dont want to do opportunities, and a whole bunch of other social interaction opportunities. You can get these other places, and I would strongly recommend doing that. 4-H is a good one, FFA is another I am aware of. But you got to give them something where you are not in the picture.

Academically I did fine. Mom was pretty involved until I was 14 and my sister was born like 12 or 13 weeks early. After that she pretty much was occupied and I did it on my own. Some things suffered, Math mainly. But I knew how to teach myself and that got me through a Masters degree in a science field. Thats what I feel homeschool does best. It teaches kids how to figure it out on their own. It should anyway. That is something public school doesnt do well.

I think the best of both worlds would be to do some kind of coop where one parent will teach a group of kids something and a different parent will teach something else depending on what they are good at. I dont know where to find this sort of thing though.
I worry I'm going to transfer my social anxiety to my kids.
I'm not going to lie, that is a common theme I see with homeschooling kids. My younger sister (14 yrs younger), has also been homeschooled. But she has had to do it without any siblings. She is like a little version of my Mother. All I can suggest is to get them out in situations where they have to act on their own without you. 4-H and church were our outlets.
is there anything that stands out to you that you either loved or hated about having been homeschooled?
I hated feeling like I didnt measure up to my friends at church. They would all talk and commiserate over pre-calc homework, and I was still working on algebra at home and could not participate in those types of discussions and bondings. There was such a big divide between us. Little did I know that it would all even out in college. They werent as smart as I thought they were, but I didnt know that at the time.
Related to that was the lack of a close friendship. I never had a close friend growing up. Brothers didnt count for me at the time. I was lonely for all of my childhood and most of my teenage years. I worked for my uncle later in my teens earning money for my mission and we became great friends, and the mission was a HUGE experience as far as trying to make friends goes. I still have great friendships from my mission. But as far as my childhood goes, I didnt have a friend. There were two neighbor boys I would play with, but there is only so much we had in common. This plays into how fast I got married after I got home from the mission. I was lonely.
I also hated having to have dad explain math to me. Mom was terrible at math, and Dad was really good. But Dad stunk as a teacher and would often make me cry when I didnt get it. This may not be unique to homeschooling, but when I think about what I didnt like about school it stands out.

I LOVED all the free time I had. Schoolwork took maybe 2-3 hours per day? We lived in the booneys and after that I would go for hikes, play outside, work at the ranches and farms around, ride horses all over the place, raise animals and just generally have fun.
We would often go into Albuquerque or Santa Fe and do different things. It always felt special because we were the only ones at the museum because it was 10 in the morning. The swimming pool was never busy when we were there. Mom would try pretty hard in the early years to get us out to see stuff whether it was a museum, fossil hunting in the mountains, sketching nature scenes, going with Dad to work, etc. The flexibility was wonderful.

Mom would create her own curriculum for us in the beginning. She would decide what we needed, research the books and supplies she wanted, then buy it all and give it to us on a day we called "homeschool Christmas." That was always a cool day, we made it a big event with a fancy dinner and stuff. We did Saxon math, which sucked. I can see know that it was a crappy curriculum. English typically was some aBeka book. Towards the end she was having us read out of the great book collection (Plato, Aristotle, Kant...) and having us essay on them. Reading was always the biggest part of school for us. We went to the library once per week and came home with stacks of books each. I would spend whole days reading and have to catch up on other stuff. Or not depending if I could slip it by mom. We were quite nerdy.

All in all it was great. Some drawbacks, some positives. It worked for us pretty well. I am not homeschooling my kids. I dont think my wife is up for it. But she loves the thought of creating curriculum for the kids.

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Emower
Posts: 1017
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Location: Carson City

Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by Emower » Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:57 pm

Emower wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:53 pm
I have some mixed feelings on homeschooling. Mom did it as a response to horrible New Mexico schools. Gang violence, poor academics, drugs, sex etc. I definitely had 0 opportunity to be involved in any of that. I grew up quite sheltered and naive, and frankly for that I am grateful. It made my entry into the young adult world pretty awkward and strewn with weird interactions, but all in all it was worth it I think. BUT, there are three reasons that I was not as weird as all the other homeschoolers I knew.
1. Mom and Dad were not weird. They homeschooled because they didnt like the alternative, and it was 20 minutes to the bus stop and thats when the road was not muddy.
2. I had 2 brothers who were also homeschooled. The oldest brother had gone through 5th or 6th grade and was firmly entrenched in the "being cool" culture. So he was the leaven in the bread so to speak. We modeled ourselves after him, and he wanted to be with it socially, so we got a little by default.
3. I hate to say it but the church provided a ton of social development opportunities. Not to say you cannot get it elsewhere, but its going to require some more effort. Church gave me public speaking opportunities, leadership opportunities, taking direction/orders opportunities, conflict resolution at Wednesday night mutual opportunities, doing things you dont want to do opportunities, and a whole bunch of other social interaction opportunities. You can get these other places, and I would strongly recommend doing that. 4-H is a good one, FFA is another I am aware of. But you got to give them something where you are not in the picture.

Academically I did fine. Mom was pretty involved until I was 14 and my sister was born like 12 or 13 weeks early. After that she pretty much was occupied and I did it on my own. Some things suffered, Math mainly. But I knew how to teach myself and that got me through a Masters degree in a science field. Thats what I feel homeschool does best. It teaches kids how to figure it out on their own. It should anyway. That is something public school doesnt do well.

I think the best of both worlds would be to do some kind of coop where one parent will teach a group of kids something and a different parent will teach something else depending on what they are good at. I dont know where to find this sort of thing though.
MerrieMiss wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:04 pm
I worry I'm going to transfer my social anxiety to my kids. All in all though, I think homeschool is the best choice for my kids.
I'm not going to lie, that is a common theme I see with homeschooling kids. My younger sister (14 yrs younger), has also been homeschooled. But she has had to do it without any siblings. She is like a little version of my Mother. All I can suggest is to get them out in situations where they have to act on their own without you. 4-H and church were our outlets.

Snowdrop wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:18 pm
Emower, is there anything that stands out to you that you either loved or hated about having been homeschooled?
I hated feeling like I didnt measure up to my friends at church. They would all talk and commiserate over pre-calc homework, and I was still working on algebra at home and could not participate in those types of discussions and bondings. There was such a big divide between us. Little did I know that it would all even out in college. They werent as smart as I thought they were, but I didnt know that at the time.
Related to that was the lack of a close friendship. I never had a close friend growing up. Brothers didnt count for me at the time. I was lonely for all of my childhood and most of my teenage years. I worked for my uncle later in my teens earning money for my mission and we became great friends, and the mission was a HUGE experience as far as trying to make friends goes. I still have great friendships from my mission. But as far as my childhood goes, I didnt have a friend. There were two neighbor boys I would play with, but there is only so much we had in common. This plays into how fast I got married after I got home from the mission. I was lonely.
I also hated having to have dad explain math to me. Mom was terrible at math, and Dad was really good. But Dad stunk as a teacher and would often make me cry when I didnt get it. This may not be unique to homeschooling, but when I think about what I didnt like about school it stands out.

I LOVED all the free time I had. Schoolwork took maybe 2-3 hours per day? We lived in the booneys and after that I would go for hikes, play outside, work at the ranches and farms around, ride horses all over the place, raise animals and just generally have fun.
We would often go into Albuquerque or Santa Fe and do different things. It always felt special because we were the only ones at the museum because it was 10 in the morning. The swimming pool was never busy when we were there. Mom would try pretty hard in the early years to get us out to see stuff whether it was a museum, fossil hunting in the mountains, sketching nature scenes, going with Dad to work, etc. The flexibility was wonderful.

Mom would create her own curriculum for us in the beginning. She would decide what we needed, research the books and supplies she wanted, then buy it all and give it to us on a day we called "homeschool Christmas." That was always a cool day, we made it a big event with a fancy dinner and stuff. We did Saxon math, which sucked. I can see know that it was a crappy curriculum. English typically was some aBeka book. Towards the end she was having us read out of the great book collection (Plato, Aristotle, Kant...) and having us essay on them. Reading was always the biggest part of school for us. We went to the library once per week and came home with stacks of books each. I would spend whole days reading and have to catch up on other stuff. Or not depending if I could slip it by mom. We were quite nerdy.

All in all it was great. Some drawbacks, some positives. It worked for us pretty well. I am not homeschooling my kids. I dont think my wife is up for it. But she loves the thought of creating curriculum for the kids.
Last edited by Emower on Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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moksha
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by moksha » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:36 am

The good thing about home school is that the 7th grader can tend the kindergartener while mommy runs to the store.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Newme
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Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by Newme » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:08 pm

I don't really homeschool my kids, but we do summer school, which they iust loooooove!
Seriously, I want them to know things that they wouldn't otherwise learn in school or church or by friends...
-Faith Stages/spiritual spiral dynamics
-Cognitive Distortions/Logical Fallacies
-Study skills/learning styles
-TCM, Circadian clock
-Social - love languages, Anatomy of Peace mental filter boxes, etc
-Life traps (a bit premature since they aren't adults but at least they know about it for future reference)
-Quotes by smart people (Socrates, Leibniz etc)
-Beautiful art - (when we go see it in person, they appreciate it more if they studies & wrote about it previously)
-Different places in the world they showed interest in- cities countries interesting facts
-Different religions - took them to Mosque, Synagogue, Mass, Buddhist & Hindu temples etc

Some things are routine:
-Exercise
-Chore
-Reading
-Writing (journal)
-Drawing (journal)
-Piano Practice: scales, chords, 3 songs

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Lady_Macbeth
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Secular Homeschool

Post by Lady_Macbeth » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:42 am

Just seeing this.

We've always homeschooled. This year I'll have 7th grade through preschool kids, we don't do anything formal until they are about 7 yrs old. They always have a choice of public or homeschool. We follow a self-teaching method focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic only for the first few years. DH insists they know bible stories just to know them, but it's not taught as historic. We homeschool all year and there's a huge homeschooling community here, so I don't feel like they've lost anything without the primary activity days/young women's activities. If anything, we can do so much more now that we skip these things.
Emower wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 3:53 pm
I LOVED all the free time I had. Schoolwork took maybe 2-3 hours per day? We lived in the booneys and after that I would go for hikes, play outside, work at the ranches and farms around, ride horses all over the place, raise animals and just generally have fun.
We would often go into Albuquerque or Santa Fe and do different things. It always felt special because we were the only ones at the museum because it was 10 in the morning. The swimming pool was never busy when we were there. Mom would try pretty hard in the early years to get us out to see stuff whether it was a museum, fossil hunting in the mountains, sketching nature scenes, going with Dad to work, etc. The flexibility was wonderful.
We live in the country with animals and land - great for them to have lots of chores and throw them outside, but further from town and friends. The flexibility is fabulous and we love it when kids go back to school.
moksha wrote:
Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:36 am
The good thing about home school is that the 7th grader can tend the kindergartener while mommy runs to the store.
My favorite thing now - DH and I can do lunch dates when it's cheaper and less busy.
MerrieMiss wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:01 pm
I find it is very difficult to find another mom I get along with personality-wise, with kids similar ages and interests, close by (20-30 minutes) who isn’t a nut job. Of course, maybe they all think I’m crazy!
This is my struggle, too. I have yet to find a homeschool mom who I can get along with personality-wise and isn't super LDS.

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