How to Homeschool While Secular


One thing I’ve noticed since becoming interested in Homeschooling is that there really aren’t a lot of options available for non-Christian Homeschoolers. The pre-set curricula is all very Christian focused. Most science curricula are written by Creationists, the logic and philosophy that’s offered has an obvious Christian bias. History is from a Christian perspective. Even math is Christian! But what about the rest of us? English is easy: read books that fit your own lifestyle best. It’s also possible to buy workbooks that fit state/provincial standards. But that means fitting your child’s curriculum with the government curriculum. This doesn’t work for everyone.

This issue has given me two questions for everyone out their:

  1. For those secular homeschoolers out there, how have you dealt with this issue?
  2. We lack a child to homeschool now, but is there any interest in Withteeth and I doing a How-to series in secular homeschooling as we homeschool?
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26 responses to “How to Homeschool While Secular

  • How to Homeschool While Secular — hessianwithteeth | theBREAD

    […] via How to Homeschool While Secular — hessianwithteeth […]

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  • selfschool

    I am a secular homeschooler and know many homeschoolers in my area who successfully homeschool without Christian curriculum. Personally, I do not use curriculum, and prefer to pull from various resources such as http://www.teacherspayteachers.com, the library, pinterest, and local classes. If you prefer to keep your kids in line with public education, you can keep a master list of common core standards, then build your own lessons from this.

    Another suggestion is The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This book gives several curriculum options while laying out a classical approach to education you can provide without set curriculum.

    Best of luck 🙂 Keep it fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      I’ve actually been reading The Well-Trained Mind recently. I like some aspects of Classical Education, but I’m definitely not into all of it. We’re probably going to do much the same as you. I just find that curriculum can be nice if you’re struggling to find where to start. But I think reading The Well-Trained Mind has made it easier for me to find a starting place.

      Liked by 1 person

  • dkjsv05

    I have always been a do-it-yourself type of person, so that is how we are able to be secular homeschoolers. I use an outline of what needs to be learned each year as my spine, and supplement resources( mostly from the library or YouTube). It really isn’t as hard as you would think; I mean that is pretty much what those selling currricula did. There are people that have started out homeschooling later than I did, that now sell and write curricula.

    Though, I do completely understand why one would want to purchase an already made out curricula. I think the hardest part of homeschooling is the first few years, because we are drawn to recreate school at home. Once we are able to see how actual learning works, it becomes much, much easier to find what works best for your children.

    Liked by 3 people

  • docBrown09

    Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog!! I have just started to explore your site and I think we can both learn from each other!! Congratulations on your new family member!! I know being a mom of three boys has made a huge impact on my life!! I had a rough pregnancy with boy #3 so I can sympathize!! Hang is there, it is totally worth it!! I could find you contact info so if you want to email me directly please head back over to my contact page at ThreeThatInsipre.wordpress.com (soon to be just ThreeThatInspire.com). I think is is wonderful you are taking control of your child’s education!! I have double major in Chemistry and Mathematics and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Paper Science and Technology, everything from biology to physics to chemistry to business.

    As for Homeschooling materials, there are several sites out there that seem to have a lot to offer. I found this one just now:

    http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/675-secular-homeschool-curriculum-reviews/

    Like I said, we are a Christian family but academics and religion are my main motivation for homeschool. It was more academics when I first began my search and I wouldn’t choose any curriculum that I didn’t think was rigorous enough on the academic front. I do homeschool with a Christian bias, but that is our family’s choice. I love that your blog is all about ideas!! This is not intended to be a religious discussion I would simple like to share these ideas with you and your followers.

    Most of the the websites I use for supplemental worksheets are not Christian. I will have more info on my blog soon but my very favorites I use daily are:

    http://www.education.com
    http://www.spellingcity.com (modified for SWR)
    http://www.enchantedlearning.com
    http://www.ixL.com

    Also our math curriculum is not Christian based. It took me a couple of years to commit to it and I could not be more pleased with the level and depth of understanding my boys have. Dr. Cotter teaches what a number is and what you can do with them. We love it. It is call Right Start Math and her website is:

    http://rightstartmath.com/

    You will find information and reviews from Christian homeschoolers because it is used by many Christian homeschoolers.

    We also use a program called Spell to Write and Read. It is as amazing and all-in-one language arts program. The method is very solid and my boys are proof of that. The meat of the program is non-denominal but there is a Christian bias to some of the example sentences, you can simply use your own with any extra work on your part. But the approach of a pure phonics language is very effective. It is a bit confusing at first!! LOL!! I highly recommend speaking at length with someone who has used it for over a year and attend a training seminar (a lot of Christians will be there). This is the website of the author:

    http://www.bhibooks.net/swr.html

    This is a support website with a lot of helpful supplements to go along with it. This is also run by a Christian.

    http://swrtraining.com/

    I still stand by this recommendation for anyone because of the quality of education your child(ren) will receive. Even my spelling has improved!! This can be used without a Christian perspective, although I confess you as the teacher will see evidence of it.

    These make up the core of our homeschool as I think these are what will give my boys their best start in life. There is a lot of negative talk from Christian homeschoolers to secular homeschoolers and visa versa. As I said, I think it is wonderful that you are taking control of your child’s education. I believe we can all communicate in a positive manner, this is about our children!!

    God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Yes This I Know

    Similar to erinchafig, I have similar struggles finding curricula I like, being a Christian who does not subscribe to the young earth view and who overall seems to be more on the “progressive Christian” side of the spectrum rather than the very conservative ideology that much of the curricula is geared towards. However, as I search I’m finding a fair number of websites and forums and even in-person groups which are secular or “inclusive.” I’m finding a growing number of diverse motivations families have for homeschooling aside from exclusively religious– due to concerns about the school system, love of the flexibility, a desire for specific educational content, the bonding and family time, special educational or medical needs, and more. I’m motivated by all of these reasons in part. I loooooved the recent movie Captain Fantastic, which portrays a ‘secular’ (though spiritual) homeschooling family. I wish you luck on your homeschool research and journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  • shopgirlanonymous

    Find standard curriculum requirements from basic local educational standards to you. My teaching certification is in Texas, so although I’m living in a separate state now the Texas Standards are a great basic framework to my curriculum. So long as every concept on that list is understood by the end of the school year, it doesn’t matter if I used God, Buddha, or Socrates to teach it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      Really? I’ve heard some thoroughly atrocious things about the Texas education system, but that might simplely be the way it is carried out rather then the standards. This isn’t an attack on you so we are clear. I just have hear how the Texas School board regularly has member which attempt to fill the curriculum with false or highly biased information to forward certain ideological goal at the cost of an accurate understanding of history and science. I, unlike Hessian, am not a going to become a primary or secondary school educator, but I do follow the work of Aron Ra who lives and regularly fight against a lot of what goes head on with the Texas school boards.

      -Withteeth

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      • shopgirlanonymous

        I use Texas because I was raised in that “atrocious” education system, and then by matter of in-state tuition I was educated and certified to practice in that “atrocious” education system. The reason I no longer teach is because the politics do have a long way to go when it comes to Texas education boards, but having moved around quite a bit lately I’ve discovered many if not all of the states seem to have similar struggles with the implementation of “no child left behind” and the dependency on standardized testing. In my personal opinion, the basic curriculum standards of Texas are not where the politics fall short, and after much research I found that they are incredibly similar to every other state in the US.

        It’s how you teach it. Mark out the two skill sets that say “the Alamo” and then you’ve erased the controversial topics that obviously greatly offend many people who are not from Texas. I do personally feel that my comment was used as an unwarranted opportunity to create a negatively biased platform, based off the opinions of a man that is fighting for something that has already been taught in Texas Schools for years. We were not taught creationism, or taught anything religiously, it is simply not allowed. Several of my friends from college are atheist science teachers and have absolutely no roadblocks when it comes to teaching their students the facts about science.

        So without political agenda, I will reword it plainly: find a basic curriculum standard outline you are most comfortable with and teach it however you feel your child will understand it best.

        Liked by 1 person

  • jeaniecatron

    Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog! Try “Spectrum”, you have several options with them, and if you get your workbooks from Booksamillion, you can request an education card, even if it’s homeschooling and get 20% off of all your purchases that are school related! (Including all children’s reading books.)

    Liked by 1 person

  • humanisthousewife

    Do you have to follow a curriculum where you are? I’m in the UK and there is no need to follow a set curriculum if you don’t want to. I’m also hoping to home school my son, but my husband isn’t sure about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ros

    Since I’m not a homeschooler, I can’t really help with this. However, I just wanted to say that I’m amazed that there wouldn’t be any pre-set homeschooling curricula that aren’t creationist! I can only think that things are very different across the pond than they are here in the UK. Certainly, I’ve not known any homeschoolers in the UK who use such materials. I think those I’ve known have invented their own curriculum, supplementing it with resources that are based either on our own national curriculum or those of other countries. After all, it doesn’t matter what curriculum a maths workbook (for example) is designed for, as long as it teaches the maths your child wants/needs to learn in a way that is right for them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      A lot of the Homeschooling options available in Canada come up from the US, and most Homeschoolers in both countries are fundamentalist Christian, though that is slowly changing. We’ll probably be creating our own curriculum to avoid the Creationist bias.

      Liked by 1 person

  • equippedcat

    I’m surprised that secular homeschooling does not have an equivalent level of support, but I kind of understand it. Christians have added impetus to homeschool due to real and perceived fears that public secular education is antithetical to their religion. Perhaps that leads to a larger percentage of Christian kids being homeschooled, with the resulting greater impetuous for support.

    In any case, I would think the Christian curriculum could be used as a guide. Just delete the religious stuff or replace it with neutral stuff.

    And I would suggest you don’t isolate your kids from God totally. Religion is a major factor in the world and although I’m pretty sure you don’t want to indoctrinate your kids in any of them 🙂 they need to be aware of what it is all about in order to deal with it in the best manner. I would think it would be possible (and useful) to educate kids about the major world religions and religion in general without presenting it as either “truth” or “silliness”.

    Furthermore, when you teach science, don’t teach IT as a religion either. It is the THEORY of Evolution. And there is the competing THEORY of Creation. Neither has been proven, neither has been disproved. Both remain theories. The best thinker will probably be the one who is fully aware of both. Who knows; if God exists, it is not impossible that He used Evolution as the means of His Creation. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      We intend to teach them about all religions. We plan to use both history and philosophy to do so, so they will hear arguments for and against god(s). Though we intend to keep religion out of science and math.

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      • equippedcat

        I don’t see how religion has anything to do with math and little to do with science. As long as you don’t teach science AS religion (Science thinks this, therefore it must be so). Teach the view of science that “current thinking is x, which fits all known facts, so can be accepted as so until further facts are discovered” Actually, that is a good way to treat everything which cannot be definitively proven.

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  • lostinmist

    Otherwise stated (partially) “Pssshhhh!!! You don’t need curricula and textbooks except when you want them. Use any materials and books you want”

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  • lostinmist

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling … Fascinating read.. I’m only halfway through. Was going to look up Montessori schools and waldorf schools for you too, but I’m short on time. The unschooling article also mentions sudbury-model schools as being broadly compatible with unschooling

    Liked by 1 person

  • paladinbox

    I’m a Christian homeschooler, but we use a lot of secular curriculum. Singapore Math, First Language Lessons, Spelling You See and Critical and Creative. These are the same books that many of the public schools in our area use. If there is a school you admire I’d recommend asking for a list of their curriculum.

    Some of the big homeschool curriculum companies also offer a secular option: http://www.timberdoodle.com/Third_Grade_Secular_Curriculum_Kit_p/999-1603s.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      How do your kids like Singapore math? I’ve heard great things about it, but I’d have to order online (at the moment, anyway).

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      • paladinbox

        They enjoy it. I like it better from First Grade up. The Kindergarten has a million cut and paste activities, with little tiny squares. My daughter loves them, but I don’t.

        Teaching it is a bit of a learning curve for me because it’s so different from how I learned. I think it’s better than what I learned my eight year old can easily do sums in his head and I can see he is being set up to succeed in algebra later on.

        Liked by 1 person

  • erinchafig

    Though I am a Christian, I have many of the same struggles. While I don’t mind some Bible verses and stories in the broader curriculum, I do not adhere to the young earth belief. Finding good science materials was definitely the most difficult.

    Check SEA Homeschoolers, https://seahomeschoolers.wordpress.com
    Royal Fireworks Press has some really nice curriculum, especially for English http://www.rfwp.com
    The Critical Thinking Company has a whole suite of non-religious workbooks http://www.criticalthinking.com
    Also, Khan Academy has made great advances over its short lifetime. It is entirely possible that it will suffice as a stand-alone curriculum by the time you need academic content for your child. Best of all, it’s free.

    I have spent many hours assessing curriculum, so I’ve got a pretty healthy resource list for any given subject. I’m working on writing it all up at my blog, and I eventually hope to have a parents’ forum/guide/group. In the meantime, throw me questions and I’ll throw you the stuff I’ve found so far.

    Liked by 2 people

    • hessianwithteeth

      Awesome. Thanks :). The Creationist stuff is definitely the biggest concern for us. I’m fine teaching my kid about Christianity, in fact, we intend to teach them about all religions so they can make up their own mind as to what they believe. But I don’t want their schooling to enforce only one choice/belief system.

      Liked by 2 people

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