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Looking for secular homeschooling resources


Brainsample

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A journalist contacted me and is looking for either secular homeschoolers, left leaning homeschoolers, etc. -- in other words, homeschoolers that are not homeschooling because of Christian sentiments or convictions.

I'm also curious about what secular homeschooling groups are the more prominent ones, as this journalist asked for references along these lines. Specifically, does anyone follow John Holt's "school" of thought or his organization?

The journalist has covered the Christian arena quite well from many angles, but I don't know any secular homeschoolers.

Anyone have any ideas about referrals?

PM or email me if you might want to be interviewed.

Thanks,

Cindy

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I would be interested in secular homeschool materials as well. I have a suspicion that I will be asked to participate in homeschooling grandchildren. I would prefer that the parents do the religious parts (as my beliefs may differ from that of my daughter and son-in-law.) My job would be literacy, history, math and science.

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Here's some second-hand information from someone who doesn't homeschool but knows people who do. :)

Oddly enough, Sonlight is popular among some secular homeschoolers. The religion component is said to be easy to "detach" from the rest of the material, and most of the reading is secular anyway. Because of this, they've run into some problems with Christian homeschooling groups. I know they're banned from the Kevin Swanson-associated Christian Home Educators of Colorado's yearly vendor conference for this reason.

If you have more questions, there's a yahoo group devoted to using Sonlight without a religious perspective that might be helpful:

groups.yahoo.com/group/SonlightSecular/

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Smrt Lernins is a secular homeschooler. You should also be able to find others I believe she has a webring thingy.

smrtlernins.com/

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I have been a secular homeschooler for 10 years. Curriculum is slim pickings if you are looking for 100% secular. There is secularhomeschool.com which has curriculum listed, I cannot vouch for all of it.

My partner and I have been interviewed by the local paper for starting our secular co-op a few years ago. The journalist misquoted both of us(the quotes she put down as mine were funny because I do NOT talk that way at all.) but the overall article was positive for once. I would want to know the angle the journalist is taking before I said anything because saying "secular unschooler or relaxed homeschooler" is ALWAYS put in a bad light by the media.

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I don't know if this is purely secular or if, like Sonlight, people just detach the religious content, but the one secular homeschooling family I know uses Calvert. I actually know a lot of homeschoolers, but only 1 that isn't using at least some religious resources.

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I struggled with this--and I'm a Christian! I so desperately wanted secular science. I finally settled on [for 7th and above] the public school science book [which I got free from the school] as well as Singapore Science and, although it was created to go with Apologia] the DIVE cd's--I just matched up the lecture with the secular book.

There is a discussion group--the Denim Jumper--that is for secular homeschoolers. Also, you can always skip the religious stuff. For example, I really liked Tapestry of Grace for high school, but we just skipped the religious biographies, etc. For early grades I used Rod & Staff math and grammar and just ignored the little mennonite kids in the illustrations. We skipped the Bible math--very good, rigorous programs in both subjects and very inexpensive too.

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Hopewell, Clibbyjo, do you have history resource ideas for early elementary kids? I liked the Story of the World and found the religious content easy to explain, but am having a really hard time to find history to read to my kid. He's only 6 & barely reading, but he routinely listens to fiction that's at 3rd-4th grade level (like, he loved the first 2 Harry Potters but The Black Cauldron books were too difficult for him to follow).

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You might want to look at Sonlight's site. They cover peroids of history through reading literature. You don't have to buy the entire curriculum but the books that they use might give you some ideas for using with your own child.

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Story of the World is my pick over just about anything. You can supplement with library books, field trips, movies, etc. Remember it's a read-aloud so you can edit as you go. You might also want to look at Amblesideonline.org and read about Charlotte Mason. If you are unfamiliar with her, read about her first. It has absolutely outstanding literature and uses read alouds throughtout. I'd say it would be a perfect fit for your guy. You are in charge--you can use or not use the books as you see fit. For example, I felt there was way too much emphasis on the books Charlotte used instead of adding living books of today. My answer? Here is my blog of "modern" living books that I think Miss Mason would approve for use today http://21stcenturycharlotte.wordpress.com/

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Thanks, Hopewell, that list is a great resource.

We have read the first Story of the World volume all the way through like 8 times, the second almost twice, and the third once - the fourth is just way too far above his head, it doesn't even put him to sleep he just starts zoning out. I am getting a little bored with the first one though :) We do read a lot of library books but there just isn't a lot of kids history in narrative form at our library (or there is, but it's hidden away in storage somewhere and I have to know what it's called to find it.) The "here is a picture with a bunch of factoids written on it" book style for kids history is cool but it doesn't put things into good timeline perspective, I think - and the Montessori school didn't do narrative either, they teach history organized geographically at least the first few years.

I will check out your list on our library catalog! I need to get hopping with our timeline project, too, so we can start marking stories onto it to put them in connetion with each other.

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Look for the D'Aulaire books at the library. Be warned you will want to preview them for out-of-date stereotypes esp in the Pochantas book. At such a young age I wouldn't worry too much--he's picking up way more than you think. Try www.mainlesson.com for stories of the Greeks, Romans, ancient Egypt, great painters, you name it. They are "Classics" so may present people who are not European in terms we would not use today. There are also some decent science stories and nature stories on there too.

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It's been awhile for me, but these are a few secular yahoo groups I belonged to --

homeschooldinerconversations

homeschoolingmensans

secular_homeschoolers

Maybe they can help. The last was particularly active and helpful.

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The History of US is well liked by my friends,you can get it at the library http://www.amazon.com/History-US-11--Se ... 166&sr=8-1

For a 6 year old I would do strictly hands on. For example, I might have a whole week Based around the "You Wouldn;t Want to be a """" Series http://www.amazon.com/You-Wouldnt-Want- ... 0531162052 >They are GREAT and boys especially like the grossness stuff. You can read the book, then make viking food,clothes,play games of the time etc... I have done that with all these books. YOu can go into detail as much as you want and play up your kid's interest.(mine love weapons and we made some, tried on chainmail,etc...)

There are Magic Tree House which deals with different time periods, as well as many "weird history" type books(You would have to read those outloud.) There are some historical comics about wars.(I own them all and they make theor way around my co-op) http://www.amazon.com/Battles-Civil-His ... 818&sr=1-5

There are also a TON of educationa videos by Schlessenger and we have seen hundreds of them on every subject. The library should be able to get them for you. They have all history: series on historical figures(in cartoon or reenactments) to documentaries. I LOVE them and they are the "bulk of what I have always used.

YOu do NOT need to buy much if you know how to work the library system. Librarians usually love homeschoolers and will recommend this as well. We love our library and go every week.

History is my favorite subject and we go to every reenactment for all time periods I can find. All of our vacations have been planned around historical sites(just got back from Boston, we have done Phili, Gettyburg etc..) because reading about Paul Revere and seeing his house and where he actually did his ride are unforgettable in my book. My advice is DO IT.

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I have an atheist friend who is very involved in the secular homeschooling community and has spoken at conferences about it. Her website is here http://lisarussell.org/ I'm not breaking the link because she would not care. The link is to a personal blog, but you can contact her there if you need info.

I used Sonlight with my kids and found the religious stuff easy to leave out. Some of it was reform Jew friendly and the rest I sold. The science experiments are fun, although I would add a few lessons here and there. This worked really well for us.

Warning: some of the history books have a very conservative slant. Not enough to bother me, but I made sure the other side was presented as well. I really liked that they were getting a well-rounded, no-viewpoint-left-behind education.

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Thanks, Clibbyjo.

And yeah - the problem with history misinformation is it's harder to spot. My own education is not as good as it should be (I have a bachelor's in history but I focused on a very brief historical period - the part of colonialism where places/people were being pulled into European-centered mercantilism/capitalism.) My American history is pretty sad, and I learned as many textbook-approved falsehoods as anybody else, so I can't always spot them.

We have The Story of Us but I've read a lot of criticism of them, so I've been reading ahead before I drop them on him.

(We have done some of the You Wouldn't Want to Be A..." books, and he does love them.)

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Rosa, more history ideas: Do you have any historical sites near you? Just this past year we have had 5 different historical fieldtrips within an hours drive(different time periods,one including Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village which is the oldest archeological site in North America). Most of them have homeschool programs or will create one for a group if you ask. Museums also ofter classes or workshops with "behind the scenes" stuff for kids. My own kids did 4 classes at a war museum this year and the classes were excellent.

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I don't know if this has been mentioned, but when we used secular materials, we used Calvert. I liked it, I think. I know that my sister does. But then again, it is school in a box. I also know of people using Sonlight in a secular fashion. In my area, we can get the school textbooks and use them for homeschooling. We never did, but I know of people who have done very creative, homeschool-ish things on the basis of plain old textbooks.

The sites and info everyone has posted has been great! I'm not homeschooled anymore, obviously, but I will be passing these sites on to people who do!

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