Religious apartheid in the on-line homeschool community.

I twitter about Home Education/Homeschooling, from the perspective of a minority, within a minority, within a minority.

Homeschoolers are the minority within education.

There are even less of them in Italy.

And I am a secular home educator, I don't do it for religious reasons and my curriculum is not religion based.

I think maybe there is just one of me. Well, so far anyway.

I tweeted a post from my blog with the sole aim of trying to show that "homeschooling atheist" is not equal to "utterly intolerant of homeschoolers with religious conviction" cos I reckoned if I just put a bald "atheist" in my profile I would have the contact making potential of a leper with swine flu.

Overnight my "American Homeschooler" followers have plummeted. They all dumped me like I was leaking toxic waste.

So either I am so crap at writing that I failed utterly to get my point across or I have severe reading comprehension problems and where I saw "peace and love man" they saw horrendously offensive, anti-religious fervor.

The only other possibility is an apartheid mentality. Which is ironic given the constant howl of "intolerance ! intolerance !" heard from the other side of the god-free pond.

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, think I'm going to eat worms.

If I ever post about going to look in on a real life homeschooling group, run in screaming and drag me back from my folly. Have a horrible feeling it will the atheist version of Christians tossed to the lions.

So after getting all that off my chest, my debatable points are

Is this an ubiquitous reaction among American Christians ?
Or do I just bring out the worst in people ?
Or are religious homeschoolers a breed all unto themselves ?

Tags: education, home, homeschool

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LOL, talking to myself here...

Just re read my blog post, saw this paragraph and thought, ooh tempt nemesis why doncha !

"If somebody has an issue with faith to the point where they can't see me beyond my lack of religion then that is all I need to know. I won't exactly weep tears of despair over the rejection."

Sez the woman sitting at her computer feeling all dejectedly rejected and just a little sulky.
At least in the US, the majority of homeschooling is done for religious reasons, often because the parents do not want their children to be exposed to such horrible things as science, history, or anything that might contradict or even cast a pale shadow of a possible doubt upon their religious beliefs.

Not all American homeschooling is of that character, but enough of it is that even the thought of your being an atheist was probably enough for them to condemn you as a godless heathen (well, duh? We are.) and cut off contact.
"At least in the US, the majority of homeschooling is done for religious reasons"

Well I wish the homeschoolers would make their minds up, nearly every "101 stereotypes about homeschooling" article/page/vid jumps up and down at the thought that the situation is as you state."

So I came away with the impression that while many might practice a faith, religion was not such a prominent part of their choices. and would leave plenty of common ground for discussion and sharing of ideas regarding education and issues you bump into when you teach at home.

Kind of makes me favour registration and inspection even more than I already do to be honest.

Please don't report me to the homeschool groups for that massive piece of blasphemy. It is a capital offence. I might admit to being an atheist but there are limits.
At least in the US, the majority of homeschooling is done for religious reasons

I would disagree based upon personal experience. My kids are home schooled, but the decision was made primarily for non-religious reasons. The current state of the public education system in the US is deplorable in my opinion. No offense to teachers who actually try and can teach, as the current system works against them and not with them.

My wife and I thought and debated the pro's and con's of taking our girls out and ultimately they helped us make the decision. When asked why they didn't want to go back to public school; 1) "the teachers are not respectful" (from my youngest) 2) "I am not learning anything" (from the oldest).

My feelings about the public school system vs home schooling have been the same as each person I've met so far. In each case, religious and non-religious families, the primary reason has been the quality of education. Granted it's not a scientific study, but I have met at least 50 families that have made the same choice for the same reason so the data is decent.

@Sarah Your paragraph is a little "in your face"/"chip on my shoulder", but I don't think it would stop me from following if the rest of your content was good.
"Your paragraph is a little "in your face"/"chip on my shoulder", "

That paragraph was just a couple of lines from a full post that absolutely was not in your face.

Quite the opposite. I ran it by my handy houseful of Catholics first and a few of my adult students too (also catholic) just to check before I posted it.

I posted those lines here, out of context, to poke fun at myself. A case of "oh the irony".

Are there any studies or large scale survey results available that look at the demographics of the community? Especially any that attempt to measure beyond the mainstream religions cos there seems to be a heavier representation of the lesser practiced faiths than you would expect in a typical sample, lots of wiccans and pagans for example. The Alt-med representation is very strong too.
I'd think that almost all decisions to homeschool would be based on wanting to improve the education of the children. I'd certainly hope that no parents choose to homeschool on the grounds of 'we want our kids to have a worse education than they would get otherwise'.

The problem is, 'quality of education' can have many meanings and interpretations.

I know some parents who homeschool because their local schools have an abysmally watered-down curriculum, tailored for the least common denominator, and they want their children to be challenged and learn instead of being bored and re-hashing the same information over and over again. They devise a plan for teaching at home that encompasses all that would be taught in the public school system, and more. Instead of entering college with only a basic understanding of algebra, for example, their child may be well into calculus. Instead of just reading Shakespeare and Poe, they've been exposed to Byron and Shelley and Chaucer.

And I know some that consider home schooling to be essential, because sending their children to public school would mean exposing their kids to things like evolution, chemistry, geology, and history that they consider to be false and in direct contradiction to God's Truth. (Not to mention the evil liberal agenda) Their children may be taught how evolution is a lie, how the earth is only 6000 years old, and how all of the founders of the US were devout Christians.

In both cases, the parents think that they are providing their children with a higher quality education. But the actual quality of that education varies, no matter what the parents might think.

Also, I did some googling for research into the reported purposes of home schooling, so it would not just be unsupported anecdotes in my post. :)

According to a recent Dept of Education report, three reasons given by two-thirds of the parents for homeschooling their children were concern about the school environment, to provide religious or moral instruction, and dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools.

83% of the parents who chose to homeschool their children in 2007 said that providing religious or moral instruction was a reason, up from 72% in 2002. When asked to choose the most important reason for homeschooling, the highest percentage of parents, 36%, chose providing religious or moral instruction as their top reason. The next two top reasons were concern about the school environment (21%) and dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools (17%).
A survey about home schooling from the Department of Education, interesting.
Yes. The report also indicated an increase in home schooling, from approximately 1.1 million in 2003 to 1.5 million in 2007, with a percentage increase from 2.2% to 2.9% over the same time period. Data from 1999 had 850,000 homeschooled students at a percentage of about 1.7%.
83%

That's high, I think that would explain the ubiquitous Christian leaning I have seen in resources on-line. I'm not saying it is "let's kill the unbelievers" general impression, but a lot more "praise the lord, may he show me the way to teach little John multiplication" and "pray for us, the dog is at the vets" than I am culturally comfortable with. It is less the god stuff and more the touchy feely emoting of it. We aren't as reserved as we are made out to be but the stereotype didn't arrive out of thin air shall we say.

It would also explain why the secular HSers I have found have such a hard time finding a non-religious curriculum. I haven't found one British one that isn't secular but it seems to be the opposite over the pond.

I lost about 40% of my HS followers after my post about being an atheist so the 36% was most interesting.

What exactly happens with regards to RE in the states ?

Is it like the Uk were it is a sort of "let's look at all the religions in the world as well Christianity" ?

or like Italy

Where the teacher as specialist with a strong personal conviction and certainly within the early years other religions don't get much of a look in ? I think they do later thought.

No creationism in either as far as I know, that is a an American thing.

Is the mainstream stream school in the USA doing something vastly different from the examples I gave above or has it been chopped from the menu ?
With the exception of religious private schools (which obviously are pushing their own religion), religious education is unusual in US schools. A large part of that is due to the establishment clause, which does not allow schools to promote a specific to its students. This would not prevent the academic study of religion from a historical, literature or philosophical perspective, and indeed I had some class lessons in high school that touched upon the Greek myths, Hinduism, and the like. However, it seems to be very difficult to find someone to teach about Christianity that doesn't turn it into a preaching session.

For example, there is a movement in Texas to add a 'History of the Bible' elective to high schools. This would seem like a perfectly fine idea, until you look at the actual proposed curriculum, which is basically a course for promoting Young Earth Creationism.
So at school you don't get a look at the big ones, in terms of skimming what they are about, their symbols, a bit about the rituals and a where it is practiced it etc ?

I really enjoyed that at school. It was like geography but more interesting cos it was people not boring old arable farming. Like a sort of trip around some of the cultures of the world using religion as the flying carpet.

The above is what i am going to do with Son of Thor as a cross curricular project, thinking lap booking will lend itself well. Italy is not very multicultural, immigration is a relatively new thing, so I don't have too much i can offer him in terms of realia so It'll mean frequent trips home (how tragic...says the woman heading like a headless chicken for the shops). I reckon he'll find it as interesting as I did at that age.

Does your constitution mean that if you did something like that at school you'd have to cover EVERYTHING, even including odd ball/cultish ones like Scientology etc and that is why they take a "no religion in class" line ?
Nope, I wish we had had a class like that, the closest we got was in either World History class, which skimmed over religion, or in Literature, which would cover myths.

I don't think that they would have to cover everything, but they'd certainly need to cover all of the major religions. Hmm, I bet that a 'World Cultures' class would have more luck than one specifically dedicated to religions.

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