Thursday, June 22, 2017

That Is Not Secular

There’s a lot of confusion or misinformation in the secular homeschooling community regarding what makes a curriculum or resource secular.  I find this both troubling and frustrating.  To me, and perhaps I’m just oversimplifying things, it’s a very easy distinction to make.  If any materials include religious content for any purpose other than academic discussion as they affect or impact a subject, then those materials/curriculum are NOT secular.  Period.

Let’s look at a few examples.  There is a math curriculum that uses religious content for their skip counting songs.  Guess what?  That means that curriculum is not secular.  It doesn’t matter if you use it and aren’t bothered by the inclusion of the religious material (because you skip it, or whatever).  The inclusion of religious content negates the ‘secular’ label and potential purchasers should know what they are getting.


There is a history curriculum that uses Story of the World as one of their spines.  That curriculum is not secular.  Story of the World treats Christian mythology as historic fact – through the language they use.  Another curriculum incorporates Elemental Science into their literature based curriculum, thereby negating a secular label.  Neutral science isn’t science any more than Intelligent Design or Creationism is science.  

This isn’t to say you can’t use what you want and call yourself a secular homeschooler.  If you don’t mind the religious slant/content and/or are willing to modify or enhance the curriculum to use that’s your business.  However, the secular homeschooling community deserves to know, clearly and distinctly, what curriculum/resource does and doesn’t use religious content and real science. 

When someone points out that a resource isn’t secular that should mean one thing and one thing only – there is either religious content included outside the realm of academic application and/or it is void of real science (evolution is not taught, generally speaking).   It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with being a religious person, it’s not an attack against religion.  It isn’t PERSONAL.  It’s academic.  The religious homeschoolers have more than enough resources that are created specifically for them.  We, as secular homeschoolers, need to STOP accepting curricula that includes religious content when labeled as secular.  Let secular be secular and use whatever the hell you want, but don’t tell me something is secular because you don’t have a problem with the religion in it. 


Let’s use the one clear definition as secular homeschoolers and let’s be strong in our stance. 

Secular curriculum/materials have NO religious content other than that which is used for academic study and it teaches scientific principles as accepted by the scientific community at large.

That’s it.  Period. 


Use what you want, but don’t call it secular unless it really is.

~Mari B.