Religion and homeschooling.

One thing that can get difficult for me is that I find I’m one of the few home schooled people who does not identify as Christian. A lot of times I think it’s almost taken for granted that home school kids are always automatically religious. I have nothing against religious home schooling, but I don’t know where I stand religiously/spiritually and would rather have my education be open-ended, geared toward letting me decide versus structured to fit one religious belief system. Learning about different world religions is really interesting to me, though, so I am always happy to study just about anything. I actually wouldn’t even mind if science talked about religion on some level, as long as it was more seen as “here is how science ties into social studies – this religion tends to think X and this religion tends to think Y, so what do you think?” Keep it open-ended with observations, and let students think for themselves. 

At the beginning of this semester, my family and I considered signing me up for an online home school community with kind of volunteer-run courses you could do more at your own pace than in a rigorous academic environment. I was going to sign up for a science class there, but then found out it was mostly going to cover science from a creationist or religious perspective. It’s not innately frustrating to me that this exists, but it is frustrating to me that the class just advertises as “science” rather than “religious science” or “science from a Christian perspective.” The school didn’t state that it was going to be Christian when I first made an account, and yet it definitely was. Being not-Christian in a Christian area, I’ve already faced a lot of rejection for not believing what others believe and it hasn’t been the best for my self-esteem. From that perspective, it has been majorly disappointing to see how many places sort of assume and even enforce those beliefs. 

I like my science to just be science, personally. If there is controversy or possible bias in studies or theories I absolutely want to know them – obviously people who do studies tend to be rich, white males ready to test their own specific worldviews, but I don’t want my science to be molded around a series of pre-set assumptions that *have* to be true or the science must be lies. It’s so weird to me that science can be taught that way when religion is never taught in a way that politely dodges inconsistencies with the legal system or with science. When I was younger, I remember a teacher telling us about turn the other cheek and asking her how we were supposed to reconcile that with the fact that there are rules about not hitting people and if we get hit we should tell an adult. It became a load of “Jesus said it so it’s true, get out of my classroom” and then of course I got in trouble for leaving the classroom. Go figure. 

So yeah, I was raised with religion for the first few years of my life and eventually we stopped. It was actually kind of bad for me because I never liked the idea of a God and was always really uncomfortable with the idea of a higher power watching me and/or judging my actions despite never having dealt with a regular human life devoid of superpowers himself. It felt like I wasn’t allowed to have those feelings, and no matter what discussions needed to be had or questions needed to be answered, I had to reach the conclusion that God was amazing and real or else I was wrong. All I remember was constantly making adults angry because as hard as I tried to believe in that stuff or to even care about that stuff, I just couldn’t do it. Private school teachers were upset with me for not understanding Jesus’s sacrifice, and my Sunday school teacher was just 24/7 upset with me for not having enough trust and faith. Trust has to be earned and faith isn’t something you can just push a button and suddenly have. That’s part of what bugs me about the idea of a “Christian education.” If I want to do well in science class, I learn how to answer questions about facts. If I want to do well in a course where children are essentially required to be Christian, I have to force myself to fundamentally change to fit the mold they want me to fit. For some reason, I never have and I can’t seem to help it. I don’t think it’s fair to be graded or judged academically based on something like belief when belief isn’t something you can force and it’s something you can make yourself sick feeling ashamed of not doing naturally like all the “good little girls” do.

Not telling anyone how to raise their kids, just venting some frustrations as a young person myself. 

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4 thoughts on “Religion and homeschooling.

  1. Such a relevant post – and a topic I’ve been wanting to touch on at my blog too. “I like my science to be just science” – I love that. So very sane.

      1. Have to echo Lisa on this one also 🙂
        As secular homeschoolers I have been a bit frustrated with having to spend time weeding out all of the not ‘just science’ (or maths, or English or history) courses and curricula. Still, there is plenty of unbiased material out there – thank you Khan Academy!
        I have to say that I admire your bravery in sharing these thoughts, particularly in America.

      2. Thank you :-). My earlier childhood was spent around a lot of religious nutters (I mean the kind that make people hesitant to talk to Christians) but at this point in my life I just block people who bug me too much.

        Did you know MIT open courseware has a biology course that’s got lectures, notes, assignments, and solutions for free? I wouldn’t expect MIT to have too much religion in it ;-).

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