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can we please start a secular curriculum thread. i have in recent history bought stuff that have a christian slant...and i bought a spanish curriculum that was completely christian. it just didn't occur to me to think about that in a foreign language curriculum...i'm especially looking for history, science, spanish and latin.....but i think people might enjoy a comprehensive list.

 

thanks,

seema

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A not-inclusive, not-universally agreed as being secular list. I added the most popular textbook sources, but anything published by Holt, Glencoe, Pearson, etc. is going to be secular. EPS (Educator's Publishing Service), MCP (Modern Curriculum Press), Spectrum, EduTech, Evan-Moor, Carson-Dellosa publish for the secular market as well.

 

I have linked to the publisher's website when possible. Always check places like Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op, Amazon, Rainbow, etc. for good deals.

 

This is part 1. Part 2 is here.

 

Unit Study/All-in-One

Intellego

Five in a Row (note: 1 book in Before FIAR is Christian, and Bible is included in book 4)

Oak Meadow

Calvert

K12

Moving Beyond the Page

Connect the Thoughts

Core Knowledge (free downloads here)

Time4Learning (online)

Critical Thinking Company (math, LA, logic)

 

Preschool

Preschool Plus (Hewitt) - a religious publisher, but Bible is separate

Before Five in a Row (leave out If Jesus Came to My House)

Little Acorn Learning (Waldorfy)

Time4Learning Preschool

Letter of the Week

Peak with Books

 

History -

Complete Book of United States History

History Odyssey (Pandia Press)

History of US (Hakim) - can be used with Hewitt's Junior High Syllabus and Tests

Oak Meadow

History at Our House

Intellego Unit Studies

Story of the World (Peace Hill Press)

The Drama of American History (out of print)

World History for Us All

Mosaic (free)

 

Geography

Down to Earth Geography

Trail Guide to World Geography

 

History Supplements/Resources:

Classical Explorations notebooks & maps

Classical House of Learning (literature program to supplement history)

The Story of the U.S.A. (EPS)

A Little History of the World (Gombrich)

A People's History of the United States (Zinn)

A Young People's History of the United States (Zinn)

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (Loewen)

 

Science -

Singapore Science programs (including My Pals Are Here and Interactive)

Elemental Science

Real Science Odyssey (Pandia Press)

Mr. Q

Science Logic

Oak Meadow

The Elements by Ellen McHenry with the exception of carbon chemistry

CPO science (free book downloads here)

Middle School Chemistry (American Chemical Society- FREE download)

Inquiry in Action for Grades 3-6 (American Chemical Society - FREE download)

Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding

NOEO

Awakening Wonder 7th grade physical science

P.L.A.T.O science

Galore Park

Intellego Unit Studies

Nancy Larson Science

GEMS Science

AIMS Science

Story of Science (Hakim) -with some explanation

Prentice Hall Science Explorer

Real Science 4 Kids with caveats (reference to some things being "designed", author supports ID)

McRuffy Science

 

Math

Saxon

Math Mammoth

Singapore Math

MEP (free to download)

Miquon

Russian Math (Perpendicular Press)

Zaccaro math books (includes Challenge Math)

Art of Problem Solving

Life of Fred (the characters are Christian)

Right Start

McRuffy Math (secular as far as I can see)

Math-U-See (mild Christian content)

Sadlier-Oxford Math

Teaching Textbooks

Thinkwell

Kinetic Books

Key Curriculum Press (includes Keys to ...)

Math Textbooks by Harold Jacobs and Margaret Lial

 

ETA - I've edited the list many times - keep the suggestions/feedback coming.

Edited by ondreeuh
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Elementary Spanish is the spanish program we use after we discovered that the first spanish program we used was more religious than we thought. Anything by Pandia Press (History Odyssey and R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey) are secular. Though History Odyssey does use SOTW and we think SOTW is secular enough for us, some families do not. Singapore Math and Science are secular. The secular Latin we'll be using soon is Lively Latin. I've seen references to God or other religious references in First Language Lessons, Song School Latin, FIAR and Before FIAR, but we still use or have used them.

 

I'm extremely picky about what I consider to be secular and would not list some of the above in that list, but they should be okay for most families not so picky.

 

Otherwise, check the list on my blog for Secular Homeschooling Resources. I've listed some of the most popular secular resources (left the obscure ones out), along with links. The programs are in alphabetical order. Having it out there on the web will help people for Internet searches that don't belong to WTM.

Edited by Satori
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Science -

Singapore My Pals Are Here (and their others)

Elemental Science

Real Science Odyssey

Real Science 4 Kids

Mr. Q

Oak Meadow

 

 

I just wanted to point out that the author of Real Science 4 Kids, Rebecca Keller, believes in creation/intelligent design (http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf). I have looked at her pre-level 1 and level 1 chemistry books and they seem to be balanced. I haven't looked at her biology or astronomy books, but in my opinion, her belief in intelligent design means I won't even consider using them.

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Honestly, stuff that is marketed to schools is probably the best bet for secular history. Science is getting a little easier as their is more a clear market for secular science.

 

The K-12 Human Odyssey text has more religious material in it than SOTW and has things written in a comparable manner. I like them both. I would caution against using Gombrich.
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I just wanted to point out that the author of Real Science 4 Kids, Rebecca Keller, believes in creation/intelligent design (http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf). I have looked at her pre-level 1 and level 1 chemistry books and they seem to be balanced. I haven't looked at her biology or astronomy books, but in my opinion, her belief in intelligent design means I won't even consider using them.

 

That is your choice, but "secular" does not mean "anti-evolution." [ETA: typo - I meant "anti-creationist.] Secular means not religious, or religiously inclusive. Whether you want to avoid a publisher because of their own personal beliefs is your prerogative, but just because RS4K is written by a person who believes in creation that does not make it non-secular.

Edited by ondreeuh
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which galore park science do you use?

 

My dd 11 is currently working through So You Really Want to Learn Science 1.

 

My younger two will work through all five books (Jr. Science 1-3 and SYRWTL Science 1-2.) Dd 7 will begin Jr. Science 1 in the fall.

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I just wanted to point out that the author of Real Science 4 Kids, Rebecca Keller, believes in creation/intelligent design (http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf). I have looked at her pre-level 1 and level 1 chemistry books and they seem to be balanced. I haven't looked at her biology or astronomy books, but in my opinion, her belief in intelligent design means I won't even consider using them.

 

:iagree:

 

Although I respect a person's right to their own opinions, and would not think twice about buying many curricula from a creationist, I would not buy a science curriculum from someone who believed YE or ID (esp not ID, since it is religion pretending to be science which is offensive to me). It does speak to their ability to teach geology or biology. Similarly I would not buy a history curriculum from a holocaust denier, even if that history did not cover WW2.

 

Not everyone will feel the same way, but I appreciate the PP pointing this out about this curriculum so we can all make our own decision about how much it might influence their ability to teach the subject secularly.

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That is your choice, but "secular" does not mean "anti-evolution." [ETA: typo - I meant "anti-creationist.] Secular means not religious, or religiously inclusive. Whether you want to avoid a publisher because of their own personal beliefs is your prerogative, but just because RS4K is written by a person who believes in creation that does not make it non-secular.
Except that one would expect a secular science program to include content on evolution, especially beyond 4th grade. Her books do not.

 

ETA: Everything that can be said has probably been said in this old thread.

I am no longer comfortable buying RS4K

Edited by nmoira
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Math-U-See isn't completely secular. There are mentions of Sunday school, or missions or something in some of the word problems. I can go thru the books and dig up examples if you want.

 

They do have a stewardship book, too, that covers personal finance and consumer math that is definitely Christian (it says so in the description) and includes a devotional.

 

We use it (and we use secular everything else) because it's a math system that works for my kids, and those minor mentions in word problems are fine with us. It's not like "Janie needs to say 15 prayers by Sunday or she'll go to hell. She's said 3, so how many more does she need to say to avoid ****ation" or something. That example is crazy over the top.

 

I don't think I can remember him mentioning God in the videos, either. HIs things are used in Public schools (there's a graphic about it being used in the Albuquerque school district), so I'm guessing it's pretty secular.

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Math-U-See isn't completely secular. There are mentions of Sunday school, or missions or something in some of the word problems. I can go thru the books and dig up examples if you want.

 

They do have a stewardship book, too, that covers personal finance and consumer math that is definitely Christian (it says so in the description) and includes a devotional.

 

We use it (and we use secular everything else) because it's a math system that works for my kids, and those minor mentions in word problems are fine with us. It's not like "Janie needs to say 15 prayers by Sunday or she'll go to hell. She's said 3, so how many more does she need to say to avoid ****ation" or something. That example is crazy over the top.

 

I don't think I can remember him mentioning God in the videos, either. HIs things are used in Public schools (there's a graphic about it being used in the Albuquerque school district), so I'm guessing it's pretty secular.

 

I made a note of it on the list. I wonder if there is a different version for public schools?

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Except that one would expect a secular science program to include content on evolution, especially beyond 4th grade. Her books do not.

 

That's a matter of semantics. In my opinion, as long as the program does not promote a Christian (or other religious) interpretation, it is secular. I can add in my own evolution content without contradicting the program, just as Christians can. It is inclusive. Secular does not mean "evolutionist" or "atheist."

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That's a matter of semantics. In my opinion, as long as the program does not promote a Christian (or other religious) interpretation, it is secular. I can add in my own evolution content without contradicting the program, just as Christians can. It is inclusive. Secular does not mean "evolutionist" or "atheist."
I could write a program that didn't mention "millions/billions of years" or evolution and not mention a creator. It may or may not be technically secular, but it's certainly not what I'd consider to be a robust program. While not as critical for a K6 program, the sheer amount of cross disciplinary evidence for evolution makes it a problematic subject to skirt. Unfortunately, that's just what's often done, even in supposedly secular materials meant for public schools.
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wow! i must be exceptionally picky- i wouldn't never call "intelligent design" secular. it is an idea based on a religious text. it is a theological belief. a text doesn't have to say "come join my church or be ****ed!" for me to consider it religious. if a curriculum never mentions a deity but claims moses parted the red sea, bodies can reanimate after being dead so long they begin to develop an odor, or a human egg can be fertilized without sperm it would not pass through my secular radar. and possibly i could write off a geology text that never menitions the age of rocks or the earth as just really incomplete and poorly written, but not if i knew the author was a proponent of intelligent design.

 

the inclusion or exclusion of evolution is not a matter of semantics unless it is included using some other terminology.

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Thank you for starting this thread. I am in the process of acquiring our curriculum for 1st grade, and the biggest concern here is to use secular material. This thread will give me some places to look for items and ponder over them. Thanks again. Be well

Miriam

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wow! i must be exceptionally picky- i wouldn't never call "intelligent design" secular. it is an idea based on a religious text. it is a theological belief. a text doesn't have to say "come join my church or be ****ed!" for me to consider it religious. if a curriculum never mentions a deity but claims moses parted the red sea, bodies can reanimate after being dead so long they begin to develop an odor, or a human egg can be fertilized without sperm it would not pass through my secular radar. and possibly i could write off a geology text that never menitions the age of rocks or the earth as just really incomplete and poorly written, but not if i knew the author was a proponent of intelligent design.

 

the inclusion or exclusion of evolution is not a matter of semantics unless it is included using some other terminology.

 

Who said intelligent design was secular? I think you've misunderstood. Some people are taking issue with the fact that the author of RS4K herself believes in creation/ID. No one has said that ID is present in her science curriculum. She does not discuss the origin of life at all, as far as I know.

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Life of Fred

These books are not secular. Nope. We love LOF, and use it, but the characters are all Christian, go to church/Sunday school, muse about bits from the Bible, think about heaven, read religious books, etc. However, with one (IMHO) exception it doesn't proselytise. It's right at the very edge of my comfort level.

 

The least Christian content is in the first two books (Fractions and Decimals & Percents), so if these are all you've seen, I'd undertand why you might consider them to be secular.

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Some we've used or have:

 

Right Start Math

Singapore Math

Mathematics 6 (Perpendicular Press)

MEP

Miquon

Art of Problem Solving

Zaccaro Math books -- Challenge Math, etc.

 

History Odyssey

 

Phonics Pathways

Megawords

Sequential Spelling

 

MCT Langauge Arts program

 

My Pals Are Here Science

Galore Park Science

Singapore Interactive Science (I like these more than Galore Park)

PLATO Science online

R.E.A.L. Science

 

Latin Prep

So You Really Want to Learn Spanish

Cambridge Latin

Lively Latin

Learnables Spanish

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I understand what you are saying. If you want a science program that explicitly teaches evolution, then a neutral program won't fit your criteria - I get that. However, when someone comes here asking for secular resources, they are not necessarily wanting to teach evolution. Plenty of religious and/or YEC people on this forum and elsewhere consciously choose secular/neutral programs because they want to teach their own beliefs. They are looking for something neutral that does not take a stand.

 

Maybe you'd like to make a list of evolutionst science programs?

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RS4K is "designed" to undermine children's acceptance of the Theory of Evolution and is part of the author's mission to win them to Christianity. She was "caught out" saying such on her forum.

 

Use your own judgment if this is "secular."

 

Bill

 

I know she said something about "planting seeds," but consider her audience and the fact that she has to market her own product. If the actual content within her program does not undermine evolution, then I don't care what her personal beliefs are.

 

You have a right to choose not to support the business, but unless you can find evidence that the content of her science program is undermining evolution, I don't see how you can call the content non-secular. Just as you wouldn't call a math program without any religious content non-secular because the author is a Christian.

 

I'm a big believer in doing what works for you, and I find this debate pretty aggressive and icky.

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I understand what you are saying. If you want a science program that explicitly teaches evolution, then a neutral program won't fit your criteria - I get that. However, when someone comes here asking for secular resources, they are not necessarily wanting to teach evolution. Plenty of religious and/or YEC people on this forum and elsewhere consciously choose secular/neutral programs because they want to teach their own beliefs. They are looking for something neutral that does not take a stand.

 

Maybe you'd like to make a list of evolutionst science programs?

 

I think you are missing the point. The purpose of the RSF4 is to undermine acceptance of the Theory of Evolution. It goes way beyond a simple omission that lacks a specific "intent."

 

Bill

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These books are not secular. Nope. We love LOF, and use it, but the characters are all Christian, go to church/Sunday school, muse about bits from the Bible, think about heaven, read religious books, etc. However, with one (IMHO) exception it doesn't proselytise. It's right at the very edge of my comfort level.

 

The least Christian content is in the first two books (Fractions and Decimals & Percents), so if these are all you've seen, I'd undertand why you might consider them to be secular.

 

Interesting. This is the first time I've heard there is any ongoing reference to religion. On a secular forum I visit, people who identify as "hard-core atheists" are happy with the books.

 

Another comfort-level issue. If someone doesn't want their kids to read the words God, heaven, church, etc. then these won't meet their needs. Most secular families wouldn't consider that offensive, though. IMO it falls under my "tolerate & respect other people's beliefs" mandate.

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I think you are missing the point. The purpose of the RSF4 is to undermine acceptance of the Theory of Evolution. It goes way beyond a simple omission that lacks a specific "intent."

 

Bill

 

Can you back that up with examples of content that undermine evolution?

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What's the one in LOF about looking for "Truth" in the phone book?

 

Bill

LOL that's the one that bothers me... though I don't think it's truth.. However, others are able to see it as just a joke.

 

But I don't think anyone who has actually read the books, especially a hard-core atheist, could consider LOF secular. Acceptable or not acceptable depending on comfort level, yes, of course, but not secular.

Edited by nmoira
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I know she said something about "planting seeds," but consider her audience and the fact that she has to market her own product. If the actual content within her program does not undermine evolution, then I don't care what her personal beliefs are.

 

You have a right to choose not to support the business, but unless you can find evidence that the content of her science program is undermining evolution, I don't see how you can call the content non-secular. Just as you wouldn't call a math program without any religious content non-secular because the author is a Christian.

 

I'm a big believer in doing what works for you, and I find this debate pretty aggressive and icky.

 

I'm sorry you feel that way. I feel stealth-proselytizing is aggressive and icky, so I have a very bad opinion of the author and her secret agenda to "plant seeds"in children's minds. If she reveals her purpose to a group that approves of these means it does not lessen the affront I feel at being "duped."

 

Fortunately I figured it out before we used these materials.

 

Bill

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Can you back that up with examples of content that undermine evolution?

 

Well, I certainly can't, because I would never consider using her materials. However, I can say that listening to the video currently on the main RS4K site:

 

 

 

gives me hives. The other perspectives she refers to are not part of science. They may be interesting and valuable, but they're also anti-scientific.

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I understand what you are saying. If you want a science program that explicitly teaches evolution, then a neutral program won't fit your criteria - I get that. However, when someone comes here asking for secular resources, they are not necessarily wanting to teach evolution. Plenty of religious and/or YEC people on this forum and elsewhere consciously choose secular/neutral programs because they want to teach their own beliefs. They are looking for something neutral that does not take a stand.

 

Maybe you'd like to make a list of evolutionst science programs?

 

For myself, I very much disagree with this. IMO there are three categories......secular, straddling the fence, and religious. If I ask for secular I mean 100% secular, with no fence-straddling in order to be "neutral" or not be objectionable to anyone's religion-based views. I avoid the fence-straddling stuff as much as I avoid the religious stuff.

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For myself, I very much disagree with this. IMO there are three categories......secular, straddling the fence, and religious. If I ask for secular I mean 100% secular, with no fence-straddling in order to be "neutral" or not be objectionable to anyone's religion-based views. I avoid the fence-straddling stuff as much as I avoid the religious stuff.
Straddling dives me nuts because it's a marketing rather than editorial decision, one which inevitably diminishes the material, no matter which side of the fence the buyer is on.
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Thank you- that's the kind of thing I was asking for. I agree, that is not neutral.

 

The also falsely tried to split science into two separate categories.

 

One being "facts."

 

And the other being how those "facts" are interpreted. Here she suggests that all opinions have more or less equal value. That one can choose to believe in ID and it is just as valid "scientifically" as accepting that the Theory of Evolution is a very well validated scientific theory.

 

To say they are in any way "comparable" on a scientific basis is very false.

 

Bill

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LOL that's the one that bothers me... though I don't think it's truth.. However, others are able to see it as just a joke.

 

But I don't think anyone who has actually read the books, especially a hard-core atheist, could consider LOF secular. Acceptable or not acceptable depending on comfort level, yes, of course, but not secular.

Can you (or someone) elaborate on the Christian nature of LoF? I was actually interested in this once we finished Singapore, but am disappointed to hear that it has a Christian slant vs. being secular and not bringing up religion at all (not sure why it *needs* to be in a math curriculum in the first place) :( Is it just in the stories that are included with the curriculum or what? TIA!

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Can you (or someone) elaborate on the Christian nature of LoF? I was actually interested in this once we finished Singapore, but am disappointed to hear that it has a Christian slant vs. being secular and not bringing up religion at all (not sure why it *needs* to be in a math curriculum in the first place :( Is it just in the stories that are included with the curriculum or what? TIA!
I'm on my phone right now, which is best for short responses, but will get back to you later if no one else does. Short answer is that this is a story, and Schmidt's characters are Christian. There's no indoctrination or even an assumption the reader is Christian or should be, IFKWIM.
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Can you (or someone) elaborate on the Christian nature of LoF? I was actually interested in this once we finished Singapore, but am disappointed to hear that it has a Christian slant vs. being secular and not bringing up religion at all (not sure why it *needs* to be in a math curriculum in the first place) :( Is it just in the stories that are included with the curriculum or what? TIA!

 

I've only looked through the first two LoF books and as a secular homeschooler who was raised Jewish, not Christian (and who now is not particularly religious), I'm pretty comfortable with the bits of religious references in at least these two books.

 

On my blog (see sig), there's a "My Reviews" section on the sidebar to the left, and I did a LoF review where I pointed out the specific examples I found that could be considered to pertain to religion. None of them were a dealbreaker for me personally.

 

ondreeuh,

Teaching Textbooks is a secular math curriculum if you want to add it to your math section. :)

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I've only looked through the first two LoF books and as a secular homeschooler who was raised Jewish, not Christian (and who now is not particularly religious), I'm pretty comfortable with the bits of religious references in at least these two books.

 

On my blog (see sig), there's a "My Reviews" section on the sidebar to the left, and I did a LoF review where I pointed out the specific examples I found that could be considered to pertain to religion. None of them were a dealbreaker for me personally.

 

ondreeuh,

Teaching Textbooks is a secular math curriculum if you want to add it to your math section. :)

Thank you! Your review is extremely helpful!! Seeing those references brings me to the same conclusion as nmoira said "There's no indoctrination or even an assumption the reader is Christian or should be" which was my fear. Whew...can leave it on the list for now :) Thanks!!

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on pg 45 A History of US vol 1. 1993 edition-

 

" . . . Their sophisticated culture was flourishing at the time when Christ lived. . . "

 

this caused me to put this book aside. more information can be found here:

 

http://www.textbookleague.org/111hakm.htm

 

There is also blatant presentation of religious stories as historical fact in the first The Story of Science book. I didn't make it past the first one.

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