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How much do you personally know about other religions? What/how do you teach your dc?


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Some posts have made me wonder about this. Clearly some people are more interested in religious topics than other people. Also, some parents prefer their kids to have a solid grounding in the family's beliefs and practices before learning about others.

 

So I would love to hear your views about this. NOT your views on the merits of any particular religion, just you views on whether/how it is good to learn about them, for yourself or as part of your kids' education.

 

How do your kids learn about religions? Do they know people from many different faiths? Or meet them as part of their learning? Do they work mainly with books? Internet resources? Visit churches, temples, etc?

 

And is there really a significant difference in approach between devout/conservative religious parents, more liberal religious parents and parents who are non religious?

 

Is it true that some parents would just rather not expose their children to other religions (or any religions)? Or is it really more just a question of this not being a priority subject compared to numeracy, literacy and such?

Edited by Hotdrink
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To answer my own question, I feel that some kind of religious education is vitally important, both to be able to understand other people, and to comprehend something of how religious beliefs and values affect what goes on in the world.

 

As a non religious family, we are at something of a disadvantage because instead of the kids absorbing basic ideas from us, we have to teach everything from scratch. This means quite a lot of detail, because they don't have the shorthand concepts (eg where a religious child might have a feeling of what God means, we have to start with what is a god, how is a god different from an animal, person, fairy, magician, monster, etc, why did so many people start to have just one god instead of a pantheon, and on and on).

 

On the other hand, sometimes the invisible backpack of assumptions could hinder learning too. Eg when I started on the Qur'an for the first time, I kept comparing it to the Bible and thinking "Why can't it have a proper beginning, middle and ending?". Needless to say I couldn't even begin to get anywhere until I stopped thinking of it as "the Muslim Bible"! Likewise when I took the kids to the Mosque, I reminded them to be respectful by saying "This is a house of worship, you know, like when we went to the Synagogue", only to find out afterwards that worship isn't an appropriate word in Islam.

Edited by Hotdrink
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Most of my knowledge in religions simply comes from casual reading and from the people I've known in life. I married into a Christian family, I come from a Jewish background, I have a couple good friends that are Buddhist, one of which I've had lots of conversations about beliefs with. I have a good friend who is Muslim, we have had a some casual conversation about beliefs, but never really gotten into any real depth. I've spent a fair amount of time in what would be considered New Age type social circles and met many people with many different views on life there. That was one the most comfortable times of my life. I've found there are radicals in the Christian world, there are radicals in the Muslim world, and there are radicals in every other belief system out there. Crazy people are everywhere, they don't just exist in one belief system.

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Crazy people are everywhere, they don't just exist in one belief system.

Surely you're not implying that there are crazy people in the home schooling world?! :w00t:

 

I know a lot. And I hope my kids will too.

Care to elaborate?

 

So, he will likely be brainwashed with Christianity before that happens. Which is fine with me so long as I've taught him to use his brain as well.

Doesn't sound like real brainwashing if you're letting him use his brain ;)

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Surely you're not implying that there are crazy people in the home schooling world?! :w00t:

 

:lol::lol: I sure am! I'm pretty sure I'm one of 'em! :D Although I'm hoping I'm the kind of crazy that's interesting to the outside viewers at least and not the kind of crazy that drives people away screaming.

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I also think a knowledge of world religions is essential and feel that leaving them out of the curriculum would be like leaving out philosophy, psychology and literature. All these topics help us understand our fellow humans; those eccentric individuals we have to interact with on a daily basis. Appealing as the idea is at times, hermit isn't a valid career choice for my young people. :p

 

My kids aren't learning anything about any religion yet, not even mine, so all I have are plans. :rolleyes: I have begun to write a religious calendar curriculum which I hope to start using when dd is in grade one. Not all topics necessary to cover will fit into that framework, so I guess we'll need extra RE classes now and then. I assume I'll take the kids to different religious buildings and borrow all the books and dvds the library has on loan.

 

Rosie

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As a lay minister with 2 years of training, and with a mini-theologian in our home in my 13 year old son, we actually have many religion oriented conversations in our home, but probably not at all along the lines of what most people would think when I say such a thing as I typed above. We are a liberal leaning Christian family, and often find ourselves quite uncomfortable with typical Christian conversations as it does not align with what we believe.

 

We also have studied world religions as a preface to studying world history, as we felt it was highly important to do so...much of what occurs in the world both past and present is in the name of religion, and trying to teach history without a basic knowledge of beliefs of others means you are losing much of the subtext which helps with understanding. We studied the major 5 world religions, but because we live in rural Colorado we don't have much opportunity to visit houses of worship of other faiths.

 

I can't imagine teaching kids without teaching them respect for other faiths, a basic beginning understanding of different religions and even denominations...look how much of our own country's current events revolve around fundamental Christianity and its beliefs. Without a clear understanding of the basic doctrine, how would they be able to "get" what is being talked about in the news by the conservative side of our country?

 

Cindy

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I know a lot about world religions. I was raised in a Lutheran school by a Methodist minister and am now an atheist. I will say it is harder to deal with the big questions because I don't have any answers. I try to answer as honestly as I can. When asked what happens after we die, I first ask what they think to get an idea of what they've heard and what ideas they have brewing. I then tell them my beliefs, their relatives' beliefs, then world beliefs. I tell them it's tough to decide what they believe and that I will help them any way I can.

As to how I teach world beliefs, I started out with SOTW. SWB does a great job introducing other religions.

It is of the utmost importance that my children have respect for ALL religions, not just the ones they are most familiar with.

I do have to say that I've found giant holes in their common knowledge. The stories that I grew up knowing in Christianity aren't part of their knowledge base. I feel that these stories are very important to most understanding of literature. As we are going back to the ancients this year, we will be covering those OT Bible stories in depth. I agree with an OP who said it is much tougher because we are teaching from scratch.

I do think that my way is harder, but fullfilling.

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I'm a religion Mutt :D I grew up with a dad who was a pastor but never worked at it, and religious debate was dinner table conversation. Then I studied Religious Studies in college. I dabbled in Buddhism in college, and I most closely identify with Islam now but I wouldn't say I am a fully practicing Muslim.

 

I have tried to expose dd to as many of the world religions as possible in a generic light. We are doing SL core B secular and I find it's a really good starting place. Dd really dislikes any talk of G-d or religion though, so we don't do it as a regular subject.

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We are nonreligious. We study all world religions and mythologies as they come up in our other studies or when the mood strikes. I think it's very important. For instance, understanding the roots of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is pretty much essential to understanding ongoing conflicts in the middle east. Plus religion and mythology are fascinating.

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We're liberal non-church-going Christians. I've tried to weave religion into our study of history as much as possible and to point out the nuances of religion as it relates to current events. As others have said, it seems to me that it would be impossible for someone to be able to fully grasp what's going on in the world today without a good grounding in at least the basics of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. We've also studied a bit about Hinduism and Buddhism. When youngest DS is in high school I'd love to work in a comparative religion course.

 

At this point what I want both of them to grasp is that often criticism of a particular religion is due to ignorance about what that religion truly teaches and that they should NOT assume anything they hear about another religion is true until they research it themselves. Any religious book/teaching is the sum of its parts, not just one part that's perhaps taken out of context.

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We are nonreligious. We study all world religions and mythologies as they come up in our other studies or when the mood strikes. I think it's very important. For instance, understanding the roots of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is pretty much essential to understanding ongoing conflicts in the middle east. Plus religion and mythology are fascinating.

 

:iagree:

 

We do not really study it yet but we read a bit. I have a thick printout of world religions and eventually we're going to make a timeline out of it.

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I've been thinking about this because next year is the year in our cycle that we usually study the history of Christianity. In the past it has been from a particular perspective. This time I would like to make it more of a universal study of world religions and as non-biased as possible. I imagine my kids will still see a particular leaning on my part, but hopefully they will have a better understanding of the world outside Christianity as well.

 

Our history/social studies cycle goes like this:

Year 1- Ancients

Year 2- Middle Ages

Year 3- Modern

Year 4- Geography/ Religion 1st semester, Government/Economics 2nd semester

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Considering we're a minority, we get lots of opportunities to discuss differences in beliefs. Due to where we live, our activities, etc, we probably get even more opportunities than if we lived somewhere less diverse and had a more (trying to find the word) ________ (less focused on others, less volunteering, fewer activities, etc) life.

 

As for schooling wise, of course, there will be what is in the curriculum and then interest based from there. We likely won't do a more detailed study until later as the kids are SO young at this time. Teenage years seems like a good time to cover the major 12-ish religions.

 

Of course, it really depends on the children, their needs, their educations, etc.

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We are fortunate to have friends from different religious backgrounds so our kids have always had a healthy respect. My husband and I were raised Christian but are now very liberal in our beliefs, still Christian, though. Haven't been to church in many years. We are leaning towars Christianity while embracing the philosophy of Buddhism. Maybe a zen practice? I recently learned here that this may be the correct term for it. :D

I have two children in a huge university and one still at home, 8th grade. I am finding my older two are having less respect for Christianity because of a lot of the misinformed people they are encountering. We are having to talk about it more just so they understand the big picture. Because of this, I may do a religions study with my youngest. I wouldn't mind taking him through one of Karen Armstrong's books. I just feel so strongly that through education we find understanding and respect. I wish some of my relatives would read a book or two. Their Facebook status updates yesterday made my heart hurt. :crying:

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We're liberal non-church-going Christians. I've tried to weave religion into our study of history as much as possible and to point out the nuances of religion as it relates to current events. As others have said, it seems to me that it would be impossible for someone to be able to fully grasp what's going on in the world today without a good grounding in at least the basics of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. We've also studied a bit about Hinduism and Buddhism. When youngest DS is in high school I'd love to work in a comparative religion course.

 

At first I read that as "nuisances of religion." :lol::lol:

 

We are Reformed/Calvinist type Protestants. I have a Roman Catholic background.

 

We teach and talk about different religions a lot. I guess it started when we were doing SOTW or maybe even before that... but it has always been a topic for us. We talk about it a lot at the breakfast table, dinner table...

 

My kids have friends from many religions and no religions. Where we live there are a lot of "cultural Catholics" who identify as such but are not practicing. That's interesting to my kids as we are pretty heavily practicing, with Dad working toward becoming a pastor and all. ;)

 

My kids ask a lot of questions... we answer them as best we can. Or, of course, we look it up.

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How do your kids learn about religions? Do they know people from many different faiths? Or meet them as part of their learning? Do they work mainly with books? Internet resources? Visit churches, temples, etc?

 

My children seem to have been actively targetted by the apparently evangelical Christian neighbor kids with whom they play. These children, one of whom is very outspoken about his religion, bring their faith into the conversation at every opportunity (e.g. On seeing a + sign, "That's a cross! Jesus died on the cross!") and masked invitations for them to convert without the knowledge of their parents, including lots of appeals to eating junk food as part of the process. I am certain this is deliberate on their part and that they have been instructed to do so by their parents and church. Unfortunately for them, they are actually providing a very bad example, and my kids find this behavior obnoxious and insulting. Also some boys from their church regularly come and insult my kids and play roughly and loudly nearby, hardly providing a good example whatsoever. My kids are able to understand that this behavior is not global.

 

My kids know other religions exist and are slowly learning about the many faiths in the world. I am slowly working on giving them an overview of the basic beliefs and practices of different religions, ultimately so they have an understanding of them in their own right, as well as a comparative religious analysis, all with the understanding that human beings are to be respected. So far they seem quite confident in themselves and comfortable with children from many religious backgrounds -- I probably could work harder to find Hindu and Sikh kids for them to play with, but otherwise, we seem to have the bases covered. I found the Usborne book Food and Faith provided a decent overview of those two, so I may include that shortly for discussion.

 

I think it is interesting to see other houses of worship, but I haven't done that at this point, and I do keep our focus on our own faith. My chldren are young and I am sure their thinking will become more complex as they age.

 

I have a fairly decent understanding of different faiths. I talked about it a lot growing up.

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We homeschool secularly, but we do cover world religions as part of our schooling. I do think kids should have some basic understanding of what different people believe. So between Oak Meadow, Story of the World, and supplemental reading for both, as well as conversations we have and so on, we've introduced the basics of a bunch of different religions in a "this is what so and so believes, and this is what so and so believes," kind of way to my daughter. I haven't reached that point yet with my son.

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All my kids grew up in church. Two are Christian, one is an atheist at this point.

We modeled Christianity at home, but left a lot of explicit instruction up to the church, until we homeschooled. Then I figured out (thru conversations) what each believed and taught all but the middle one more explicitly (didn't get much of a chance with him, and now he is too angry and closed off to listen or learn at this point).

We teach thru the worldview of Christianity as we believe it exclusively. We do try not to disparage other ways of looking at religion, tho, esp since we have family members who are not Christian.

 

All of my kids have friends of multiple religions.

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I feel like a good working knowledge of the major religious belief systems is crucial to understanding what is going on in the world. I want my kids to have a full working knowledge of the basis behind so much of the strife in the middle east. I don't see how anyone can grasp today's events without knowing ALL of the past and not just one side of the story.

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Since leaving Evangelical Christianity, my children have been quite averse to going to any religious center, particularly churches.

 

However, my oldest is in 6th grade this year, and I'm making it part of her learning to visit different houses of prayer or worship this year.

 

I already have plans to visit the Sikh temple and go to family Dharma at the Buddhist center next month. I have plenty of Muslim students, so I plan to ask some of the ladies where and what we might attend for a Muslim gathering.

 

We tried to go to the UU church last weekend. It did not go well. All of the classes for kids were full, and it was the first day of class, so they weren't even allowed to visit, so as to not overwhelm the new teachers. As it was just me, and I had all 3 children, we just left. My kids did not want to attend the large group Chalice lighting/worship. There are also quite a number of synagogues in town, and I want to see which might be the best for us to visit. Additionally, there's a pagan group that we might visit as well. Oooh, I also work with a Bahai lady. . . I just remembered! We'll definitely have to visit that as well. We'll probably also go to some Masses during Holy Week. I doubt I'll be able to get hubby to go to any of this. He used to be catholic and and altar boy. He said he's already "done his time." We'll probably also visit the LDS church and a couple of Protestant services.

 

That's my plan for the year.

 

And when my daughter eventually tells me, "they can't all be right!" (I'm certain she will :)) I'll tell her, yes, but they can all be wrong.

 

Oooh, as far as what I know. With regard to Christian denominations, I'm pretty darn good, honestly. When I was an evangelist, I knew most of the ins and outs of other most Christian schools of thought. I only know the basics about other world religions. I'll be learning with the kids, and I want them to get their information, mostly from the people who actually hold those faiths. It could get quite misconstrued were I to get the information from a book and just try to pass it to the kids.

 

Oooooh! ETA: I forgot, there's also a Suffi group here. Now, I'd very much like to visit there, just for myself. But, I'm sure my daughter would be interested too. Great thread, Hotdrink. This is getting me more in gear to really put this into action.

Edited by Ipsey
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I probably don't know as much as I think.

As a minority religion I have found that I have a greater understanding of world religions then my friends in the majority. It just seems to me that growing up in the minority you are faced daily with other religions and aware of their holidays whereas it is not true in the opposite direction.

Edited by kewb
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We are Christian but we talk about other religions as they come up. We've talked/learned at length (for his age) about Judaism, Islam, Hinduim, and Buddhism. We've talked to a lesser degree about other religions like Jainism, Taoism, Shintoism, etc. And, of course, we've talked about the religion of ancient peoples in each of the areas we've studied. If my children are meant to be Christian, they will be--without our hiding alternative worldviews from them. I don't believe in that kind of "choice."

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Dh and I view teaching other religions as cultural studies, and yes we do teach our kids about other religions through books and documentaries. We wait until about 9 or 10 to do that, because we do want our kids to have a firm foundation in our religion first. IMO one cannot full understand one's own religion and beliefs without knowing what they do not believe too.

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well we are really super conservative muslims. my son is only a little over 3 and has autism so right now we aren't teaching him anything about religion because he wouldn't be able to understand it.

 

we plan to include Islam into every subject we study at home and we also mention other religions in the context of what islam says about them.

 

we do let him play where there are non- muslim children such as the park,support groups for autistic families,library storytime. we will not allow him to have friends who are non muslim.we also will not allow him to be friends with deviated muslims( or muslims who are not considered to be on the right path.) I don't want to have to explain to him why his friends are doing things that God says are wrong or evil in many different issues. i would not want him to hurt that child's feeling nor do I want to put him into any temptation.

 

my family is non muslim( my parents are conservative christian and i have jehovah witness family members as well) but they also know what we don't allow and don't give me any problems about it.

 

i do and plan to teach my child to talk to everyone who speaks to them and treat them as human beings regardless of what religion they are from. Because this is what God tells us to do.

Edited by Amirah
typo
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I'm fascinated by religion and have gone through phases in my life when I read everything I can find about one faith or another. I consider familiarity with the major faiths of the world to be part of a well-rounded education.

 

My kids probably start learning just by asking questions in the normal course of life. If I can't answer a question, we look it up together. My daughter was extremely interested in Buddhism for a few years when she was little, and we ended up reading quite a bit together then.

 

Also, we're Unitarian Universalists, and world religions are a regular part of the Sunday school curriculum. One of the curricula that is frequently used during the middle school years includes study of several faiths followed by visits to religious services.

 

We use books, movies, the internet and real-life experiences to learn.

 

My daughter did a half-credit world religions course with me when she was in high school, and I had my son do a more kid-friendly study at the same time. I anticipate doing a more formal study with him, too, next year.

 

It does seem like some parents are uncomfortable with allowing their children to learn about faiths that are not their own. I've never really understood it, though.

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We are a christian family homeschooling without a religious emphasis. Part of his education comes from the fact I'm dealing with some faith issues. Ds and I discuss those a lot, I have no one else to discuss it with.

 

I live in a very non-diverse area and grew up in a very overall christian atmosphere. So much of my information has come from my own readings, the Internet, and to some respects this forum. When we were attending church, we received some instruction in other religions, but it was with a very biased perspective. Some of it was flat out wrong.

 

In that vein, I'm teaching my son about world religions from that religions POV. When he was younger we simply discussed how different religions believed different things and discussed our own beliefs. Now we're digging deeper. I hope to do a world religions class from a scholarly POV. He wants to have an International lifestyle, and I believe a working knowledge and understanding of many religions will be necessary for him.

 

I have to say I appreciate the diversity on this forum as we don't have many examples in our current real life. It's one thing to read about a religion in a book, it's good to read how those religions operate in people's day-to-day lives from the posters here.

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We live in a diverse area, so it's easy. We also make a point of joining secular homeschooling groups. I really think kids learn the most about religion by having friends of other religions. It's almost easy to label a whole group of people as 'wrong' or 'evil' when you don't have a single friend among them. When someone you respect and care for practices another religion you think about it on another level.

 

My kids also know people who chose their religion based on geography. Some folks really believe that The One True Religion is the one that just happens to be practiced in their town and in their own family. They believe they were blessed by geography and the Others were just born unlucky and not bright enough to see The Truth. They know people who wouldn't 'lower' themselves by having friends of other religions. They also understand that these are the most dangerous kind of thinkers in the world.

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I'm non religious at the moment after growing up United Methodist. I plan to teach the various creation stories and about world religions at the start of our World History study, as we go through each country in our Geography study, and whenever it comes up in History.

 

Eventually we may visit other religious services but not until the kids are older. I want to make sure they won't be disruptive and will actually learn something. We're in a very diverse area so it won't be hard. I also have Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Buddhists in my immediate family.

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I know a lot. And I hope my kids will too.

 

I'm one of those people who believes there are many paths to the Divine, so I'm all for teaching the broad spectrum of religion in order to help dd find her own way. Plus, there is so much beauty in so many different faiths that it would be a shame to just leave it all out.

 

:iagree:

 

My children seem to have been actively targetted by the apparently evangelical Christian neighbor kids with whom they play. These children, one of whom is very outspoken about his religion, bring their faith into the conversation at every opportunity (e.g. On seeing a + sign, "That's a cross! Jesus died on the cross!") and masked invitations for them to convert without the knowledge of their parents, including lots of appeals to eating junk food as part of the process. I am certain this is deliberate on their part and that they have been instructed to do so by their parents and church. Unfortunately for them, they are actually providing a very bad example, and my kids find this behavior obnoxious and insulting. Also some boys from their church regularly come and insult my kids and play roughly and loudly nearby, hardly providing a good example whatsoever. My kids are able to understand that this behavior is not global.

 

We have had the same experience with neighbor kids. Fortunately they have met some good conservative Christian friends at co-op, so they know not everyone is this way!

 

I was raised mostly Jewish, with an agnostic/pagan mother, Catholic step-father (one of them), and Baptist family. S diverse. I wish I could introduce my kids to more religions, but we are rural and it is very homogenous.

Edited by mommymilkies
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I took a course in World Religions as an undergrad. We are non-attending UUs, and I want my children to have a solid understanding of all of the major world religions. I use the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World Relgions with my younger kids, and primary source documents with my older ones.

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As a non religious family, we are at something of a disadvantage because instead of the kids absorbing basic ideas from us, we have to teach everything from scratch.

 

I disagree. I don't feel that I'm at a disadvantage because I don't have a basic religious foundation or basic ideas from religion. I find that freeing. I can allow my dc's morality to develop naturally. For really good books on how to raise kids in a non-religious home try Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers.

 

It's important for children to be religiously and culturally literate. That's my goal. My dc need to understand the world and the society they are in.

 

As for respect, I teach my dc that they should respect the person but they don't have to respect the idea. There is a difference. That is explained well in the books above.

 

As to how I teach different religions we do it related to history so far. Around different holidays I'll get books from the library to explain those holidays. Right now we are focusing on the Bible (Old Testament at the moment) because the dominant influence in the society my family lives in is Christian.

 

A couple years ago my ds approached a Muslim mom at the karate dojo we attend. He asked her if she had been to Mecca. She said she had and he started asking her all about it. She told me later she was astounded that he knew so much about Islam. He doesn't even know that much. :)

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