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Just venting--Secular Thought Police


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This thread has been very helpful for me.

I am a Christian homeschooler and we very much do science from a Creation YE point of view.

I will try to be more careful in the future when recommending curriculum if someone asks for a secular POV that I check carefully before posting.  I know that some of our choices are very much Christian, but there are others that I really would have to check.

I mean, if someone asks for a secular curriculum I know not to recommend Abeka, BJU, Apologia, or Notgrass.  But for other books such as Saxon or Joy Hakim (which I haven't read in a while) or IEW or random books that show up in our house -- I sometimes don't remember the Christian bias because it doesn't stand out to me.

I guess it's kind of like white privilege.  Although in many situations being a Christian puts me in a minority POV, as a Christian Homeschooler I often fail to recognize my privilege as a homeschooler in the majority POV.

Thank you all for the reminder. :)

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This thread has been very helpful for me. I am a Christian homeschooler and we very much do science from a Creation YE point of view. I will try to be more careful in the future when recomme

True crisis homeschoolers will be gone once the crisis is over. And I suspect a good number will be gone even before the crisis is over. 

Btw, I am relieved and somewhat gratified to announce that I've been kicked out of that group for asking those questions. They've saved me the trouble of removing myself. At this point I feel like it'

4 hours ago, Danae said:

 

So, here is my take on that, as a devout practicing Christian who teaches secular science. Part of studying science, even at young ages, is learning what science is.  It's not a set of topics, it's a process and a method.  If you limit the acceptable results of your investigation based on religious doctrine then you're not doing science, even if sometimes the results match what you would get if you weren't so limiting.  

I have to admit, I taught science as a series of topics for some time. We covered the scientific method, but didn't explore it in too much depth until they were older. How do you think this would be an issue in an elementary level science class? I'm genuinely curious. I didn't think younger kids did the kind of investigations that could be limited based on religious doctrine. I thought most creationist scientist focused on evolution and geological age, which aren't usually topics for younger kids.

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2 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Yeah, I think that's an apt comparison 🙂 . Being in the majority sometimes makes it hard for us to appreciate how hard it is for minorities to navigate things. 

 

Now I'm curious -- is Saxon really not secular? How does it come up with Joy Hakim, who I've read good things about? 

I have no idea about Saxon. I always thought it was secular. The other secular FB group I'm on bans Hakim's history because they say it has racist language and is whitewashed.

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7 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Now I'm curious -- is Saxon really not secular? How does it come up with Joy Hakim, who I've read good things about? 

I *think* it's secular, but what I mean is I wouldn't notice if it wasn't.

I was just randomly listing some of the books that are sitting in front of me at the moment. :)

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1 minute ago, square_25 said:

Hmmm, well, I know that for us, evolution actually came up organically. We were learning about viruses and there it was (DD8 asked to learn about viruses back in November -- apparently she's prescient, sigh.) We've also just recently started reading the graphic novel about evolution, and that's certainly kid-accessible. So there's really no reason to leave it out -- if it is left out, I bet it's partially because some parents lobby hard against it. 

Secondly, my personal bias is to teach the scientific method first and topics second. It's not that the topics aren't important, but the scientific method really affects how you see the world... 

I understand what you're saying. You certainly can teach it at younger ages, it just typically isn't. (Maybe because of the parent lobby, sure.) I've looked at your other posts and we approach hsing a little differently. I did more content heavy stuff first and am hitting concepts much harder now that my kids are older. They are neurodiverse, so it worked better for us for me to do it this way.

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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Hahahah, now I'm curious! Saxon isn't my style, anyway, so I wouldn't have paid attention if it weren't secular!! 

Well, what does the facebook group that this thread is about think about Saxon?  They would know better than I do whether it's secular or not.  😉 

I did a quick search and it *seems* that Saxon and Hakim are both secular.  I was pretty sure that Hakim was, but I really wasn't sure about Saxon.  We have four levels going currently and I have not read every.single.word.problem.  

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5 minutes ago, Junie said:

Well, what does the facebook group that this thread is about think about Saxon?  They would know better than I do whether it's secular or not.  😉 

I did a quick search and it *seems* that Saxon and Hakim are both secular.  I was pretty sure that Hakim was, but I really wasn't sure about Saxon.  We have four levels going currently and I have not read every.single.word.problem.  

I think you may be underestimating yourself, to be honest. Saxon is secular. You didn't miss anything there. Hakim is secular too; she is banned from those groups for different reasons. I had never heard about any racist language or whitewashing in Hakim before I read about it there, from anyone, (Clearly, I have now.) and it's impossible to confirm what they are referring to since they don't include specific citations.  David McCullough, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, the Washington Post Book World, etc, etc, all gave it glowing reviews, and the first Amazon review from a reader states that it is left wing, revisionist history. So, really, it's not on you if you didn't notice anything. Many, many non-religious, highly educated people failed to notice anything either.

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2 hours ago, Junie said:

This thread has been very helpful for me.

I am a Christian homeschooler and we very much do science from a Creation YE point of view.

I will try to be more careful in the future when recommending curriculum if someone asks for a secular POV that I check carefully before posting.  I know that some of our choices are very much Christian, but there are others that I really would have to check.

I mean, if someone asks for a secular curriculum I know not to recommend Abeka, BJU, Apologia, or Notgrass.  But for other books such as Saxon or Joy Hakim (which I haven't read in a while) or IEW or random books that show up in our house -- I sometimes don't remember the Christian bias because it doesn't stand out to me.

I guess it's kind of like white privilege.  Although in many situations being a Christian puts me in a minority POV, as a Christian Homeschooler I often fail to recognize my privilege as a homeschooler in the majority POV.

Thank you all for the reminder. 🙂

I think this is really true.  I think that many christian homeschoolers really genuinely don't/can't see the christian bias/content that is rampant in so many homeschool materials that to them don't seem overtly religious.   White privilege (and its invisibility to many of those who have it) is an apt comparison.

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12 hours ago, square_25 said:

I've heard good things about her stuff, despite the Young Earth thing, although I don't have personal experience. @Monica_in_Switzerland, do you know anything about this? (I think you're the one who's mentioned it?) 

 

As others have mentioned, her geology apparently does not take the current consensus on age-of-Earth as the only option.  I think she might have a FAQ about it on the product page, but I'm not sure.  

We have used The Elements, Carbon Chem, The Cell, Mapping the World, and Excavating English and I have not seen anything non-secular in them.  They are excellent.  

 

As a Christian, I think we have a fine line to talk when presenting science.  I lost my faith for a number of years, as I was raised YE and then went on to get a STEM degree.  When the YE legs were knocked out from underneath me, I found I couldn't hold on to the other aspects of my faith, and I turned pretty radically atheist, having felt I was sold a pack of lies.  I came back around to Christianity much later, from a very different perspective and much more solid apologist base, which has nothing to do with the mechanics of biology or geology.  As much as I hate the terms "secular science" and "secular history," those are the programs I try to use, as I don't trust other people to combine these topics with Christianity as I want to present it to my kids.  

 

   

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As a relaxed atheist, I don't find it comfortable to be around very vocal hardline atheists - shading into anti-theists - but I do understand how people can get to that point if they are very much in a minority, or if they have difficult personal experiences with religion.  My kind of position is very common in my country.

I remember when I was recommending Galore Park materials, I was pulled up by someone for recommending religious texts: there was a religious education series in the suite of products (the UK has a state church and RE/comparative religion is on the syllabus) and because one author mentioned a god in his preface to a science book.  I checked with the publisher and I have just re-read his email.  Although a committed Christian himself, he did not publish religious content, except the RE series.  Presumably that one reference to a god in a preface, plus the publication of a labelled RE curriculum, would put the books beyond the pale for some.  Which is a shame.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I"m surprised to see so many people on here dismissing teaching evolution and age of earth topics just because they may not be covered in SOME public schools.  Since when did most of us care about what the public schools do? 

There are quite a few picture books accessible to younger children about evolution these days.  And yes, quite a few dinosaur books will have a timeline of some sort in them.    

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12 hours ago, OneThoughtMayHideAnother said:

Same here. 🙂 First came up when my kid asked one of those "why" questions. Don't remember exactly what it was anymore, but must have been something along the lines of: why do these plants look like this? Why do these animals behave like this? I wasn't planning on teaching evolution to a 4 y.o. (or however old my son was then) but how does an atheist like myself even answer these questions without mentioning the idea of evolution? The first thing that popped into my mind at the time was to tell him a little funny story about fish that included the idea of DNA, mutations, being adapted to their environment, etc etc. He loves stories, and has since heard many iterations of that one.

I think if evolution is one of those ideas that shaped the parent's thinking about the world, it will come up organically in conversations with pretty young children.

This is very similar to my experience with my kids.  Evolution came up very early - preschool age, with "why" questions - and pretty much every conversation about any biology topic will touch on it.  It is the fundamental and foundational theory for all of biology.  I would find it very hard to have any educational "why" discussion about any life-sci topic that wouldn't touch on evolution, actually.  There are loads of picture books and documentaries that make the topic accessible to young kids. 

(We were even fortunate enough to take a family trip to the Galapagos when the kids were 8 and 10.  They got to see those  tortoises and finches in person, and experience the strikingly different ecological/micro-climate conditions between islands.  The Field Trip Of Their Life lol.)

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I think there is a large difference between saying that teaching evolution is easy and good for elementary, versus declaring a science curriculum not secular simply because it doesn't cover those topics in elementary level. No one calls RSO Life religious, but it doesn't cover evolution. 

I teach evolution early as we read preschool age picture books about prehistory, the big bang, and evolution.

However, I have no problem with a elementary science curriculum that doesn't cover evolution being called secular. If it is explicitly YE, or even if the author is YE(see RS4K) I wouldn't call it a secular, but just because something like Mr Q which waits until middle school to tackle evolution doesn't mean it shouldn't be considered secular.

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13 hours ago, Danae said:

Just to pick an obvious kid-friendly topic— how long ago did dinosaurs live? How do we know?  When we dig up fossils, how do we figure out how old they are? 

Exactly. How does it not come up? 

12 hours ago, Mrs. Tharp said:

So, they would conduct an investigation into this? I guess I just read mine books that explained it.

The forum is being difficult so I'm responding in the quote. If you read them books that explained it, then you did cover the topic, but there are also ways to do hands-on investigations and demonstrations. There are many places where you can hunt for actual fossils and have a good chance of finding them! If you don't want to get in that deep, there are kits designed to emulate the experience on a small scale, and of course diy projects. Quite a lot of online investigations and labs as well. 

 

 

55 minutes ago, wathe said:

This is very similar to my experience with my kids.  Evolution came up very early - preschool age, with "why" questions - and pretty much every conversation about any biology topic will touch on it.  It is the fundamental and foundational theory for all of biology.  I would find it very hard to have any educational "why" discussion about any life-sci topic that wouldn't touch on evolution, actually.  There are loads of picture books and documentaries that make the topic accessible to young kids. 

(We were even fortunate enough to take a family trip to the Galapagos when the kids were 8 and 10.  They got to see those  tortoises and finches in person, and experience the strikingly different ecological/micro-climate conditions between islands.  The Field Trip Of Their Life lol.)

Yep. Quoting for truth, and to say again that I don't see how it doesn't come up. If you're reading to your kids and observing nature and animals and, heck, basically letting them outside - it's going to come up at some point, and it's only going to not be a topic if you artificially shut it down. 

Also? Crazy jealous of that field trip! 

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Not explicitly covering evolution as a discrete topic or unit in an elementary science course?  Maybe.  But dancing around any mention of evolution when covering life-sci or geology is definitely not secular.

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1 minute ago, katilac said:

 

Exactly. How does it not come up? 

 

 

Yep. Quoting for truth, and to say again that I don't see how it doesn't come up. If you're reading to your kids and observing nature and animals and, heck, basically letting them outside - it's going to come up at some point, and it's only going to not be a topic if you artificially shut it down. 

Also? Crazy jealous of that field trip! 

It was pretty great.  (It was a trip my parents had wanted to do with the kids for a very long time  - it wasn't just a spur of the moment field trip to supplement schoolwork, that's for sure.  It did turn into a beautiful way to integrate school, learning and family life.  Homeschool for the win, for sure.)

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Well, as an aside, I think MUCH elementary science curriculum is just WAY too shallow.  We ended up dumping almost all of it for science museum and nature center programs, real documentaries, science kits, live books on subjects, and the occasional science fair style project.  By the time we got around to high school science, I felt like the knowledge and backing was there or more.  They just had to learn how to jump through hoops about lab notebooks, take a test, etc.   My oldest has a stem major at college so didn't seem to hurt him any.   You can't hardly do a junior ranger program at a national park without being introduced to micro and macro evolution.  I don't see how it doesn't come up either.   

I do think as a homeschooler than has been around for like 14 years at this point, when we started we definitely did have to dance around religious groups and feel unwelcome and were pooh poohed for wanting something that was truly secular.   A lot of us have worked hard to carve out a space in the world and build true community.   I really  do historically understand why SEA is the way it is.  I also think when you have a bunch of volunteer  moderators, inconsistency can and will happen. I just saw a huge neighborhood board splinter into 2 FB groups after moderators butting heads behind the scenes.  

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I’m actually not sure if the YE teachings avoid evolution completely.

I think mostly they avoid attributing macro evolution in the place of a Creator, but teach micro evolution, don’t they?  It’s not like they are afraid of the word at all, AFAIK.  But I’m not positive as I did not use them, so this is honestly a question.

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So, thinking on this further, I cannot think of a single elementary science homeschool curriculum that talks about evolution, with the exception of CM style ones that use living books (BYL, B&R) etc. If you take that strict of a stance, I'm not sure there are elementary science curriculums you would consider secular. I'd love some examples. 

 

Imo excluding RSO, Evan Moor, Prentice Hall, Mr Q, and hundreds other as secular because they don't cover elementary level evolution is extreme. 

 

That's also part of the frustration I have with SEA. They don't exclude them all, just some. Others get a pass even though they don't cover the evolution topic at lower levels. It's inconsistent. 

 

I think most of us here can agree though that elementary science would be so much better if it did routinely cover evolution and geological time.

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29 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Well, as an aside, I think MUCH elementary science curriculum is just WAY too shallow.  We ended up dumping almost all of it for science museum and nature center programs, real documentaries, science kits, live books on subjects, and the occasional science fair style project.  By the time we got around to high school science, I felt like the knowledge and backing was there or more.  They just had to learn how to jump through hoops about lab notebooks, take a test, etc.   My oldest has a stem major at college so didn't seem to hurt him any.   You can't hardly do a junior ranger program at a national park without being introduced to micro and macro evolution.  I don't see how it doesn't come up either.   

 

This has been my approach.  My kids are still young (11 and 12), so we have yet to see how it will turn out for them.  I do think that their science knowledge is both deep and broad, and that they will be fine.

Think on the bigger issue further:  I think that if your goal is to teach elementary "science" as a body of static knowledge or collection of facts (which so many elementary curricula do), then leaving out a unit on evolution might work and still be passably secular.  But if you are going to teach science as a process, a way to ask "why", a way to explain the natural world (which is think is the correct way), then evolution has to be included, right from the beginning.  To avoid it is definitely not secular.

Edited by wathe
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43 minutes ago, Btervet said:

So, thinking on this further, I cannot think of a single elementary science homeschool curriculum that talks about evolution, with the exception of CM style ones that use living books (BYL, B&R) etc. If you take that strict of a stance, I'm not sure there are elementary science curriculums you would consider secular. I'd love some examples. 

 

Imo excluding RSO, Evan Moor, Prentice Hall, Mr Q, and hundreds other as secular because they don't cover elementary level evolution is extreme. 

 

That's also part of the frustration I have with SEA. They don't exclude them all, just some. Others get a pass even though they don't cover the evolution topic at lower levels. It's inconsistent. 

 

I think most of us here can agree though that elementary science would be so much better if it did routinely cover evolution and geological time.

I have not seen any sign that SEA actually excludes any curriculum that doesn't explicitly teach evolution.   I have recently seen Mr Q discussed on there which is the one mentioned.  Mr Q seems to very rarely come up in any science discussions anywhere, for some reason.  

They DO exclude curriculum that explicitly avoids any mention of evolution or millions of years or change over time or geological time scales or plate tectonics or climate change.   An explicit teaching of evolution is not the only issue here. 

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5 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

I have not seen any sign that SEA actually excludes any curriculum that doesn't explicitly teach evolution.   I have recently seen Mr Q discussed on there which is the one mentioned.  Mr Q seems to very rarely come up in any science discussions anywhere, for some reason.  

They DO exclude curriculum that explicitly avoids any mention of evolution or millions of years or change over time or geological time scales or plate tectonics or climate change.   An explicit teaching of evolution is not the only issue here. 

Yeah, I think some people aren't understanding that it's not just about what topics are listed in the TOC — just because a particular curriculum doesn't have a full unit on the theory of evolution doesn't mean it won't mention things that "neutral" curricula carefully avoid, like the Grand Canyon being carved out by erosion over millions of years, or how long ago dinosaurs died out, or how many thousands of years ago humans reached North America, or how many light years it takes for light from stars to reach Earth, etc. So-called "neutral" science generally avoids any mention of dates older than 6,000 years, in order to be palatable to YE Creationists, and that severely restricts what can be presented or discussed. 

Another issue is that "neutral" curricula written by Creationists will often include subtle ID wording like "our cells are designed to do X..."  So someone who doesn't "see" those references in curriculum like RS4K might think SEA is being totally arbitrary to reject RS4K while allowing another curriculum since they both "don't teach evolution."  There's so much more to it than that.

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4 minutes ago, square_25 said:

To be fair, that particular bit of design language wouldn't bother me, lol. But I think you're right that if you avoid anything that's older than 6,000 years old, you avoid a LOT. 

I find "designed" in all kinds of secular resources, at all levels including college/graduate level. "Adapted" may be more scientifically accurate but "x is designed to do y" is just such a common way to phrase things in English. The heart is designed to pump blood, DNA is designed to carry genetic information, viruses are designed to infect cells, etc.

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On 8/10/2020 at 9:15 PM, Farrar said:

 

I know many secular folks who have thought they did their due diligence only to end up with a program that mentions God or going to Sunday school or other such things constantly with the assumption that the student will agree with these as personal experiences.

Right? When ds would ask about YE or Sunday School or something religious I didn't mind giving him the "some people believe" speech, but I didn't want to have to do it in the middle of a math lesson. That's not where it belongs but a lot of people, even marginally secular people don't see those things so they think a program is secular when it's not.

On 8/10/2020 at 9:18 PM, square_25 said:

I haven't been bothering to buy curriculum, because we do our own thing, but I've absolutely looked up samples and been kind of shocked by what's included. And people don't spell things out, either... like, 

We did our own thing except for math. I didn't think it was right to have to scour possible math curricula to find one that was well and truly secular. 

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On 8/10/2020 at 9:24 PM, Mrs. Tharp said:

Well, they could solve that easily with some kind of written reference, an FAQ, or a spreadsheet.  It's not that hard and would be enormously helpful to people just starting out.

 

On 8/10/2020 at 9:25 PM, square_25 said:

Yep! They should do that, although note that people will NOT read it 😉 . People join groups and immediately shoot their mouths off. That's people for you. 

Oh yes! I'd bet many of us here have been in groups where a question is asked over and over and over, but it's easily answered if the people asking would just read the pinned post or the files. You can give people that information in one place and tell them it's there, but you can't make them read it. It gets exhausting. Then people get hurt when they're given a snarky response telling them to read the pinned post. 

On 8/10/2020 at 10:24 PM, kdsuomi said:

Part of the problem people have with the group is that they aren't even using the actual definition of secular. They require curricula to cover certain things that can be left out and have absolutely nothing to do with religion. Secular just means that it isn't of a particular religion, not that this, that, and this other thing must be included or it's "neutral". It's more akin to a Protestant/Catholic/etc. group that has a narrow definition of what Christian means (having to be in that group or hold beliefs more narrow than you know believing in Jesus) apart from the actual meaning of the word.

 

Secular means it has no spiritual or religious basis whatsoever. And many of those so-called neutral curricula are neutral because of their religious basis. As a pp said, there is no reason to be neutral about evolution or the age of the earth that doesn't have a religious basis.

18 hours ago, square_25 said:

Hmmm, well, I know that for us, evolution actually came up organically. We were learning about viruses and there it was (DD8 asked to learn about viruses back in November -- apparently she's prescient, sigh.) We've also just recently started reading the graphic novel about evolution, and that's certainly kid-accessible. So there's really no reason to leave it out -- if it is left out, I bet it's partially because some parents lobby hard against it. 

Same here. It comes up naturally and easily, and there's no reason not to include a simple version for younger learners. When ds was little there were hardly any books aimed at young people but there are now quite a few lovely books and picture books that explain evolution to the younger grades. 

1 hour ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Oh my goodness, I remember those Galore  Park discussions here, they were so much fun...when you first told us about them, how to find them in the US, etc. Those were the good old days.

I remember those! I came *this close* to trying to get them here, but ended up not wanting to pay the cost. 

15 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Yeah, that seems really annoying. 

So which ones are really and truly secular? I would guess Singapore is, and I know Beast Academy is. 

Ds will be 23 in a few weeks so it's been a minute or two since we finished homeschooling. 😄 We settled on Singapore, which is truly secular. There might be more available now but I'm not aware of them.

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19 hours ago, Lady Florida. said:

 

Secular means it has no spiritual or religious basis whatsoever. And many of those so-called neutral curricula are neutral because of their religious basis. As a pp said, there is no reason to be neutral about evolution or the age of the earth that doesn't have a religious basis.

 

 

Well, from the perspective of a homeschool curriculum provider there is another reason for providing "neutral" science products: economic incentive. 

"Neutral" curricula sell both to creationists and to the growing public charter supported demographic, creationist or not.

Edited by maize
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2 minutes ago, maize said:

 

Well, from the perspective of a homeschool curriculum provider there is another reason for providing "neutral" science products: economic incentive. 

"Neutral" curricula sell both to creationists and to the growing public charter supported demographic.

You had a double post. I'm responding to this one hoping it isn't the one you delete. 😄 

They may hope to sell to creationists religious but not YE, and secular homeschoolers but that's exactly what SEA and many of us in the secular world are fighting against. We're saying you can't be neutral and call it science. Because you really can't.

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11 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

You had a double post. I'm responding to this one hoping it isn't the one you delete. 😄 

They may hope to sell to creationists religious but not YE, and secular homeschoolers but that's exactly what SEA and many of us in the secular world are fighting against. We're saying you can't be neutral and call it science. Because you really can't.

I understand that some people care. And that SEA exists to help those people.

But most people won't know or care.

And especially at the elementary levels I don't personally think it matters a ton. Maybe because I never expect any curriculum choice to be my child's only exposure to a topic. I don't at all mind using an elementary chemistry curriculum that doesn't mention evolution or the age of the universe, my kids have access to the entire library of science resources, they'll pick up those topics elsewhere.

 

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17 minutes ago, square_25 said:

So I've been looking at the list of curricula that SEA disallows... that is a LOT of curricula. I would personally probably prefer a bit more nuance. Like, I don't know what Mr. Q does that's nonsecular (I'm sure it's something!), but the labs we've run had no religion at all. It's not like CLE, which stuffs religious ideas in every corner it can. And looking at the Ellen McHenry stuff that people have recommended to me, I don't see any issue with using it in the younger grades. 

I'm now very curious... why is Math U See not secular? How about Mr. Q? 

Mr Q is considered "neutral" vs. secular. As for MUS, the original program had lots of Christian content, including word problems with religious themes, Bible quotes, and skip-counting songs and workbooks with Christian lyrics. Supposedly as the adult children of the founder (Steve Demme) have taken over the business, they have been removing most of the Christian content in order to broaden the audience, although the skip-counting CD and workbook with religious content are still being sold, although now listed as "optional" components.

(FWIW, my personal objection to MUS is that Demme was originally a salesman for a company called Mortensen Math, and he basically ripped off their entire content, replicated their materials, and sold them as his original work.)

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

So I've been looking at the list of curricula that SEA disallows... that is a LOT of curricula. I would personally probably prefer a bit more nuance. Like, I don't know what Mr. Q does that's nonsecular (I'm sure it's something!), but the labs we've run had no religion at all. It's not like CLE, which stuffs religious ideas in every corner it can. And looking at the Ellen McHenry stuff that people have recommended to me, I don't see any issue with using it in the younger grades. 

I'm now very curious... why is Math U See not secular? How about Mr. Q? 

I don't know about Mr Q but someone found religious content in the lower Math U See levels. The levels from Delta on up are supposed to be fine.  

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

So I've been looking at the list of curricula that SEA disallows... that is a LOT of curricula. I would personally probably prefer a bit more nuance. Like, I don't know what Mr. Q does that's nonsecular (I'm sure it's something!), but the labs we've run had no religion at all. It's not like CLE, which stuffs religious ideas in every corner it can. And looking at the Ellen McHenry stuff that people have recommended to me, I don't see any issue with using it in the younger grades. 

I'm now very curious... why is Math U See not secular? How about Mr. Q? 

 

Yep, the list is long. If you follow the recommendations, you are limited to only a few products or making your own, which many new homeschoolers do not feel comfortable doing right out of the gate.  There are more products available for early elementary, but there's not much available for high school level. 

Mr Q is considered neutral because he does not discuss the big bang theory. He is supposedly working on another course which covers Big Bang Theory and the age of the earth.  

I'm basically considering the secular facebook groups as "lifestyle" pages at this point. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

I mean, if we’re making oobleck, I literally do not care about his views on the Big Bang Theory. I can see how it’s tiresome to constantly check whether a neutral resource is up to snuff, but that list means I can’t recommend some of resources I’ve found helpful myself, and I’m a culturally Jewish atheist...

I understand where they are coming from, but it seems quite limiting. 

 

I hardly ever recommend anything there because there is always, always someone ready to point out why Product X or Experience Y is "problematic" because it doesn't support Z worldview. 

I suspect you would not enjoy that forum because you seem to enjoy nuanced conversations and exploring things from different perspectives.  It's not really a place for that. 

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On 8/9/2020 at 3:34 PM, MissLemon said:

 

It's not like going to an Italian restaurant and asking for Thai food. It's that their definition of secular is very restrictive.  At one point, Build Your Library was debated as "not secular" because Emily used a poetry anthology that included a poem that was used as hymn lyrics in one person's childhood church.  The suggestion to simply skip that poem was unacceptable.  I don't even think that particular poem was specifically assigned in BYL, but just the fact that it was in the anthology was "problematic", and caused a lot of people to demand that BYL be removed from the list of acceptable secular curriculum.   

 

So they are pretty religious about it?

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It just really isn't the place for you then. It's really as simple as that. Some of us are SO, SO exhausted by wading through giant threads full of (mostly Christians) saying it would be easy to "leave out" the Christian content in a resource or the bias "isn't that obvious" or "they don't need to cover that in elementary anyway." I actually find the things that are subtly religious or neutral far more pernicious and harmful than things that are overtly religious, so if SEA were going to be yet another corner of the web where it became my job to figure out just how problematic different curricula are, it would offer nothing, because it would be just like everywhere else. Seriously, you can go on ANY homeschooling page and ask for secular recommendations and get religious curricula recommendations in response. 

The fact that there are so few secular resources is the WHOLE POINT of the page. They can be impossible to find if you're starting from scratch. Lots of members use curriculum off the "no" list because it suits their needs, but you just can't talk about it on that page because it's for secular homeschooling discussions only. 

My unpopular opinion on the page is it's supposed to be secular, eclectic, ACADEMIC homeschoolers, yet the unschoolers are slowly taking over. 

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I was a secular hser. I hsed my kids K-12. I am now a high school science teacher. 

I can completely understand the desire to have a site that is really and truly strictly secular. It can be very hard to find materials that don't blast religion at you all over the place that aren't just standard textbooks.

It was a huge pain to always need to work around the weird religious stuff that popped up in the weirdest places for no reason at all.

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Moving Beyond The Page is now banned, too.  I have the group snoozed.  I am not religious, but at this point I'm realizing its more than just secular vs nonsecular.  Its a specific worldview.  I'm not angry enough about religion anymore.  

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1 hour ago, BusyMom5 said:

Moving Beyond The Page is now banned, too.  I have the group snoozed.  I am not religious, but at this point I'm realizing its more than just secular vs nonsecular.  Its a specific worldview.  I'm not angry enough about religion anymore.  

I’m curious why Moving Beyond the Page got banned?  I’ve always thought that was a secular program.  

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10 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:



My unpopular opinion on the page is it's supposed to be secular, eclectic, ACADEMIC homeschoolers, yet the unschoolers are slowly taking over. 

Yeah, the first time I noticed a bunch of unschoolers posting, I kind of thought that too.  Academic to me would at least mean deliberately teaching even if not necessarily rigorously.

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1 hour ago, Cnew02 said:

I’m curious why Moving Beyond the Page got banned?  I’ve always thought that was a secular program.  

It isn't "banned" and it isn't on the nonsecular list. People discuss and recommend it all the time. The only objection I have seen to MBtP was a discussion about a particular assignment where students were told to draw caricatures of 3 types of citizens, exaggerating the features of each to make them identifiable. The three "types" included "Just-Getting-By-Bob,"  who only "does enough to stay out of jail," "Average Joe" who helps a little but not much, and "Model Maggie" who does a lot of work to make her community a better place. A lot of people objected to the ideas implied in that assignment (e.g. that someone who doesn't have the free time or physical ability to do a lot of community service is a bad citizen or even a bad person, and that kids should draw them in a negative, exaggerated way). But it has nothing to do with secularity, and the program wasn't "banned."

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I think one of the big reasons there are so many "unschoolish" posts on SEA right now is that there has been a massive influx of public schoolers who know nothing about homeschooling, who decided on very short notice  to homeschool this fall because of Covid, and they are panicking thinking they need to buy tons of curriculum, set up a classroom at home, and replicate PS with tons of seat work. So lots of people are saying to just relax and don't worry about having to teach 3 different grade levels, for 6 hours each, 5 days/week. Go with the flow, follow your kids' interests, try starting with one subject at a time and add things once you find your groove, etc. And there are also plenty of people still recommending packaged curriculum for all subjects every day, too. Personally, I don't see "unschooling" and "academics" as polar opposites, or even conflicting ideas, since my own approach to homeschooling has been very relaxed/eclectic/unschooly/interest-led, with very little packaged curriculum (other than math). So I'm in the camp that thinks most of these terrified covid-schoolers really would be better off to sit back, follow kids' interests, and let things evolve more naturally, versus buying a ton of curriculum and trying to replicate school-at-home, which is likely to lead to a lot of frustration and burn out for both parents and children.

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23 hours ago, MissLemon said:

 

I hardly ever recommend anything there because there is always, always someone ready to point out why Product X or Experience Y is "problematic" because it doesn't support Z worldview. 

Today I saw someone disavow Blossom and Root because it wasn't secular enough - not a moderator so it wasn't anything official. It is things like that that give it such a strong vibe. I am not a secular homeschooler, but I enjoy some of the interesting posts. I know secular homeschoolers who have left the group because they thought it was getting crazy, though. 

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14 minutes ago, Meriwether said:

Today I saw someone disavow Blossom and Root because it wasn't secular enough - not a moderator so it wasn't anything official. It is things like that that give it such a strong vibe. I am not a secular homeschooler, but I enjoy some of the interesting posts. I know secular homeschoolers who have left the group because they thought it was getting crazy, though. 

Yeah, that is definitely not SEA's position, they consider it secular and it's discussed and recommended there a lot. The main complaints I've seen from parents are that their kids find the stories (at least in the lower levels) boring or unengaging. I've never seen anyone complain that it's not secular enough. 

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8 hours ago, Corraleno said:

I think one of the big reasons there are so many "unschoolish" posts on SEA right now is that there has been a massive influx of public schoolers who know nothing about homeschooling, who decided on very short notice  to homeschool this fall because of Covid, and they are panicking thinking they need to buy tons of curriculum, set up a classroom at home, and replicate PS with tons of seat work. So lots of people are saying to just relax and don't worry about having to teach 3 different grade levels, for 6 hours each, 5 days/week. Go with the flow, follow your kids' interests, try starting with one subject at a time and add things once you find your groove, etc. And there are also plenty of people still recommending packaged curriculum for all subjects every day, too. Personally, I don't see "unschooling" and "academics" as polar opposites, or even conflicting ideas, since my own approach to homeschooling has been very relaxed/eclectic/unschooly/interest-led, with very little packaged curriculum (other than math). So I'm in the camp that thinks most of these terrified covid-schoolers really would be better off to sit back, follow kids' interests, and let things evolve more naturally, versus buying a ton of curriculum and trying to replicate school-at-home, which is likely to lead to a lot of frustration and burn out for both parents and children.

It's not new with the influx, it's been bothering me for several years. It's not a huge deal or anything, just a small annoyance, like a mosquito. I also don't believe "interest led" or "naturally evolving" homeschoolers are unschoolers - I'm talking about the ones who do no "on purpose" learning through their children's homeschool careers and do not care that they're years behind. And I don't necessarily care what other people are doing, but it's annoying on a forum where people are supposed to be academic homeschoolers. 

For K-2 I basically only do formal phonics (then grammar) and math, and for 3-5, everything else was interest led, relaxed and eclectic. But I still wanted my kids to learn and spent a lot of time helping them do so. If my mostly neurotypical kids were not getting an education equitable to (or better than) their peers, I would consider myself to be failing. It isn't always tit for tat, but on the whole is equitable at the very least. (I think it is superior, but that's opinion, of course.)

 

20 minutes ago, Meriwether said:

Today I saw someone disavow Blossom and Root because it wasn't secular enough - not a moderator so it wasn't anything official. It is things like that that give it such a strong vibe. I am not a secular homeschooler, but I enjoy some of the interesting posts. I know secular homeschoolers who have left the group because they thought it was getting crazy, though. 

I just started Joy Hakim's History of the US, and the opening of book 2 presents old testament bible stories as fact. It felt like SOTW all over again and now I'm a little concerned. I don't even know if I want to bring it up on SEA. 😆 I did buy used, so I am hoping it's something that was corrected in later issues.

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20 minutes ago, darshana said:

The poster's objection was to the James Herriot book recommended in Blossom and Root. Everyone was telling her that the book isn't religious even though the title of his books are from hymns. Blossom and Root science is very secular. 

Oh jeez, if she refuses to read any books with religious references in the title, that's going to eliminate some pretty foundational books by the likes of Faulkner, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Morrison... 🙄

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On 8/11/2020 at 9:50 PM, Junie said:

This thread has been very helpful for me.

I am a Christian homeschooler and we very much do science from a Creation YE point of view.

I will try to be more careful in the future when recommending curriculum if someone asks for a secular POV that I check carefully before posting.  I know that some of our choices are very much Christian, but there are others that I really would have to check.

I mean, if someone asks for a secular curriculum I know not to recommend Abeka, BJU, Apologia, or Notgrass.  But for other books such as Saxon or Joy Hakim (which I haven't read in a while) or IEW or random books that show up in our house -- I sometimes don't remember the Christian bias because it doesn't stand out to me.

I guess it's kind of like white privilege.  Although in many situations being a Christian puts me in a minority POV, as a Christian Homeschooler I often fail to recognize my privilege as a homeschooler in the majority POV.

Thank you all for the reminder. :)

 

18 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

It's not new with the influx, it's been bothering me for several years. It's not a huge deal or anything, just a small annoyance, like a mosquito. I also don't believe "interest led" or "naturally evolving" homeschoolers are unschoolers - I'm talking about the ones who do no "on purpose" learning through their children's homeschool careers and do not care that they're years behind. And I don't necessarily care what other people are doing, but it's annoying on a forum where people are supposed to be academic homeschoolers. 

For K-2 I basically only do formal phonics (then grammar) and math, and for 3-5, everything else was interest led, relaxed and eclectic. But I still wanted my kids to learn and spent a lot of time helping them do so. If my mostly neurotypical kids were not getting an education equitable to (or better than) their peers, I would consider myself to be failing. It isn't always tit for tat, but on the whole is equitable at the very least. (I think it is superior, but that's opinion, of course.)

 

I just started Joy Hakim's History of the US, and the opening of book 2 presents old testament bible stories as fact. It felt like SOTW all over again and now I'm a little concerned. I don't even know if I want to bring it up on SEA. 😆 I did buy used, so I am hoping it's something that was corrected in later issues.

So Hakim does, in fact, have Bible references.  That is surprising to me, but like I said above, I never noticed it. (I just checked my copy of book 2, and yes, they are there. Third Edition, 2003).

That must be so frustrating.  While I personally believe that the Bible stories are fact, I can appreciate that coming across something like this is unwelcome.  It's a completely different worldview and on a much different level than me (as a YE Creationist) just telling my kids to disregard the "millions of years ago" comments that they come across.  I'm sorry. 

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