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Just venting--Secular Thought Police


Mrs. Tharp
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I follow that group and participate some, but it does irk me frequently. I'm annoyed that people will go off on religious people as though we are a homogenous block of ignoramuses (not that I'm looking for praise of religion in that group, but people make sweeping statements that aren't close to fact-based), and then all questions that show a pride in being liberal and "woke" without really understanding the issues. Like, over and over, "I'm buying a map, but I want the one that is right and doesn't distort things." Some people try to explain, but others jump in with what they remember from that episode if the West Wing and no discussion takes place. Or "What history should I teach so I don't teach my kids whitewashed junk" but they aren't looking for anything that will talk about the work of historians and how to look at source material, they just want a different book they can trust as perfect and true. 

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46 minutes ago, Junie said:

 

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. 

And the thing is - that in the lens of history, these things are important. If you're presenting these stories at the beginning of a book of US history because they inform everything that is to come, and the belief in them echoes through our consciousness still, then that is totally fine and even good. But in a textbook that is not marked as religious, I would expect it to be presented as, "The Christian belief that Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years" etc. 

My copy is from 2005, I'd like to check out the 2012 edition some time. 
 

45 minutes ago, Btervet said:

My recent thread there got locked, a thread asking for Sex Ed resources, locked because I defended the use of "male anatomy" and "female anatomy" as not transphobic. This has just confirmed my frustrations over the group, which have little to do with "secular" and a lot more to do with deleting/locking without any explanation. I did see that another facebook group got started for secular homeschoolers who are interested in "compromise" options if they are the best options. I am still very glad for some of the resources found through SEA, but it certainly no longer works for me.

I have noticed that issue too and it also bothers me.

The one time I had to roll my eyes and walk away was the people who truly refuse to teach or reference any type of religion in any subject ever. Religion is SO IMPORTANT in understanding the world, history, literature, art...if I didn't teach my children about the world religions (and because we live in the US, Christianity in particular) I would feel I had hobbled their education. Mind you, it was NOT a majority opinion by a long shot, and is NOT the view of the page/moderators, but there were enough of them that I was stunned.

Edited by Sk8ermaiden
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10 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

And the thing is - that in the lens of history, these things are important. If you're presenting these stories at the beginning of a book of US history because they inform everything that is to come, and the belief in them echoes through our consciousness still, then that is totally fine and even good. But in a textbook that is not marked as religious, I would expect it to be presented as, "The Christian belief that Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years" etc. 

My copy is from 2005, I'd like to check out the 2012 edition some time. 
 

I have noticed that issue too and it also bothers me.

The one time I had to roll my eyes and walk away was the people who truly refuse to teach or reference any type of religion in any subject ever. Religion is SO IMPORTANT in understanding the world, history, literature, art...if I didn't teach my children about the world religions (and because we live in the US, Christianity in particular) I would feel I had hobbled their education. Mind you, it was NOT a majority opinion by a long shot, and is NOT the view of the page/moderators, but there were enough of them that I was stunned.

(About the bolded) Yes, I think this is a very fair way of presenting the material.  In fact, that's what I would have expected in Hakim's book (eta. if it was included in her text).

And I agree with you that a well-rounded education includes presenting information that we don't agree with.  I am a Christian homeschooler.  I keep my kids out of public school not necessarily because of the information being presented there, but because I can't control how it is presented.

Edited by Junie
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It's an extreme place and that is a big part of what irks me. It's the largest "voice" in secular homeschooling, but it only represents a portion of the secular world.  And it hasn't been "academic" in focus for a long time. 

6 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

The one time I had to roll my eyes and walk away was the people who truly refuse to teach or reference any type of religion in any subject ever. Religion is SO IMPORTANT in understanding the world, history, literature, art...if I didn't teach my children about the world religions (and because we live in the US, Christianity in particular) I would feel I had hobbled their education. Mind you, it was NOT a majority opinion by a long shot, and is NOT the view of the page/moderators, but there were enough of them that I was stunned.

 

How does one not teach religion at all? No art history? No music history?  Do you just pretend that Michaelangelo never existed?  Do they also not teach about other major religions, or is specifically Christianity that is getting picked on?

It may not be the position of the admins or moderators, but I do wish they'd step in sometimes and reign in some of the craziness. 

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1 minute ago, square_25 said:

Having now spent some time in that group... it moves REALLY FAST. I don't know if it was always like this, but I can't imagine it's possible to reign it right now, at least. 

 

It is definitely "worse" than it was, say, a year ago. I imagine the combination of pandemic and the current US political climate has brought about a heightened...intensity...to normal conversation. 

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2 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

It's an extreme place and that is a big part of what irks me. It's the largest "voice" in secular homeschooling, but it only represents a portion of the secular world.  And it hasn't been "academic" in focus for a long time. 

 

How does one not teach religion at all? No art history? No music history?  Do you just pretend that Michaelangelo never existed?  Do they also not teach about other major religions, or is specifically Christianity that is getting picked on?

It may not be the position of the admins or moderators, but I do wish they'd step in sometimes and reign in some of the craziness. 

I don't even know. I backed away from that conversation!

I still like the group because it serves a purpose for me. It doesn't bother me too terribly because when I want recommendations in a different vein there are so many other places I can ask, including here, but when I want truly secular only, that is the only place I can go. 

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On 8/30/2020 at 12:38 AM, Sk8ermaiden said:

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


All of this! I have recently returned to these groups and found them extremely helpful in general. 
 

I was someone who used McHenry Cells & Botany with my oldest because people HERE called them secular, only to find out that it wasn’t truly secular. I was really upset because I’m not a STEM person and it’s not like it said anything about Jesus or a bible story to jump out at me. It was information omitted in order to remain YE.
 

(Before anyone asks what was omitted, I don’t remember and I no longer own the book.) 

when I first started reading this thread I didn’t think you all were talking about SEA because I have seen any of this. I appreciate when they call out what isn’t secular. It doesn’t feel extreme to me at all, but I really truly want to know if there is a chance something can be misinforming me and my children due to the religious content included OR omitted. I use BYL and don’t mind that they don’t want people recommending the levels that aren’t secular. Personally I would just leave books out, and that’s easy with BYL, but it’s not easy with other curricula and I see the value of consistency. When they call out BYL they are very explicit as to why and very consistent including that most levels are secular.

 

 I used SOTW, and explained the biblical chapters as “some people believe” because 8 years ago that is really all there was for history if you aren’t religious. We just had to make do. Now I just won’t use a curriculum if I can’t find something secular. Maybe the McHenry thing radicalized me. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

 

Edited by Runningmom80
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18 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.

Yep to allll of this. The secular groups are over run with questions from PANICKED Covid schoolers. And I get it, two of my kids were in PS when this all went down, so that’s absolutely not a judgement. But they are very nervous their kids will “fall behind,” and as home schoolers, we understand grade levels are arbitrary and even if they did nothing this year most kids would be “caught up” by 18. (I’m skeptical kids in school will learn much this year anyways but that is a topic for another day.) 

I don’t know, I am not seeing any of these extremes anyone is talking about, and it still seems academic to me. It’s possible I’m part of the problem, I’ve gone as far as saying that Covid homeschoolers should just take a gap year! 😂

Edited by Runningmom80
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9 hours ago, Btervet said:

My recent thread there got locked, a thread asking for Sex Ed resources, locked because I defended the use of "male anatomy" and "female anatomy" as not transphobic. This has just confirmed my frustrations over the group, which have little to do with "secular" and a lot more to do with deleting/locking without any explanation. I did see that another facebook group got started for secular homeschoolers who are interested in "compromise" options if they are the best options. I am still very glad for some of the resources found through SEA, but it certainly no longer works for me.

 

I saw that, too, and I left the group at that time.

I no longer participate in any group that refuses to acknowledge differences in physical anatomy.  It's every bit as anti-science as the denial of climate change/global warming. Once it's clear that a particular worldview is more important than verifiable fact, I'm out. 

I'm glad to hear that other groups are springing up (which another poster mentioned).

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33 minutes ago, Happy2BaMom said:

 

I saw that, too, and I left the group at that time.

I no longer participate in any group that refuses to acknowledge differences in physical anatomy.  It's every bit as anti-science as the denial of climate change/global warming. Once it's clear that a particular worldview is more important than verifiable fact, I'm out. 

I'm glad to hear that other groups are springing up (which another poster mentioned).

 

It's not recognizing differences in anatomy; the labeling of them is trans-exclusionary. 

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10 hours ago, Runningmom80 said:

 

It's not recognizing differences in anatomy; the labeling of them is trans-exclusionary. 

What wording would you use to label them? As in, differentiate? I don't need the reasoning behind it if you're trying to avoid a potentially political discussion, just what terms are used instead of male anatomy, female anatomy. 

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9 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

I found it after the secular homeschoolers forum died. 

Forums are so, so much better for discussion than Facebook. I hate how Facebook has killed them all and am glad this one still exists!

The Secular Homeschoolers forum died?   I used to be pretty active on there but only pop in very occasionally now.  I know a lot of people were upset when they started advertising non-secular curriculum.   It never had as much activity as here does.

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17 hours ago, square_25 said:

Wasting it with us losers on here, no doubt 😉 

This is probably true. If SEA was formed any time after the early-mid 2000s I’d already locked in my preferred homeschooling boards. As the disappeared (or got to weird) I spent more and more time here. Back in the day I used the original version of TWTM and my boards were:

TWTM

Vegsource (not a vegetarian)

Homeschool Reviews

Babycenter

 

I was all in on Bravewriter when they were a 3-ring binder and a yahoo group and nobody’s heard of them. 

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21 hours ago, katilac said:

What wording would you use to label them? As in, differentiate? I don't need the reasoning behind it if you're trying to avoid a potentially political discussion, just what terms are used instead of male anatomy, female anatomy. 

 

You would just name the body part without giving it a gender. 

 

(I'm not an expert on any of this, just a fairly progressive person trying to figure out how to not be hurtful to a group of people who have called this kind of stuff out. I'm definitely still learning and for all I know could be way off base. This is my interpretation as a cisgender woman.)

 

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38 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

This is probably true. If SEA was formed any time after the early-mid 2000s I’d already locked in my preferred homeschooling boards. As the disappeared (or got to weird) I spent more and more time here. Back in the day I used the original version of TWTM and my boards were:

TWTM

Vegsource (not a vegetarian)

Homeschool Reviews

Babycenter

 

I was all in on Bravewriter when they were a 3-ring binder and a yahoo group and nobody’s heard of them. 

 

I hated navigating yahoo groups! My TWJ is in a 3 ring binder though. 🙂

 

I agree, I much prefer forums to FB groups. I'd get off FB completely if I didn't need the groups! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pretty sure this was brought up in this thread. 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/evolution-education-in-the-u-s-is-getting-better/

Quote

 a 2019 survey conducted by researchers at Penn State University and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), that about two in three—67 percent—of public high school biology teachers are presenting evolution forthrightly, emphasizing the broad scientific consensus on evolution while not giving any credence to creationism? Only in the context of the long and contentious history of evolution education in the United States is it clear what the most plausible answer is.

The results of the 2019 survey suggest that a concerted effort to improve state science standards helped to improve evolution education. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which debuted in 2013, include “Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity” as a disciplinary core idea of the life sciences at the middle and high school levels. By now, 20 states (plus the District of Columbia) have adopted the NGSS, and a further 24 states have adopted standards based on the same evolution-friendly framework on which the NGSS are based.

Despite the encouraging trend over a mere dozen years, there is still reason for concern: after all, more than one in six high school biology teachers, 17.6 percent, are still presenting creationism as a scientifically credible alternative to evolution. And almost as many high school biology teachers, 15 percent, are still failing to emphasize the broad scientific consensus on evolution, despite its general prevalence in state science standards and despite encouragement from professional organizations.

 

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I took IB biology at a high school in Europe in the mid 90's and we spent surprisingly little time on evolution. The main focus of the two-year course as I remember it was actually molecular biology.

I've sometimes wondered why evolution got such short shrift, doesn't seem like it could be because of the creationist controversy in the US; I think the textbooks we used were actually designed for British A-Levels prep?

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8 hours ago, maize said:

I took IB biology at a high school in Europe in the mid 90's and we spent surprisingly little time on evolution. The main focus of the two-year course as I remember it was actually molecular biology.

I've sometimes wondered why evolution got such short shrift, doesn't seem like it could be because of the creationist controversy in the US; I think the textbooks we used were actually designed for British A-Levels prep?

I'm using a very recent textbook for my classes and it's very different than what I learned back in the 80's, loosely into the 90's.   I think part of it is the progress in DNA - the Human Genome Project was still an ongoing thing when I was in school, it wasn't completed until 2013.   Classification is now based on Cladistics and ancestry rather than physical characteristics, which brings evolution and natural selection much more to the forefront.    Plus evolution has now been observed in birds and amphibians, not just bacteria/single cell organisms/invertebrates.  

I did get some evolution in school.  It was definitely presented as underlying many other concepts but definitely doesn't seem to have gotten the emphasis it does now.  

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