I have come full circle, back to the views I had during our first year of homeschooling.
We began homeschooling for academic reasons.
I got confused, sidetracked, shamed, humiliated, and lost with all the religious homeschool groups, sites, curriculum.
I am a trained English teacher who has taught public, private, middle, high, college, and tutoring – but I questioned my abilities to homeschool my children well.
Homeschoolers, groups, and co-ops are only too happy to jump in to offer advice and help to new homeschoolers. But it seems to come with a catch. Many homeschoolers meetup or co-op through their churches. There is still a large percentage of homeschoolers who are conservative Christian and they feel this is the only way. They ostracize anyone who doesn’t conform.
Do a web search about the origins, beliefs, and requirements for Classical Conversations, HSLDA, many homeschool conferences, and other large homeschool organizations. They’re certainly not secular or even welcoming.
I didn’t even grow up Christian. Not evangelical at all, not going to church except with my Lutheran grandma who visited two-three times a year. I was never confirmed. I had been christened as an infant at the bequest of the grandma and I said meal blessings and bedtime prayers, but that was the extent of my religious upbringing until I met my first husband.
Growing up in the Bible belt of Georgia, I was odd. I always felt out of place. I didn’t understand the Christianese language.
Many homeschoolers don’t identify as evangelical Christians. There are Catholics, Jewish, Muslims, and other faiths who homeschool their children and would like secular or faith neutral materials and curriculum or something designed just for them. It’s really hard to find.
We started off with The Well-Trained Mind and I found it (and still find it, mostly) to be respectful regarding those other than the evangelical Christian faith. We began with the materials suggested for first grade.
Having four kids, we reuse curriculum each year. It saves us money. So, we own the entire Apologia science curriculum. They have since separated from Dr. Jay Wile and and he wrote and sells new texts while Apologia commissioned another author to recreate their middle and high school science texts. I think their quality has deteriorated so we continue with what we’ve always done. The science hasn’t greatly changed.
We bought all four years of Tapestry of Grace online. It was great our first couple years, for the most part. As my eldest daughter went through the dialectic stage for high school, we didn’t buy some of the book selections, and very few of the religious texts recommended.
As the kids and I grow, we tend to edit out much of the religion in our curriculum and it can be tiresome. The science books are still solid for the academic lab science and we just skip the weird Bible parts. We don’t read a lot of the religious selections from the Tapestry of Grace humanities book lists. I supplement church and religion history from better books when I feel it’s appropriate.
If I were beginning our homeschool journey now, I would choose more secular materials. I wish there were any complete affordable science lab homeschool curriculum good enough for high school credit, but I have yet to really find any we’re happy using.
I have found many Waldorf sites and curriculum is sometimes secular or very respectfully spiritual.
I haven’t used all or even a lot of these. Some we reviewed when my kids were younger. Some of the materials for middle and high school may or may not meet standards in my opinion. My kids are all 10+ now and we are mostly finished buying curriculum and making do with what we have.
Complete or All in One or Boxes
- Oak Meadow
- Bookshark (faith neutral claim)
- Moving Beyond the Page – Read our review.
- Khan Academy
- Blossom and Root
- Build Your Library
- Global Village School
See how we do science in our homeschool.
- The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim. Find lesson plans here.
- The Story of Science: Newton at the Center by Joy Hakim
- The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension by Joy Hakim
- Little Passports Science Expedition
- Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding
- Classic Science
- Elemental Science
- REAL Science Odyssey
- Real Science 4 Kids
- Home Science Tools
- Supercharged Science. See our review.
- Big History Project
- Miller & Levine texts
- All About Learning – Reading and Spelling. Read our review.
- Logic of English – Read our review. Our Foundations review.
- Writeshop (some)
- Progressive Phonics
- Hooked on Phonics
- LeapFrog games, DVDS, books, and toys
- Reading Kingdom. See our review.
- Reading Eggs
- ABC Mouse
- Explode the Code
- Literary Adventures for Kids
- The Giggly Guide to Grammar
- Easy Grammar. I used to use these drills as a classroom teacher.
- Grammar Galaxy
- Jack Kris Publishing
- Barton Reading and Spelling
- Essentials in Writing
See how we do history in our homeschool.
- A History of US: Ten-Volume Set by Joy Hakim. Find lesson plans here.
- A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Also Young People’s History and Zinn Education Project.
- Little Passports – Early Explorers, World, USA
- History Odyssey
- Girls of American History. We reviewed this ages ago, and I imagine it’s improved a lot since it’s quite pricey now.
- Building Great Minds
- Story of the World Series by Susan Wise Bauer (for elementary school age)
- The History of the World Series by Susan Wise Bauer (for high school)
See how we do math in our homeschool.
- VideoText Interactive
- Life of Fred (not entirely secular or faith neutral) Also reading and English texts.
- Singapore Math. We’ve always used this K-8th!
- TouchMath. See our review.
- Eureka Math
- RightStart Math
- Teaching Textbooks
- Art of Problem Solving
- CTC Math
- Math Mammoth
- Miquon Math
- Saxon Math
- Shiller Math. also English.
- Wild Math
- Mr. D Math
- ARTistic Pursuits
- Discovering Great Artists and more. See our review of Global Art.
- Draw WRITE Now
- Drawing with Children
- MusIQHomeschool. See our Adventus piano review.
- HomeSchoolPiano. See our review.
See how we do foreign languages in our homeschool.
- Rosetta Stone
- Mango Languages. See our review.
- Transparent Language
- The Everything Learning Russian Book with CD
- German DeMYSTiFieD
- First Start French
- Song School Latin
- Song School Spanish. See our review.
- Typing Instructor
- Kidware Software Computer Science. See our review.
- CompuScholar Web Design. See our review.
Some of my favorite (mostly) secular homeschooling and parenting sites:
- Secular Homeschooling
- SEA Homeschoolers
- Up Above the Rowan Tree
- Homeschool Unrefined
- Planet Schooling
- Parenting Forward
- Parenting Decolonized
- Raising Wildflower Kids
- Happiness is Here
- Laura Grace Weldon
- Homeschooler by Design
- As We are Going
- Look, We’re Learning!
- Education Possible
- Middleway Mom
- Forgetful Momma
- The Sassy Homeschooler
- Starts at Eight
- My Little Poppies
- Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
- Mama Teaches
- Teach Beside Me
- Far From Normal
- Hustle Homeschool
- Living Well+Learning Well
- Royal Baloo
- Gameschool Academy