Category Archives: secular curriculum

Secular Classical Homeschooling Curriculum

What’s harder to find than a needle in a haystack? Thats right, a classical education curriculum that’s not Christian. How can one honestly teach a logic or philosophy class when the first chapter of the curricula says we must assume only ONE thing and that’s that the Bible is true. What? that’s not logic, to assume such an obscure and ridiculous proposition. It was this mentality that made me lose affection for The Well-Trained Mind when my kids reached the high-school ages.

But there is a really much more relaxed Classical Education model that flows easily into the high school years without being preachy. It’s called the Thomas Jefferson Education and Oliver DeMille writes about it in his book; A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century. It involves reading, writing and discussing classical literature. Mortimer Adler’s selection of Great Books are on the official suggested reading list, but for our family, anything is fair game for reading and discussion. It might not sound like unschooling, but it meshes well with unschooling and with stricter philosophies. Reading and discussing things are just plain smart things to do with your kids.

In response to a discussion on the Thomas Jefferson Education, whereby one participant believed that unschooling was just “winding them up and letting them go” the following was explained by Lisa, who recently blogged about Different Homeschooling Philosophies:

A Thomas Jefferson education is about sharing quality literature with your children and discussing it, and writing about it. There’s a lot of debating about the characters, the situations, their decisions, what would have been different if X, how could Someone have X?

Unschooling is not simply winding them up and letting them go. I’m afraid you’re missing out on some fascinating family stories and amazing insights into the nature of learning if that’s what you think.

Unschooling and the Thomas Jefferson philosophy are very complementary, with the exception that the Thomas Jefferson method has book lists and the Unschooling philosophy recognizes that ANY book, television or even video game, discussed and debated with an older and wiser person, can help a child (and the adult) learn. The Thomas Jefferson method would not mesh with unschooling for a family with opposing media preferences. Parents and children must be reading the same books or watching the same movies, etc, in TJed.

So- unschooling CAN contain elements of TJed, as long as none of it is forced or coerced.

The “wind them up & let them go” really bothered me, sorry. I might have written the EXACT same thing 15 years ago, before we dove deeper into unschooling, it certainly was my first impression. I’ve learned so much, though and we are totally hardcore unschoolers here now.

Instead of “wind them up and let them go” it’s more like “share their passions and enthusiasm, exploring the world together.” It’s joyful, refreshing, REAL LIFE, authentic living, and the only thing “winding them up” is their own preferences, talents, passions and desires.

An unschooling mom’s job is to facilitate, chauffeur, listen, discuss, share information, learn new things, explore her own interests, and help the child find the resources they need to delve further into their passions. I absolutely love it:)

TJED- puts into words what we already DO with our children. I have a house full of daughters, we talk, debate and discuss constantly. Movies, books, song lyrics… My daughter who loves to write tends to write essays and literature reviews and comparisons, she’s 12. My 16 yr old prefers to draw and talk. Her writing tends to be more song lyrics and poetry.

Articles About Secular Homeschooling Resources

Secular Homeschooling Resources
Find Secular Homeschool Curriculum and Support Groups
Secular Homeschooling Curriculum – Secular Homeschool Resources
Secular homeschool support groups are available in every state and in the U.K. Find secular homeschool resources including secular homeschooling curriculum.   Non religious families who choose to educate at home can have a hard time finding secular homeschooling resources. Many of the websites and catalogs for homeschool books are designed by and for Christian homeschoolers. Finding non religious homeschool curriculum and secular homeschool support groups takes resourcefulness and persistence. Read more…
Working Vacations on a Farm or Ranch Anywhere in the World
Farm Vacation for Families
Helping holidays are growing in popularity. Like secular mission trips, volunteer vacations are available worldwide. Vacation on a farm, ranch or resort and stay for free.  Volunteer Vacations are nothing new; in fact mission trips have been popular for many years. Secular families, however, don’t often realize there’s a way of combing volunteering and vacationing without religion. Think of it as “Being good for goodness’ sake.” Cross-Cultural Solutions plans and organizes volunteer vacations for families and individuals. Help Exchange connects volunteers with helping holiday opportunities all over the world. Read more…
Secular, Atheist, Agnostic and Other Non Religious Homeschoolers
Find secular homeschool support groups, non religious curriculum and resources for families who are not religious, plus non-Christian homeschool programs. Many people don’t realize that there are so many non-religious homeschoolers. The stereotypical picture of a Christian homeschool family doesn’t reflect the reality of homeschooling for many families. Non-religious homeschoolers exist, whether they’re atheist, agnostic or just plain avoiding the issue. Read more…

Secular Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschooling Material for Non Religious Families
Secular Homeschool Books

Finding homeschool curriculum without references to religion can be a challenge. Education at home doesn’t have to be religious. Secular homeschooling curriculum shopping can be done. There are secular homeschooling resources for families. Several online vendors specialize in non-religious educational supplies. Even some religious catalogs distribute a few non-religious materials and even more vendors distribute books which are both religious and non religious. Read more…

God Says “No Flu Shots” I’m sure of it.

I’m very NOT interested in religion, just the constant pursuit of that which is right, fair and kind to everyone (in deed that is, nasty thoughts about people at the grocery store are in no way against my secular morals)

So I wonder if religious people ever second-guess their allegiance with man-made institutions like governments, the medical establishment, clubs and other causes.

Is there a religion that doesn’t allow people to join clubs? I mean, it would be a good idea. It sounds biblical when you say

“Thou shalt not profess allegiance to any man or group of men.”

The anarchist in me sympathizes with the counter-culture writings of biblical times that make up the Bible, but the cynic in me disdains the editors and publishers who used the writing to create a different message. Or perhaps that’s the writer in me. I bet that line was in there before it was edited.

Either way, how can a religious person not trust that their bodies are made perfect, a complete representation of that which God intended them to be.

How can a religious person get a flu shot? I’m not judging here, I’m just wondering.

I don’t want either, but it seems to me that behind each phenomena (medical science and religion) are two opposing ideas. One says “Only God can save” and the other says “we will save you.”

There’s really nothing to be saved from. Life is good.

Secular Homeschool Curriculum

Calvert School. Calvert is one of the oldest homeschool curriculum companies in existence, they distribute materials all over the country, and they’ve done so for over 100 years. They offer subject-by-subject courses, or entire boxed sets for the whole year. They publish a lot of their own textbooks, they also use a fair amount of original resources. In addition to the boxed-set program, they also have an online homeschooling program that was released in recent years. Calvert has partnerships with public school districts to provide homeschooling for families through public funds. The public-funded program isn’t available in all areas.

Keystone Curriculum– I just browsed their website and i’m not sure why i thought they were Christian, but i can’t find anything on there that states it, their high school biology course mentions the mechanics of evolution in the course description, so it looks like i may have been wrong.

Laurel Springs School is a self-study College preparatory school, so it’s an advanced program. Their site is professional looking, I don’t know anyone who has used the program, so leave a comment please if you have personal experience with it.

If you have a little aversion to boxed curriculum, check out Oak Meadow. They are very Waldorf-style, in that they stress experiences over instruction and they specialize in nature, play and natural learning. I used their Kindergarten program with my older girls and we all really loved it. Much of their program is teaching PARENTS how to recognize and encourage real learning, as opposed to teaching from the manual. it’s very kid-centered, peaceful, natural and we loved it.

Core Curriculum of America is one that i hadn’t heard of until i started researching this. They also distribute Christian Curriculum, so I would caution families to keep their eyes open for subliminal or subversive statements. Freethinking kids are generally able to spot inconsistencies, but if I were spending money on a curriculum only to find they were sneaking in religious material that I specifically disagree with, I’d be angry. Not that I’ve ever seen this product or even heard of the company, but when a christian company says that they’re going to release a secular curriculum, I wonder if they really can.

Christian companies are here

Free Classics Online – Reading List for Kids

If you’re looking to build up your home library or to review books before you buy, or if you want to print the classics yourself (perhaps in a large double-spaced font for note-taking and easy focusing) then you’ll want to check out these links:
Free Books Online; Classics
Classics Online

And here are reading lists to help determine which books are appropriate for which age groups

The NEH has divided their list from kindergarten through high school. The College-bound reading list is specifically for high schoolers headed for college. The Kids Reads list begins at birth and goes through high school, too.

Secular History text to download

History Odyssey Middle Ages Levels One and Two. Why do I buy these anymore? We never stick to anyone else’s schedule. Maybe that’s not the point. We do love using their list of what supplementary activities we should be using. Last year (this year still) I got the History Odyssey Ancients Levels 1 and 3 I don’t know why I didn’t get Level 2 because I have a daughter who is at level 2- I just figured that it would be easy to find a middle between the materials in level 1 and 3 but it wasn’t at all, so I’m inventing things for her to do at level 2. Why didn’t I just order level 2 this time? I ordered for next year, so I got next year’s level 2. That just doesn’t help us this year, though. Anyways, I didn’t order level 3 for nest year this time because it wasn’t listed in the catalog or on their website, but I know the publisher is making it. We’re just barely into the 1st level three book we’ve got and it’s really really difficult. My oldest hates it. It’s a great program, but it’s just a wee bit too hard for her and we end up doing it together. I know she relishes the time we’re spending together with it, but I end up only “doing” history with her once a week or so because of it, and we skip so much of each lesson. I remember why I’m buying these, because History Odyssey rearranges the chapters in Story of the World so that you’re studying a specific region for a little longer, instead of bouncing around the globe every week and History Odyssey also recommends awesome supplementary activity books. So maybe I’m buying these for the lists of supplementary ideas, and black-lined maps, and the order that they put the SOTW chapters into.

Secular Classical history, year 2

The Story of the World book 2,  I also got for next year’s history lessons. I’m planning ahead. Now we have all 4 books. SOTW has an activity book, and I did order it but I’m thinking it’s back ordered or something, they didn’t send it. The reason for using History Odyssey AND Story of the world is that the activities in the SOTW activity book sometimes SUCK beans, my theory is because the author (at the time it was written) only had sons and I have daughters, maybe they’re aimed at boys. Also, she has a bunch of activities for each chapter and it’s too much, especially when it’s not fun. She has 42 chapters in each book and we don’t do 42 weeks of school each year, so we never finish. History Odyssey gives you supplementary books FULL of activities and you CHOOSE which ones to do, they just recommend a few that coincide with the text, and they combine chapters, making the year shorter. They also have additional “spines”, A Child’s History of the World, and also The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History
. I like the idea of getting our history from many sources, and presenting a bigger worldview. Are we accomplishing that with all of our US and UK history books?

Probably not, until we learn to speak other languages.

The History Odyssey products are available for download, from Pandia Press. In addition to publishing a secular world history program, Pandia Press also has science that coincides with the 4 year classical ed cycle and timelines