As a secular (non-religious) homeschooler I'm often asked "why homeschool?". There are many non-religious reasons to choose homeschooling and I'm going to share those with you today.
Often times, it surprises people when I start talking about homeschooling my kids. Their typical response is "oh, I didn't realize you were so religious". Then I go through the whole, "No, we're not a religious homeschool family. There are many non-religious reasons we choose homeschooling".
Which then leads into the barrage of questions like.... "How will your kids get into college?", "Don't you worry they won't get proper socialization?" "That's such a shame, I would neve trust myself to properly educate my kids!" and so on.....
There are so many benefits to homeschooling that have nothing to do with religion.
Non-Religious Homeschooling Grows Exponentially
Just like thousands of others, our homeschool journey began when the COVID19 pandemic hit.
Until April of 2020, my kids attended public school and I had never given a single thought to homeschooling. I was one of those moms that needed "my time" during the school hours. I felt sorry for kids when I heard they homeschooled. But these thoughts were lead by my misconceptions about homeschooling and what all it entails.
There's this stereotype in America of what typical homeschoolers are like. It's what we've been shown over and over in movies, tv shows, etc. The ultra conservative, long dress wearing, hair braided mother teaching socially awkward kids who don't plan to attend college. But, that's fiction!
In fact, very few homeschoolers actually fit that stereotype. Most homeschoolers are just like everyone else...they just school a little differently than everyone else. It's really no different than having friends who attend a magnet school, charter school, or private school. You wouldn't be able to tell them apart from everyone else.
After finishing out the 2019/2020 school year with virtual learning, I knew something had to change. My kids were miserable! Distance learning was a complete disaster for them and we were dealing with constant meltdowns. So I started to research homeschooling.
Now, I was never the mom that even considered homeschool as an option. I liked the fact that my kids went to school every day...it gave me a chance to get stuff done...and, if I'm honest, it gave me a much needed break. But, once COVID started wrecking havoc on our schools, I knew I needed an alternative to the public school system.
I figured, "they're home anyway, how much worse could homeschooling be".
Homeschool was a complete game-changer for my family! Check out all of the benefits of homeschooling to read how homeschooling won us over and why we'll never go back to public school again.
But, continue reading for more non-religious reasons to homeschool...whether you're religious or not.
Non-Religious Reasons to Homeschool
Safety Concerns at Public School
In the United States, safety concerns are a primary reason non-religious families are flocking toward homeschooling. Parents are no longer comfortable sending their children to a school that can not guarantee their children's safety.
Whether it's from bullies, the rise of school shootings, or districts not taking proper safety precautions with COVID- more parents are seeing the non-religious benefits of homeschooling.
A friend of mine started her homeschool journey because her daughter, Jenna, was being bullied at school. Jenna was a 4th grader at the time and has a colloquial ear implant. There were 2 girls at school who would constantly make fun of Jenna during recess saying things like "can you hear me?" "what? what are you saying?" and other cruel remarks about Jenna's implant.
My friend had meetings with the school principal and counselor, they kept saying they would take care of things and how sorry they were...but nothing changed. Once they even told her that unless there was evidence of the bullying there wasn't much they could do. The school had already spoken to the other girls' mothers but nothing helped. The girls kept harassing Jenna to the point that Jenna no longer wanted to go to school and would come home crying just about every single day.
Finally, my friend had enough of the public school's disregard for the bullying and started homeschooling. Now, Jenna loves to learn, has a huge group of friends who love her, and she's such a happy kid!
Public schools are standardized. The whole point of public schools is to educate as many individuals as possible to become productive members of society. Unfortunately, this standardization causes many students to fall through the cracks.
Now, I'm not anti-public school.
There is a valid place in society for public/traditional schools. But, that doesn't necessarily mean traditional school is right for every student. Public schools are in place to provide a basic education, teach students how to conform in society, provide a form of day care for working parents, and to produce the workers of the next generation.
Public schools tend to drop the ball when it comes to encouraging students to think outside of the box. They have trouble keeping gifted students engaged and meeting the needs of neurodivergent thinkers. Just because public school is standardized doesn't mean it should be the standard for every one.
A non-religious benefit to homeschooling is being able to tailor learning for the student. Parents can choose HOW to teach their children in a way that encourages a love of learning.
Freedom to Teach Own Curriculum
Liberal leaning, secular families are choosing to homeschool so they can choose WHAT to teach their children.
Not only can parents customize HOW to teach their children but a non-religious reason for homeschooling is being able to customize WHAT to teach.
With so many book bannings happening around the country and school boards fighting over what's appropriate to teach kids regarding race, family dynamics, history, science, sex ed, etc. the public school system is at a stand still on progress.
Secular families are choosing homeschool so they can teach their children a more inclusive curriculum. They're choosing homeschool curriculums that teach from multiple perspectives and provide a more holistic approach to learning.
Remove Kids from the Negative Element Found in Public Schools
Just as religious families want to remove their children from the negative elements found in schools, this is another non-religious reason to choose homeschooling....especially in a highly religious community. Kids are highly impressionable and school peers help shape the way children see the world.
Due to their cognitive immaturity, it's far too easy for children to get caught up in the mob mentality found among school peers. Many non-religious homeschool parents want to avoid this...especially in highly conservative areas.
Freedom to See the World
Over the years, public schools have gotten more strict on attendance requirements.
As a kid, I can remember traveling with my parents during the school year and being able to take these trips as "educational experiences". We would take time during the school year because my father travelled a lot for work and my mom would take us out of school to visit new places. She was a big proponent for hands on experiences.
Back then, it wasn't an issue. As long as I did my school work and made good grades the school didn't have an issue.
But now, a big chunk of public schools' funding comes from attendance...therefore, if kids aren't in seats then the school doesn't make its money. So, they have become super strict on attendance.
Before we made the switch to homeschool, I took the kids out of school for a cruise to Mexico. Now, I considered that a truly educational experience!
Even though I got the trip approved ahead of time, the automated school system called my husband and myself a minimum of 4 times each day we were gone to let us know our 2nd grader was not in school. This automated call was not only excessive, but patronizing. I felt that, as his parent, I have the right to keep him out of school if I wanted without needing to explain myself to the school system. Plus, I've never heard of a 2nd grader ditching school by themselves...heck, I was in 8th grade before I ditched school for the first time. Anyway, I digress.
Non-religious families are leaving traditional schools due to health concerns. Whether the student is physically disabled, neurodivergent, has a mental disorder, auto-immune deficiency, life threatening illness, etc. Parents are choosing homeschool over traditional school to meet their children's needs on all fronts.
My friend, Stacy, has two children who are not only immune deficient but one is also autistic. She started homeschooling her oldest, Alex, before COVID because the school system was failing him. Having the diagnosis of autism, the school placed Alex in the special ed class without a second thought. But, Alex is highly gifted.
So every day, Alex would refuse to do the schoolwork provided to him and it would cause issues in class. The teachers assumed he was being defiant and/or the schoolwork was too difficult for him. In reality, Alex was bored. He wanted more challenging work. So, Stacy pulled him out of school to give homeschool a try.
Now, Alex is doing 10th grade level work even though he's only in 6th grade.
Stacy's younger son, Carter, has several food allergies and an auto-immune disorder. While homeschooling Alex, Stacy kept Carter in public school so that she could have the extra time needed for Alex. But, when COVID hit, he was sent home for virtual learning just like everyone else.
Carter did return to public school when the schools opened back up. At first, Stacy was comfortable with him attending school because of the precautions being taken with masking. But, when the school board voted to make masks optional, Stacy new that the ultra conservative school Carter was attending would no longer be a safe place for him given his auto-immune disorder.
Non-Religious Reasons to Choose Homeschool
As you can see there are many non-religious reasons to choose homeschool. As the secular homeschool community continues to grow, we'll see more and more reasons non-religious families choose to homeschool.
What about you? What are the non-religious reasons you're thinking about homeschooling?