Discussing home education in all its magick and frustration, with a sprinkling of parental musings here and there.

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Pagans Homeschool Too

People are often under a certain impression about homeschoolers. We are pegged as religious fanatics who want to create little "armies for God", teach our children Young Earth creationism without any regard for science, and all the mothers are bun-headed denim-jumper wearers.

While it is true that a fair segment of the homeschooling population fits this stereotype, it is only a segment.

Those of us who choose to homeschool are as diverse as the paths my fellow Pagans follow. There is a growing openness about the need for secular home-education and community, where all people are welcome. I know many more Atheist and Pagan homeschoolers, than I do Christians.

Of course there are other generalizations about us – that those whoo choose to homeschool are financially well off and in perfect nuclear families. The truth is most of us struggle with money, or know we will in the future, and many of us are divorced and remarried, or single parents.

As Paganism defies generalization, so does homeschooling.

For 17½ years, my life probably looked like the picture of a "perfect" homeschooler's life. I was married to the same man from the time I was 18 until 36. I had a son just before I turned 28. Life was boring, predictable, and easy. All the choices I made as a parent were counter to what my husband's parents wanted, but life in my household was mostly peaceful.

However, nothing in life is ever easy, and the knowledge that you seek something else – something outside of the life you have chosen – can knoknock you over the edge when you find what you seek.

In a matter of less than 6 months in 2010, I was divorced, remarried to the man I knew to be my soul mate, dealing with sharing my son’s time with his father, and then… Pregnant.

It was a conscious decision, yet one that still took me by surprise. It also took me more than three months to make peace with it. Even now as I enter the fifth month, I am astounded to think I need to prepare for a baby, while my first son enters his pre-teen years.

Were I a conservative Christian, this would probably not be the case. I would likely be tied down with four or five children, doing a morning Bible study, and submitting to my husband's authority.

But that is not who this homeschooler is.

I am a flawed human being and a creature of contradictions: the daughter of two hippies, yet somehow I have been married to two men in the Air Force; a feminist, yet someone also cautiously open about being collared in an M/s relationship; and, of course, a Pagan liberal who homeschools her son. My friends tell me that they don't even question who and what I am – that it just "fits".

Of course, none of this fits the homeschooler stereotype that still pervades the media and most of society's beliefs. However, the fun of stereotypes is turning them around and inside out, until they are no longer recognizable.

Part of the fun, as well as the challenge, of being a Pagan parent (particularly one who homeschools) is connecting with others. Home education is still not the norm, and it can be very difficult to find both individuals and groups with whom you feel comfortable and welcomed.

With the homeschool community growing far, far beyond the stereotypical restrictions of conservative Christians, there is also a growing need for support groups, curricula and more to support this very vocal segment of home educators.

The Secular Homeschool Community is a thriving forum that, yes, has a Pagan Homeschoolers group as well. It is a place where many of us gripe about having to adapt a religious curriculum to an Atheist, Pagan, Buddhist, or liberal Christian household; where we welcome GLBT parents with open arms; where we can whine if our significant other or ex-spouse suddenly decides to take our child to church.

As Pagans, we know nothing is static. How a certain community appears one day, may be very different the next, just like our individual lives and paths. As a parent, if you have even considered homeschooling, do not let the dearth of non-Christian content deter you from the possibility. It is an individual choice that each parent must make based upon what they think is best for their child, but the overtly religious materials out there can make it seem like an uphill battle.

In this blog, I will explore homeschooling as a Pagan family, from both a practical and personal perspective.

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I am an urban and steampunk fantasy author, Pagan writer, homeschooler, and genealogist from Massachusetts, currently living in England with my husband, son, black-headed caique, and three cats (one of whom is certifiably demonic - at least, according to military veterinarians).

Comments

  • halolain
    halolain Thursday, 02 August 2012

    I'm Pagan & I've been home schooling for for fifteen years & am loving every minute of it. I did it partly because of bullying but the deciding factor for me was that my children were taught that Christianity was the only 'true' religion. Children should be taught about all religions & then decide for themselves what, if any religion they wish to be part of.

  • Wendy L. Callahan
    Wendy L. Callahan Monday, 06 August 2012

    Thank you so much for commenting! While most of my concerns were academic and age-related (my son has a December birthday, and I feel he's as capable as any child born before the public school "cut-off"), I certainly did have concerns about religion creeping in to his school days. Whether it was due to teacher bias, which I've seen before, or an area where we might live, I wanted to approach world religions in my own way for the precise reason you said.

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