Secular homeschooling materials are in demand as the practice shifts away from a Christian majority.
Children of the 60s created the homeschooling movement, citing public schools that were too restrictive and religious. In the 80s and 90s, evangelical Christians joined the homeschooling cause for the opposite reason. They wanted more religion and less evolution in their children’s education.
That more recent development puts current parents who are interested in a secular education in a bind. Many of them consider their public schools’ educational offerings weak with hallways filled with violence, bullying and drugs.
Homeschooling would be the perfect answer, except for one problem: most of the materials available to homeschool families is religious in nature, stemming from the conservative movement late in the last century.
This problem requires a solution, as evidenced by a few important trends and statistics. First, according to the results of the Pew Research Center’s U.S. Religious Landscape Study, the younger generations consider themselves increasingly non-religious. One in three people in their 20s and 30s do not affiliate themselves with any religious group, as opposed to one in five in the population at-large.
Next, the number of homeschoolers has doubled to 1.7 million in the last fifteen years, says the National Center for Education Statistics. And according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, one in four of those homeschoolers is secular or non-religious.
Homeschooling parents, who went in search of secular materials that were now more in demand, instead found other parents interested in the same.
— Ivan (@Maverick_Ivan) March 30, 2016
Lara Corbell, a mother of two in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, homeschools her daughters because they performed poorly in the local public schools. Any internet search netted her mostly homeschooling materials that were religious in nature, which didn’t suit her secular family. As a result, she created SecularHomeSchoolFamilies.com, a clearinghouse of secular materials as well as a place for homeschool families to find each other.
While more and more sites and groups like Corbell’s are appearing across the country, other secular homeschool families are grouping with open-minded religious homeschool families. Most report that the mutual respect the religious and secular families have for each other creates an environment conducive to learning about different beliefs and cultures.