The Benefits of Secular Eclectic Academic Homeschooling
There is a revolution going on in education. The revolution started before the Covid 19 pandemic, but that event took the revolution from a slow burn to an explosion. The revolution is called homeschooling. The homeschool community is fractioned into several cohorts based on how you homeschool and whether you use secular academic (evidence-based) materials and programs or religious ones. Because many of the people coming to homeschooling during and since the pandemic choose it as an option that will best serve their children, not because they are opposed to what is being taught in school, these people tend to join the Secular Eclectic Academic Homeschooling community. It is this sector of the homeschooling community that is continuing to have the biggest impact on education.
About Secular Eclectic Academic Homeschooling
In the secular eclectic academic homeschooling community, we pull their children out of traditional school or never have them attend it. Like traditional schools we believe in the importance of academics, however we do not believe in the way the academic subjects are being taught, the testing culture, and/or we disagree with the subjects that are being taught. For example, I believe there are certain subjects that should be taught less so that there is time to teach subjects such as computer science. (And I am not talking about less time for science or history when I say this!) I think that subjects such as math and some writing could be incorporated into history and science so that there would be more time for these two very important subjects and so that writing and math could be taught in a way that makes them more relevant.
Increasingly, we are also seeing growth in our community in states where political influence is affecting what students are learning in the classroom. These families are a natural fit for the secular academic community. Neither these families nor secular academic homeschoolers want religious or political biases to dictate what our children learn.
America is a funny country when it comes to academics. We want to be at the top academically when it comes to things like beating Singapore’s test scores (China topped Singapore in 2022 the US came is 23rd) in math or scoring as well on standardized tests as Finland does, but we don’t have a lot of appreciation for academics in most of our communities.
There is a focus on winning and having the top scores on tests, but there is a lack of focus on the sheer beauty of learning. I think the disconnect between school and the inherent beauty of learning comes about because of the misguided focus on “winning” (AKA having the highest test scores) versus getting a good education so you can be intellectually engaged.
I am sympathetic to the constraints placed on schools. Schools have to have performance mandates because they are using taxpayer dollars, and tax payers want to know that their dollars are being well spent. So, testing happens. That is how schools show they are performing well. Most eclectic, academic homeschoolers think there should be less focus on testing and more focus on having intellectual discussions about issues both big and small. Not because they will solve any problems (or maybe they will), but just because they are interesting to engage in. Interesting people have interests; it is that simple.
Benefits of Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschooling
The benefits of homeschooling when there is a focus on academics are impressive. I am blown away by the breadth and depth of learning in the secular eclectic academic homeschooling community, as well as the intellectual engagement and the love of learning. When children are taught in a way that honors how they process and access information, they fall in love with learning. This is not surprising. When we approach teaching in this way, it shows that we value the unique way their brain works. This benefits our children academically. It also benefits their emotional growth. This is something that is important to think about with mental health issues in young people at an all time high.
As the name indicates, secular eclectic academic homeschoolers are academic homeschoolers. Our goal is for our children to be well educated. That, to me, should be the purpose of an education. In addition, as secular academics, the programs and materials we use for learning present facts, theories, principles, and models as recommended by a majority of experts in the field being studied. Unless the subject is philosophy, secular academic materials do not take an individual’s philosophy into account. It is not anti-faith. It is pro-learning with minimal bias from the author’s or publisher’s worldview.
Why We Homeschool
The short answer to why we homeschool is the value we place on learning. We believe there is real value in academics. We also understand the benefits of an education that is innovative and honors the individual. We see the main purposes of an education to be, at the end of it, that a person is well-educated, with the caveat that we define what well-educated means in our house. We also think an education should lead to a person who loves learning and who understands how to learn. We are trying to figure all of this out organically using innovative and eclectic approaches.
The is an updated version of an article I wrote in 2014. At that time there was no SEA Homeschoolers. I was feeling lonely and looking for a community of people to brainstorm with. So, I put a message out on Facebook. I thought there were only a few of us. I was hoping to find the 10 other (or maybe there were even fewer, I worried) secular, eclectic, academic homeschoolers out there. The response to my post was overwhelming. There are quite a few more than 10 of us, and we need each other.
Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschooling Group
There are two main reasons we need each other. The first is so we can have a community of like-minded people. Homeschooling is done at home with just your family. It can be isolating, especially if you don’t have a support community to help you with this important endeavor.
The other reason eclectic academic homeschoolers need a group is ironic. Because we want to be innovative and eclectic with our academic homeschooling, there is no book or set of guidelines we can refer to. We are just winging it most of the time. A robust community, like those in the SEA Homeschoolers Facebook Groups, functions similar to a teachers’ lounge. The SEA Facebook communities are a place to strategize and discuss what’s working and get help with what’s not. It is where you can find a co-op or others with whom you can form one.
Surrounded by others who feel the way about academic homeschooling you have a sounding board when you’re figuring things out. You also need a place to come to when you figured it out. This helps others, but it’s also nice just to be able to say, “Guess what wonderful thing my child achieved academically,” and know that these other people are going to be proud of the academic achievements of your child, because like you, they care passionately about academics.
If this post resonates with you, look for the Facebook Group Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschoolers closed group. It is open to any homeschooler or educator who considers themselves a secular, eclectic, academic, who appreciates the value of an academically-rich education that is innovative, and who wants to promote that within our homeschool community. The group is open to people of any faith, or lack thereof, but we do not allow proselytizing. The academics we discuss are secular academic. That does not mean people do not discuss religion within education, but it has to be from the perspective of academics, and all science discussions are strictly secular. I look forward to meeting my fellow secular, eclectic, academic homeschoolers! To learn more, feel free to contact SEA