An Open Letter to SecularHomeschool.com
Words matter. The words used to name a business, website, blog, or article matter. The description words businesses use should have significance. When people read the words chosen for a business they should have a better understanding of the intent of the business. The word secular has important significance in the homeschool community. With one word, secular describes the academic materials customers do or do not want to use with their children.
In the homeschool community, if a business uses the word secular it is making a claim that the materials, products, information, ads, and recommendations given on and sold through it will be secular. Anyone can make a mistake. But to consistently and willfully label your business as secular, when in fact many of the materials, products, information, blog articles, ads, and recommendations on your site are not secular, lacks integrity.
This misinformation is a real problem, especially for new secular homeschoolers. This is the group most in need of recommendations they can trust because most people new to homeschooling are not familiar with many of the products and programs used by homeschoolers.
The companies providing non-secular products are not doing anything wrong. They have customers who like and use non-secular materials. It isn’t their fault that a website claiming to be secular is willing to mislead its customer base by allowing their non-secular products to be advertised on their site. Because let’s be clear:
- My Father’s World is not a secular product, and the authors do not intend it to be.
- The Apologetics Study Bible is not a secular product, and the authors do not intend it to be.
- The Great Homeschool Convention is not a secular convention, and the people who put it on do not want it to be.
- Real Science 4 Kids or any of the other products from Rebecca Keller and Gravitas Press are not secular, and Keller does not intend them to be.
- When Bookshark chose Keller’s Intelligent Design biology course for the year classification is covered, that was a conscious choice to provide a non-secular product.
- Rush Revere’s history is not secular, and that is intentional on the author’s part.
(These are just a few examples from your site. There are many more.)
Another group negatively impacted is those companies developing secular materials. The secular homeschool community is a new community compared to the non-secular homeschool community. Most companies developing materials for the secular homeschool community are start-ups, and without as much money to market their products. By not being exclusive about promoting secular businesses, these start-ups are not able to compete with companies that have been around longer.
It is expensive to run a website. We understand the need to sell advertising. But that is no excuse for the people running SecularHomeschool.com to sell ad space to any company with money, secular or not, making it appear that even non-secular products are endorsed by SecularHomeschool.com.
Instead of thinking of your own bank account, what about secular homeschoolers, the community you say you serve? What about our money? If you cannot afford to run the site honestly, it is time to delete the word secular from your name.
SecularHomeschool.com, if you leave the word secular in the name of your business and website, as secular homeschoolers, we ask you to please:
- Stop taking advertising dollars for non-secular products and materials.
- Stop sending out email blasts for non-secular products.
- Stop advertising non-secular materials on your website.
- Remove all non-secular companies from your list of secular products.
- Stop allowing positive reviews for non-secular products as if they are secular.
At the very least, have the integrity to be honest with the secular homeschool community that yours is not a secular site so that secular homeschoolers can make informed decisions about the materials you promote.