What Constitutes Secular Academic Materials
Secular science curricula and programs should present the accepted facts, principles, models, and theories explaining how the natural and physical world works as recommended by a majority of practicing experts in that area of science. Science curricula and programs should not exclude or misrepresent scientific facts, principles, models, or theories that are considered core ideas in the field.
Science curricula and programs should not:
• minimize, misrepresent, or omit accepted scientific facts, principles, models, or theories
• incorporate religious philosophy into the curriculum or program
• politicize science issues in a way that misrepresents the issues
Secular history curriculum is one that does not posit, present, or endorse religious beliefs, texts, philosophies, and teachings as factual. Secular curricula can and often will discuss the influence of religions and religious belief on historical events.
The two common ways that non-secular curricula present religious beliefs and teachings as factual are:
• presenting religious texts as historically factual accounts
• presenting historical events as divinely influenced
Neither of which can be a part of a secular history curriculum.
Some otherwise secular history curricula use non-secular third-party materials because the publisher believes those resources to be the best available.
History and science are the two most problematic academic disciplines when it comes to finding curricula and programs for secular homeschooling parents. Other academic disciplines are considered academically secular if they do not incorporate or include religious sentiments, homilies, or readings except where academically relevant. For example a literature course that includes Milton’s Paradise Lost, John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, or Dante’s Inferno could be part of a secular course of study if the purpose for its inclusion is strictly academic.
Check out our post on the secular homeschooling community here.