Kathryn R. Grogg, Ph.D.
Secular Academics for People of Faith
Well, that title is not entirely true. I’m here for this amazing community and network of other homeschoolers too. When I share with others that Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschoolers is my favorite homeschooling community online, people that know I am a person of faith often do a double take. Let me tell you how I came to SEA Homeschoolers.
We are in our sixth year of homeschooling. Living in the South, even though in a large metropolitan city, it didn’t take me long to realize that the religious homeschooling groups far outnumbered the ones that were secular organizations with inclusive memberships. I met homeschoolers from across the spectrum of highly religious to not at all. I visited a variety of groups locally seeking my “tribe.” While I am very lucky to have several secular-inclusive groups locally, something was still missing, so I sought out groups online.
What I found online is that I wasn’t religious enough or the right kind of religious for some groups. At the other end of the spectrum were groups where members denigrated faith of any type. There wasn’t much in between. I resigned myself to just not fitting anywhere, to being stuck in between. I wasn’t seeking to convert anyone to my religion. I didn’t want to talk about my religion or religious curriculum or materials, unless it was an academic study of world religions or in historical context. I despaired that there was no one else like me or at least that I would never find those like me.
Totally unrelated to all this, I came across mention of an article by Blair Lee about a handcrafted education. She was speaking my language! So I started following her blog. She wrote a delightful post about secular, eclectic, academic homeschooling and seeking to connect to others pursuing a similar approach. Blair was seeking her homeschooling tribe. So she made a Facebook group and I joined. I remember celebrating getting to 500 members, then to 1000. Then it grew exponentially from there. Homeschoolers of all varieties that were committed to choosing secular academics in a wide array of ways flocked to the group! The academics and approaches to learning represented were as eclectic as the group itself. And it remains that way to this day.
Not long after I joined, a post came up on what was the only SEA Homeschoolers group at the time that made me wonder if this group was going to be unwelcoming for people of faith even if they did not discuss their faith. I may not remember the exact exchange, but I do remember the gist of the conversation I had with Blair Lee about it. I shared that I was a person of faith and intended to abide by the secular nature of the group, but that if it was going to be a place where it was acceptable to bash religion, I didn’t want to belong. She said that the group was not anti-religion or faith, that it was pro-academics taught as would be recommended by a majority of practicing experts in each field of study. Then I watched as she handled the post with firm kindness and commitment to inclusion of everyone so long as they are committed to secular academic discussion.
As the group grew, I still wondered if there were others who felt in between like me being a person of faith choosing secular academics. So when the call came out for speakers at the 2017 SEA Homeschoolers Convention, I messaged Blair and asked if a session for in-betweeners like me would be appropriate. She suggested a round table discussion and a session was hatched. The folks that came to the session represented a wide variety of faith traditions and we had a lovely conversation. I’m reprising that round table session for the 2018 SEA Homeschoolers Convention in my hometown of Atlanta. I invite you to join us for some lively conversation around the unique issues of being in between, a person of faith choosing secular homeschooling.
If you are feeling like you fall in between, no matter your faith tradition, please know, you are not alone in the homeschooling world at large. And you are welcome in SEA Homeschoolers.
And for the members of SEA who choose a secular path in all aspects of their lives, please know we are not here to try to convert you or sneak in religious content. Sometimes we really don’t know that something has religion in it. And sometimes we just slip up and I apologize for when I have.
SEA Homeschoolers is where I have found my tribe. The friendships I have made through this wonderfully diverse group enrich my life greatly.
Kathryn R. Grogg, Ph.D., is a certified school psychologist in the state of Georgia. Through Grogg Educational Consulting, LLC, she provides assistance to families in making the best educational decisions for children. She is also a parent and home educator who is well-versed in designing, implementing and measuring progress in home school programs can connecting families with local, regional and national resources. As a person of faith, she choses secular academics in her homeschooling practices and strives to create inclusive spaces for all people in the homeschooling community at large. You can read about Kathryn’s 2017 Roundtable Discussion here.