Secular Thursdays: Supports, or the Lack Thereof

Almost every publication about homeschooling will tell you, the homeschooling parent, that one of the most important things is to have support. If the publication is older (think a copyright date of 2000 or before), the emphasis will be on local support groups; as the internet has gained prominence, the emphasis has shifted somewhat to also include internet-based groups and media, including message boards and podcasts.

The number of homeschoolers is growing rapidly, and proportionally, non-religious homeschoolers are making up a larger percentage of overall homeschoolers, secular homeschoolers are still a small fraction of the overall homeschooling population. More than that, even if a family does not list religion or faith as a primary reason for homeschooling, many who begin homeschooling for other reasons are perfectly willing to use religious curricula or join religious support networks. Religion may not be a primary reason, but it doesn't mean that wouldn't feel comfortable in a group of religious homeschoolers.

There are networks that are growing. There are increasing numbers of co-ops and message boards geared directly towards the secular homeschooler. Nevertheless, they still tend to be smaller, less well-organized, and less frequently visited. Post counts are smaller; the variety of classes offered is less. And in some areas, there is nothing adequate.

Podcasts. I enjoy podcasts on a variety of subjects. I've searched for a homeschooling podcast, and so far, all but one have been either very religious, or one-episode wonders that haven't been updated in at least a year and a half. I did find one, however, and while I thought it sounded a bit simplistic, I decided I would try listening to "How to Homeschool."

It's the "official podcast" of Homestead Homeschool, which provides "video lessons" so that your children can learn "unattended." It's presented by "Scott, [who] was homeschooled, and Becky, [who] did homeschool." Further listening suggests that Scott may be Becky's grown son. It's a folksy, aww-shucks podcast, full of exaggerations and ridiculous comparisons to public schools. Here's a hint, Scott and Becky: if you have to elevate homeschooling solely through putting other educational options down, you might want to consider why you're feeling so insecure about the efficacy of homeschooling.

SmrtMama and I are talking about doing a podcast of our own. Possible names have been discussed, including "Secularious Homeschooling." There's clearly a niche that is unfilled, just as there remains with regards to secular curricula in various subject areas. But that's a subject for another Thursday. In the meantime, what would you, the generic secular homeschooler, want to see in a podcast? Or you, the theoretical secular homeschooler? For that matter, homeschoolers of all stripes. The intent would not be exclude, though presumably a creationist homeschooler would want to ignore discussion of evolution. The intent would instead be to include, to broaden the audience, providing a resource for an underserved niche of homeschoolers.


Angela said...

Wow, great idea! I'll be stalking your two blogs for more details...

I keep joining secular forums, but they're not busy enough, so I don't go back. I even thought about starting my own, but I think it wouldn't get enough visitors. Maybe some day...

bafleyanne said...

That sounds awesome, and I'd totally listen. :)

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