Before we started homeschooling, I had a common misconception about homeschoolers…I thought that all homeschoolers were super religious. It’s a common misconception in the United States because that’s what the general public sees and it’s what’s shown to us through the media.
When homeschoolers are portrayed on tv they tend to be overly conservative, long skirt wearing, overly sheltered, and honestly SUPER weird. For many Americans, when you mention the term “homeschooling” there are three generalized images that pop into mind….the Duggar family, polygamists, and/or Joe Dirt.
Think about it, when have you seen a highly successful family of homeschoolers portrayed in the media? Ironically, most child actors are homeschooled. Homeschooling gives them the freedom to be available for casting calls, filming, etc. Just a few famous homeschoolers include Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson, the Jonas brothers, Venus & Serena Williams, Simone Biles, and so many more.
Non-Religious Homeschooling Grows Exponentially
Just like thousands of others, our homeschool journey began when the COVID19 pandemic hit.
Until April of 2020, my kids attended public school and I had never given a single thought to homeschooling. I was one of those moms that needed “my time” during the school hours. I felt sorry for kids when I heard they homeschooled. But these thoughts were lead by my misconceptions about homeschooling and what all it entails.
After finishing out the 2019/2020 school year with virtual learning, I knew something had to change. My kids were miserable! Distance learning was a complete disaster for them and we were dealing with constant meltdowns. So I started to research homeschooling.
I figured, “they’re home anyway, how much worse could homeschooling be”.
Well, the differences between virtual learning and homeschooling are like night and day! Check out Homeschool vs. Remote Learning…I discovered that homeschooling was the answer my children needed.
The only problem was…we’re not super religious.
Are all homeschoolers religious?
Sure, we consider ourselves “Christian”. But, we don’t believe in creationism, we believe science is real, we support LGBTQ individuals, we believe Black Lives Matter, etc.
In fact…we identify as….gasp….Liberals.
So, where does that leave us in the homeschool community?
Well, after much research I discovered that not all homeschoolers are super religious…in fact, not all homeschoolers are religious at all. There’s a whole sub-sect of homeschoolers who are just like us….they’re called “Secular Homeschoolers”.
Secular Homeschoolers are Growing
Secular homeschoolers are the fastest growing niche of homeschoolers out there. They’re people who have chosen to homeschool for various reasons but they don’t homeschool for religious reasons.
In fact, 25% of all homeschoolers identify as secular and that number is rising.
The way school boards approached the pandemic with remote learning, mask mandates, contact tracing, etc etc….many parents started wondering if public school was really the right place for their children.
With many school districts playing politics instead of listening to the science, parents found themselves in a hard spot. Do we send our kids to school and risk them catching COVID or do we find an alternative?
Unfortunately, turning to private schools and charter schools was not the answer because they too were playing the politics game. So, many parents, started looking at school alternatives like homeschooling.
As more non-religious families turn to homeschool, the secular homeschool community continues to grow. But, many of us have the same misconceptions/biases because of how the media portrays homeschooling. Therefore, many secular homeschoolers lay low and it can feel like we’re all alone even though we’re not.
So, how do you find fellow secular homeschoolers?
Finding fellow secular homeschoolers can be tricky depending on your area. Remember, those misconceptions many people have about homeschoolers being super religious and conservative still permeate throughout our country. Most homeschoolers who identify as secular homeschoolers are lying low by either keeping to themselves or quietly hanging out in the Christian homeschool groups.
The first step to finding secular homeschoolers is to check out Facebook Groups.
I know, you probably cringe at the idea of joining Facebook Groups….but, that’s where people tend to hang out online. Search for Secular Homeschoolers (your area)…if something pops up you’re in luck! If nothing pops up…consider creating a group and making it open to search…you probably aren’t the only one searching for a secular homeschool group. Other terms to search for… Liberal Homeschoolers, Non-religious homeschoolers, SEA Homeschoolers (stands for Secular, Eclectic, Academic), Social Schooling, and Covid Safe Homeschoolers. You can also join my group- The Misfit Homeschoolers.
The next step to finding secular homeschoolers is to get out there!
You’ll never find fellow secular homeschoolers unless you get out there and meet people. Don’t make any assumptions…just talk to everyone and see who you click with. Being an introvert myself, I know how difficult this can be for fellow introverts. But, I make myself get out there and connect with new people in hopes of enriching my children’s lives.
Check out your local library, museums, children’s theaters, parks and rec dept (both city and county) to see if they have any homeschool events. I have found some amazing classes for my kids this way. Then, as we’ve attended these events we’ve started seeing the same people over and over again.
The homeschool community is small but it’s growing. So you’ll run into the same people and you’ll get to know them….if nothing else you know you have at least one thing in common…homeschooling.
If these places don’t offer anything for homeschoolers, ask if they will create something. Libraries are the easiest place to start, they’re always looking for event ideas to draw people into the library. Plus, most homeschoolers already frequent the library so it’s most likely they’ll hear about and attend the event.
Our local library puts on amazing events for homeschoolers including art classes, STEAM classes, writing classes, and book clubs. These are all classes they offer after-school, they just made a mid-morning event and called it a homeschool class. Now they have to offer multiple homeschool classes because so many homeschoolers started attending.
The final step to finding secular homeschoolers is not to give up!
It may take some time for fellow secular homeschoolers to open up or show up…but the key is to just keep trying. With our current climate, new homeschoolers are popping up every day. It may feel like there’s no one like you…but they’ll come…you just have to give it time.