Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Secular does not mean anti, and I'm giving something away

For anyone who may not already know, I do not wear a denim jumper. In fact, I do not wear jumpers of any sort. Nor do my children wear jumpers, homemade, coordinating, or otherwise. Not that there's anything wrong with jumpers. We just don't fit that particular homeschool stereotype.

We aren't religious homeschoolers, either. That stereotype is more difficult to shuck. Which is why I am unable to resist anything that even hints at the word 'secular.' It isn't always easy to find homeschool materials without religious content so, when I see something that is, I grab on and refuse to let go. It could be a book on sewing secular denim jumpers, and I'd be all over it. I might even make some and wear them.

But 'secular' is like the ugly step-child word of homeschooling. Unfortunately, even some of the brightest homeschoolers read a negative connotation in the word. Which is a shame. When I see "Christian Homeschool XYZ," I don't take that to mean "Anti-Non-Christian Homeschool XYZ." I simply assume that this XYZ is presented from a Christian perspective. So far, I haven't been proven wrong.

When I discovered Secular Homeschooling Magazine, I think I may have literally done a little dance. As experienced an internet shopper as I am, I even fumbled for my credit card in all the excitement. I was a little smoother when I renewed my subscription this month. A little. I still dance when the new issue arrives.

SHM is not anti-religious. In fact, many of its readers are deeply religious. This is simply a magazine about homeschooling from a secular perspective.

For me, this is great. I have a magazine to read without stopping to wonder how much of a certain curriculum I might have to adapt, and I never find myself skipping articles that have no relevence. I realize that may not seem like such a big deal but, in case you haven't noticed, the economy is kinda sucky, and I'd like to get the full bang from my buck. I've cut back on all of the periodicals I haven't been using in full, which includes a few non-secular homeschool magazines that were decent when I wasn't concerned with price:value.

SHM got its start with a piece I would like to have tattooed on my forehead. Since my forehead isn't large enough (thank goodness), I may have to consider having it done on my back. But I'll only go through with it if Deborah flies me out to have Kat do it in the VIP room of LA Ink. And I still don't think it'll fit on my back, so I'll have to take each of the kids out as they turn 18 to pick up where my back leaves off. And that might require SHM coming up with a few more lines, since my 4 kids are all destined to be tall. We wouldn't want C to feel left out!

And here it is:

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List
By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

No, I am not teaching my children to count like that. I'm teaching you how to click that little blue link to read the piece in its entirety.

If you found that even slightly enjoyable, you need to go take advantage of the SHM sale here. Usually $7 a piece, issues 1-4 are currently being sold for $21/set.

In honor of SHM's sale, the husband's ability to bypass whatever glitch gmail was throwing at me earlier today, the rush I got from ordering 4 books from Amazon and only spending $5 (with free 2-day shipping!), and my genuine apreciation for all of Deborah's hard work, I am offering up a free copy of issue #5 to the first person who comes back and swears on a stack of notebooks that they've just place their order for 1-4.

And I'm not even going to cheap out and send you my used copy. That one doesn't leave my possession. I'm going to order a nice new one and have it shipped direct, cuz I hear that the shipping on those things is crazy!

But there's more. Maybe. We'll see.

Since this is not quite a 'real' homeschool blog, I can't expect many homeschool readers. And since I'm not a very traditional homeschooler, my potential homeschool audience is even smaller. I would love to hear from more minorities within our minority. If you know a few heathen homeschoolers, or simply homeschoolers who enjoy heathen homeschoolers, bring them by. Tell them to make themselves known. Convince me that there are enough of us to make it worth my while to offer up another free issue of SHM. Just warn them that I may sometimes use a 4-letter word or talk about my maniacs in a less than positive way. If they're cool with that, I'm cool with them.

For my invisible friends who find my homeschooling posts completely unrelatable, I will take zero offense if you now head over to a public school blog until I find something different to post about.
Rest assured, I get it!


DM said...

You are a goddess. What a writer! What a reader! I'm honored.

Janet said...

I love it! Secular Homeschooling is on my Christmas wish list so I'm not allowed to purchase if for myself until after the big holiday (just in case my husband decides to buy me something I can use this time).

It's very nice to find those "secular" resources. I'm darned tired of wondering what I'll have to correct about science, dinosaurs, and geologic history if I order Christian curriculum.

Jane! said...

I hope you donate your body to science. I'd like to look into your brain and see how you have the patience and organizational skills, to home school.
You have my respect, that's for sure.
... heathen homeschooler. Ha ha - I love it.

Lorrie Veasey said...

Just copy and paste Jane's comment here: that's how we lazy moms do it. Kudos to you!! I haven't even taught my seven year old his phone number yet. There is no hope for me.

PearlsOfSomething said...

For the record, I am not organized, and I am always low on patience.
That, and my girls don't know our home phone number, either. They did memorize Grandma's phone number so that they could sneak the phone into their room and call her at 11pm and 5am.
Even worse, I don't know our phone number unless I imaginary-dial it.

And, Lorrie, while you were busy running a business, I did not change out of my jammies today. Who's lazy now? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Bravo and thank goodness that I won't be the only heathen homeschooler out there. I loved the article from secular homeschooling and I just may have to make a purchase. I've order several other homeschooling mags and have been extremely disappointed. very cool blog


i love it...and this all reminds me that I have to memorize my daughters new phone number. hitting the #7 on a landline does'nt work like it does on my cell phone. that was a wonderful post!