Friday, March 30, 2007

Secular Homeschooling?

I'm a christian myself but in our family life, religion really hasn't played a large role. My husband's atheist and we haven't baptized the kids. I count us as secular homeschoolers.

However, this week has been chock full of christianity. First was the 'Life in the Eucharist', a program my minister friend invited Catherine to participate in and then I, for some reason, picked up a 'Bible BIG Fun Activity Book' for a couple of dollars at a local store.

The eucharist program is a lot of fun and the workbook we do throughout the week is thought provoking. Granted, it doesn't always provoke the thoughts in Catherine that the program's auhors may have intended but I'm quite comfortable with that. It also gives her a bit of insight into my faith and some knowledge of the meanings behind certain symbols and rituals.

The bible activity book (a glorified colouring book) is okay and has sparked bible readings. It was the first Genesis story today. So I read the story and then she did the associated mazes and colour-by-number activities. We've been reading a lot of myth this year so it can't hurt to introduce her to the myths that make up what's been her families historic faith. Besides, when we're done reading we can practice some critical reflection. We can talk about how God seperated the waters and created the dome of earth and what water may symbolicly represent. We can also recognize that by that account, a literal take would demand Earth look something like the dice bubble in a "Trouble!" game. When we got to God giving humans dominion over the earth we had quite a discussion on what dominion meant and Catherine ended it by quoting Uncle Ben's (from Spiderman) great contribution to pop culture, "With great power comes great resposibility."

It feels a little funny to have such a focus on christianity but if my kids turn out to be believers, I don't think it's enough that they have a firm grasp of science. I think they have to have a critical approach to religion, an appreciation for myths and no need to twist both myth and science to justify their faith.

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