There are many reasons that people choose to homeschool their children. Some feel that, given their circumstances, it is the best education for their children. Others choose homeschooling because they feel the government has no place in their children’s education. And many others feel that an education without God is not a thorough education. Yes, quite a lot of people choose homeschooling because they are Christian, and they believe they are directed by God to educate their children. But how does that affect homeschoolers who are Pagan? Or Buddhist, or agnostic, or anything else?
I often find that I am in a seemingly unusual position. I am a Pagan. My husband is Christian. We homeschool our children. We teach them about all religions. We teach them mythology from Ancient cultures. We teach them creation stories from various pantheons. We teach them about magick, and we teach them about prayer. We teach them about Heaven and reincarnation. Some say it is confusing for children to have so much information, but we feel that it helps them have tolerance and accept other people, regardless of their beliefs. We also are not concerned about whether or not they choose to follow our beliefs. We feel that it is important for them to just believe in something. And we have found that they choose to believe – Santa, fairies, magick, and God.
When it comes to choosing curriculum, many Pagans find that they are stuck because the secular, non-Christian options for homeschool curriculum are slim. Much of the Christian curriculum out there is quite superior from an educational standpoint. If we behave with the tolerance we expect from other people, we can use Christian curricula to our advantage. Obviously, you wouldn’t choose a Creation Science textbook, because every lesson may be based on a Bible passages. However, much of the textbooks and materials out there can certainly be massaged to still give our children a great education from a Pagan perspective.
For example, we use unit studies as a primary method of teaching history and science. First, they allow for multiple-age teaching. Second, topics are taught as a whole, instead of one fact at a time. While learning about the Wright brothers’ flying machine, we might learn about wind current, tension, pulleys, etc. But we will also study the terrain of North Carolina, where they launched the first flight. We will explore what was going on in the world when the Wright brothers performed their experiment, and how it influenced World War I. Now, if I’m using a Christian unit study guide that includes Bible verses and Biblical examples, I have two options. First, I can simply ignore the Bible verses. But wouldn’t it be more significant if I could find a way to teach my Pagan beliefs on the same topics? If I want my children to see how determination and perseverance were applied by the Wright brothers, instead of using Bible passages for other examples, I might use stories of Hercules and other Ancient heroes to demonstrate this.
Of course, creating our own curriculum this way requires us to put on our thinking caps. But, I think, for the most part, many of us are Pagan because we wear our thinking caps every day. If you choose to homeschool your children, be sure to take the opportunity, not only to share your beliefs with them, but to share the beliefs of other cultures and religions. My husband and I chose to homeschool our children because we feel it is not only the best educational option for them, but because we are the only ones who can give them the open-minded and tolerant outlook we expect from the next generation – no matter what their religion.