Secular homeschool programs teach students to become independent critical thinkers by using materials that do not refer to any religion, focusing instead on academics and enrichment courses. Many homeschool programs tend to have a religious component, which could contradict the students' own beliefs. People tend to associate homeschooling with an education that includes the study of religion, but it is possible to have a secular education at home. There are also complete homeschool programs that do not teach religion, focusing instead on values. These programs include lessons which teach virtues such as citizenship, responsibility and honesty.
Where to Find Homeschool Programs
Secular homeschool curriculum can be found anywhere public school resources and materials are sold. The School Box, for example, is a major school supply warehouse with several locations throughout the United States. This school store supplies workbooks, study guides, and teacher's manuals, which would be helpful for parents who are teaching homeschooled students. Join a national homeschool society for help in learning which supplies and textbooks are needed for a secular homeschool. Home school support is available.
What Should Be Taught in Homeschool
Most states have published school standards that are available online. These standards outline state requirements of knowledge for students in grades K to 12. Some systems also have accompanying lesson plans that align with state standards. Local school system teachers are required to make sure that students in their classes meet the standards. When using a secular homeschool program, students should be able to meet basic standards as well.
Families who are new to homeschooling can find structured secular homeschool programs online. Virtual schools are also available. Some of the schools work with the public school system, functioning as a home-based alternative to the public school. Other correspondence schools are completely separate from the public school.
Selecting Secular Programs
Make sure that the program focuses on teaching with different types of modalities. The program should have hands-on activities, access to video or multimedia for learning, live online chats or a discussion board since different students learn in different ways. Some students learn by reading information while others need to see or hear the lessons. Some students are hands-on learners and learn best when they participate in interactive lessons and activities.
Ask questions regarding support that the student will receive. Will a teacher be available to answer questions? Do the teachers have office hours? The expectations required of the student and the program's graduation requirements should also be clear. Two homeschool programs that are secular are Oak Meadow and K-12.
This school has a public and a private school option. Courses include lessons for students in grades K through 12. Teacher support is provided. Pay per course, monthly or for a yearly subscription.
The program contains a K through 12 education, including typical subjects for graduation. Oak Meadow is accredited. Teacher support is provided.
Developing a Secular Homeschool Program
You can also develop your own program. Peruse a bookstore and locate workbooks for learners in the appropriate age group. Look for publishers with books and materials that cover a variety of ages, so it won't be necessary to change publications once the child has mastered the material and moved on to the next level. Read reviews of homeschool textbooks. Other homeschooling parents can recommend literature that worked for them and give opinions on literature that was inappropriate or ineffective.
Include Enrichment Classes
Enrichment classes such as art, music, and health should be included in a well-rounded homeschool program. Material for enrichment classes for both the upper and lower grades usually do not have a religious component. Examples of secular material for enrichment classes include Atlier, a video-based program for art education, and Drawing Textbook, a book that provides drawing instruction for first graders through adults. Music Ace Deluxe is an award-winning program that teaches students how to play and compose music. Other enrichment classes may include sports or foreign languages. Secular teaching material is readily available for homeschoolers who would like to learn how to play practically any sport. Parents and other homeschool educators can also find a variety of material for students of all ages who would like to learn foreign languages.