A Blog Carnival for Atheist Parenting

If you do any sort of writing about secular parenting, Karen Loethen would love to hear from you for a new Blog Carnival she’s starting up (hey, remember those?!)

If you are blogging on secular parenting, this carnival is the place to share your work with like-minded bloggers. If you are a secular parent, this carnival is to bring good writing to you from others who are DOING IT!

That’s precisely the benefit to participating. This is the sort of thing that can introduce you to a new readership and expose you to other writers in the same boat. If you’d like to submit a recent post, all the information you need is on Karen’s site.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Jonni

    My kids and I are freaking out seeing this – we are lucky enough to count Karen as a friend!
    This is a great idea – the more rational voices we have in the challenging job of parenting, the better. So many of us have endured the “trust god” method and need something considerably more substantial (and less patriarchal) to deal with the complexities of family life.

  • jeffj900

    I can hardly wait to see the “Atheist Diet” or the first “Atheist Cookbook”.

    “Atheist Parenting” would have to be the same as “Regular Parenting”, except you don’t pretend that God is real. I guess Atheist Parenting would be analagous to post-Santa parenting, after the kids discover the truth. In other words, it’s just parenting (which is a broad and complicated subject) but there need be no particularly major component of it that is “Atheist”. Teaching kids to think and reason should be standard parenting, not Atheist Parenting.

    But commercialism, fads, trends, and human silliness being what it is, of course anything you can attach a label to inevitably spawns it’s own sub-markets with it’s own particular flavors or variants of any popular item. Atheist bands. Ugh. Christian bands suck, and Atheist bands probably won’t be any better. Atheist reality TV, Atheist breakfast cereal, Atheist Shampoo, Atheist dog bowls and Atheist dog food, Atheist shoes, Atheist underwear, Atheist skin cream and Atheist ice cream.

    I’m sure we’ll see it all. It’s the kind of perversion and corruption that Atheist Church is just another flavor of, and it makes my heart ache that people can’t control themselves and avoid the inevitable temptation to make brand Atheist a mark of distinction in order to separate Atheists from their cash. But then silly Atheists will buy stupid Atheist shit, as sure as the sun will rise. PT Barnum was right, and Atheists are not immune.

    • KLF

      You have completely missed the point.

      • jeffj900

        Perhaps so. Tell me what the point is.

        • baal

          As an atheist parent (and someone who won’t be going to atheist mass anytime soon), I’ve had to deal with bigoted neighbors and training my son to not offend christians unless that’s what he’s trying to do. It’s not been that hard but having examples of what other atheist parents are doing is helpful.

          cf Dale McGowan
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gxhPj_e-GU

        • Vashti

          Especially in the realm of home education, there is a real lack of support for secular educators. We have to content with huge markets of religious curriculum and supplies, weed through religious homeschooling magazines and endure the endless hours of Christian homeschooling conferences and speakers at homeschool events. Because the homeschool movement was started by religious parents, they have the largest market share – a HUGE percentage that dwarfs secular parents and supplies by a vast chasm. We not only lack rational materials with which to teach our children, we lack support. Reading public blogs, participating in secular groups, and sharing hard-won information is extremely valuable for secular home educators like myself. By denying us the ability to communicate with each other because it’s silly to put an Atheist label upon our communication, forces us to the rank and file of sad, silent minorities hoping to see a spark of recognition in someone else so that we may stand together and fight for rational curriculum and support. Please don’t attempt to steal this from us because you don’t like labels. We’re using them to find each other and take a stand now, so that we won’t have to use the labels later.

          • jeffj900

            I don’t want to steal anything from anyone. I’m extremely skeptical of bandwagons, including atheist bandwagons. So when I see the label “Atheist Parenting”, as opposed to just “Parenting”, or “Rational Parenting”, or “Secular Parenting” perhaps I over react. Still, I think my skepticism has a healthy aspect to it.

            Home schooling is really a subset of parenting. In full disclosure, I’m not a parent, but I was once a child, and I’m an uncle 8 times over, so I have some opinions on this, which are perhaps easy to ignore since I don’t have direct experience as a parent.

            I have noticed that home schooling seems to be nearly the exclusive province of the religious, and in particular the religiously fundamentalist who have a strong aversion to the “impure” influences of public schools.

            Of course my opinion differs from religious home schoolers. I see them as overbearing control freaks that are making excessive efforts to mold their children in the image they wish them to be molded into.

            I have fond memories of my own public school experience, so I can’t help but think that home schooled children are being shielded from the realities of society in some way that is perhaps harmful or diminishing their experience of life.

            Are secular home schoolers concerned about the influence of religion on their children in public schools? Or is there some other motivation?

            • KE

              why the heck is “Atheist Parenting” wrong in your opinion but not “Secular Parenting”??? They are both labels and tell people what you are? And Yes, since you aren’t a parent you might want to look into how religion is creeping into our public schools! It’s not the only reason we homeschool our kids but it’s one of them….

              • jeffj900

                I distinguish Atheist from Secular in that Atheist is actively opposed to religion, or positively oriented toward explicit non-relgion, while Secular is neutral. A person could be religious and yet support a secular society, and even secular parenting in that children are not taught negative attitudes toward either atheism or religion, but rather taught facts and rational thinking and allowed to decide things for themselves.

                I didn’t say that atheist parenting is “wrong” per se, but that I’m skeptical that it needs to become it’s own distinct style of parenting. I don’t think religion or absence of religion ought to take up more than a small fraction of a parents effort, so I question whether there needs to be a “brand” of parenting that is unique to atheists. My real concern is that identifying atheist parenting as a movement pretty much by default leads to commercialization and runs the risk of becoming a fad that is blown out of proportion. I’m deeply skeptical about not just religion, but anything that suggests that atheism be turned into a replacement for religion. I don’t see that religion needs to be replaced, but rather that it simply needs to wither and die out, and be forgotten.

                I’m an atheist myself, in fact somewhat of an anti-theist even.

                I suspect the degree to which religion is creeping into the schools varies depending on region. Probably not so much of a problem in diverse metropolitan regions, and more of a problem in rural and bible belt areas. Vashti’s horror stories from southeastern Colorado are very disturbing, especially because it’s an indication of what the “school choice” movement is up to, her example being a charter school rather than a public school. I suspect “school choice” is a back door for religious fanatics to try to evade constitutional standards set by the First Amendment.

                • KE

                  Thanks for clarifying, I see your point.

            • Vashti

              Thank you for asking, Jeff. My reasons for home education are myriad. Firstly, I have two elder children who attended public school (my daughter is a senior this year). We’ve decided to home educate our youngest three due to the experiences we’ve had with the public school. My children experienced sexual assault (lots of grabbing, and a football hazing that was downright disgusting), sexual harassment, teachers who knew less about their subject than the students (in the 1st grade no less), a principal who brought my children into his office to teach them which religions were “good” and which were “bad”. My daughter had several experiences of boys demanding that the girls line up by breast size, all in front of a teacher who smiled and played along.

              I home educate because statistics show that home educated children have higher test scores. I home educate because I believe socialization is more than forcing children of the same age to sit together in a classroom all day. I take my children places, go on field trips, engage in copious amounts of science experiments and engineering designs. We spend a lot of time outside, just do MORE than the average public school student is able to do.My children don’t move on in a subject until they’ve mastered it – something doesn’t happen in public school, and would be difficult to achieve with so many students in the same classroom. My children don’t abnormally loath everyone younger while idolizing everyone older. They readily engage in intellectual conversation with the postal workers, UPS delivery man, and everyone else the come in contact with.

              Not only all of this, but I get to be the one who sees the spark in their eyes when they learn something for the first time. I get to teach them how to read and I get to teach them linear equations as well. I can’t imagine giving that up to anyone else, or why I would need to.

              • KE

                Well said Vashti!

              • cary_w

                I always wonder where these really bad schools you describe are. If anything even close to what you describe happened in any of the schools I’ve worked at or sent my kids to the parents would be up in arms, filing law suits, trying to get people fired and demanding change. I sincerely hope you were part of the solution and joined in the law suits and filed assault charges. There’s nothing worse than the parents who know this sort of thing goes on and do nothing but pull their own kids out. They don’t give a damn about the other kids who may not be able to change schools. That’s why someone like Jessica Ahlquist is such a hero, when she saw injustice, she did something about it! I understand that sometimes homeschooling is the best option in these situations, Jessica ended up switching schools too, but at least her old school is now a better place for all it’s current and future students.

                • Vashti

                  Excellent comment, Cary. You are absolutely right. Things did change in our local school. They no longer pass out bibles to the 3rd grade class, and they’ll never again attempt to alter the religious views of a student. The football team now has a no-hazing policy, and there were teachers, admins and students reprimanded for each of the incidents. For reference, I live in rural Southeast Colorado, and all of these things occurred in a local charter elementary school and the K-12 school in a town with a population of just over 400 people. We did change the school for the better, but have also made the decision to home educate our youngest three daughters. We feel that all the actions we took were well thought out, and in the best interest of our children. While we threatened the school with a lawsuit regarding the religion issue (I’ve not included all the details for brevity, but it was a terrible experience for our family, and we had calls from the school from administration, yelling at us that they would “stamp out Satanism wherever they found it”. We had a Christian, Asatru, Pagan and one Agnostic in the family at the time), we were able to put on a presentation with the help of religioustolerance.org to instruct the staff of our rights, the laws regarding school religious issues and exactly what we believed in order to quell any thoughts that our family were satanists. In some of the instances of sexual assault/harassment police were called, students suspended, and counseling was administered to both parties. We were not informed about some of the other instances until well after they occurred, because our children were embarrassed or apathetic because it happens so often.

                  I’m working with other parents from my daughter’s class to help educate their children about sexual harassment so that we can help these young people grow into adults with self-respect and character.

                  It’s all I can do though right now. I’m a bit spent when it comes to this local school system, and unable financially to move. Also, I have three young girls to educate and that takes all my time and energy – as it should.

              • jeffj900

                I guess I’m the one getting home schooled here. ;)

                It seems you are an excellent teacher for your children. This may not always be true of parents who take on home schooling, but certainly I agree that children may receive an excellent education that way. I balance this against the cringe inducing scenes from the film “Jesus Camp” in which a mother is teaching her kids creationist rubbish.

                I can especially relate to your last paragraph, the part about seeing the spark in their eyes, which must make it all worth it.

                I would not want to take away the right of home parenting, but I wonder if there are any standards that are upheld. Are home parented children required to take any state tests? Are there quality controls of any sort? Some children could end up severely deprived of a decent education, depending on the competence of the parents.

                I also assume that home schooling is still a small percentage of children. If it became a larger percentage I have some concerns.

                Given the horror stories you described about kids out of control and neglectful teachers, it seems maybe schools have changed a lot since I attended public schools in the 60s and early 70s. I have heard such claims, but I have suspected that they are exaggerated. I guess it depends on where you live.

                My concern about home schooling, in addition to the one about variable quality of teaching, is similar to my concern about school vouchers, and the whole “school choice” movement. To me the idea of a free education for all is a precious one, and it’s only worth it if we can add “high quality” to that designation. I know it’s possible to make our education system high quality, and in this day and age of information management technology many of the challenges of ensuring high standards should be lessened. I think it’s a problem that can be solved, and its just a matter of finding the will and continuing to work at it until we acheive the requisite levels of excellence.

                So I guess my concern is that I worry about abandonment of the public school system. I don’t have faith that commercial organizations will uniformly provide better education than the public schools (charter schools, on average, perform no better than public schools), and I don’t like the idea of entrusting education to the profit motive. I suspect that business interests, hoping to dip into a treasure trove of taxpayer funds, are pushing the “school choice” movement pretty hard, but assuming that will make everything better seems to me a very large assumption that isn’t necessarily justified.

                It seems to me that no matter how serious the problems in our public schools, there is a need and a way to fix the problems, and that continuing to strengthen the public will to do that is important. I suspect that much of the problem in our schools reflects our culture at large, on parents, on the media, on increased affluence and a consequent growing sense of entitlement (spoiled kids?), and other influences. I don’t think only the schools and teachers are to blame. Perhaps any teachers out there will back me up on this: kids come to school unprepared and with behavior problems, and teachers can’t fix that on their own without better parental involvement.

                I can see how parents need to take short term action to protect and properly nurture their children if in fact the public school available to them today is totally corrupt. But it seriously worries me if the long term trend is to just give up on the public school system.

          • KE

            Anytime you call yourself an Atheist – you just labeled yourself (Friendly Atheist included). I’m an Atheist Homeschooler also and it has been hard to not only take on the “oh you Homeschool?? What do your kids do all day???” idiots but we also have to wade through the “Homeschooler? Great, here is a creationist Math book your kids will love!” dolts as well.

    • Anna

      I get what you’re saying, but there are challenges specific to being an atheist parent, especially in more religious parts of the country. Secular parenting is a little different from atheist parenting, I think. I was raised completely secular, but not atheist. My parents weren’t atheists. I don’t think they had the same concerns raising me that I would have about raising my own children.

      The level of concern varies according to the situation, though. I have few worries about raising secular children in the most liberal part of a liberal state, surrounded by liberal-moderate friends and family members. Parents in the Bible Belt who came out of religious families would have a lot more to worry about.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      As an atheist parent, I certainly could have used support and advice from other atheist parents when my kids were small. We faced challenges like how to teach our kids about the religions of the people they share this world with, with understanding, but not indoctrination. How to help our kids deal with the religion pushers that our schools are full of, both adults and other kids. How to deal with hyper-religious relatives, including how to be tactful while still staying true to yourself. Helping them figure out how open they want to be with their peers about their beliefs or lack of beliefs. And about what their rights are when it comes to resisting the constant push of religion, especially in school. (For instance, our schools have a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. I’ve told my kids that they may participate if they want, and that they also have the right not to participate if they want, and that the choice is completely theirs. And when they make the choice not to participate, which each of them individually did, how do you help them with the inevitable bullying that goes with it?)

      Atheist parenting would be easy if we weren’t surrounded by hordes of loyal members of god’s fan club, all determined to force my kids into joining.

      • jeffj900

        I see that there are special factors bringing up a child without fear of God in a predominantly God-fearing country. Admittedly I have no first hand experience, but I would guess that at least 98% of parenting a child without religious indoctrination is no different from parenting any other child.

        So I guess my comments are over the top (I’m too skeptical), and there are legitimate interests to be shared between atheist parents.

        But much of this could also include those who aren’t explicit or active atheists, but those who would be better described as neutral secular parents, who basically teach their kids to accept all religious orientations equally, with no particular preference. I think such a secular indifference toward religion is fairly prevalent among the “Nones”.

        So I think my suspicions would rise if there were a claim to a comprehensive guide for parenting that is exclusively derived from an atheist perspective. That just doesn’t seem realistic to me.

        I retract my mocking tone about atheist parenting, but I still reserve it for the commercialization of atheism in general.

  • cary_w

    Looks interesting from your post, but she lost me at the homeschooling. From what I can tell from a quick look at her blog, she’s an American living in a city in Australia and she’s homeschooling her kids. A quick search through her blog and I couldn’t find a good reason for her to be denying her kids the opportunity to expiriance immersing themselves in a new and different culture. Some of us make huge sacrifices and pay thousands of dollars to give our kids that kind of expiriance, because it’s worth it! She has it sitting in her lap and chooses to ignore it. I’ll admit, maybe she has some valid reason that I just missed, but why doesn’t she put that front and center in her blog? The wackiness of homeschooling in this situation makes me pretty weary of anything else she has to say. While I’d be interested in what other atheist parents are going thorough, I’ll skip this one, thank you very much.

    • KE

      Sounds like you have no idea what homeschooling is all about…. there are a lot of us atheist homeschoolers out here.

      • cary_w

        I know plenty about what homeschooling is all about, that’s why I’m against it in all but the most unusual and unique situations.

        An American has the opportunity to enroll her kids in school in Austrailia, and passes it up. I just don’t get that. I haven’t read every one of her posts, but I have no respect for someone who would pass up such a fantastic opportunity without a darn good reason. A quick look at her blog, and I can’t find that reason. I have to go to work now, but if it will make y’all feel better I’ll read more of her blog later and come back to apologize when I find out she has some awesome reason for homeschooling in this situation.

        • hollie

          I am an American living in Ireland and I think you are completely missing the boat on this one, cary_w. We homeschool and because of this our daughter has the time and flexibility to explore the country rather than sit in a classroom. We can travel around Ireland and all over Europe. We can explore ruins on a Tuesday afternoon. We can spend a week in Amsterdam at the drop of a hat. Additionally, my daughter can meet up with Irish homeschoolers to play, learn and socialize. So my question is, what fantastic opportunity do you think is being missed?

          • jeffj900

            Also a good point, because you are giving your children a broadening cultural experience.

            But still, I think that your children probably will not know Ireland from an insiders perspective as well as children who actually attend Irish schools.

            So there is still something they are being deprived of. But do you feel that they might be subject to negative influences in the Irish schools? Or is your decision entirely based on the flexibility you describe?

          • cary_w

            Well, if you are traveling that’s a whole different story, I’m all in favor pulling kids out of school to travel. I assumed the blogger was there for a job, and like most of us, had to work for a living and had to stay in one town during the work week, so the kids are missing out on all the stuff going on in school. But if you have the freedom and money to travel whenever and wherever you want! That would certainly be one of the few good reasons to homeschool!

        • jeffj900

          I think you are making a great point. I wish every American had the chance to go to school in a different culture. One of the major faults of our country is that it’s too isolated and parochial. I have traveled in over 60 foreign countries and having a broader perspective on the world gives me a very strong sense that the extreme patriotism or jingoism that is behind the mentality of so-called American Exceptionalism is very highly exaggerated in the minds of many Americans, especially conservatives.

          More Americans need a greater perspective on the world outside the sealed bubble of American culture.

          • hollie

            My child is gaining a much greater world perspective than most. My husband is Irish and we are living here long-term (possibly forever). My daughter was 10 when we moved here. She attended Irish school for two years. The Irish educational system is one based on rote memorization and test scores. It was mind numbingly restrictive and not the type of education that I wanted for my daughter. She hated,it and was not learning to actually think. I believe education should be more than books. Ireland does not. So we decided to homeschool to offer her an education that was more suited to her way of thinking and to our educational philosophy. Is attending a traditional school the only way to know a country from an insiders perspective? I think not. Does that mean that all Irish born homeschoolers do not understand Ireland from an insiders perspective? It is really a ridiculous statement. I lived in Spain for many years as a child. I have lived in eight different countries. I have travelled to over 30, and my kids have travelled to many of them with me. The fact that I don’t send my daughter to a traditional Irish school has no bearing on her cultural experience whatsoever.

            • cary_w

              I’m sorry you had such a bad experience in Irish schools, I do understand that at some point you have to do what you feel is best for your child, and in some cases that will mean homeschooling.

            • jeffj900

              I see that in your case it’s not just a 6 month or 1 year stay, but open ended living abroad as part of an Irish family. Given that situation, I’d agree, my statement seems ridiculous.

              There are many other situations in which one can spend an extended period of time in a foreign country, perhaps hosted by an employer or government, and see lots of sights, yet still remain somewhat isolated and aloof from many aspects of the local culture. Probably this is less true in Ireland than it would be in a developing country, where expats often shield themselves in a cocoon of luxury not enjoyed by most residents. But even in a case such as Ireland, attending local schools is certainly one possible way to get a deeper knowledge of the culture.

              You’re right, attending a traditional school isn’t the only way.

          • cary_w

            Exactly, we spent a crap-load of money to send our daughter to Brazil for a semester of high school, and it was worth every penny. Experiencing living in, and not just visiting, another culture is life changing, it is definitely something I wish every child could experience. I think there would so much more peace and tolerance in the world if all kids could do this. That’s why it burns me up to read about someone who has the chance to live in a foreign country for a year and doesn’t want to let her kids immerse themselves in it and go to school there. I read some more of her blog posts, and on one the kid admits she doesn’t have many Australian friends, I bet she would if she’d been able to go to school!

        • KE

          Perhaps you should also read this article,

          http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20130929/modern-day-home-schooling-is-more-social-than-it-sounds

          Based on your comments (I know plenty about what homeschooling is all about, that’s why I’m against it in all but the most unusual and unique situations.) you know nothing about Homeschooling. Millions of kids across the US are homeschooled for a variety of reason and secular homeschooling is on the rise as well. When most people find out what HSing is all about they have an appreciation of how and why it works. We don’t send our kids to a brick and mortar building where fact and figures are crammed into them so they can pass a test. We let them learn using their own ability, interest and skills. If you would do a little research you will find that some of the worlds smartest people were homeschooled.

          • cary_w

            That was an odd choice of an article to convince someone of the benefits of homeschooling. The benefits they talk about are all things my kids experienced while also going to public schools, so I don’t see how they missed out on anything. Then it goes on to describe how homeschoolers organize to take classes and a new charter school that allows parents to still claim they a homeschooling, while sending their kids to school two days a week. It seems like the homeschoolers are realizing the benefits of class time and seeking out “school” for their kids, even though they don’t want to call it “school”.

            An involved parent who is willing to take time off and do stuff with their kids can give their kids most of the benefits of homeschooling while still sending them to school. So why not give them the best of both worlds? My kids got to go on field trips, take museum classes, had individual mom-tutoring when they struggled with something, did scouting, went to prom, socialized with mixed age groups of kids, and did all the same great things that your homeschooled kids got to do and they ALSO got to enjoy all the benefits of attending public school.

            As that article states, it doesn’t have to be either/or homeschool or regular school, an involved parent can give their kids all the benefits of homeschooling while still sending them to school.

          • cary_w

            One more thing, you say that homeschooled kids learn using their own abilities, interests and skills. That’s all well and good, but some of the things my kids would have missed out on by not attending school were the times they were forced to learn something they were NOT interested in and it turned out to be very useful or interesting in a way they didn’t expect. And the times when they were challenged to do something they were NOT skilled at, and then felt proud for being able to do it at all. I’m glad my kids learned test taking skills, how to memorize information, how to work under pressure and how to meet a deadline, I see those as life skills that will serve them well in college and on the job, not signs of a prison-like existence. Homeschoolers talk a lot about how their kids are experiencing the “real world”, but the real world isn’t all sunshine and roses, it’s also about passing tests, dealing with bullies and doing things that are hard or boring. And, if you would do a little research you will find that some of the world’s smartest people went to public schools.

      • cary_w

        I read more of her posts and I’m just not convinced. While I realize she is not putting everything in her blog, and she just doing what she thinks is best for her kids, I just don’t see any compelling reason for her to homeschool. Her kids have the chance to experience going to school in another country, something most American kids will never get. I’m sure her kids are enjoying being part of the Australian homeschool groups, but they are missing out on being a part of a school, on proving their independence in a strange, new place, they are missing out on experiencing a different culture on their own, without mom organizing and watching out for them. It’s hard to put this into the right words, but it’s like the amazing thing kids get to experience on a foreign exchange, dealing with something really different, and maybe a little scary, all on their own. That’s what I think they are missing out on.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Indeed. I lived in Japan for two years- I went to school there. I couldn’t understand most of the classes (I think I only got grades in English, Math, Art/Music, PE, and Home Ec), so for my actual formal education I took correspondence courses through a major state university. But the cultural knowledge and friends I picked up at school, the language I learned (admittedly not as big a deal in Australia where they speak English), and just the experience of being disoriented and, well, foreign, were well worth having. I couldn’t have had those experiences if I’d just been kept home from the scawwy, scawwy foreign schools.

    • Spuddie

      She wants to reinforce that the toilets of goodhearted people only flush clockwise!

    • Neff

      you lost me after you misspelled experience. twice.

      • cary_w

        Damn it! That’s what I get for relying on a spellchecker instead of actually proof reading! Clearly I’m not qualified to homeschool my kids, in writing at least!

        • Karen Loethen

          Good sport!

          Karen

    • Karen Loethen

      “denying her kids the opportunity to expiriance immersing themselves in a new and different culture.:

      LOL LOL LOL

      Cary, I have no intention of engaging you to “change your mind.”
      Just that WOW! LOL Are you way off!
      Our homeschooling experience is AMAZING and so fully immersed in the culture! But I don’t expect you to approve, and that’s OK.

      To other readers, Please consider submitting a blog post for the carnival! I have some nice pieces already and could use a few more.

      THANK YOU, HEMANT, for considering a worthy topic to post on.

      Karen Loethen
      Homeschool Atheist Momma blog
      Creater of CAP: Carnival of Atheist Parenting

      • cary_w

        Karen,
        I read more of your blog post, I tried to keep an open mind, but I run into the same things I hear from all the homeschoolers I meet and all the articles I’ve read. All the benefit you describe are things my own kids have experienced, and I keep thinking of all they would have missed out on by not going to school. I just can’t see how they would have gained anything by missing out on things.

        My math-nerd son WANTED to take AP literature because he loved the teacher so much. He came home one day and out of the blue told me how much he was enjoying reading “Crime and Punishment”, this from a kid who once brought a math problem for show-and-tell in first grade and struggled to learn to read at all. Don’t you want your kids to learn from a passionate teacher? Wouldn’t you just love to have them learn math from someone like Hemant, who can show them his passion and help them see the beauty in a mathematical formula? You admit in one of your posts that you don’t really get algebra, so what do you think your kids are learning from you about algebra? Hemant “gets” algebra. Your kids may be able to learn enough algebra to be prepared for college on their own, from books, and from your homeschool groups, but they are missing out on having a teacher who is passionate about algebra.

        • Karen Loethen

          I am seriously not debating homeschooling. Not a debater.
          Besides, I’m quite sure that neither of us will change our minds. Rest assured, my kids are awesome and we are absolutely submerged in Australia.

          But I appreciate your open mind in reading my blog.
          Karen

          • cary_w

            I can totally respect that. I know I diverged from the topic of atheist parenting when I brought up the homeschooling. The reason I brought it up in the first place is because I felt Hemant’s post was misleading, so part of my motivation was to warn other readers that your carnival of Atheist Parenting is really more of a Carnival of Atheist homeschooling. Too many of the issues all parents face have to do with schools and their child’s education, so the parent’s atheism becomes a secondary issue to the effects of the school situations.

            • Karen Loethen

              NO! Not homeschooling! It is on my blog, but separate from the homeschool side.
              WHEW, glad we figured that out!

  • Karen Loethen

    Homeschool debate notwithstanding, I am happy with the support I have gotten for the carnival. I hope to see more of your atheist/humanist/freethought parenting blog posts!

    Karen
    Homeschool Atheist Momma
    CAP blog carnival creater


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