Parents choose to homeschool for many reasons, but one of the most well known is religion. You may be wondering why this is necessary or desirable, so I’ll walk you through some of the good reasons parents choose to homeschool for a more faith-based life. Regardless of which religion you follow, the reasoning is the same for most families. Opting to keep kids at home is a great way to introduce spirituality and connect them with the family’s philosophy while also fostering healthy bonds that last a lifetime. Moreover, you can also avoid outside ideology and repression. Faith-based bullying makes it harder for children to hold their moral center. Sadly some people believe this is due to the need to oppress children when nothing could be further from the truth. Religious families hold spiritual teaching in high regard, and as a result, passing that on with a high-quality education is essential.
Why Choose Religious Homeschool
Any school can be tough for children because of the melting pot of ideas, which can help them find new inspiration and result in intolerance and unpleasant teachings from exposure to people from unsavory backgrounds. Parents of faith often see religious homeschool as a way around this quandary to instill values and attitudes that are more healthy and faith-based. Additionally, not every family can afford a high end private religious school for their kids, but they still want to share their values through the learning process.
Public schools are recipients of government funding, and as a result, they must adhere to the separation of church and state. While there’s nothing wrong with that per se, it certainly doesn’t foster a faith-based lifestyle. Church on weekends is one way to bring more belief into your kid’s lives, but it’s not always enough.
No one wants to see their children get picked on for having a strong moral base. However, it’s not generally acceptable to do simple things, like saying a prayer before a school cafeteria meal. Sadly, young people can be cruel, and it doesn’t take much before someone who conforms to more liberal ideals might choose to take offense and harass a religious child.
When asked, most parents cite the following top four reasons for taking children out of the school system and teaching at home instead. First and second are reasons any family can understand regardless of faith. Parents are concerned about the environment and dissatisfied with the instruction. However, the third and fourth reasons relate directly to religion. Parents want to provide religious and moral instruction for their kids themselves.
More than a belief, families that spend most of their time together statistically tend to adhere to the same faith more frequently and fervently. In short, keeping your kids at home offers you the chance to help ensure that they will follow the family faith. Plus, you will grow together as a family and form stronger bonds.
Faith and Education Mix
While each group and family has their own reasons and methods for homeschooling and practicing their religion, the simple fact is that it’s easier to get both an education and a moral center when you learn at home. Religious parents turn to homeschool to avoid intolerance, religious oppression, secular ideas, and even technological encroachment in some cases. By adding religious and moral instruction to the daily routine, families are assured their children can observe their faith safely and in a healthy environment.
Although far more homeschool families are Christian, Muslims represent one of the fastest-growing demographics in the homeschool community because it is especially difficult to observe their religion in a public school setting. Prayer is mandated several times a day, and there’s no place in most k-12 schools for a child to lay out a prayer rug, nor do teachers stop class for one or two kids to make their religious observances.
Catholics are another rapidly growing faction of homeschoolers. While there are plenty of Catholic schools, not every student lives near such an academy. Moreover, a private institution can be substantially cost-prohibitive for parents. It is easier to keep to the teachings of the bible at home without going broke than to cross your fingers and pray your kids will observe their scripture while other students cuss, fight, and generally carry on as public school students are wont to do.
Whatever religion you observe, it is easier to teach faith as a daily activity. Instead of being a nights-and-weekends observer, your home learners can really absorb what it means to live a faith-based life. Best of all, as parents, you can be the ultimate role models and help them find their spiritual center by showing proper behavior and finding relevant texts to include in your class time.
According to ULC.org, “Generally, homeschool students do wind up being more religious than those who went to public schools, regardless of whether or not the parents were religious. Studies also show that homeschoolers are more religious than those who attend a Catholic school.”
One of the biggest arguments against homeschool is that students won’t get enough socialization. While this is largely unfounded as fears go, it is still worth discussing ways to help religious students find their social circle while still keeping them in a moral situation. Naturally, going to church, temple, synagogue, or another regular religious observance comes to mind first. Sunday school is always an option, but it’s not the only choice.
For many families, joining a religious homeschool co-op is a superb way to help their children spend time with like-minded and similarly faithful kids and adults. If your church doesn’t already have a group, you may be able to find a place to make an authentic connection through online resources like ihomeschoolnetwork, which helps families connect. However, if there are no virtual or local in-person groups that suit your faith, consider starting your own.
Parents are often surprised to discover that many others share similar ideas about child-rearing, education, and faith-based living. You can add your group to online homeschool connection sites like ihomeschoonetwork, talk to your church, or even ask the local library if you can place a few fliers. The main benefit of creating your own group is cherry-picking the people you feel are the right influences for your family.
Religious Curriculum Resources
Religious parents who choose to homeschool may notice that there are far more secular resources for educational materials. While this isn’t inherently bad and can be quite helpful, it certainly doesn’t incorporate your faith into lesson planning. Luckily, you are almost certainly not the first parents of your faith to choose homeschool, and there are some resources.
As Catholics are among the largest groups who homeschool, it’s good to know that Seton Home Study School offers a Catholic faith-based home learning curriculum. Seton is a great choice with options for children from kindergarten to twelfth grade and a highly respected, accredited academic and religious program. Online resources, grades, academic counseling, and more are part of this schools’ enrollment plan.
When you plan field trips or family vacations, choose places that offer a chance to study your culture and history from a religious perspective. For example, a Catholic family might opt to take a trip to Mexico. Viewing the incredible array of churches found in almost every city is a truly inspiring experience. From statuary and stained glass photo opportunities to guided tours of some of the oldest standing churches in North America, including faith and travel, will leave your kids well-rounded, international travelers. Yet, they’re still within the loving arms of their faith-based family life.
Another way to include religious and moral instruction in any school syllabus is to turn to the bible or other religious texts. Reading with children is vital regardless of the source material, but you can kill two birds with one stone using moral texts as part of literary education. Opt for stories that have a moral message if and when you read fiction. There are so many easy ways to incorporate some of the world’s most classic and beloved tales and beliefs by simply substituting them in place of a different book or reading sample that you will never run out of ways to bring more faith into your homeschool.
Religious parents homeschool to provide a strong spiritual and moral backbone for their children. Offering home instruction not only brings your family closer as a group but helps to prevent outside temptation and immoral influences from seeping in. Choosing to follow a faith-based life and curriculum can help your children hold to their faith, especially when times are hard as they are right now.
Roughly two-thirds of homeschool families are Christian. Meanwhile, the other third isn’t entirely secular. About a quarter are, but the rest are non-christian religious homeschoolers who keep other faiths.
Religious teaching is on the rise in homeschools, with more families than ever turning away from school shootings and cyberbullies to bring their kids home in a safe and moral environment. Whether you choose a faith-based curriculum or not, homeschool is a smart place for religious parents to help their kids succeed in life.