Like many parents, I mistakingly had the idea that “secular” curriculum options were religiously neutral and I was wrong.
Secular Was Not A Solution to My Problem
When my children were young, I found myself in a homeschooling predicament. The problem was that we are Wesleyan-Arminian Christians, and most Christian homeschooling curriculum is not Wesleyan-Arminian. We haven’t been very good in our tradition with publishing, and we’re especially anemic when it comes to homeschooling resources.
I tried a few Reformed resources, but they didn’t perfectly fit our family. We tried Catholic resources and found that they, too, were not a perfect fit. In my frustration, I made a mistake that I think many homeschoolers might make in my shoes. I started opting for “secular” resources over “Christian” resources, thinking I was opting for a neutral option.
Secular Is Not Neutral
However, I was wrong. “Secular” is not neutral. Everyone has a worldview. No matter how “unbiased” we claim to be, we all have biases. We all have a lens through which we see the world, which is our worldview. In my frustration over comparatively-small theological differences among fellow Christians, I was opting to use resources from a completely different lens. It wasn’t neutral. And I knew it. I had to make more adjustments to make secular resources fit— but I felt like I was just laying my theology on top of a blank book— which couldn’t have been further from the truth.
The difference between the theological differences among Christian resources was more akin to having hazelnut creamer when I wanted caramel creamer. The difference in secular resources with the worldview I wanted to teach my children was more like trying to substitute motor oil for creamer. They were just completely different things. Why was I comfortable using the devil’s resources? Why was I okay with letting the world shape my children? I was wrong. Very wrong.
Does Theology Matter?
I’m not saying the theological differences don’t matter. There are reasons we’re Wesleyan-Arminian in tradition and not Reformed, Catholic, Charismatic, etc. Those are very valid reasons, and I do think the theology matters. But when it is all said and done, those are still my brothers and sisters in Christ. As long as we agree on the big issues of orthodoxy (basically what’s in the Creeds), we’re following the same Jesus. I should have trusted my kids to those resources over the secular ones. Would that have meant more conversations about points of theological differences? Sure. But those are worthwhile conversations to have. Who doesn’t need to be reminded of their baptism? Or to discuss personal holiness? And would I rather point my kids to Jesus in every way possible? I should have.
What is the Solution?
Do I wish there were more Wesleyan-Arminian resources? Yes. Let’s get on that. Please. But in the meantime, I’m okay with using resources that aren’t necessarily in our theological camp as long as they point to the real Jesus. Because what we choose to use in our homeschool shapes our children. (Education is shaping. Homeschool, private, or public schooling is a shaping activity for our children.) I should have been more mindful of the worldview I was allowing to shape my children. And from now on, I will be.