Atheist Homeschooling Mother Living in the Bible Belt.

I won’t lie, it is a challenge. I don’t get to participate in the Homeschool groups in my home town. They are ALL religious based. When I go into events created for homeschooling families my blue hair and my son’s mohawk are dead giveaways that we aren’t your run of the mill conservative christian family. When my son comes home from the park and says kids were bullying him because he said he didn’t believe in Jesus and now no one is his friend, I struggle for what I can say to comfort him. Life as an Atheist in a small southern town can be a pain in the ass.

Our local Science Center has a special homeschool day we visit a couple times a month. This is my son’s favorite subject so he thrives in a science based environment. Sometimes things slip out that make it pretty obvious where my son stands in his beliefs. You can feel the glaring eyes when he mentions an artifact being from 14,000 years ago or *gasp* predating Christianity.

My son is a freethinker from birth. I made it a point to not press my own personal beliefs on him and I let him decide for himself what path he wanted to follow. I have close Christian family members that attempted to convert him at an early age, but reason stepped in and nothing they offered in the form of religion made sense or swayed his belief in non-belief. Even some things that I personally believed in he doubted, a true skeptic. Without hard proof, it just doesn’t exist in his world. I respect that.

The kids in our neighborhood have grown to be much more tolerant towards other beliefs since we moved here. They shunned him at first and excluded him for not being “one of them” but now they play like all kids do, keeping religion out of the scenario. It can be shocking for a child that has lived their entire life only knowing one way to think and only one path. When something disrupts that it can be challenging to keep everyone respectful, but my son did a great job not judging them and allowing them to absorb what being different means, which is not a lot when it comes to being a kid or an adult.

Homeschool Groups can be a different story. All of the groups here are extreme right wing literalist Christian based groups. We just can’t fit in when it comes to Science or History curriculum. I honestly wish we could. I wish these families could be open to their kids hearing alternative belief structures and make their own decisions. My son was exposed to all world religions, atheism and agnosticism throughout his childhood. I feel this is important for the child to make their own path and be tolerant of others. He may not be Buddhist, but if he meets someone who is he doesn’t judge them for their choice and he could even carry on a conversation about Buddhism. I love this about him.

We plan on moving in a few years to an area with more like minded people. He is noxious to do this. Once a year we visit and he plays with kids more accepting of him and that he can carry on deep intellectual conversations about our existence. In the meantime, we will continue to update this blog with our challenges, frustrations, accomplishments and homeschooling adventures.

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5 thoughts on “Atheist Homeschooling Mother Living in the Bible Belt.

  1. I’m sorry that people give your son “the evil eye” for his beliefs and yours. We’re not a Christian family nor do we follow a religious doctrine, but I’ve always believed that everyone needs to be respected for their differences…….that what makes each individual unique. I myself believe in Mother Earth, that is what speaks to my heart and soul. My husband, never saw the inside of a church except for “Hatch, Match or Dispatch”. Our daughter is and will be raised to follow her own heart and to whatever belief speaks to her.

    I don’t mean to write a novel in your comments, but your post caught my eye and grabbed my heart, for I’ve struggled the past few months deciding on our home school process. Then it finally came to me, that the choice is ours, as long as we do the certain subjects that are required by our state. So, the world is our daughter’s oyster and we’ll help her fill it, however is best for our family.

    We wish you peace and harmony and don’t let it get you down. Just keep on keeping on. 🙂 We’ll be following your journey.

  2. That must be very hard. I hope you can move at some point. I will say that the two places I’ve lived and homeschooled- southern Maine and now northern Colorado, have had plenty of secular homeschoolers, or people (like me) who don’t make a big deal about their beliefs. in fact, the vast majority of my homeschooling friends have been non-religious, and there is plenty of support for secular homeschoolers. I guess much depends on where you are.

  3. I too, am an atheist mother living in the south. My daughter isn’t old enough to be negatively impacted by this, but I have every intention of getting out of here before she is old enough to enter school (the schools here are terrible). Atheism is a choice I made for myself and have no intention of imposing on her. I just want her to be well informed and happy in whatever she chooses. I have had plenty of awkward moments though.

  4. I hear you. I grew up homeschooling in Virginia, where I now live again, and the only homeschooling groups here are Christian ones. I was part of one of them growing up, because I was raised Southern Baptist, but my reason for being homeschooled was very different from that of everyone around me. Their parents all wanted to protect them from the “secular propaganda” of public school, while I was homeschooled because I’d asked to be: I found traditional school terribly boring. On that level, there was a bit of a disconnect between me and other families in the group.

    Now in my thirties, with an eleven-year-old stepdaughter, I’ve thought about homeschooling, but the religious thing does give me pause. I became an atheist a long while ago (although I guess these days I’m a little more New Age than pure atheist), and while I’d want my children to have good social lives as homeschoolers, I couldn’t sign on for a lot of what the other parents in these homeschool groups want to teach.

    I hope that your son is able to find some young people to connect with, whether in your current area or when you move. All my very best wishes to both of you.

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