Moving my son to a Secular School

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IamWeasel (September 21, 2013, 09:06:04 AM):
I would love to have my daughter start school at a secular school, she is 4 years old now, so I still have time to search. But I would have to move to another town, as all the public schools and even the private schools are quite focused on religion here. Some of the people here are so far gone that they even refuse to believe in dinosaurs, the other day I took my child's 6-year old cousin to the library with us, and when she found a book about dinosaurs she had no idea what they were!

I feel really frustrated here, the schools only advocate religion and ignore science as much as possible. When I was in high school we didn't even do experiments like my friends in the other schools, the science teacher simply read the handbook to us and did the calculations on the board.

Hopefully in the future I will find a school where fairy-tales aren't taught as facts, because I fear that my child might start believing their nonsense if she hears it every day.
Rigil Kent (September 21, 2013, 09:11:07 AM):
The few rational, reasonable people on the planet always have problems finding good schools.
Maybe these small, rational schools can get away with relaxed discipline because they attract a class of parent that will enroll well behaved and socially adroit children.

I'm glad, Faerie, that your admirable dedication was eventually rewarded with this little gem of a school.

Rigil
Hermes (September 21, 2013, 09:17:17 AM):
The school you describe sounds great, Faerie. I'm glad your effort appears to have borne fruit.
Rigil Kent (September 21, 2013, 09:33:10 AM):
Hopefully in the future I will find a school where fairy-tales aren't taught as facts, because I fear that my child might start believing their nonsense if she hears it every day.
It's obviously not always practical to find a secular school for your kiddie to attend. As you mentioned, it may mean relocation, which most parents will find impossible. But even if our children - out of necessity - do find themselves in schools that have a less than ideal view on nature, we must not underestimate our own influence. Kids are resilient. I say this after reflecting on my own life: I was subjected to lots of woo at school. But at home, only a very watered down version of religion percolated down from my folks - bless them ;). I was to attend Sunday school and pray before meals, and that was that. I don't remember my family going to church except for special occasions, or, weirdly, out of spite ::). I am convinced, as far as one can be sure about these things, that my scales tipped in favour of the natural outlook on life at least partly because of my parents' rather passionless take on religion. How much more would the effect not have been if they were actively questioning religion, the way that we are.

In addition, a little bit of religious instruction will go a long way in convincing a thinking child that it is complete rubbish. Our job is to get them thinking.

Rigil
brianvds (September 21, 2013, 09:35:17 AM):
When I was in high school we didn't even do experiments like my friends in the other schools, the science teacher simply read the handbook to us and did the calculations on the board.

I hate it when they do that - the kids should read the textbook by themselves. That is what it is for, and that is what will be expected of them at university level.

My own anecdote: the son of a friend of mine is 17 this year. He is in general very mature and responsible for his age, and quite a level-headed young man. In fact, I know his family well and he is like a son to me.

But now I noticed a recent post of his on Facebook: he went on about what a magnificent sermon one of the teachers there was giving them, and how, just as the teacher was talking about the power of God, a huge gust of wind suddenly blew through the school. And this, as you may imagine, served to greatly strengthen his faith.

He is at one of those former Model C schools, and one of the foremost and most respected ones in this area. And in many ways it IS an excellent school and surely on a par with some of the best in the world.

But I have to wonder to which extent religion is rammed down the throats of the kids there. Must be a pretty lonely place for the few secular kids. Not that I really mind the religion as such - some of my personal heroes like Bishop Tutu and Gandhi are/were after all devoutly religious and this did not prevent them from on the whole being quite rational and decent people.

But in South Africa, at least among Afrikaners, religion has acquired a strong taste of fundamentalism over the past decade or two. Perhaps it is an attempt to deal with the trauma of loss of political power? Whatever the reason, in South Africa lots of religious people are not merely religious. They have turned away from and indeed against all science and reason. This is something we really cannot afford in this country, which is already dangerously divided along ethnic and political lines, and in desperate need of rational policy making.

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