The Secular Homeschool…and…Religion?!

Emily and our neighbor Anthony were both quite excited about Vacation Bible School this week. We found out about it on Sunday, it started on Monday, 7/22 and ran through Thursday, 7/25.

Anthony: It’s free! And they’ll feed you! And give you treats!

Emily: Mama, please can I go? I want free treats!

Anthony: They’ll even come pick up kids that need rides.

Emily: Mama, you don’t even need to drive me!

It was endless. They hounded me…multiple times…and this after the hubby had already expressed a large amount of disinterest.

He’s a Taoist. I’m agnostic with atheist leanings.

In looking over my schedule, only one day was free for the bible school. Today. I told Emily this and she immediately asked, “So can I go on Wednesday?”

And it wasn’t just once. It was over and over, and then Anthony would show up with tales about the first two days, and the pleading would come from both parties. Tales of candy and treats that followed bible lessons were endless.

“Fine. I’ll take you today and we will ask if you can join in.”

“Hooray! I’ll get candy!” On the way over she kept repeating a piece of scripture that Anthony had memorized the day before in order to qualify for some sweet treat. I didn’t have the heart to explain that it would be a different scripture today.

We drove the two blocks, walked in, and were greeted with friendly faces. Yes, I was assured, it was perfectly fine for her to attend just the one day, no problem at all. I filled out the little bit of paperwork and told the woman handling the intake that Emily had learned a piece of scripture from the neighbor boy. I turned to Emily and had her repeat it.

All around everyone’s eyes got big and the woman grinned at her, “Oh my goodness, you gave me goosebumps! You are wonderful!”

As I watched my daughter whisked away to the age-appropriate room, I was happy for her. She has said to me many times, “Mama, I believe in God.”

I always tell her that is fine and good. And truly I have no problem with it. She is young and sweet, her heart is in the right place. I want to allow her the space and time to make up her own mind about what (or who) she believes in. So although I typically choose curriculum that is without religious viewpoints, I think it is perfectly reasonable to allow her to attend vacation bible school, or even Sunday school if she wants to. It’s up to her, just as it is up to me which path I wish to travel.

I fully expect that she will enjoy herself thoroughly at VBS today. I hope too that she will meet other kids from the area that she likes and enjoys spending time with. More friends, more connections, more community.

Meanwhile, I was reminded that the world is truly a small place. Another woman who I began talking to while there, and who ended up coming over to see the house, had known the former owners of this house, the Dellingers, thirty years ago. She had spent the night a couple of times in this house, friends with the daughter, also named Emily. She really liked going through the house and seeing it again. She’s also a homeschooler.

It was fun to meet someone new and show her what we have done in the house and yard. It is truly a small world, full of coincidence and shared history!

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