I recognize that this doesn’t apply for most people but I do have a handful of Pagan homeschooling friends that are interested so feel free to skip this if you are not one of them.
The choices for Pagan spiritual education vary widely because there are so many traditions and “flavors” of Paganism to choose from. In my house I am an eclectic Wiccan while my husband is a Druid. I am not knowledgeable enough to teach Druidry so that will be up to my husband.
My goal of teaching this is not to indoctrinate my children but rather to give them an understanding of what their parents’ believe and celebrate. If they choose that it’s not a good fit for them and they wish to study a different religion I will support that. As they get older I plan to teach comparative religions to give them an introduction to what’s out there but I think that they are too young to do that right now.
Since Paganism is nature based, for the most part there is no formal instruction. General nature communing and basic grounding techniques is enough at this age. I don’t formally practice magick on a regular basis so I won’t be teaching that anytime soon. We do have a formal “lesson” on Fridays just to introduce them to the history, the wheel of the year and mythology components. For that we use:
Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions– I actually had this book for many years before I even became a parent and have had the companion CD memorized for over a decade. The songs are catchy appealing to kids and we read one of the stories at each Sabbat. Unfortunately the CD has been out of print for years so it can be hard to find but it’s not necessary to use the book.
D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths
This is rather advanced for my son’s level and even Shammy says it’s too hard but the stories are very good. This was my husband’s introduction to Paganism as a child so he wanted Shammy to read it and gave it to him for his birthday last year. We cover one deity (1-3 pages) per week and I read it to him so he won’t get frustrated with the advanced vocabulary. This is a great intro to mythology better suited for slightly older children.
Growing Up Pagan: A Workbook for Wiccan Families
I don’t like this workbook. It’s printed on high quality/glossy paper and has some cool graphics but the editing and layout are very amateurish and the content is incomplete (for example, while it lists all 8 sabbats, it doesn’t include information on all of them). I plan to try something else next year including the Rupert’s Tales books.
Pooka Pages– this is a free printable available for each of the Sabbats. It includes stories, crafts, a herbalism section, coloring pages and more. It is very versatile and you only have to use the parts that you want. My kids are anti crafts and like their mother, don’t have herbalist inclinations so we use the stories and coloring pages.
Little Pagan Acorns– they have some nice general printables suitable for elementary students.
I celebrate Three Kings Day with my kids for cultural reasons due to my Puerto Rican heritage but struggled to explain to my precocious son why I would celebrate a Catholic tradition when I am Pagan. Some Pagans celebrate the Epiphany of Kore but I couldn’t reconcile that to the cultural celebration that I was trying to have as they just didn’t have much in common at all. It was awkward enough to explain it last year so I was dreading it again this year yet I didn’t want to skip the celebration altogether.
This Winter Solstice we read the story of Shaman Claus and in it there were 3 animals; a Black Bear, a Grey Wolf and a White Stag that brought gifts to the infant Sun god born on solstice, I thought that was a perfect Pagan adaptation.
But I had already told my kids that they were men, not animals so I have placed emphasis on the to the Wise Men/Magi aspect bringing gifts of wisdom (in our case each child will get an educational toy and a book).
They now can relate to it seeing baby Jesus as equivalent to the newborn sun god, there was no questioning or debate, only eagerness to collect grass to put in the shoebox and this mama is no longer stressed.
It really bothers me how so many homeschooling companies and organizations assume that all homeschoolers are Christian. “We welcome everybody! but to join you must fill out this application form telling us which church you go to, how many times a week you attend services and sign this statement of faith”
While I praise the desire of this part of the homeschooling population to have faith based groups, it’s disheartening when an organization created with a secular purpose such as sports, non-religious field trips or legal advice, have a faith requirement. In some cases there is no secular alternative!
With the increase of parents nationwide taking their kids out of school due to Common Core and “teach to the test” teaching styles at public schools, secular home-schoolers are a growing market that is woefully under-served. Some of these new home-schoolers may not have a problem signing a statement of faith so their kid can have field trips and soccer but the rest of us Pagans, Jews, Muslins, Agnostics, Atheists and all other “minority” religions are left with no choices.
I have joined a variety of Secular and Pagan homeschooling groups online to try to find alternatives and the discussions are always the same with people trying to find a non-Christian resource and while this isn’t too hard to do when it comes to curriculum materials, for anything else often times nobody is able to suggest an acceptable alternative.
While I know for a fact that I am not the only local parent in this situation, I struggle with trying to refrain my impulse to take matters into my own hands and create something. But given my tendency to bite off more than I can chew and my schedule already being maxed out with my current home, work and volunteer obligations I will continue to encourage myself to avoid that path. And since I refuse to try to make our square peg family fit into the round hole of these groups and companies I guess we have no choice but to continue trekking on our own.