There has been a lot of talk about the expense of the N.A.S.H. Conference. I do understand why this would preclude people from wanting to attend. I will be making sacrifices to go, but I want to go anyway. Why? Because the value of what is being created here far outweighs the cost.
I understand that not only am I paying for a conference but I am paying for the birth of an idea and the creation of something from nothing. I understand that sometimes the first batch of something is more expensive – money needs to be made to support the next group coming in. Creating something takes more time, effort, and energy than replicating what has gone before. Startup costs add up and I am willing to help pay, just a little, for them.
And yet, I am willing to pay more because I need N.A.S.H. to exist! I need the hope of future N.A.S.H. conferences. I need to know other parents are in the world like me, struggling to homeschool my kids in a secular way. In hopes that in the future we won’t struggle because we will have a resource to help us on our path.
I support N.A.S.H. because I want to be the change I want to see in the world.
Non-secular conferences cost very little because they have so many more potential vendors and support organization. Tax-exempt churches subsidize the costs. Secular homeschoolers get none of that. Removing the religious and religion-affiliated organizations from the roster gives a much smaller pool of vendors and supporters, because of how pervasively religion is integrated with homeschooling!
I need N.A.S.H. because I live in a world where homeschoolers are homeschoolers for religious reasons. So many curriculums have been created to help this large group of homeschoolers. Math texts contain bible verses and science texts teach creationism.
I need N.A.S.H. because memorizing a bible verse is not needed to understand algebra.
I live in a world where, as a homeschooling parent wanting to teach evolution 2 years ago, I was told in order to do so I would have to create the lessons myself. Some curriculum will avoid the subject of creationism and evolution all together and claim they are neutral on the subject and avoid all lessons that might refer to either. This confuses me on how one would teach about animals and not brush against evolution. Or how one would teach geosciences and not need to say the age of our planet. Or how one would teach about space and not talk about “The Big Bang”.
I need N.A.S.H. because the Earth is not 6,000 years old.
I need N.A.S.H. because the most economical way for me to buy curriculum is to attend the local religious homeschool conference and when I approach vendors and I ask if their books are secular they look at me with fear in their eyes. Some companies with this question have told untruths, yes they teach evolution, and then what they don’t mention is this lesson comes right after the chapter on intelligent design.
I feel alone in the “Bible Belt” homeschooling my kids. I want to stop joining homeschool groups and co-ops that ask me to sign statements of faith. I don’t want to lie, so how do I balance that against giving my kids group learning experiences? I don’t want to have to make that choice. Usually I leave the group and break the hearts of my children. We go once and my kids all connect with someone, then I have to say we won’t return.
I need N.A.S.H. to know that I am not alone.
Most of the online secular groups might have one school age child (over the age of 6). I have 3 kids and my eldest is not here to be a good influence on your kids. I want an easy way to find people like me. I want people with middle school kids, who want friends, and who don’t attend church on Sundays. I want a way to find these people
I need N.A.S.H. because when I attend non-religious local homeschool days I have to put on my fake face. I have one homeschool group where a woman thinks she is my “bestie”. She is certain we met at a prayer group. I let her talk and I let her believe the lie I won’t dispel because I fear being shunned. I fear that if I were to be wholly honest the other kids will be told to shun mine.
I need N.A.S.H. so I don’t have to lie about who I am.
I need N.A.S.H., even if it is a little out of my budget. I need N.A.S.H. because I want to hope things can change. I need N.A.S.H. because I would like to no longer feel like an outcast among homeschoolers.
Julie V. (Guest Post)- Late sleeper, bad cook, lousy housewife, book reader, board-game player, fun, singing, secular homeschooling mom incognito in the Bible Belt.