Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Any issues with what nappies to buy, home schooling etc. In fact if you have kids or are planning to this is the section for you.
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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #227010 Susie
Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:36 pm

Plain QB, that sounds like quite a journey! I'm glad you've found your path for the moment.

My brother went through a religious phase when he was small as well, he used to carry a bible about and show it to people in shops (this was before he could read). My mother is an atheist and used to roll her eyes every time he whipped it out to show the man in the post office, who was very patient ;-). He is now 30 and no longer whips his bible out. (Or at least not in public).
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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #227024 Arbor
Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:06 pm

I can see this from both sides, that is as an atheist parent working in a non denominational primary school.
I would imagine that at 5 your daughter is most likely to be in a Reception class she will not be receiving formal RE lessons as they are not included in the Early Years curriculum. I am guessing that the 'grace' thing is coming either from a particularly Christian teacher or possibly (and I have seen this) other children have been 'playing' games and have shared their own family meal traditions.
I have never seen any adults teaching children to say grace, many schools are multi cultural and would be offended by this. The only time in our school that 'prayers' are said is at the end of assembly when children are invited to bow their heads and the teacher says something along the lines of 'Dear God, thankyou for the x that you give us etc..' The argument being that as the 'God' is unspecified then no religious groups will be offended. However it takes no account of the feelings of non believers.
Formal RE lessons begin in KS1 and ironically it is one of the lessons that I teach weekly. Teaching for a year 1 (5-6 year old) in our school is very broad and looks at how different religions celebrate special days, what religion teaches us about the natural environment and caring for others. However how RE is taught is going to be particular to each school. If you are concerned I would speak to your child's class teacher and ask for an overview of exactly what the children are learning about Religions/other cultures. I do find it a challenge to teach RE - but I always treat every religious belief in the same way: 'This is what Sikh's/ Buddhists/ Christians etc believe'. If as I am often asked: 'Miss, is that story true?' I always respond with a standard 'I don't know, but this is what people of this religion believe.'

I brought my son up to challenge all beliefs presented as absolute truths. In our home we discussed at an early age why our family had no religious beliefs. I did not take the option to remove my child from assembly or RE lessons. I did not want him to feel 'different' or excluded form the daily classroom activities. During assembly my son opted to bow his head at prayer time but did not pray.
My son is now a young adult and is firmly Atheistic. I chose to take a pragmatic approach to any religious indoctrination in school but I respect those for whom this is not acceptable. My advice would be to get as much information as you can about how Religion is taught in your child's school and then make your decisions accordingly.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #227030 chilitony
Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:41 pm

sounds good to me, :flower:
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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #227043 oldjerry
Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:11 am

I think this has been a really interesting thread(particularly Arbor's contribution).
I think it's should be a requirement that all teachers(especially RE teachers) are monitered quite carefully.Evangelicals (of whatever religeon) seem to hold a mindset that compels them to look at life (and especially the education of children) in a somewhat subjective manner,and they are obviously going to be drawn towards a career in education.If I knew my kids were going to get their RE from the likes of Arbor I'd feel much more at ease.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #227662 Mrs H
Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:56 pm

This post couldn't have come about at a better time!! We are also struggling at the minute as our eldest is in p1 and is being very strongly about christianity. Neither my husband or I believe in god and we object to Finn being taught so strongly. If he was being taught about all religions then great.
Its with issues like these that I can appreciate why many people home school. Best of luck. Xx

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #227663 Mrs H
Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:02 pm

Arbor wrote:I can see this from both sides, that is as an atheist parent working in a non denominational primary school.
I would imagine that at 5 your daughter is most likely to be in a Reception class she will not be receiving formal RE lessons as they are not included in the Early Years curriculum. I am guessing that the 'grace' thing is coming either from a particularly Christian teacher or possibly (and I have seen this) other children have been 'playing' games and have shared their own family meal traditions.
I have never seen any adults teaching children to say grace, many schools are multi cultural and would be offended by this. The only time in our school that 'prayers' are said is at the end of assembly when children are invited to bow their heads and the teacher says something along the lines of 'Dear God, thankyou for the x that you give us etc..' The argument being that as the 'God' is unspecified then no religious groups will be offended. However it takes no account of the feelings of non believers.
Formal RE lessons begin in KS1 and ironically it is one of the lessons that I teach weekly. Teaching for a year 1 (5-6 year old) in our school is very broad and looks at how different religions celebrate special days, what religion teaches us about the natural environment and caring for others. However how RE is taught is going to be particular to each school. If you are concerned I would speak to your child's class teacher and ask for an overview of exactly what the children are learning about Religions/other cultures. I do find it a challenge to teach RE - but I always treat every religious belief in the same way: 'This is what Sikh's/ Buddhists/ Christians etc believe'. If as I am often asked: 'Miss, is that story true?' I always respond with a standard 'I don't know, but this is what people of this religion believe.'

I brought my son up to challenge all beliefs presented as absolute truths. In our home we discussed at an early age why our family had no religious beliefs. I did not take the option to remove my child from assembly or RE lessons. I did not want him to feel 'different' or excluded form the daily classroom activities. During assembly my son opted to bow his head at prayer time but did not pray.
My son is now a young adult and is firmly Atheistic. I chose to take a pragmatic approach to any religious indoctrination in school but I respect those for whom this is not acceptable. My advice would be to get as much information as you can about how Religion is taught in your child's school and then make your decisions accordingly.


I should have read all replies before myself replying!!
What a fab reply Arbor which has certainly given me food for thought. We have never discussed religion at home with r kids, believing them to be too young yet but reading your reply has made me reralize that its an issue that we have to address from home as well as threw his schooling. Thank u ever so much. Sue xx

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #228657 Bexz
Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:02 am

My two are older, 12 and 10. Being raised by both parents who are Pagan, but raised to have an open mind and to think about everything (and every culture) the world has to offer. We often chat about religion and ask them what they would like to do. Do they want to continue down the Pagan path or try something new.

This came to a head a few weeks ago when my eldest had her first RE project of secondary school. She was asked to write a 16 page essay on the differences between Hinduism and her religion. Naturally she wrote her 16 page essay (and worked very hard on it I must say!) on Hinduism vs Witchcraft. She also asked her RE teacher if this was OK and she said yes. However, on the day the essay was due in, her teacher said that after speaking to the Head, her essay would not be allowed as 'Witchcraft is a made up religion'. We are not Wiccan therefore do not have many books for her to take into school about our path, most of it is passed down. So she had to rewrite an entire essay in one evening, no time to argue with the school as it being a core task, she did not want to lose any marks.

I approached the school the next morning and asked if she could give in BOTH essays. One that will be marked and one that could go to the Head to show her about our 'religion' (and I use that term loosely) and ever since then, the Head as been slightly more accomodating.

Most schools will push one religion or another down our kids throats. That's just how it is, a pain in the bum it may be, but at least at the moment that is how it is. All kids will go through a phase of wanting to be Christian one minute, Witchy the next, one day they might like the idea of being Jewish and the next day Hindu. But they will sort themselves out in the end and they will find their own path eventually. The best idea really is to speak to the school. You don't have to go in all guns blazing, as to be honest that rarely works, but sit there calmly and explain your views. There are a lot of people out there who still think that if you are Pagan you must be wearing long flowing robes 24/7 and chant by the frozen pea aisle in Asda! I remember saying to someone I used to work with 'No I don't fly, nor do I have warts, have a black cat or carry a cauldron, I'm a web designer from Kent, a broomstick would get in the way ;)' But that is still peoples perception. It is up to us to try and show everyone that we are just like them :)

Or failing that, just go into the Heads office in all black and ask her "what would you prefer to be, frog or toad?" - that also works a treat ;)

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #229164 julie_lanteri
Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:52 am

I am not a parent yet but this topic is quite sensitive to me nonetheless as I'm French, with catholic beliefs and a teacher (what a combo!).
I do believe that education and religion should be separate. And I'm not talking about RE lessons, which give information about different religions but more the prayer before lunch/assembly etc. In France, state and religion are distinct but in GB, the queen is head of state and religion, bit more tricky!
I totally understand you concerns and raising the issue with the governors/head teacher could change things, and really hope it does. But I have to agree with Arbor that removing children/forbidding them to take part would isolate them. I have seen children sitting on benches miserable, watching the whole school have fun rehearsing the christmas play, trying on costumes etc, or not being allowed to join easter/christmas crafts. The last thing you want is children resenting what their parents believe in because is makes them different.
A few years ago I had to complain about the songs sang during assembly as they were all Christian hymns and I didn't think it was right for a "non religious" school. After some serious talking and a bit of help from other members of staff we got other songs going but it wasn't easy! I wish you all the best in covincing the head, get as much support from parents as you can.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #230702 mrsflibble
Wed May 04, 2011 2:32 pm

well it turns out the grace was coming from another child in the class. I spoke to her class teacher and she assures me their RE is nothing more than colouring in pictures of noah's ark and having stories read to them, and told me it's all given in the manner of "this is what they believe, you make your own choices" which is good.
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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #230981 Helsbells
Fri May 06, 2011 9:32 pm

That is good news Mrs Fibble, I think you can now just see it as something Sophie has picked up on (like wanting to wear a particular colour, or liking a particular toy) and is not something being taught.

I think it is really important that children learn about different religions in school because it helps to build an understanding of other people cultures, and thus aids cultural cohesion (hopefully, in theory). I think it is so important to have respect and understanding for other peoples religions, because it is what they truly believe with their hearts and is usually something very precious to them.

It makes me sad when Faith in God, Gods, the Universe etc is likened to clearly make believe things such as tooth fairies or Santa, this diminishes the importance of people's true faiths and makes it into a joke or something silly, I don't think that this helps to build respect for the beliefs of others, it just belittles them.

Also I believe there is a difference between sharing what you believe with others and "indoctrination" I am a Christian and a teacher, and will always share my belief's with my pupils if they ask me, this isn't indoctrination, and I would be surprised at anyone who calls themselves a Christian, forcing their beliefs on others.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #230983 oldjerry
Fri May 06, 2011 9:49 pm

With respect,what is evangelicalism if not forcing your beliefs on someone else? The whole House church movement is based upon convincing non believers of the neccessity of saving their souls.This is not to single out Christianity,Islam and I'm sure many other faiths have similar 'tendancies'.
I don't have a prob with this in general (if you havent got the b---s to tell someone you aint interested then you probably NEED saving) but when this practice manifests itself in schools,social services depts,youth clubs etc, it makes people of other/no faith uneasy.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #230987 Helsbells
Fri May 06, 2011 10:07 pm

I think there are different approaches to evangelicalism, I am not a fan of people shouting in the streets or having leaflets thrust in my face, (although I think it does have it's place). My approach would be to try to live my life in a way that is a good example to others and to peaceably share my beliefs with others if they ask. Where I live there are often Buddhists and Muslims who come up to you in town with their leaflets, presumably this would be classed as evangelising, like I said, although I am not a fan I don't find it offensive and I try to use it as an opportunity to share my own faith with them.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #230998 oldjerry
Fri May 06, 2011 11:26 pm

[quote="Helsbells"] My approach would be to try to live my life in a way that is a good example to others and to peaceably share my beliefs with others if they ask.

If all people of belief shared your Tolstoyan approach ( preferably with his politics chucked in as well) how different things would look.

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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #230999 MKG
Sat May 07, 2011 2:46 am

Just spotted this thread. Interesting. (although I didn't spot the original date, nor the existence of Page 3).

A few observations ... ALL religions, each and every one, are "made up". I fail to see how there could be any argument about that (well, I don't fail really - there simply is NO argument). Christianity certainly belongs in that category. More to the point, so do all forms of paganism. Believe what you like, I say - but let's not go overboard and attempt to establish the historical credentials of a belief system which was re-invented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In spite of that, MOST religions teach much the same thing - something to which I can have no objection (you know the stuff - respect, tolerance, value of life etc.). But ALL followers of ANY religion, whether they think it or not (it's axiomatic), develop huge blind spots. Those spots, depending upon your viewpoint and your beliefs, are variously termed faith, dogma or hypocrisy (or, if you take things back far enough, righteousness. That one caused a lot of trouble). To me, they're all the same thing.

I'm not getting at you at all, Mrs. F., - you have to believe that - but I always wonder in cases like this what all the fuss is about. Why do you, on the grounds of your paganism, feel that you should attack what may or may not be a school policy on the grounds of its overt christianity? (lower case letters are intentional, by the way). I have my own way of looking at the universe, a way which has developed over the years purely and simply because I am who I am. As are you. As is Sophie - and she'll get wherever she wants to be under her own steam. I agree with you that the particular brand of religion which is, by default, proffered in most British schools, is assumptive and dictatorial to an extent - but I went through it and I'm not a christian, and I bet you went through it too. Yet you haven't turned out to be a christian either.

I'm with you on the grace thing - if I had a small child at my table who insisted that I should also say grace, then I would gently point out the error. But I would also insist upon a period of quiet during which anyone who objected to that particular manifestation of belief would be firmly told to keep their gobs shut. Which is the point of this little diatribe. I respect the beliefs of others. Should they try to ram their beliefs down my throat, I will cease to respect those people - but I will continue to respect their beliefs. However misguided (and I believe christianity to be very misguided) I cannot see any religion, anywhere, which in its basic form differs markedly from any other. You, as a pagan, believe in at least one supreme being. Christians, muslims, and hindus, although awarding differing names, believe in exactly the same thing, and to a large extent imbue said supreme being with remarkably similar qualities. This is the point at which I shrug my shoulders.

Pagans are pagans - it's up to them. Christianity is a waning influence on European life. So what? The only problem with any religion is dogmatism - the strange ability the human species has of insisting, with absolutely no evidence, upon the rectitude of a certain set of beliefs. Whether that insistence comes from christians, or jews, or muslims or, indeed, pagans, is immaterial. Dogmatism of any colour is as damaging as any other.

It would worry me - here's yet a bit more dogma - if a child began to express ANY kind of religious practice, because that has to imply indoctrination. And yes - you're correct - that means indoctrination, however unthinking, by the school Sophie attends. But it's the same very mild indoctrination which both you and I went through. As you already know, it's relatively innocuous.

Mike
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Re: Please help me Pagan Parents!!!

Post: #231005 oldjerry
Sat May 07, 2011 6:50 am

MKG wrote:
The only problem with any religion is dogmatism - the strange ability the human species has of insisting, with absolutely no evidence, upon the rectitude of a certain set of beliefs.

Dogmatism of any colour is as damaging as any other.



Mike



I'd agree with all that,but I'd include the dogma of atheism.But it seems part of the human condition to ponder, I'm afraid I'm with Sow Crates (with apols to Bill and Ted) that the Unexamined life is not worth living.Wether that turns you towards scientific/philosophical analysis,or to the refuge of a belief system is probably determined by your individual personality.
Personally,(though I love the bells and smells of Rome) I'm with the philosophers, but the power of belief has achieved far more,for good and evil,than the truth of Parmenides.

More importantly, Page 3 ????????.............your getting on a bit for that!


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